by Shelt Garner
Any student of history will tell you that history is fickle. It does not move in a straight line. In fact, the relative peace the world has seen since the end of WW2 is something of an anomaly in the grand scheme of things. Time and again, the law of untended consequences has turned around and bitten people in the ass in some pretty astonishing ways.
So, here we are with Belarus and Russia.
There’s a reason why Putin has –as of yet — not swooped in and gobbled the country up. From his point of view, a political union is his best bet, if it ever came to that. His economy is, relative to countries like China and the United States extremely small. About the size of Portugal’s, I think.
And, yet, there are some pretty important reasons why Putin might say screw it and invade Belarus anyway. One is he probably doesn’t want a free country the size of Belarus on his border. Add to that the current protests there are something of a gimme and it would make a lot of sense for him to invade, or “be invited into” Belarus pretty soon — maybe even before the end of August.
But that would open up a huge can of worms. In the modern age, if he simply swooped into Belarus overnight, social media in the West would be awash with footage of it and that would likely cause a lot of neighboring countries in Europe to give any rebels that might exist the arms necessary to put up a pretty good fight, which would drain the already weak Russian economy.
If Russia’s economy began to falter because of Putin felt he had to throw more and more troops into Belarus to maintain control, then a whole series of unexpected and unintended things might cascade from it. From what I can tell, Putin is a pretty sly, pretty cautious guy, so for him to actually be aggressive enough invade Belarus, there would have to be some metrics that I don’t know about for him to risk it.
August isn’t over yet, so it could still happen. But I’d have to start hearing about major Russian “training exercises” on its border with Belarus before I would grow to concerned.