#13 - JRL 7209
June 4, 2003
RING OF MILITARY BASES TIGHTENS AROUND RUSSIA
Russia's diplomats keep surrendering one position after another
Author: Igor Korotchenko
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
THE AMERICAN CONTINGENT IN GERMANY WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO POLAND AND THE BALTIC STATES; THERE WILL ALSO BE NEW US BASES IN ROMANIA AND BULGARIA. THIS IS IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE FOUNDING ACT OF THE RUSSIA-NATO ALLIANCE.
Amidst all the excited speeches about constructive cooperation with NATO, brought on by the May summit of the NATO Twenty, Moscow was suddenly doused with cold water by Washington. The world's leading media have reported that the US administration intends to launch the largest movement of troops towards Russia's borders since World War II. President Putin had already received similar reports from Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Main Intelligence Department of the General Staff (GRU), but for some reason these reports received no response.
The American contingent in Germany will be transferred to Poland and the Baltic states; there will also be new US bases in Romania and Bulgaria. This is in direct violation of the founding act of the Russia-NATO alliance, which rules out "any additional permanent stationing of significant numbers of troops" on the territory of new NATO members. Interestingly enough, Chris Donnelly, special advisor on East-Central Europe to the NATO secretary general, who visited Moscow recently, let it be understood that Russia's concerns would not be taken into account. Meanwhile, Russia's diplomats - currently led by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Colonel-General Yuri Baluevsky - are engaged in fruitless fussing over the mirage of cooperation with NATO on non-stragegic missile defense, rather than placing issues which are really important for Moscow on the Russia-NATO Council's agenda.
What are the reasons for moving the troops? The answer can be found in a document titled "A general overview of the state and development prospects of the US Armed Forces", prepared under Donald Rumsfeld's direction. It directly states that the interests of the United States as a great power extend across all regions of the world, without exception. There is a marked interest in supporting regional balances of power which are advantageous to the US, an interest which includes the need to keep likely enemies [i.e. Russia - author's note] from engaging in any dangerous forms of military rivalry with America.
In the context of recent events, President Bush's visit to Krakow is clearly no coincidence. Talks between the US and Polish presidents there decided questions of how Polish forces might participate in the occupation of Iraq, and developed a common approach to how the regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus might be overthrown by the opposition. Warsaw not only gladly agreed to promote Washington's interests in the region, but confirmed that it is ready to host foreign troops - even elements of a missile defense system, if necessary.
The Pentagon is increasingly active, not only in Europe, but in Asia as well. The US Defense Department is looking into the possibilities for building new military bases in northern Australia. the Philippines, and even in Vietnam. There is a direct instruction to oppose Russian arms exports to South-East Asia. In part, this includes scuttling the delivery of 18 Russian Su-30MKM fighters, worth $900 million, to Malaysia.
The US has great hopes for its military presence in the CIS countries, which it plans to make permanent. It is focusing on Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is also trying to involve Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Tajikistan in the process of "partnership". The US has already started "feeding" them with free supplies of American arms. The Caspian Sea has already been declared as a zone of US interest, where the Pentagon is ready for direct military intervention in order to support stability.
The foreign policy mistakes made by Moscow are obvious against this background. The groundless withdrawal of the peacemaking contingent from the Balkans, the closure of the bases in Cuba (Lourdes) and Vietnam (Cam Ranh), consent to a US presence on post- Soviet territory - all this has led to the formation of a security vacuum, and now Washington is trying to fill it. We cannot rule out that the Americans will move into Lourdes once Fidel Castro leaves the political scene.
The latest events in Iraq and preparations for military action against Iran have demonstrated that military force (primarily the United States) remains the decisive factor in global politics. (Translated by Gregory Malutin)