Recently PRAVDA.Ru got an e-mail from a reader who wanted to know the attitude of Russia to the position of NATO. It seems that we must publish our response to the reader on the front page of the site so that people could clearly see why Russia dislikes or seldom likes the position of NATO.
The reader asked: “Your article left the reader wondering what was the actual difficulty with the stand of NATO?”
This is our response to the question.
Hello Mr. Engelhart,
Thank you for the interest to our source. We’ll try to give an answer to your question concerning the position of NATO, the Prague Summit and subsequent problems of Russia.
Just imagine yourself sitting at your farm; meanwhile, your neighbor, with whom you are on rather good terms, got completely crazy about the idea that you are planning to encroach upon his farm. You are trying to persuade him that nothing of this kind is on your mind, but all is in vain (the neighbor is as stubborn as an ass). And even more: the neighbor calls a group of warriors from a nearby fort, the latter come and set up a camp on the territory of the neighboring farm. The neighbor has gone mad because of this happiness, but the man slightly realizes how much his crazy shady enterprise may cost (maintenance of a group of warriors costs a lot). Let’s proceed. You get very unhappy because of such neighborhood (you cannot sleep because of screams of drunk and raging soldiers, which certainly make you reluctant to make it up with the neighbor at all). You become suspicious and aggressive and consider everyone to be your enemy. Following the example of the neighbor, you are getting armed. No, there will be no war; but it is going to be such a violent struggle for peace that it won’t leave a stone standing.
It is certainly a joke, but many a true word is spoken in jest.
To tell earnestly, NATO is the result of the cold war. Its main objective is to fight against the USSR. There is no Soviet Union any more, however, the product of the war hasn’t gone together with the USSR, on the contrary it is even expanding. This fact is confirmed by the Prague summit, where nine more members were admitted into the alliance, including the three Baltic republics (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia).
A reasonable question arises: why do these states (and other countries striving to become NATO members) want to become affiliated into the alliance so strongly? The answer is simple: they want to guarantee their own security. But what are the enemies to defend themselves from? Is there anyone in Europe who threatens the territorial integrity or independence of these states? There is no threat of this kind and it is unlikely to arise.
The NATO leadership emphasized several times that expansion of the alliance posed no danger to Russia. Why do NATO experts so actively inspect the military bases created on the territory of the Baltic states in the Soviet era? Why, if NATO expansion doesn’t threaten Russia?
We are often said that NATO expansion will create more effective structures for struggle with the international terrorism, which is said to be the top-priority objective for the time being. The problem is very important indeed. But NATO is a military alliance; meanwhile, special services, not the army must fight with terrorism. When army is involved in fighting with terrorism, it is like bringing an elephant in a china shop. Certainly, Israel, Chechnya and Afghanistan are exceptions from the rule. In these regions, terrorists have created real armies, with which special units cannot cope. They won’t be able to cope with them until the basic forces of the terrorists are liquidated.
One more detail. Who in NATO and how is supposed to take a decision concerning use of military force? What will be the criteria for making such decisions? Who may guarantee that states outside the alliance will be insured against mistakes made by the NATO leadership? The events in Yugoslavia in 1999 may serve a vivid example to this. We won’t mention whether the bombing was rightful, as Russia’s position concerning the problem is well known. We would like to mention the thing that provoked the attacks: it was alleged that the government of Slobodan Milosevic started repressions against Albanians in Kosovo. What was the result of it? The ethnic cleansing continued, but this time Serbs and Albanians have exchanged the roles. Is it more fair?
In conclusion we would like to get back to the history. Do you remember the Caribbean crisis when the Soviet Union stationed missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba? The US’s reaction to this fact is also known perfectly well: the world was on the brink of war. However, the USSR just wanted to guarantee its security. If Americans stationed their missiles in Turkey, close to the USSR borders, why couldn’t the Soviet Union do the same in Cuba? Now the history may repeat once again.
The NATO leadership provided no guarantees that no weapons of mass destruction would be stationed near the Russian borders. Certainly, the problem can be currently discussed just theoretically. But the reality of the politics is such that even extremely fantastic theories may come true.
Oleg Artyukov Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
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