No Really, It’s a Helpful Suggestion

This was just too perfect not to pass along:

Opinion: Europe Is Too Weak to Be Russia’s Ally

MOSCOW, September 25. ‘The US and Russian presidents have an opportunity to
take a big step towards closer bilateral integration,’ Sergei Karaganov,
president of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, told a Rosbalt
correspondent yesterday. He suggested that they may even ‘discuss the
possibility of an informal strategic alliance’ when they meet at Camp
David. In his opinion, both countries are ready for this.

‘Most Russians are beginning to accept the importance of close strategic
collaboration with the US,’ the political scientist said. ‘At the same time
the US is starting to accept that it can not face the challenges in the
Middle East alone. This became most apparent after the military operation
in Iraq. In addition, the US has been disappointed by its former allies who
are no longer capable of supporting the US in its bid to modernise the
Middle East.’

Despite the fact that Russia is continuing to integrate with Europe Mr
Karaganov believes Europe is incapable of being an effective ally for
Russia. He called for a more pragmatic approach to foreign policy saying
‘we must cooperate with the US as Europe is too weak now to bring us any
serious political advantage.’


Iraq really has shuffled the cards.

And beyond Karaganov’s apparent absurdity, I draw two points: the European commentariat spends a lot of energy on EU navel-gazing, while the world speeds onward; excessive concentration on transatlantic relations will miss the point of what those relations are for.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Europe and the world and tagged , , , by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

14 thoughts on “No Really, It’s a Helpful Suggestion

  1. Interesting, but I don’t buy it. I mean, which are the two countries who really have no interest at all in Iraq’s oil coming online? Following through this line of reasoning can help to see quite a lot of things in a different light.

  2. From a Russian strategic point of view, I don’t think it really make sense.

    Why should Russia make an ally itself with the U.S. against its E.U. neighbor(s) and trading partners ?

    Why would Russia want to embroil itself into an alliance that might require sending a significant portion of its military to Iraq, when its military is a pale shadow of what it once was ?
    And besides, there’s Chechnya.

    Plus I would think that such an alliance would add pressure for the E.U. countries to federalize themselves, whereas right now the only pressure to do so is all internal, and weak at that.

    that’d be a strategic mistake, methinks.
    I don’t buy it either.

  3. That’s why I put it up.

    Karaganov is not a nutter – Lord knows, there are plenty of those in the Russian press – but this was peculiar enough to be interesting, and to suggest that the aftermath of Iraq has made lots of things fluid that would otherwise be taken for granted.

  4. “Iraq really has shuffled the cards.”

    That was the whole point of the offensive in the first place. Rewrite the rules on a multitude of levels.

    That is one reason why I like this administration: it had the balls to go and force change in so many parts of the world. Everyone has been forced to react, and make choices that have brought out their true colors. The Russians, though, seem to have swung from the reactionary camp to a more proactive role.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of announcements will come from this weekend’s meeting between Bush and Putin at Camp David. I have a feeling that a wide-ranging shift in geopolitical relations is in the works, with the central European powers being relegated to a position of irrelevance.

    But that has been a choice they themselves have made.

  5. “[…]a wide-ranging shift in geopolitical relations is in the works, with the central European powers being relegated to a position of irrelevance.

    But that has been a choice they themselves have made.”

    There was no choice. Or is it a choice to do only what another says? Is Spain more relevant than France? Only a fool could believe that.


  6. For America, Spain can well turn out to be more relevant than France, as the US is increasingly looking south for NAFTA expansion, and new markets.

    As I’ve learned from Hispanic-Americans, the Spanish connection is still quite significant in Latin American discourse. Having Spain’s support certainly did not hurt American aspirations in the south… though there is a lot more work to be done.

  7. “[…]Having Spain’s support certainly did not hurt American aspirations in the south…[…]”

    But there is nothing for Spain, but costs. And that is what matters.


  8. As far as I understand it, American investors are beginning to look favorably to Spain – the growth in the Spanish economy in the past 10 years hasn’t gone unnoticed.

    And American investors are quite influenced by French anti-Americanism when it comes to making business decisions. I know that, because I hear and read about it all the time. Whether or not that will translate significantly into material terms only time will tell…

    There is anti-Americanism in Spain, too, to be sure. But when someone is hated as much as Americans are hated in France, there’s all the more reason to try harder with others.

  9. “[…]There is anti-Americanism in Spain, too, to be sure. But when someone is hated as much as Americans are hated in France, there’s all the more reason to try harder with others.”

    In comparison with most Spaniards, the French are enthusiastically pro-USA. When the WTC attentates, the French were much more sympathetical than the Spaniards. The noxious attitude of the USA respect to Spain has left a deep resentment. Only the fascists, and not the whole lot at that, feel grateful toward the USA. And they are the ones that kept Spain in misery, suppressing freedom.

    As to the economy growth, the last 10 years are not particularly better than for the previous years.

  10. Antoni Jaume: Only in your imagination has the US shown a “noxious attitude” towards Spain. You are speaking from a nationalist, chauvinistic point-of-view.

    As to the fascists supressing freedom, the communists would have done the same thing. At least with the fascists, Spain emerged with a fairly viable economy. It could have been in the same boat as Eastern Europe, and Cuba.

  11. “Only in your imagination”

    Well it seems other did think similarly:
    (they’re the same, only in two languages, second link is Spanish, free registration required text accessible till Friday IIRC)

    There is also an article by Manuel Castells.
    Who know that the communists would have won in case of fascist defeat? In fact the communists only option was due to the war, and evenso the libertarians had a stronger implantation. Had not the fascist rebelled, there was no danger at all. Except maybe the nazis with WW2.


  12. Patrick, I was doing no such thing. Try directing your spite at more viable targets.

    Antoni: I can’t open those documents, for some reason. In either case, as someone whose family was caught up in the Finnish Civil War, I could tell you all about the promises of the left-wing and the right-wing…

  13. Clearly the USA is committed to a great England/USA/Canada abd possibly Austrailia entente with spanish speaking south americans and perhaps Spain itself (the Monroe doctrine may one day come to life). Spain may not be up to the task of taking a significant leadership role in this entente because of their inwardness and lack of true (deeds over words)leadership.

    Russia allows the USA to ride the waves freely while Russia reliably can be counted on to contest any expansionist ideas in India, fundamentalist Islam, the mid-east, Japan, China or even Europe!!!!! Russia and the USA have not spilled significant amount of blood on the battlefield. At least one European country -France, has a never ending agenda to expand its language and self importance at the expense of the English nations …a threat, or at least an unreliable partner.

    Thus…the USA ought to value Russia as its greatest ally …. to complement its natural Spanish-English entente (the USA is becoming quite Spanish).

    Note:The USA is gaining many Indians (exporting nationals is India’s primary foreign policy)and probably will one day be linked to that nation as they are to many west European nations, thereby gaining friendlier relations.

Comments are closed.