Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 05:28:04 AM EST
Der Spiegel has published this debate, written by:
Volker Rühe was Germany's defense minister from 1992 to 1998, retired General Klaus Naumann was inspector general of the German Armed Forces and chairman of the NATO Military Committee, retired Ambassador Frank Elbe was director of the Planning Committee at the German Foreign Ministry and ambassador to India, Japan, Poland and Switzerland, and retired Vice Admiral Ulrich Weisser was director of the Planning Committee at the German Defense Ministry.
Debate: It's Time to Invite Russia to Join NATO - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Trans-Atlantic security needs have changed fundamentally in the last two decades. The East-West confrontation has ended, and Moscow now shares many interests with NATO. It is time for the alliance to open its doors to Russia say German defense experts Volker Rühe, Klaus Naumann, Frank Elbe and Ulrich Weisser.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has noted with concern that many of today's politicians have too little knowledge of history. He could well have added that those same politicians are also frighteningly deficient when it comes to understanding strategic and security issues. In Germany, there is no significant discussion about the future of NATO, its self-image, its strategic concept for the future and the question of how Russia can be included. Berlin is not showing any opinion leadership, nor is it spurring international debate. This has been a disappointment for other members of the alliance, who are asking themselves whether the Germans are afraid of the debate or are simply no longer capable of contributing to it in a forward-looking way.
Europe's security, though, remains a constant task, and new challenges require different responses than in the past. The Euro-Atlantic region needs peace and stability at home, but it also needs protection against external threats. Ultimately, the emergence of a multi-polar world requires finding a way to offset the political, economic and strategic dynamics of the large Asian powers.
For this reason, in its internal debate with Eastern European skeptics, NATO must make it clear what the alliance stands to gain if Russia is gradually brought on board as a full member. It will be in the interest of both sides to define concrete interim steps. This could include the NATO countries and Russia issuing a joint declaration, at the beginning of the accession process, to use none of their weapons against each other, and that their nuclear weapons serve only one purpose: to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. On this basis, all Russian tactical nuclear weapons could be withdrawn to central storage facilities, where they would be subject to international monitoring at all times, in return for the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from Europe. And a joint missile defense system could be installed to protect the territory of NATO countries and Russia.
There is more, best to read the whole article, it should offer enough stuff for an interessting discussion.
NATO has been a topic that has been discussed repeatedly here on ET - so, what do you think of this idea, to invite Russia into NATO?