A recent feature in Russia’s Izvestia reflected on the recent meeting of the presidents of Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Warsaw in which the host nation was promoting its role in the consolidation of a regional power bloc, one aimed against Russia (and secondarily its Union State partner Belarus).
Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are members of NATO and the European Union. Ukraine is not a member of either. Neither does it border the Baltic Sea as the others do. Inviting Ukrainian President Volodyrmyr Zelensky to the summit was a deliberate political, and geopolitical, choice. His comments to the gathering established that:
“I want to thank you for your attention to Ukraine. International partners constantly support Ukraine, our territorial integrity and our sovereignty. I am grateful to you all. Today it is very important. When part of Ukraine is annexed – our Crimean peninsula and when we have a war in the east. This is the war in Europe. It is very important that we are together.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda vowed on behalf of the entire thirty-nation military bloc that NATO’s summit in June would reach a decision on Ukraine’s accession to the alliance.
The Izvestia article spoke of Polish plans to create a supranational organization under its primary leadership which would include Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. Very much in fact what was proposed a century ago by Polish leader Józef Piłsudski under the name of the Intermariam project. If not yet an iron curtain, it was envisioned as a barrier bristling with bayonets, barracks and battalions facing to the east.The consortium would be aimed against Russia from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea.
On May 10 Poland’s President Duda was in Romania to co-host a virtual conference of the Bucharest Nine (9) group with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, The members of the comparatively new bloc are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia; all former members of the Soviet bloc and of the defunct Warsaw Pact.
Greetings were sent to the meeting by President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
March 3 of this year was the centenary of the conclusion of the Defensive Alliance Convention between the Kingdom of Romania and the Republic of Poland.
The Polish and Romanian presidents attended the Justice Sword 21 military exercises in the southeast of Romania, about which President Iohannis was quoted in a press release on the event saying:
“When we’re speaking of combat missions, I must be very clear here, we are preparing for defense combat missions. It is for us, on the Eastern Flank of NATO, extremely important to have well trained forces, well trained for defense. We are preparing for defense on the Eastern Flank.”
In World War I and World II the term would have been, particularly for Germany, Eastern Front. And such it is again. NATO’s Eastern Front in its ever-intensifying conflict with Russia.
The Polish president said of the war games, which included Polish and Romania armed forces, that they “confirmed their rising compatibility with Nato and US Army standards.” The latter is noteworthy. The armies of former Warsaw Pact member states are not expected to adhere to a homogenized NATO standard of interoperability that is some common denominator, some mean average of those of the U.S., Portugal, Luxembourg and other NATO states, but to U.S. Army standards.
Duda went on to state: “As we can see…we are more and more compatible with other (Nato…) forces, especially the armed forces of the United States. I am very happy to see us practice such interoperational skills.”
The military exercises were described by the Romanian press as conducted within the framework of the Adapted Presence on the Allied Eastern Flank, within NATO Multinational Brigade of Craiova auspices.
In a document published by the Century for European Policy Analysis entitled One Flank, One Threat, One Presence: A Strategy for NATO’s Eastern Flank, written in part by former U.S. Army Europe commander General Ben Hodges, the Eastern Flank is described as extending from “the Arctic to the Caucasus and includ[ing] the Baltic Sea and Black Sea littorals.”
The Pentagon’s European eastern flank thirty years ago was the middle of Berlin. It is now Russia’s western border from the Arctic Circle to the Caucasus.
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.