Thursday, 29 January 2009

Partnership or Cold War mentalities?

Thanks to Brian from Burke’s Corner who pointed me toward a couple of articles carrying quotes from Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO and former leader of the erstwhile Rodina party, which is now subsumed in the Just Russia coalition. Rogozin is an articulate proponent of the Russian position and he is particularly persuasive when he argues common interests between the EU, US and Russia comprise a sum greater than those matters which divide the three.

“We suggest principles that are really hard to object to. Who is going to deny that security should be equal, indispensable and indivisible for all? Who could be against demilitarizing the entire centre of the European continent using military force solely to defend our common borders in the Pacific area? Who could be against ruling out military planning, especially nuclear planning, against each other? These things are totally reasonable; it’s a new world outlook. It’s a new vision of collective security for everyone. Therefore, what Medvedev is offering is hardly questionable.”

Rogozin blames a Cold War mentality for hampering efforts to repair relations between Russia and the west. As if to demonstrate the point, today’s Telegraph carries a nasty little editorial urging Barack Obama to capitalise on Russia’s economic weakness in the face of falling oil revenues. Exploit the Russians whilst they have other concerns to address is the basis of the argument. A more unpleasant, short term approach it would be difficult to imagine.

In contrast, Crunchy Con, Rod Dreher’s neat synopsis perhaps deserves to be the final word on this debate,

“in the long run (that is, this century), there is no reason for Russia and the US to be at odds, and real cultural reasons for us to be more closely united than we now are -- especially given the steep projected decline in European and Russian populations.”

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