Moscow believes the U.S. “cannot guarantee” the security of its allies in Europe and that Western Europe, therefore, should turn to Russia as a new alliance partner, according to official Russian sources.
European nations should “revise their position” regarding Russia and turn NATO into a “political structure,” Moscow said.
“The Sept. 11 attacks on the United States proved that for all of its might and riches, the country cannot guarantee its own security, let alone that of its allies.”
The solution is for Europe to turn to Russia, “which has become their much needed ally in the war against terrorism.” Moscow demands a “long-term arrangement” from NATO with at least “a limited participation” in alliance deliberations to “resolve European security problems.”
The statements were carried by the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.
Moscow’s comments came shortly before today’s scheduled meeting of NATO and Russian leaders at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
NATO was founded in 1949 as a defensive alliance against the threat of invasion from an aggressive Soviet Union and remained effective against Soviet attack until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Moscow suggests that Western Europe “speed up the formation of a rapid reaction force,” while declaring that “durable security is impossible” in Europe without Russian involvement in the continent’s defense structures.
Apparently referring to the perceived need for Russian involvement in the full gamut of European security measures, Moscow declared that “neither the rapid reaction force nor any other moves that NATO might take towards consolidation would help if Russia drops out.”
Moscow left unsaid how European security would be affected if Russia “drops out” of present continental security agreements.
Moscow advanced the proposition that if it gained “limited participation” in NATO, the alliance “could gradually transform from a military into a political structure.”
Claiming wide support for close cooperation with Russia, Moscow proclaimed that “an ever greater number of people” in Europe “regard a union with Russia and long-term cooperation” as “desirable and necessary.” This “union” and “cooperation” would be “free from the memories of the past.”
Since the Soviet era, Moscow has sought a united Europe – and with no designated role for the U.S. In March 2001, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that “Moscow seeks creation of a single, united, legal and cultural … civilized space.”
The united Europe, according to Moscow’s view, would be “one of the poles of a new world in the making.”
Economic cooperation between Western Europe and Russia is already substantial, with about 60 percent of foreign investment and 40 percent of Russia’s foreign trade coming from nations of the European Union.
On Wednesday, Russian and European officials met in Moscow to discuss further joint cooperation. According to a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, EU Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy stated, “We recognize and welcome the considerable political and economic reforms which have been put in place by President Putin’s government.”
European dependence upon Russian oil and gas is growing following recent agreements guaranteeing supplies to Western Europe in partial exchange for investment in Russian oil and gas production.
As Western Europe and Russia grow closer together, Moscow is increasingly becoming a power center beyond the borders of the Russian Federation.
The Union of Russia and Stalinist Belarus appears ready to accept new members, with new inductees very probably coming from Central Asia as well as Eastern Europe.
The Soviet Union’s successor, the 12-member Commonwealth of Independent States, is promising to become “an authoritative international organization,” according to the Voice of Russia World Service.
The president of the oil-rich CIS member nation of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, declared that the CIS has “a common history, a common mentality and a common language that unifies us – I mean the Russian language.”
Observers note that unfortunately CIS members have another common bond – most of them are ruled by iron-fisted dictators. One of the CIS leaders, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, is regularly condemned by international human-rights organizations and has even been accused of political murder.
The Putin government has also come under severe criticism for extending control over the Russian media. In August 2001, Putin decreed that all Russian broadcasting and relay stations for television and radio were to be placed under the management of a single government corporation. This move gives Putin effective control over the content of Russia’s mass media.
Observers also question Moscow’s close cooperation – including military cooperation – with nations linked to terrorist activities and its ties to countries still advocating the communist cause, including China, Cuba and Belarus.