Operations by NATO units during maneuvers near La Algameca in Cartagena | Photo: EFE/Marcial Guillén
In the coming days, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will begin the largest military training in decades in Europe, bringing together more than 90,000 soldiers from all countries in the military alliance, as well as 50 ships, 80 aircraft and more than 1,100 armored vehicles.
Recent investments in exercises tied to the Western bloc's multibilliondollar arms purchase are drawing international attention at a time when Moscow's attacks on Ukraine are gaining new momentum and sparking a flurry of speculation about an impending third world war.
Already in October last year, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is now Vice President of the country's Security Council, had warned that Moscow would consider any military aid from the United Kingdom to Ukraine as a declaration of war, a measure that was implemented This expressed the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Kiev this month as he announced a new security agreement between the countries.
Tensions have increased in recent days after the head of the NATO Military Committee, Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, stated on Monday (22) that the countries that make up the alliance are preparing for a largescale confrontation with possible enemies prepare. including Vladimir Putin's army.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also expressed concern about a future expansion of the conflict in the coming years, especially after the Kremlin's threats against the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and other countries such as Finland, which has a border of more than 100,000 people with the country has a length of more than 1,300 kilometers and has recently joined the treaty. “Our experts believe this could be possible in a period of five to eight years,” he said during a press conference.
Doctor of International Relations and Professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), Kai Lehmann, notes that the geopolitical situation is still full of uncertainties in this sense.
“Two years of war in Ukraine still highlight many uncertainties. “I see that a regional escalation of the conflict would depend above all on a final Russian victory over Kiev, as this would open the door to future conquests of territories in other states.” Putin, including to border countries that already have concerns about this scenario territorial expansion, such as Latvia.”
However, Lehmann recalls: “Moscow expected the war to last only a month, and we are already in the second year of the invasion,” which supports the assumption that “it would still be a risky strategy for the Kremlin chief to open another.” “Front of confrontation”, especially against NATO, which has 31 member countries.
For the International Relations specialist, there are many factors that reduce the likelihood of a direct confrontation between the two sides.
“I see no immediate danger of Russia invading a NATO country, as a conflict of this magnitude cannot be resolved in the short term. Since the beginning of the war in Eastern Europe, Putin has stated several times that if…” Europe supported Kiev, they would attack Germany, France and any other country that criticized their military attack, but they could not even defeat Ukraine. Therefore, I see that it is now difficult to escalate the conflict, at least while Joe Biden is at hand. in front of the White House.
The USP professor also points out that NATO's performance in the coming years will inevitably depend on the US presidential elections scheduled for November. “Obviously, the American elections have an important impact on NATO's possible entry into the war against Russia. If Donald Trump is elected president, the dynamics of the US and Europe will certainly change, the support for Ukraine will change, and of course we have a choice.” “The future of NATO is also at stake, there the country is leading the military front today,” he explains.
Lehmann recalls that the former Republican president has already expressed his desire to withdraw the United States from the military organization, a position that contrasts with that of Democrat Joe Biden, who is currently facing a battle in the US Congress to maintain the faces financial aid for Kiev.
According to the American State Department, the White House is the largest supplier of military aid to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, providing $44.2 billion (R214 billion) in aid to the country over the past two years. “Trump is a Russian ally within NATO, so a new victory for him could lead to a test by Russia to provoke the US's willingness to defend a member state of the alliance, for example a Baltic country.”
Further obstacles to a direct NATO confrontation are the disagreements between the countries that make up the alliance. “Today we have governments within NATO like Hungary and Slovakia that are not 100% committed to the defense of Ukraine. This must also be taken into account when assessing a new front in the war in Europe,” he said Lehmann, referring to Article 5 of the organization, which obliges member countries to enter into a confrontation if a member is attacked.
The professor also analyzes that Putin's army is showing signs of weakening due to the war against Kiev. “One of the biggest examples of this is the country’s series of agreements with North Korea. This shows the weakness on Putin's side, even if it looks otherwise. “I see this mobilization more as a cry for help, a sign that everything is not going well for Moscow, since it has entered into a political and military alliance with the most reclusive country in the world,” he stressed.
Even without final control of the war, Russia's new largescale attacks on Kiev show that the country remains focused on expansionist goals against the neighboring country, which is suffering from resource constraints due to the disruption of foreign aid.
In addition to the conflict in Eastern Europe, Vladimir Putin also focused on specific battles, for example in the Middle East, where Israel has been trying to destroy the terrorist group Hamas since October with the support of the USA.
The Kremlin chief blamed the West for continuing the confrontation and last year welcomed a delegation of Palestinian militia leaders to a meeting that also included representatives of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
Recently, an analysis by the Associated Press (AP) found that Hamas used a diverse arsenal of weapons from countries such as North Korea, China, Iran and Russia itself in the war. Last year, Microsoft President Brad Smith also clearly warned against the spread of disinformation from Moscow about the current conflict in the Middle East.
According to Smith, the focus of Russian disinformation is primarily on Western countries trying to blame the conflict on the United States and direct these narratives at Western audiences. The Microsoft president revealed that Russiabased actors are using generative artificial intelligence (AI) to create more sophisticated multimedia content to manipulate Western audiences' perceptions of the conflict.
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