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13/febr/2010 Altă perspectivă asupra cărţii „1989 – Prăbuşirea Imperiului Sovietic” de V. Sebestyen

„1989 – Prăbuşirea Imperiului Sovietic” de Victor Sebestyen

cronică de Mircea Morariu

Până la un punct, cartea 1989- Prăbuşirea Imperiului Sovietic (Editura Litera & Revista Săptămâna financiară, Bucureşti, 2009) e asemănătoare cu cea scrisă de Stelian Tănase, apărută într-o primă ediţie în anul 1999 cu titlul Miracolul revoluţiei- O istorie politică a căderii regimurilor comuniste şi, mai apoi, în 2009 cu un titlu modificat – Istoria căderii regimurilor comuniste – Miracolul revoluţieiSebestyen, ziarist de origine maghiară, stabilit peste hotare, format la şcoala jurnalistică anglo- saxonă, îşi propune, precum Stelian Tănase, să nareze felul în care în 1989 cădea ceea ce Uniunea Sovietică numea „imperiul său extern”, mai exact chipul în care se rupeau de comunism, mai mult sau mai puţin violent, prin lovituri de palat (precum în RDG sau în Bulgaria), printr-un sistem de negociere( cum a fost cazul în Polonia) ori prin revoluţii sângeroase (ca în România) cele şase ţări est- europene ce alcătuiau, sub tutela URSS, Pactul de la Varşovia. (desen: The Economist)

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(Despre cartea lui Sebestyen, G E O P O L I T I K O N  a mai publicat: Istorie în zeci de mii de exemplare)

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Victor Sebestyen porneşte de la o observaţie care mi se pare extrem de valoroasă. „Nici un alt imperiu din istorie nu şi-a abndonat vreodată teritoriile atât de repede şi atât de paşnic”. Or, în astfel de condiţii e mai mult decât legitim să te întrebi de ce a capitulat Uniunea Sovietică fără luptă şi de ce lucrul acesta s-a petrecut la sfârşitul anilor ’80. Autorul are grijă, încă din primele pagini ale cărţii, să mai dezmintă o dată mitul potrivit căruia ultimul lider sovietic, Mihail Gorbaciov, şi-ar fi asumat în chip voluntar rolul de gropar al Imperiului ori că ar fi dorit să dinamiteze socialismul. El, spre deosebire de predecesorii săi de la Kremlin, a înţeles că sistemul e minat de probleme grave şi că e nevoie de un tratament energic, chiar de şoc, spre a-l salva. Gorbaciov a vrut, în chip evident, să salveze comunismul. Ştia că pentru asta era nevoit să plătească un preţ, era gata să o facă, a înţeles repede că statele satelit ale Uniunii Sovietice ce nu puteau fi supuse decât cu tancul nu (mai) puteau fi păstrate deoarece Uniunea Sovietică nu mai avea resursele materiale spre a o face, a realizat că aventura afgană a fost o imensă greşeală, dar a amânat destul de mult retragerea, mânat de voinţa de a nu o face după modelul în care au abandonat americanii Vietnamul. Gorbaciov nu şi-a imaginat însă nici un moment că el va fi cel ce va anunţa, în decembrie 1991, dizolvarea Uniunii Sovietice, tot la fel cum nu credea că  va fi ultimul mare ţar de la Kremlin. Poate că ezitările lui, asupra cărora insistă cu folos Victor Sebestyen, au contribuit la accelerarea naufragiului utopiei, dar e limpede că au existat alte şi alte cauze ce au avut un plus de importanţă. Imperiul era expirat din punct de vedere moral, lipsit de viabilitate politică, sfârşit ideologic. La urma urmei, nu a fost nici un miracol că în 1989, rând pe rând, regimurile comuniste au căzut. Problema e că nimeni nu a prevăzut nici căderea, nici momentul în care se va produce ea. E limpede că Mihail Sergheevici, privit ca salvator în unele ţări est- europene, de popoare exasperate de liderii lor gerontocratici, a fost doar unul dintre elementele ce au contat în disoluţia comunismului în Europa de Est.
Victor Sebestyen socoteşte că primul moment decisiv în „povestea cu final fericit”, în succesiunea de evenimente la capătul cărora a fost constatat decesul comunismului de tip sovietic in Europa de Răsărit a fost alegerea cardinalului polonez Karol Vojtyla ca Papă. În după-amiaza zilei de 16 octombrie 1978, Yuryi  Andropov, pe atunci şef al KGB-ului, a primit vestea că un est-european a devenit capul Bisericii Catolice şi a exclamat „Vojtyla reprezintă o ameninţare pentru noi”. Avea dreptate. Autorul cărţii are grijă să sublinieze rolul jucat de Papa Ioan Paul al II lea în menţinerea spiritului contestatar în Polonia natală, chiar şi atunci când primatul Jozef Glemp s-a dovedit mult mai conciliant cu regimul comunist decât predecesorul lui,Vysynski.
Cu o minuţie remarcabilă şi cu o admirabilă atenţie la detalii,Victor Sebestyen înregistrează şi comentează toate momentele- cheie la capătul cărora, în ultimele zile ale anului 1989, Blocul sovietic începea să devină o tristă amintire. Cartea începe cu relatarea execuţiei lui Nicolae Ceauşescu şi a soţiei sale, iar către sfârşitul său dă seama despre Revoluţia română. Insistă, cum se cuvine, asupra extraordinarei răsturnări de situaţie ce a făcut ca exact acelaşi lider comunist să fi protestat public în august 1968 împotriva invaziei în Cehoslovacia şi, mai apoi, să ceară disperat în 1989 acţiuni militare împotriva acelor ţări din Pactul de la Varşovia în care „socialismul era în pericol”. Numai că de data aceasta cel care a spus niet a fost însuşi liderul de la Kremlin. Şi aceasta deoarece Gorbaciov abandonase demult doctrina Brejnev în favoarea doctrinei Sinatra.
Am citit cu maximă atenţie capitolele referitoare la România. Mi se par echilibrate, documentate, bine fundamentate. Există însă o seamă de erori ce cred că trebuie semnalate şi amendate. Prima şi cea mai gravă e afirmaţia potrivit căreia în România, ca şi în Bulgaria, nu a existat niciodată democraţie. Trec peste cazul Bulgariei. E, însă, cum nu se poate mai sigur că experienţa democratică a României din perioada 1867- 1940, deşi scurtă, e imposibil de negat. Democraţia românească,  cu toate că a fost una perfectibilă, a însemnat o realitate. Apoi: Valentin Ceauşescu a fost, precum Zoia şi Nicu, fiul natural al Elenei şi al lui Nicolae Ceauşescu, nu unul adoptiv. Scrisoarea celor 6 a fost lansată în martie 1989, nu cu un an înainte, aşa cum, în mod greşit, se susţine în carte. Ea nu a fost denumită Apel al Frontului Salvării, ci semnată ca atare de cei şase foşti lideri ai PCR. Doar în august acelaşi an un text adresat participanţilor la Congresul al XIV lea al PCR, congres ce urma să aibă loc în noiembrie, a fost revendicat de Frontul Salvării Naţionale, care, oricum, a fost cu totul altceva decât cel ce s-a format în după-amiaza zilei de 22 decembrie 1989 la Bucureşti. Nu a existat niciodată un post de radio cu numele de România liberă, a existat doar postul Europa liberă, al cărui Serviciu românesc a avut o audienţă cu mult superioară mediei din celelalte ţări comuniste. În 1989, Ion Caramitru era actor la Teatrul „Bulandra”, nu la „Naţional”. Mircea Dinescu nu a ajuns nici la sfârşitul zilei de 22 decembrie, nici mai târziu, ministru. Caramitru a fost vicepreşedinte al CPUN până către mijlocul lui mai 1990 şi a devenit ministru în guvernarea CDR, începută în ultimele zile ale lui 1996.
Dincolo de aceste erori, 1989- Prăbuşirea Imperiului Sovietic surprinde exact şi convingător dinamica evenimentelor, cauzalitatea lor, utilizând inteligent documente şi mărturii. Plus că Victor Sebestyen îi portretizează cu har pe toţi cei implicaţi în feluritele evenimente ce au avut drept final prăbuşirea comunismului.

– text publicat în revista Familia din Oradea

Reclame

13 februarie 2010 Posted by | Intelo, Istorie | , , , | Un comentariu

10/ian/2010 „The Economist”: România şi Bulgaria – sinonime, la Bruxelles, pentru corupţie, respectiv crimă organizată

… revista The Economist despre Europa de Est la începutul anului 2010 şi despre dificultatea de a poziţiona pe hartă acest concept geografico-politico-istoric. Din nou, o perspectivă nu foarte măgulitoare pentru România şi Bulgaria. Dar ce este nou aici?! – EURAST

Vezi şi:  “Le Figaro” despre România din 2009: dezamăgită şi dezamăgitoare  ///  “Le Figaro” despre Bulgaria: stat european sau cal troian al Rusiei în UE?  ///  Revista “The Economist” despre alegerile prezidenţiale din România

 

“Eastern Europe”. Wrongly labelled

Jan 7th 2010
From The Economist print edition

The economic downturn has made it harder to speak sensibly of a region called “eastern Europe”

Illustration by Peter Schrank
IT WAS never a very coherent idea and it is becoming a damaging one. “Eastern Europe” is a geographical oddity that includes the Czech Republic (in the middle of the continent) but not Greece or Cyprus (supposedly “western” Europe but in the far south-east). It makes little sense historically either: it includes countries (like Ukraine) that were under the heel of the Soviet empire for decades and those (Albania, say) that only brushed it. Some of those countries had harsh planned economies; others had their own version of “goulash communism” (Hungary) or “self-managed socialism” (Yugoslavia).

Already unreliable in 1989, the label has stretched to meaninglessness as those countries’ fortunes have diverged since the collapse of communism. The nearly 30 states that once, either under their own names or as part of somewhere else, bore the label “communist” now have more differences than similarities. Yet calling them “eastern Europe” suggests not only a common fate under totalitarian rule, but a host of ills that go with it: a troubled history then; bad government and economic misery now.

 The economic downturn has shown how misleading this is. Worries about “contagion” from the banking crisis in Latvia raised risk premiums in otherwise solid economies such as Poland and the Czech Republic—a nonsense based on outsiders’ perceptions of other outsiders’ fears. In fact, the continent’s biggest financial upheaval is in Iceland (see article, article), and the biggest forecast budget deficits in the European Union next year will not be in some basket-cases from the ex-communist “east” but in Britain and in Greece. The new government in Athens is grappling with a budget deficit of at least 12.7% of GDP and possibly as much as 14.5%. European Commission officials are discussing that in Greece this week.

None of the ten “eastern” countries that joined the EU is in so bad a mess. They include hotshots and slowcoaches, places that feel thoroughly modern and those where the air still bears a rancid tang from past misrule. Slovenia and the Czech Republic, for example, have overhauled living standards in Portugal, the poorest country in the “western” camp. Neither was badly hit by the economic downturn. Some of the ex-communist countries now have better credit ratings than old EU members and can borrow more cheaply. Together with Slovakia, Slovenia has joined the euro, which Sweden, Denmark and Britain have not. Estonia—at least in outsiders’ eyes—is one of the least corrupt countries in Europe, easily beating founder members of the EU such as Italy.

Three sub-categories do make sense. One is the five autocratic ’stans of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). They scarcely count as “Europe”, though a hefty Britain-sized tenth of Kazakhstani territory (some 200,000 square kilometres) lies unambiguously in Europe. Kazakhstan also this year chairs the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a Vienna-based post-cold-war talking shop. But none of the ’stans has become a member of the Council of Europe (another talking shop and human-rights guardian, based in Strasbourg). That shows the problem. The definition of “Europe” is as unreliable as the word “eastern”.

The ’stans vary (Tajikistan is poor, Kazakhstan go-getting). But all have slim prospects of joining the EU in the lifetime of anyone reading this article. That creates a second useful category: potential members of the union. It starts with sure-fire bets such as Croatia, and other small digestible countries in the western Balkans such as Macedonia. It includes big problematic cases such as Turkey and Ukraine and even—in another optimistic couple of decades—four other ex-Soviet republics, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan (the last, maybe, one day, on Turkey’s coat-tails).

The third and trickiest category is the ten countries that joined in the big enlargement of 2004 and in the later expansion of 2007. They are a mixed bunch, ranging from model EU citizens such as Estonia (recently smitten by a property bust, but all set to gain permission this year to join the euro) to Romania and Bulgaria, which have become bywords in Brussels for corruption and organised crime respectively. Eight of them (Romania and Bulgaria are the exceptions) have already joined Europe’s Schengen passportless travel zone. Most (Poland is a big, rankling exception) also have visa-free travel to America. All (unlike EU members Austria, Cyprus, Ireland and Malta) are in NATO.

Some worries remain constant, mild in the countries in or near the EU, more troubling in those in the waiting room and beyond. Exclusion and missed opportunity from the communist years still causes anger, as does near-exclusion from top jobs in international organisations (another consequence of the damaging “eastern Europe” label, some say). Toxic waste from that era, such as over-mighty spooks and miles of secret-police files, create openings for blackmail and other mischief-making, especially where institutions are weak. Lithuania’s powerful security service, the VSD, is in the centre of a political storm, but worries about lawlessness and foreign penetration ripple from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

Four countries—Poland and the three Baltic states—worry a lot about Russian revisionism (or revanchism). Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are concerned too, but more about energy and economic security than military sabre-rattling. Yet elsewhere, in the former Yugoslavia for example, such fears seem mystifying and even paranoid.

The new and future members also share capital-thirstiness. All need lots of outside money (from the EU’s coffers, from the capital markets and from foreign bank-lending) to modernise their economies to the standards of the rest of the continent.

But the usefulness of the “new member state” category is clearly declining as the years go by. Oxford University still has a “New College” which was a good label in 1379 to distinguish it from existing bits of the university. It seems a bit quaint now. Poles, Czechs, Estonians and others hope that they will drop the “new” label rather sooner, so that they can be judged on their merits rather than on their past.

10 ianuarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , | Un comentariu

10/nov/2009 EURAST recomandă: Istoria în imagini a anului revoluţionar 1989

… un slideshow purtînd marca The New York Times cu imagini şi texte legate de istoria anului revoluţionar 1989.

10 noiembrie 2009 Posted by | Istorie | , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

06/oct/2009 EURAST recomandă: Tony Judt despre Rusia, Europa de Est şi America

Reflecţiile unui sceptic de serviciu despre relaţiile dintre Uniunea Europeană şi Rusia, prin prisma tradiţionalelor clivaje Est-Vest:

„The shadow of the first 50 years after World War II still hangs over the last 20 years. That is, the sensibilities of Europe’s eastern states – Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and so on, not to speak of the neighbors further east , like Ukraine or Belarus, and so on, Georgia – are very different toward Russia from those of Western Europe.”  (text integral)

– Tony Judt, director of the Erich Maria Remarque Institute at New York University

6 octombrie 2009 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

02/oct/2009 Adrian Cioroianu vă recomandă: Scrisoarea unor oameni politici şi intelectuali din Europa de Est către administraţia Obama (iulie 2009)

An Open Letter to the Obama Administration from Central and Eastern Europe

by Valdas Adamkus, Martin Butora, Emil Constantinescu, Pavol Demes, Lubos Dobrovsky, Matyas Eorsi, Istvan Gyarmati, Vaclav Havel, Rastislav Kacer, Sandra Kalniete, Karel Schwarzenberg, Michal Kovac, Ivan Krastev, Alexander Kwasniewski, Mart Laar, Kadri Liik, Janos Martonyi. Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Adam Rotfeld, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Alexandr Vondra, Lech Walesa.

We have written this letter because, as Central and Eastern European (CEE) intellectuals and former policymakers, we care deeply about the future of the transatlantic relationship as well as the future quality of relations between the United States and the countries of our region. We write in our personal capacity as individuals who are friends and allies of the United States as well as committed Europeans.

Our nations are deeply indebted to the United States. Many of us know firsthand how important your support for our freedom and independence was during the dark Cold War years. U.S. engagement and support was essential for the success of our democratic transitions after the Iron Curtain fell twenty years ago. Without Washington’s vision and leadership, it is doubtful that we would be in NATO and even the EU today.

 

We have worked to reciprocate and make this relationship a two-way street. We are Atlanticist voices within NATO and the EU. Our nations have been engaged alongside the United States in the Balkans, Iraq, and today in Afghanistan. While our contribution may at times seem modest compared to your own, it is significant when measured as a percentage of our population and GDP. Having benefited from your support for liberal democracy and liberal values in the past, we have been among your strongest supporters when it comes to promoting democracy and human rights around the world.

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, however, we see that Central and Eastern European countries are no longer at the heart of American foreign policy. As the new Obama Administration sets its foreign-policy priorities, our region is one part of the world that Americans have largely stopped worrying about. Indeed, at times we have the impression that U.S. policy was so successful that many American officials have now concluded that our region is fixed once and for all and that they could „check the box” and move on to other more pressing strategic issues. Relations have been so close that many on both sides assume that the region’s transatlantic orientation, as well as its stability and prosperity, would last forever.

That view is premature. All is not well either in our region or in the transatlantic relationship. Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region. The global economic crisis is impacting on our region and, as elsewhere, runs the risk that our societies will look inward and be less engaged with the outside world. At the same time, storm clouds are starting to gather on the foreign policy horizon. Like you, we await the results of the EU Commission’s investigation on the origins of the Russo-Georgian war. But the political impact of that war on the region has already been felt. Many countries were deeply disturbed to see the Atlantic alliance stand by as Russia violated the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, and the territorial integrity of a country that was a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace and the Euroatlantic Partnership Council -all in the name of defending a sphere of influence on its borders.

Despite the efforts and significant contribution of the new members, NATO today seems weaker than when we joined. In many of our countries it is perceived as less and less relevant – and we feel it. Although we are full members, people question whether NATO would be willing and able to come to our defense in some future crises. Europe’s dependence on Russian energy also creates concern about the cohesion of the Alliance. President Obama’s remark at the recent NATO summit on the need to provide credible defense plans for all Alliance members was welcome, but not sufficient to allay fears about the Alliance´s defense readiness. Our ability to continue to sustain public support at home for our contributions to Alliance missions abroad also depends on us being able to show that our own security concerns are being addressed in NATO and close cooperation with the United States

We must also recognize that America’s popularity and influence have fallen in many of our countries as well. Public opinions polls, including the German Marshall Fund’s own Transatlantic Trends survey, show that our region has not been immune to the wave of criticism and anti-Americanism that has swept Europe in recent years and which led to a collapse in sympathy and support for the United States during the Bush years. Some leaders in the region have paid a political price for their support of the unpopular war in Iraq. In the future they may be more careful in taking political risks to support the United States. We believe that the onset of a new Administration has created a new opening to reverse this trend but it will take time and work on both sides to make up for what we have lost.

In many ways the EU has become the major factor and institution in our lives. To many people it seems more relevant and important today than the link to the United States. To some degree it is a logical outcome of the integration of Central and Eastern Europe into the EU. Our leaders and officials spend much more time in EU meetings than in consultations with Washington, where they often struggle to attract attention or make our voices heard. The region’s deeper integration in the EU is of course welcome and should not necessarily lead to a weakening of the transatlantic relationship. The hope was that integration of Central and Eastern Europe into the EU would actually strengthen the strategic cooperation between Europe and America.

However, there is a danger that instead of being a pro-Atlantic voice in the EU, support for a more global partnership with Washington in the region might wane over time. The region does not have the tradition of assuming a more global role. Some items on the transatlantic agenda, such as climate change, do not resonate in the Central and Eastern European publics to the same extent as they do in Western Europe.

Leadership change is also coming in Central and Eastern Europe. Next to those, there are fewer and fewer leaders who emerged from the revolutions of 1989 who experienced Washington’s key role in securing our democratic transition and anchoring our countries in NATO and EU. A new generation of leaders is emerging who do not have these memories and follow a more „realistic” policy. At the same time, the former Communist elites, whose insistence on political and economic power significantly contributed to the crises in many CEE countries, gradually disappear from the political scene. The current political and economic turmoil and the fallout from the global economic crisis provide additional opportunities for the forces of nationalism, extremism, populism, and anti-Semitism across the continent but also in some our countries.

This means that the United States is likely to lose many of its traditional interlocutors in the region. The new elites replacing them may not share the idealism – or have the same relationship to the United States – as the generation who led the democratic transition. They may be more calculating in their support of the United States as well as more parochial in their world view. And in Washington a similar transition is taking place as many of the leaders and personalities we have worked with and relied on are also leaving politics.

And then there is the issue of how to deal with Russia. Our hopes that relations with Russia would improve and that Moscow would finally fully accept our complete sovereignty and independence after joining NATO and the EU have not been fulfilled. Instead, Russia is back as a revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods. At a global level, Russia has become, on most issues, a status-quo power. But at a regional level and vis-a-vis our nations, it increasingly acts as a revisionist one. It challenges our claims to our own historical experiences. It asserts a privileged position in determining our security choices. It uses overt and covert means of economic warfare, ranging from energy blockades and politically motivated investments to bribery and media manipulation in order to advance its interests and to challenge the transatlantic orientation of Central and Eastern Europe.

We welcome the „reset” of the American-Russian relations. As the countries living closest to Russia, obviously nobody has a greater interest in the development of the democracy in Russia and better relations between Moscow and the West than we do. But there is also nervousness in our capitals. We want to ensure that too narrow an understanding of Western interests does not lead to the wrong concessions to Russia. Today the concern is, for example, that the United States and the major European powers might embrace the Medvedev plan for a „Concert of Powers” to replace the continent’s existing, value-based security structure. The danger is that Russia’s creeping intimidation and influence-peddling in the region could over time lead to a de facto neutralization of the region. There are differing views within the region when it comes to Moscow’s new policies. But there is a shared view that the full engagement of the United States is needed.

Many in the region are looking with hope to the Obama Administration to restore the Atlantic relationship as a moral compass for their domestic as well as foreign policies. A strong commitment to common liberal democratic values is essential to our countries. We know from our own historical experience the difference between when the United States stood up for its liberal democratic values and when it did not. Our region suffered when the United States succumbed to „realism” at Yalta. And it benefited when the United States used its power to fight for principle. That was critical during the Cold War and in opening the doors of NATO. Had a „realist” view prevailed in the early 1990s, we would not be in NATO today and the idea of a Europe whole, free, and at peace would be a distant dream.

We understand the heavy demands on your Administration and on U.S. foreign policy. It is not our intent to add to the list of problems you face. Rather, we want to help by being strong Atlanticist allies in a U.S.-European partnership that is a powerful force for good around the world. But we are not certain where our region will be in five or ten years time given the domestic and foreign policy uncertainties we face. We need to take the right steps now to ensure the strong relationship between the United States and Central and Eastern Europe over the past twenty years will endure.

We believe this is a time both the United States and Europe need to reinvest in the transatlantic relationship. We also believe this is a time when the United States and Central and Eastern Europe must reconnect around a new and forward-looking agenda. While recognizing what has been achieved in the twenty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, it is time to set a new agenda for close cooperation for the next twenty years across the Atlantic.

Therefore, we propose the following steps:

First, we are convinced that America needs Europe and that Europe needs the United States as much today as in the past. The United States should reaffirm its vocation as a European power and make clear that it plans to stay fully engaged on the continent even while it faces the pressing challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the wider Middle East, and Asia. For our part we must work at home in our own countries and in Europe more generally to convince our leaders and societies to adopt a more global perspective and be prepared to shoulder more responsibility in partnership with the United States.

Second, we need a renaissance of NATO as the most important security link between the United States and Europe. It is the only credible hard power security guarantee we have. NATO must reconfirm its core function of collective defense even while we adapt to the new threats of the 21st century. A key factor in our ability to participate in NATO’s expeditionary missions overseas is the belief that we are secure at home. We must therefore correct some self-inflicted wounds from the past. It was a mistake not to commence with proper Article 5 defense planning for new members after NATO was enlarged. NATO needs to make the Alliance’s commitments credible and provide strategic reassurance to all members. This should include contingency planning, prepositioning of forces, equipment, and supplies for reinforcement in our region in case of crisis as originally envisioned in the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

We should also re-think the working of the NATO-Russia Council and return to the practice where NATO member countries enter into dialogue with Moscow with a coordinated position. When it comes to Russia, our experience has been that a more determined and principled policy toward Moscow will not only strengthen the West’s security but will ultimately lead Moscow to follow a more cooperative policy as well. Furthermore, the more secure we feel inside NATO, the easier it will also be for our countries to reach out to engage Moscow on issues of common interest. That is the dual track approach we need and which should be reflected in the new NATO strategic concept.

Third, the thorniest issue may well be America’s planned missile-defense installations. Here too, there are different views in the region, including among our publics which are divided. Regardless of the military merits of this scheme and what Washington eventually decides to do, the issue has nevertheless also become – at least in some countries – a symbol of America’s credibility and commitment to the region. How it is handled could have a significant impact on their future transatlantic orientation. The small number of missiles involved cannot be a threat to Russia’s strategic capabilities, and the Kremlin knows this. We should decide the future of the program as allies and based on the strategic plusses and minuses of the different technical and political configurations. The Alliance should not allow the issue to be determined by unfounded Russian opposition. Abandoning the program entirely or involving Russia too deeply in it without consulting Poland or the Czech Republic can undermine the credibility of the United States across the whole region.

Fourth, we know that NATO alone is not enough. We also want and need more Europe and a better and more strategic U.S.-EU relationship as well. Increasingly our foreign policies are carried out through the European Union – and we support that. We also want a common European foreign and defense policy that is open to close cooperation with the United States. We are the advocates of such a line in the EU. But we need the United States to rethink its attitude toward the EU and engage it much more seriously as a strategic partner. We need to bring NATO and the EU closer together and make them work in tandem. We need common NATO and EU strategies not only toward Russia but on a range of other new strategic challenges.

Fifth is energy security. The threat to energy supplies can exert an immediate influence on our nations’ political sovereignty also as allies contributing to common decisions in NATO. That is why it must also become a transatlantic priority. Although most of the responsibility for energy security lies within the realm of the EU, the United States also has a role to play. Absent American support, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline would never have been built. Energy security must become an integral part of U.S.-European strategic cooperation. Central and Eastern European countries should lobby harder (and with more unity) inside Europe for diversification of the energy mix, suppliers, and transit routes, as well as for tough legal scrutiny of Russia’s abuse of its monopoly and cartel-like power inside the EU. But American political support on this will play a crucial role. Similarly, the United States can play an important role in solidifying further its support for the Nabucco pipeline, particularly in using its security relationship with the main transit country, Turkey, as well as the North-South interconnector of Central Europe and LNG terminals in our region.

Sixth, we must not neglect the human factor. Our next generations need to get to know each other, too. We have to cherish and protect the multitude of educational, professional, and other networks and friendships that underpin our friendship and alliance. The U.S. visa regime remains an obstacle in this regard. It is absurd that Poland and Romania – arguably the two biggest and most pro-American states in the CEE region, which are making substantial contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan – have not yet been brought into the visa waiver program. It is incomprehensible that a critic like the French anti-globalization activist Jose Bove does not require a visa for the United States but former Solidarity activist and Nobel Peace prizewinner Lech Walesa does. This issue will be resolved only if it is made a political priority by the President of the United States.

The steps we made together since 1989 are not minor in history. The common successes are the proper foundation for the transatlantic renaissance we need today. This is why we believe that we should also consider the creation of a Legacy Fellowship for young leaders. Twenty years have passed since the revolutions of 1989. That is a whole generation. We need a new generation to renew the transatlantic partnership. A new program should be launched to identify those young leaders on both sides of the Atlantic who can carry forward the transatlantic project we have spent the last two decades building in Central and Eastern Europe.

In conclusion, the onset of a new Administration in the United States has raised great hopes in our countries for a transatlantic renewal. It is an opportunity we dare not miss. We, the authors of this letter, know firsthand how important the relationship with the United States has been. In the 1990s, a large part of getting Europe right was about getting Central and Eastern Europe right. The engagement of the United States was critical to locking in peace and stability from the Baltics to the Black Sea. Today the goal must be to keep Central and Eastern Europe right as a stable, activist, and Atlanticist part of our broader community.

That is the key to our success in bringing about the renaissance in the Alliance the Obama Administration has committed itself to work for and which we support. That will require both sides recommitting to and investing in this relationship. But if we do it right, the pay off down the road can be very real. By taking the right steps now, we can put it on new and solid footing for the future.

2 octombrie 2009 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu