NATO, CIS Face Off at Border

Fight Over Migrants Spreads Through Eastern Europe


Ronan Smith

The Polish in America: The Polish flag flies in the Valley region of CT.

Ronan Smith, Staff Writer

     For the first time in over 75 years, Poland, along with neighbors Ukraine, Lithuania, and Latvia, is the largest flashpoint for major world conflict. While looking at the migrant crisis through a direct approach will make the previous statement seem incorrect, it becomes clear in context.

     Belarus is a dictatorial state in Eastern Europe, dominated by Alexandr Lukashenko. Belarus’ greatest ally is the nation to the east: Russia. Poland, however, was in the Warsaw Pact, a now defunct Soviet alliance, until 1989, but is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

     These two power bases, Moscow for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Washington for NATO, have been in conflict for well over 70 years. Ever since the end of the Second World War, the two sides have been skeptical of, or even downright despised each other.

     Belarus believes the migrants who are now assaulting Poland’s border should be let in, while Poland and its neighboring allies consider  the migrants were allowed in by Lukashenko as an attempt to destabilize the west. 

     According to the BBC, Lukashenko says it is “absolutely possible” the migrants had help.

     It’s also important to note that these migrants aren’t from Belarus. The majority are from countries like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. 

     History teacher Mr. Frank Tupka touched on the subject, noting his family is from the now opposing states of Belarus and Lithuania.

     Tupka says, “I believe what we are really seeing is increased tension due to old border disputes and a desire by western European nations to be more welcoming to migrants seeking asylum from the Middle East. All sides know that this is a very difficult situation and seem to be seeking ways to pass the blame on to others.” 

     To the north, Belarus and Poland fight over migrants and borders, while the nation of Ukraine prepares to defend its existence in the south. 

     About 100,000 Russian troops have recently moved to the border with Ukraine, with an estimated 175,000 total in coming weeks. There was a coup against Zelensky set to occur December 1, but it was stopped before it could happen.

     President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky says to the BBC, “It is a signal… that there could be escalation… There is a threat today that there will be war tomorrow. We are entirely prepared for an escalation.”

     Since 2014, Ukraine has been the center of conflict between the East and West, but an all out attack could lead to a major European war and become Russia’s largest conflict since the Russo-Georgian War in 2008.

     Conflict has always been a reality in Europe, but people haven’t seen the possibility of major international wars on the continent since the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. Whether or not it occurs, the world must be ready for whatever comes out of the region.