Daily Archives: November 9, 2010

NATO Summit, Russia and the fight with the ghosts of Cold War

The idea of the title does not belong to me. It is due to a recent Twitter postings Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin, Head of the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO.

I promised that I will return with an analysis on NATO Summit (Lisbon – Portugal, 19 – 20 November 2010). At the Lisbon Summit, NATO will be presenting its third Strategic Concept since the end of the Cold War, defining the Alliance’s strategic priorities for the next decade. The summit agenda is ambitious. The new Strategic Concept will focus on collective defence and deterrence, crisis management and cooperative security. Other issues to be examined will be missile defence, progress on transition in Afghanistan, relations with Russia and a comprehensive approach to security challenges that will call for greater cooperation with partners. On 3 November, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Russia. Addressing Moscow-based media representatives he described his consultations with President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as very constructive and useful in preparing the upcoming Summit of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). Also an equally optimistic view was NATO’s Supreme Commander of the United Forces in Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, which visited Moscow next week after Rassmusen′s visit. Admiral Stavridis stressed the “extraordinary importance of strategic partnership between NATO and Russia“. But NATO officials’ optimism was not contagious. Although President Medvedev has confirmed his presence at the summit meeting in Lisbon, the Kremlin has remained reserved for the intentions of the Alliance and the possible inclusion of Russia. Russia’s reluctance is justified ? Let’s take a look…

During this time, the Obama administration is worried that Start 2 ratification could slip out of reach if a vote were to be delayed. A failure to win passage could trip up one of the administration’s top foreign policy goals: improving relations with Russia. The treaty, signed in April by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, has been the most tangible sign of success, and failure to get it ratified could be viewed as a rebuke in Moscow. It also would leave Obama’s push for even greater restrictions on the world’s nuclear arsenal in doubt. Contrary, NATO does not intend to reduce its nuclear arsenal, said the head of the Supreme Command of NATO’s transformation of the unified armed forces of NATO French general Stephane Abrial.  “As long as the world has not become a nuclear-free, the alliance must retain nuclear weapons” – leads to local media on 5 November, excerpts from his speech at an international security forum, held last weekend in Halifax, Canada. The question of non-strategic nuclear arsenal of NATO in Europe, is expected to be raised at the meeting of leaders of 28 countries-members of the alliance at a summit on 19-20 November in Lisbon. Internal discussion on nuclear policy of NATO earlier initiated in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Norway. According to experts, the five NATO countries – Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey stockpiled up to 240 nuclear bombs.  United States earlier issued a new national nuclear doctrine, which envisages, in particular, the possible withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

And finally, lack of coherence in reset relations with Russia becoming comical…:) As indicated by Ambassador Rogozin: The Alliance invites Medvedev to Lisbon Summit & simultaneously The Alliance want to adopts a defence plan for Baltic states & Poland from some “anonymous aggressor” ? Of course, Russia is not indicated as a possible enemy. But mental association is self-evident and recalls a past that Russia appears willing to leave behind.

Does NATO need Russia to deal with conflict in Afghanistan ? Alliance’s failure in Afghanistan could create problems Russia default ? The answer is definitely: Yes. Or maybe that’s why first time the priorities should be common. Clearly, differences of vision between Russia’s security strategy and NATO’s new strategic concept and there are not easy to overcome. But certainly there are many common issues on which agreement can be reached. Or at least, can speak a common language. Not forgetting of course the most easily understood language, beyond the political interests: that of money. A lot of money. So, I think that fight with the enemies anonymous and ghosts of the past can expect…

Update: 10 November 2010

An extended interview with Amb. Dmitry Rogozin – published by Interfax Agency can be read here (in Russian).