Former Warsaw Pact Territories orphaned
A True Democrat reacts ... so happy he renounced his British citizenship.
Radek Sikorski MEP @radeksikorski
Get this, @RussianEmbassy, once and for all, in a language you can grasp. We were not orphaned by you because you were not our daddy. More of a serial rapist. Which is why you are not missed. And if you try it again, you'll get a kick in the balls.
Radek Sikorski -- British journalist, intelligence agent "from Oxford to Afghanistan" 1987 Stinger missiles
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview on Channel One's "The Great Game" political talk show, Moscow, January 13, 2022
Vyacheslav Nikonov: We are not in the usual studio in Ostankino but in the Foreign Ministry's historic mansion on Spiridonovka Street. This is where the Limited Test Ban Treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water was signed and the first G8 summit took place in 1996.
We are discussing the problems of 2022, which had a most unusual beginning. Everyone expected the year to get off to a rapid start, but not quite in the way it happened. Sergey Lavrov, one of the most influential politicians and diplomats in our country and the world, is at the centre of these events. Dimitri Simes joins us live from Washington.
Now all attention is focused on the European security talks that your deputies conducted in Geneva and Brussels and today in Vienna. Judging by everything, our Western partners have not grasped the imperative character of the Russian proposals expressed in a draft treaty on security with the United States and an agreement with the NATO countries. They are used to talking on their own terms, not as equals. What could you say about these talks? Are they a success or a failure? Are they going better or worse, or about as you expected? What will come next?
Sergey Lavrov: This building hosted another important event in world history. In the autumn of 1943, the foreign ministers of the USSR, Great Britain and the US signed here a declaration that mentioned for the first time after the victory over Nazism the need to establish a global organisation. The term "UN" was not yet used at that time. This is symbolic. Today, we are discussing a situation that is largely the result of Western attempts to call into doubt the universal legitimacy of the UN. The West is replacing international law with its own rules that all others have to follow.
The talks underscore the serious confrontation occurring in the world arena: the West is trying to assert its dominance and to do all it can to achieve what it considers necessary to advance its own interests. This attitude was on full display at the talks. I can confirm that they were businesslike. The West laid out its tough, sometimes arrogant, unyielding and uncompromising position in a generally calm tone, in a businesslike manner. This gives us hope that there will be time to digest the talks held in Washington.
The Russian position was expressed no less forcefully. The arguments were on our side. Like the principle of indivisible security. During the talks, the United States and its NATO allies insisted that our main demand for legal guarantees that NATO will not expand eastward was unrealistic. They argued that NATO has its own procedures: only its member countries decide whom to accept and whom to reject, if a country applies. But instead of the NATO procedures, we returned them again and again to the agreements that were drafted within the framework of the entire Euro-Atlantic community and the OSCE.
Indeed, they interpret the indivisibility of security as the freedom of every country to choose its allies. However, the same sentence reads, without any dots or commas, that this freedom is granted with an understanding that in this context the Participating States "will not strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other States." Not a single country or a group of countries has the right to claim dominant positions in the Euro-Atlantic Region. All these ideas were harmonised in a package and ultimately reaffirmed with the adoption of the Charter for European Security at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in 1999. The West is open to whatever ideas benefit it. We believe that the freedom to choose alliances is an integral part of the unacceptable moves that will undermine the security of Russia and any other state.
Vyacheslav Nikonov: But still, did the talks go as expected, better or worse?
Sergey Lavrov: As expected. I think we know the US negotiators pretty well by now. We have met with them many times for different reasons, including the talks on Iran's nuclear programme and the New START Treaty. We understood basically what the conversation would be like. For us, it was very important to follow a direct instruction of President of Russia Vladimir Putin. He said we should be as tough as possible on all issues of European security. This applies not only to Russia's unilateral demand not to interfere with it and not to do anything that makes us displeased but also to the principles aimed at ensuring the security of all without encroaching on anyone's interests and without harming the security of any state.
Dimitri Simes: You did not and could not expect the United States and NATO to agree to negotiate a ban on the accession of Eastern European countries, primarily Ukraine and Georgia, to NATO. You rightly said that the result was predictable. Listening to your dialogue with officials from the US Administration and US Congress, one begins to realise that Russia's response is not predictable. It was proposed to continue the talks on medium-range missiles (at least that is what the State Department and the White House are saying), on the possible limitation of military exercises and on better informing them about military exercises. With regard to NATO infrastructure advancing to Eastern Europe, I understand, Russia received a firm no. Everyone is wondering how Russia will respond. Continue talks, withdraw or other actions, such as weapons or military action?
Sergey Lavrov: The position outlined by President Vladimir Putin includes legal guarantees against NATO expanding to the East, legal guarantees against deploying offensive weapons in neighbouring territories that pose a threat to Russia's security, and a principled plan for returning the European security architecture to how it was configured in 1997, when the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation was signed and used as a basis to create the Russia-NATO Council later. These are the three key requirements. The remaining proposals depend on how we do on these three initiatives.
Indeed, NATO members and the Americans flatly rejected our right to seek the non-expansion of NATO. I have already provided arguments showing that our positions rely not on NATO documents (we have nothing to do with them, just as they have nothing to do with us), but on documents adopted at the highest level at the OSCE, including the 1999 Istanbul summit, where the freedom to choose alliances is directly related to the need to ensure the indivisibility of security, so that no one takes measures in their own interests at the expense of the security of any other state.
Speaking of the OSCE, in 1975, after the Helsinki Final Act was signed, US President Gerald Ford said that: "History will judge this Conference not by what we say here today, but by what we do tomorrow - not by the promises we make, but by the promises we keep." We were made such promises with regard to the non-expansion of NATO. Former US Secretary of State James Baker told General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990 that NATO's military jurisdiction would not move an inch east of the Oder. Later, Prime Minister of Great Britain John Major spoke with Soviet Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov. To a direct question by Minister Yazov, whether we should be concerned about Poland and Hungary's requests to join NATO being approved, John Major said there were no such plans and this matter was not being discussed.
For those who are claiming that no one promised anything to anyone, this situation was described in the memoirs of the British Ambassador to Russia at the turn of the 1990s Rodric Braithwaite which were published in 2002. Surprisingly, no one mentioned them. The book says that all that did happen, and promises were made to Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders by people who were in a hurry back then and mainly focused on addressing other more important issues. By making such promises, they allegedly did not mean to mislead anyone. A wonderfully English explanation of the deception that took place back then.
We hope that the recent promises made in Geneva and Brussels will be kept. The United States and NATO promised to put their proposals down on paper. We have repeatedly made it clear to them that we need to have an article-by-article response to our documents. Should they have an issue with any provision, they should clarify why and set it down on paper. If they find a particular provision suitable with one exception, they should put this exception in writing as well. If they want to exclude or add something, they should do so in writing as well. We provided our thoughts in writing a month ago. Washington and Brussels had enough time to do as requested. Both of them promised to respond in writing.
Russia's belief in NATO 'betrayal' - and why it matters today | The Guardian |
Precluded or Precedent-Setting? The "NATO Enlargement Question" in the Triangular Bonn-Washington-Moscow Diplomacy of 1990-1991
... whether the Russians are justified in believing that Gorbachev in 1990 became entrapped by Western rhetoric and cash and that Western countries intentionally deceived him. To pose the question another way: Did Western countries genuinely lack any desire to overcome the East-West divide via new pan-European security constructs? Were U.S. (and West German) officials solely interested in cementing the West's Cold War victory by expanding "Western" influence into Eastern Europe via a viable and transformed NATO.
Confessions of a former British spy working near the Kremlin in the 1990s
from my diary ...
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Misinformation and disgusting propaganda: Russian Bounty Taliban
Moscow accused of trying to give money to the Taliban as part of its campaign to de-stabilize America and its allies
Sir Andrew Wood, Britain's ambassador to Russia from 1995 to 2000, said the allegations were "perfectly plausible", adding: "I don't think it's the sort of thing made up for propaganda purposes. Of course, the Russians would deny it if Vladimir Putin had been photographed shooting someone in the head."
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The aggressor across the Middle East since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 ...
Published for the first time, the 'exceptionally sensitive' letter revealing what was really discussed at Bush's Texas ranch
How Bush and Blair plotted war in Iraq: Read the secret memo in full | MME |
Subject: Prime Minister's visit to the US April 7, 2002.
Bush said he and the PM had discussed Iraq on their own over dinner the previous evening.
At present Centcom had no war plan as such. Thinking ahead so far was on a broad and central level, though a very small Centcom cell had recently been established in conditions of great secrecy to look at the detailed military planning. Condi Rice said 99 per cent of Centcom were unaware of this.
When it had done more work Bush would be ready to agree to UK and US planners sitting down together to examine the options. He wanted us to work through the issues together. Whatever plan emerged we had to ensure victory. We could not afford to fail.
But it would be essential to ensure that acting against Saddam enhanced rather than diminished regional stability. He had therefore reassured the Turks that there was no question of the break-up of Iraq and the emergence of a Kurdish state.
But there were nevertheless a number of imponderables. He didn't know who would take Saddam's place if and when we toppled him. But he didn't much care. He was working on the assumption that anyone would be an improvement.
Nevertheless Bush accepted we needed to manage the PR aspect of all this with great care.
He accepted we needed to put Saddam on the spot over the UN inspectors, we should tell him that we wanted proof of his claim that he was not developing WMDs. This could only be forthcoming if UN inspectors were allowed in on the basis that they could go anywhere inside Iraq at any time.
Bush added that Saddam could not be allowed to have any say over the nationality or composition of the inspection team.
He said the timing of any action against Saddam would be very important. He would not want to launch any operation before the US Congressional elections in the autumn. Otherwise he would be accused of warmongering for electoral benefit.
In effect this meant there was a window of opportunity between the beginning of November and the end of February.
'Although we may not decide to do it this year at all.'
The PM said no one could doubt the world would be a better place if there were regime change in Iraq. But in going down the inspectors route, we would have to give careful thought to how we framed the ultimatum to Saddam to allow them to do their job.
Saddam would very probably try to obstruct the inspectors and play for time. This was why it was so important we insisted they must be allowed in at any time and be free to visit any place or installation.
The PM said we needed an accompanying PR strategy that highlighted the risks of Saddam's WMD programme and his appalling human rights record. Bush strongly agreed.
Tony Blair: 'I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever believe'
Tony Blair's ultimate reward ... hundreds of thousands of lives lost. After Afghanistan and Iraq, we went into Libya and Syria with similar disastrous consequences leading to millions of displaced persons. The stream of refugees flooded neighboring countries with the overflow into Europe. The result extreme xenophobia which led to Brexit and extreme rightwing populist leaders upsetting society and creating division. There will no easy recovery.
The British Queen and Human Rights - Racism, moral grasp of Right and Wrong.
My very first visit to a film theater and watch a BBC news reel from England ... the Coronation of a young Queen Elizabeth.
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