Talbott Wants Russia in NATO

June 4, 2002 - UPI - Ira Straus

From the International Desk

MOSCOW -- The former U.S. deputy secretary of state and top Clinton administration policymaker toward Russia told a Moscow conference last weekend he welcomed the prospect of Russia joining NATO as a full member and saw the move as a major step toward creating an effective world government.

Strobe Talbott, current head of the Washington-based Brookings Institution, was addressing the May 30-31 conference on "Euro-Atlantic Integration and Russia after Sept. 11." His remarks, which came after comments by by senior policy advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin, were particularly significant as Talbott is widely seen as a frontrunner to become secretary of state in a future Democratic administration.

Talbott told the conference he envisaged Russia as eventually coming into NATO, with Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea soon following. This would turn NATO into a worldwide security system of the North -- a prospect that he welcomed.

However, Talbott defended the Clinton administration's more cautious policy creation of a Permanent Joint Council between Russia and NATO as an interim limited arrangement. He argued that the onus was still on Russia to reform itself further before having any closer relation to NATO. He argued that the new NATO-Russia Council of 20 would not go much farther than the PJC and should not, or else there would be justified objections to it.

During the Clinton years, the PJC was attacked by congressional Republicans and whittled down to a rump to mollify them. But Talbott defended the PJC even in its current rump form as a logical basis for attacking any Republican plans to go farther.

However, Sergei Rogov, head of the USA and Canada Institute, a leading Moscow think tank, retorted that the Council of 20 did go farther than the PJC in advancing NATO-Russian integration as it had a more substantive agenda.

Tiziana Stella, the conference organizer and head of the Euro-Atlantic Institute of International Integration Studies, said the concept of integrating Russia into the Atlantic community of nations went all the way back to peace proposals offered during World War I. These ideas, she said, had been brought to maturity in the 1930s by Clarence Streit, the former New York Times journalist, as a plan of uniting the Atlantic democracies into a political-military-economic federation.

Streit's proposed federation would have a dual purpose: first, of serving as a hegemonic nucleus of world order; second, of serving as an open nucleus of integration that other countries -- specifically Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia -- could join once they overthrew their dictatorships and became democratic. The inclusion of Russia, far from being a contradiction to Atlanticism, would thus be a fulfillment of the original intention of Atlanticism, she argued.

Stella said moves in this direction had been delayed since 1991 because, in the NATO countries, Atlanticism had settled down into the status quo in the decades after NATO itself was founded. Following 1989 there emerged a "new Atlanticism", but mainly in the Central-Eastern European countries, which updated Atlanticism only to the extent that it was to their own benefit.

Russia, she concluded, would have to develop its own "new Atlanticism" if it wanted to participate in shaping the next generation of Atlanticism and make it compatible with Russian interests.

Dmitri Furman, of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the conference he did not think 19th century terrorists and revolutionaries hated Russia any less than the terrorists of the 21st, but their capabilities were less. This made necessary a tighter system of international order: a world government.

Before our eyes, a kind of world government has been in process of formation in the aftermath of Sept. 11, Furman said. It had already interfered in the internal affairs of countries to maintain a modicum of stability, morality, and global order. It needed to be built on a broad base. And Russia needed to get in on it from the start, he said.

However, Furman continued, it would be impossible to form a world government yet on a fully broad basis of one person one vote globally. The extreme disparities between overwhelming power and wealth on the one side, overwhelming population and huge pockets of instability and tyranny on the other precluded it.

This meant that the world government would for a long time have an imbalance: it would base itself primarily on the Northern "nucleus," giving rise to perennial temptations of selfishness and injustice, Furman said. There would have to be a long transitional period along the way to the eventual equalization of power.

During this transition, tremendous self-discipline would be required, Furman said. The nations of the South would have to accept the disparity of power and work to reform and modernize themselves within the parameters of this reality. At the same time, the nations of the North would have to restrain their own impulses to selfishness and carry out their responsibilities of global leadership in modernization.

Furman's conclusion was both hopeful and fearsome, reflecting the polarities of the promise of Euro-Atlantic integration and the terror of Sept. 11.

Moscow conference takes wider view

June 3 - UPI - Ira Straus

 

MOSCOW -- Following up on the recent series of Russia-West summits, a Moscow conference over the past week took a closer look at the nature of the Atlantic system and Russia's future prospects in it.

 

Entitled "Euro-Atlantic Integration and Russia after Sept. 11," it was held May 30-31 at the Higher School of Economics in downtown Moscow.

 

From the Russian side came Sergei Markov, deputy leader of the Effective Policy Foundation; Vladimir Lukin, Vice President of the State Duma, the main house of the Russian parliament; Ivan Rybkin, former secretary of the Security Council; and many others.

 

The U.S. side included Robert Hunter, former ambassador to NATO; Strobe Talbott, former deputy secretary of state; Robert Nurick, director of the Moscow Carnegie Center; Tiziana Stella, director of the Euro-Atlantic Institute of International Integration Studies, known as EAI that organized the conference, and a member of the board of the Association to Unite the Democracies that sponsored it.

 

The Russian participants appeared enthusiastic about the prospect of participating as partners within Atlantic institutions to join with the United States and its European allies in managing the world order. In fact, their enthusiasm for these ideas seemed considerably greater than that of the Western participants.

 

Markov, who is believed to be influential with President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy planners, spoke of the NATO alliance and Transatlantic partnership as a "system of world regulation." Another participant, Dimitri Furman saw the possibility of such a partnership evolving into an emerging "world government."

 

The Westerners, by contrast, spoke more cautiously of an "Atlantic community" and the "struggle against terrorism." There was no open conflict over these different views, but the contrast in their perspective was striking.

 

The Russian side was reinforced by an Argentinean professor, Carlos Escude, theoretician of "peripheral realism" and one of the architects of the foreign policy of the former Menem government.

 

Escude provided a surprise element at the conference, coming to Moscow from the most distant point in the "South" in order to support the global leadership of the "North" -- or rather, to demand such leadership as a moral obligation of the North. He had played a part in getting his own government to renounce its nuclear weapons program; his quid pro quo was that the North must do its part in turn to provide security and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction elsewhere in the South.

 

Escude argued that Russia belonged to the core of the world security system and the periphery of the world economic system. The West needed to be realistic about Russia's essential role in the security system, just as Russia needs to be realistic about its low standing in the economic system, he said.

 

Russia needed to be included in strong arrangements for coordination among the core countries of the security system, Escude argued. This was a prerequisite for the effective functioning of the international system as a basis for global regulation, he said.

 

But Russia and the West shared a mutual interest in combating the very real threat of mega-terrorism, Escude said. And there was a literal risk of doomsday if that struggle proved unsuccessful. To meet this challenge, he argued, the Atlantic allies and other like-minded nations had to create an enduring core union. This was "a categorical imperative", he said, and the group had to be reinforced by the inclusion of Russia.

 

NATO, alongside the lesser Atlantic institutions, is the place where the coordination among the core countries actually takes place, argued Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute for Study of the USA and Canada, also known as ISKRAN. He said the practical heart of the matter was for Russia to participate fully in the development of NATO's common policies. Otherwise it would be unrealistic to ask Russia to share responsibility for carrying out those policies.

 

Ivan Rybkin, Secretary of Russia's national Security Council during the mid-late 1990s, gave an insider's account of the efforts to bring Russia into NATO in that period. His own proposal had been that Russia should become a "political member of NATO", while gradually integrating militarily with NATO until full participation would be achieved.

 

Rybkin recounted the policy struggle within the Russian government on this issue in 1996-7. He said he had been supported by then-President Boris Yeltsin and to a lesser extent Yuri Baturin, head of the Defense Council.

 

But they were opposed by then-Russian Foreign Minister -- and later Prime Minister -- Yevgeny Primakov.

 

Primakov, ironically, was able to strengthen his position because of the similar hostility of Western circles that did not want to incorporate Russia into NATO, Rybkin said. These groups proved influential in negotiations at that time, but many of their arguments now looked deficient in the aftermath of the mega-terrorist attacks in New York City and on the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. Sept. 11, he said.

 

In the 1996-97 period, Western opponents of close NATO-U.S.-Russian cooperation had argued that NATO could not afford to take on commitments to defend Russia's southern borders against invasion, Rybkin said. Yet today, he continued, the United States and other NATO countries were taking on a much more ambitious role in the defense and stabilization in all the volatile countries along Russia's southern periphery.

 

The reality was that Russia might be able to defend itself against any direct invasion, but could not afford to stabilize its periphery all by itself, Rybkin said. He concluded by recalling the old adage that the reception of a new idea passes through three stages: first, when it is called impossible; second, when it is grudgingly debated; third, when it is wondered how we ever lived without it. The idea of Russia joining NATO was in the first stage in the 1990s, the second stage today; it would surely pass to the third stage as well.

 

One person suggested that NATO was on its way out and that Russians would do better to look to the European Union. That person was, significantly, an American. All the Russians who spoke to this point -- Andrei Kortunov of the Open Society Institute, Yuri Borko of the Institute of Europe, Vladimir Baranovsky of IMEMO, the largest Russian think tank -- held that NATO, not the EU, was the place for Russia to find its home in this era.

 

The views expressed at the conference appeared to indicate that the Russian governments was ready to go as far with NATO -- as President Putin himself once put it to NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson -- as NATO itself was prepared to go. What was less clear was how far the West was ready to go with Russia.

A Forum Argues over Russian’s Place

May 31 2002 - Moscow Times - Gregory Feifer, Staff Writer

 

Experts gathering Thursday on the heels of three major international summits said the West’s Leading policymaking institutions must include Russia in a broad strategic framework if they want to successfully tackle the top  global priority: terrorism.

 

Despite that general consensus, there was stark disagreement on specifics at the two-day conference on euro-Atlantic integration, organized by the Washington-based Euro-Atlantic Institute of International Integration Studies.

 

Robert Hunter, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said Russia had made a “fundamentally important grand strategic decision” to engage with Western institutions since Sept. 11. “That’s something we in the West must honor so that the differences of the past will be erased,” he said.

 

Hunter said the arms treaty signed by Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush and the Rome treaty boosting Russia’s cooperation with NATO are steps in the right direction, “operating the perspective on the 21st century.”

 

Sergei Rogov, director of Moscow’s Institute for U.S. and Canada Studies, agreed. “Maybe one of the reasons why [integration] failed in the 1990s was that we didn’t have a common enemy,” he said, speaking about the threat of terrorists. But the economic agenda should get top priority, he said.

 

Strobe Talbott, head of Washington’s Brookings institution and Russia policy chief in President Bill Clinton’s administration, said the progress made in recent weeks in the Russia-NATO relationship was a continuation of a path established in the 1990s, before the two sides fell out over NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

 

“I’ve been struck by the amnesia of commentators,” he said in a video linkup from Washington. “But I understand the need for the [U.S. and Russian] administrations to emphasize what’s new.”

 

Most Russian participants conceded that Russia had no choice but to integrate. Deputy State Speaker Vladimir Lukin said there were “endless debates and very big differences” concerning integration, but that “a choice must be made. My choice is that Russia should be part of a Euro-Atlantic civilization no less that te United States.”

 

Lukin said Russia’s decade-long policy of trying to balance U.S. power by advocating a multipolar world and seeking cooperation with states like China an Iran had led nowhere. “What dividends did we get? None that I can see.”

Experts' Reviews Mixed on Results of International Blitz

May 31 2002 - The St. Petersburg Time

 

MOSCOW - Experts gathering on Thursday on the heels of three major international summits said the West's leading policy-making institutions must include Russia in a broad strategic framework if they want to successfully tackle the top global priority: terrorism.

 

Despite that general consensus, there was stark disagreement on specifics at the two-day conference on Euro-Atlantic integration, organized by the Washington-based Euro-Atlantic Institute of International Integration Studies.

 

Robert Hunter, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said Russia had made a "fundamentally important grand strategic decision" to engage with Western institutions since Sept. 11. "That's something we in the West must honor so that the differences of the past will be erased," he said.

 

Hunter said the nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush and the Rome treaty boosting Russia's cooperation with NATO are steps in the right direction, "opening the perspective on the 21st century."

 

Sergei Rogov, director of Moscow's USA and Canada Institute, agreed, adding, "Maybe one of the reasons why [integration] failed in the 1990s was that we didn't have a common enemy," he said, speaking about the threat of terrorists.

 

But the economic agenda should get top priority, he said.

 

Strobe Talbott, head of Washington's Brookings Institution and Russia policy chief in President Bill Clinton's administration, said the progress made in recent weeks in the Russia-NATO relationship was a continuation of a path established in the 1990s, before the two sides fell out over NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

 

"I've been struck by the amnesia of commentators," he said in a video linkup from Washington. "But I understand the need for the [U.S. and Russian] administrations to emphasize what's new."

 

Most Russian participants conceded that Russia had no choice but to integrate. Deputy State Duma Speaker Vladimir Lukin, a former ambassador to the United States, said there were "endless debates and very big differences" concerning integration, but that "a choice must be made. My choice is that Russia should be part of a Euro-Atlantic civilization no less than the United States."

 

Lukin said Russia's decade-long policy of trying to balance U.S. power by advocating a multi-polar world and seeking cooperation with such states as China and Iran had led Russia nowhere. But Lukin went on to question some of the Western arguments for integration.

 

He said NATO will become increasingly useless in the future and that Russia's goal should be an "organic 21st-century power," like China is becoming.

 

Meanwhile, the European Union's decision to postpone discussion on future visa restrictions for Kaliningrad residents at its EU-Russia summit Wednesday riled some experts.

 

"It could lead to a crisis in relations if we don't agree on the issue," Lukin said.

Press Release, May 30, 2002

Deputy Speaker of the State Duma from the Yabloko faction Vladimir Lukin, thinks that the recent summit meetings between Russia and the USA, NATO and the European Union represent a "step forward rather than a breakthrough."

In a speech at the international conference "Euro-Atlantic Integration and Russia" in Moscow on May 30, 2002, Lukin noted that "the course towards integration with Europe, including into Euroatlantic civilisation, declared by the Russian leadership, meets Russia's national interests and is the only possible way for Russia's dignified existence in the world politics."

At the same time, the Deputy Speaker thinks that it is important to "develop rather than simply demonstrate" a course towards Russia's integration with the Euro-Atlantic union.

Consequently, Lukin recollected what he considered to be an erroneous "policy of whims" that has been conducted lately by the Russian Federation. By way of an example Lukin referred to the "proposals of the former Prime Minister of the RF Evgeny Primakov to establish in response to the coalition of Western countries some kind of anti-coalition consisting of China, India, Iraq and a number of other countries."

According to the Deputy Speaker, this idea, together with a number of other foreign policy ideas of recent years, "goes absolutely against our national interests."

Vladimir Lukin also noted that in foreign policy Russia "still prefers "bows" [decorations]; whereas China, for example, treats [foreign policy] as the basis, rather than a superstructure." According to Lukin, "pro-Western trends are today more strongly manifested in China than in Russia".

Lukin also thinks that Moscow could apply Chinese experience in its foreign policy, while considering that "the trick increasingly pushed by some political forces in the Russian Federation that implies conducting European foreign policy and a Byzantium domestic policy, won't work in this situation."

According to Lukin, "in terms of Russia's national interests we have to understand that the only way to ensure Russia's increasing participation in the Euroatlantic community requires Russia's domestic policy to comply with European standards."

Based on Interfax reports.

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