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jeudi 26 juin 2014

Blog: ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI - Talk June 2014

European Security Conference – June 2014 
The Wilson Center
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, Former National Security Advisor, Carter Administration, 1977- 1981

Let me try to discuss the implications of the European Security architecture of what Wolfgang Ischinger just addressed namely the problem of the relation of Russia to the West and Ukraine.  What we are seeing in Ukraine, in my judgement, is not a peak but a symptom of a more basic problem, namely the gradual but steady emergence in Russia of over the last six or seven years of a quasi-mystical chauvinism. Putin has taken the lead in this. and it has a great deal of content that is significant for the totality of Russia's relations with the world and the west in particular.

Recently, The Russian international affairs council, an institution in Moscow composed of very reputable & significant scholars, not dissidents, but independent thinkers, and these do exist these days in Moscow, has come up with a report on Russia’s national identity transformation and new foreign policy doctrine, and it reports in some detail on the process of creating a wholly new conceptual framework for defining Russia's relationship with the world. A relationship that the Russians feel is needed because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the partial disintegration of the long-established Russian empire.

It is a longish report but it is worth reading for those who are interested in international affairs. It deals with particularly several key concepts that this new view of the world contains.  A view of the world created by the need to Russians around Putin and Putin himself have felt for a more comprehensive interpretation of  what is the nature of Russia's position in the world and its relationship with the world and the West in particular.

And it is in this context, that the Ukrainian issue becomes significant.  The key concepts of it, this report, written by a group of people of some prominence in Moscow, involves four basic concepts. That of, and I quote, a divided people. Secondly, the theme, quote, of protecting compatriots abroad, end quote. then more broadly, the Russian world, Russky mir, in Russian, and the importance of acknowledging and sustaining, embracing and promoting, quote, the great Russian civilization.

  I mention this because I think it would be an error to think that Crimea and Ukraine are just the products of a sudden outrage. They are to some extent in terms of timing.
It would have been much smarter for Russia to have what has been happening, happen about ten years from now when Russia would be stronger, economically more solid.  But it happened. And these concepts are important. A divided people is the point of departure for the chauvinistic claim that Russia's sovereignty embraces all Russians. wherever they are.

And that has, of protecting compatriots aboard. And that has special meaning for those countries which do have Russian ethnic nationals living in their society and border Russia.

The divided people and the protecting of compatriots aboard then raises the question of the Russian world.  The notion here is of organic, integral unity between all Russians irrespective of their territorial location. And the territorial location can be altered favourably in reuniting the Russian people.  Think of the Baltic States.

And last not least, the conviction that Russia is not part of the western civilization.  Is also not a part of China.  It is not part of the Moslem world.  Russia itself is a great civilization, a world civilization which emphasizes a set of principles, some of which are not unfamiliar to our own society, such as for example, strong commitment to a particular religion, but much stronger than in the West, where religion is part of a more complex social arrangement.

The notion that the great Russian civilisation stands for certain basic values, not on a religious, but in terms of interpersonal relationships, to some extent.  For example condemning some of the changes in the relationship between the sexes, and within the sexes that are now taking place in the world.

In effect, Russia protects the integrity of certain basic beliefs that have characterised Christianity, but in the Russian view, Christianity is now betraying or permitting to slip away.

So this is a comprehensive outlook. And an ambitious outlook which justifies the conclusion that Russia is a world power. And nothing has hurt Putin lately, in some of the international dialogue with the West, than the words of President Obama which credited Russia with being a significant regional power. He didn't have to say more to score a point that hurt.

That is therefore an important point of departure for dealing with the Ukraine issue.
The Ukraine issue is not a sudden peak but a symptom as I’ve said of a basic problem. The emergence of the policies packaged within the larger philosophical framework, which I've described.

What can we, therefore, expect if Ukraine, in fact is its manifestation, that problem will be difficult to resolve.  And I think it will take time to resolve.  But of course, resolution of it need not be a unilateral solution if the West has a stake in it. And the stake has to be, then, crystallized into meaningful policy. The Ukraine problem may fade if it is contained. And especially if the Russian increasingly cosmopolitan middle class which is surfacing, but not dominant currently, becomes politically more important, perhaps repelled by its sense of vulnerability and disappointment in Putin, and at some point assumes a more significant political role when Putin has passed from the stage. But when? There's no way of predicting it. It could be soon. It could be a long time. But
A great deal depends on whether what Ukraine has become as a symptom becomes a success or a failure from Putin’s point of view. So in brief the stakes are significant.In the most immediate sense, the stakes involves, of course, the issue

that the use of force in Crimea and the ongoing and sustained effort to destabilize parts of Ukraine pose as a threat to the post-world War II notions of international arrangements, and particularly the exclusion of the use of force in resolving territorial issues. That has been a cardinal assumption of the European order after world war II. And Russia has been part of it, including the treaties that it has signed. But now it is challenging that. That is a significant threat in a broad sense and in an immediate threat psychogically, at least, that potentially, in view of Crimea, militarily to the Baltic States, to Georgia, to Moldova, and more vaguely, indirectly, but perhaps potentially more successful than the others, Belarus. Because Belarus does not have any external protection. The others that I have mentioned do have in varying degrees.
It follows from what I am saying, that the Ukrainian problem is a challenge, that the West, by which I mean, the US and Europe & NATO particularly must address on 3 levels. We have to effectively deter the temptation facing the Russian leadership regarding the use of force. We have to deter the use of force more simply put.  We have to secondly to obtain the termination of Russia's deliberate efforts at the progressive or continuing destabilization of parts of Ukraine. It's very hard to judge how ambitious these goals are. but it is not an accident that in that 1 single portion in which the Russians actually predominate, one single portion of Ukraine in which they actually predominate the use of force has been sophisticated, in that the participants in the effort, were armed, even tanks.  Certainly, effective anti-aircraft weaponry.

All of that is something that even, uh, disagreeable, disaffected citizens of a country to which that they feel that they do not belong, would storing somewhere in their attic or basement.  These are weapons provided in effect for the purpose of shaping formations that are capable of sustaining serious military engagements.

 It is a form of inter-state aggression. You can’t call it anything else. How would we feel if all of the sudden there was, say, the drug orientated gangs in the US, were armed from abroad, from our southern neighbour, by (buy) equipment which would permit violence on that scale on a continuing basis. So this is a serious challenge. So that is the second objective.

And the 3rd objective to promote and then discuss with the Russians, a formula for an eventual compromise, assuming that in the 1st instance, that the use of force openly and on a large scale is deterred and the effort destabilized is abandoned.

That means in turn the following: and I will quite blunt regarding my own views on this subject.  Ukraine has to be supported, if it is to resist. If Ukraine doesn’t resist, if its internal disorder persisted, in its capacity to organise effective national defense, doesn’t transpire then the Ukraine problem will be resolved unilaterally but with consequential effects, that would destabilising in regards to the vulnerable states & to the totality of the East-West relations, for the forces of chauvinism, for forces of a new sort of world self-definition will become more strident. And they do represent the most negative aspects of contemporary Russian society. A kind of thirst for nationalism, of fulfilment, gratification of the exercise of power.  Something which is not pervasive in the new middle-class, which is the long range alternative, but which is certainly not on top of political influence.

If Ukraine has to be supported, the Ukrainians have to know that the West is prepared to help them resist.  There is no reason to be secret about it, it would be much better if we were open about it. And to say to the Ukrainians and to those who may threaten Ukraine, that if you resist, you Ukrainians resist, you will have weapons, and we will provide some of those weapons in advance of the very act of invasion.  Because in the absence of that, the temptation to invade & pre-empt become overwhelming.

But what kind of weapons is important. And in my view, these should be weapons designed particularly to permit the Ukrainians to engage in effective urban warfare, in resistance.  There is no point in trying to arm the Ukrainians to take on the Russian army in the open field.  Thousands of tanks, a modern army for some purposes, overwhelming forces.  But there is a history to be learnt from urban resistance in WW II & more recently in Grozny, Chechenia, which resisted for 3 months in house to house fighting.  There are some moving examples from WWII which I do not need to  reiterate.

The point is, if the effort to invade was to be successful politically, it would have to incorporate major cities, such as Kharkiv, Kiev were to resist, and street fighting became an necessity, it would be prolonged & costly. The fact of the matter is and this is where the timing of the whole crisis is important.  Russia is not yet ready to undertakethat that kind of effort.  It would be too costly in blood, and it would be paralysingly costly in finances & it would take a long time and it would create more & more international pressure.

So I feel that we should make it clear to the Ukrainians, if you are determined to resist, if they say they are, seemingly they, seemingly they are trying to do so but not very effectively.  We would provide them with anti-tank weapons, hand-held anti-tank weapons, hand-held rockets, weapons capable for use in urban, short range fighting.   This is not an army of Ukraine for some invasion of Russia.  You don’t invade a country as large as Russia with defensive weaponry.  But if you have defensive weaponry and you have access to it, & you know its arriving, you’re likely to resist. And hence, that acts as a deterrent. And that in turn can permit them more effective operations to terminate some of the violence that it is being sponsored on the borders between Ukraine & Russia.

That I think would help in any case to contain the risk & the temptation to resolve this issue by force of arms.  On the Russian side, in the context of a mood, great
ecstasy over the Crimean success which was quick and decisive and which encountered no resistance, the temptation to seek its repetition can be quite strong and appealing to a political leader who desperately needs a major success. But at the same time, we have to engage in some exploration of possible arrangements for a compromise outcome. especially if it becomes clear to the Russian and Mr Putin that either destabilising Ukraine or taking it by force poses great risks & may not be attainable.
That has to be accompanied by therefore in an effort in engage a dialogue.

What should be the formula for a possible compromise.  I think it is relatively simple, in fact.  Ukraine can proceed with its process, publically endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian people, becoming part of Europe. But it’s a long process.  The Turks have been promised that outcome & they have been engaging in that process, already for 60 years.  In other words it is not done very quickly. Therefore the danger to Russia is not imminent and the … consequences are not so destructive.
But at the same time,clarity that Ukraine is not be a member of NATO.  I think that is important for a variety of geopolitical reasons.  If you look at the map, it is important from a pyschogical & strategic point of view.  Hence Ukraine will not be a member of NATO, but by the same token, Russia has to understand that Ukraine will not member of some mythical Eurasian Union, that President Putin is trying to promote, on the basis of this new doctrine of a special position for Russia & the world. And special claims outside of Russia viz a viz some of its fellow natives.  Ukraine will not a member of the Eurasian Union but Ukraine can have a separate trade agreement with Russia, particularly taking into account the mutually benefits of the  fact that certain forms of exchange and trade are mutually beneficial. Agricultural products, for example, from Ukraine to Russia. Industrial products that Russia needs and now are being produced in Ukraine. Not many people realize that that some of Russia’s best rockets, most of the engines for Russian civil aviation, and some of the rockets used by the united states are produced in the Ukraine. It's a profitable and successful industrial enterprise. And that, therefore, should be continued under an arrangement whereby Ukraine and Russia have a special treaty.

I think something like this might actually at some point become appealing. And it should be surfaced, but it should be surfaced in the context of an open, not covert , but open action designed to convince the Russians that any use of force will have negative but enduring consequences for Russia itself.  Not involving a threat to Russia’s security, but involving rising costs of the assertion of Russia's power at the cost of Ukrainian independence.
In my view in that context, NATO should also act somewhat more assertively in reducing the insecurity of those NATO countries that border on Russia and happen to have on the average about 25% of its population constituted of Russian nationals.  I speak specifically of Estonia and Latvia.  America has committed its presence there. I would think it would be very productive if addition to America and some leading states notably Germany, France & Great Britain deployed some symbolic forces in these 3 countries, so that they’re there too, and not just Americans on a regular basis, on a regular basis so that this would reaffirm the fact that NATO stands, in the context of this problem, together. In international politics, SYMBOLISM is as important as decisiveness, & symbolism can avert the necessity for extreme measures.

Given the current the consequences of the very massive expansion of NATO, in the last several decades, to 28 members.  It might be also appropriate in the light of the ongoing experience that we are in the process of assimilating, to take another look at the structure of NATO itself.  And I have in mind, a review of the historical paradox involved and it is not much mentioned but potentially very important: Article 5.Article 5 is the article which provides for the procedure that the alliance follows in in undertaking a military response to an aggression directed at it in general or at one or two or more of its members. You doubtless recall that article that the decisions to engage in hostility by the alliance have to be unanimous, which, in other words, means that a single country has a veto. It was the united states that insisted on this provision when NATO was first formed. It insisted it insisted on it in order to obtain popular support from it in the American congress from the isolationist portions of the American body politic, which feared that an alliance of this sort would violate American tradition of no foreign entanglements. The argument was this gives America what it needs to avoid a foreign entanglement.


Unfortunately, today, with 28 members, of varying degree of capacity for participating in military action, & unfortunately, of some varying degree of genuine political commitment to some of the security assumptions of the alliance, the situation has become reversed.  Some of the new allies that may be tempted by some circumstances to invoke Article 5. Not entirely preventing NATO from responding but I am convinced that would to happen, prolonged debates, internal threats.   The country was trying to prevent NATO from acting, would be pursued to join. Or de facto, taken out of the alliance, but I think that it would be wiser to review this provision in a more patient atmosphere, in spite of the circumstances that prevail today .

One possible solution might be simply the adoption of the provision of that there will be no veto right in the alliance for sustained, enduring underperformers of jointly agreed commitments. Some members of NATO don’t meet their commitments even by some remote approximation; just do not and hence their membership in NATO is a free ride all together.   Why should a member that doesn’t meet NATO practically in total, then have the right to veto the other member’s right to engage in collective self-defence.  It’s an anomaly & potential source of gridlock & confusion.  As this crisis is gradually resolved, I hope NATO will take another look at the issue & also look at the issue of additional new members in NATO more critically.  It doesn’t follow that a country, in whose security NATO have an interest, has to be in NATO. NATO can have an interest in its security, but without having it in NATO.   And have a variety of understandings with regards to how it might respond.
There is some talk of new members in the EU & Peharps of some these will seek NATO membership.  In recent years some countries have obtained NATO membership while being territorially remote from the possible conflicts on the East-West  dividing line.  I think more discretion here may be actually beneficial & some reflection on this subject
Might in fact enhance NATO credibility & create some pressure on those members who wish to be active members in NATO, to do more to meet the commitment they have formally undertaken.

Finally, I’m looking much further ahead, I think that one way or another, with or without a compromise to a solution, Crimea will be become a serious economic burden for Russia.  There is no way that the kind of economic activity in which Crimea has been able to engage & quite profitably named as a major source of tourism & visits & international liners on a large scale, coming into its ports and foreign tourists engaging in trade, collection of souvenirs & so forth, can be sustained, as long as the international community doesn’t formally recognise the incorporation of Crimea into Russia.  It means that the exploration of the underwater resources, within Crimea’s territorial confines of the sea cannot be undertaken by international companies because they’ll be subject ti suits from a variety of interested parties.  In brief, Russia faces the prospect of the necessity of subsidizing on a significant scale economic activity in Crimea to the benefit of its citizens.  Prices, consumer prices have already risen three-fold since the incorporation of Crimea into Russia.  This situation creates a potentially serious liability for Russia, which already is in a weak economic position. 

Beyond that, there is the potential reality, which I think will .. . the enduring reality of hostility to Russia on the basis of 40 million people. Ukraine have not been under Russia historically and certainly, there is no comparison & certainly, there is no comparison between its attitude traditionally that is Russia and that of the poles next door. The poles have repeatedly fought independence against Russia and have strong
Feelings & enduring on this subject.  It’s becoming very intense & the entire new generation of Ukrainians born in freedom and national sovereignty reflected the strongest. Ukraine, therefore, will evolve not an enduring problem for Russia in that respect, but the permanent laws of a huge swarth of territory, the greatest loss of territory suffered by Russia in the course of its imperial expansion.  This may in turn, eventually, begin to work against this new mythology regarding Russia’s place & role in the world with which I started in my presentation. It may be refuted by realities, & this is what I am increasingly hopeful for that the new emerging Russia middle class, realising that the kind of mythology that Putin has adopted & which a significant portion of the less educated, more chauvinistic Russians have absorbed & embraced is a road to nowhere.  That the real place in Russia as an important country is in Europe, as a major European country & they will be reminded that imperative every time they look to the East & ask themselves what does that mean for the future of Russia.
Thank  you

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