wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07USNATO140 2007-03-02 18:18:00 SECRET//NOFORN Mission USNATO
Cable title:  

NATO-RUSSIA: ALLIES STILL GRAPPLING WITH MEANING

Tags:   NATO PREL RU 
pdf how-to read a cable


1. (S/NF) Allied PermReps and the Russian Ambassador sought
to clear the air from the Munich Conference in the Feb. 28
NATO-Russia Council (NRC). The Russian delegation has stated
repeatedly that Putin's speech in Munich gives us a road-map
for future frank discussions at the NRC. Poland, UK, and
Canada disputed Putin's assessment of U.S. unilateralism,
while Hungary and Greece seemed to agree that Putin's speech
has re-energized the NRC. Ambassador Nuland warned that
Putin's speech created false enemies; we have moved well
beyond this in the NRC. Allies advanced most of the ideas
from the joint German/U.S. food-for-thought paper on
potential areas of cooperation as the way forward in the NRC.
End summary.



2. (S/NF) Under the heading "the strategic context of
NATO-Russia relations today," Allied PermReps and the Russian
Ambassador discussed Putin's speech from the February Munich
Security Conference in the February 28 NATO-Russia Council.
In a prior February 27 Away Day discussion of Russia among
the 26 Allies, the majority of PermReps expressed a
reasonable understanding of the political dynamics ongoing in
Moscow. However, roughly a third of them still hold to the
"let's not rock the boat" approach to Russia. Ambassador
Nuland pointed out to Allies that it is not desirable to let
the United States always play the role of goalie and that
other PermReps have to stand up to Russian bullying when it
is merited. We should cooperate with the Russia in the NRC
when we can, but not shy away from a frank discussion where
we must.



--------------------------


Tongue-in-Cheek Lost in Translation


--------------------------





3. (S/NF) During the NRC meeting, the UK, Polish, and
Canadian PermReps forcefully rebuked the Russian Federation
for singling out the United States in President Putin's
Munich speech. The UK objected to Putin's assessment saying
we are not moving to a unipolar world; quite the contrary, he
said, the world is becoming more and more multipolar. He
cited China and India as examples. Poland encouraged Russia
to move beyond the outdated zero-sum view and to seek a
win/win approach to common problems and projects.



4. (S/NF) Offering tongue-in-cheek praise, the German PermRep
said the NRC political dialogue lacked openness and Putin's
speech removed taboos. He encouraged an open dialogue in the
NRC with no taboo subjects, and then, proceeded to seek NRC
discussions on a number of areas sensitive to the Russians.
Specifically, Germany wanted to know the basis for Putin's
assessment that the current strategic balance was impaired.
Furthermore, he asked what more Allies could do to be
transparent on enlargement and what concrete Russian
interests does enlargement violate. He said Allies are
addressing Russian concerns about U.S. plans to deploy
missile defense in Europe, even though the system is directed
at Iranian missile threat; likewise, Russia must realize that
the Russian arms sales to Iran and training of Iranian
nuclear scientists in Russia increases Allies' anxiety.
Finally, Germany as well as France sought more transparency
on the new Russian military doctrine that allegedly
identifies NATO as a threat.



5. (S/NF) The Hungarian PermRep thanked President Putin for
giving the NRC a dose of motivation to open up more
substantial dialogue in the NRC. The Greek PermRep and
Russian Ambassador picked up on the Hungarian comments and
also praised Putin's speech as constructive. Privately, the
Hungarian delegation subsequently clarified that their
Ambassador's praise of Putin's speech was meant as a joke,
but, unfortunately, his stone-faced presentation had not
given this impression.



--------------------------


WIN/WIN OR ZERO-SUM GAME?


--------------------------





6. (S/NF) Russian Ambassador Totskiy said he was glad Putin's
speech had energized the NRC. He claimed "expansion of NATO
was not a priority question for Russia," but clarified that
President Putin told the SYG in their October 2006 meeting
that Russia could not understand why NATO would put pressure
on partners to join the Alliance (i.e., Ukraine). This would
not lead to stability. On CFE, Totskiy is still worried

about U.S. deployments in Bulgaria and Romania, and said the
Alliance is constantly creating new demands regarding the
Istanbul Commitments. He said there will be bloodshed in
Transnistria if Russian peacekeepers are removed without an
alternative. Ambassador Totskiy stated the Russians are
considering different ideas on their military doctrine,
including logistics reforms and structures in their military
academies, but the process will require 2-3 more years to
develop. The new military doctrine would be built on a new
concept of national security. Out of the blue, Totksiy
condemned the recent Chinese test to destroy a satellite in
space.



7. (S/NF) Ambassador Nuland took issue with Hungary's and
Russia's characterization of the Munich speech as
"re-energizing," noting its zero-sum philosophy was contrary
to the win/win spirit we all worked so hard to achieve in the
NRC. The United States is ready to move forward with
practical cooperation and frank political discussion in the
NRC, and it is up to Russia to make a strategic choice on the
NRC's future. The NRC has done a good job of addressing the
common threats from terrorism, proliferation, and WMD, but
more must be done on cooperation on Afghanistan, missile
defense, and peacekeeping. To enhance peacekeeping
inter-operability, SOFA ratification is a prerequisite; this
would also reaffirm Russian commitment to the NRC. The
Ambassador said Russia is the only country at this table
still building missiles, and she encouraged them to consider
missile defense instead. She stated the Allies are prepared
to ratify the adapted CFE the moment Russia withdraws its
troops from countries that do not want them there. Lastly,
she underscored the minimal U.S. presence associated with our
basing agreements with Romania and Bulgaria.



8. (S/NF) In a lively discussion, Allies seized most of the
ideas from the joint German/U.S. food-for-thought paper on
deliverables for the NRC anniversaries. Many Allies
encouraged Russia to be more open to frank discussions in the
NRC on topics such as energy security or the separatist
conflicts, and encouraged deeper practical cooperation on
counter-narcotics, Theater Missile Defense, support to ISAF,
and equipment to the ANA. Canada also proposed cooperation
in the Arctic on areas such as oil-spill response and search
and rescue.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





9. (S/NF) The NRC discussion on Putin's speech was a lively
and mostly useful debate -- Germany and France found courage;
UK, Canada, and Poland found heart; but Hungary opened up an
unfortunate line on Putin's speech. Moreover, Spain and
Greece still are afraid to step up to the plate in the NRC.
End comment.
NULAND