Russian influence strengthened: Is our neutrality sustainable?

South Korea’s Winter Olympics has focussed attention on that country’s dysfunctional relationship with its northern neighbour and America’s role in that conflict.

It is one of the issues of the day, but maybe it has, dangerously, distracted the world from an issue almost as pressing — Russia’s imperial ambitions and its ever-more confident pursuit of them.

Author, Timothy Snyder, has suggested that US President Donald Trump’s wish for a military parade is rooted in the fact that America, in 2016, lost a cyberwar with Russia, the result of which was his election.

Snyder also suggests that Trump’s decision to release or block congressional papers on the investigation into Russia’s interference in America’s presidential election is linked to that cyber defeat. 

How Trump might react to the recent purchase of thousands of guns by the Bosnian Serbs is unknown, but it has raised concerns over the separatist-led, regional government’s plans, and deepening Russian influence in a divided and economically depressed nation. A fuse may have been lit.

Those concerns are echoed by nearly every country living in Russia’s borderlands, especially those along the Baltic. 

The citizens of Crimea and Ukraine have different concerns — how to survive the “protections” offered by their Russian-sponsored invaders. 

In Ireland, this may seem very far away and remote, but if EU solidarity is to mean anything, these growing tensions must have an impact on our neutrality.

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