US is interested in strong NATO
American security policy is based on a system of alliances. The most important of which was, is and will be NATO. Facing new challenges, Washington is interested in strengthening the alliance. Belarus will continue attempts to improve relations with the United States in the security sphere. However, she is unlikely to progress much: from the western military perspective, Belarus is an appendage to the Russian military machine.
The Trump’s victory in the presidential race in the United States has raised concerns in Central and Eastern Europe about his position regarding the US commitments to NATO allies.
After the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack, international security has been a priority for the US foreign policy. The American military and political elite came to a consensus that US security was impossible without preserving American leadership’s reliance on many allies around the world. Trump did not question this formula either, however pointed (in a very rude manner) to the disproportionately small contribution of Europeans in maintaining regional and global security. As part of NATO, European countries account for about 55% of the population and more than 40% of GDP, but only 20% of the total military expenditures. This imbalance was upsetting Washington for many years, both, the elite and ordinary people, who believed that American taxpayers paid for European security.
America is disappointed with the European slackness. The US needs strong allies capable of decisive coordinated action. Meanwhile, even in its present form, NATO is the main instrument for maintaining American military leadership on a global scale. It simply has no alternative.
Fears of NATO paralysis due to Trump’s actions are premature. Washington is likely to step up its efforts in ensuring a more significant contribution by European allies to a common safety. Simultaneously, the United States will develop a system of regional alliances and bilateral co-operation around the world with those countries, which would be willing to act as partners, not as a burden. In Eastern Europe, these would include Poland, Estonia and Romania. Belarus will continue attempts to improve relations with the United States in the security sphere. However, she is unlikely to progress much: from the western military perspective, Belarus is an appendage to the Russian military machine.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.