Can NATO Nudge Russia Westward?

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by ajtr, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Can NATO Nudge Russia Westward?


    The trilateral summit between French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made some gains in drawing Russia closer to NATO, with Russia agreeing to attend the NATO summit in Lisbon next month and leaving the door open to discussing cooperation on a European defense shield. CFR's Charles A. Kupchan says the effort has been difficult because many Russians, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are skeptical of the West's intentions and many new NATO members from the former Soviet bloc are uncomfortable about closer ties with Russia. A key issue was NATO's effort to forge a Europe-wide missile defense that would include Russia--a discussion that began during the Bush administration, says Kupchan, who adds that Russia is suspicious about whether NATO and the European Union are sincere in their bid to make "Russia a card-carrying member of the Euro-Atlantic community."
    What was the point of this unusual Franco-German-Russian summit?
    This kind of three-way summit is not so unusual. In the weeks before the Iraq War, French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Russian President Vladimir Putin met to stand up to the United States and try to head off the war. This summit had a very different backdrop, in that you now have--in all three capitals--leaders who are much more pro-American and Atlanticist. So this summit by no means took the form of a group to balance the United States or to do things behind the United States' back. What this meeting was really about is an effort to explore an alternative route for drawing Russia westward and anchoring it in the Euro-Atlantic community. A conversation on that subject has been taking place within NATO, and NATO is expected to say something about this topic at the upcoming summit in Lisbon on November 19 and 20. But that conversation has been difficult, in part because there are many NATO members from central Europe who aren't too comfortable on reaching out to Russia.
    You mean mostly the former members of the Soviet bloc?
    That's correct. So, this summit was an effort to discuss the issue in a smaller forum, to get the major European powers to brainstorm about new linkages between Europe and the Russian Federation. On the table was discussion of a European Union-Russia consultative council that might look a little bit like the existing NATO-Russia consultative council. But Russia doesn't like the NATO council because it feels like a second-class citizen; it feels as if it is one country meeting with twenty-eight NATO members. In its discussions with the EU, it hopes to be able to carve out a more elevated status.

    At the recent NATO foreign and defense ministers' meeting in Brussels, there was considerable discussion about a proposed European missile defense, which will be a main topic in Lisbon.
    The effort to bring Russia into the missile defense system began even before Obama took office. While the Bush administration was still running the show, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went to Moscow and spoke to the Russians about this issue but didn't make much progress. Obama has revamped the missile defense program, and as part of that overhaul the administration is now working with its NATO allies, both to get unanimous approval for this system from NATO and to get the Russians to participate. That goal has not yet been achieved. The discussion over missile defense is a proxy for a much broader discussion about whether NATO and the European Union are still hedges against Russia or whether these institutions are sincerely interested in opening their doors to Russia and making Russia a card-carrying member of the Euro-Atlantic community. Russia remains suspicious, and that's why it continues to keep its distance from missile defense and from NATO. It's safe to say this is an issue that provokes great domestic controversy in Moscow. Even Medvedev, who may be more forward-leaning on these issues, faces Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the military, and a bureaucracy that still harbors resentment and suspicion, particularly toward the NATO alliance.
    The Russian military has often talked about the European missile defense, particularly when it was proposed in the Bush administration, as a possible cover for a first strike against Russia. Right?
    Russian objections are primarily a function of paranoia and perception. That's to say, they're uncomfortable seeing missile interceptors and radar systems deployed in central Europe, not far from their borders. It's a sign of how much Russia has been cut out of European security. There is a degree of legitimacy in Russian objections, in as much as it is possible that the radar deployed for the missile defense system could be used to look into Russia, and that the installations used for the interceptors could be used for missiles that could be targeted against Russia. Those are some of the objections that the Russians have voiced. But their real objections are much more about symbolism than concern about the impact of the missile defense system on Russia's deterrent because, frankly, the size and scope of this system under consideration would have no effect whatsoever on the integrity of Russia's deterrent.
    What's caused this great wave of strikes in France? Is it simply Sarkozy's effort to raise the retirement and pension age a couple of years?
    The French have a long history of civil disobedience, so it's not all that unusual that workers and students are taking to the streets. This is one piece of a story taking place in many different parts of Europe, where the governments are imposing austerity programs of one sort or another to try to address deficits and get out of the financial crisis. The cutbacks in Britain are even more draconian than what's happening in France. There, the main issue has been the raising the retirement age, but this is part of a broader conversation that's taking place as Europe is dealing with the fact that its cradle-to-grave welfare state is insolvent and that major changes are needed to address the fact that the systems can't survive in their current form. The French public is fighting back, but it seems to me that it's really only a question of when, not if, these changes are made, because they are essential to the economic welfare of major continental economies, including France.

    What's going on domestically in Germany? Has Merkel survived her problems that arose a few months ago when she refused to bail out Greece?
    Merkel remains a reasonably popular leader, even though I would say the German government as a whole continues to face difficulties over domestic economic reform, and over the mission in Afghanistan. Probably the most important story vis-a-vis Germany right now is discomfort with Germany across Europe. In the wake of the financial crisis in Greece and Merkel's reluctance to approve a bailout, there's a growing sense across Europe that Germany is increasingly focusing its interests in national terms rather than in European terms. That is raising concerns about whether Germany will continue to play the role of Europe's engine, and how intact the Franco-German coupling is as the foundation for the European Union.
    In some ways, one could cast the debate in the following way: that Germany is becoming more of a "normal" nation. It is more normal in the sense that Germans are becoming more comfortable talking about the national interest and talking about patriotism. The problem is that Europe has thrived on Germany not being a normal nation. It's thrived on Germany identifying its own interests with the welfare of Europe. In that sense, the debate about where Germany is headed is part of a bigger debate about whether the EU is, perhaps, running out of political momentum as a process of re-nationalization takes place in Germany and across the EU.
    I just want to touch a bit on Medvedev. How strong is he as a leader, or is he really taking his guidance from Putin, who everyone thinks is just waiting to be reelected as president?
    I don't think anybody knows how to characterize the balance of power between Medvedev and Putin. There's no question that Putin remains a very influential figure. The last few months have seen maneuvers that suggest that Putin may well run for the presidency again, in which case Medvedev would certainly be demoted. With his firing of the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, recently Medvedev seemed to have strengthened his hand and over time, he has been able to bring into the Kremlin more of his own team, to some extent pushing out some of Putin's team. But it's safe to say the Russian government effectively has two heads of state, and that Medvedev and Putin--even if there are moments of rivalry--govern together.
    Washington is so preoccupied with domestic politics right now, no one is talking about this three-way summit. Isn't this unusual?
    It's not getting a lot of attention in the United States, mainly for the reason that you mentioned: Everything is focused on the midterm elections. But also, this Deauville summit was very much an initial conversation. It was a brainstorming session. The trick down the road will be to pocket any gains that were made in this summit and expand the conversation into a broader Russia-EU-NATO context, because as the NATO-Russia conversation moves ahead and the EU-Russia conversation moves ahead, it's very important for the EU and NATO to coordinate their policies vis-a-vis Russia.
    So this was the beginning of a conversation that will continue next month at Lisbon, and it very much remains to be seen whether the West Europeans will be able to forge a consensus on outreach to Russia. I think the answer is no, because of discomfort in Central Europe, and the degree to which the EU and NATO can coordinate their policies toward Russia. Historically, the EU and NATO have, to some extent, lived on their own planets. Moving forward, it's important for those two institutions to communicate with each other much more regularly.
    Will Russia be on the sidelines of the NATO summit?
    NATO extended its invitation to Russia to meet in Lisbon with the alliance, and Medvedev, at the end of the Deauville summit, accepted. Russia has traditionally been wary of these NATO summits, because the summit takes place with twenty-eight card-carrying members and then, as an afterthought, they throw the door open to the Russians to make them feel as if they have a seat at the table when they don't. It's that issue that NATO, the EU, and the Russians are trying to figure out.
    Weigh in on this issue by emailing CFR.org.
     
  2.  
  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,161
    Location:
    EST, USA
    This is what I think about this entire idea:
    • I doubt if Russia has any sincere interest in being part of NATO.
    • However, they might jolly well join it simply to internally weaken NATO and reclaim ethnic Russian dominated enclaves in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
    • Russia prefers to, and has tuned it's foreign policy to, deal with European countries that matter or it deems important on an individual basis, especially Germany, France, Italy, Iceland, Finland and Serbia.
    • Russia has absolutely no interest in accommodating NATO weapons standards and will not agree to any such adjustments or up-gradations.
    • Russia is more interested in a collective European security pact or agreement, with no involvement of any entity from the 'other-side-of-the-pond', aka. the USA, whatsoever.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Medvedev says NATO has no aggressive intentions toward Russia


    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that the opinion of many of his countrymen that NATO was hostile to Russia was "in many respects a mistake."
    "Relations between Russia and NATO have always been difficult," Medvedev said at a meeting with participants of the 46th Munich Security Conference in Moscow. "We have a certain historical background."
    He agreed with conference participants that in Russia "there is the sense that NATO is some kind of aggressive element."
    "This is in many respects a mistake," he went on.
    "What is also evident is that Russia is often perceived by parts of the Western world, by ordinary people, as a country where there can be no democracy, whose leadership always adheres to authoritarian principles," Medvedev said.
    The Russian leader cited Russian-Polish relations, which have improved of late after many years of tension, as an example of how historical differences can be overcome.
    The Munich conference, set up in 1962, is an international forum gathering politicians, diplomats, military, businessmen, scientists and public figures from over 40 countries. This is the first time that the conference has taken place in Russia.
    GORKI, October 20 (RIA Novosti)
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    48 page pdf.......

    SHOULD RUSSIA JOIN NATO?


     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Will Russia join Nato?

    This online supplement is produced and published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), which takes sole responsibility for the content.
    [​IMG]

    The idea of Russian membership in Nato has, until recently, belonged in the realm of fantasy. However, in March 2010, a group of German political and military leaders, including former defence minister Volker Ruhe and General Klaus Naumann, former chief of Nato’s military planning committee, called on Nato to invite Moscow to join the organisation.
    The thinking was simple: without Russia, there can be no adequate security system in Europe, and Nato’s capability will not be sufficient to maintain stability in Eurasia. Developments in the past two years have made it clear that the future of Nato lies in increasing its membership.
    Second, most US allies are not prepared to engage in combat all over the world to further America’s strategic interests.
    Third, the US has revised its priorities in favour of the regions (the Middle and Far East) where the European states have limited interests. “The most successful military-political alliance in history”, as Nato calls itself, needs new goals.
    A global Nato has not materialised, and many commentators believe the Alliance may have to return to its initial mission of safeguarding European security.
    American political analyst Charles Kupchan, commenting on the article by Volker Ruhe and his friends, notes that a European security structure that excludes Russia makes little sense strategically. Without Russia, it can only make sense if the former line of confrontation is restored.
    This is, essentially, also the message of an article by military strategy expert Andrew Bacevich in the latest issue of Foreign Policy. In his opinion, the US should no longer count on its European allies, who have lost their appetite for doing battle. However, Washington will probably preserve its minimum presence in Europe in order to keep the alliance together as a safeguard for European stability. But that would still not provide a solution for the future of Nato and European stability, and that means that the Russian question cannot be sidestepped.
    The idea of admitting Russia is clever. On the one hand, Nato will not depart from the enlargement doctrine and, most importantly, will preserve the function of the main, if not the only, security structure in Europe. On the other, it provides an answer to Moscow’s complaints that it does not take its interests into account and harms it by its actions.
    Certainly, the opinion of Volker Ruhe is not universally shared: the majority in America and in many European countries cannot imagine a formal alliance with Russia. But let us imagine that the pro-Russian view prevails and Moscow is offered the opportunity to seriously discuss joining Nato.
    The first knee-jerk reaction would be that this is simply impossible. Russia sees itself as an independent power centre in a multi-polar world and therefore should not bind itself by commitments to another power centre. While all the Nato member countries are formally equal, the US is the undisputed hegemonic force.
    Washington has no tradition of equal alliances. One can imagine America relinquishing its dominance only if it is dramatically enfeebled. But in that case one could imagine a new version of “Fortress America”, withdrawing from Europe, rather than the US becoming a rank-and-file ally. The same is true of Russia.
    All this is valid today, but one should never say never. China is the variable that can change the whole equation. Neither the USA nor Russia knows how to deal with that country which, after the end of the Cold War, has managed to benefit from global changes. If China’s economic and political clout continue to grow at the present rate, both Moscow and Washington will have reason to consider various options of balancing its influence.
    That would throw a totally different complexion on the whole problem of Russia’s Nato membership. But the situation will not cease to be controversial. One would have thought that an alliance between Moscow and Washington would make both more confident in the face of Chinese might. But Russia and America’s fears are different.
    For America, China is a potential global problem and a challenge to its world leadership; for Russia, it is the danger of being dependent on its economically much more powerful neighbour. Accordingly, Washington would gain more if it induces China to pursue a policy of regional expansion, in other words in the direction of Russia. Moscow, on the contrary, would like to see China seeking global dominance rather than consolidating its grip on adjacent territories.
    To depart from political correctness, in the event of the further rise of the PRC, Russia would be interested in setting Beijing and Washington against each other, while the US would seek to do the same with Beijing and Moscow.
    Europe would then find itself in an odd situation: embroiled in the settling of accounts between big geopolitical players thereby risking its own tranquillity.
    A stable security system arises when there is a balance of forces and interests between key players. Nothing remotely like it has been observed in Europe or the world since the end of the Cold War. Each of the potential members of the new system will be afraid of being short-changed and misjudging the likely development of events. For this reason, serious discussion of Russia’s Nato membership is yet to take place.
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Why a Democratic Russia Should Join NATO


    For the last two decades, Soviet and the Russian leaders worked with Western leaders to integrate the former Soviet empire, and above all else Russia, into the western community of states. Disputes over NATO expansion, the wars in Chechnya, or the bombing campaign against Serbia periodically slowed the process of integration. Nonetheless, leaders in both Russia and the West never let the long-term economic, security, and even ideological benefits of integration be jeopardized by these intermittent disagreements.

    Today, however, disagreements between Moscow and the West are not simply slowing the process of integration, but threatening to stop it entirely. Western leaders have criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for his antidemocratic tendencies at home and a more aggressive, anti-western trend in Russian foreign policy. Russian leaders blame the West for unfair play regarding trade and investment, and ridicule the United States in particular for alleged hypocritical manipulation of rhetoric about liberty and democracy to camouflage American grabs for power and influence in Russia's spheres of influence. As a result, the relationship between Russia and the West are now more tense and complicated than they have ever been in the last twenty years.

    In Moscow, Washington, London, and Berlin, aspiring to the goal of integration is considered naïve and passé. In fact, there are powerful constituencies in the West and East who think it beneficial, legitimate, and natural to support Russia's isolation from the West.

    In Russia, they are represented by the corrupt bureaucracy and advocates of authoritarianism who believe that greater contact with the West restricts their power and diminishes their wealth. In the West, and especially in the United States, they are represented by policymakers and analysts who believe that Russians do not value democracy, Russian leaders are imperialists, and Russia therefore can never be considered part of the West.

    We (still) disagree. The West is not inherently threatening to Russia's national interests nor are Russians genetically disposed towards autocracy nor historically destined to remain imperial. Rather, Russia's integration into the West is not only possible but desirable. Integration – under the right conditions – still serves the long-term interests of Russia and the West. In addition to discussing important issues such as Iran, nuclear weapons, and human rights, the G8 leaders meeting in St. Petersburg this week should reaffirm their commitment to Russia's integration into the West and then plot out a concrete roadmap for making progress towards this goal.

    Above all else, Russia's full integration into the West would enhance the security of both Russia and the West. In the last decade, the same enemy has attacked Moscow, Washington, London, and Madrid. A strong Russia allied truly and fully with the West would make the defeat of this common enemy more likely as Russia potentially can bring to this battle military assets, strategic locations, and deep knowledge about this enemy. Russia also needs the West as a partner in combating terrorism along Russia's borders and even within Russia itself.

    As an unqualified member of the West, Russia's economy would become more integrated into the world capitalist system, more transparent, and therefore more capable of sustaining growth that was more equitable and less dependent on the prices of oil and gas. Russia is not an agrarian society making a rapid transition to an industrial economy, but a post-industrial economy with the critical asset – a highly educated, urban workforce – to compete and prosper as a core member of the most advanced economies in the world. If Russia fails to integrate into the world economy, but instead drifts back towards state-led autarky, Russia will gradually drift to the periphery of the world economy, relegated to supplying raw materials to the advanced post-industrial economies. The West also would benefit from a Russian economy fully integrated into Western markets since such an expansion of the “core” of advanced industrialized economies provides win-win opportunities for all traders and investors.

    To jumpstart the process of integration, G8 leaders meeting in St. Petersburg should state unambiguously that they want to see Russia become a full-fledged member of all Western multilateral institutions. They should start by declaring a mutual interest in Russia joining NATO, and then spell out concrete criteria and milestones for membership, even if the roadmap stretches twenty years long. Everyone understands that Russia could only join NATO after undertaking several democratic reforms, including guarantees for the rights of the opposition, freedom of media and political competition. Russia's leaders will never make these changes in response to Western heckling, but only when they see the tangible benefits from integration. Such benefits will only become apparent if the West commits genuinely to Russia's full membership into Western institutions.

    European leaders must also outline a timeline and criteria for Russia's membership into the European Union, even if the process will take chunks of centuries. Current interim arrangements between the EU and Russia must be reformatted as stepping stones to full integration, not half measures to keep Russia out of Europe.

    To accelerate integration, it is also necessary to fortify those multilateral institutions in which Russia is already a member -- the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, Russia-NATO Council, and even the Shanghai Cooperation Organization if Asian powers such as Japan, South Korea, and the United States are allowed to become full members. Russian membership into the World Trade Organization and the retirement of Jackson-Vanik restrictions on Russian trade with the United States are long overdue.

    Russia and the West should also consider inventing new security institutions to face our common enemies. For instance, Russia, the United States, and Europe might work together to partner with Middle Eastern countries in forming a regional security organization, not unlike the CSCE that the United States and the Soviet Union anchored when first formed in 1974. Russia, the United States, and Europe could also take the lead in establishing a new international regime for supplying and disposing of nuclear fuel for light water reactors around the world.

    Some will dismiss our vision as idealistic. But the alternative is far worse—a Russia isolated yet again from the West and a West fighting the war on terror and trying to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction without a critical ally. The Saint-Petersburg summit gives the leaders of great powers the perfect opportunity to rededicate our countries to a more lasting, fundamental, a mutually beneficial relationship between Russia and the West, no matter how long it takes.

    Leonid Gozman is Deputy Chairman of the Union of Right Forces, a political party in Russia, and a Director of United Energy Systems. Michael McFaul is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Hoover fellow and professor of political science at Stanford University.
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Russia could join NATO missile shield


    Russia has said it wants to take part in the proposed NATO-backed anti-missile shield in Europe.

    The announcement was made by President Dmitry Medvedev at the Franco-German-Russian summit being held in Deauville, France.

    Medvedev has also accepted an invitation to attend the next NATO summit.

    “Here I would like announce that I will go to the Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon, that will take place on 20th November. I think this will make it possible to find the compromises that we have to find, and in general to develop the dialogue between the Russian Federation and NATO,” he said.

    The summit is being seen as an attempt by France and Germany to pull Russia westwards and involve it more in European affairs.

    Also being discussed along with the shield plan and the NATO summit is the situation in Transnistria, the breakaway region from Moldova, where Russia stations peacekeeping troops, and whose uncertain status is a worry for both Europe and Russia.

    The missile shield was a project launched by America under the Bush administration, but seen as a threat by Moscow.

    Washington maintained it was to protect against rogue nuclear states in the middle east and beyond, but Russia believed bases in Poland and the Czech Republic near its borders could have offered NATO frontline electronic eavesdropping facilities.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    It's Time to Invite Russia to Join NATO


    Trans-Atlantic security needs have changed fundamentally in the last two decades. The East-West confrontation has ended, and Moscow now shares many interests with NATO. It is time for the alliance to open its doors to Russia, say German defense experts Volker Rühe, Klaus Naumann, Frank Elbe and Ulrich Weisser.

    Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has noted with concern that many of today's politicians have too little knowledge of history. He could well have added that those same politicians are also frighteningly deficient when it comes to understanding strategic and security issues. In Germany, there is no significant discussion about the future of NATO, its self-image, its strategy for the future and the question of how Russia can be included. Berlin is not showing any opinion leadership, nor is it spurring international debate. This has been a disappointment for other members of the alliance, who are asking themselves whether the Germans are afraid of the debate or are simply no longer capable of contributing to it in a forward-looking way.

    Europe's security, though, remains a constant task, and new challenges require different responses than in the past. The Euro-Atlantic region needs peace and stability at home, but it also needs protection against external threats. Ultimately, the emergence of a multi-polar world requires finding a way to offset the political, economic and strategic dynamics of the large Asian powers.
    NATO, in its current form, is not up to these tasks. In the future, the alliance should see itself as a strategic framework for the three centers of power: North America, Europe and Russia. This trio has common interests that are threatened by the same challenges, and which require the same responses. If the alliance intends to be the primary forum for addressing all crises -- because it is the only forum where North America, Europe and Russia sit at the same table -- then it must now establish the requisite institutional framework for that to happen. The door to NATO membership should be opened for Russia. Russia, in turn, must be prepared to accept the rights and obligations of a NATO member, of an equal among equals.

    'The Hand of Friendship'

    The country would undoubtedly have a long way to go before all the conditions of membership are met. But the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington in 1949, contains no obstacles to Russian membership. By unanimous resolution, the parties to that treaty can invite any other European country to apply for membership, provided it is capable of promoting the basic principles of the treaty and contributing to the security of the North Atlantic region.

    In the 21st century, the concept of security encompasses not only the protection of human rights, but also respect for the principles of the constitutional state, which include political pluralism, a free market economy, freedom of the press and other basic rights. Respect for these norms and principles is the real foundation of European stability and security within both NATO and the EU. For this reason, NATO will be quick to point out that the alliance is also an alliance of values, and it will take time before Russia fully satisfies these criteria. In the past, however, the prospect of membership has always triggered a process in candidate countries that has eventually led to a consensus of values.

    In recent years, NATO has willingly opened its doors for the membership of Central European countries. Commenting on this development, the Russian president recently said that almost all countries have found their place in Europe -- except Russia. The alliance has long neglected Russia and has not given it the same amount of attention. The bilateral relationship was not developed in the spirit of a genuine strategic partnership, and Russia has forfeited opportunities by upholding the image of NATO as its enemy. At the same time, the NATO countries have been less and less willing, over the course of two decades, to develop cooperative approaches to security policy with Russia -- particularly when compared with the mood of positive change that prevailed in 1990, when NATO leaders offered the Soviet Union "the hand of friendship" at their summit meeting in London.

    With, and not Against, Russia

    There is no consensus over how to appraise and handle Russia, a fundamental question over which the members of the alliance and the EU are deeply divided. One of the key bones of contention is that, for historical reasons, the new members of NATO define their security as being directed against Russia, while the imperative for Western Europe is that security in and for Europe can only be achieved with and not against Russia.

    Russia has repeatedly made it clear that it feels sidelined by the expansion of NATO and the shift in the alliance's borders by 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the east. It has also objected to countries that were once part of the Soviet Union becoming NATO members. But NATO insists that every country in Europe has the right to join the alliance of its choosing. Should the two sides come to a deadlock over this controversy, it holds the potential to trigger serious conflict. A Russian membership of NATO would make it easier to integrate Georgia and Ukraine into European structures -- the mere willingness to become a member presupposes recognition of the territorial integrity of European countries.

    The Euro-Atlantic community needs Russia for many reasons: for energy security, disarmament and arms control, to prevent proliferation, to solve the problems in Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East conflict, to contain the potential for crisis and conflict in Central Asia, and to facilitate opinion-making and decision-making in the United Nations Security Council and within the framework of the G-8 and the G-20. It is a necessity for NATO to figure out now how Russia can find its way into the Euro-Atlantic community.

    Russia's participation in collective security would have an internal and an external dimension. Complete transparency in the alliance on the basis of strict reciprocity, as well as political and military integration into the alliance system and participation in the shared decision-making process, would put an end to any perception of a supposed threat to Russia by the West. At the same time, the entire alliance would benefit from the political and military means Russia has at its disposal to fend off external threats and solve problems that affect the Euro-Atlantic community.

    The Primary Security Institution

    The trio comprising North America, Europe and Russia has an objective interest in surviving the consequences of the global economic crisis, thwarting the development of new power centers at the expense of old structures, facing challenges in the southern crisis region and cooperating in the Arctic. Nevertheless, there will be resistance to Russian NATO membership.

    For this reason, in its internal debate with Eastern European skeptics, NATO must make it clear what the alliance stands to gain if Russia is gradually brought on board as a full member. It will be in the interest of both sides to define concrete interim steps. This could include the NATO countries and Russia issuing a joint declaration, at the beginning of the accession process, to use none of their weapons against each other, and that their nuclear weapons serve only one purpose: to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. On this basis, all Russian tactical nuclear weapons could be withdrawn to central storage facilities, where they would be subject to international monitoring at all times, in return for the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from Europe. And a joint missile defense system could be installed to protect the territory of NATO countries and Russia.
    The trans-Atlantic bond between Europe and North America would remain irreplaceable in a triple constellation -- it is the only way we can survive together in a troubled world. But now that the East-West confrontation has ended, Europe, including Germany, is no longer as strategically important to the United States as in past decades. The US's focus on the Asia-Pacific region is unmistakable.

    NATO has provided the stability framework for the integration of Central European countries into European structures, enabling the EU and the alliance to address the historic task of reorganizing Europe after the end of the Cold War and giving it peace and stability. Now, with the inclusion of Russia, a comparatively major task is on the agenda. Russia's membership in the Atlantic alliance would be the logical consummation of the Euro-Atlantic order, in which NATO would remain the primary security institution.

    Volker Rühe was Germany's defense minister from 1992 to 1998, retired General Klaus Naumann was inspector general of the German Armed Forces and chairman of the NATO Military Committee, retired Ambassador Frank Elbe was director of the Planning Committee at the German Foreign Ministry and ambassador to India, Japan, Poland and Switzerland, and retired Vice Admiral Ulrich Weisser was director of the Planning Committee at the German Defense Ministry.
    Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Putin says Russia could join NATO

    By Angela Charlton, Associated Press

    Acting President Vladimir Putin set off a wave of criticism Sunday from his rivals in the race for March 26 presidential elections by telling a British television network that Russia could join NATO.

    Acting President Vladimir Putin set off a wave of criticism Sunday from his rivals in the race for March 26 presidential elections by telling a British television network that Russia could join NATO.

    Some critics called Putin's comments a betrayal of Russia's interests. Others called them a bid for votes from Western-minded Russians, or an effort to soften his hard-line image abroad.

    Asked whether Russia could join NATO, Putin told British Broadcasting Corp. interviewer Sir David Frost: "I don't see why not. I wouldn't rule out such a possibility. But I repeat - if and when Russia's views are taken into account as an equal partner." The interview was broadcast Sunday and picked up by Russia's main networks.

    The Kremlin has been cooperating with NATO since the 1991 Soviet collapse, but relations between the two former rivals have been shaky. Most Russians see NATO expansion into Eastern Europe as a threat.

    Moscow virtually severed all ties with NATO last year in response to the alliance's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia. NATO, meanwhile, condemned Russia for using excessive force in Chechnya. But an agreement to restore ties was announced last month when NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson visited Moscow.

    Still, it appeared unlikely that Putin would press soon for membership in the U.S.-led alliance. Putin has made restoring Russia's global clout a key campaign slogan, and has brushed off months of Western criticism of the war in Chechnya.

    Russian television commentators Sunday pointed out that Putin usually tailors his remarks to his audience, and keeps many promises vague.

    Reformist lawmaker Grigory Yavlinsky dismissed the comments on NATO, saying Putin was unlikely to follow through with action.

    "His actions absolutely don't correspond to his statements," Yavlinsky said on the Itogi television program. Yavlinsky is also running for president.

    Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, who polls at a distant second behind Putin in the presidential race, said Sunday that joining NATO would further weaken Russia.

    Putin's "statement is naive and unpardonable for a politician of his level," Zyuganov told Interfax. "He should at least hire knowledgeable foreign policy advisers."

    Konstantin Titov, a presidential candidate and the reformist governor of the Russian region of Samara, welcomed the idea of joining NATO. But Titov said Putin's statement was little more than a campaign stunt for attracting reformist voters, according to Interfax.

    Deputy Parliament Speaker Vladimir Lukin said Sunday that Russia could join NATO if it was transformed from a military to a political alliance and Russia was offered equal terms.

    "The prospect of Russia joining NATO is possible, as the alliance will to a certain extent be transformed into a pan-European organization," Lukin told Echo Moscow radio.

    "NATO would be more of a political organization than a military one. The NATO military factor would no longer be an issue of confrontation with Russia."
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    How to twist Russia's arm: Let it join NATO

    August 20, 2008|Andrew Meier | Andrew Meier is a former Moscow correspondent for Time magazine and the author of the new book, "The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service."
    Anti-Russian fervor threatens to hit fever pitch in Washington this week. In the wake of Russia's military incursion into Georgia, Barack Obama is suddenly doing his best to parrot John McCain's Russophobia. Indeed, the cries to shove Moscow back into the cold are coming from both sides of the aisle: Kick Russia out of the G-8, lock it out of the European Union and the World Trade Organization and, by all means, boycott Vladimir Putin's pet project, Sochi 2014 -- the Winter Olympics slated for a Black Sea venue a short drive from the disputed territory of Abkhazia. On Tuesday, NATO said that continuing normal relations with Russia was impossible and moved to all but scrap the NATO-Russia Council.Let no one be deceived: Putin has drawn a dangerous new line. Russian troops have trespassed into a sovereign nation for the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But all such retributive Western campaigns are misguided and, like every attempt to twist Russian arms since the end of the U.S.S.R., sure to backfire.

    There's really only one lever left: Invite Russia to join NATO.

    This is not a new idea. Once upon a time, it was openly entertained in diplomatic circles East and West. In late 1991, the final days of the U.S.S.R,, Boris Yeltsin stunned a NATO meeting by sending a letter with this unilateral declaration: "Today we are raising a question of Russia's membership in NATO." "A long-term political aim," Yeltsin called it then, as he threw down the gauntlet before the West. NATO ministers, as Tom Friedman reported for the New York Times at the time, were "too taken aback ... to give any coherent response." In the ensuing years, as Yeltsin with characteristic bravura continued to raise the prospect, the West kept fumbling for a reply.

    Even Putin, in his first days in the Kremlin, seized on the issue. In March 2000, in his first interview with a foreign reporter -- the BBC's David Frost -- Putin shocked critics and fans alike, saying, "We believe we can talk about more profound integration with NATO, but only if Russia is regarded as an equal partner." Asked outright if Russia could join NATO, Putin shot back: "I do not see why not." He also added a dark warning: Any NATO attempt to exclude Russia from the debate over the alliance's eastward expansion would only provoke "opposition."

    Give him points for honesty.The end of the U.S.S.R. opened an era of unprecedented promise. But while Russians openly yearned for closer ties, the West only pushed back -- expanding NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet states. More recently, the U.S. has moved to station elements of a missile defense system, what Russians still call with dread "Star Wars," in Russia's backyard -- in the Czech Republic and Poland.Meantime, successive U.S. administrations have steadily reduced U.S.-Russian relations to Washington's lowest common denominator: our need for non-Arab oil and our need for help in constraining two of Russia's closest diplomatic and trading partners, Iran and North Korea. When it came to the war in Iraq, we asked for Russia's support. But then we shut it out of all oil and reconstruction contracts.

    Amid the talk now in vogue of a "new cold war," we are adrift in a sea of lost opportunities. This week, ominous reports have surfaced: that Vice President **** Cheney's office has pushed for several months to increase military aid to Georgia -- in particular, the sale of hand-held antiaircraft weapons -- at a time when Russia has been flying Tu-95 Bear H bombers, capable of bearing cruise missiles, near the coast of Alaska.

    Russia is moving to reestablish its hegemony over its neighbors, some will say. Yes, it is true. But that is all the more reason to engage, not to chastise. After all, where is America's leverage? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, we are told, interrupted her holiday and made more than 90 phone calls to try to mediate the crisis in Georgia. President Bush "demanded" that Russian troops leave. To what effect? Russia's tanks have rolled on.

    But Americans should not fear Russian expansionism. The Russians are already here.

    Only 10 years ago, Russia defaulted on $40 billion in bonds and cut its umbilical cord to the global capital markets. But today, Moscow, awash in oil money, is out to enhance Russian prowess on the global stage, not militarily but economically. It's not only estates in Aspen that the Russian oligarchs have scooped up. The list of Russian takeovers is long and growing. Ask the Wall Street bankers who have reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in the last year alone. Ask the folks at Oregon Steel in Portland and Colorado, Rouge Steel in Detroit and Stillwater Mining in Montana -- their paychecks now come from Russian oligarchs.At some point between Putin's last day as president and the announcement this year that Moscow leads the world in billionaires, a new strategy emerged. "The Kremlin plan," the oligarchs call it. Go forth and multiply, Putin told Russia's business titans. His puppet president, Dmitri Medvedev, in his first meeting before the oligarchs last spring, laid out the terms of the bargain: Keep one foot in the motherland but expand your portfolios and, above all, extend Russia's reach abroad.What does Russia want? Just a couple of tiny restive provinces pried away from Georgia? Hardly.

    In Putin's Russia, muscle -- be it tanks or banks -- rules. Gazprom, the state giant that controls at least 25% of Europe's natural gas supply, hungers to enter the U.S. market. So do a raft of Russian oil giants and those who control the country's sovereign wealth funds, flush with at least $157 billion in oil money. What should the West do? Many in Washington and on Wall Street will whisper the obvious reply: Bring them in. "If our goal all these years, since the Soviet breakup, has been 'Get them to play by our rules,' " one former high-ranking national security aide in the Bush and Clinton administrations told me recently, "what better way to do it?"

    So too on the diplomatic front. Now is the time, before the conflagration in the Caucasus spreads, to reverse course and embrace Russia more tightly than ever.

    In 1991, when the world was giddy with expectation, a NATO foreign minister answered Yeltsin's talk of joining NATO with a fearful prediction. "If you do it for Russia," said the Belgian foreign minister, "you also have to do it for the other republics." How true. "For NATO," he added, "there is a danger of dilution." One need not look for long at the smoldering fires in Georgia to recognize our own myopia and to see where the greater danger lies.
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Could Russia join NATO?


    Russia's relations with NATO are one of the big unsolved questions in European security. A piece in the print edition of the newspaper looked at this in depth in May, following the leak of what seemed to be a new Russian foreign-policy doctrine stressing cooperation with the west. Our report concluded:

    Unlike Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of openness, which was inseparable from domestic liberalisation, Russia’s new détente implies no political change at home. The foreign-ministry document talks of the need to project the image of Russia as a democratic state with a socially oriented market economy—but says nothing about the need actually to become one. Russia’s rapprochement is fragile since it hinges on an idea of modernisation that is unlikely to succeed without liberalisation. The risk is that when modernisation fails, Russia will blame the West for sabotaging it.
    Discussion rumbles on, however. An interesting article by Tomáš Valášek at the Centre for European Reform, a London thinktank, looks at the pros and cons of Russia joining NATO, or at least changing its relationship with the alliance. He was one of a bunch of western security-policy specialists invited by their Russian counterparts to discuss the issue. As he notes, the atmospherics have clearly changed in recent months. But what about the reality? Clearly Russia would have to change a lot to meet the demands of full membership. But the Russians have something different in mind: a bargain in which the alliance would stop expanding eastward or arming countries that Russia does not like (presumably Georgia). In return Russia would help on missile defence, Afghanistan and other issues. The Russians call this ‘integration’ or ‘organisational unity’, rather than membership.

    It is quite hard to see that working: unless NATO is an alliance of values, it is unclear why soldiers from one country would risk their lives to defend another. Joining NATO means quite deep internal changes. Russia would have to reach, say, Turkish standards of political contestability and the rule of law in order for discussion of eventual membership to make sense.

    Another suggestion examined by Mr Valášek is that NATO and Russia should ‘demilitarise’ their relationship.

    Moscow would stop holding exercises that simulate a war with NATO, like the ‘Zapad’ exercise last year, in which 12,500 Russian and Belorusian troops repelled a fictitious attack from NATO. Russia would also change its strategic documents to make clear that NATO is not a ‘threat’ or ‘danger’. NATO would respond in kind, with no exercises and no new bases near Russia’s borders.
    That has problems too. It would require some changes in Russia's posture and doctrine. And the new NATO member states, who already worry that the alliance neglects territorial defence, would be twitchy. What they want is a clearer NATO commitment to their defence, and in particular a new NATO planning centre to keep an eye on future crises, including those involving Russia.

    Mr Valášek argues that this kind of reassurance, far from blocking improved relations with Russia, is the essential condition for a rapprochement, which could eventually mean demilitarisation or, in the long run, integration. The new allies should support that, he notes:

    after all, they stand to gain the most should Russia stop rehearsing attacks on Central and Eastern Europe. ‘Demilitarisation’ would be the ultimate reassurance measure.
     
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Russia to join NATO summit in Lisbon

    Last Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | 9:38 AM ET Comments22Recommend14
    The Associated Press
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has accepted an invitation to attend a meeting with NATO leaders in Portugal in November.

    Medvedev said at a summit with the leaders of France and Germany on Tuesday that he will go to the NATO-Russian Council summit in Lisbon on Nov. 20.

    Anders Fogh Rasumussen, the NATO secretary general, said he was pleased Russia accepted his invitation, calling the summit "an important opportunity to deepen and broaden the political dialogue and practical co-operation between the NATO-Russia Council members [and] to enhance our shared security."

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was pleased at Medvedev's "basic willingness to participate."

    Leaders of NATO countries, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama, are expected to attend the summit. Russia is not among the 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization but is considered an important ally on security issues



    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/10/19/russia-nato-summit.html#ixzz12ybCmf3e
     

Share This Page