Prof. Podraza: The Russian attack on the NATO country will be a “red line” for the USA
The aim of U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Poland is to show the world that any Russian attack on one of the NATO countries will cross the "red line" - then the Alliance will have to respond to the Kremlin with all its might – said the political scientist, a specialist in the field of transatlantic relations, Prof. Andrzej Podraza from the Institute of Political Science and Public Administration of the Catholic University of Lublin. In the case of Russian use of chemical weapons on the territory of Ukraine it will be necessary to completely suspend the supply of Russian petroleum, natural gas and coal to the EU – adds the KUL expert.
U.S. President Joe Biden began a two-day visit to Poland on Friday, March 25th, right after participation in the extraordinary summits of NATO, the European Council and the G7 (the seven most developed countries in the world) for Russian aggression against Ukraine which lasts more than a month. The U.S. leader announced there i.a. further strengthening NATO's collective defence, especially on the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The visit to Warsaw of the U.S. President Joe Biden is a clear signal that Poland – as a large country neighbouring war-torn Ukraine – is seen as one of the most active countries not only helping refugees, but also ensuring – in cooperation with the Americans – security in the east border of NATO and the European Union – said Prof. Andrzej Podraza.
In his opinion, further sanctions that the USA decided to impose on the Kremlin and Russian oligarchs, do not lead to a possible clash between the West and Russia, but are intended to be a clear signal that the United States is continuing its policy of weakening Russia in military aggression against Ukraine. – This underlines the fact that the United States is fulfilling its allied obligations and that it will defend – as the leaders of the U.S. have provided – every inch of territory in the North Atlantic Alliance. This is also the main message of Joe Biden's presence in Warsaw – added Prof. Podraza.
– Of course, there may also be an increase in the presence of American soldiers or NATO troops in the countries of our part of the North American Alliance, including Poland. There may be a change in the nature of this presence – that is, so far, we have been dealing with a so-called rotational presence, and a decision on the permanent presence of troops is now taken into account. This would be a significant change from the point of view of the importance of the U.S. Armed Forces’ presence, but there would be no significant change in the current American policy, which has been supporting Poland and the Baltic states since they joined NATO – he added.
At the same time, the KUL expert ruled out direct action taken by NATO or by the USA on the Ukrainian territory – so far this has been pointed out not only by President Joe Biden, but also by other members of the U.S. administration, such as the U.S. President's Advisor on U.S. National Security Jake Sullivan, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
This "red line" for NATO will be the violation of the borders of the Allies. NATO will not go into a further conflict with Russia, because it would risk a direct war. And this is not a conflict of a conventional nature, because perhaps – if only conventional weapons were at stake – NATO countries would risk presence in the Ukraine. However, let us remember that Russia is a nuclear power and we have already heard threats from President Vladimir Putin regarding the usage of nuclear weapons – emphasized Prof. Podraza.
– This is the factor that makes NATO very restrained and it will not agree to the Polish proposal regarding the implementation of the NATO peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. And even if willing parties came togather – including Poland, perhaps a few other countries – this mission would be impossible to implement without the American support – he added.
Recently, the West, including the US President, has raised the issue of possible use by Russia biological or chemical weapons – in their opinion Vladimir Putin, who accused Ukraine of considering its use, is thinking about using this kind of weapons during the current war.
– We must be prepared for this - because there will be an important question of what to do next after use of chemical weapons, what to do about it. The best solution would be to completely break off the economic relationship with Russia, to completely stop the import of Russian petroleum, natural gas and coal to the EU Member States – said Prof. Podraza, stipulating, however, that at the moment, Germany and Hungary do not agree to this.
– Germany could stop the supply of Russian hydrocarbons to their country, but this decision would be contrary to the already long-term dependence and further dependence on energy resources from Russia – added the KUL expert.
In his opinion, greater military involvement in Ukraine could be decided only by the United States, which is the largest military power in the world. Prof. Podraza however, recalled that when it came to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, which for the administration of the Barack Obama’s presidency was supposed to be a "red line", but finally it did not cause any intervention from the USA. - Unfortunately, this may happen again in Ukraine. We can only stand aside, look at this tragedy, which in itself is a terrible thing. However, it seems to me, that this decision will still remain with the United States, which finance, it is worth recalling, as much as 1/3 of all defence spending in the world – said KUL expert.
– It seems to me that it will be a far-reaching abstention, because if Vladimir Putin could use chemical weapons, then why not nuclear weapons? And this is what unfortunately ties hands to the Americans. Hopefully it will not end like in Srebrenica, were Dutch troops under the banner of the UN next to it were not able to do anything while the Serbs carried out the massacre of the Bosnian people – summed up Prof. Andrzej Podraza.
Prof. Andrzej Podraza is a political scientist who heads the work of the Department of International Relations and Security at the Catholic University of Lublin. Beyond transatlantic relations, his main areas of interest are i.a. international security, including the concept and threats of energy security and security in cyberspace, taking into account protection of critical infrastructure. In the past, he was a researcher at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London (Chatham House) and European Commission’s expert. Prof. Podraza belongs to many national and international scientific associations. He has had lectures and scientific visits i.a. in the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and Sweden. He is an author of many publications in the field of European integration and international security.