Press review: Poles try out for role of top US ally in Europe and Biden, Netanyahu at odds

MOSCOW: Warsaw is seeking to become Washington’s main ally in Europe; US President Joe Biden is increasingly at odds with Israeli Prime Mini...

MOSCOW: Warsaw is seeking to become Washington’s main ally in Europe; US President Joe Biden is increasingly at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu amid discontent among US voters over Gaza war; and Moldova and France may be planning to enter into a defense alliance. These stories topped Thursday’s newspaper headlines across Russia.


Vedomosti: Warsaw seeks to become Washington’s main ally in Europe

Following a state visit to Washington by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Donald Tusk, US President Joe Biden announced a $2 bln loan for Poland and offered to provide the country with 96 AH-64 Apache helicopters. Warsaw may now become Washington’s main NATO ally in Europe, Vedomosti writes.

Ilya Kramnik of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS) points out that during the Cold War, Poland had been one of the largest military powers in the Warsaw Pact. Now, the country is remilitarizing once again to the level of the 1980s, but in a totally different direction in terms of potential military operations. "It’s another question if Poland will be able to maintain armed forces of such a size and technical capacity without using them in combat and ‘on credit.’ It seems that the Polish authorities expect to use these expensive weapons in a future war," the expert said.

Poland is gradually squeezing Germany out of its position as the key US NATO ally and main logistics center in Europe, Kirill Teremetsky, an expert with the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics (HSE University), noted. The reasons behind this process include debates in Berlin over ways to revitalize the Bundeswehr, relations with Moscow and the volume of support for Kiev, which, according to Tremetsky, is reducing Germany’s effectiveness in the eyes of the US administration. In April 2022, Poland signed an agreement with the US for the supply of 250 Abrams tanks and an accord to purchase more tanks was concluded in January 2023. As a result, Poland became the first European country to put Abrams tanks into service.

Izvestia: Biden, Netanyahu at odds over Gaza

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza has forced US President Joe Biden to execute a complicated maneuver, breaking off ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he has known for almost 50 years, US media outlets report. The move stems from growing public discontent with the Israeli premier’s policy line, Izvestia writes.

The Middle East conflict has become a hot-button issue in the current US presidential campaign. Voters are voicing protests against the White House’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Middle East expert Andrey Ontikov, however, points out that Biden’s position with regard to the Israeli prime minister has not changed yet. "We keep hearing some rhetoric about Israel but in practice, nothing is changing. The US is protecting the Israelis in the UN Security Council and actively providing them with weapons to carry out strikes on Gaza. There is clearly serious bargaining going on about an operation in Rafah, with bogus stories in the media, talks and consultations," the political scientist explained. Attempts are being made to create an informational background in order to put pressure on Netanyahu, but there has been no success so far," the expert concluded.

Danila Krylov, researcher with the Department of the Middle East and Post-Soviet Asia at the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says that those in the military and political circles who are affiliated with the Biden administration could be expected to be willing to put some pressure on Israel. "However, such methods are highly ineffective with leaders like Netanyahu. The Biden administration is in a difficult position because, according to opinion polls, he doesn’t have much chances of winning the election. There are a lot of domestic problems that the US administration has been unable to solve, even making them worse, and as a result, it looks like [former US President and presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald] Trump may secure a victory [in November]," the political scientist said.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Chisinau, Paris may be planning to enter into defense alliance

Moldova’s Public Council, which brings together over 50 public organizations, experts, members of the clergy and media workers, has called on the country’s authorities to stop implementing initiatives that are weakening its neutral status and facilitating efforts toward militarization. The move came in response to the establishment of a French defense mission in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau. Along with the growing number of drills that Moldovan troops participate in and large-scale weapons purchases, the French mission could increase the risk of the former Soviet republic being dragged into military conflicts, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

Some say that the defense agreement signed by the Moldovan and French defense ministers during Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s visit to Paris will make it possible, if necessary, to use the country as a corridor for deploying NATO troops to Ukraine. Former Moldovan Defense Minister Anatol Plugaru told the newspaper that Chisinau had earlier opened its airspace to the alliance and is now opening a land corridor, dragging Moldova into the conflict and "turning Moldova into a legitimate target for the Russian Armed Forces."

Moldovan experts point out that if France decides to send troops to Ukraine, which is an option that French President Emmanuel Macron does not rule out, Moldovan soldiers may also end up serving under the French banner.

Moldovan society is also concerned about the fact that in early March, Chisinau suspended the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) at Sandu’s initiative. The move makes it possible for third countries to deploy an unlimited amount of conventional weapons to Moldova, a Swiss media outlet said. The Swiss article was republished by Chisinau media outlets, which linked its assumptions to the defense agreement between Moldova and France. Notably, Moldova’s new national security strategy sees Russia as the country’s main threat.

Izvestia: India turning into economic alternative to China

India is seeking to become an economic alternative to China. The country has recently concluded several important trade and investment agreements with European countries. Talks are also underway with the UK, the EU and Persian Gulf nations, Izvestia notes.

As China’s growth is slowing down, India will enter global production chains. Its economy will largely continue to depend on manufacturing activities focused on the enormous domestic market and the export of diamonds, drugs and rice, Princeton University International Affairs Professor Atul Kohli told the paper.

There is currently a huge gap between the two economies. In particular, India’s GDP is $4 trln, while China’s stands at $18 trln. Still, India has a chance to reduce the gap with its neighbor, Rakesh Bhadauria, head of the Center for Strategic Studies and Simulation at the United Service Institution of India, said. India would like to become the leader in several fields, particularly taking advantage of the consequences of the pandemic as China’s economy is slowing down and its population is decreasing. For instance, India’s microchip industry may skyrocket. Still, it will not be possible to surpass China in the next ten to 15 years, the expert stressed.

Potential economic competition may cause the already existing tensions between India and China, including territorial disputes, to flare up again. However, experts point out that it is a long way to go before any economic tensions emerge. Besides, the two countries have different models of growth and India is dependent on China’s GDP, Alexey Kupriyanov, head of the South Asia and Pacific Region Group at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS), emphasized.

Media: Gold, bitcoin simultaneously reach new highs

Bitcoin and gold reached all-time highs last week. Both assets have since set several more records. The strong trend comes amid continuing high inflation rates in the US and Europe. In the long term, the trend may indicate a decline in investor trust in key currencies and the search for "a safe haven," Izvestia writes.

Talk has been going on for quite a while that gold could be an alternative anchor for the global financial system as the dollar is losing its position as the only truly global reserve currency. Such talk has intensified since the freezing of Russian assets.

"Regular gold purchases by banks can be attributed to their plans to diversify assets in a situation where the dollar has stopped growing and a potential key rate reduction may weaken the US currency even more. Geopolitical tensions are another factor to consider," BCS World of Investments analyst Anatoly Kim stressed.

"Over the past two years, the correlation between bitcoin and gold prices increased to an average of 77%. That said, it’s possible that the cryptocurrency’s image as ‘a protector’ is getting somewhat stronger," Finam analyst Nikolay Dudchenko noted. He also believes that international tensions are supporting gold, which is a traditional tool for accumulating and preserving funds.

As for bitcoin, its price may go down in the near future either because of a sharp drop in demand or some completely unforeseen developments, Gennady Fofanov, president of the InvoiceCafe investment platform, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Still, nothing is currently preventing bitcoin from growing and new price hikes are possible.

TASS is not responsible for the material quoted in these press reviews

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Press review: Poles try out for role of top US ally in Europe and Biden, Netanyahu at odds
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