NATO’s Initiatives Contradict Interests of Eastern European Countries
Monday, October 18, 2021
Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Aggressive measures taken by NATO in Eastern Europe in order to target Russia could directly affect the countries of the region. Since the end of the Cold War, several Eastern European nations have allied with the West as a way to protect against Russian influence, but the cost of this type of alliance tends to be extremely disadvantageous for these same countries. With the growing aggressiveness with which NATO conducts its actions in Europe, more and more countries are realizing that maintaining an open policy of opposition to Russia seems useless and dangerous.
In recent years, NATO has gradually improved its military power in Eastern Europe and on the Russian western border. The objective is clear: maintain a siege strategy and promote constant tensions on the Russian zone of influence. To keep this tactic active, NATO relies on its Eastern members and allies, which, while aligned with western anti-Russian policies, deal with the situation as Russia’s geographic neighbors, realizing several negative impacts that cannot be ignored. In fact, these countries start to suffer much more instability in their relations with Russia as they cooperate with NATO, so that supporting Western operations is not a tool to “protect” from Moscow, but rather a way to seek unnecessary trouble with the Russian government.
Unfortunately, NATO’s tendency to seek to build more and more military bases in Eastern Europe still seems far from over. As Washington declines its power on a global scale, the American government is concerned with strengthening a strategy in order to neutralize its biggest opponents, which results in more hostilities against the US’ geopolitical rivals. It is not by chance that, day after day, new projects emerge aimed at expanding the American military presence in the Eastern European region.
In an early October opinion article published on RealClearDefense – a media agency created at the request of the Pentagon itself -, Robert C. O’Brien, an expert who “served as the 28th US National Security Advisor from 2019-2021″, argues that expanding the military presence in Eastern Europe must become a priority for NATO after the defeat in Afghanistan. According to the author, the withdrawal of American troops from Central Asia sent a positive signal to the Russian government and its allies, who began to notice a weakening of the US, which supposedly could motivate Russia to move forward with “expansionist” plans.
On the other hand, Washington’s allies would be weakened, needing urgent support in the face of the “Russian threat”. As a solution, strengthening NATO bases in Central Europe and encouraging the modernization of the arsenals of US allied countries in the region would be a quick way to face the danger posed by the Russia-Belarus alliance. The author also recommends that NATO actions start in Poland, recognizing the geostrategic potential of this country, which maintains historic rivalries with Russia.
This type of situation has become common practice in US foreign policy recently: American analysts create fallacious narratives about an alleged “Russian threat”; the American government turns these narratives into official speeches and spreads them out massively; countries that have some rivalries with Russia adopt these speeches, generating panic; then, the American government uses this panic to force these countries to participate in anti-Russian maneuvers that would not interest them in a normal situation.
When countries have rivalries, there are generally two ways to resolve them: by diplomacy or by confrontation. Since there is a great imbalance of power, with one side being much stronger than the other (as is the case between Russia and the small states of Eastern Europe), diplomacy is the only acceptable form of conflict resolution, as there would be no symmetry in a belligerent scenario. However, countries in the region are so immersed in anti-Russian fanaticism that they are adopting a confrontational policy and cooperating with unnecessary NATO aggression in the Russian strategic environment. There is nothing really valuable for these countries to participate in these military programs – there is only the US interest being imposed on the interests of local states.
In fact, diplomacy would be the best way for European countries in order to ease their tensions with Moscow and invest in mutual development measures. Poland would have much to gain by maintaining bilateral diplomacy with Russia. Both countries could contribute together in a strategic partnership in the current context of energy crisis in Europe, if Poland agreed to cooperate in the gas transport route, which would generate profits for both countries and avoid the crisis in the western world. The same can be said about the Baltic states and, even more especially, Ukraine, which insists on an extreme polarization not only with the Russian state, but with the Russian-speaking portion of its own population.
At some point in the future, the European states will realize that anti-Russian hatred is of no interest to them of and that adopting speeches created by foreign powers can be a dangerous step. The rivalries between the US and Russia cannot be applied in the European context, as they are absolutely different realities. The neighboring nations of Russia need to think and interpret Russia in terms of their own material conditions, not importing foreign thoughts. Acting in this way, these States will realize that diplomacy is more advantageous than confrontation.
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