Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin says the next NATO summit in May 2012 is the deadline for receiving the alliance’s proposals on cooperation in developing the European missile defense system.
After this deadline, Rogozin says relations between the sides may worsen.”The European missile defense architecture should be approved by the end of this year,” Rogozin said.“The plan will be finalized at the next NATO summit in Chicago in the middle of May next year.”
At least this is the blueprint for cooperation that Russia is promoting; Rogozin acknowledged that the negotiations may take a turn for the worse. Despite Moscow’s repeated warnings that a missile defense system constructed on Russia’s western flank would constitute a national security threat, NATO continues to push ahead with its unilateral designs, threatening the European continent with another arms race. “If by that time Russia does not find itself as an invited nation in this missile defense architecture, this will cause great problems in our relations,” he stressed.
Rogozin, however, suggested a possible compromise solution in case the alliance refuses to work with Russia.
“We believe the only true compromise could be deployment of the US missile defense system at a distance from Russia’s borders equal to their range,” he said. The Russian NATO ambassador stressed the importance of guaranteeing that the system will never pose a national security risk, because one day someone else will come to take the place of US President Barack Obama”and get hold of an overly flexible system which under certain circumstances may be directed against Russia,” Rogozin said.
Russia’s NATO envoy clearly had in mind certain influential elements inside of the Republican Party, namely the neoconservatives faction, which employs a strikingly militaristic edge to its foreign policy.
This dangerous tendency is not only apparent to Russian observers. Last week, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed his concerns about the “creeping militarization” of U.S. foreign policy.
“Broadly speaking, when it comes to America’s engagement with the rest of the world, it is important that the military is – and is clearly seen to be – in a supporting role to civilian agencies”.
“This has led to concern among many organizations…about what’s seen as a creeping ‘militarization’ of some aspects of America’s foreign policy.”
Now, if the US defense chief himself is concerned about America’s militaristic tendencies, it is easy to understand why Russia too would be expressing strong reservations about any one-sided military project on its very doorstep.
Indeed, it was the Bush administration that floated the idea of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe in the first place, ostensibly to defend Europe from “rogue missile attacks.” Rogozin mentioned past meetings that he attended in the Senate with US Republicans clearly demonstrated “that this part of the American political establishment does not intend to have any business with the Russian Federation.” The Republicans use their “hatred for the incumbent master of the White House to…spoil relations on a global scale,” he added.