In 1987, the American President Ronald Reagan made a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in which he addressed Gorbachev: ‘General Secretary Gorbachev, open this gate, General Secretary Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’ Two years later, on November 11th, 1989, Reagan’s call – which a lot of people must have thought rather stupid and futile at the time – was answered.
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man...(John 1:51).


Mikhail Gorbachev, the Seventh ruler of the Soviet Union.

But in the days of the voice of the Seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to His servants the prophets...(Revelation 10:7).

Soviet influence in Eastern Europe began with Soviet occupation of territories during World War II. By 1949 communist regimes had been put into place in all the occupied states: Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia maintained an independent position as a communist state that Soviet leaders first vilified but ultimately recognized in 1955. Domination of the East European countries belonging to the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (known as Comecon) remained a fundamental priority of Soviet foreign policy through the disintegration of both organizations in 1991. Soviet leaders used the continued existence of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe as part of the ideological justification of socialism at home because it fulfilled the Marxist-Leninist recipe of the rule of the multinational proletariat. Because of that logic, a threat to Eastern Europe became a threat to the Soviet Union itself...

In the 1950s, the Soviet military used force to restrain mass expressions of resistance to conventional, Soviet-backed regimes in East Germany (1953), Poland (1956), and Hungary (1956). After the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia quelled political liberalization in that country, the irreversibility of communist control in East European countries was formulated in what became known as the Brezhnev Doctrine, which for the next twenty years was the foundation of Soviet policy toward the region. Soviet policy makers determined that occupation forces were the only sure guarantee of continued communist rule in Eastern Europe and that some limited local control over domestic policy was necessary to avoid future resistance. When Polish workers pushed their demands for independent trade unions and the right to strike in 1980-81 (enter Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II into the political equation), the implicit threat of invasion by Soviet forces led Polish police and security forces to quell disturbances and a new, military prime minister, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, to declare martial law.

In the mid-1980s, Gorbachev's internal liberalization was paralleled by his doctrine of "many roads to socialism," which called for cooperation rather than uniformity among East European nations. That call coincided with the implicit revocation in 1988 of the Brezhnev Doctrine as Soviet military doctrine recognized the need to conserve resources (see Soviet Doctrine, ch. 9). Gorbachev's internal reform programs of glasnost (see Glossary) and perestroika (see Glossary) received varying degrees of support and imitation among East European leaders. Regimes in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland showed substantial support, but those in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Romania refused to adopt the type of far-reaching domestic reforms that Gorbachev introduced at home (see The Gorbachev Era, ch. 2). Nevertheless, by the late 1980s the nature of Soviet influence had shifted unmistakably away from coercion toward political and economic instruments of influence. The last stage of Soviet relations with the region, 1989-91, was fundamentally different. By 1990 all the East European member states of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon had rejected their communist regimes AND WERE STRAINING TOWARD THE WEST. Although Soviet policy makers struggled to keep the two multinational organizations alive as instruments of influence, events had rendered them moribund before their formal demise in 1991. NOW THE WORLD REDESIGNATED EASTERN EUROPE AS CENTRAL EUROPE, AND THE GREAT WESTERN BUFFER ZONE DISAPPEARED.

Immediately after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations with Central Europe were a relatively low priority of Russian foreign policy. This situation began to change during 1992, when many Russian reformists argued that closer ties with the new Central European democracies would bolster Russia's own commitment to democratization. Closer commercial ties also would make Central Europe's relatively inexpensive goods more readily available and afford better opportunities to make valuable connections with Western Europe as the former Warsaw Pact states moved closer to full integration into Europe.

Russia's January 1993 draft foreign policy concept stressed the importance of Central Europe. The concept proclaimed that the region "falls within the historical sphere of our interests" because it abuts "the belt of sovereign states"--Ukraine, Belarus , Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia--of great interest to Russia. The concept warned against attempts by the West to push Russia out of Central Europe and to make the region into a buffer zone that would isolate Russia from Western Europe. Russia would counter such movements by reestablishing good trade and other relations with the Central European states.

The NATO Issue
The draft concept did not present NATO involvement in Central Europe as inherently threatening to Russian interests. Later in 1993, however, Yeltsin reversed course under the political exigency of his upcoming confrontation with the State Duma. The new position was that former members of the Warsaw Pact could join NATO only if Russia also were included. This opposition then spurred the United States proposal of the Partnership for Peace.

The military doctrine that Yeltsin decreed in November 1993 was not directed clearly at NATO. CALLING FOR A NEUTRAL CENTRAL EUROPE, THE DOCTRINE WARNED THAT RUSSIA WOULD INTERPRET AS A THREAT THE EXPANSION OF ANY ALLIANCE IN EUROPE TO THE DETRIMENT OF RUSSIA' INTERESTS OR THE INTRODUCTION OF FOREIGN TROOPS IN STATES ADJACENT TO THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION. Throughout 1995 and the first half of 1996, Russian military officials continued to demand that the Central European states remain neutral. During the Moscow visit of Poland's president Alexander Kwasniewski in April 1996, Yeltsin hailed warmer ties, but he noted that the NATO issue remained the single obstacle over which the two sides disagreed.

Data as of July 1996

"O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are all children, and there is no such thing as an old Greek. 'What do you mean by that?' inquired Solon. 'You are all young in mind,' came the reply: 'you have no belief rooted in the old tradition, and no knowledge hoary with age...

Our records tell how your city checked a great power (the children of "Cain") which arrogantly advanced from its base in the Atlantic ocean to attack the cities of Europe and Asia. For in those days the Atlantic was navigable. There was an island (a continent), opposite the strait which you call (so you say) the Pillars of Hercules, an island larger than Libya and Asia combined; from it travelers in those days could reach the other islands, and from them the whole opposite continent which surrounds what can truly be called the ocean. For the sea within the strait we are talking about is like a lake with a narrow entrance; the outer ocean is the real ocean and the land which entirely surrounds it is properly termed continent.

On this island of Atlantis had risen a powerful and remarkable dynasty of kings, who ruled the whole island, and many other islands as well and parts of the continent; in addition it controlled within the strait, Libya (Africa) up to the borders of Egypt and Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This dynasty, gathering its whole power together, attempted to enslave at a single stroke, your country and ours and all the territory within the strait… At a later time there was earthquakes and "floods" of extraordinary violence, and in a single dreadful day and night all your fighting men were swallowed up by the earth, and the island of Atlantis was similarly swallowed up by the sea and vanished; this is why the sea in that area is to this day impassable to navigation, which is hindered by mud just below the surface, the remains of a sunken island." (see Job 41:30; 2 Peter 3:3-7). The Timaeus, Plato.



Zbigniew Brzezinski's Latest Blueprint For American Foreign Policy

By Bernard Gwertzman

(Of course the Bush administration has its own strategy--Full Force--and is presently moving its pieces in its own way across the board. His pawns and knights [and his bishops at home], having already checkmated one king in the Middle East, are now preparing for the next match. The Great King, however--the grandest Chessmaster of them all--is still hiding behind His own forces, and has yet to loose them out of the North and the East. He is drawing the American pieces out across the Great Chessboard, extending them, entangling them, and will move before the game is over to check and checkmate).

Since the end of the cold war and the collapse of Communism, the United States has accepted the "victory" and, for better or worse, has had collective amnesia about global issues. After some 50 years during which foreign affairs commanded the highest priority in Washington and on television and the front page, the subject has virtually disappeared for most Americans...

(And this was true in a sense, until September 11th, 2001. Nevertheless the neo-cons of the Reagan-Bush administrations were not asleep at their posts during the Clinton years, AND WERE CLEVERLY DEVISING AND INCITING THE VERY GLOBAL STRATEGY THAT IS UNFOLDING BEFORE OUR EYES AT THIS PRESENT TIME).

This is true from top to bottom. President Clinton clearly pays as little attention to foreign affairs as he can get away with...For many in the foreign policy establishment, this means the public cares less and less about what they have to say. But they keep saying it anyway. And some are saying with increasing alarm: Wake up, America, before its too late.

One of those most troubled by the sudden turn in American attitudes is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who from 1977 to 1981 was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, and who has for years been one of the more provocative thinkers about foreign affairs, PARTICULARLY THOSE DEALING WITH THE FORMER SOVIET BLOC. What has bothered Brzezinski is that as a result of the Soviet collapse, THE UNITED STATES IS THE UNQUESTIONABLE WORLD LEADER, UNCHALLENGED FOR THE MOMENT BY ANY OTHER POWER. But American democracy does not lend itself well to the running of empires. This has frustrated Brzezinski, who has now provided another scholarly blueprint for what he believes the United States should do in the coming years to further American interests, maintain the hegemony it commands and prevent global anarchy. For Brzezinski this is a strategic game, not unlike chess, TO OUTWIT POTENTIAL RIVALS, and hence the title of the book: The Grand Chessboard....

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure (Recall that Brzezinski's grand strategy was laid down well before September 11th...Deuteronomy 32:16-22; Isaiah 30:25. KJV)...(Psalm 2:4,5).

This is not the first time Brzezinski has touched on this theme. Eleven years ago he published "THE GAME PLAN: A GEOSTRATIGIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE U.S.-SOVIET CONTEST." And just four years ago, in the aftermath of the Soviet disintegration, he wrote: "Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century," which many saw as a counter to the optimistic view of the future in "The End of History and the Last Man," by Francis Fukuyama...

Brzezinski, who writes convincingly if a bit inelegantly, describes a very forbidding situation in the years ahead if the United States does not make more permanent the dominance it now has over a vast area of the world. "This huge oddly-shaped Eurasian chessboard--extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok--provides the setting for the game," Brzezinski says. "IF THE MIDDLE SPACE CAN BE DRAWN INCREASINGLY INTO THE EXPANDING ORBIT OF THE WEST (where America preponderates), if the southern region is not subjected to domination by a single player, and if the East is not unified in a manner that leads to the expulsion of America from its offshore bases, AMERICA CAN THEN BE SAID TO PREVAIL...

He concludes bluntly that "the time has come for the United States to formulate and prosecute an integrated, comprehensive and long-term geostrategy FOR ALL OF EURASIA...

How the United States manages this chessboard , he says, "will be critical to the longevity and stability of America's global primacy."..."In brief," he writes, "the U.S. policy goal must be unapologetically twofold: to perpetuate America's own dominant position...and to create a geopolitical framework that can absorb the inevitable shocks and strains of social-political change while evolving into the geopolitical core of shared responsibility for peaceful global management." New York Times Book Review.


By Michael Evans

November 20, 2002__NATO will boost its firepower at its summit in Prague tomorrow, with 13,000 more tanks, a dozen warships and 500 combat aircraft. Its total number of troops will rise by about 227,000. The alliance has little use for all this extra muscle, however. Much of it is old Soviet hardware that has about as much relevance for today’s new threats as a troop of elephants in modern expeditionary warfare. The forces will be provided by the seven former Communist countries that will be invited to join Nato — Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — bringing its membership to 26.

This latest expansion is driven primarily by political, not military, considerations. It is about embracing as many Eastern European countries as possible in the hope of spreading Western values. As Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s National Security Adviser, put it: “THIS IS A SUMMIT THAT IS GOING TO CELEBRATE AN HISTORIC MOMENT FOR NATO, WHICH IS THE EXPANSION OF NATO INTO TERRITORIES THAT I THINK NOBODY EVER THOUGHT NATO WOULD EXPAND INTO.”

Nato has always been part-military and part-political, but with 26 members, each with the right of veto, it will become more of a political organisation than ever before, with plenty of scope for jaw-jaw, not war-war. As Andrew Brookes, of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said yesterday: “The bases in the Baltic countries would be very useful if Nato was about to wage war against Sweden, but . . .”

The seven new countries are very much second division. Those that have tanks are still armed principally with ancient Russian T55s and their air forces consist largely of old-generation MiG21s and MiG23s. Even the first-division ex-Warsaw Pact countries that were invited to join Nato in 1999 — Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic — are still struggling to meet the standards required, let alone full inter-operability with the big guns of Nato. “You don’t meet the requirements. You don’t do what you are supposed to,” Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, the Nato Secretary-General, told Hungary’s chastened Defence Minister earlier this year. Lacking modern warplanes of their own, the Czechs have had to invite the United States to provide F15s and F16s to protect the summit.

Nato veterans recognise that the alliance is not about to acquire seven modern fighting armies. They talk of the importance of new entrants providing “niche” capabilities: the bomb disposal expertise of the three Baltic countries, Bulgaria’s decontamination team and Romania’s mountain-trained special forces. Even the Russians now realise that this Nato expansion, which will extend the alliance to its borders, is not about creating an ever more threatening military empire BUT IS A WAY OF GUARANTEEING A POLITICAL STABILITY THROUGHOUT EUROPE. (In other words, conquest).

The three Baltic states will accept Nato membership tomorrow WITHOUT A MURMUR FROM MOSCOW'S TOP BRASS. Russia’s Foreign Minister will attend the summit and later Mr Bush will meet President Putin in St Petersburg.

This is all a far cry from Nato’s original purpose, WHICH WAS TO GUARANTEE A DEFENSIVE WALL AGAINST THE SOVIET UNION, WITH THE FIGHTING MOTTO: ALL FOR ONE, AND ONE FOR ALL. THE NEW POLICY OF EXPANSION HAS OBVIOUS DANGERS. Already Nato is struggling to transform itself into a modern, rapidly deployable organisation capable of meeting 21st-century threats, even without the addition of new members drawn from the old Soviet mould.

Nato operates on consensus, but consensus may be much harder to obtain with 26 increasingly disparate members. There is also a danger of conflicts erupting within Nato’s new borders. Huge efforts will be required to achieve military inter-operability throughout the alliance, and there could be some big embarrassments down the line. Only last week Bulgaria’s Defence Minister offered to resign over a state-owned company’s illegal export of military components to Syria, which is often a conduit for goods destined for Iraq.

DESPITE THOSE DANGERS, NATO'S DOOR IS OPEN TO EVEN MORE MEMBERS. Next in line to join are the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Ukraine and even Albania — some of which make Romania and Bulgaria seem MODELS OF ENLIGHTENMENT.


(The United States State Department)

Bureau of Arms Control

The Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Kingdom of Denmark, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Iceland, the Italian Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, Romania, the Kingdom of Spain, the Republic of Turkey, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, hereinafter referred to as the States Parties,

Guided by the Mandate for Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe of January 10, 1989, AND HAVING CONDUCTED THIS NEGOTIATION IN VIENNA beginning on March 9, 1989,

GUIDED BY THE OBJECTIVES AND THE PUROPOSES OF THE CONFERENCE ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE, within the framework of which the negotiation of this Treaty was conducted,

Recalling their obligation to refrain in their mutual relations, as well as in their international relations in general, from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER INCONSISTENT WITH THE PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS,



Striving to replace military confrontation with a new pattern of security relations among all the States Parties based on peaceful cooperation AND THEREBY TO CONTRIBUTE TO OVERCOMING THE DIVISION OF EUROPE,

Committed to the objectives of establishing a secure and stable balance of conventional armed forces in Europe at lower levels than heretofore, of eliminating disparities prejudicial to stability and security and of eliminating, as a matter of high priority, the capability for launching surprise attack and for initiating large-scale offensive action in Europe,

Recalling that they signed or acceded to the Treaty of Brussels of 1948, the Treaty of Washington of 1949 or the Treaty of Warsaw of 1955 and that they have the right to be or not to be a party to treaties of alliance,

Committed to the objective of ensuring that the numbers of conventional armaments and equipment limited by the Treaty within the area of application of this Treaty do not exceed 40,000 battle tanks, 60,000 armoured combat vehicles, 40,000 pieces of artillery, 13,600 combat aircraft and 4,000 attack helicopters,

Affirming that this Treaty is not intended to affect adversely the security interests of any State,

Affirming their commitment to continue the conventional arms control process including negotiations, taking into account future requirements for European stability and security in the light of political developments in Europe,

Have agreed as follows...



Echoes of the Cold War resounded this weekend in Munich during NATO's annual security conference when Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov went head-to-head with Sen. John McCain and more than met his match.

New York Times columnist William Safire wrote today that Munich, the site of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's shameful appeasement of Adolf Hitler, was no longer "a venue of appeasement," largely thanks to McCain, who called Ivanov's bluff when the Russian foreign minister threatened to back out of an agreement limiting his nation's armed forces on the European front.

McCain, R-Ariz., accused Putin's regime of a "creeping coup" against freedom within his own country and of waging a campaign "to intimidate and reassert control over states — from the Baltics to Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine — that our victory in the Cold War had liberated from Soviet rule." Unspoken during the arguments is Russia's resentment of NATO's addition soon of seven members, some bordering on Russia. According to Safire, recent developments fostering Russian enmity toward NATO include:

Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit last month to to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to attend the inauguration of that nation's new elected leader. Moreover, his visit was accompanied by the publishing of an article by Powell in Izvestia uncommonly critical of Moscow's repression of the media.

McCain's visit to Latvia at the head of a congressional delegation, where he heard of a recent gathering in the Baltic states with Scandinavian nations to focus on internal opposition to tyrants such as Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and the former KGB crowd that runs Moldova. In Munich, Ivanov unloaded on the West, focusing on the decade-old C0NVENTIONAL FORCES IN EUROPE TREATY, initialed but never signed. "In 1996," Safire recalled, "as NATO prepared to admit Eastern Europe, it set up a formal relationship with Russia, assuring it that no nukes and no 'substantial combat forces' would be placed close to its border. Three years later, Russia made the 'Istanbul commitments' to pull its troops out of Georgia and Moldova, which it still has not done. Looking hard at McCain, Ivanov said, "One of the major priorities of the Russian foreign policy is our relationship with our closest neighbors ... relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States are in no way a hallmark of Russian-brand 'neo-imperialism,' as some try to depict it, but an imperative for security. ..."

But, noted Safire, McCain is no Chamberlain. "Under President Putin," McCain shot back, "Russia has refused to comply with the terms of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Russian troops occupy parts of Georgia and Moldova ... Russian agents are working to bring Ukraine further into Moscow's orbit. Russian support sustains Europe's last dictatorship in Belarus. And Moscow has ... enforced its stranglehold on energy supplies into Latvia in order to squeeze the democratic government in Riga." McCain added that "undemocratic behavior and threats to the sovereignty and liberty of her neighbors will not profit Russia ... BUT WILL EXCLUDE HER FROM THE COMPANY OF WESTERN DEMOCRACIES."


Editor's note: Is America prepared for the next war? Click here now!



February 9, 2004

MUNICH — This city is no longer the venue of appeasement. At an annual security conference here on the eve of NATO's seven-state expansion, Moscow's neo-imperialist defense minister threatened to back out of an agreement limiting the size of his armed forces on Russia's European front.

Sergei Ivanov's bluff was immediately called by U.S. Senator John McCain. The Arizonan had accused Putin's regime of a "creeping coup" against democracy within Russia, as well as a campaign to intimidate and reassert control over states — from the Baltics to Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine — that our victory in the cold war had liberated from Soviet rule.

This Russia-NATO confrontation has been brewing for a year. While France and Germany split with the rest of Europe and the U.S. over the war in Iraq, Putin took advantage of the world's distraction to crack down on internal dissent and to undermine the independence of his neighbors.

The first public inkling of U.S. concern with Putin's irredentism came in Secretary Colin Powell's trip last month to attend the inauguration of Georgia's new elected leader, signaling strong support for that nation's independence. This was accompanied by a Powell article in Izvestia uncommonly critical of Moscow's repression of the media.

Western reaction to Russia's new aggressiveness was further expressed last week in Riga, Latvia. The Baltics' surge toward independence in 1989 was the first sign of the impending crack-up of the Soviet Union. The West's coming inclusion of those three states in NATO redresses a horrific Hitler-Stalin wrong, but is galling to Moscow, which has been fostering resentment among Russian ethnics implanted there since Stalin's time.

In Latvia's capital, the Baltic states gathered with Scandinavian nations to focus European human-rights attention on internal democratic opposition to outright tyrants like Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and the former K.G.B. crowd that runs Moldova. Though Ukraine gave up its nukes and has 1,700 troops in Iraq, it has an autocratic ruler in Leonid Kuchma, reportedly rigging its fall elections. McCain led a Congressional delegation to this Riga meeting on his way to Munich and heard the anguished story of a dissident Belarus leader whose husband is one of the "disappeared."

At the 40th Wehrkunde Conference in Munich, Ivanov unloaded on the West. The pressure point he chose was the Conventional Forces in Europe (C.F.E.) treaty, negotiated a decade ago, initialed but never signed. In 1996, as NATO prepared to admit Eastern Europe, it set up a formal relationship with Russia, assuring it that no nukes and no "substantial combat forces" would be placed close to its border. Three years later, Russia made the "Istanbul commitments" to pull its troops out of Georgia and Moldova, which it still has not done.

"We assumed those commitments in a definite military and political environment," Ivanov warned, "with the admission of the invitees to NATO, this environment will drastically change." Of the C.F.E. treaty, he asked: "Might it be another `relic of the cold war,' as the ABM treaty has been labeled some time ago" before it was "shelved to the dustbin"? He made Putin's threat plainer: "The adapted C.F.E. treaty may well end up as the ABM treaty was fated to."

Looking hard at McCain, Ivanov said, "One of the major priorities of the Russian foreign policy is our relationship with our closest neighbors . . . relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States are in no way a hallmark of Russian-brand `neo-imperialism,' as some try to depict it, but an imperative for security. . . ."

McCain is no Neville Chamberlain. "Under President Putin," he responded, "Russia has refused to comply with the terms of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Russian troops occupy parts of Georgia and Moldova . . . Russian agents are working to bring Ukraine further into Moscow's orbit. Russian support sustains Europe's last dictatorship in Belarus. And Moscow has . . . enforced its stranglehold on energy supplies into Latvia in order to squeeze the democratic government in Riga."

Speaking with the freedom of a senator, McCain said "undemocratic behavior and threats to the sovereignty and liberty of her neighbors will not profit Russia . . . but will exclude her from the company of Western democracies."

As its role becomes global, NATO must not lose its original purpose: to contain the Russian bear.

Ivanov Says Russia May Pull Out of Arms Treaty

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

By Greg Walters

Special to The Moscow Times Russia may abandon a security treaty limiting conventional weapons and troop deployments in Europe, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at an international security conference in Munich on Monday, unless it is changed to rule out NATO forces in the Baltic states.

Ivanov protested that the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, negotiated in the 1980s between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact, does not include Baltic countries, which are scheduled to become NATO members in April. "With NATO enlargement, they start operating in the zone of vitally important interests of our country," Ivanov said, The Associated Press reported. "They should -- in deed, not only in words -- take into account Russian concerns." IVANOV'S COMMENTS COME AS THE UNITED STATES IS CONSIDERING A WIDE-RANGING REORGANIZATION OF ITS FORCES BASED IN EUROPE.

Talks between Russia and NATO have broken down in recent years over an updated version of the CFE, which reworked the treaty to take the collapse of the Soviet Union into account. Europe and the United States have protested Russia's reluctance to withdraw troops from Georgia and Moldova, despite commitments made by Moscow when the treaty was updated in 1999. Since then, Russia has repeatedly delayed ratification of the new version of the treaty. On Monday, Ivanov said the CFE could become a relic of the Cold War.

Speaking at the conference, U.S. Senator John McCain said, "Undemocratic behavior and threats to the sovereignty and liberty of her neighbors will not profit Russia -- but will exclude her from the company of Western democracies," The New York Times reported.

Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said Monday that despite Ivanov's rhetoric, Russia is not likely to unilaterally pull out of the treaty. "This will not bring Russia any kind of gain," he said. "There's no real need for withdrawal, just to make some noise." But in its current form, the treaty appears to be unworkable, Felgenhauer said. "Russia is clamoring for ratification of the treaty to happen, and the Baltic states to be included," he said. "But the West says Russia must first withdraw from Georgia and Moldova."

The Baltic countries' exclusion from the CFE means that, in theory, NATO could mass any amount of troops and weaponry there when those countries join the alliance. But Felgenhauer said such an action would be highly unlikely. Both NATO and Russia maintain forces well below the treaty's limits.

On Monday, Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius told The Associated Press that there are no "concrete plans" to set up NATO bases in Lithuania, but also said, "It's not excluded in the future."


February 09, 2004

Russia was considering pulling out of a security treaty that limits troop movements and conventional weapons throughout Europe and Russia, Sergei Ivanov, Russian defence minister, told an international security conference in Munich.

The threat stunned US and European defence officials, since a decision by Russia to withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty would destroy one of the main cornerstones of European security.

Posted by Nick @ 02/09/2004


February 12, 2004

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin used a campaign speech Thursday to declare the demise of the Soviet Union a ``national tragedy on an enormous scale,'' in what appeared to be his strongest-ever lament of the collapse of the Soviet empire.

Putin, a former agent of the Soviet KGB spy agency, has praised aspects of the Soviet Union in the past but never so robustly nor in such an important political setting. ``The breakup of the Soviet Union is a national tragedy on an enormous scale,'' from which ``only the elites and nationalists of the republics gained,'' Putin said in a nationally televised speech to about 300 campaign workers gathered at Moscow State University. The president's language was sure to send a chill through the 14 other former Soviet republics that have been independent from Moscow rule for more than a decade.

In the past and to audiences from the former republics, Putin has sought to ease fears about Russia having designs on rebuilding the old empire. In September remarks after a meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States -- the grouping of former Soviet republics -- Putin said: ``The Soviet Union (was) a very complicated page in the history of our people,'' adding ``that train has left.''

But on Thursday, he spoke in a much stronger tone, appearing to play to Russian nationalism. ``I think that ordinary citizens of the former Soviet Union and the post-Soviet space gained nothing from this. On the contrary, people have faced a huge number of problems,'' he said. ``Today we must look at the reality we live in. We cannot only look back and curse about this issue. We must look forward,'' he said.

Across town, meanwhile, Putin challengers in the election next month refused to debate among themselves in a television program called for that purpose. The candidates said a debate was meaningless without Putin, who says he doesn't need the free television advertising. At the taping of what was to be the first debate ahead of the March 14 vote, four of Putin's six challengers answered questions from the studio audience, but then rejected the host's appeal that they debate each other.

``Bring Vladimir Putin here and we will have a debate,'' independent liberal candidate Irina Khakamada said, winning applause from the audience. Calling it pointless to debate with anyone but Putin, ``my main competitor'', Communist candidate Nikolai Kharitonov said that by ignoring the debates, ``Putin is depriving the population of the right to choose.'' Also at the taping were candidates Sergei Glazyev of the populist-nationalist Homeland Party and Oleg Malyshkin of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party.

Regardless of Putin's public declarations about campaign advertising, state-controlled television channels already lavish him with extensive coverage -- as on Thursday when state-run Rossiya showed his remarks live. Addressing a packed auditorium at Moscow State University, Putin said: ``The head of state should not engage in self-advertising.''

``Nevertheless,'' he continued, ``I am simply obliged before my voters and the entire country to account for what has been done during the past four years, and to tell people what I intend to do during the next four years.''

Responding to a question after his state-of-the-nation-style speech, Putin said that the 1991 Soviet collapse -- which most Russians regret -- led to few gains and many problems for ordinary citizens.

Turning to global politics, Putin said that Russia must become a ``full-fledged member of the world community'' and assailed those in the West who still have a Cold War-era distrust of Russia. They ``can't get out of the freezer,'' he said. Putin reiterated his stated opposition to prolonging his time in office, limited to two terms. But he indicated he would choose a preferred successor, saying that the task of any top leader ``is to propose to society a person he considers worthy to work further in this position.''

Some Putin opponents had considered boycotting the presidential election, saying a fair vote was impossible in Russia today, and the refusal to debate in Thursday's program reflected the candidates' anger at the president's dominance of the campaign. Some political analysts said, however, the public does not expect Putin to debate. ``They see the head of state as a monarch who shouldn't participate in discussions with those below him in the hierarchy,'' said Andrei Ryabov of the Carnegie Institute in Moscow said.

The Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe said the state-controlled media's parliamentary campaign coverage was slanted toward pro-Putin forces and accused the government of pressuring news media, to limit opposition views.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press


February 11, 2004

To the Editor:

Both your Feb. 9 editorial "Soul Gazing" (some editions) and William Safire's Feb. 9 column, "Putin's `Creeping Coup,' " rightly note the changes in Russia's domestic and foreign policies — from the manipulation of the recent elections to the announcement that Russia may abrogate the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, portending a less pro-Western stance on any number of other foreign policy issues.

Nonetheless, some of the blame for these changes rests squarely with the Bush administration. President Vladimir V. Putin took a risk — over the objections of many of his advisers — when immediately after 9/11 he joined in the fight against terrorism by allowing the deployment of American troops in Central Asia.

And what did Russia get in return? The United States repaid Mr. Putin by abrogating the Antiballistic Missile treaty and by pushing NATO expansion to the Baltic states. In this context, the abrupt shift from being "soul mates" to harsh critics ill serves our long-range foreign policy goals.

Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 9, 2004
The writer is a research associate, Davis Center for Russian Studies, Harvard University.


Washington, 29 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has formally accepted seven new nations into the military alliance, extending NATO's frontiers to the Russian border and holding out the possibility for further expansion.

At a White House ceremony on 29 March, U.S. President George W. Bush welcomed the former communist nations into NATO. Bush was joined by the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. These countries submitted accession documents to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell during a ceremony in Washington earlier today.


The acceptance of the seven countries increased the members in the alliance to 26. Under the treaty, they are bound to defend each other militarily if one of them comes under attack. The new members will participate in their first meeting on 2 April in Brussels, Belgium, at NATO headquarters. Three other nations -- Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia -- hope to join at a future date.

BUSH SAID THE DOOR TO NATO WILL REMAIN OPEN "UNTIL THE WHOLE OF EUROPE IS UNITED IN FREEDOM AND PEACE." The president said the seven new members will strengthen the alliance. "Our new members bring moral clarity to the purposes of our alliance. They understand our cause in Afghanistan and in Iraq because tyranny for them is still a fresh memory," Bush said. "These nations know that when great democracies fail to confront danger far worse peril can follow."

NATO, said Bush, now has a new greater mission: to fight against international terrorism. "Today our alliance faces a new enemy which has brought death to innocent people from New York to Madrid," he said. "Terrorists hate everything this alliance stands for. They despise our freedom. They fear our unity. They seek to divide us. They will fail. We will not be divided."

The president said that even before formally joining the alliance, the seven countries were undertaking vital missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Bulgaria provided refueling facilities during the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom and has deployed more than 400 soldiers to Iraq. Military engineers from Estonia and Latvia are helping to clear explosive devices from Iraq. Forces from Lithuania and Slovakia are helping to secure Iraq. Romanian troops have sacrificed their lives fighting terrorists in Afghanistan," Bush said.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said RUSSIA -- AN OPPONANT OF THE ENLARGEMENT -- should not be worried. De Hoop Scheffer said he believes Russia understands an expanded NATO has no designs against Moscow. He said NATO has a solid relationship with Russia and intends to build on it.


Earlier today, Sergei Mironov, speaker of Russia's Federation Council, the upper chamber of parliament, also reiterated Moscow's opposition to NATO expansion. MIRONOV SAID THE RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES ARE IN A STATE OF CONTINUAL BATTLE READINESS AND WILL "TRACK THE SITUATION THAT IS DEVELOPING AT OUR BORDERS OWING TO THE EXPANSION."

The alliance was originally set up by the West to counter the Soviet Union's military might. NATO was established on 4 April 1949 by 12 nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. During the Cold War, the alliance grew to include West Germany, Greece, Spain, and Turkey. After the Cold War ended, three former members of the once-rival Warsaw Pact joined NATO -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2004 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

America Has Second Thoughts About a United Europe

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2004— The expansion of the European Union this weekend from 15 members to 25, marking the formal end of Europe's postwar division, presents America with a choice. Should it embrace this new union that stretches to the Russian border or try to foster Europe's many fissures in order to divide and rule?

For the moment, there is scant official comment, but perhaps Europe should not take this personally. The United States has shifted paradigms: Europe is old news. Still, the less-than-benign neglect surrounding the European Union's addition of 10 members, 8 of them once part of the Soviet bloc, reflects a moment of great difficulty.

"The situation has never been so bad in 50 years," Gunter Burghardt, the union's ambassador in Washington, said in an interview. "It is a fact of life that America is a hegemonic power, but the question is how that power is used. We need to know that America is open to a confident relationship, not just with certain member states but with the E.U. as such."

This assessment reflects the enduring wounds of the Iraq war and the feeling among many European officials that an American administration has determined that its interests may lie more in division within Europe than in unity, more in forging improvised coalitions of the willing than in honoring a partnership of the wedded.

"This is an administration that simply does not care about Europe," said Philip H. Gordon, an expert on European affairs at the Brookings Institution. "I don't think they do anything solely to divide Europe, but if that's a consequence of an action, fine, because they don't want a counterweight to American power emerging."

In many respects, the new European Union is a potential major power. Its highly educated population of 455 million people is far larger than America's and it accounts for 28 percent of world trade. But it is also divided between formerly Communist states in Central Europe that are enthusiastic about Atlanticism, and other countries, led by France, where dislike of President Bush's America is intense. This is the basic ideological split that America could choose to quicken or quiet.

America might, for example, try to use the sympathies of Poland, Slovakia or Hungary to undermine European unity and pursue its own goals, which may include the establishment of military bases in at least one of these countries, quiet attempts to assure that Europe's military identity remains muted or the obstruction of moves toward a more federal United States of Europe. But Iraq has been a sobering experience, and American officials seem, for now, to have dropped talk of "old" and "new" Europe in favor of a rediscovered pragmatism. "Whatever the differences over the past year, we know that a Europe that is open, at peace, broadly united and reaching out toward Turkey is in the American interest," one State Department official said.

The mention of Turkey is significant. Faced by the union's expansion, many Americans respond by asking why Turkey is not included. The question, of course, reflects America's shift from a focus on uniting Europe to the overriding quest to change the Middle East. Admitting Turkey, a Muslim country, to a core institution of the West like the European Union would, in the American view, provide an important example of bridge building to the Islamic world. It is therefore vital, American officials argue, that the union decide at the end of this year to begin negotiations on membership.

But the impatience over bringing Turkey into Europe also betrays enduring American misunderstanding over the nature of the European Union. The immense complexity and cost of offering membership to a country as big and poor as Turkey are not widely appreciated here. The extent of integration within the union, and the surrender of sovereignty involved, are blurry ideas in America, perhaps because the notion of such transnational merging is anathema to a country at or close to the apogee of its power. If America, Mexico and Canada were as integrated as Europe's states, it would be possible to have a Mexican in Ottawa setting United States interest rates. But that, of course, is unthinkable.

This European indivisibility, despite all the continent's difficulties, makes it inevitable that new members like Poland will tend to seek shared European positions, whatever their strong American sympathies. At the same time, these institutional differences complicate trans-Atlantic understanding because a sovereign America run by an administration for which power is the coin of the realm faces European states that have put their faith in international institutions like the European Union OR THE UNITED NATIONS or an international criminal court.

But a lot is at stake in trying to overcome the current crisis of confidence. Between them, the European Union and the United States account for 40 percent of world trade. They are each other's largest trading partners. Business transactions between them run at close to $3 billion a day. This web of economic interests is so rich that it tends to compel a quest to resolve differences and harmonize regulations. The problem is that, in the strategic area, the common purpose that long drove America's broad support of European unity - delivering stability to a continent with a debilitating penchant for war - has been lost.

It is not delight but some dismay that is accompanying the arrival of the Europe "whole and free" sought by the elder George Bush and reiterated as an objective by President Bush, who said in Warsaw in June 2001 that "our goal is to erase the false lines that have divided Europe for too long."

Europe has worked hard on eliminating those divisions. But Mr. Burghardt believes recognition of this is scant in an America whose attention has moved elsewhere."The E.U. delivered on Nov. 9, that is the fall of the Berlin Wall," he said. "But we got hit by the geopolitical earthquake of Sept. 11." In other words, 9/11 trumped 11/9.

In his Warsaw speech three months before Sept. 11, President Bush also said something else: "When Europe and America are divided, history tends to tragedy."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


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