Domestic, foreign policies are intertwined

Published 7:15 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

By Matt Becker
Guest Columnist

On January 18, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, stated that the Western world must prepare for a potential larger war with Russia, which would involve a “whole of society” approach and that “we have to realize it’s not a given that we are in peace. And that’s why [NATO forces] are preparing for a conflict with Russia.” I believe potential conflict would not start out as “hot,” but rather “hybrid” in nature. Such hybrid warfare has been occurring with the use of Muslims by Russia against the West. When Russia first utilized migrants against Poland in 2015, many in America and EU chastised Poland for defending her borders. Russia and Belarus are now sending Muslims to Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and Poland. The U.S. now views this as Russian hybrid warfare. 

On January 16, Russia utilized electronic warfare that jammed GPS in northeast Poland, another act of hybrid warfare. With the start of NATO exercise “Steadfast Defender 2024,” we should be prepared for more of this probing in an attempt to test our reactions. Why jam GPS in Poland? The answer is a narrow strip of land: the Suwalki Gap. It is 65 miles end-to-end, which Russia would attempt to seize in order to create a land-bridge to Kaliningrad, then overtake the Baltic States. 

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Would we come to their aid or let them be swallowed by Moscow? If the latter, our respect and credibility would disappear – emboldening our adversaries. How do we prevent this from happening? In this conflict, our domestic and foreign policies are intertwined. 

Domestically, we must secure our southern border. I believe we are experiencing a similar wave of hybrid warfare, funded by Russia and China. The Baltic States are securing theirs via the “Baltic Defense Line;” our politicians must realize that having a secure border is integral for our national security. Abroad, it’s done by supporting Ukraine and Eastern flank NATO allies. This must include helping Kyiv develop a self-sufficient defense industrial base (DIB). By developing their DIB, Ukraine will be able to produce more weapons – and with the end of the war, serve as a net exporter of NATO interoperable ammunition and battle-tested know-how. If we halt our support, it will embolden Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. 

It is my view that the war in Ukraine is part of a much larger war – from Europe, Middle East, to Asia – to displace America as the “indispensable nation.” Folks in Congress must understand this is not a binary – we are facing a multi-faceted assault by anti-freedom forces. 

Dr. Matthew Becker earned his Ph.D. in Political Science and master’s in International Affairs. He has taught on the topic of politics and security issues at Ole Miss. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent the views of the university. He may be reached at: