What has Sergey Ivanov achieved?

Political results of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov’s visit to the USA, that are so eagerly discussed in the west and quieter in Russia, are rather bewildering. Probably, most Russian media treat it as a courtesy visit, as no ultimate decisions on main pressing problems in the Russian-US relations have been made. Indeed, it must had been designed beforehand: Washington stated its position and Russia its one. It was an exchange of views. Once again Russia received lots of assurances that its opinion will be taken into consideration by the USA in every possible problem.

Despite Sergey Ivanov’s optimism, his comments on the visit’s results were somewhat negative, especially concerning new relations between Russia and NATO. In Ivanov’s words, “the NATO’s suggestions concerning the 20-format relations mean just a structure and procedure, nothing essential is said at all.” NATO’s draft document is worse than the one suggested by British Prime Minister Anthony Blair half a year ago, as Sergey Ivanov thinks.

The minister’s START-related position is similar to the one mentioned above. The ways Russia and the USA treat the word “cuts” are different: US’s plan is to remove the warheads from missiles and store them, but Russia offers to liquidate not only the warheads, but the settings themselves. Russia will hardly be satisfied with Pentagon head Donald Rumsfeld’s vague promises to draw out an agreement to meet the requirements.

Russia’s commander-in-chief Vladimir Putin has already announced his opinion on the presence of the US troops in Central Asia. The defense minister, in his turn, may once again express his concern about the problem, that is what exactly has been done.

PRAVDA.Ru paid a special attention to the recent visit of RF defense minister to the USA, we see it was not in vain. It is believed, nowadays, under the present-day conditions, Russia will work out not tactical, but strategic line of the relations with the west, the USA particularly. The era of tacticians from the General Staff and Foreign Ministry has sunk into oblivion. The necessity for a new strategic initiative is pressing in Russia nowadays. The six months that passed since Sept.11 have become a good lesson for us.

As for the criticism of PRAVDA.Ru’s publications, we think the most important duty of a journalist is to give a straightforward account of the events. Only a cynic or misanthrope will say everything is bad.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/18/38343.html

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