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November 6, 2001
Sergei Markov: “Zbigniew Brzezinsky Is a Direct Opponent of Bush’s Policies
Chief of the Russian Institute for Political Studies questions findings of widely known U.S. political scientist
By Sergei Markov

It is not by chance that the U.S. political elite is interested in the outcome of the foreign policy debate, which may result in formulating an idea of what should happen during talks between Putin and Bush. The problem is that Russia's foreign policy is no longer going be the foreign policy of one man sitting in the Kremlin, and it is increasingly becoming a foreign policy of a country with its civil unions, political parties and big corporations.

We shall try to formulate here an integral position incorporating different points of view and interests and to express a position of consensus.

A consensus position was formulated at our civil debate. And we are glad that the president of Russia has heard it. We are also glad to know that the U.S. foreign-policy elite has heard it.

As concerns the ideas expressed by U.S. political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinsky. One must take it into account that George Bush is of a new generation of politicians not burdened with the cold-war prejudices with which people like Brzezinsky are saddled. Bush is trying to build new relations with Russia, relations of strategic partnership, something in the manner of the anti-Hitler coalition. This policy has opponents. Brzezinsky is among the direct opponents of the policy pursued by President Bush. These opponents are attempting to prevent Bush from making strategic decisions.

They act in several directions. The first direction is an attempt to discredit Russia and its president as much as possible, to present Russia as a barbaric and undemocratic country. Concrete political actions are the second direction. For instance, the crisis in Georgia occurred a few days after Shevardnadze came back from Washington. There, he got no support from the White House. But he was supported in some committees of the Senate and Congress. Or rather, he was promised support in the event a crisis erupts in relations between Russia and Georgia, which would provide a chance to accuse Russia of imperial ambitions. In case of an upswing in anti-Russian rhetoric, Bush's intentions to establish a new kind of cooperation with Russia could well be considered as having failed.

This is exactly what the second direction consists of - to undertake concrete political actions, trying to provoke a conflict, a controllable one, and prevent the establishment of a political partnership between the U.S. and Russia in the framework of the anti-terrorist coalition.

The third direction is imposing an old agenda. When Brzezinsky predicts the outcome of our civil debate, he misrepresents it, which is most apparent. We knew that attempts would be made to do that. Therefore, we have written not only about future demands. We have also written about what demands will not be made. Let us consider this in greater detail. Brzezinsky writes that our demand is not to allow an eastward expansion of NATO. This is not correct. We consider that at present, the NATO expansion issue is to be approached not in the context of whether NATO is expanding and what countries are to be its members. What really matters to us is - what is NATO today?

As we see it, only democratic countries can be NATO members. Lithuania, whose entire population enjoys the whole spectrum of human rights, meets this requirement and can join NATO. This is not the case for Latvia and Estonia, which, under the cover of legal chicanery, have stripped 25% of their populations of civil rights (in effect, the authorities in these two countries made their decision on an ethnic principle, because it was the Russian population that lost its rights). Countries pursuing this type of policy cannot be regarded as democratic and consequently cannot be members of a union of democratic nations.

It is unimportant to us who will become NATO members and whose airfields will serve as bases for NATO planes. The important thing, as we see it, is what sort of a new collective security system there will be. As is obvious, neither the United Nations nor NATO are working in tune with present-day realities, while they remain what they were in the Cold War period.

We will seek to create a collective security system that will not relegate NATO to the sidelines of world politics. On the contrary, the system will be able to absorb and adapt its potential to new challenges, including the ones that have been presented. Putinand Bush must get down to developing this new system. Russia's demand in this sense is that it must have a full and equal vote in the process.

The second question is related to the war in Chechnya. It is incorrect to assert that Russia needs a carte blanche concerning military operations, because the operations are over. Currently, Russia is primarily interested in having the civilian administration start its work.

We are interested in cooperation with European institutions, which would help us to attain a peaceful life in Chechnya and begin the work of the civilian administration. That will also help to reduce the number of human rights violations.

We know full well that Russian power structures violate human rights. Certainly, our army is not the best army in the world. We likewise recognize that our Interior Ministry does not operate optimally. But we want them to become better and to stop breaching human rights.

Yet, it is not in our interests to see terrorists, who are smeared in blood from head to toe, placed on the same footing as Russian soldiers, who defend law and order - not ideally but at the cost of their own blood. We want the public to think carefully about the situation and come to see that, in Chechnya, Russia is fighting against a ramification of world terrorism, whose aim is to seize all the territories and to create in the Northern Caucasus a totalitarian regime like the one the Taliban supports in Afghanistan.

In Chechnya, Russian soldiers prevent the creation of bases for Bin Laden, whence he would plan terrorist attacks against Moscow, St. Petersburg, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, and London.

Let us now turn to the question of writing off debts. Again, Mr. Brzezinski misrepresents our results, because we have made it clear: We do not need debt write offs. Russia is a great nation - with a great economy - and will pay all its debts in time.

We want an end to be put to the discrimination of our businesses. Russian businesses must be allowed to enter the markets of the countries that comprise the Western coalition, which, up until now, was the Western coalition and did not include Russia. Among other things, the Russian military-industrial complex must be allowed to come to NATO arms markets.

Ours are state-of-the-art weapons, which are in no way inferior in quality and characteristics to U.S. and French weapons. But their price is, in fact, several times lower. If there is no discrimination against Russian business, we will repay our debt - absolutely all our debts. These are our demands.

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