In her speech at the international conference The Military and Political Aspects of European Security which was held in Moscow on 23 and 24 May, Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller has put special emphasis on Russia’s future role in radicalization deterrence after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In anticipation of this event Deputy Chief of the Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation. of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, Evgeniy Ilyin, for his part, also told reporters that the Moscow conference can serve as a starting point for the beginning of full cooperation between the CSTO and NATO.
NATO’s Assistant Secretary General Brengelmann gave to understand that there has been a real dialogue on the ABM issues. The impression is that these two issues are being correlated with each other: Americans will accept our ABM terms and conditions, and we may have to respond to threats from Central Asia.
Judging by Vladimir Putin’s welcome speech, read by the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, the Russian leader would return to such relations with the West, that were established with Russia after September 11, 2001. The President’s address to the audience expressed hope for the improvement of relations, which is facilitated by “the lack of fundamental ideological differences, the intertwining of economic interests, strengthening the academic, business and cultural links.”
NATO Assistant Secretary General Dirk Brengelmann was also set up to dialogue: “Both Russia and NATO recognize the importance of cooperation; we are conducting a meaningful dialogue, cooperating a lot on practical issues. Because the Euro-Atlantic chaos in which we live in is our common one. And security threats, they are now the same for both Russia and NATO.”"
According to the head of the Russian Presidential Administration Sergei Ivanov, “all major threats to Europe come from outside Europe.” Of course, it came to the situation in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan. The Russian diplomacy rightly expects trouble primarily in these areas in the near future and warns the West of it. However, for some reason these warnings do not produce much impression - after all, it is the NATO countries that did much to create this situation.
The heads of the Ministry of Defense, who as organizers of the event specified a subject of the conference, opened it more deeply. The root of all the problems was found by Sergei Shoigu in his speech. “A relic of the Cold War is the credibility gap,” said the Minister of Defence.
General Valery Gerasimov voiced Moscow’s principled stance on the ABM. Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces said: “Russia will reduce strategic offensive weapons only being assured that the U.S. global missile defense development does not undermine its nuclear deterrent capability.”
“This idea is clearly fixed in the unilateral declaration of the Russian Federation. In the case of qualitative and quantitative build-up of U.S. missile defense capabilities, creating a threat to our strategic nuclear forces, we will decide whether to stay in the treaty (START Treaty 3 signed in Prague in 2010) or not,” said Gerasimov.
“Military and technical measures to neutralize a possible negative influence of the global U.S. missile defense system on the potential of Russian nuclear forces have been developed, and we do not conceal it,” said the general.
He reminded that in December 2007, Russia had to impose a moratorium on the implementation of obligations under the CFE Treaty. “In this connection, we proceeded on the understanding that it is necessary to develop entirely new principles of Euro-Atlantic security on an equal, bloc-free basis, aimed at collective efforts to maintain peace in the region,” said the chief of the General Staff.
“These principles are in part fixed in the Vienna Document 2011. However, the mechanisms of the Vienna Document require consideration of changes in the armed forces of many European countries,” said Gerasimov.
This is that in many armies, new types of weapons appeared “being outside the scope of the agreement, but able to have a significant impact on the military capabilities of the states.” A number of armaments systems are strategic not formally but by problems. New precision weapons systems are comparable in their efficiency to nuclear weapons.
The Xinhua News Agency highlights Gerasimov’s regret about failure to “implement the Russian initiative to confer a global character to the Russian-American Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).” Of course, this question primarily concerns China, which has the largest number of such missiles of all of Russia’s neighbors.
Interestingly, on the day of opening the conference, The Washington Post published an article by Paul J. Saunders, executive director of The Center for the National Interest, in which he writes that the United States does not need any hysteria around Russia. “If Moscow were really the capital of a brutally authoritarian anti-American state, things could be far worse — and profoundly damaging to U.S. national interests,” says Saunders.
Some conference attendees’ speeches expressed concern over the situation in Syria. The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, said that “in the Mediterranean, we can no longer ignore the conflict in Syria, as it has already begun to have an impact on the security of Turkey.”
Meetings on the sidelines of the conference proved useful too. Thus, after a meeting between Russian and Serbian defense ministers Sergei Shoigu said that Moscow and Belgrade already this year can sign agreement on military and military-technical cooperation. In turn, Alexander Vucic said he wanted to talk about what military hardware can be purchased.
“For us - it is a major political issue. We are ready to do everything to strengthen our Air Force and Air Defense. We are ready to develop cooperation in the field of military education and military medicine,” said the Yugoslav Defense Minister. Most likely, the Russian military equipment will be supplied on the basis of a loan from Russia.
Summing up the conference, General Gerasimov said: “The discussion showed that in this regard, we have a coincidence of opinion with our European partners.” He also said that it was attended by over 300 representatives from 50 countries, as well as foreign and local experts from more than 20 non-governmental organizations.