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Russia's “imperial desires”: Does Putin really want a war with NATO?


Highlights: Russia's “imperial desires”: Does Putin really want a war with NATO?. However, Russia expert Mark Galeotti comes to a different conclusion. He believes it is “very unlikely” that Putin plans to attack a NATO state in the long term. “I find it very difficult to imagine why Putin would risk a direct confrontation with NATO,” he says.“In five years we have to be ready for war,’ appealed Carsten Breuer, Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, in Welt am Sonntag.

As of: February 21, 2024, 4:57 a.m

By: Stephanie Munk




A war between Russia and NATO – completely absurd or a realistic scenario?

Experts are divided, but the warnings are increasing.

Moscow - Since this report began circulating, there has been a red alert in Europe: Donald Trump threatened at an election campaign show that, as US President, he would not support NATO countries in the event of an attack by Putin.

He will even encourage Vladimir Putin to do “whatever the hell he wants.”

How serious Trump is about this is controversial.

Some military experts are nevertheless reacting with alarm: “In five years we have to be ready for war,” appealed Carsten Breuer, Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, in

Welt am Sonntag.

 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Putin was planning a long war and that NATO had to prepare for a “decade-long confrontation with Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin in front of a map in August 2023.

© IMAGO/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin Pool

Does Putin really want a war between Russia and NATO?

But does Putin really want a war with NATO?

Or is the danger to himself and his country far too high?

Frank Sauer, a political scientist at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, gave an assessment of this question in the political podcast der



“We can no longer simply categorically exclude things that are uncomfortable and unimaginable for us,” emphasized Sauer.

An attack by Putin on a NATO country is at least conceivable.

Christoph Heusgen, head of the Munich Security Conference, recently drew the same conclusion in the

Rheinische Post.

When asked whether he believed Putin could attack the NATO state, his answer was: “Of course”:

If Russia does not lose the war in Ukraine, “we must expect that it will also reach out to the Republic of Moldova or the Baltic states,” he warned.

Security expert: First time window for Putin attack on NATO soon

Security expert Sauer sees two windows of opportunity for Putin to attack NATO territory.

He considers the first scenario to be extremely unlikely, but it would be frighteningly close: the time after the US election in November 2024 could be tempting for Putin to say to himself “now I'll try something,” said Sauer.

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In the USA, the period after the presidential election will definitely be tumultuous, the political scientist explained - not just if Trump wins, but also if Biden wins, because then Trump will contest the election results.

Eroded NATO could ignite imperial desires in Putin

From the Kremlin's perspective, the global situation between November 2024 and January 2025 could look like this, said Sauer: The USA would be too busy with itself to worry about another conflict in Europe.

And the Europeans would not be ready to defend themselves against Russia for a long time.

This could be a tempting melange for Putin's great power ideas, said Sauer.

However, the expert does not believe that it will actually come to that.

In any case, the USA would still be a NATO alliance partner immediately after the elections and an attack would be highly risky for Putin.

But things could look different in five years, according to the political scientist.

The worst-case scenario would then look like this: Trump, as US President, would have “eroded NATO to such an extent that we no longer have any unity in Europe and no longer have any reasonable support at all.” An almost 80-year-old Putin, who According to the expert, the expert may have “increased his megalomania and imperial desires even further” and then come up with stupid ideas.

“Putin is risk-averse”: Russia expert believes attack on NATO is unlikely

However, Russia expert Mark Galeotti comes to a different conclusion in an interview with


He believes it is “very unlikely” that Putin plans to attack a NATO state in the long term.

“I find it very difficult to imagine why Putin would risk a direct confrontation with NATO,” said the British expert on Russian military policy.

The risk of a conflict with NATO is far too high for the Russian president - because Putin is "actually deeply risk-averse," said the Briton.

In the case of Ukraine, Putin simply made a “colossal miscalculation” by assessing it as “not particularly risky”: “He actually assumed that it would be quick and easy.”

Expert: Putin does not want to provoke a conflict with NATO

However, when it comes to NATO, Putin is surprisingly cautious.

For example, Putin always made sure that Russian Air Force pilots did not fly missions over western Ukraine.

Galeotti believes this did not happen by chance, but “in order not to inadvertently invade the NATO dream.”

For this reason, Russia also refrained from attacking supply routes for Ukraine in Europe.

The German security expert Sauer also reassures in an interview with Die


: One should not interpret the current warnings that Putin could be ready for war with NATO in five to eight years to mean that Putin will then actually attack.

The current discussion is about whether Russia would be able to rebuild its armed forces during this period.

And that is “a serious potential threat” that NATO must prepare for.

In any case, the EU states are a long way from a common European defense.

At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the threat from Russia and the possible imminent loss of the USA as an alliance partner were omnipresent - also in view of the death of the Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

And Trump?

He's already making a name for himself with his next statement - this time it's an absurd comparison with the death of Navalny.


Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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