Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Russian Federation, an old heritage of the new times (I)

First part of interview with Marius Lefter from Geopolitics.ro. The first part of the interview relates on the foreign policies and the future challenges of this state.

  • Varianta în limba română poate fi citită aici.

Marius Lefter (M.L.): – What is Moscow’s position regarding the Policy of Neighbourhood of UE?

 Gabriela Ionita (G.I.): – According to the European Commission of Economic and Financial Affairs, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) – launched in 2003 , this matter provides for the gradual development of trade relations and for traditional cooperation, thus achieving a higher degree of integration between EU and neighbourhood countries. In fact, economically ENP  offers to these states preferential trade relations, participation in the EU internal market, a better relation with the EU ( for the example on transport, telecommunication and energy sector ), none the less the benefit to participate in certain EU programs and some substantial financial support and technical assistance. Although Russia does not fit in this equation, we can easily see that many of the objectives set out in the action plans of partner countries are found in the draft between Russia and EU – Strategic Partnership for Modernization of the Russian Federation and European Union. Moreover, Russia had demonstrated that it has sufficient leverage to influence other countries from its neighbourhood, and the existence in its area of influence of countries that share fundamental values and objectives of EU, countries that have a profound cooperation with member countries, assuming a high level of economic and political integration, which would be a benefit for the Russian economy. Unfortunately, the same levers of power , have demolished neighbourhood states like Belarus and Ukraine. The president of the Russian state , Medvedev recalled that Russian needs the EU technology, economic diversification and new standards to be competitive on a common market. In theory, self-regulation market based on supply and demand. When in the reality is more collared. If we’re speaking of a common economic space between Russia and Europe, we believe that the Russian state will be forced to modernize, if they are looking to be competitive. Normally this should work upon the new markets in the new area. Ukraine and Belarus are not the best references regarding foreign policies for their own interest. About Romania’s role as EU’s border country , the relation with Moldova but also with states like Ukraine or Georgia, and how we could benefit from this context is yet already another story.

ML: – Because you mentioned about Moscow’s leverage on their own interests … how would be seen in this context the problematic of the missile shield and what would be the evolution in this direction ?

 G.I.: – Although no one officially admitted, the security strategy promoted by the President Medvedev seems to have been a failure ( and the return of Vladimir Putin’s to Kremlin, would replace the soft speech of the current president, with a tough and pragmatic discourse famous to the international opinion)  The failure hasn’t come from the wrong strategy, but rather from the perpetuation of mistrust and reluctance between EU chancelleries to Russia, when it comes to security and strategic alliances. In addition,we must not overlook that so controversial, yet only on a theoretical level reformed , blamed for the U.S. influence, Nato brings together top of EU countries. Countries that are trying to get out of the economic crisis since 2008, so limited to security policy proposals that would require even more than do the facts that are already involved. On the other hand,  the restart in the Rusia and U.S. relations has continued to be hunted by the ghosts of the Cold War, in spite of the officials declarations. The refusal of US officials to accept the sectoral responsibility of the anti-rocket shield as it was seen by Moscow, the official issue to put the shield in Romania ( without the discussion with the Russian partners of Nato’s Council ) . The strategic alliance between Romania and U.S. has eroded what was restart. Soon after the election that took place in the Russian Federation , Obama was invited in Kremlin. Many specialists asked themselves, what would both presidents say about the shield issue, one of them is finishing his mandate – Medvedev and another does not knows if he will obtain the second mandate – Obama. Nobody seems to know. All the more Obama, seems busy with the internal situation than the foreign policy. But we must remember that president Medvedev warn regarding the failure of the shield negotiations and the termination of the Second Start Treaty – main objective during the mandates of both presidents. One thing is sure – during the summit that will take place in 2012 in Chicago, the meeting it will be between Obama and the new installed leader of Kremlin – Vladimir Putin.

M.L. : What is the difference between Eurasiatic Union and the Community of Independent States ?

G.I.: The announcement that it will be established a Eurasiatic Union , was received by the occidental media as a headline news, is spite that Kremlin worked very much for the crystallization of it. In this case we face a difference not a vision that has subordinated medium and long-term objectives, theoretically. The reality, the case is not optimistic for the constitution of the Euroasiatic Union, being considered by the Russian economists as a subject for election campaign. Recent, in a interview realized by main television channel in Russia, Vladimir Putin said the reunion of the five economies will create a pole so strong that will be a bridge between European Union and the regional dynamics that all the spotlights of this decade are – Asia. In response, the economist Vladislav Inozemtsev asked rhetorically in a article published by Washington Post, what kind of bridge can be build with the exceeded infrastructure of Russia.  (Full text can be read here)

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Shadows and uncertainties on the road… to Damascus

I took a break half a month. As I tried to be just mere observer of events. The events are so fluid that information become obsolete within 24 hours. But combined can give you an overview. So take a look about situation in Syria … and the democracies under construction in Libya and Egypt.

Arab League says it has rejected a Syrian request for amendments to an agreement that would send observers to the country. On Wednesday, Arab League foreign ministers approved a plan to send observers into Syria to verify whether the regime has taken measures to protect civilians, giving Damascus three days to implement a protocol to allow observers to enter the nation. But Syria requested changes to the proposal the next day. On Sunday, the Arab League said in a statement that it had rejected Syria’s request, saying it “radically alters the nature of the … mission.”

From the Syrian part, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned that any potential military intervention against his country would lead to “very dire” repercussions and said he is willing to die for his country. Unfortunately, nobody is able to confirm the media report independently because of the restrictions Damascus places on foreign journalists. In this time, the international community still examines what must to do. It’s still hard to discern between the repression of a criminal regime and the «help» received to destabilize Syria and justification for external intervention. In addition, after  Libyan adventure more and more shadows seem to imply in relations between major political actors  U.S., Russia and China.

In a sea of ​​uncertainty, there is only one certainty: many civilians are and have been assassinated in the unrest and people have to ask the questions: Who killed them and Why were they killed? …I would add: Who will pays for… ?

•••

Those who believe that peace is laid after the death of Muammar Gadhafi were wrong. Libyan soap opera continues. Libyans celebrated late into the evening Saturday the reported capture of Muammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, nabbed in a desert gunbattle after an 18-day stakeout. Senior Libyan military officials said they believe the potential Gadhafi successor was trying to make his way to neighboring Niger, where a brother, Saadi, was granted asylum. Do not worry illusions. Saif will not be tried in The Hague. He knows too much to be given the opportunity to speak. Justice Minister Mohammad Al-Alagy said he doubts Libyan courts would want to try Saif al-Islam for crimes against humanity. Put in the spotlight in order to minimize the dissatisfaction of those who are beginning to understand that Ghadafi’s replacement was not for the benefit of many, the story of Saif also gave greater impetus to the talks on Green blogs. Fighting rages in Benghazi, Bani Walid, Sirte, Tripoli and other cities across Libya. Jamahiriya loyalists control most territory though portions shift back and forth. Terror bombings continue daily. In contrast, positive news flow on official media treadmill. Speaking about contradictory media news, Dennis South, after 9 months the covering the Lybia situation: “See, Libya is just a battlefield, not the entire war. The war is global. The war is being waged on every human being on the planet. The war is being waged by European monarchies, corporations, corrupt and puppet-politicians, and monied-interests, such as Wall Street”.

And the building democracy in Egypt is «celebrated with joy»: at least 3,000 protesters are in the capital’s Tahrir Square, facing off with hundreds of black-clad riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The protests have spread across much of Egypt. At least 13 protesters have been killed since Saturday, all but one in Cairo. Hundreds of others have been injured. Violent clashes between protesters and Egypt’s military police flared again yesterday, leaving at least ten dead and hundreds injured. The military has put forward a timetable which puts the transfer of power sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. So enough time for a fiesta extended…

Meanwhile, US – the first artisan of export of democracy – have big problems with its own citizens and their right to protest. Trying to hide serious problems of a failed system by creating external outbreaks of war is not a solution. Exporting democracy has failed in a miserable export of violence and instability. So again ask: Who will pays for…? and Who can stop it…?

Who has not understood yet that this is not a game with winners and lost: think again !

published – Oriental Review, nov. 2011

Anna Chapman and Putin’s Nashi (Young Guard)

Anna Chapman, the glamorous former Russia spy, returned to Western media pages. Accordind AP, Anna Chapman wasn’t just a member of one of the largest rings of Russian sleeper agents ever rolled up by the FBI, officials say. The 29-year-old former real estate agent, who became a lingerie model and corporate spokeswoman back in Moscow, represented a new breed of Russian spies adapted to the post-Cold War world. Bringing the media attention the controversial spy story seems not to be random. Chapman now has a prominent position in Russia’s Young Guard (Molodaya Gvardiya), the youth wing of the United Russia party which utterly dominates the country’s politics — and is headed by prime ­minister Vladimir Putin. Young Guard’s most sinister and controversial activities consist of naming ‘journalist-traitors’ whom it considers disloyal to the ruling regime.