The only document which NATO members violate more frequently than the Charter of the United Nations, is the NATO Charter itself.
NATO is supposed to be a defensive alliance, but recent years have shown it to be an aggressive organisation which has famously targeted two states which neither threatened nor bordered any NATO member. Furthermore, they didn’t threaten anyone else, NATO member nor otherwise. The two countries in question are of course Yugoslavia in 1999 and Libya in 2011.
That being said, the fortitude of NATO’s viability as a defensive alliance could be put to the test in the near future. The United States is desirous to create a sate of Kurdistan, carved from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Iraq. In Syria especially, this will face a plethora of obstacles, even if Russia remains sympathetic to the cause. Russia has wisely said that any such decision would ultimately be up to Syria and not external actors.
But this will create a new problem that many have not foreseen or at least not articulated. A would-be Kurdistan would be an enemy of Turkey and would be located on Turkey’s borders. Turkey is a long-standing NATO member (1952), in spite of often being at odds with the Atlanticist dominated bloc.
If this would-be state of Kurdistan were to attack Turkey, it would constitute an attack on a NATO member, thus obligating the other NATO members, including the United States, to come to Turkey’s aid. In short, this could spell disaster, both regionally and globally.
But instead of focusing on its own problems, NATO retains a desire, along with their fellow travellers in the EU, to destabilise and ‘change regimes’ in Belarus.
But much as NATO hasn’t openly considered the dangers of forming Kurdistan next to a fellow NATO state, they haven’t considered the integrated nature of Belarus with a neighbouring superpower, namely, The Russian Federation.
Russia and Belarus form something which is called The Union State. Although little discussed, it has existed since 1997. Like the European Schengen Agreement, Russian and Belorussian passports are effectively interchangeable. Each person can live and work in the other country.
There is a customs union between the two countries, not dissimilar to the European Single Market. There are many coordinated military drills, not unlike NATO. And there have been long talks about implementing a common currency, but these talks tend to stall…a bit like talks over Eurozone expansion.
The Union State is not a defensive alliance on paper as such, but the close relationship between the two states, begs the question: would illegal foreign intervention in Belarus constitute an attack on Russia? In more ways than one, the answer would be yes.
Beyond the legal technicalities, most Belorussians feel implicit Russian. There is a shared history, a shared language, a shared culture, shared historical foes, shared contemporary adversaries, a shared religious experience and a shared communist experience. These bonds on top of the Union-State, are far stronger than those in an historically dyslexic Ukrainian state (as currently comprised). Furthermore, the 1997 Kharkov Agreement between Moscow and Kiev was never as strong let alone as functional as the Union-State formed between Moscow and Minsk. It goes without saying that the bonds between Minsk and Moscow are far stronger than those between Brussels and its increasingly disillusioned member states.
With western powers increasingly hell-bent on creating instability in Belarus. They ought to remember that unlike with Victoria Nuland’s cookies, this time they would be biting off something far more than they could chew.