Tag Archives: East Europe

US wants to reassure Eastern European ally of NATO support

Vice President Joe Biden visits Romania and Cyprus

Joe Biden has arrived in Bucharest on Tuesday at what one senior official called a “complicated and challenging time in Europe” fostered by Russia’s “destabilizing” actions in Ukraine. Joe Biden said they all “must remain resolute in imposing greater costs on Russia and imposing those costs together”. “Europe’s borders should never again be changed at the point of a gun, which is why we continue to condemn — condemn — Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea” Mr. Biden said at an air base in the Romanian capital of Bucharest where he met American and Romanian forces involved in joint military exercises.

Joe Biden (center) speech in front of military of Air Base Otopeni. Romanian Minister of Defence, Mircea Dusha.

Joe Biden (center) speech in front of military of Air Base Otopeni. Romanian Minister of Defence, Mircea Dusha (right).

A lot of discussion focused lately on Article 5 of NATO treaty – the “all for one, and one for all” principle that provides for a collective response to an armed attack on any member. To be…or not to be sure to support of others ! The new Strategic Concept, adopted at the Alliance’s 2010 Lisbon summit, established collective defense as one of its three main tasks, underscoring the importance of developing contingency plans, organizing joint exercises and training, and creating “visible assurance” within member states.

Article 5 – the “all for one, and one for all” principle that provides for a collective response to an armed attack on any member
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/bogdan-klich-calls-for-the-alliance-to-develop-a-practical-plan-to-defend-europe-s-eastern-flank#KjRcSxaLhVY4jdMG.99

Since Crimea was annexed, NATO has put AWACS surveillance planes in the skies over Poland and Romania, dispatched warships to the Baltic and Black seas and sent U.S. Army troops to Poland, Romania and the Baltic states. Romania, a staunch U.S. ally, joined NATO in 2004 and the U.S. has a base in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. Biden will meet President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Wednesday, when American vice-president will try to reassure Romania leaders that nobody should doubt Washington’s commitment to Article Five of the alliance’s charter, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

The confrontation between Russia and the West will also be a key issue in Cyprus where Biden will arrive on Wednesday.

The Cypriot government has warned of the devastating impact that any new sanctions directly targeting the Russian economy could have on its own fortunes, given that its finance industry is a key conduit of Russian investment and savings.

The senior US official noted that Cyprus, as a European Union member, was party to the bloc’s decision making and actions in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. “We are aware and understanding of the exposure of Cyprus to Russian economic activity and Russia economy pressure” the official said.

In March, Biden visited Lithuania and Poland and traveled to Ukraine the following month. President Barack Obama also is expected to visit Poland in June for the 25th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections.

According American expert Gordon Hahn, ”Putin would have paid a heavy political price domestically if he ignored the voice of Russians from Crimea”

Power&Politics World – Bucharest – Romania/www.powerpolitics.ro

Romanian-flag- Mr. Hahn, can we talk about winners and losers in the crisis in Ukraine, or the things are much more nuanced than they seem at first sight?

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

Gordon Hahn: – Everyone right now has lost something. The big loser so far is Ukraine. It has lost Crimea, is at risk of further destabilization and even Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine, has an unstable government, and its constitutional system lacks legitimacy at least until the May presidential elections. Russia has gained Crimea which will have some economic costs, and the sanctions will add to those. Right now a mitigating plus for Moscow is that historical justice has been restored, since Crimea was always part of Russia until the totalitarian internationalist communist regime which sought to destroy nationalities and nation-states in order to evolve the new ‘Soviet man’ and identity and establish a global communist regime. The US and the West have lost by making a regional and semi-global power, Russia, something close to an enemy and thereby damaging their own national security. They did this through their policies of expanding NATO without Russia and against its will and of coupling that threatening policy for Russia with efforts to support democratization and therefore, wittingly or unwittingly, anti-Russian opposition movements and de facto ‘color revolutions’ in states near or neighboring Russia. Moreover, the West’s sanctions and possible Russian counter-sanctions are going to put at risk the global economic recovery, which is weak to begin with. Perhaps, the only winners are countries like China and India, which come off as paragons of reason compared to their Russian, American, and European counterparts – all engaged in ‘19th century thinking,’ as they say.
- What do you think: was an error of Mr. Putin (and his stuff) or a long awaited rematch?
GH: – I think Putin overreacted to the long-standing series of slights Russia has experienced since the end of the Cold War. Georgia 2008 was the first sign that Moscow would no longer acquiesce in what it perceives as threats to its national security and ‘fait accomplis’ imposed on it by Washington and the West. Another color revolution with neo-fascist elements occurring during Putin’s big moment at Sochi and accomplished through a betrayal of the Western-sponsored February 21 agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition pushed him over the edge.
- There is a usual confrontation between Russia and US (look, they are speaking about a new Cold War), or is a shift of paradigm of international relation system?
GH: – There is no doubt that the geostrategic systemic aspect of the crisis features a West in some sort of decline, in particular that of a hegemon in a unipolar system – with regional and semi-global powers like Russia and China counterbalancing against the hegemon. So this could be the beginning of a shift to a more multipolar and less stable international system. The international law aspect is also important. When great powers see it in their interests to claim international law as the standard of international political conduct, they are operating under the rather false assumption that international law usually sticks and that it is a reflection of a democratic order. However, there is nothing like a democratic international political system in place. This should be evident from the inordinate power that the five permamnent members of the National Security Council enjoy. Hence, when there is disagreement between the council’s members the system is likely to breakdown and needs to be supplemented with timely international conferences and negotiations. This was not done with regard to Ukraine until it was very, very, indeed too late, because the crisis had been in the making with NATO’s nearly two decade march east to Russia’s borders.
- Sometimes it seems to me that in the media battle between East and West has lost something essential: the simple Ukrainians from Euromaidan, all those people unemployed political and ideological. Can you to distinguish them in this melting propaganda?
GH: – No, not very clearly, unfortunately. It is hard to make generalizations about something as grand as the ‘international media’. I can only speak to the media I watch. I have found the U.S. independent media to be nearly as one-sided and hysterical as Russia’s state media. Russian independent media – Ekho Moskvy and others – have done a superb job, and Aleksei Venediktov should win a Nobel or Pullitzer for what he has done there. Oddly enough, the radio station is funded by the Russian state-owned GazProm’s media holding company. If the Kremlin could make its state media as all-encompassing and objective as Ekho, there would be no complaints about media freedom in Russia.
- Already Crimea situation is quite clear. Although many assumptions are made, yet no one dares to answer the question: will stop Russia here or there is the next stage, at least for the Eastern region of Ukraine?
GH: – I expect that if there are no unforeseen circumstances, provocations, or US_Russia_UkraineWestern missteps, Russia will not invade Ukraine, east or west. I do not think the plan is to conquer Ukraine or Poland or Europe as much of the biased US media and analytical community claims. Nor do I assume that Putin’s original intent was to annex Crimea. Rather, he might have sought to ensure security there and retaliate against the West’s meddling only, but the local population’s immediate calls for reunification with Russia and perhaps other considerations informed by the unfolding of events led Putin to support the reunification movement and referendum. After all, once those demands emerged, Putin would have paid a heavy political price domestically if he ignored them, especially if violence developed in Crimea, or eastern Ukrainian neo-fascists infiltrated and began provocations, or Kiev sent troops, which would have led to war.
- As it stand the things at the moment, and calling to you expertize: the globalization helps or entangles when it comes to managed a crisis of this kind?
GH: – Need more time to think about this question.
- Jens Stoltenberg most likely appointment to the Secretary General of NATO changes something in Russia’s perception about NATO plans? See you a better mediation of differences of opinion between the two parties? Do you think it’s a wise choice – Norwegian instead of Polish – we remember that previously was mentioned the name of Radoslaw Sikorsky (artisan of discussions between Yanukovich – opposition)?
GH: – I think selecting a Pole and one who has clear anti-Russian sentiments would have added additional animosity to the Russian-West relationship. This explains the appearance of possible new choice.

                                interview made by Gabriela Ionita

Gordon M. Hahn is analyst and Advisory Board Member of Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois, Senior Researcher – Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, Akribis Group, San Jose, California and Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor, MonTREP, Monterey, Calif. Also Dr. Hahn is author of the well-received books ”Russia’s Islamic Threat” (Yale University Press, 2007) and ”Russia’s Revolution From Above, 1985-2000” (Transaction Publishers, 2002), the forthcoming The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014), various think tank reports, and numerous articles in academic journals and other English and Russian language media. He has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and has been a senior associate/visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Kennan Institute in Washington DC and at the Hoover Institution.

 

Russia – EU relation and strategic nature of hypocrisy

Speaking into an interview given to the Serbian newspaper ”Politics”, Russian Minister of FR, Sergey Lavrov noticed: ”Many questions have accumulated in the relations between Russia and the EU, including those related to the implementation of the Eastern Partnership policy. We note that there is no adequate reaction by the EU to Ukrainian events, primarily the occupation of local administrations by opposition groups in several regions of Ukraine. There was a comprehensive and fair talk on a broad spectrum of topics at the EU-Russia summit on the 28 January. It is important that it has confirmed the strategic nature of the Russian-European Union partnership.”

About what kind of ”comprehensive and fair talk” we are speaking ? Remember that the long-planned and publicized summit – planned to take place over two days (27-28 January) was meant to a few hours restricted meeting among principles and key advisors (mainly Vladimir Putin, Catherine Ashton, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, and Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister), decision that would have been taken “in light of the recent developments”.

29putin_cnd-superJumboVladimir Putin’s meeting with European leadership was dominated by Ukraine’s political crisis and if Russian leader said Russia will honour loan to Ukraine (after a new government will get in power, course ?!), we can observe that in the EU vision there is nothing remarkable. It seems that it is the duty Russia to help Ukraine. Rompuy said it ”between the lines” when he is speaking in his press release following the 32nd EU-Russia Summit about ”a concrete and telling example of the huge potential for all – I will repeat what I said last Saturday in Warsaw. In 1990 the prosperity levels were the same in Poland and Ukraine. Today, Poland is three times more prosperous than Ukraine. And here I am only talking of the economic dimension”. More specifically, it leads to the idea that Poland (under the influence of the West) has prospered and Ukraine (the sphere of influence of Russia) reached poverty. So, Russia must to pay for… ? Literally. And figuratively speaking. EU reluctant to remember the brilliant “achievements” on the road of prosperity of countries in its sphere of influence. Such as Romania and Bulgaria, in the East and around Ukraine and Poland. How about Greece ? Or Spain ? Who must to pay for? Just ask… :)

Oh, Mr. Rompuy, you are right ! when we are speaking about Eastern Partnership, is clear like the light of day that each understood what was required of their own interests… Mr. Rompuy admits that ”there can be different interpretations and misunderstandings on the association agreements and that is why we both agreed to pursue bilateral consultations at experts level on the Eastern Partnership Association Agreement and the economic consequences on both sides”. But if that there is just an propagandistic and unfortunate way to hide the lack of well-defined economic opportunities that the EU should offer Ukraine ?