Tag Archives: Anders Fogh Rasmussen

NATO-Russia cooperation – the lights and shadows of a business-marriage

Cooperation between Russia and NATO in the 22 years of existence is a lot like a business-marriage. How long interests coincide, the relationship will find inner resources to overcome any divergence. But when interests no longer coincide, the chances of a compromise quickly tend towards zero. And the crises are felt much larger and require more time to restore the relationship to an acceptable level of cohabitation.

Improving capabilities, progress in Afghanistan and NATO-Russia cooperation was top the agenda of last week’s two-day (22 -23 October 2013) NATO Defence Ministerial meeting. According NATO officials, the Defence Ministers from Alliance’s members countries also discussed about cyber-defence, NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence system and review NATO reforms and assessed progress made in the over 20 Smart Defence projects launched at the Chicago Summit last year.

Left to right: Sergey Shoygu (Minister of Defence, Russian Federation) with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Left to right: Sergey Shoygu (Minister of Defence, Russian Federation) with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Not less significant,in the second day of the Defence ministerial meeting, NATO-Russia Council (NRC) had a new (the first ministerial meeting over two years) session. The Council was created on 28 May 2002 during the NATO Summit in Rome and is focusing on ways to build on the positive military practical and defence cooperation involving “consensus-building, consultations, joint decisions and joint actions”. NATO Defence Ministers together with their Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoygu, discussed ways to widen their practical military cooperation and exchanged views on pressing events on the international agenda, including Syria. Although prior to the meeting the NATO headquarters expressed the confidence that Shoygu’s involvement in the meeting means the unique opportunity to give an impetus to military relations between Russia and NATO in the field of security, at the end of the Council, moderation was the watchword for the views of both sides. Mass-media mainly observed divergences and less positive part. But how it looks in reality cooperation Russia – NATO beyond the headlines? Let’s take a look about…

Some pragmatic deals…

As I said previously, NATO and Russia worked together and effectively collaborate on the levels where the interests of the two coincide. And there are some areas of convergence. Cooperation between Russia and NATO now develops in several main sectors: fighting terrorism (including the vulnerability of critical infrastructure), military cooperation, also cooperation on Afghanistan (including transportation by Russia of non-military ISAF freight, and fighting the local drug production and drug trafficking). Also aviation security, cyber-crime, industrial cooperation, non-proliferation are some aspects of this collaboration.

According Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “stability and security in Afghanistan remain a key priority of Russia – NATO partnership”. Of course, there is a common interest to fight against terrorism and to create a stable Afghanistan for the future. Russia’s interest in Afghanistan is more keenly tied to counter-narcotics, owing to the problems that Afghan-produced drugs are creating in Russia. Conform to a report from the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Afghanistan’s opium trade, “There, terrorist groups and insurgents are quick to feed off the illicit trade, with their efforts aided by the immense market in Russia. Russian addicts consume 75 to 80 tons of Afghan heroin each year, and an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Russians die in drug-related incidents annually”. But also, Russia is concerned about the potential that violent extremists in Afghanistan will go elsewhere when the conflict is over or when NATO pulls out of Afghanistan next year. The NRC is also cooperating on a project to train Afghan helicopter technicians – an excellent example of where NATO-Russia Council nations are combining their efforts to assist the Afghan National Security Forces in developing their capacity to maintain security in the country. Another “bright point” and successful project (in cooperation with UN) to train counter-narcotics officers from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia – to the Domodedovo Center near Moscow and North-West Training Centre in St. Petersburg where have so far trained over 2,800 counter narcotics officers from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan. In the same time, US and its allies need Russia support because American relations with Afghan leadership seem to be more problematic and post-Afghan war strategy increasingly devoid of substance and “zero option” as were said American experts, it would repeat the fateful U.S. mistake of abandoning the country following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, which opened the way to a civil war that brought the Taliban to power and created a haven for al-Qaeda – not to mention President Obama’s repeated public pledges that the United States would continue to stand behind Afghanistan.

Continuing inventorybright points”can be noted that the NRC conducted “Vigilant Skies 2013“, a live counter-terrorism exercise over the skies of Poland, Russia and Turkey last month involving fighter aircraft, military personnel and command centers from the Arctic to the Black Sea. “The exercise was a great success. We now have a proven joint capacity to respond to the hijacking of civilian aircraft and we have showed how effective the NATO-Russia Council is in this field,” the Secretary General said. It is good to remember that on 6 June 2011, NATO and Russia participated in their first ever joint fighter jet exercise “Vigilant Skies”. Since the Cold War, there were only a few joint military venture between the alliance and Russia – with the first being a joint submarine exercise which begun on 30 May 2011. Then, behold, just recently a NATO ship arrived in St. Petersburg harbor as part of continued NATO-Russia Council military cooperation, and provided an opportunity for naval counterparts to meet and exchange experiences. We must to remember also that the Russian Navy’s Udaloy I class anti-submarine destroyer Severomorsk was part in a NATO anti-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden.

Speaking about military cooperation between Russia and NATO in 2014, at the recent meeting in Brussels, Russia Defence Minister Shoygu said that “in the next few months the two sides would set up a trust fund for the utilization of outdated Russian ammunition”. Also the Council representatives discussed plans to dispose of excess and unsafe ammunition in Russia. “I expect that we will be able to finalize the details and launch a new trust fund to support the project in the coming months,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.

Last but not least “bright point”, NATO and Russia are also working together to develop technology to detect explosives in public spaces such as airports, subways and train stations. This year the NRC took a big step forward in the area by testing the technology in real-life conditions. Next year, NATO and Russia will test jointly developed technology to detect explosives in crowded places. General Secretary of NATO, Rasmussen said that the test would be carried out in a metro station in a European capital. More exactly, he has spoken about the Standex project to help identify low-capacity bombs carried by suicide bombers. The tests should establish whether Standex can not only identify the presence of explosives in the crowd but also pinpoint the bomber’s exact location.

…is unlikely to develop into lasting love’

In spite of recent positive developments of NATO-Russia’s business-marriage, there remain multiple shadows. For example, the West never forgot to remember about military intervention in Georgia. In reply, Russia continuesto look with suspicion to NATO’s open door policy toward Georgia and Ukraine, believes a new security architecture for Europe is needed to replace the outdated NATO model (notice: Russia’s ex-president Medvedev in November 2009 proposal for a new European Security not provided sufficient adhesion even among the European countries members of NATO). And the resumption of discussion on this topic will create new reasons for irritation.

On the list of “mismatches” between Russia and NATO, missile shield location holds a special place. Is the “red line beyond which if it passes, Russia threatens with a thunderous divorce. It is the preferred reason invoked whenever Russia feels restricting its sphere of influence.The main argument put forward – NATO missile shield is designed to reduce the deterrent effect of Moscow’s arsenal and thus alter the balance of power on the continent. Andin this respect recent meeting of Russian Defence Minister Shoygu and his counterparts from North-Atlantic Alliance change nothing. Regarding cooperation on missile defence, the Secretary General of NATO said that “it is no secret that we have not yet found the way to work together” in this area. “However, ministerial discussions are valuable in addressing existing concerns and we need to continue to engage frankly and directly to overcome our differences.” More, Rasmussen announced that “as a next step in our US-led missile defense in Europe, a groundbreaking ceremony for the land-based Aegis system will take place in Romania by the end of October”. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoygu did not hesitate to express diplomatic and honest the way things actually.“Collaboration in this area is impossible. The missile defense program of the USA in Europe develops, and our concerns aren’t considered” Shoygu told in a press conference after the meeting. “Before studying missile defense projects, we want to have assurances that this US missile defense system is not against Russia” he said adding that Moscow “does not have enough predictability regarding the US and NATO missile defense plans.” Course, admitting that the Russian concern has an understandable basis in principle ( if U.S. missile defenses continue to grow in numbers and quality, at some future point they could undermine the balance in strategic offensive forces between Russia and the United States), its request about legal guarantees is just a rhetorical claim. Even if the Obama administration would be prepared to negotiate a legal guarantee, there is no possibility of securing the two-thirds majority in the Senate needed for consent to ratification of a treaty. Russia and NATO initially agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defense system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010. But NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability. And I think here one can still find the key to a compromise.

Cooperation and transparency – fundamental attributes of the future international relations

As agreed at the NATO-Russia Council meeting to the level of Chiefs of Staff session from January 2013, NATO and Russian Military Authorities implemented a common secure line of communication between their offices to strengthen their relationship and bring military-to-military cooperation to a new level of trust and transparency. The opening of secure line was held in February 2013, when General Knud Bartels, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee and Chairman of the NRC Military Representatives, initiated an historical phone call with Colonel-General Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

The recent NATO – Russia Council ministerial meeting also try to find ways to increase transparency on military exercises and international security issues, in particular in the Middle East, including Syria. “We plan to continue such transparency measures in the future” Rasmussen said. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu told journalists in Brussels after the meeting of the

Zapad-2013 Joint Military Drills

Zapad-2013 Joint Military Drills

NATO-Russia Council that his country had received an invitation to the exercises and that Russia’s Defense Ministry will send a delegation to NATO military exercises in November. The North Atlantic alliance has announced that the exercises, named Steadfast Jazz 2013, will be held on November 2 to 9 in Poland and Baltic states. The exercise scenario envisions a military clash, partial occupation of a territory and restoration of the country’s territorial integrity. Notice that to the recent series of Russian – Belarusian drills, entitled Zapad (West) 2013, were attended by more than 80 military attaches, also from NATO. It is sufficiently? Probably is not. But, right, it is an important way to improve the trust between parts.

In the context of global challenges, cooperation and transparency must to become the fundamental attributes of the international relations. And way in which is structured the relationship between Russia and NATO can act like a pattern. Especially since the West seems more open to cooperation with all major global players, not just with Russia. Recall that the 2012 RIMPAC drills, hold between July 11 and August 1, involved 45 warships and support vessels from 22 countries, as well as 100 combat aircraft and over 20,000 naval sailors, including for first time the Russian task force, represented by the destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, the tanker Boris Butoma and the salvage tug Fotiy Krylov. And the next iteration of the biannual Rim of the Pacific military exercises – 2014 could include for first time China’s navy.

Withal, beyond divergent views between Russia and the West and in special the US, all parts appear to have understood that, as Henry Kissinger said in a long time ago – the lifting of China and Asia – in the coming decades will a substantial shift of the international system, the center of gravity will moves from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And the development of many international relations will depend on how each will require its interests in Pacific area.

So far, the relationship between Russia and NATO seems to contradict the opinion of sociologists and relationship experts which claim within ten years those who had a business-marriage will have a stronger relationship. After 22 years since the beginning this relationship is just a little over Cold War temperature. It should be pointed out that in this case such business-marriages does not work because the social and cultural profile of marriage is seen differently by each part. And, perhaps most important – no matter how pragmatic can be somebody in choosing a partner, there always needs “to be chemistry”.

Original file published here.

Summit-ul NATO – un prohod și o renaștere mereu amânate

English Language version can be read on The World ReporterNATO Summit – a funeral and rebirth always postponed

Reuniunea anuală a membrilor Alianței Nord-Atlantice este programată a avea loc în perioada 20-21 mai 2012, țara gazdă fiind de această dată Statele Unite ale Americii. O reuniune aniversară am putea spune, Summit-ul NATO ajungând în acest an la ediția cu numărul 25 (un număr oficial primesc doar întâlnirile considerate tradiționale, nu și cele excepționale). Potrivit declarației Secretarului General al Alianței Nord-Atlantice, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, reuniunea din acest an este, probabil, cea mai mare din istoria NATO, la lucrările Summit-ului urmând a fi prezenți lideri de stat și de guvern din cele 28 de state membre, dar și înalți reprezentanți din alte peste 30 de state ale lumii. Singura absență notabilă în acest cadru pare a fi președintele Federației Ruse, Vladimir Putin. Reuniunea capătă o importanță deosebită și prin faptul că este prima dată când se desfășoară în afara capitalei Statelor Unite, lucrările urmând a avea loc în oraşul natal al preşedintelui Obama – Chicago. Poziționat imediat după reuniunea G8 de la Camp David, Summit-ul NATO vine cu o agendă destul de complicată, mai ales pe fondul instabilității economice din Europa și a numeroaselor schimbări politice din ultimele șase luni (cea mai recentă fiind cea din urma alegerilor prezidențiale din Franța).

În cadrul Summit-ului NATO se va raporta cu privire la pașii făcuți pentru concretizarea deciziilor care au fost luate la Summit-ul de la Lisabona, în noiembrie 2010 (unde, ne amintim, s-au conturat politicile cheie de reformare a Alianţei şi reafirmarea legăturii transatlantice). Summit-ul NATO din acest an se va axa pe trei teme principale. 1. Dosarul Afghanistan și angajamentul clar al NATO de a sprijini autoritățile afghane pe perioada de tranziție până în 2014 și post-tranziție (după 2014). 2. Summit-ul NATO de la Chicago se va concentra și pe implementarea conceptului Smart Defence, în încercarea de a demonstra că Alianţa are capacitatea de a face faţă provocărilor din secolul 21. “Un alt obiectiv al Summitului de la Chicago este de a arăta ‘cum putem să facem faţă provocărilor economice de astăzi pentru a ne pregăti pentru provocările de securitate din viitor” a precizat Rasmussen. Deoarece după peste 6 decenii de existență, NATO poate privi cu mândrie spre trecutul său, dar pentru a-și justifica existența trebuie să vadă cu claritate ce provocări îi rezervă viitorul, cum le poate anticipa și gestiona cu precizie și rapiditate. 3. Al treilea obiectiv al reuniunii va fi întărirea parteneriatelor strategice și consolidarea reţelei partenerilor NATO din întreaga lume. Va exista cu siguranță o recunoaștere publică a efortului făcut de Macedonia în cadrul misiunii din Afghanistan, chiar dacă intrarea acesteia în NATO încă se mai amână, nefiind îndeplinite cerințele convenite în cadrul Summit-ului NATO de la București din 2008. În ceea ce privește participarea Ucrainei în cadrul Summit-ului de la Chicago, chiar la momentul în care liderii europeni își anulau participarea la Summit-ul de la Yalta, ambasadorul US la NATO, Ivo Daadler a menționat în cadrul unei conferințe de presă că: “Ucraina este un membru valoros al Forţei Internaţionale de Asistenţă de Securitate din Afganistan. Şi toţi membrii care contribuie cu trupe, şi, prin urmare, sunt membri ai operaţiunii ISAF, sunt invitaţi la Chicago. De aceea, dl Ianukovici ar putea fi prezent la Chicago. Nu este de competența noastră să ne pronunțăm cu privire la problemele politice actuale, care sunt în curs de desfăşurare în interiorul Ucrainei”. De altfel, lipsa Israelului din cadrul invitaților la Summit a fost justificată tot pe acest considerent – Israelul nu a participat cu trupe in cadrul ISAF – și nu pentru că ar fi fost exercitate presiuni din partea Turciei în acest sens. Desigur, de pe agenda discuțiilor nu vor lipsi subiecte precum criza economică și impactul acesteia asupra bugetelor destinate apărării, urmările Primăverii Arabe, războiul civil din Libia și situația din Siria, dar și planul de a diminua tensiunile și a menține securitatea unor zone cheie cum ar fi Strâmtoarea Ormuz.

Privitor la operațiunile din Afghanistan, conform declarațiilor Reprezentantului Permanent al US la NATO, Ambasadorul Ivo Daadler, prin înțelegerea bilaterală semnată între Statele Unite și Afghanistan*, America se angajează să acorde suport post-tranziție și după 2014, și speră că va reuși să-i convingă și pe ceilalți 28 de membri ai Alianței să participe la acest efort. În același registru putem nota și declarația Secretarului de Stat Hilary Clinton, care la finalul unei reuniuni cu Secretarul Apărării, Leon Panetta pe tema Afghanistan, concluziona: “În primul rând, am fost de acord cu privire la următoarea fază de tranziţie și îndeplinirea obiectivele noastre asumate până în 2014. În al doilea rând, suntem gata să definim cum vedem relaţia de durată dintre NATO și Afganistan după 2014. Şi în al treilea rând, suntem pregătiţi să conlucrăm cu afganii pentru a ne asigura că strategia afgană de securitate va intra în vigoare și va fi implementată în întregime. NATO este o alianță unită în spatele tuturor acestor obiective, astfel încât ne aşteptăm la un summit foarte productiv, în Chicago”. Cu toate acestea, nu puține sunt vocile (chiar din rândul membrilor Alianței) care consideră că gestionarea conflictului din Afganistan ridică un mare semn de întrebare asupra capacității NATO (și implicit a liderului acesteia – US) de a valorifica resursele membrilor săi pentru realizarea unui scop comun. La rândul lor, observatorii americani își îndreaptă frecvent criticile asupra aliaţiilor europeni ai NATO pentru nerespectarea angajamentele lor în Afganistan, cu toate că multe din aceste angajamente au fost astfel formulate încât prin ele însele au generat limitarea implicării și posibilitatea nerespectării acordurilor convenite.

Dacă NATO își propune să supravieţuirea ca o alianţă, atunci eforturile membrilor săi trebuie să reflecte consensul politic şi strategic. Statele Unite ale Americii, ca lider de facto în cadrul Alianţei, ar trebui mai degrabă să încurajeze decât să împiedice acest proces. Lipsa de voinţă politică, lipsa de participare la operaţiunile aliate justificată de lipsa bugetelor pentru apărare – merită critica din partea partenerului american – dar în același timp ele reflectă o lipsă fundamentală de scop comun și de concepere unitară a obiectivelor. Eforturile americane de a influenţa NATO în procesul de luare a deciziilor a favorizat crearea unei opinii conform căreia US “iau decizia, acționează și își impun propriile interese”, iar în procesul de luare a deciziilor opiniile celorlalți membri sunt pur consultative, ceea ce a stârnit întrebări legate de scopul Alianţei. Andrew Dorman (Chatman House) remarcă pe bună dreptate că în cadrul reuniunii de la Chicago “cei 28 de membri ai NATO au multe aspecte asupra cărora trebuie să se pună de acord. În primul rând, implicarea Alianţei în războaie, de la Libia către Afganistan sau invers, şi în războaie potenţiale în Siria și Iran, a generat diferite grade de angajament de la membrii săi şi diferenţe de vedere asupra strategiilor geopolitice ale NATO. Sau formulând întrebarea franc: este o alianță care se concentrează doar pe continentul european sau una care se concentrează pe probleme de securitate mai largi ale membrilor săi, pe potențiale amenințări la nivel mondial ? Cum se definesc aceste amenințări ?” În al doilea rând, potrivit expertului britanic, “rămâne în discuție cum va evolua relaţia NATO cu Rusia în contextul tensionării cauzate de amplasarea elementelor scutului anti-rachetă şi problema spinoasă asociată extinderii în continuare a Alianței prin includerea mai multor state din fosta Uniune Sovietică (Georgia, Ucraina)”. Criticii acerbi ai trendului atlantist consideră că agenda summitului vizează însăşi stâlpii de rezistenţă a organizaţiei, în condiţiile unui vizibil eșec în Iraq și a unei Libii din ce în ce mai instabile, a situației de-a dreptul dezastruoase din Siria și a incapacității comunității internaționale de a găsi o soluție de compromis în cazul dosarului nuclear al Iranului, a crizei financiare generale, ale anului electoral american (disputa acerbă republicani – democraţi pe teme de politică externă) şi ale “reorientării” strategico-militare și economice a Americii, dinspre Europa către zona Asia-Pacific. Desigur, ne-am obișnuit deja în ultimii douăzeci de ani ca în pragul oricărui Summit NATO o serie întreagă de experți, jurnaliști, lideri de opinie nu doar să pună în discuție anumite aspecte, ci chiar să cânte prohodul Alianței Nord-Atlantice. Cum tot de obișnuit țin și briefing-urile de presă ale oficialilor NATO în cadrul Summit-urilor și după, care susțin că în ciuda tuturor adversităților, Alianța continuă să supraviețuiască (chiar dacă promisa reinventare a acesteia e mai degrabă teoretică). Întrebarea care se pune este: până când ?

Din acest mozaic nu puteau lipsi obișnuitele proteste anunțate deja de către inițiatorii mișcării Ocuppy Wall Street, dar și de alte numeroase organizații anti-globalizare și pentru drepturile omului. Astfel că organizatorii au decis un plan de măsuri excepționale de securitate, în urma cărora Chicago va deveni un oraș asediat mai degrabă de către propriile forțe de ordine decât de protestatari. S-a discutat chiar de instituirea unei restricții a zborurilor deasupra orașului pe timpul desfășurării evenimentului (catalogat de altfel de Departamentul de Securitate Internă/DHS ca unul ce necesită măsuri excepționale de securitate). Mai mult, în febra pregătirilor, primarul orașului Chicago, fostul consilier prezidențial Rahm Emanuel a propus și adoptat o serie de măsuri menite a evita posibilele proteste, măsuri însă care vor putea fi luate de autorități și după încheierea lucrărilor Summit-ului. Voi enumera aici doar instalarea de camere de supraveghere în numeroase locuri ale orașului, restricționarea anumitor activități publice, înregistrarea oricărui semn sau banner ce este destinat a fi purtat de mai mult de o persoană, restricționarea paradelor și marșurilor publice, dreptul de a coordona forțele de intervenție (altele decât cele care aparțin Departamentului de Poliție din Chicago). Aceste ordonanțe au atras deja o serie de proteste ale Amnesty International și Ocuppy Chicago, a căror reprezentanți consideră că evenimentul este folosit pentru reducerea abuzivă a libertăților și drepturilor omului.

*La 1 mai 2012, preşedintele Barack Obama şi preşedintele Karzai au semnat Acordul de parteneriat strategic durabil între Statele Unite ale Americii și Republica Islamică Afganistan.

Full agenda of Chicago Summit can be seen here.

Munich Security Conference – the 47th edition/ February 2011

The 47th Munich Security Conference (MSC) takes place from 4 to 6 February 2011 and again bring together senior figures from around the world to engage in European and transatlantic security. The traditional meeting includes a record number of international delegations this year. Agenda of meetings of world security leaders are dominated by the upheaval in Egypt, but also include discussions dedicated to “Implications of the Financial Crisis for Global Stability and Security”, “Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament: What’s Next ?”, “Cyber Security”, “NATO and Afghanistan: A Regional Approach ?”. On Sunday (February, 6) agenda of MSC includes a special panel dedicated “A Tribute to Richard Holbrooke”.

At the beginning of the Security Conference, German Defense Minister  – Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, NATO Secretary General – Anders Fogh Rasmussen and British Foreign Secretary – William Hague pointed out the need for security cooperation in times of shrinking defense budgets. The German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg detailed how the German army is becoming smaller, more professional and more capable. He outlined the difficulties of responding to financial concerns whilst maintaining the national interest. Also, he noted the importance on foreign policy consensus among the North-Atlantic Alliance. The Strategic Concept is a “solid base” for accomplishing defence tasks, he said.

In his speech “Building security in an age of austerity”, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reminded that: “What is less good news is that we continue to face the effects of the financial crisis.  And this years’ conference focuses on dealing with a major challenge – how to build security in an age of austerity.  Despite signs of a recovery, not

Dr. Angela Merkel (le), Federal Chancellor, Germany, David Cameron (mi), Prime Minister, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Wolfgang Ischinger (ri), Chairman, Munich Security

least here in Germany, the effects of the financial crisis will be felt for some time in all our nations.  And governments face tough decisions to bring their economies back into balance”. Full speech of Mr. Rasmussen can be read here.

Secretary of United State Hillary Clinton’s agenda at the 47th Munich Security Conference include (February 5) an exchange of documents with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, that will put into force a nuclear weapons treaty START 2 between their countries. Clinton also will meetings with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to the State Department.

Responding to allegations that by holding a Strategic Defence and Security Review, Britain is somehow retreating from an activist role in the world, Prime Minister David Cameron wanted to remind that “Britain will continue to meet the NATO two per cent target for defence spending. We still have the fourth largest military budget in the world. And at the same time, we are putting that money to better use, focusing on conflict prevention and building a much more flexible army”. Also, Cameron has delivered a speech setting out his view on radicalisation and Islamic extremism. “We need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of these terrorist attacks lie – and that is the existence of an ideology, ‘Islamist extremism’. And we should be equally clear what we mean by this term, distinguishing it from Islam. Islam is a religion, observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a political ideology, supported by a minority. We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing. (…) The root lies in the existence of this extremist ideology. What we see is now a process of radicalisation.”.

I will return in a future post on discussion between Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Ministry, Moscow 
 and John McCain, U.S. Senator, Washington D.C..  Also we take a look at panel discussions «Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament: What’s Next ?»  where attended Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Foreign Ministry – Ankara, Toomas Ilves, President of the Republic of Estonia,(Chairman & Moderator), 
 Sergei Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator – Washington D.C., Frank-Walter Steinmeier, SPD Chairman of the Group Parlamentary – Berlin and Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security – Washington DC.

Although MSC is considered too close and opaque , a meeting where are deciding in secret world politics, about the public accessibility of the Munich Security Conference, conference organizer Wolfgang Ischinger explains that: “The Munich Security Conference operates with a maximum degree of transparency and does not take place behind closed doors. Not only are there several hundred journalists who prepare detailed reports about the conference – with the live stream, we offer the interested public an additional opportunity to follow the conference live on the internet, too.”

What’s happening in the Arab World ?

The participants to the discussion of this topic have been: Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkye, Uzi Arad, National Security Advisor of Israel, Javier Solana, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (ret.), Volker Perthes, Director, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) from Berlin, Frank Wisner, Special Envoy, Washington D.C. (via live conference).
Discussion was moderated by: Nik Gowing, BBC, London

The main conclusion of the discussion focused on the importance of time required to achieve orderly transition. Moreover, this view was reflected in recent days in most of the statements of political leaders from EU, US, Russia, Israel. Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, along with the premiers of Italy and Spain, called upon Mubarak to step down and facilitate a “quick and orderly transition to a broad-based government” on Feb. 3. A similar message came from the Kremlin after a telephone conversation between President Dmitry Medvedev and President Hosni Mubarak. So nothing new in that regard. But it is worth noting some aspects of the discussion.

According to Volker Perthes, difference between the approach suggested by the international community and chaos of the uprising in Egypt comes from the fact that politicians see things in terms of political strategy for the Middle East, by contrast, the population is not interested in these issues, people want economic prosperity, living standards decent. He called on Europeans to quickly initiate specific steps helping the Tunisians in particular. While the United States was especially involved in Egypt, the Tunisians were primarily looking north. The EU, for example, could remove trade barriers for food, or ease visa requirements.

Javier Solana noted that what is happening now in Egypt and how this crisis will be resolved may dictate the future policies that will be constructed toward Islam. Frank Wisner said that the movements in the Middle East and in North Africa are further indicators for a period of major upheaval in the intertwining dynamics of an increasingly globalized world. He agreed that democracy is not limited to holding free and fair elections. Jasmine Revolution is not a revolution made on Facebook, but is a revolution of the young generation in the Arab world who socialize on FB and Twitter, which informs and which have common ideals and aspirations. They aren’t attracted to Islam moderate of Muslim Brotherhood, as they are not interested in Mubarak’s nationalism. They want opportunities, jobs, a better life than their parents. One aspect that politicians should take into account when they design their strategies.

Update: 2011 February 6

NATO and Afghanistan: A Regional Approach ?

The topic for the final day of the conference was Afghanistan, where the withdrawal of international combat forces could begin this year. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was present in Munich for the discussions. In his speech, president Karzai noted that he is “determined to demonstrate Afghan leadership and ownership of the transition process” as Afghanistan prepares to take full responsibility for its security by 2014. Karzai has told that US spend more than 100 billion dollars a year for Afghanistan, and nearby 8 billion goes on financing of national forces of a security. But…he also spoke about “parallel structures” such as private security firms, the NATO-led international force’s provincial reconstruction teams and direct support to provincial offices.”They don’t produce the desired result” Karzai said. “Rather, they are contributing to weakened Afghan government and to impediments to the growth of the Afghan state structures and good governance”. Oh, yes ! it is exactly that aspect because I fear that the fight against corruption of Karzai government will remain unattainable goal stage.