Russia Offers to Defend NATO. … Or So it Seems: Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Russia
Happy Thanksgiving Day weekend everyone! In addition to covering the crisis in North Korea, we’re still busy covering the aftermath of the Russia-NATO Summit.
After the summit last week, many analysts were baffled by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal for joint ‘sectoral missile defense,’ which appears to put most of the responsibility for defending against a rogue missile attack in Moscow’s hands. But according to columnist Alexander Goltz of Russia’s opposition Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, this is all Moscow’s elaborate way of keeping the option of a return to ‘verbal confrontation’ open – just in case things don’t go as planned.
For the Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Alexander Goltz writes in part:
As one might have predicted, the Russia-NATO Summit went off without a hitch. The Atlantic Alliance said in its new Strategic Concept that NATO – who would ever have imagined it – is not a threat to Russia. Thus, only a small detail remains: convince the authors of Russia’s military doctrine, which calls “the expansion of NATO” the central military threat [to Russia].
And finally, the big sensation: the Alliance invited Moscow to participate in its East European missile defense system. [President] Medvedev not only rejected the proposal, but he familiarized his colleagues with his own vision. And in the course of his press conference [see below], the president said something mysterious: Moscow is offering its partners the creation of a “sectoral” missile defense system. Within this context, it follows that this is precisely the manner in which Moscow will secure full equality in decision making. It must be said that at first, this revolutionary proposal plunged experts into a state of confusion.
But Medvedev isn’t simply proposing an option that is as crude as it is difficult to implement. He is actually demanding that NATO accept Russian conditions: “Either we participate fully, exchange information, and are responsible for solving specific problems, or we do not participate at all. But if we do not participate at all, then, for understandable reasons, we will be forced to defend ourselves.”
This way, Russian leaders have kept open every opportunity to return to verbal confrontation.
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