The exclusion of the Baltic states from NATO may become one of the possible scenarios for the development of events after the Russian-American talks on guarantees of strategic stability in Europe. Such a forecast in an article for The National Interest is given by a well-known American security expert, a former US Army officer. David Pine…
The author recalled that the Russian authorities had previously proposed a draft treaty on security guarantees, in which they demanded an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, and also not to include the states that were previously part of the USSR into the alliance.
Pine considers these conditions quite justified. He is confident that their partial implementation will prevent a new world war. And for the sake of this goal, each of the parties can make serious concessions to each other.
In particular, he admits that for the sake of a deal with Russia, the United States is capable of reducing the number of NATO members at the expense of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – this option suits the requirements of the Russian side. Moreover, in his opinion, Washington has no “vital interests” in this region. In addition, militarily, the republics, he writes, are very weak and can only act as a springboard for military operations.
At the same time, the expert notes that “the recent war games showed that the United States will lose to Russia” if a military conflict unfolds in the Baltic states.
For Moscow, meanwhile, the author also assigned a fee. In exchange for the withdrawal of the Baltic countries from NATO, the Russian leadership, he believes, must give written guarantees of their security and independence. And also withdraw all its offensive forces, including short-range ballistic missiles, from Kaliningrad.
However, Pine fully admits that the United States may not make concessions to Russia, and then everything will remain in place.
By the way, earlier this expert had already expressed the opinion that American politicians made a strategic mistake by expanding NATO to Eastern Europe in the late 90s. and subsequently to the former Soviet republics.
In his opinion, Eastern Europe is not an object of vital interest for the United States. Therefore, America must carefully assess the cost-benefit ratio to decide whether the risks of a potentially catastrophic war with Russia outweigh the benefits of fulfilling its security obligations to Eastern European countries.
But is the scenario that he offers this time possible, in principle?
– These are fantasies, nothing more, – supposes Doctor of Political Science, Professor at Moscow State University M.V. Lomonosov Andrey Manoilo… – Such a scenario is impossible already because the decision must be made collectively. That is, if, say, everyone is “for”, and one country is against, then the decision will no longer pass.
Therefore, influencing the inclusion of Lithuania, Estonia or Latvia in NATO was much easier for the United States than forcing now all other countries of the alliance to vote for their exclusion. This is from the realm of unscientific fiction.
I think the author in this case simply puffs out his cheeks and tries to show that he has access to some kind of insider. Again, it should be borne in mind that the article was published in The National Interest – i.e. in the magazine that publishes Dmitry Simes…
“SP”: – In this case, how true is the author’s assertion that the United States does not have vital interests in the Baltic States, and therefore it is not worth supporting anyone there?
– These are two completely different questions. With the second, in principle, everything is clear. Because supporting the Baltic countries in their confrontation with Russia and instilling in them the confidence that if they decide on any provocation, the foreign countries will help them, it is very risky for the United States itself.
Limitrophs in some cases have a poor understanding of what they are doing. Their ambitions and grievances can give rise to the kurtosis of the performer when they get up to do something for which they will be punished. And then the question arises for the United States, to defend them or not to defend them. The risks are too big.
Therefore, if Pine writes that the States should not support the Baltic dwarfs, then he writes correctly. The costs are too high and the benefits too small when using these limitrophes.
As for whether the region itself is interesting or not, the answer is unequivocal: it would not be interesting, there would not be NATO exercises. Moreover, exercises that are not associated with repelling any attacks and operations, but exercises in logistics. That is, by quickly transferring NATO formations and units to this region.
They have all the maneuvers associated with the development of this transport infrastructure. It is no coincidence that the Bundeswehr pays great attention to this – how to quickly transfer personnel to places where weapons are already stored. So that there is a battalion and a tactical group, and then once – and an army corps appears.
If this region was not of interest to them, then such exercises would not be carried out and their transport logistics scheme would not be fine-tuned there.
“SP”: – However, the expert is sure that in the event of a military conflict in the region, the United States will lose to Russia …
– Why will they lose, this is not their territory. They can make you pay the price of owning this territory. That’s all. This is their foreground, just like our foreground.
That is, in the event of an armed conflict, all three countries will be swept away not by one wave of fire, but by another. It is a fact. And there will be one scorched earth. Because the territory of these countries in terms of its length and width, this is exactly the depth of action of the army corps during the offensive.
It is beneficial for the United States that for each such piece, in the event of a conflict, its adversary (or opponents) pay a large price.
SP: – Then what do you think should be expected from the Russian-American talks on January 10?
– I don’t know at what level the dialogue will take place. We still have a rather vague idea of how these negotiations will proceed in general. What tones will they use, what accents will be placed there. Because everyone is somehow modestly silent about them.
There are two options: either they want there to be no leak. Or the preliminary dialogue is conducted in a format that is, in general, humiliating for one of the parties.
Therefore, the stuffing in that there is some kind of bargaining, perhaps, should simply create the impression that both sides have something to offer. And the positions are also equal – i.e. there are no elements of dictatorship and blackmail.
Mikhail Aleksandrov, leading expert of the Center for Military-Political Research, MGIMO also called the proposed scenario unrealistic:
– The United States and Ukraine do not make any concessions. That is, the brains of our leadership are being powdered.
In the presidential administration, the upcoming negotiations are presented as some kind of success for Russia. But so far we can only see the dragging out of the issue. And it will be infinitely long. As evidenced, by the way, by hints from both Biden himself and representatives of his administration – they do not intend to restrict anyone’s entry into NATO.
Or do you think they will not deploy strike weapons?
They have already deployed anti-missile defense systems in Romania, not strike weapons. But it is worth quickly changing the missiles (instead of anti-missiles, place the usual “Tomahawks”), they become shock.
Everything is done in an elementary way.
And then the Americans, after all, they are the “masters” of their word – they gave it today, tomorrow they took it. As a signature to the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles Treaty.
Therefore, all these scenarios are propaganda nonsense. We don’t need to pay attention to this.
We need to pay attention to how our leadership is negotiating and what it intends to do. Because it’s one thing to declare that the issue with Ukraine must be resolved and endlessly powder the brains of the Russian public about this. Another is to take real action. So far, I don’t see any real cases.
“SP”: – As a result of the negotiations, I suppose, everything will become clear. And we will see concrete cases …
– Most likely, nothing will happen after the negotiations. I am absolutely sure of that.
What did you do in due time Khrushchev? He sent missiles – these are real force measures. Kennedy imposed a blockade on Cuba, this is also a real forceful measure. The Soviet Union had to react. And if Kennedy endlessly declared, “let’s negotiate on strategic stability,” and “we will negotiate,” while he was conducting these negotiations, the USSR placed hundreds of missiles there, and then refused to withdraw them.
So, real steps are needed here. We need forceful actions against Ukraine, then there will be a result. Everything else is nonsense. Moreover, talk about the Baltics, which the States will suddenly “out of fright” withdraw from NATO …
Biden plays a cunning game. If we proceed from objective American interests, then he is doing everything right. He wants to deceive Russia once again, to prevent us from taking a powerful action against Ukraine.
This is his task. Because he will not be able to actually fight. And the Republicans, if they come, won’t be able to. They are only so brash, but they will not be able to fight.
And Biden, at least, is delaying the denouement. And it acts correctly from the point of view of American interests.
“SP”: – But we also made it clear that we would not allow the discussion on security guarantees to be dragged out …
– We had so many tough positions that I lost count. You see, tough positions, they really need to be backed up by deeds. In the meantime, everything is at the level of rhetoric.
Let’s get a look. Negotiations will begin, and in two weeks we will find out what our leadership will do if the “partners” drag out the dialogue without proposing anything concrete. Is it really capable of decisive action.