Thursday, 5 March 2009

Equal partnership with Russia sought.

To follow up a little on the piece below, it seems the US under Obama is keen to direct NATO policy towards re-engagement with Russia. Work in this regard had already begun with an informal meeting of the NATO-Russia Council. As its foreign ministers met today, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in attendance for the first time, the alliance pledged to recommence the work of the Council on a formal basis.

Predictably there were differences of opinion, and Clinton described a ‘vigorous discussion’ on Russia. But what is particularly significant is that the Americans are no longer aligned with the more belligerent anti-Russian voices. Indeed the US joined Germany, traditionally less frosty in its relationship with Moscow, and tabled a motion calling for Russia to become, “equal partners in areas of common interest”.

Predictably David Miliband struck a less conciliatory note. But if the temperature of Russia-NATO relations begins to cool he will be forced to temper his anti-Russian instincts. Vice president Joe Biden spoke last month of ‘pressing the reset button’ on relations with Russia. It is a badly needed change of attitude and one which can help foster true partnership between Russia, the US and the rest of NATO.

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