Billionaire investment magnate and democratic campaign financier George Soros alleged in an op-ed Wednesday that Russia is no ally in the fight against the Islamic State. In the piece, he even claimed Russia is attempting to flood the European Union with refugees in hopes it will disintegrate.
“The leaders of the United States and the European Union are making a grievous error in thinking that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a potential ally in the fight against the Islamic State,” wrote Soros in an op-ed for Project Syndicate. “Putin’s current aim is to foster the EU’s disintegration, and the best way to do so is to flood the EU with Syrian refugees.”
Soros believes the Russian bombing campaigns against rebel forces and civilian targets in Syria are an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to create refugees that will eventually seek refuge in Europe.
“Putin is a gifted tactician, but not a strategic thinker. There is no reason to believe that he intervened in Syria in order to aggravate the European refugee crisis,” he claimed. “But once Putin saw the opportunity to hasten the EU’s disintegration, he seized it.”
Though he is a known bank-roller of the Democratic party, Soros had some harsh words for the party’s response to Putin’s aggression.
“It is hard to understand why the leaders of both the US and the EU take Putin at his word rather than judging him by his behavior,” wrote Soros, “the only explanation I can find is that democratic politicians seek to reassure their publics [sic] by painting a more favorable picture than reality justifies.”
Soros noted that Russia’s economic status is remarkably precarious, with a budget deficit that is 7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. He believes that Russia will have to cut this deficit by more than half in order to prevent rampant inflation from destroying the economy.
Soros believes the best option Russia has to “avoid collapse is by causing the E.U. to collapse sooner.” A faltering E.U. will be less able to maintain sanctions against Russia for its transgressions in Ukraine, he claimed, thus providing significant economic relief for a struggling Russian economy.
Russia — not ISIS — is the greatest Western enemy, according to Soros, and the country has learned to leverage the West’s supposed fear of terrorism to its advantage.
His comments come after a tumultuous two weeks of strife, most of which continues to emanate from the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Last week, peace talks between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally, and Syrian opposition, High Negotiations Committee, imploded following a joint Russian-Syrian bombing campaign against the Syrian city of Aleppo.
While in Europe, questions over how to address the refugee crisis continue to go unanswered. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that failure to negotiate the Syria conflict could lead to a “new world war.”
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