by Andreas Umland
"A main reason for the recent escalation of tensions in Eastern Europe is the absence of an effective security structure encompassing such militarily weak countries as Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. While Ukrainian public opinion has recently made a U-turn from a rejection to an embrace of NATO, the Alliance will not be ready to extend its commitments farther east anytime soon. Although future enlargement of the Alliance is possible, Ukraine’s confrontation with Russia as well as Moscow’s anti-Western stance would have to decrease significantly for that to happen. Recently, the opposite tendency was on display: The more aggression the Kremlin has shown, the less likely it is that the North Atlantic Council will open its doors to new members in conflict with Moscow.
Against this background, the best bet for Ukraine (and Georgia and Moldova) might be to work toward the revival of an old Polish plan called “Intermarium”—an alliance of the countries located between the Baltic and Black Seas. After World War I, Poland and other newly independent states found themselves in a fragile situation between the Russian/Soviet empire and Germany. This led to the idea of a coalition of the lands of what is in Germany called Zwischeneuropa (in-between Europe). Never implemented in the twentieth century, an Intermarium today could help embed countries like Ukraine in an international security structure. Such an idea is not only popular in Ukraine but also in Poland, where President Andrzej Duda recently brought it up."