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Russia and NATO.


By Anders Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO Text: 23C5365E/natolive/opinions_76061.htm

On July 5, NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen addressed the Kuznetsov Naval Academy in St. Petersburg. The points he made to the naval cadets were earlier discussed with Russian President Medvedev. His speech had a slow build up but a kicker conclusion.

Rasmussen reviewed three topics: Why Russia and NATO need to cooperate; foundations we have for partnership; and how to move our partnership forward. Rasmussen reviewed NATO-Russia economic cooperation (e.g., almost half Russia's exports go to NATO countries; almost half Russia's imports come from NATO members.) He devoted additional attention to international cooperation against terrorism, piracy, counter narcotics, and international crime. Afghanistan, he noted was a country where NATO-Russia cooperation was directed "to help create a country that is no longer a sanctuary for terrorists."

The Secretary General mentioned recent NATO and Russian fighter aircraft joint exercise over Poland and the Black Sea. Next year, he revealed, we will test a jointly developed system in Paris and St. Petersburg to protect stations and airports from explosive devices and suicide bombers.

Rasmussen reviewed various NATO-Russia agreements emphasizing mutual security, refraining from threat or use of force against each other, and respecting sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. This backdrop provided the stage for his emphasis on missile defense as the next step forward. "The threat is real; our defense must be real," he said, and "we have taken a decision to build an Allied system." The goal is to have an interim capability by mid-2012.

Consequently, Rasmussen urged Russian cooperation in the system through joint centers to share early warning data and coordinate responses. He told his audience that Moscow would be wasting money if it builds new offensive systems because the West does not threaten Russia. Mutual cooperation on missile defense was more productive.

Reviewed by David T. Jones, co-author of UneasyNeighbo(u)rs, a book on U.S.-Canada relations

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Author:Jones, David T.
Publication:American Diplomacy
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jul 25, 2011
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