Thursday, October 11, 2018

Eastern Europe Faces Risk of Local War Now, Larger One Later, Experts Say at Minsk Meeting

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 10 – Three participants at a conference organized by the Minsk Dialogue, the Research Center for the Belarusian Business School and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation this week say that Eastern Europe faces more local wars in the near term and far larger ones in the longer term.

            In a report on their session this week, Aleksandr Dautin of the portal, provides details on their conclusions which should be worrisome not only to the region but to the larger world as well (

            Nikolay Kapitnoneko of the Kyiv publication Ukraine Analytica said that the main short-term threat is an expansion of the conflict in the Donbass which has already transformed the region from a relatively stable one into “a space where military actions are being carried out.” But the longer term and more serious risk of a broader war lies elsewhere.

            It is “connected with the destruction of institutions, a deficit of trust, a growth in the influence of spheres of influence among states, and consequently a growth in military spending,” he says. As a result, “there is a real threat that regional security problems will exert an influence on global security.”

            Denis Melyantsov, coordinator of Minsk Dialogue’s Foreign Policy program, says that the countries of the region vary and therefore the challenges they face vary as well. “For Belarus and Moldova, these challenges are primarily economic … for Ukraine … the war in the Donbass.” But he agreed that longer term threats were the militarization of the region and the conflict between Russia and the West.

            And Vyacheslav Poznyak of St. Petersburg’s European Humanitarian University stressed the short-term political threat of political fragmentation, the result of significant declines in efforts by the countries of the region to cooperate and the the downgrading of efforts by the US and the EU to promote regional cooperation as threats.

            As far as the military sphere is concerned, he concluded, “in the short term, the chief threat is a local war; in the longer term – a major war,” something that should give pause to all concerned given its capacity to destroy much in the region and even the region as a self-standing entity. 

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