The funeral ceremony of the Cold War was pompous: the Italian budget lost eleven million dollars, the lion’s share of which was spent on security for the participants of the summit. The fundamental documents were signed, and the first session of the council will soon take place. This is all very fine, but the answer to the question why Russia is saving NATO has not been answered.
Russia has become an equal member of this council, but the range of the subjects in question is not as broad as Russia would liked. The anti-terrorism struggle, weapons of mass destruction, and several others were among them. Monthly meetings between permanent NATO representatives or ambassadors will determine the issues for discussion. Both the agenda and the decisions of the council will be determined with consensus, not with voting.
Spokespeople for the administration of the NATO Secretary-General acknowledged that there was no community of opinions on the subject of relations with Russia, and the USA was not paying much attention to NATO, being preoccupied with the anti-terrorist war.
Furthermore, American politicians do not perceive NATO as America’s reliable helper in the struggle with international terrorism. First, the defense budgets of NATO countries are not comparable with the defense budget of the United States. Secondly, only America is provided with up-to-date means for delivering defense technology and people to any part of the planet. Thirdly, the United States achieved a very high level of the military development; it is able to wage four wars at once: one global war and three local ones.
Therefore, the alliance is more of a burden for America than a helper. The USA prefers to negotiate tete-a-tete, and Russia is the best to fit this role. They acknowledge this at the alliance by implication: “The American leadership has always saved the alliance in critical situations. Americans prefer bilateral relations (including the relations with Russia) to multilateral talks with allies now. It often happens that we are the last to know the things on which Moscow and Washington have agreed upon,” - a high-ranking NATO official of said in a private conversation.
Russia has already acknowledged Washington’s claims concerning world supremacy to a certain extent. The declaration that was signed in Moscow contained a phrase about America's priority role in the regulation of the conflicts on the territory of the former Soviet Union (Abkhazia, Nagorny Karabakh, and Transdniestr). There is no need to keep on bending over backwards. That is why Moscow is trying to grade the United States’ influence on the world politics, involving NATO in the struggle with international terrorism.
Moscow is concerned with the fact that the members of the alliance will act on the ground of their coordinated positions and equal dialogue will be out of the question even within the framework of the new alliance. NATO acknowledges this by implication as well: “Noone can stop a group of alliance members from holding a meeting and developing a common point of view on this or that subject,” – a senior American representative in Brussels stated. How are Russian representatives going to participate in the work of NATO’s committees? This is not clear either. Moscow suspects NATO attempting to set up another symbolic board that will formally take account of Russia’s opinion. NATO headquarters complain of the “Soviet” style of work of Russian diplomats, which still perceive NATO as an enemy.
NATO is still very important for the global stability. This is the only organization that ties the USA to Europe and Europe to the USA. Both parties have vital interests in Europe; we have to agree that NATO’s military role is reduced, but its political significance has increased.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov