Move over NATO: Russia pushes new security treaty for Europe
Russia, sidelined at the cold war’s end, has drafted a new security treaty that would give it more input and reduce tensions with NATO aspirants on its border, such as Georgia.
The world took a wrong turn at the end of the cold war, leaving Russia stranded and isolated on the margins of Europe, and condemning the continent's security architecture to remain in permanent disbalance.Skip to next paragraph
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So argues Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, who has launched a foreign policy offensive to convince Western governments to negotiate a full-scale treaty, a draft of which the Kremlin has conveniently published, aimed at restoring harmony in Europe and preventing the kind of misunderstandings that led to last year's brief but violent war between Russia and Georgia.
"Russia does not consider the current setup to be conducive to better cooperation between Russia and NATO," says Viktor Kremeniuk, deputy director of the official Institute of USA-Canada Studies in Moscow. "Russia wants more equality. It wants to be consulted about any important issue of European security, in a way that ensures Russia's viewpoint will be heard and taken into account.
The 14-point draft treaty
The 7-page, 14-point draft treaty would "finally get rid of the legacy of the cold war," says a statement on Mr. Medvedev's website, by requiring consultations between all parties on major issues that affect European security and mandating an emergency meeting of all European powers in the event of a crisis.
Alexander Golts, military expert with the online news-magazine Yezhednevny Zhurnal, says the treaty amounts to an elaborate "trap" that would effectively give Russia a veto over decisions made by NATO.
"The main reason Russia can't come to terms with the West or integrate into Europe is because Russia has failed to develop domestically" to meet Western standards, says Mr. Golts. "The Kremlin doesn't want to discuss Russia's lack of democracy, or its human rights problems, but wants to cast its isolation as an issue of security. This draft treaty is a way of turning back to the old game of counting tanks and warheads instead."