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  • Beware of NATO Recognizing Russia’s Sphere of Interests

    In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, former-President Carter National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has a piece titled “An Agenda for NATO: Toward a Global Security Web” that calls for a treaty between NATO and the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) as well as a Joint NATO-Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) council.

    CSTO is a military bloc and includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO consists of China, Russia and several Central Asian states, including Iran as a candidate member.

    Brzezinski’s proposal echoes then-Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov who told the December 2006 meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States:

    The next logical step on the path of reinforcing international security may be to develop a cooperation mechanism between NATO and the CSTO, followed by a clear division of spheres of responsibility. This approach offers the prospect of enabling us to possess a sufficiently reliable and effective leverage for taking joint action in crisis situations in various regions of the world.

    While Brzezinski did not call for such a “division of spheres of responsibility,” (de-facto recognition of Russia’s declared “privileged sphere of interests), such a pact would certainly amount to it. It would recognize and legitimize Russia’s hegemony in its “near abroad”. The Kremlin often speaks of greater cooperation, the creation of a sphere of influence (economically, politically, and militarily) in the former Soviet space remains an overriding priority for Moscow. President Dmitry Medvedev called for as much in his on August 31, 2008 televised speech.

    Incidentally, this territory is almost identical to that of the Russian Empire.

    Russia is pursuing this path through multilateral integration with the former Soviet states through Moscow-dominated international bodies, such as the CSTO, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC). The acceptance of the CSTO as the primary security provider and interlocutor for NATO is recognition of Russia’s imperialist aspirations that Brzezinski spent most of his life decrying.

    Does Brzezinski believe that the world is becoming “multi-polar”, with Russia and China playing major roles? This is what Russia’s pre-eminent geo-strategist, former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has envisioned since 1990s, and what the US managed to successfully defy under Clinton and Bush.

    Recognition of the Russian “sphere of interests” through a NATO-CSTO pact may bode ill to US allies in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It would negate the very notions of sovereignty and of nation-states rights to choose and pursue politico-military alliances.

    The Obama Administration should reject such odious divisions of the world, which have its roots in the 19th century Weltanschauung of Prince Metternich and Count Otto von Bismark’s, and which led to the darker episodes of the early 20th century history.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Beware of NATO Recognizing Russia’s Sphere of Interests

    1. Vahan, Canada says:

      While "recognition of the Russian “sphere of interests” through a NATO-CSTO" will "negate the very notions of sovereignty and of nation-states rights to choose and pursue politico-military alliances," why would recognizing an American sphere of influence, for Latin America for instance, does not.

      Could you please explain the logic behind this statement? Why is the United States the only state that is allowed to have a sphere of influence? Or perhaps, a unique, global, American sphere of influence is the only way to go.

      Finally, the last comments about Bismark and connection to "the darker episodes of the early 20th century history" says a lot about the author's lack of knowledge of recent European history.

    2. MIRNO LISIN, NY, USA says:

      To Mr. Cohen – a very intelligent and honest point. Thank you!

      To "Vahan from Canada":

      Don't strain yourself, my dear tovarisch, your Kremlin friends (or rather employers) got Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Hamas, Akhmadinejad and the lonely president of Nicaragua to enjoy the rights to "the sphere of interest" with.

      Actually, it's high time for Russia's "sphere of interest" to limit itself within its own borders. Especially taking in consideration the situation in Northern Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Far East etc.

      Russia should start dreaming about its "sphere of interest" only when its "elite" learns at least how to build roads on its own territory, how to clean public toilets and residential building entrances in its own cities… Not to mention the fact that it should learn how not to burn alive hundreds of kids while "freeing" them (see Beslan).

      Russia should learn how to be a State that respects and takes care of its own legitimate citizens, instead of distributing false passports to its 5th column in the foreign, sovereign states – just to have a lousy excuse for invading and annexing them.

      Russian "elite" should stop killing journalists, lawyers and and human rights activists every month.

      Russia should learn to be part of civilization, not the obstacle to civilization.

      Russia should learn to take responsibility for endless crimes against its own population in last 20 years alone(In Chechnya, i.e.- 250 000+ civilians murdered, approximately 40 000 kids among them; It should learn how to take responsibility for ethnic cleansing, for mass-murders, for violation of all imaginable human rights and every single international law.

      Russia should learn to take responsibility for its flourishing mix of FASCISM and NAZISM, with all the rights belonging only to most corrupted adepts of neo-Stalinist KGB-FSB order, by the standards of which killing a person of any non-Russian ethnicity in full daylight in downtown Moscow by the gang of ethnic Russian nazis yelling "Kill the Khach!" (derogatory for Armenian), "Kill the Churka!" (derogatory for an Central Asian), "Kill the black*ss"! (derogatory for everybody who doesn't look "Russian enough") is not considered a crime of racial hatred by your judicial system and your "expert linguists". Where international terrorists and killers like Andrei Lugovoi become members of GosDuma (Russian Parliament).

      Giving in to Russian nazi-fascist regime would be the repetition of the history with Western European leaders and Hitler as main protagonists. But if at that time the betrayal of dignity, decency and political sanity turned into a worst tragedy of 20th century, this time it will turn into a pathetic farce.

      But the clowns of that farce are bound to still share, at best, the "pretty" political fame of Chamberlain. At fairest – the "glorious" end of Hitler.

    3. Karl, USA says:

      To Vahan: Realistically, how much in America's "sphere" has Latin American been? Not Cuba (at least for the past half century). I wouldn't count Venezuela there either. I think countries there have typically been free to choose their own path, whether for good or worse. But what's wrong in promoting democracy, rule of law, free markets? It has served the West well, and is the model to emulate. Certainly, those in Central and Eastern Europe know the difference between "sphere of influence" and free choice.

    4. Mirno Lisin, USA says:

      To Mr. Cohen – a very intelligent and honest point. Thank you!

      To Vahan, Canada:

      Allow me to answer your rhetorical question about "why".

      Because:

      Russia's got Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Hamas, Akhmadinejad and the lonely president of Nicaragua to enjoy the rights to “the sphere of interest” .

      Actually, it’s high time for Russia’s “sphere of interest” to limit itself within its own borders. Especially taking in consideration the situation in Russia's de facto colonies such as Northern Caucacasus, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Siberia, Russian Far East etc.

      Russia should start dreaming about its “sphere of interest” only when its "elite" manages at least to build roads on its own territory, learns to keep clean public toilets and residential building entrances in its own cities…

      Not to mention that Kremlin should learn how not to burn alive hundreds of kids while “freeing” them (see Beslan).

      Russia should learn how to be a State that respects and takes care of its own legitimate citizens, instead of distributing false passports to its 5th column in the foreign, sovereign states – just to have a lousy excuse for invading and annexing them.

      Russian "elite" should stop killing journalists, lawyers and and human rights activists every month.

      Russia should learn to be part of civilization, not the obstacle to civilization.

      Russia should learn to take responsibility for endless crimes committed against its own population in last 20 years alone(In Chechnya, i.e.- 250 000+ civilians murdered, approximately 40 000 kids among them).

      Russia should learn how to take responsibility for ethnic cleansing, mass-murders, violation of all imaginable human rights and every single international law.

      Russia should learn to take responsibility for its flourishing mix of FASCISM and NAZISM, propagated and exercised by the faithful adepts of current neo-Stalinist KGB-FSB order, by the standards of which killing a person of any non-Russian ethnicity in full daylight in downtown Moscow by the gang of ethnic Russian nazis is not considered a hate crime.

      Even if murderers are yelling “Kill the khach!” (ethnic slur for Armenians), “Kill the churka!” (racial slur for people of Asian origin), “Kill the black**s”! (racial slur for everybody who doesn’t look Russian enough”), by the Russian judicial system and its “linguistic expertise” it is not considered a crime of racial and ethnic hatred.

      Instead, international terrorists and killers like Andrei Lugovoi, praised by Kremlin, become members of GosDuma (Russian Parliament).

      Giving in to the Russian nazi-fascist regime would be the repetition of the history with Western European leaders and Hitler as main protagonists. But if at that time the betrayal of dignity, decency and political sanity turned into a worst tragedy of 20th century, this time it will turn into a pathetic farce.

      Nevertheless, the clowns of that new farce are still bound share, at best, the “pretty” political fame of Chamberlain. At fairest, the “glorious” end of Hitler.

    5. smoothn00dle says:

      Divisions of the world!! Yes!

    6. Mirno Lisin says:

      smoothn00dle writes:

      Divisions of the world!! Yes!

      OK. With one condition: Let's start with "division" of your property (whatever it might be), your bedroom and your personal belongings between you and Mr. Putin. Next step – you move to Russia and stay there for the rest of your life:)

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