An article by the Jamestown Foundation about the planned inland waterway from the Baltic to the Black Sea, i.e. from the Baltic States via Poland, Belarus to the Ukraine as part of their Intermarium strategy shows the geopolitical ambitions of the Eastern European front-line states quite well:
The transport volume would not increase significantly. But Poland likely wants to push ahead with its old Intermarium strategy, which already existed in Pilsudski’s time, in order to establish itself as a major regional power in NATO, the EU and also vis-à-vis Moscow. Is this canal construction project of real geopolitical relevance? Would Putin accept this as integrating Belarus or linking Belarus to the EU and the possible emergence of a Baltic-Polish-Belarusian-Ukrainian regional bloc against him? Would Putin tolerate such a channel or see it as a provocation that he would not accept?
Macron’s proposal to overthrow Lukashenko by means of Putin and to create a democratic, non-aligned Belarus is also interesting. Also a litmus test for his European Security Architecture, which is propagated in Germany by the Left Party and the AfD in addition to Macron. Would Putin be ready to accept a democratic government in Belarus if it does not join the EU and NATO? Is this synthesis of values and geopolitics conceivable from a realpolitical point of view or a chimera? Or does Putin fear, should he sacrifice Lukashenko, that this could also have an effect on domestic politics in Russia and send a signal to the Russian opposition, and that his confidence in Western commitments may also be limited?
A former German diplomat, who has also worked in Moscow for a long time, assesses this as follows:
“The Intermarium strategy of Poland (and Lithuania) remains virulent. Macron’s idea of replacing Lukashenko with a democratic, non-aligned Belarusian country with Putin’s tolerance or even support is therefore a non-starter in my opinion. From Moscow’s perspective, the solution to the current crisis outlined by Macron would only be an intermediate step in advancing NATO and the EU’s external border into the vicinity of Smolensk. Warsaw and Vilnius want that! And what will become of Northeast Prussia then? An EU special administrative area? All this is conceivable and will certainly be thought through in greater detail in Moscow, Washington, Warsaw and Paris. Probably not in Berlin – or is it? “
In addition to the domestic political signaling effect, which Putin is certainly taking into account, Moscow’s confidence in the promises of the West and the Belarusian opposition regarding Macron’s proposal for a democratic, non-aligned Belarus is likely to be limited. Putin is likely to see this more as an intermediate step for a possible EU and NATO accession. Too much porcelain was smashed with Kosovo, Ukraine and Libya. Especially if Biden should be elected, the constellation could change again. Even if this were to be fixed in a contract, it would probably not be sustainable either. Dr Kortunow has also written a programmatic article on RIAC in which he warns against signing treaties with the West on a non-aligned Ukraine and Belarus as bridging states, as treaties could be broken quickly by the West again and again. He doesn’t believe in Pacta sunt servanda. He certainly does not rely on international law, but rather on securing his own spheres of influence by means of hard facts. In addition, Putin would like to integrate Eastern Ukraine and Belarus as part of his Greater Eurasia and the EAEU and should not be particularly inclined to the idea of a bridging state solution. So perhaps a New Eastern Policy, as well as a European Security Architecture, will remain a phantom.
European Security Architecture is also such a blurring term. Sounds good. The question is, however, whether this could not also initiate the separation of Europe from NATO or its division, similar to the Stalin note in the 1950s against Germany, more a weakening of the West and connection to Eurasia and ala Carl Schmitt a “prohibition of intervention for forces alien to space ”, ergo the USA wants to effect. A European or Eurasian Monroe Doctrine: Europe for the Europeans, Eurasia for the Eurasians. What does or did Putin want?
Putin gave his speech to the German Bundestag in 2001 and declared: “Nobody doubts the great value Europe holds for the United States. However, I believe that Europe will only consolidate its reputation as a powerful and independent center of world politics in the long term if it combines its own capabilities with Russia’s human, territorial and natural resources, and with Russia’s economic, cultural and defense potential. “
(Emmanuel Todd: World Power USA – An Obituary / Piper-Verlag, Munich-Zurich 2002, p.209).
Putin speaks quite openly about pooling European defense potentials with the Russian ones, which means: destruction of NATO, creating a Eurasian military alliance, probably against the USA. Whether with or without China remains open. This is how he saw the new European Security Architecture at that time and the question is whether that has changed for him. In any case, many Putin fans ignore or withhold the last, military part of the Putin speech at that time and French Eurasia supporters and anti-Americans like Emmanuel Todd saw a new Eurasian One World coming because the USA is already in debt, in decline and was only capable of micro militarism anymore.
Gysi`s answers in the Global Review Interview how he concretely imagines this European Security Architecture are evasive or meaningless. And to build it somehow with Russia and somehow with the OSCE as an umbrella is also questionable. If you want to build an “European house” or a larger one, you want to know more specific information than somehow a house with any somehow roof. Gysi especially thinks that the European security architecture means that you don’t want to create a Eurasian bloc against the USA. He does not explain how this should work without NATO, especially without the radical disarmament of Russia’s military potential. Russia expert, Valdai Club member and Gazprom advisor Prof. Rahr only has the vague idea of building such a European Security Architecture on interests – a liberal-democratic West that is restrained in terms of value orientation in Russia and a greater economic area from Lisbon to Vladivostok or even Eurasian economic area from Lisbon until Shanghai. There is no longer any talk of an economic area or security architecture from Vancouver to Vladivostok. But Henry Kissinger also formulated a polemical criticism of collective security systems in his standard work “Diplomacy”, which also has substance and shows with many historical examples how fragile and unstable such collective security architectures are.