Tuesday, September 25, 2007
NATO Debate Continuing ... and Russia too
What made collective defense credible despite the hollow Art. 5 clause was the policy of basing foreign troops in the likely theater of war: in West Germany, the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. Only like that, an attack would have drawn the UK, France, Canada, and, above all, the U.S. almost automatically into military activities: Such an attack would physically have been an attack against NATO forces. The fact that only foreign basing turns Art. 5 into a kind of “guarantee” is behind the desire of NATOs new CEE members to have U.S. troops stationed on their territory - and the reason for Russia’s fierce resistance to that.
I also wanted to press Dominique Moisi a bit more on his vision for France's foreign policy under Sarkozy--particularly what weighting/priority would be assigned to the trans-Atlantic versus European dimensions.
On Russia, Lee Hamilton takes a view that may not have been welcomed by some of the participants at the Prague Europeum conference last week. Hamilton writes against those he sees as advocating a confrontational approach to Russia and says, "These opponents would prefer that disputes form the basis of U.S.-Russian relations -- an unstable foundation, upon which sustainable cooperation, peace and security cannot be built. But the proper approach is to recognize these differences, not ignore them, and fully engage Russia. It is doubtful we can solve many problems in the world without Russian help. ...
Pursuing such an outcome reflects a view toward Russia unchanged since 1991, when America saw a dethroned superpower, bested by the United States, condemned to a minor role on the international stage. This was and is a misguided view."