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the September 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL.
48, No. 9)
Roundup: Cold War Presidency?
Rapprochement with Russia
After a cold period in Russian-American relations, observers
are talking about the beginning of a new chapter and a growing
trust between the two countries. Todays Russian-American
relations cannot be called cloudless. Today, no
one in the Kremlin or White House talks about the two countries
strategic partnership. Naturally, it would be senseless to
talk about the return of the Cold War. Rather, a major point
of friction is the fact that the United States does not even
consider Russia a rival while, despite its shattered weight,
the latter sees the future in terms of its being an equal
partner to the United States.
After months of sending messages to each other, [Presdients
Bush and Putin] finally had the chance to acquire personal
impressions of each other, and despite differences in opinion,
both were assured of the others pragmatism. Both parties
will need this pragmatism and trust, as Washington cannot
completely discount the still potent nuclear power, Russia,
while it is more beneficial for the latter to find a means
of mutual and equal partnership, similar to its new European
allies, while maintaining independent policies. The only way
this can be achieved is for Moscowwhich wants to grow
to become an equal partner of G-8not to consider the
United States as belonging to the other side.
Magyar Nemzet (independent), Budapest, Hungary, June
Escaping the Anti-Ballistic Missile
The United States plans to abrogate terms of the 1972 ABM
Treaty in the next several months. Moscow is maintaining an
Olympian calm. Washington, by such declarative action, is
desperately trying to intensify work on re-evalution of the
treaty. Not long ago, President Vladimir Putin signaled a
possible modernization of the 1972 treaty. But
that is where the matter now stands: Russian military leaders
will permit only individual technical amendments rather than
essential changes. In other words, there is no way that missile
defense will be entertained. Any actions by the United States
toward developing a missile defense, though critical, are
by no means catastrophic. The treaty allows the deployment
of up to 15 anti-rocket launchers on the basis of existing
and amended testing arrangements. The United States does not
intend to exceed this barrier until 2004. Conducting such
tests, according to treaty parties, may not, with major stipulations,
violate the essence of the treaty. Meanwhile, Russian military
and political circles will try to renew U.S. compliance
with the ABM Treaty by means of negotiations.
(centrist), Moscow, Russia, July 13, 2001.
The Baltics Feel Inspired
The Baltic states are welcoming U.S. efforts to take an active
role in increasing security in Europe. The position of the
United States regarding NATO enlargement is counterbalancing
pro-Russian and anti-Baltic positions of some influential
European politicians. The U.S. president clearly stated that
no nation should have a veto over who is admitted into
NATO, a reference to Russian objections to extending
NATO into the territory of the former Soviet Union. All
of Europes new democracies, from the Baltic to the Black
Sea, should have the same chance for security and freedomand
the same chance to join the institutions of Europeas
Europes old democracies have, Bush added.
This position regarding increasing security in Europe is welcomed
by the Baltic states. Lithuania is convinced that the
invitation to extend our hands and open our hearts to
new members, to build security for all of Europe will
be realized by inviting Lithuania to join the alliance in
autumn 2002 in Prague, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister
[Antanas Valionis] has said. We are pleased that the
U.S. continues its leadership in eliminating all remaining
or artificially drawn dividing red lines in Europe,
he added. Latvia feels inspired and will continue preparing
for integration into NATO, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga
Giedrius Blagnys, Inter Press Service (international
news agency), Rome, Italy, June 21, 2001.
Return of Force
With the advent of Bush we are witnessing the return in force
of the national security state. The key posts in the present
administration, unlike the previous one, are held by military
men and civilian and military strategists. In short, this
is a Cold War government with no Cold War to fight. Its acts
and its composition reflect a particular vision of a world
system governed by power politics and the choice to pursue
objectives of wealth and power determined by a very narrow
definition of what constitutes the national interest.Who are
the adversaries capable of mounting a challenge against the
United States in space or in the deep seas, another of the
Pentagons current obsessions? Russia, which has been
reduced to recruiting wealthy tourists to fund its space program?
China, which needs 20 years of peace to stabilize the fragile
domestic, economic, and social situation within the country?
Europe? Who, then? In the meantime, the rest of the world
will have to live with the new American nationalism. The Bush
administration does not seem to grasp that strategies of domination
based on force inevitably generate counterforces.
Philip S. Golub, Le Monde diplomatique (liberal
monthly), Paris, France, July 2001.
Americas Political Ignorance
The Bush administration has made it known that Russia will
either have to modify the ABM Treaty or participate in the
agreements funeral. This position is not, in itself,
anything new, but it has never before been stated so baldly.
The style it reflects is typically described in Washington
as hardball, while others call it unilateralism.
The philosophy is eat or die. The U.S. is exploiting
its strengths and demanding that others fall into line. This
desire to go it alone is the fruit of years of domestic political
ignorance of the demands of foreign policy, resulting from
a simplistic worldview and the strong American distaste for
compromises and subordination of its needs to other states.
It also reflects Americas own assessment of power and
leadership. But in fact it will, more than anything else,
contribute to American isolationism and cause the deterioration
of the machinery that nations use to get along with one another.
Stefan Kornelius, Süddeutsche Zeitung (centrist),
Munich, Germany, July 16, 2001.