#10 - JRL 7218
April 2, 2003
THOUGHTS AGAINST THE WIND
IAIS experts: Russia has already lost the war in Iraq
Author: Georgy Ilyichev
A MILITARY DEFEAT FOR THE US, WHICH THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE RUSSIAN POPULATION WANTS, WOULD COST RUSSIA MUCH MORE THAN THE OVERTHROW OF SADDAM HUSSEIN'S REGIME. EXPERTS IN THE SPHERE OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THE OFFICIAL FOREIGN POLICY ANNOUNCED BY THE PRESIDENT.
Russia has already lost the war in Iraq and should immediately repair relations with the United States, say researchers from the Institute of Applied International Studies (IAIS) - a "provocative" statement, as its authors admit.
A military defeat of the US, which the overwhelming majority of the Russian population wants, would cost Russia much more than the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime - this is the core of the theses which the researchers have decided to address to Russia's political elite.
The experts in the sphere of international relations are dissatisfied with both the official foreign policy announced by the president and the Foreign Ministry and the position of many domestic politicians, who are "gloatingly crowing" over Americans' failures.
"We are too slow at learning lessons from previous crises. The position of our state is reduced to cessation of the Iraqi war, withdrawal of the British-US troops and returning the problem into the UN for resuming the discussion about ways to overcome the crisis on the previous terms. These are unpractical proposals," says IAIS Director Vadim Razumovsky.
In the opinion of many experts in international relations, the path the Foreign Ministry is proposing is based on several myths, rather than the real assessment of the situation. The main myth is that the Americans will leave Iraq if they incur huge losses and fall into the "Vietnamese syndrome."
"They won't leave since for them it would mean quitting the global policy," assumes Andrei Piontkovsky, director of the Center for Strategic Studies.
Developing this idea, Deputy Director of IAIS Yuri Fyodorov reminded: even though America's irretrievable losses in Vietnam totaled 60,000 people and a powerful anti-war movement emerged inside America, that war lasted for a decade. In his opinion, we should rely on the success of the guerrilla movement, since in the desert the guerrilla war was only possible "in the times of camel cavalry of Lawrence Arabian;" nowadays that the U.S. aviation prevails in the skies, the chances of people's avengers are worth nothing.
The other delusion of the Russian Foreign Ministry is its intention to recur the situation to the pre-war debate in the UN. The scientists assume this is impossible: the UN will never be the same again, and the Foreign Ministry should lay down its initiatives related to the drastic reformation of this organization (in particular, expansion of the circle of permanent Security Council members) as soon as possible. This may decline Russia's international role a little, but the UN must retain its functions of the institute making decisions compulsory for the world community.
The experts propose some measures aimed to avoid pernicious influence of the Iraqi crisis on the relations between strategic partners in the cause of combating the chief challenges of the century - international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Firstly, it is required to convince the French and German leaders of the need to negotiate with the US and Britain on the Iraq issue. The unified initiative of settling the crisis, which these countries might come out at the UN, should be elaborated over the course of the summer summit of G-8 member states due to be held in France.
As for the growth of anti-American sentiments in Russian society, heated by "extreme left-wing and nationalist forces and the state-controlled media agencies", that will be on the wane within a few months, the experts assume.
(Translated by Andrei Ryabochkin)