Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, Vice-President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, believes talk about a strategic alliance between Russia and the United States in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks was probably a little too optimistic. Mr Ivashov said this as addressing a news conference at the Novosti news agency Wednesday. It is not that Russia does not want the alliance, he said. Moscow's and Washington's major strategic objectives do not merely differ, they are "at opposite poles." Even their approaches to the common cause - anti-terrorist fight - differ a great deal, noted the general. Moscow advocates an all-round approach to fighting the evil, whereas Washington is taking advantage of the anti-terror effort to establish its world supremacy and is selective about terrorist actions, said Mr Ivashov. Chechnya is a good example of the US approach, according to him. The US differentiate between Arab and Chechen terrorists, for one. The American top are known to receive so called Chechen envoys. When speaking about the problem of strategic stability, Mr Ivashov said the US was seeking to cement its strategic offensive and defensive arms advantage by withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile, ABM, Treaty and deploying an unrestricted national missile defence system, and by securing the right to store the warheads to be cut and re-deploy them if necessary. "A compromise on the strategic matter is impossible," believes the general. The US says it may have to use nuclear warheads in its or its ally's territory as an anti-missile shield. As to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START, being drafted, the general said the document was going to set a limit on nuclear arsenals the two countries would commit to cut. The figure has already been agreed on by the Russian and US presidents. Apart from the START Treaty, the two leaders are expected to sign a related protocol of intentions, according to Leonid Ivashov. The number of nuclear warheads is being brought down both by the US and Russia, and that is a natural process. That is why the new START Treaty is not going to be a strategic breakthrough, but merely a legal confirmation of the process, said Mr Ivashov.
Russia has left the list of 33 largest holders of US government bonds, after the country disposed of at least a third of remaining bonds