SERGEY KARAGANOV Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy of Russian Federation
It is, probably, for the first time in the last fifteen years that I fully agree with Mikhail Gorbachev. I did not agree with him openly when he was Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee, but now it seems to me that his ana-lysis is adequate in general. I want to add some nuances to this analysis, and then talk a little on how we can overcome this situation. At the end of my speech I would like to come back to the main topic of our discussion, not forgetting that we are in Belarus. We have to think what Russia and Belarus should do except for just opposing NATO.
The first thing that concerns me greatly is, of course, the crisis of leadership in the West. I cannot fully understand how we are going to co-operate now: we have a vivid crisis of leadership in Russia, but we always had the hope that we deal with rational people in the West. And, all of a sudden, we see such a horrible mistake. Everything that is going on in Yugoslavia now, including humanitarian disaster, and the fact that Slobodan Milosevich is not and will not be going to surrender - all these are axiomatic, and was foreseeable. All more or less serious experts said that everything was going to end like this. That there is going to be an ethnic cleansing, because in conditions of aggression and military operations ethnic cleansing becomes not ethnic cleansing, this is going to be called internment.
What shall we call actions of Americans during World War II, when all Japanese in the USA were sent to the camps? What shall we call the other sort of internment, when the Sudeten Germans, with consent of international community, were ousted from Moravia? War creates different conditions. And our Western colleagues made their visible contribution into creation of conditions for the worst of human crimes.
Now it is very difficult, if possible at all, to blame only Milosevich for what is going on in Yugoslavia. About one thousand innocent people died, several thousand wounded, the region faces ecological disaster. Economic ties were severed, peaceful country is being destroyed, and millions of jobs are being destroyed. In fact, we see that now this war is waged against civi-lians. The war against the military machine of Milosevich turned out to be ineffective. By the way, this has been forecast by the military. Those who knew about the effectiveness of bombings in Iraq say that now effectiveness of bombings of Yugoslav military installations is 50 to 70 percent. Now, instead of engaging military targets, they started to bomb the country, hoping that the people will kneel. I do not understand how one can assume, knowing European history, that it is possible to bomb out the people? All this makes it clear that we witness crisis of leadership, and I think that this is a very dangerous thing.
The second thing that I consider being very dangerous is the fact that NATO has undermined its moral credo. Until now we assumed that NATO was an alliance of democratic states. Such an alliance by definition was considered being not only unable to launch an aggression - in legal terms the war against Yugoslavia is an aggression - but to launch a massive offensive operation. This was taken for granted, like an axiom, on which it was impolite to cast doubts. And, all of a sudden, we have got what we have now there. If we do not find a face-saving solution and quick way out of this situation, this will undermine trust to NATO for decades.
The third thing is the international consequences, about which Mikhail Gorbachev started to speak. Naturally, now no country will feel secure because very many regimes will feel uncomfortable from the point of view of American or European likes and norms. The majority of the regimes, perhaps 90 percent of the existing regimes all over the world, are legitimate. From the point of view of human rights Yugoslavia is not the worst among other regimes in the world, it is not the worst regime in Europe. The regime of Franjo Tudjman in Croatia is worse. Milosevich was a Yugoslavian Gorbachev, the reformer whom all of us - including our Western colleagues - applauded. Mikhail Gorbachev did not dare to start war in our country, while Milosevich was a die-hard nationalist, who decided to go to the end, coming, logically, to the current situation. But Milosevich is far from being the worst option. It could have been even worse. And after the war it will be worse than now. I do not see how we can establish a better regime there - except for the way of total occupation of Yugoslavia and coercion. I think that there will be a much worse regime. Will V. Sesel be the future leader of Yugoslavia or of what will be left in place of that country?
Fourthly, instead of the new world order, which has started to form at the beginning of the 1990s and for which we were struggling together in mid-1990s - when we were looking for partnership, with very little disagreements even concerning the new order in Europe, a new world disorder is coming. Now, frantic attempts to establish new alliances and counter-alliances will be made over decades ahead. The world?s picture will start reshuffling. We are likely to look at this with excitement. If there is to be an order, then this will be a very small one, or only within a very small group of countries united in the Atlantic community.
What Mikhail Gorbachev has said about the spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is, to my mind, the most substantial result. Moreover, I am 95 percent sure that now we are going to witness China?s attempt to renew nuclear arms race. India, Pakistan and some other countries, including Iran, will join this arms race. But now the critical issue is something different. The critical thing is that until now we had moral right to tell leaders of these countries that through their nuclear policy they were undermining the world order. Now we do not have such a right.
Finally, remember how several years ago Henry Kissinger and some other people, catcalled by all of us, said that, generally speaking, it would be better to have nuclear weapons in as many countries as possible so that any action by any power trying to shake the world order could be blocked. Now, revisionist states or groups of revisionist states attempting at making radical changes in the world order - even this imperfect one, but still gradually forming order, or, at least, half-order, can raise the following issue: let nuclear weapons spread so that we could find a new world order on a new basis. What a horrible idea! But the people who deal with international relations professionally have already expressed this idea. In Talleyrand?s words, this is worse, than a crime, this is a mistake. But this is a mistake that will cost all of us very dearly. How can we come out of this situation?
From the point of view of Russia, it is very clear what to do. Soon there is going to be published a comprehensive statement signed by about 70 representatives of our elite, among whom there will be neither left nor ultra-nationalists. I can cite what we have already agreed upon after the heated debate, in which participated people who gathered to frame our reaction, check military hysteria and try to soothe the public opinion. Nevertheless, the reaction was rather tough. First, we have absolutely agreed that any relations with NATO should be cut off or stopped. The Founding Act should be suspended, and in relations with NATO we have to pursue the policy of containment as far as we deem it necessary, and the policy of arms limitations. NATO has the right to view us as a partner - we have not broken any international obligations. But we have had no right to consider NATO as our partner, therefore we are going to be interested in transparency, arms limitation, clarification of intentions. But we are not interested in co-operation with NATO any longer.
The second thing to be done is to conduct a limited modernisation of nuclear weapons, mainly to increase its combat efficiency, but not increasing their stockpiles, and, perhaps, even reducing them further. Besides, we should implement at the operative level provisions already stated in the Russian military and political thought and in official doctrine that even in case of a non-nuclear aggression against Russia and its allies limited use of nuclear weapons is possible. NATO countries should know that the price for aggression against Yugoslavia and especially if such actions are repeated will make them subjects of the policy of nuclear containment. Until now we have not supported deployment of nuc-lear weapons on the territory of the countries that do not have them now, including Belarus. However, we are going to follow very closely the situation in future.
We do not want to start conventional arms race, though now it is going to start all over the world. This might be the only positive result for Russia - it is clear that we will be able to sell much more weapons than before. But we do not appreciate such assistance.
By now, only these limited measures are going to be our reaction. Despite these, we are interested in continuing dialogue with some NATO countries, first of all with those, which we are tied by partnership and generally good relations, and with international European organisations, firstly with the European Union. It is absolutely clear that in this situation it is necessary to intensify political dialogue and much more than it has been before - the dialogue on military and political issues with countries that are not members of NATO. Among these are China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and, probably, even Iran.
There should be no talk on self-isolation of Russia as an option. I do not think that we should establish relations with the recognised pariahs in the international community. However, we should talk and think together - because trust has been considerably damaged. In 1992, to our questions if NATO was going to expand, we were told that it is impossible. We trusted these answers, though some of us suspected that this expansion would happen. If three or two years ago we or our western colleagues asked the question - if it is possible to attack in mass a sovereign country in Europe, the question would have been referred to as indecent. The next question that arises is - who is next, at whom this strike will be directed next? Will it be Pakistan or, say, Belarus? Now any country can consider itself to be a potential victim of such attacks.
There is a theory of moral escalation. From the point of view of this theory, the situation can be described as follows: NATO decided to expand and then saw that the price is high, but regardless of this decisions were made to show the will and NATO did expand. Then NATO decided to start bombings, hoping that with the use of bombs it would be possible to solve quickly the most complicated conflict, and one of the parties to the conflict would quickly surrender under the bombs. Upon seeing that the price is terribly high, NATO has to finish the case proving Alliance?s capability to make its threats real. As NATO is to exist all the time, it has to prove that its threats are real, otherwise NATO will fall apart. Now, what will be next - a big war, to prove that NATO is a necessary alliance? Unfortunately, we have to proceed from this sad theory and prepare for the worse.
At the same time, Russia should think how it could help its European neighbours and colleagues and I hope partners to find the way out of this terrible mistake. How can we do it? Here we have a very difficult task. We understand well that we do have the greatest opportunity in terms of playing the part of honest broker in this game. We know that it is expected we will play this role. I know that for three weeks our German colleagues and friends have been asking us to put forward an initiative. I know that now about a dozen people from the United States have come to Moscow to persuade us that Russia should put forward an initiative and even drop hints what initiative we should put forward. All the propo-sals are very interesting. On the surface, they are, in general, rather attractive but for one or even several problems.
First, if we start playing the proposed game and clarifying on what conditions peace-keeping force should be deployed, on what conditions bombings and ethnic cleansing should be stopped, on what conditions people should return to their homes, - irrespectively of our wishes military operations can escalate. In this case we will be going to participate in the conflict indirectly, becoming accomplices to what is being done, which we do not want at all. One of the conditions of our participation should be, of course, long-time cessation of all the bombings and massive economic aid to Yugoslavia and, naturally, to refugees - all these to start peace process. The second problem is the following: Let us assume that peacekeeping force under the aegis of UN, with Russia participating in this force - some of our western colleagues suggest even the leading role for Russia there - enters Kosovo. But the point is that the hatred, which was already there and further strengthened during bombings, will be after the bombings so high that shooting incidents follow: Serbs shooting at soldiers from the Western countries and Kosovars - at the Russian soldiers. We can get a situation when a peacekeeping operation will fail, and then with the participation of Russia.
I will not cover up the fact that in Russia there exists such a point of view: we should take position of moral superiority, criticising everyone, putting forward peace initiatives and making it clear that those who started all this should clean the mess. I do not think that such position is constructive. But these two considerations I have dwelt upon above are also very important. In addition, we have to understand what our Western colleagues really want.
Now, about our co-operation with Belarus. I hope and I am sure that life does not end with the bombings of and aggression against Yugoslavia. In our mutual relations we have to take into consideration this absolutely new reality. We have to modify our common strategy and each of us should modify its national strategy. Nevertheless, I think that some our goals should remain as they were before. What should we modify? Of course, the existing regime in Belarus - some may like it, some not - will be changing. Belarus will feel itself under threat. Accordingly, Russia already feels itself under threat. If these fears are grounded or not - this is the other question. Our politicians already react at the unanimous mood of the people. Suddenly, Russians felt themselves threatened. In this situation, I think, we have to speed up the formation of the military and political union.
At the same time, we should not limit ourselves to military co-operation. We have to follow the way of economic and political union. Meantime, we should realise that this economic and political union will not become reality and will not bear any considerable historic and strategic advantages to our two countries, if we, at some particular stage, do not set the course for this union towards economic integration with Europe, or, at least, towards moving closer to Europe. For this, we already have to revise some of our agreements and negotiation process so that in perspective modification of our legislation - customs, economic, financial - would lead us to entering the World Trade Organisation and not astray, as it often happens now. We have to adopt and modify our laws in accordance with the EU standards and practice, and thus "integrate ourselves" into the future Europe now.
Let us hope that the history has not ended, and it is absolutely clear that it would be very erroneous if in conditions of difficult economic and political situation and the new wave of suspicions, if Russia and Belarus start integration, confining its scope to our two countries only. Integration is necessary for us for vital reasons. But if this integration is not directed outwards, towards Europe, and, accordingly, is not for development, then this will be integration for stagnation, or, in other words, a strategic mistake.