NATO smiles to Russia forcefully

NATO's relations with Russia have changed for the better over the past 20 years. The United States is satisfied with the dialogue with Russia and intends to make it more profound, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Philip Gordon stated. The depth of reverence of the political structures of the United States and Russia in anticipation of the upcoming November 20th Russia-NATO summit is such that it seems right to expect something unexpected.

The strategy of Barack Obama has brought impressive dividends: there has been tremendous progress in our bilateral relations, and practical cooperation has been initiated. Effective diplomatic policy towards Russia has helped us to better address priority issues, Gordon said at Washington's Johns Hopkins University.

Recently Russia in fact is quite easy going and unequivocal. A territorial dispute was resolved in favor of Norway, the member country of NATO. Russia is showing interest in Western models of weapons and is willing to make major purchases, making the "integration" deeper.

We want Russia to become closer to NATO, the diplomat said. He added that despite some differences in viewpoints, including the issue of Georgia, there is no valid reason to not develop the cooperation of Russia and NATO. It seems to him that the alliance is very interested in Russia.

Defense procurement plans suggest that the country created a special component of the armed forces, equipped by Western standards and built in the Western system of command and control. The Ministry is purchasing means of communication, surveillance and reconnaissance, small arms with the caliber, ammunition that is not produced by domestic factories, and even armored amphibious ships for expeditionary activities.

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Judging by the nomenclature, we can talk about some Rapid Reaction Corps, which will combine the most mobile and combat-ready units of different types of troops (apparently Airborne and Marines) and will act away from territory of the Russian Federation. Russian cannon fodder has been highly prized in Europe for a long time.

"Russia now has a pronounced pro-Western stance: sanctions against Iran in favor of Western interests, a number of others, such as purchases of military equipment from NATO countries and Israel, and the structure of our army today is transformed in such a way as to be docked to NATO," said the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Leonid Ivashov.

The geography of Ministry of Defense weapons interest suggests that this component will be more European than American. In this context, a new doctrine of NATO seems interesting - the concept of strategic alliance and the European security system project, which will be discussed in November in Lisbon at the Russia-NATO Council.

If at the beginning of work at the concept the NATO leaders discussed the initial version of the concept prepared by a specially convened "panel of the wise" with complete openness and transparency, the Lisbon version remains completely closed. This document is not available in Russia, and this alarms Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

According to the Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, the document will have "enough teeth," but its main meaning will have to do with the necessity for NATO to act far beyond the geography of NATO countries to fend off security threats to the West on the distant approaches.

Medvedev, Merkel and Sarkozy talked about economic cooperation, the world's media assures. Nicolas Sarkozy hung his visa "carrot" very close, noting that a common economic space and visa-free regime will exist between Russia and the EU in 10-15 years. Probably from Moscow, these prospects seemed much closer.

The U.S. diplomat Philip Gordon identified the relationship between the START Treaty and the pragmatic American interests. He said that the Treaty on strategic offensive arms was a very important document, that provided for a significant reduction of nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Russia and strengthening the nonproliferation regime. He added that the US also cooperates with Russia on the transit to Afghanistan and the security of Iran. Gordon stated that the UN Security Council has agreed and adopted a tough resolution, and could take further steps to prevent the supply of missile systems S-300 to Iran. He said that a lot of work has been done, but even more still has to be done.

As we know, Moscow has officially refused to sell Iran S-300. Yet, a third player was involved in the intrigue. After the meeting of Russian and French presidents and the chancellor of Germany in the French resort of Deauville who got together after a five year break, Chavez, who was in Moscow, suddenly announced that the complexes may go to Venezuela.

"We are acquiring the S-300 and some other weapons from Russia, and this process is going very well," said Chavez. Meanwhile, Israel has asked the U.S. to dissuade Moscow from selling anti-aircraft S-300 to Venezuela because of fears that they could then be transferred to Iran, reports AP.

Two weeks ago the head of State Corporation "Russian Technologies" Chemezov canceled the contracts to supply Iran with five battalions of antiaircraft missile system (ZRS) S-300PMU-1 for a total of nearly $800 million, and is negotiating the return of the country's advance payment. The standard penalty is $80 million, and the Russian Federation must also refund the advance of over $160 million.

Chemezov reminded about the existing UN resolutions and a presidential decree banning the supply of arms to Iran, as demanded by the United States. The decree "On measures to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1929 of June 9, 2010" was signed by the President on September 22 and has banned the delivery of Russian weapons systems to Iran.

Also the issue of missile defense in Europe will be raised at the summit where Russia is invited. Last week, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said that the problem of missile defense cannot be solved without Russia.

During the communication with European leaders, Medvedev answered a question about a possible Russian participation in European defense. "We appreciate this offer, but I think that NATO should understand how it sees Russia's accession, what it should provide, and how to work further. Only based on the assessment of this proposal, we will be able to answer, as we continue to work," said Dmitry Medvedev.

The third expected episode of the summit is the discussion of the situation in Afghanistan, where U.S. military has long invited the Russian Federation. This theater of military operations once tested by the Soviet army is named by experts among the most likely for the Russian expeditionary forces. Or even the first among the most likely. The degree of possible integration of Russia into the alliance will become clear after the Lisbon Summit. It is not clear how comprehensive security will be ensured in Russia itself, a close friendship with the military units had never done Russia any good.

Sergey Nikolaev

Read the original in Russian

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov