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Brzezinski: Russia's invasion of the Baltics would mean total war with the West

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to US President Jimmy Carter, said to Latvian newspaper Latvijas Avize in Brussels that he wouldn't rule out a possibility that Russia attacks the Baltic states, but Russian authorities must realize that this would mean a total war with the West.

"It is very important to ensure the permanent presence of NATO forces in the Baltic states, because it would demonstrate clearly to Russia that attack against a Baltic state would mean a direct confrontation with NATO, including the United States," Brzezinski said at the Marshall Fund forum in Brussels, adding that in his opinion, the Baltic states are in a vulnerable situation now.

“In my opinion, everyone would gain from a strong deterrence, helping to avoid negative events. NATO does not need to position a huge army in the Baltic states, but a number of troops that would convince everyone, but particularly Russia, that any intervention or attempt to occupy these countries would be regarded as war against the West,” Brzezinski said to Latvijas Avīze

According to Brzezinski, Russia's next target after the Baltic states could be Poland. He pointed out that while President Vladimir Putin gave a public speech at the first anniversary celebration of Crimea annexation on March 18 in Moscow, some people in the audience started shouting: “It's time to give us Poland and Finland back!”

“It is pretty shocking that someone could shout something like this at a public demonstration and in the presence of the Russian President. I'm not claiming that it was initiated directly by Putin, but without a doubt he created a setting for this kind of hostility. 'The more you eat, the more you want', as they say. Obviously, the Poles have a reason to be concerned,” Brzezinski, who was born in Poland before the Second World War, said.

But Brzezinski added that although Poland is not a military superpower, the Poles have a very strong sense of patriotism and are ready to fight against potential aggressor even without outside help.

“I do believe that Poland must be ready to fight alone. There is a possibility that in case of an attack against a NATO member state, another member could block the implementation of Article 5, by using a veto. Quite possibly, Greece is likely to behave this way in the current circumstances, leaving, for example, Poland fighting alone. But Poland could sustain a military campaign for a time being and I do not doubt that the United States would ultimately find a unilateral way to come to the rescue. So I still think that the Baltic states are in a more insecure position,” Brzezinski said.

Zbigniew Brzezinski was the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 – 1981, as well as co-chairman of the National Security Advisory Task Force under President Bush in 1988. He is now a senior research professor of international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C., and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council.

Editor: S. Tambur

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