Tag Archives: missile shield

Deveselu missile shield – East and West; PR & Business

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As a history irony, the former Deveselu Air Military Base – build at the URSS request as part of the defensive aerial system created to protect de states that were part of the Warsaw Pact – became NATO base, a part of the shield known as “the US – built missile shield in Europe”, therefore an integrated military system, with numerous components spread around the world and with an eminently defensive role, at least theoretical, but incontestable proactive, inhibitor.

I don’t know if the place has been accidentally chosen or as a result of. Even though few know this thing, in the Cold War period, this base has been a priority target for the CIA agents. There is a story that talks about the declaration as a “persona non-grata” and expulsion of a military diplomat of US to Bucharest, after he has been caught spying the military base by the vigilant “villagers” of the 3rd Counterintelligence Direction.

Let’s make business, not war!

Today, the times have changed, and that active young man and eager to assert his intelligence, if he still alive, can feeling avenged. More, he can visit Deveselu whenever he wants and would have been interesting if someone would have thought to invite him at one of the ceremonies that have been taken place in the last period.

110426-M-3545V-002.jpgI talk about because around in mid-May, the US Embassy in Bucharest organized, from obvious reasons of propaganda and PR, a ceremony to initiate the missile shield system Aegis Ashore from Romania. I said “PR”, because there was only a political – diplomatic protocol. In fact, the testing and functional certification of the capability from Deveselu took place since last fall, in October 2015. But, operational means that its elements must be integrated in the expanded NATO missile defense, i.e. connected with elements placed on the US destroyers hosted by the Rota harbor (Golf of Cadiz, Spain). There was a false pretext of ceremony, because once the system became operational, the control of the facility must be transferred – at least theoretically – to the command of the Alliance. Or the really transfer just happened to the NATO Summit in Warsaw.

Could things escalate above the rhetorical level to a new Cold War or even worse? In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched to the SPIEF works an unequivocal message to the EU: ”Come on, let all conflicts behind and to see about our business!”  Right ! Although the war has enriched some, a business-friendly climate never killed anyone. Consequently, let’s make business not war!

At the same time, the ceremony from Romania prefaced another event: the launch ceremony of the next phase of the project that will be hosted in Poland[1]. Benefiting from the highest level support – by the presence of the Romanian PM Dacian Ciolos and the NATO General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg – the event has raised numerous statements in response, the most publicized being of course the one of the Russian President Vladimir Putin with clear reference to Romania and Poland[2]. Putin said, no more and no less, that the US military capabilities  have been or to be built in the two countries are directed against one target, and this target is Russia, the conversion from the defensive system in an offensive one being easy. redzikowo-base

In support of these allegations, Russian officials said the system Aegis Ashore, including Deveselu, using launches vertical type MK-41 equipment which supposedly could launch not only interceptor missiles, but also cruise missiles Tomahawk type banned by INF Treaty[3]. The reaction of NATO officials was either one flaccid, denial no arguments or just one bombastic.  So we witnessed to strengthening of the US military presence and the NATO multinationals brigades in the region. We saw many joint military exercises with the armed forces from the eastern flank, as an answer to “the aggressive behavior of the Russian authorities”. And suddenly, was delivered an explanation that is going to calm the spirits: “This will be a presence to deter Russia, not threaten Russia”. Epic !

In spite the apocalyptical titles from mass-media and the tensions accumulated between East and West – Deveselu is just one of the bone of contention – in essence, the two parts have done nothing more than to reiterate the same statements, motivations and arguments that were heard beforehand September 2011 when at Washington has been signed an agreement between Romania and US. Who profits from this verbal war? Who uses the antiballistic shield from Europe? Deveselu shield is ensuring protection or is threatening?[4] A cynical expert could say that to protect some, many, are sacrificing others few which are transformed in potential priority targets. I am saying that, maybe, this is the price that Romania must to pay following its option. History will decide if it was a good one or not.

Could things escalate above the rhetorical level to a new Cold War or even worse? In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched to the SPIEF works an unequivocal message to the EU: ”Come on, let all conflicts behind and to see about our business!”  Right ! Although the war has enriched some, a business-friendly climate never killed anyone. Consequently, let’s make business not war!

In the meantime, some questions and assumptions response are especially necessary.

Qui prodest? – following the money and not only…

The Pentagon’s arguments regarding the placement of the anti-missiles shield elements in Europe has been modified constantly by the economic and diplomatic interests, by the foreign policy of the White House, by the partnerships from the North Atlantic Alliance, by strategies and resources.

Pre-summit press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July 2016

Pre-summit press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July 2016

Of course, for Bucharest is slightly difficult to waltz every time with the exchangers motivations delivered by Washington, especially after signing the agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, which has “suspended” at least temporarily “reasons” of anti-missile shield in Europe, confirming involuntarily the signals given previous by Moscow, the ones that we’ve been talking about earlier. In this context, the conflict between Ukraine and the intervention from Crimea of the Russia offered to the American policy a false but apparently credible enough argument in front of the NATO partners to continue the project. It is like a “Dear Putin, you are right, but you still got no red boots” (or do you?). I don’t know how to say it so it won’t be untranslatable. In short, if a decisive pretext would disappear, immediately another one could be found.

But let’s back and talk about money. During his recent European tour, in Berlin Barak Obama reminded to all NATO members that US would like to recover at least part of the money invested in the missile defence from Europe. As well reiterated how important a budget increase in defence is. All this suggest that, beyond strategies and security threats, here is all about business. As we all know, US is the first on top of arms exports, and the main rival is Russia.[5] If we take a close look to the competition between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin on the European market for anti-aircrafts and anti-missile systems[6] or if remark the irritation caused by the Turkey’s decision to spend a fortune building a similar system, like the Chinese one, but non-compatible with NATO technology, it becomes clear where is the US’ interest, and why they clang (literally and figuratively) their weapons along Russia’s borders.

The only way to prove the viability of the North-Atlantic Alliance is to provide a perpetually credible enemy. So, for this role US need a powerful state, alive, aggressively pursues its legitimate interests, fully equipped military, influential and credible. If this state holds nuclear triad, is better. The perfect profile to be labelled by the West propaganda as ”global danger”. And Russia is the perfect match.

To add a touch of colour to the previous paragraph, Raytheon already proved their quality products comparing with Lockheed Martin in 1991 during the Gulf War, when the Patriot missiles enjoyed huge global exposure. We remember those missiles flying randomly, in all directions, although later was proved that Saddam had no ballistic charge to launch!  It was the start of the Raytheon’s transit from fridge-freezers, air conditioner machine and transistors – to build aircrafts. Today, they became the greatest provider of radar equipment and air defence. Because, as snippets of Anglo-Saxon wisdom teach us, “ought not to put our trust in money, but put money in a place we can trust.”

But isn’t just about money! By far the most important for US was (and still is) legitimisation of its actions through NATO. US want to claim legally approved, recognised and sustained military interventions via NATO, similar to those approved and sustained by or under the UN’s flag. The only way to prove the viability of the North-Atlantic Alliance, divided by the huge discrepancy (income and resources) between the older member and the newcomers (especially the eastern wing, formed by the states of the ex-Warsaw Treaty), is to provide a perpetually credible enemy. So, for this role US need a powerful state, alive, aggressively pursues its legitimate interests, fully equipped military, influential and credible. If this state holds nuclear triad, is better. The perfect profile to be labelled by the West propaganda-machine as ”global danger”. And Russia is the perfect match.

Threat versus opportunity 

On the one side, Russia had lots of objections about the missile defence from Europe since the plan for it was just on Pentagon’s papers. But, the Russia reactions went light, fragmented between the objections against the US and NATO, because US theoretically had passed all decision on this issue to NATO. Russian Ambassador to NATO at that time, Dmitry Rogozin, currently vice premier, was put in an impossible situation: to ”negotiate” with all 28 member states. Concomitant, US spread some information about the possibility that

Russian Ministry of Defence, General Army Sergey Shoigu

Russian Ministry of Defence, General Army Sergey Shoigu

Russia could join NATO. Obviously, was just a plan to deceive the vigilance of Kremlin. Was a move which the Moscow understood later, and attempted to reverse by rethinking its medium and long term military and diplomatic strategies. Perhaps, a ”cold shower” for Kremlin was, as well, on 21st February 2008 at 3.26 am, when the Lake Erie warship has launched a single RIM – 161 – SM – 3 missiles (similar to those from Deveselu), slightly modified for extra-atmospheric flight. It hit and destroyed US 193 satellite on 247 km above Pacific Ocean. Just like Stars War! Today, without satellites you’re as good as dead! Probably, Russian officials got scared thinking about their own satellites floating about in space, although they remained (apparently) indifferent to the event.

Perhaps such a ”reason” worried the global press, not just the pro-Atlantic one, which too easy slipped over the conditional undertone in President Putin’s statement that Russia will aim Romania ”only if” Russian army and Russian secret services will observe that ”the defensive purpose of the facility from Deveselu will be changed into an offensive one”.

On the other side, Russia used an ambivalent speech, which did not help international community to understand it intentions. In fact, one day political representatives from Russia affirm that missile defence from Deveselu is an obvious threat on Russia security. The next day, military officials infirm and explain there is no threat to Iskander, Topol–N or Bulava missiles. All these looks like pure propaganda! Although, there is some true. About some missiles even Vladimir Putin or US officials speak quietly. Looks like those missiles might penetrate the shield defence?! There is about SSN – 30 A, released recently , on the Caspic Sea, against some targets from Syria. Some military blogs said it may hit anywhere in Europe, and can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads.  Remind that in 2013 US spoke about the violation of INF Treaty and said that the new technology is derived from Russian cruise missile SSC – X – 8. Perhaps such ”reason” worried the global press, not just the pro-Atlantic one, which too easy slipped over the conditional undertone in President Putin’s statement that Russia will aim Romania ”only if” Russian army and Russian secret services will observe that ”the defensive purpose of the facility from Deveselu will be changed into an offensive one”.

Moreover, the opinion of the Russian Minister of Defence expressed by spokesperson, Gen. Major Igor Konashenkov, that „NATO’s accusations that Russia is breaching the military transparency mechanisms in Europe are an attempt to encourage anti-Russian feelings, in order to increase the Alliance’s military expenses. It is obvious that the true purpose of this declaration…is to deliberately stimulate panic and maintain the chymera of a common enemy” is quite rightly. But I personally noticed that, by allowing this permanent verbal conflict to brew, Russia is making itself a disfavour, and fuels the growing of Russophobia in Europe.

In the same times, I think that feelings against Russians can be capitalised by Russia to increase its own military capabilities, and to intiate, develop and strengthen a military alliances of BRICS, even if many times Vladimir Putin said that there are no plans for a military or political alliance. In these terms, the Deveselu shield seems more like a generator of opportunities, rather than a threat to the Russian Federation. In the same way as the military Russian doctrine according to which „The Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in retaliation to the use of nuclear weapons or any other type of weapons of mass destruction against it, and/or of its allies, and also in the case of assault by conventional weaponry against the Russian Federation if this threatens the very existence of the State” seems more like a big generator of opportunities for the US than a threat against eastern flank of NATO.

Placebo pill for the eastern wing of NATO

               Least, but not last, for Romania and the Romanian leaders in Bucharest, the missile shield represents the mainly project in the fields of military and security cooperation with the US, itself a strategic partner and leader of NATO. It is a major investment in Romania security and, according the “NATO guide”, it is not aimed against Russia, but has a preventive purpose, to discourage and to provide warning in the event of a hypothetical ballistic missile attack. Sure, a similar motivation is also provided for the components of the shield which will be assembled in Poland[7]. Romania and Poland understand and accept the risk of being primary targets in the event of an armed conflict between Russia and NATO. In other words, both countries are trying to prove that are safe, loyal, predictable and consistent partners in the achievement of their duty.

_60312125_us_missile_def_slide03_624_2Besides the rhetoric threatening, the shield benefit is difficult to prove, because we are dealing with hypotheses – possible, but unlikely. Anyway, for the countries of the eastern wing of NATO the shield seems just an expensive pill, with placebo effect, against Russian fears. Most likely, it is just so: they create the problem, then they come up with an apparent saving solution, obviously expensive.

But of course, there is an elementary question: What they receive in return?  Can Romania be sure that NATO will defend it, if necessary? More: Is the missile shield protective just for countries from the West of Europe because it slightly diverts attention from some of them? Besides the rhetoric threatening, the shield benefit is difficult to prove, because we are dealing with hypotheses – possible, but unlikely. Anyway, for the countries of the eastern wing of NATO the shield seems just an expensive pill, with placebo effect, against Russian fears.

Most likely, it is just so: they create the problem, then they come up with an apparent saving solution, obviously expensive. This may work as well for the Russians, but contrary.

Follows the Stoltenberg’s statements at the summit in Warsaw regarding the resumption of work on the NATO – Russia Council, the conclusion can be only one: beyond headline propaganda and political interests, spheres of influence and ideological confrontations, nobody can push things over the red point where there’s no turning back. Not even NATO.

  And what if the defensive purpose of the Deveselu shield might be replaced with offensive ones (the possibility to replace interceptor missiles with offensive ones, even American officials not try to deny anymore)? It means an already clear decision for military conflict between NATO and Russia (which seems unlikely – nobody truly wants a war with Russia, particularly a nuclear war). In case of conflict, with or without missile shield, Romania is in the very first line. Because Romania means NATO, even if its commitments are obviously, but not the rights and interests as an ally, especially as border ally, as well.

And finally, a question for Russia : if – hypothetical – the countries of the former Warsaw Pact would not have opted for integration into NATO and the EU, the most probably would have had all the chances to experience a greater infusion of democracy type ”Arab Spring” or “Euromaidan”. What would have Russia been able to do for them? Probably nothing concrete – not out of spite or ill faith – while the cores of violence would spread everywhere around and multiplied exponentially. More so, would Russia have felt less vulnerable with multiple sources of instability like Ukraine around it? The answer is considerably more predictable that the security risk generated by the Deveselu missile shield. Follows the Stoltenberg’s statements at the summit in Warsaw regarding the resumption of work on the NATO – Russia Council, the conclusion can be only one: beyond headline propaganda and political interests, spheres of influence and ideological confrontations, nobody can push things over the red point where there’s no turning back. Not even NATO.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s return to the usual (and peaceful) business!

***

Gabriela Ionita is Romanian journalist, editor în chief of Power&Politics World journal, analyst in the field of International Relations and Security Studies (mainly connected with the Russian Federation and Community of Independent States). She took her university degree in Communication and Public Relation at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration – Bucharest. Also she attended intensive courses Diplomacy and National Security organized by the Centre for Strategic Applications – Bucharest. She has Master degree in the field of Foreign languages and civilizations (Slavonic studies) at the Faculty of Philology from ”Al.I. Cuza” University – Iassy.

[1] Ground Base Redzikowo (Poland) will be part of the American system of missile defense developed in Europe, the Phase III development of the European side of the US missile defense (European Phased adaptive Approach / EPAA), the term for completion in 2018. http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/facility/redzikowo.htm

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3614027/Vladimir-Putin-warns-Poland-Romania-caught-crosshairs-Russian-rockets-hosting-defence-shield-considers-threat-national-security.html

[3] Intermediate-Range and Shorter Range Missiles Treaty was signed in 1987 by the US and the USSR. http://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm

[4] The facility hosted three US Deveselu includes SPY-1 radar, and SM-3 interceptors. These missiles are produced by Raytheon Corporation and can be launched from the vessel and from the land base and the Deveselu. They can intercept short-range missiles or medium-range missiles in the middle or final phase of their trajectory. Can engage enemy missiles in outer space. No one knows exactly reach of these interceptors. SM-3 missile to destroy enemy rocket strikes, why does not contain explosive.

[5] http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-v-us-arms-imports-2015-4

[6] http://www.reportlinker.com/report-summary/Aerospace-And-Defence/83407/Missile-Industry-in-the-United-States.html

[7] http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160513/1039578197/poland-us-air-defense.html

Original file published by «New Defence Order. Strategy» / «Новый Оборонный Заказ. Стратегии», 2016, №3 (40)

 

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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.

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)