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Opinion\From the Press

Interview: Key issues of 2017 in eyes of French geopolitical expert

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-09 10:04

PARIS, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Donald Trump, international terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are among key issues of 2017, French geopolitical expert Lionel Vairon told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The first and most important issue is Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20 "with all the consequences this may have on the international order," Vairon said, who was a French diplomat in Southeast Asia and the Middle East for more than 10 years.

"Mr. Trump has expressed his willingness to change the lines of the international order in a brutal, radical way, though he is not yet president," the expert said.

The United States is still the world's foremost power, and its foreign and economic policies have an influence on all major issues of the planet.

The second topic for 2017 is the future of the Islamic State (IS). "The retreat of this terrorist organization will not only have influence on Europe, but also on Russia, with the return of Chechen jihadists," he said.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Vairon said: "Although the importance of this issue has diminished in recent years, there is a renewed interest in recent years with Mr. Trump's violent statement made against Mr. Obama and in favor of Mr. Netanyahu."

"Trump is radically changing the U.S. official position of neutrality, although I believe that the United States has never been neutral... Of course, the impact will not only affect Palestine, but the entire Arab world and its reaction to the United States," he said.

"This violent shift in favor of Israel and Israeli settlement will be a major issue of 2017," he said.

With regard to trade relations between the United States and China, solutions can always be found, but in strategic relations the situation is much more complicated and dangerous, Vairon said.

Asked about the phenomenon of "deglobalization," Vairon believes globalization is currently going through "the bottom of the wave." "I do not think that globalization, which is not a recent phenomenon, can disappear all the more because it is globalization that generates deglobalization."

According to him, "what is truly new is not deglobalization, it is that we are in the era of post-truth, which means that in today's Western democracies, we can elect populist leaders according to their speeches, and the day after the election, we can hear them acknowledge that they lied, but this is not important."

"We have it in the UK with the Brexit triumph, we saw the Brexit leader admitted a few days after the Brexit vote that he had lied, for example on the issue of UK contribution to the EU," Vairon said, adding that for Trump, this is also the case. "He said some things, and then he changed, and now he comes back."

"Citizens vote today for a leader because he is friendly, and because his populist discourse meets the primary expectations of voters, but this trend will produce a systemic crisis of democracy."

"We should not forget that the dictators have come to power in Europe through a democratic mechanism. People are already increasingly suspicious of the democratic system," he warned.

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