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#6 - JRL 7064
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003
From: Peter Lavelle <plavelle@rol.ru>
Subject: JRL 7061 - Weisbrode 's untimely thought

Peter Lavelle: Untimely Thoughts - The expropriator expropriated - Weisbrode JRL 7061

I felt supremely complimented and amused by Kenneth Weisbrode's apology for using my adopted calling card of Untimely Thoughts. No apology is needed; I have generously borrowed (stole?) from one of the 20th century's greatest social critics - Maxim Gorky. His weekly column of the same title chronicled the Bolshevik revolution with a degree of honesty that had him eventually shut down by the regime he supported - the same regime that lost interest in dissent once it had the ability to close the public sphere.

On Weisbrode's ideas concerning NATO, I have only the following untimely thoughts. I am not a NATO expert, surely there are many on this list. However, the current bickering within the alliance over Iraq is probably exactly the kind of restrictive-combative alliance relations Putin desires to avoid at this time. Russia is playing the role of being the international wild card that old friends and foes now appreciate.

It appears that the US does not really think of NATO as anything more than a convenient staging ground for its geopolitical interests far from its shores. Rumsfeld's recent comments in Europe seem to confirm this observation. NATO in its current (evolving) state is not an alliance for today's Russia. This country is attempting to re-establish itself in the world as an independent actor that can generate more attractive geopolitical dividends on its own.

Additionally, given the change of international borders in this part world over the past decade, why would a group of content countries like Benelux, or any current member state of the alliance, have an interest in China's renegotiation of its borders with Russia? I assume that most readers on this list, like me, have lived most of their lives in a world when borders rarely changed. Changing borders might, in this new century, become the norm.

Many of Russia's borders could easily change. NATO has a build-in aversion to risk. The world in which Russia exists is rife with risk. The upside for Russia is that risk is part of everyday life - on every street corner at home as well as on the world stage. It is probably better for Russia to deal with its current security predicaments on its own before looking to NATO for help - or the other way around.

Weisbrode does bring up a good point on the future of the alliance. It is my hope experts on the JRL will comment on his interesting and untimely thought.

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