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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO

I am really serious - give peace a chance.

The Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO:

Global security and propaganda dogmas
July 1, 2008

With the demise of Communism, reasons for the West and Russia to be in confrontation vanished. Russia entered on the path of European democracy.

In many areas, cooperation between Russia and NATO has yielded positive results. This is true in Russia's support for the transit of cargo by the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. We are also gaining momentum in civil emergency planning, and our scientists are successfully collaborating on equipment to fight terrorism.

Such successes, however, are largely overshadowed by contradictions in another issue - NATO enlargement and the admission of Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. As the official representative of Russia to NATO I have to deal with what NATO representatives give as arguments, which are in fact fusty propaganda rhetoric of the Cold War. These dogmas threaten both progress in Russia-NATO relations and the prospects for global security, and even the process of cementing democracy in Russia.

Dogma No. 1: NATO is a union of democratic states, and democratic states do not fight other democracies.

This is totally meaningless. NATO is not a union of democracies; it is a union of militaries. When the NATO secretary general criticizes parliamentary elections in my country, he oversteps his mandate. Combining his evaluation of Russian democracy with the thesis that NATO does not fight democracies - and conversely does fight non-democracies - his words could be interpreted as a threat to Russia.

The second dogma - "Russia and NATO are not enemies but partners" - resonates with irrelevance.

The final document of the NATO summit in Bucharest in April promises that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO. This is an obvious affront to any vision of a partnership or democracy.

Neither Georgia nor Ukraine have full domestic support for the accession of their countries to NATO. In Georgia, residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not take part in the referendum on the accession to NATO. And as far as Ukraine is concerned, only a fifth of its population, concentrated mainly in Western provinces, embraces the idea of joining NATO. Despite that, the "alliance of democracies" is trying to drag the rest of the country into its barracks, establishing new lines of division not only within Europe but between nations that have more than a thousand years of common history.

Dogma No. 3: Countries that joined NATO have improved their relations with Russia.

The reality is the opposite. Once they get hold of a club card, NATO neophytes press for globalizing their relations with Russia. When Poland entered European structures, it drew its new partners into its "meat war" with Russia. This scandalous marketing was unsuccessful and had no impact on Russia-EU relations, but it did attract a good deal of attention.

Estonia, obviously counting on the protection of NATO partners, blasphemously ravaged a communal grave of soldiers who died liberating Tallinn from Nazis and dismantled a monument to soldiers who fought fascism. Lack of a definite stand among Western countries was sobering even for the most pro-Western of politicians in Russia.

Dogma No. 4 also resembles propaganda: NATO pursues an "open-door policy."

Russia cannot enter these doors - unlike, for example, Albania or Croatia. That means the enlargement of NATO diminishes the political weight of old European democracies in favor of the United States and to the prejudice of a security environment in Europe that could address real threats.

On the issue of the American plans to deploy elements of strategic missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic: We are reassured again and again: "Russia is not our enemy"; "The missile defense is an umbrella to protect us against bad guys from Iran who threaten the good guys in America and Israel."

In fact, nothing consolidates and compromises opposition better than an outside enemy. As one who lived a significant part of his life under the Soviet regime, let me tell you that if it had not been for the Cold War, democratization would have begun in the USSR decades earlier.

Secondly, plans to intercept Iranian missiles over the Czech Republic and Poland is a joke. Even if we assume Iran is ready to produce these missiles, wouldn't it be more logical to deploy defenses in Turkey, Bulgaria or Iraq? Yet Washington persists in reiterating its arguments, which gives us grounds to believe we are not being told the whole truth.

Then there are the references to the famous Munich speech made by President Vladimir Putin and other claims that Russia is getting more aggressive.

What, did Putin reveal some dark secret? The secret that NATO is enlarging, opening new military bases and establishing division lines in Europe? Is it a secret that NATO has been challenging the UN and ignoring international law?

It's just that Putin said these things in an open and honest manner, as befits a leader meeting with foreign colleagues, urging them to share his concern.

We also have a hard time understanding what drives the USA in partitioning Serbia and creating a criminal state under the de-facto control of a drug mafia. According to UN experts, Kosovo smuggles up to 75 percent of the heroin consumed in Europe.
[bold emphasis mine - Ed.]

So where is the alleged Russian aggressiveness? Is it in trying to convince partners not to make fatal errors? Is it that we state openly that the "deterrence of Russia" concept is senseless, and that the enlargement of NATO does not solve the problems of European security but on the contrary creates an illusion of security, rendering Europe vulnerable to new threats, such as terrorism, religious extremism and illegal migration?

New threats necessitate a new vision of the Russia-NATO partnership, which President Dmitry Medvedev has defined as the "unity of the whole Euro-Atlantic space, from Vancouver to Vladivostok."

Russia's relations with NATO constitute the basis of global security. Today this is the only prerequisite for the development of our relations. Both Russia and Europe have a common past, common values and common culture. Our future too will be common if we fill it with the spirit of trust and true partnership.

As for the propaganda skeletons, they should be stacked in the closet of the Cold War.

Dmitry Rogozin is Russia's ambassador to NATO.

The International Herald Tribune

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