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Peter Presland
11-17-2010, 12:03 PM
Credit due to Paul Rigby for this since he introduced us (me anyway) to the "Oriental Review" (http://orientalreview.org/2010/11/17/the-cost-russia-will-pay-for-nato-rapprochement/) Blog.

This is very perceptive article. It illustrates just how far we have come from what its author describes as "The Yalta-Potsdam System" that effectively defined and mediated major strategic issues from the end of WWII to the collapse of the Soviet Union. - ie there is serious discussion inside the Russian Elite about a historic rapprochement (not to say absorption into) the NATO alliance. There are all manner of things in the recent past that have me believing that the Anglo/US/NATO project really is on the cusp of defacto planetary domination (even as its host economies collapse - or are being collapsed) and that Russia, if not already a silent partner, is close to it - the UN resolution on Iranian sanctions being the most obvious.


Victor KOVALEV

The NATO summit which will convene in Lisbon on November 19-20 will adopt the alliance’s new strategic concept switching NATO from regional defense to global-scale missions. In practice, the reform will institutionalize the West’s victory in the Cold World War III. The already visible results of the victory include the ongoing departure from the Yalta-Potsdam system and the downscaling of the role played by the UN – or at least by the UN Security Council – in international relations.
These days, Russia’s rapprochement with NATO would take more than a political decision. Rather, it would have to be a civilizational choice, and the question arising in the context is: are Russians – not the outspoken Westernized minority, but the majority – willing to forge an alliance with the forces which fought against Russia for centuries and are currently waging a Cold War against it, employing novel indirect-impact strategy and chaos control? Since, at least nominally, Russia’s strategy in international politics is that of pragmatic partnerships based on common interests rather than on shared values, the first step should be to explain the underlying common interests of the potential alliance.
The new world order built as we watch on the ruins of the Yalta-Potsdam system automatically energizes a range of negative global processes and is prone with new wars or major regional conflicts. At the moment, the situation in the Far East already appears similar to that in Europe on the eve of World War II.
Futurological studies conducted by the Russian Academy of Science showed that:
1. The world’s climbing out of the 2008-2010 global recession is unlikely to translate into sustainable growth, and another global economic downturn can be expected already by 2012-2013;
2. Social and military-political conflicts will proliferate in 2014-2020.
At present the world is confronted with a spectrum of global models not necessarily leading to Pax Americana. While the fact that a global transformation is underway is beyond doubt, the direction in which the process evolves continues to stir debate. The change may be understood as a drift towards established capitalism and a world dominated by transnational corporations or as the onset of a globally segregated post-capitalist society opening access to prosperity to some 20% of the world’s population and locking others in poverty and chaos.
In any case, we are enduring the epoch of a systemic crisis and decline of capitalism which, in addition to its intrinsic problems, faces increasing pressure from the rising Asia. Under the circumstances, Russia’s priority should be to avoid being dragged into the epicenter of the coming collapse. Hoping to get rid of competitors in the post-capitalist world and to enforce a “final solution” of the Russian problem, the West is luring Russia into this very epicenter.
So, what is NATO offering Russia? So far, we are only invited to jointly assess security threats. The idea is not bad in itself: history abounds with examples of seemingly credible alliances induced by common threats, but what common threats could the Russia-NATO strategic alliance repel? Upon filtering out verbiage, the essence of the proposed alliance boils down to the following:
1. Russia would find itself involved in a standoff with the Muslim world.
2. Russia would be neutralized during the planned attack against Iran which would render Tehran unable to play an independent role in international politics or compete over the regional leadership.
3. Russia would be donating its resources to the NATO campaign in Afghanistan which is rapidly losing momentum.
4. Moscow would see its promising dialog with Beijing suspended as China would end up fully encircled.
Do we really need any of the above?
Why would Russia agree to the role of NATO’s frontier in case a conflict in Asia breaks out? We would be better off watching the hostilities unfold, given that the potentials on the opposing sides are more or less equal. We would be in an advantageous position waiting at a distance for the outcome of the battle between the two giants – the US and China (http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2010/11/13/china-and-us-a-clash-of-interests.html) – as the two clash over currencies and industrial affairs.
Russia’s pro-Western politicians argue that:
1. Russia should opt for the membership in the Western world and help preserve the existing (and crumbling) world-system, if necessary remaining its peripheral element.
2. NATO can issue the desired pass to the Western world.
3. The strategic alliance with NATO would be a step towards full NATO membership and consequently towards the admission to the EU, etc.
What those who hold the above views tend to ignore is the cost of the problem. Let us examine briefly the costs Russia would face if it choses to integrate into NATO (http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2010/10/19/should-russia-seek-to-join-nato.html). Russia’s losses would be due to the following circumstances:
1. Decision-making in NATO is consensus-based.
2. Settling all territorial disputes is a prerequisite for the admission to NATO.
3. A NATO candidate must fully switch to the NATO standards (http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2010/11/09/nato-standards-and-russias-armed-forces.html).
4. Russia’s ability to implement independent policies in the military-political sphere, including the arms trade, would be severely clipped.
5. Russia’s strategy aimed at debarring post-Soviet republics from NATO would become unsustainable.
6. Russia’s financial contributions to the NATO budget would occasionally support causes Russia has no reasons to regard as its own.
7. For Russia, pledging allegiance to the mythical Atlantic solidarity would entail joining “the energy NATO”, an arrangement incompatible with Moscow’s initiative to build the “gas OPEC”.
The first and the second of the above points deserve to be treated in finer detail. To have its territorial disputes resolved,
1. Russia would have to cede to Japan the so-called northern territories, namely four Kuril Islands. In fact, even greater concessions can be required. In a relatively distant past, the US Congress passed a resolution – with no expiration date, notably – calling for a revision of the San-Francisco peace treaty. The resolution recommended that the US government regard all the Kuril Islands plus the Sakhalin Island as illegally occupied territories. Recently the US Congress expressed support for Japanese protests against president Medvedev’s Kuril Islands tour.
2. Russia would have to back off in the Arctic dispute with Denmark and Canada and – as a minimal concession – renounce its claim to the Lomonosov Ridge. Moreover, Russia might have to altogether drop its positions in the Arctic region and accept the EU approach by which the Arctic region should be internationalized like Antarctica. It has already been announced that NATO regards the Arctic region all the way to the North Pole as its responsibility zone.
3. Russia might also face unformalized territorial claims that exist de facto. Estonia and Latvia uphold claims to the Pechersky and Postalovsky districts of Russia’s Pskov province. Disagreements persist between Russia and Ukraine over the status of the Strait of Kerch and the Sea of Azov. The demarcation of the Black Sea border between Russia and Georgia cannot be expected to take place in the nearest future. Finally, Russia’s Caspian neighbors – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan – are keenly interested in the partition of the Caspian Sea.
In addition to territorial claims, NATO’s consensus-based decision-making can present a serious problem for Russia. Admission of a candidate to the alliance materializes only in case all of the NATO members consent to it. As a result, Russia will inevitably run into roadblocks put by Poland and the Baltic republics which are eager to supervise the West’s relations with Moscow. Oddly enough, they continue to demand that Russia compensate them for the alleged Soviet-era occupation! Currently 8 countries, most of them – NATO members, have material claims against Russia, the corresponding total exceeding the amount accumulated in Russia’s stabilization fund.
Therefore, even a sketchy analysis demonstrates that for Russia rapprochement with NATO makes absolutely no sense. For Russia, the optimal strategy in the nearest future and in the mid-term is to pursue the policy of active neutrality relying on the country’s strategic deterrent and otherwise backed by military force.
Not joining NATO but mobilizing resources to strengthen the country’s defense potential can help Russia route around the coming global military conflict. To watch the conflict from a distance as the reasonable strategy advises, Russia should be mindful of historical lessons and maintain commensurate military potential, including the nuclear deterrent. Besides – also in line with the traditional strategic wisdom – Moscow should not allow the West to save its civilization by sacrificing Russia.

Magda Hassan
11-28-2010, 12:03 PM
Russia and NATO: Cooperation or Confrontation?

By Eric Walberg

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22091 (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NwFYU-_jN9dkutBUsfec1-zBYXoheHjAYpQaQGhXFAloWmktDo-mbvlV1qmcod1ElCsaFU79BV0dGPua2jgrKPYBTZtcZn8mH3w5b 9gWmAQUFrYOhe_S-w0sSfzq7g5sOoB5AfcUGD_8PLatc4EiTLmSF09hF0VxUM=)

Global Research (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4Nx15c42_GKq-vBCcVag2hl_vA1TiqJrqjX2NVKoMrNOpNALvA0oAB3jhwW8BEG _3JeJzRwy9K22hdcQ4QXvuRsdJP3Ep5QRpymROG9WtXNaRQ==) , November 25, 2010

Medvedev’s presence in Lisbon was more a show of Russia’s importance than of subservience to the Euro-Atlantic alliance

The results of the NATO summit were as predictable as a Soviet Communist Party congress, with the word “peace” replaced by “war”. NATO’s embrace of the US agenda of missile defence, nuclear arms, and its new role as global policeman surprised no one. No word about the United Nations or peacekeeping (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NzqNTzSPKjZ8Sf1btvNOnn3SHsiDfcd8YoeK L-zN4Y5yx2zyzHhzFeHWN0hXlOhkpUzE1x_-sA_p-47ROR3wrNKRvEg2fui9Nb4DQQ3zzanloQuIIk7YJIJesSmSQ0L JPFk5Zj2rVHn6ydI4tpmYX2OWZqG_CuYGPGrV79CrRQGwXCZQG buajU3). In deference to Russia, the only mention of eastern expansion was continued “partnerships” with former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia. Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were also offered special status. The new Strategic Doctrine, replacing the more modest Euro-centric 1999 model, really just reaffirmed US control of the foreign policy of what Zbigniew Brzezinski called its “vassal states”.

There were a few ripples. France’s new defense minister, Alain Juppe, openly said the Afghan conflict was a “trap” for NATO and called for an exit strategy, unlike Head of the British Armed Forces Sir David Richards, who opined, “NATO now needs to plan for a 30 or 40 year role.” The Euro-spat continues over the continued presence of nuclear weapons in Europe, between France, which prides itself on its force de frappe, and Germany, which was denied any such private nuclear toys during the Cold War.

But they agreed to disagree and the summit was all smiles and photo ops, at least centre-stage. On the sidelines, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told a warm United States President Obama Barack that he was ready to cooperate on missile defence (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NwJrqxBOb1TlCF_FdE-G1CUy8Tvd2b6eroOts_UDdSRezOOYApr-t4P6xIfBGyPEH0QgM3c8I_mZ0Q9MLMwv-N1tpst2OOUZeVnzVOZerVOXNj1hzigYSMoB7QUK5LD_L4gON9R Bqe-zvAczQ1K9dCS0yWQFooaM7flLErzYiyhn0zp-pm1EPwV) but only in “a full-fledged strategic partnership between Russia and NATO”, and Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai told a frosty Obama that he should scale back military operations and night raids that inflict heavy civilian casualties.

Through NATO’s integration into the Pentagon’s world command structure, it can be said that now, officially, the US rules the world. NATO has its Istanbul Initiative, attempting to militarise the Mediterranean Dialogue (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NyzZVb92GAk98J95VvyyhMYVe69E2TYB2WHt RbeaR4LwUAeKoO2buw4PwQwK139wzrBHupf7htm0fye4KbFot3 o2GrRLboP_pS2Y_W05xRjgY6U0a7lBIHmOl0DjtdC9f7H-6NSgSAWx2oA_vAXR4oUmyWeVf7vkrvEqq0bNYDTDiDcUAdMbdm U) and Gulf Cooperation Councils covering the entire Middle East, including Israel. Even in Africa, only Eritrea, Libya, Sudan and Zimbabwe do not (yet) have relations with USAFRICOM. But then, NATO’s two major “out of area” police roles -- Kosovo and Afghanistan -- are not encouraging signs, nor are the Pentagon’s efforts in Iraq. The bigger NATO gets, and the more far-flung the US military, the more unwieldy and expensive both become. How do Malaysian soldiers in Afghanistan converse with Albanians? As Muslims, they may know their prayers in Arabic, but only by rote. And can they be trusted to kill their Afghan brothers?

What Russian strategists really think of NATO’s “new” doctrine is difficult to tell. The professed preference for closer relations with the West by Atlantist Medvedev (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NyFcPrBZZ3lgF408Ro-o0ZsZG9nyX8XwfMy1FNXIZojFoVg2Y8pUfSOXg17MC4c-XA-i3z94XqRxS_PHJ4LOwc5DvTyFhI2lKqi2yzSk3AE6dtnSc913_ d-wxU_DwlMBg6rhTlNSz7Prtx-ZG4ZNvu62VHUxZRGxc0lyob1rCpEgbEkoqYRZaHZ) and the Russian elites he represents differ markedly from his predecessor Putin’s. Despite Medvedev’s assurances, his appearance at the NATO conference did little to dissipate the confusion about relations with NATO. His offer of a joint missile defence network is not the one that the US has in mind. He told the gathering that Russia won’t join NATO missile defence as “piece of furniture”. A senior Russian diplomat told Kommersant, “Yes, we will defend countries to the west of Russia. Equally, NATO must commit to the same responsibilities -- any missiles that fly against us over Europe, they must all be shot down by American or NATO forces.”

Despite Russia’s apparent weakness, it still casts the biggest shadow over the alliance. There are signs of meaningful cooperation in the Russia-NATO Council Action Plan as described by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russia's Black Sea Fleet is taking part in NATO’s antiterrorist Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea and fighting against piracy off the coast of Somalia. Rather than a will-o-the-wisp missile defence, he emphasised the joint radar system near completion along Russia’s western borders “to prevent seizures of aircraft by terrorists” and the ongoing assistance “during floods, fires and man-made disasters”.

But Lavrov said there are “international problems on which we do not see eye to eye”, that in any missile defence system there must be “no actions that may adversely affect the legitimate interests of each other”. He was more concerned about reducing conventional forces in Europe and “a systemic discussion about military restraint”. NATO “must be guided by the UN Charter, especially in regard to the possible use of force in international relation, and by international law”. Meaning, of course, that at present NATO policies adversely affect Russia, and NATO and the US are operating outside of international law.

Quite possibly more significant than the hot air emitted in Lisbon was the tete-a-tete between Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel a month earlier on 18-19 October at their own mini-summit in Deauville, calling on the EU to launch a “modernisation partnership” with Russia, establishing an economic space with “common security concepts”, including visa-free travel and cooperation on European security. The United States was pointedly not mentioned though the security issues involved “the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian zones”, a half-step towards Medvedev’s proposal for a new European Security Treaty (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4Nyz21-UppZBTq7wwXNEmixf-Ff6_xTw4btk0XjBlKmZmmRP1_7dJmRJ5siVT5yGNQmlqAzbN_S Ui_8GZrH1Jz9TkT7NGMs8VbpZdA6nbuZkAJex4OPjhqBJMFj6q Ytak4rP0lJFBt8n_HS77KZWLppYblMtretojw30qn4C3gwHaTd br2rDnNf_) in 2008.

Despite the professed devotion of the French and German leaders to the US and the war in Afghanistan, this clear outreach to Russia by the EU’s most important members is an expression of the geopolitical logic at work as the US flounders and Russia matures into an unavoidable and increasingly desirable Eurasian partner. It is Russia that provides Europe with access to a large market and source of raw materials -- a peaceful gateway to the entire continent. This contrasts with the US/NATO forced march from Eurasia’s underbelly, creating enemies from the Middle East through Iran to China. Spoiler Britain was pointedly left out of the Deauville summit. Even at its most Atlantist, Russia is establishing a new configuration without the Ango-American empire at the centre.

Both the power struggle among Russia’s political elite and the developing facts-on-the-ground in Afghanistan and Washington, where START is probably not going to be ratified by the Senate, will determine just how US-Euro-Russian relations fare, and whether calls for Putin to run for president in 2012 result in a return of Russian geopolitical strategy to the Eurasian path (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NyFcPrBZZ3lgF408Ro-o0ZsZG9nyX8XwfMy1FNXIZojFoVg2Y8pUfSOXg17MC4c-XA-i3z94XqRxS_PHJ4LOwc5DvTyFhI2lKqi2yzSk3AE6dtnSc913_ d-wxU_DwlMBg6rhTlNSz7Prtx-ZG4ZNvu62VHUxZRGxc0lyob1rCpEgbEkoqYRZaHZ) it was taking prior to Medvedev. Medvedev’s abrupt cancellation of the S-300 missile deal with Iran (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4Nxhj3JGcMVd7LCLRMYfEpvMJ-rk_vP9B6eKJf7pLRerMWkSV_6mRLiKKBtKTLxNKPEFWZCUHEVb t9gC80XWk6X5FmZTE45fPUy1AjaZHoHwfcHPNvdtEO7XB40RxU rPDQXhU2OBd7YlJBUcJMuBFTT35PgCG_0ldXeGow_gy-I8HLRxoh9quPeG) was not a popular one; it “undermines Russia’s prestige and erodes its security, making the world less safe for every one of us. At the moment, the Islamic world has reasons to believe that Moscow has switched to the camp of its foes,” warns former Russian Joint Chief of Staff member General Leonid Ivashov.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, taking a leaf from both Lavrov and Ivashov, insisted at the summit that any missile defence shield should protect NATO members from real threats, which translates into Turkish as “protecting NATO members from Israel, not Iran”. He called for a nuclear weapons-free zone ranging from Iran to Israel. Davutoglu might have felt more comfortable outside the summit with members of the “No to War – No to NATO” alliance, who continued their tradition of using NATO summits as platforms of protest against war and militarism. They installed a Square of Peace and held a counter summit and International Anti-war Assembly, suggesting their own Strategic Doctrine for NATO -- euthanasia.

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NyceId3W9_66RM3BQEKzHAPcEbj0T_3cDvDu t7QEAPM80UoiVLJG9oSi--qNsBP8g--NUQ6cAFQny2lVW_0IRupb6YQY2GxV88Xh6MH4D3VwA==) You can reach him at http://ericwalberg.com/ (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=o8b4necab&et=1103982762388&s=793&e=001fbXssyk_4NwLfe1MZvbVpogTpLM1IN6NwW3JnnLIfbVve n0w3fg7ceD4GGaNgmTIblEZheongYLtvjmkY_-B7WgcH9haExlzo4F-NqRh-8ibTkduKnqiiw==)

Peter Presland
11-28-2010, 12:47 PM
Hmmm. Food for thought isn't it?

Wallberg is another writer I take seriously but I'm unconvinced about the judgements evidenced in this article. It complements that Rick Rozoff article I posted about in Jan's "Nato Missile Shield:Why?" (http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5040&highlight=Russia) thread, but with a different take.

Wallberg posits a possible return to what he charcterises as a 'Eurasian track' allegedly pursued prior to the Medvedev era. I find that a bit simplistic. In spite of Putin's impressive 2007 speech about multi-polarity there were plenty of indications even then that Russia was angling for a major rapprochement with NATO. There are even those in the West who have Putin down as a long-term Western SIS asset all along - I have a now defunct web-site to that effect archived somewhere.

I think they're both right about the the Internal Russian Elites power struggle though - with the Russian military the big - and maybe unpredictable - obstacle to any serious cosying up to the US/NATO