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World War III could break out in this country

On December 21, 25 years ago, the Soviet Union was dissolved. In addition to Russia, many small successor republics emerged - many of them now belong to NATO and the European Union. However, under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has regained some of its power and territory over the past decade and a half. Only NATO can stand up to Russia at the moment and prevent the country from expanding further and further towards Central Europe.

In a guest post for “Foreign Policy”, political scientist Paul D. Miller warns of a third world war. Miller was White House Security Advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Four years ago, he predicted the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which the West regards as violating international law. Now he is warning that the Baltic states are "next in line" and the matter will be the first and greatest challenge for the next US President, Donald Trump.

Corporal Andy Reddy RLC / MoD via Getty Images

Putin acts out of deep faith

First, Miller describes the assumption that Putin had a rational plan behind a larger strategy as nonsense. Experts in the West have long suspected that the Kremlin feels increasingly threatened by NATO. Rather, Putin would follow his ideology and act on it. However, the political scientist rejects these assumptions.

Putin is not only interested in national security, the former KGB officer believes in a historical destiny of his country. Putin and his closest confidantes are not just nationalists. The Kremlin seems to be driven by a mixture of nationalism, religion, messianism and purpose. With this approach, Russia is the protector of Orthodox Christianity and has a mission to spread the faith. For Putin's Russia, NATO is not a peace project, but a threat to the "true potential of Russia."

If Putin were to look at NATO rationally, he would not see the defense pact as a threat. But “from the perspective of Russian religious nationalism, the West is inherently a threat”. Putin's last two targets, Georgia and Ukraine, were both non-NATO members, but they were promised membership in 2008. Through the attacks by Russia, Putin was able to avoid joining the two countries, because "no country which is occupied in parts of Russia will ever join NATO," said Miller.

Target: Latvia

The conditions in international politics are currently playing into the hands of Russia: Europe has not least been destabilized by Brexit, NATO is encountering more and more headwinds and the next US president repeatedly emphasizes how benevolent he is to Putin.

According to Miller, there will be no direct attack. However, he predicts that Putin will now devote himself to the Baltic states. The Russian president will force a military crisis in the next two years, in Latvia or Estonia Russian-speaking citizens could denounce persecution, start uprisings and request international protection. With a surprisingly well-trained “Popular Front for the Liberation of the Russian Baltic States” and a few well-placed assassinations, the Baltic states are being driven to the brink of civil war, Miller said.

Through the political structures of the West, which Miller explains in detail, Germany and France will do something to counter the Russian aggression. Poland will consider invoking Article 5 of the NATO Agreement, collective defense. Miller says everyone would then look to the US to see what makes the Alliance leader tick. The US security advisor sums up: Then Donald Trump will consider whether Latvia is worth risking World War III.

US general also warns of attack by Russia

General Ben Hodges, commander in chief of the US land forces in Europe, found harsh words in an interview with "The Times" in October about the behavior of his own country: The US had repeatedly misjudged the situation. He was surprised every time by the Russian military operations in Eastern Ukraine, Crimea, Syria and the Caucasus, said Hodges. The US had meanwhile been distracted by the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The former NATO commander also considers it possible that Russia could attack a Baltic state that is a NATO member. Russia would probably - if it came to that - run this under the guise of a "humanitarian operation". Should there actually be an attack on a NATO member, the other member states would be obliged to intervene. A third world war could result, so Hodges.

Another evidence shows that Vladimir Putin has targeted the Baltic states. As “Business Insider” reported, Russia's head of state has so-called “Iskander” missiles set up in Kaliningrad (formerly Koenigsberg). These missiles can be armed with nuclear warheads. There have been missiles in the region before, but now they are to be stationed permanently. The "Iskander" missiles have a range of 700 kilometers and could even fly as far as Berlin.