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No New Cold War

by Sergei Lavrov

Tuesday 8 May 2007


A unipolar world has not been and cannot be created, because the available military, political, financial, economic and other resources are not sufficient to build an empire in today’s conditions of globalisation. For some time, though, the myth of a unipolar world influenced the mentality and behaviour in quite a few countries, which believed the myth and invested political capital in it. But the practice of the past six years has demonstrated convincingly that attempts to disregard the reality of a multipolar world invariably fail. Current problems cannot be solved with the use of military force.

The present paradigm of international relations is based on competition in the broad meaning of the word. But competition is not synonymous with confrontation. Russia is opposed to attempts to split the planet. This is why the top issue now is to overcome the intellectual, psychological and all other residues of the Cold War. Russia will not tolerate attempts to put it at loggerheads with the Islamic world. The choice of Russia and other leading countries, including those that constitute a single civilisation such as India and China, in favour of a unifying policy will become the main factor working against the division of the world.

Russia, the EU and the US can adopt a policy of broad cooperation on all issues of mutual interest. Russia is not going to drive a wedge into transatlantic relations because differences over Iraq have already done the greatest imaginable damage to them. What we really do not want is for transatlantic ties to strengthen at Russia’s expense. As for Russian-American relations, the current crucial stage in the evolution of the global security architecture is bringing us closer to the main task of defining the modality of our relations in international affairs. Russian and American political analysts are talking about an inevitable ‘pause’ in the development of bilateral relations owing to the upcoming election cycles. I believe this would be a bad choice. We would not like the US to retreat into itself because of the Iraq catastrophe, but to take part in renewing its partnership with Russia on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

WE see good opportunities for a positive evolution of Russian-American relations in joint work on the implementation of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the initiatives of our Presidents on the safe development of the global nuclear power industry, and on allowing all countries wishing to make use of the benefits of nuclear generation to access those technologies on the condition that they comply with their non-proliferation commitments. One more proof of our ability to make compromises is the signing of a bilateral Russian-American protocol on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Confrontation is avoidable in our relations with the US, which means that there cannot be a new Cold War because there are no objective prerequisites for it. Anti-Americanism is dangerous and intellectually deficient. At the same time, we should address the origins of the problem, that is, the current actions of the US in international affairs. However, the fact that the US Administration is following the lead of neo-conservatives should not influence our fundamental attitude towards the US.

The deployment of an American anti-ballistic-missile system in Europe is not acceptable to Russia and is affecting its relations with NATO. Why should we cooperate with it if the bloc is turning from a collective security organisation into a screen for unilateral measures that compromise Russian security? We are also concerned that the structures and instruments we have inherited from the past, such as NATO, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, are becoming mechanisms for reproducing bloc policy in current conditions and are being used against Russia. I am convinced that this situation will not last long. A failure to complete the reform of the European security architecture could cause people to lose touch with reality and provoke a real split in Europe that will last decades. n
(Courtesy : The Times of India)

The author is the Russian Foreign Minister.

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