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‘The Kremlin May Start Aggression Against NATO On Behalf Of Belarus’

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‘The Kremlin May Start Aggression Against NATO On Behalf Of Belarus’
PETRO OLESHCHUK

In the near future, the Alliance will face very serious tests of its strength.

Former American president and likely Republican candidate for the 2024 election, Donald Trump, made a statement that he could “give Russia” NATO allies if they “don’t pay.”

How serious is this threat today? The Charter97.org website spoke about this with Ukrainian political scientist, associate professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv Petro Oleshchuk:

— The threat is actually serious. We can draw appropriate conclusions based on the fact that NATO countries themselves took this threat quite seriously. These are not just some meaningless statements.

At the same time, Trump makes such statements in his own manner, without specifying them. His speeches are just some kind of slogans. It is interesting here that representatives of Trump’s team, his advisers, have already made some statements in terms of what may be hidden behind all this.

They have already come up with a rather funny concept of the so-called different levels of NATO security, where the United States will guarantee security only to those members of the Alliance who will spend at least 2% of GDP on their security. Accordingly, NATO will not be something integral, but different levels of this very security.

It’s hard to say how much Trump himself shares this approach. To what extent can it be implemented in practice, since there is a NATO charter. To do this, the Atlantic Charter will need to be rewritten.

In fact, there could be a million scenarios here and, frankly, I have no idea what to expect in practice from Trump. It’s very hard for me to imagine that, let’s say, Trump comes to power, and Russia begins some kind of hybrid aggression against the Baltic countries. For example, begins to break through the legendary Suwalki corridor. It’s hard for me to imagine that Trump will respond to this by sending American troops to defend Lithuania or Poland.

The nuance is that Congress recently passed a law that prohibits the US President from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO. It is believed that this law is an obstacle specifically to Trump’s plans. But I have read statements from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. He says that this law will not actually take effect. It may be challenged in court, or in practice the president may not implement it.

I will add to Bolton’s arguments that in fact Trump does not need to leave NATO. It is enough for him not to come to the aid of a NATO member. In this case, the Alliance will automatically cease to exist. If someone questions Article 5 of NATO, this will mean the collapse of the Alliance.

Imagine the situation again: Russia begins a war against Lithuania, which is a “wonderful” object. After all, not only Russia, but also Belarus borders Lithuania. Belarus is ruled by a puppet regime, but formally it is an independent state.

NATO's reaction in this case is impossible to predict if Trump is president. They could be stuck for months discussing possible options, while Russia carries out its operation.

That is, the Russian Federation can start aggression on behalf of Belarus, which is quite in the spirit of Putin, who is in fact an extremely cowardly leader. He is trying in every possible way to play it safe. Putin can start aggression as if on behalf of Lukashenka, so that in the worst-case scenario, Tomahawk missiles fly to Minsk, and not to Russian territory.

We cannot objectively say that Trump is a pro-Russian politician. He has done a lot of controversial things throughout his career. I don’t think that in reality Putin expects that he and Trump will come to an agreement, divide the world and everything will be fine. Putin understands that besides Trump there is a huge American state, the Pentagon, and parties. Even if Trump is elected, this is only an episode in this story. But Putin needs the institutions of NATO and the United States to be paralyzed by political struggle for some time.

It’s funny that many Trumpists say that it is possible to come to an agreement with Russia, to resolve things rationally, but at the same time Trump names Russia as a threat to NATO countries. Not some abstract threat, terrorists, but the Russian Federation. He understands that the only threat to NATO and the EU countries is Russia.

As a conclusion, we can say that over the coming year, NATO will face very serious tests of its strength. I have no doubt that over the next six months there will be incursions of missiles and drones into NATO territory. There will be attacks using electronic warfare, cyber attacks, and assaults on borders with the help of illegal immigrants will intensify. Ultimately, sabotage and reconnaissance groups will enter with unpredictable consequences. NATO will receive an attack from Putin.

It is clear that Russia does not and cannot have any plans to seriously march on Berlin or Paris. Even they are not that strong psychopaths. But they are quite capable of committing a provocation, seizing the border territory of a NATO country, and cutting through a “corridor.”

— Do Trump’s comrades in the Republican Party share Trump’s position?

— We see that they have a split. The other day, a vote took place in the US Senate on military aid to Ukraine, where 22 Republican senators voted “for” and the rest “against”.

That is, the votes were split approximately in half, despite Trump’s calls not to vote. I would like to note that there are quite a few congressmen in the US House of Representatives who have supported and still support Ukraine.

Now many are waiting for Super Tuesday on March 5, when primaries are scheduled to take place in many American states. This will mark Trump's definitive Republican nomination.

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