November 18, 2002
WHAT PUTIN UNDERSTANDS, AND THE FRANCOGERMANS DON'T:Russia sees expanding NATO as dying force (Agence France-Presse, Nov 18, 2002)
Moscow is facing a daunting expansion of NATO to Russia's borders with equanimity, after recognizing the alliance as a dying force that has little bearing on its relations with Europe or the United States. [...]
"Everyone says NATO is so important -- but no one seems to be able to explain why," Vladimir Lukin, the deputy speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament and a former ambassador to Washington, told AFP.
"Relations between Russia and the United States, and Russia and Europe, have developed very rapidly on their own terms in recent times," Lukin said.
"The problem of NATO is no longer an issue (for Russia). The more NATO expands, the more useless it becomes."
Russian officials point to the US-led campaign to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan and its planned campaign in Iraq to demonstrate how Washington's consistent post-Cold War policy has been to make the Atlantic Alliance irrelevant as the bloc expands.
"The Americans were the first to understand that NATO is no longer serious," Konstantin Kosachyov, deputy head of the Duma's foreign affairs committee, told AFP.
"Before September 11, they were very careful about who made it in . Now, they let in everyone," he said.
"This means the Americans have abandoned it. NATO is no longer a military organization. It has not been used in Afghanistan, and it will not be used in Iraq."
NATO is like a toy that you hand to your least well-behaved child (the French and Germans) to keep them quiet while you do something important. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 18, 2002 8:25 AM