Will the Liberal World Order Die in the Suwalki Gap?
Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave, Kaliningrad — Captured by the Nazis after WWII and never ceded to Poland or Lithuania following the end of the Cold War — receives the bulk of its industrial supply goods through routes from Belarus across the 40-mile stretch of land known as the Suwałki Gap. This region lies along the border of Poland and Lithuania — both NATO members. Earlier this month, Lithuania decided that they would no longer allow Russia to use supply routes through this corridor to supply Kaliningrad.
Tensions have been running high.
Russian officials have balked at Lithuania’s move. And today, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO would be raising troop levels in NATO’s eastern flank to “well over 300,000” — a level higher than that of the force that Russia amassed on Ukraine’s border before the invasion of Ukraine in February. Moreover, if Russia violates the Polish or Lithuanian border, either country may likely trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, bringing all alliance members to war with Russia.
This would be a dramatic turn of events.
We may be on the precipice of a new major world conflict just under a year after the United States and NATO pulled out of their 20-year war in Afghanistan. In this case, a far deadlier and potentially world devastating one than Americans have known in over thirty years.
While I hope it doesn’t come to that, as I’ve said elsewhere, it would at least feel like an honest shift in policy. But, I also fear that the Biden administration’s failure to explain the stakes at hand to the American public will lend itself to campaigns of disinformation and misinformation directed at disrupting daily life here. Whatever happens, this is a tense moment in world history. If the worst happens, and we end up in a state of outright war with the Russian Federation, hang on to each other — this will be a wild ride.
Originally published at https://davidnwaeze.substack.com on June 28, 2022.