By Anthony Marcus, for Eurasia Business News, july 7, 2022

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said a few days ago that depending on the conditions under which the Russian military operation in Ukraine ends, NATO’s role in Europe could weaken or strengthen. According to him, the military conflict can end in three ways.

The influential international relations expert and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger presented his views on the situation in an interview with the British magazine The Spectator, published on 2nd July. He listed three options to the conflict, each of which, according to him, is still possible:

In the first place, if the Russian military holds its current positions, it “will receive 20 percent of Ukraine and most of Donbass, the main industrial and agricultural areas and a strip of land along the Black Sea,” Kissinger said. According to him, this will be a victory for Russia, “despite all the failures it suffered at the beginning“, and NATO’s role “will not be as decisive” as before.

Second possibility, Russia could be “expelled” from the territories it gained control of in 2014, including Crimea. Then, according to Henry Kissinger, “the question of war with Russia itself will arise.”

Third possibility, if Ukraine “can prevent Russia from any military conquest and the “front line is pushed back to the borders of February 24, it will mean a loss for the Russian Federation. Ukraine will be reconstituted in the form it was at the beginning of the war: the post-2014 battle line. It will be rearmed and closely linked to NATO, if not part of it. The remaining issues could be left to negotiation. It would be a situation that freezes for a while. But as we have seen in the reunification of Europe, over a period of time they can be achieved,” said the former diplomat and adviser to U.S. presidents.

Kissinger is convinced that the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky adheres to the third scenario. If this happens, then NATO will only become stronger with the accession of Finland and Sweden, and Ukraine “will have the largest conventional ground forces in Europe,” the former secretary of state added. The Ukrainian army will also be the only one in Europe to be experienced in high-intensity combat against an enemy, a trait that has been lacking in European armies for decades.

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« Russia will be shown that the fear of the arrival of Russian armies that has weighed on Europe since World War II can be dispelled by NATO’s conventional actions. For the first time in recent history, Russia will have to face the need to coexist with Europe as a whole, not with America as the main link in the defense of Europe with the help of nuclear forces,” added Henry Kissinger.

Last May, at the Davos forum, the former Secretary of State called for pressure on Ukraine to resume talks with Russia, as well as an end to attempts to “inflict a crushing defeat” on Russian troops, in order to preserve a “way out” for Russia. Kissinger had urged the US and the West not to seek an embarrassing defeat for Russia in Ukraine, warning that this could worsen Europe’s long-term stability. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had criticized this approach.

In June, Kissinger said he supported NATO unification around the situation in Ukraine. He also believed that at the end of hostilities, Russia would have to “find a place“, otherwise the country would become an outpost of China in Europe. The former diplomat refers here to the “places” given to former adversaries after the great conflicts, in order to restore a stable international order: the France of Louis XVIII at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, West Germany and Japan after 1945. Many see the 1990s as lost, as the West failed to integrate Russia into the Western system and left it in economic, social and security chaos. Moscow then restored its power in the 2000s and 2010s, thanks to the financial resources of its oil, gas and mining exports but also because of a power policy fully assumed by the Russian state.

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Henry Kissinger turned 99 in May. The influential expert on international relations, considered a defender of the realist current, was US Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford from 1973 to 1977. He was also national security adviser to these presidents from 1969 to 1975.

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In Richard Nixon’s team, Henry Kissinger developed the policy of détente with the Soviet Union. Kissinger negotiated the SALT I Treaty with Moscow, an agreement limiting the number of nuclear weapons of the two superpowers. Similarly, in June and October 1971, for the first time, Kissinger secretly came into contact with Communist China with the complicity of Pakistan’s President Yahya Khan who allowed Kissinger’s plane to fly to Beijing from Islamabad. Then Kissinger accompanied U.S. President Nixon on his official visit to China (the first by an American president) in February 1972. In 1973, Kissinger played an important role in ending the Yom Kippur War by negotiating the ceasefire between Israel and Egypt.

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