Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Russia's New European Security Blueprint Draws Yawns

In late November, to a near media blackout in the United States, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev unveiled a Russian blueprint for rejiggering Europe's security relations.

The draft was full of flowery rhetoric, obligating all signatories to the pact to follow the principle of “indivisible, equal and undiminished security.”

According to Russia Today, the pact:

suggests that parties do not undertake, support or participate in actions that can jeopardize the security of another party to the treaty. The sides also agree not to allow the use of its territory with the purpose of attacking their partners.

The Russians don't intend to step on any UN toes. The Russian treaty would not in any way impinge on a nation's right to self defense as spelled out by Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Sounds reasonable enough. And there has been some positive response from European leaders.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a little understood gargantuan bureaucracy with 56 member nations, is to give the Russian treaty an airing at its upcoming meeting December 17th in the Greek capital, Athens.

But there is little chance the Russian treaty will ever get off the drawing board, let alone be implemented.

For pro-Washington analysts, the aim of Russia is clear: to put limits, or weaken NATO, the mega-military alliance that Washington dominates and has now enlarged to take in nearly all of the former Warsaw Pact nations.

And the Europeans, for the most part, are quite comfortable being 'led' by Washington.

The former EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said the Russian proposal could be considered only if it upheld, "the role of the US in European security."

So, any treaty that tips even a tiny bit of power away from Washington towards Moscow has no chance.

And that means, true security, taking into consideration Russian concerns and fears (outside of a NATO-Russian Council, where NATO decides what can and can't be discussed) will never be attained.

Back in the days of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russians floated the idea of turning that little understood OSCE into the grand guarantor of European security.

The OSCE was started a quarter of a century ago to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. As a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the OSCE was established as a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management in Europe. In the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the OSCE was called upon to contribute to managing the historic change in Europe and respond to the new challenges of the post-
Cold War period.

It was believed that the OSCE would replace NATO as the principal security watchdog in Europe. Russia would like to have NATO subservient to the OSCE. But in NATO’s
resurgence, the OSCE is fading.

Today, the OSCE serves as a talk shop and election monitor, a far cry from what the Russians hoped it would be.

I think this quote from an old article on Kreml.ru sums up how Russians feel the West sees them.

“We will never be accepted in [the West’s] world or recognized as equal partners in their innumerable communities. Russia may have many allies in the West, but from our Western partners’ standpoint we will always be viewed as different, strange, somehow improper and eternally guilty of something.” 

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