Russia-NATO: Forced or Unforced Dialogue?

14.07.2016

The main thing is to make the NATO-Russia Council operational, to take the Russian authority there seriously, that Russia could communicate with each member-state individually.

"NATO strategy and tactic consists of both solidarity with Poland and the Baltic states who request protection from an imaginary Russian aggression, and at the same time the establishment of a dialogue with Russia," Alexander Rahr, Research Director of the German-Russian Forum, said in a telephone interview to www.valdaiclub.com.

He added that the dialogue may be forced out of necessity, because the European security system has shown its ineffectiveness. However, at the moment there is no understanding of how to restructure this system.

"Within the NATO-Russia Council, this primary issue is how to create this cohabitation of Europe and Russia on the same continent, will for now be discussed only at the level of ambassadors, not foreign ministers. In any case, this is better than nothing," Rahr said.

"The most important thing is to make the NATO-Russia Council a functional body, so that Russia is taken seriously there, so that Russia would communicate with each NATO member-state individually. In recent years, NATO countries talked with Moscow with already negotiated united position. This is not a dialogue, it is simply a new front between NATO and Russia, through the medium of the Council," - he said.

According to Rahr, Russia and NATO should take into account mistakes of the past, and focus on areas where cooperation was successful, to restore confidence. One of these areas is Afghanistan.

"First of all, the NATO-Russia Council could come to an agreement on those areas where it is possible to achieve a joint success. It is, in the first place, the stabilization in Afghanistan, and the expansion of the anti-terrorist coalition, which prevailed in Syria," Rahr said.

"If trust is rebuilt, it may be possible to raise the most pressing questions at the NATO-Russia Council: Why does there need to be a missile defense system in Romania or Poland? Why are there NATO troops on Russia’s western borders? All of these issues could be solved in a different way, if it is possible to achieve a meaningful cooperation in other areas," he concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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