Excerpted from a February 1 RFE/RL piece:
“Orban said differences between Russia and NATO on Ukraine are significant but ‘can be bridged’ and added that an agreement which would both guarantee Russia’s security and be acceptable to NATO member states could be reached.”
The OSCE involved 1999 Istanbul and 2010 Astana declarations, stipulate that an expanded military bloc shouldn’t threaten another country. Some individuals unconvincingly maintain that Russia doesn’t face an enhanced security threat if NATO expands closer to Moscow. It’s no surprise to see such people consistently downplaying mainstream Russian views on this matter.
The 57 nation member OSCE has an origin going back to the 1970s era of detente. In comparison, NATO is more a relic of the confrontational Cold War period. I didn’t see NATO willingly terminating itself at the end of the Cold War. Back then, I thought (in my limited capacity) of possibly repositioning NATO as a military wing of the OSCE.
A new NATO entry can only occur with the approval of every existing member. Hypothetically, it seems that the leader of a NATO member country could institute a parliamentary debate and vote on this issue, in his/her nation for a permanent legal declaration, proclaiming:
– their nation will oppose the entry of a new NATO member- if another OSCE member disagrees with such a move.
Alexander Mercouris touches on this possibility at the 18:47 mark of his online January 31 commentary. If this advocacy successfully took effect, Russian security concerns would nonetheless remain, without any additional follow-up. NATO can and does militarily engage in non-NATO areas.
NATO appears top heavy with anti-Russian advocates. The US is the NATO king fish.
For US-Russian relations to improve, the American body politic will have to feel compelled to challenge the influence of the military industrial complex and anti-Russian lobby. The latter includes some folks having roots in central and/or eastern Europe, with an historical axe to grind against Russia.
In the US, the establishment anti-Russian propaganda tide is being challenging in mass media by Tucker Carlson and Matt Lee, as well as in other instances by lesser known individuals. Carlson’s February 4 opening monologue and follow-up with Aaron Mate, serve as a great counter to the misinformation concerning Russia.
Over the past week, the Biden Administration’s Jen Psaki and Ned Price exhibited pathetically weak counters to Carlson, Mate, Lee, et al. There remains an uphill battle, as Daniel McAdams notes, regarding his recent experience with Newsy.
American public opinion plays a role in the endeavor for change. From their vantage point, it seems unreasonable for the US to outspend the next 11 leading nations in defense expenditures combined – when the US is faced with growing domestic challenges.
Not to be overlooked is the role of Europe. Within NATO countries, there’re indications that France, Hungary, Germany and Croatia aren’t so gung-ho in sticking it to Russia as the UK, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and much of the US body politic.
Outside the NATO bloc, Israel, China and India, are among the countries taking different positions than the Biden Administration on Russia-Ukraine. If anything, Russo-Sino ties have been further reinforced after the US State Department had openly sought Chinese criticism of Russia. At the UN, India abstained in voting for a US request to have a formal session on Russia-Ukraine. As is true with Russia and China, Russo-Indian ties are on an upswing. Indian-Chinese differences could put Russia in an uncomfortable position.
The Russian-Israeli relationship continues to run counter to the US based neocon-neolib supporters of Israel and those dunderheads, suggesting a global Jewish conspiracy against Russia. Israel hasn’t formally stated the belief of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine. Diplomatically, Israel and the Kiev regime have expressed differences over Russia. As reported, Israel will block (via end-user regulations) the attempt by any of the three former Soviet Baltic republics to transfer Israeli manufactured weaponry to the Kiev regime.
Russia and Israel exhibit an overall healthy relationship which include having some disagreements. This interaction includes Israeli support for last year’s Russian sponsored UN General Assembly resolution denouncing the glorification of Nazism. Ukraine and the US were the only two countries voting against that resolution – something largely unreported in Western mass media.
Contrary to Stephen Blank’s January 28 Atlantic Council article (the lead piece in the February 1 edition of Johnson’s Russia List), post-Soviet Russia accepted Ukraine’s neutrality. Blank’s claim to the contrary is refuted in my Eurasia Review article of this past December 24.
When discussing Russia related issues, the presented timeline can serve as a good indicator of the given slant. The neocon-neolib mantra about how Russia acted in 2008 (in the former Georgian SSR) and 2014 (in the former Ukrainian SSR) leaves out what was evident beforehand.
In Ukraine, the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, was toppled, shortly after he signed an internationally brokered power sharing arrangement with his main opposition. The regime which replaced him was stacked with anti-Russian advocates. In turn, the most pro-Russian parts of Ukraine rebelled.
Post-Soviet Georgia developed greater differences with the Abkhaz and Ossetian populations. In 2008, the Georgian government struck into the disputed territory of South Ossetia, in a move which killed Russian peacekeepers and citizens.
As evident with Kosovo and northern Cyprus, Russia didn’t initiate the modern era change of boundaries with a military presence.
Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic.