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25/sept/2010 Europa unită: are 50 de ani şi e gripată – şi seamănă teribil cu noi toţi (1/7)

Are 50 de ani şi e gripată – şi seamănă teribil cu noi toţi.

Europa unită, astăzi

Adrian Cioroianu

(1/7) –

Pe când eram ministru de Externe mi-a fost dat să trec printr-un episod (din fericire!) ieşit din comun: la una dintre şedinţele lunare ale celor 27 de miniştri de resort ai UE, în timpul mesei de prânz (care avea loc în localul Comisiei Europene din Bruxelles), pe la momentul servirii cafelelor şi desertului, numai ce apare – într-un colţ al sălii dreptunghiulare în care avea loc dejunul, de sub o muchie a podelei tapisate – un şoricel. Agil şi speriat (şi probabil înfometat), a traversat o latură a sălii, pesemne privindu-ne în felul său. Să fi vrut să ne dea un mesaj? 

Nu era şobolanul lui Camus. Nici criza nu-i ciumă

Evenimentul a stârnit un amuzament de zile mari – accentuat, mi-aduc aminte, de spaima distinsei doamne ministru austriece Ursula Plassnik. Cred că era începutul anului 2008. Deseori mi-aduc aminte de acest episod inofensiv, în diferite contexte. Uneori îmi spun că ar fi fost o dramă dacă acest şoricel ar fi străbătut sala de mese ministerială a UE dintr-un local similar din Bucureşti sau din Sofia; probabil că presa noastră (în cazul în care ar fi aflat – iată motivul pentru care la Bucureşti sau Sofia sunt atât de vizibil manipulate informaţiile «pe surse») ar fi transformat evenimentul într-un cataclism naţional. Dar acolo, la Bruxelles, şoarecul din clădirea Comisiei Europene (care, cred, avea şi fraţi, şi surori, poate şi ceva bunici etc.) n-a stârnit decât zâmbete. La un minut după ce a dispărut sub mochetă toţi au părut a uita de el.

Alteori am impresia că acel şoarece bruxellez inofensiv a dat un mesaj pe care niciunul dintre comeseni nu l-a descifrat cum se cuvenea: un fel de avertisment. Într-un roman celebru al lui Camus, un şobolan aduce ciuma, într-o zi de aprilie, într-un oraş până atunci fericit. Să fi adus şoarecele despre care vorbesc criza în Europa? Puţin probabil. Şi totuşi, uneori – gândindu-mă la acest episod – îmi surâde paralelismul. În 2008 Europa era un continent fericit, cu salarii în creştere şi şomaj în scădere. Până ce, în pragul unei săli din propria sa capitală, de sub o duşumea, numai ce-a apărut un mic rozător, ca o pată în mişcare vie pe covor…

 *  *  *

Europa unită s-a născut din dorinţa de pace şi a izbutit să gireze cele mai prospere decenii din istoria continentului. După al doilea război mondial, în Europa însângerată, nimeni nu era propriu-zis euro-optimist iar euro-scepticismul, nici el, nu exista. Ci exista doar o mare teamă. Mai întâi era teama de precedent: cu 25 de ani în urmă primul război mondial adusese milioane de morţi şi nici o lecţie majoră. Aşadar, era posibil – pentru că se mai întâmplase – ca stihiile să renască dintre ruine. Apoi era teama de stalinism – şi de omnipotenţa lui Stalin, care la finele anilor ’40 ar fi putut face ceea ce nici un lider occidental n-ar fi îndrăznit: să-şi cheme în numele patriei din nou bărbaţii la arme, sub un pretext oarecare. Dacă ar fi vrut şeful ei suprem, probabil că Armata roşie ar fi ajuns, în şase luni, pe plajele europene ale Atlanticului. Germania (ruinată şi tarată moral), Franţa (surâzătoare, dar în corzi) şi Anglia (eroică, dar stoarsă), chiar toate laolaltă, s-ar fi opus cu greu Sovietelor – şi, fără banii Americii, e clar că şi-ar fi amânat recuperarea şi probabil că şi-ar fi găsit subiecte (vechi sau inedite) de dispută.

Averea comună a venit mai apoi. Pentru că a fost ajutată la timp şi pentru că îi plăcea comerţul, iubea iniţiativa şi preţuia munca, Europei nu i-a fost foarte greu să renască. Comunismul era departe şi nu pe-atât de salvator precum se descria; America era tot mai puternică şi, prin trupele ei, era foarte aproape; petrolul era ieftin şi mult; iar rata vest-europeană a natalităţii era încă dătătoare de speranţe.

Cu victorii sau cedări, cu preţuri tot mai mari pentru mărfuri tot mai exotice, cu vămile transformate în restaurante drive in şi cu un şir nesfârşit (şi binevenit) de compromisuri, Europa s-a văzut pacificată, apoi s-a văzut unită şi înstărită. Mai întâi s-a lărgit în interiorul său – primind la sânul ei milioane de turci, de asiatici sau de magrebieni; apoi s-a lărgit spre exterior, deschizând uşile către un Est ex-comunist ameţit de libertate şi dornic să facă shoping pe Kertnetstrasse sau pe Bond street.

Şi astfel Europa a ajuns la 50 de ani. 

_________________________

– text publicat în revista Lettre internationale – ediţia română, vara 2010

Anunțuri

25 Septembrie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , , | 6 comentarii

16/sept/2010 Note pe marginea actualităţii internaţionale

 Irakul, Afganistanul şi Romanistanul

 Bedros Horasangian

Înlocuirea generelului McCristal cu generalul Petraeus la comanda forţelor militare americane  în Irak nu a adus cine ştie ce îmbunătăţiri simţitoare pe teatrele de operaţiuni. Ce să se mai întîmple în ultimul moment ? Situaţia în teren este complexă şi fără sorţi de izbîndă definitivă. Războiul dus cu tehnologii avansate – ca şi în Coreea, ca şi în Vietnam,ca şi în Irak sau Afganistan americanii au avut un net avantaj – s-a împotmolit într-unul de uzură. Deja e clar că luptele om la om nu au putut elimina luptătorii de guerilă irakieni sau pe talibanii afgani şi întreaga operaţiune militară de anvergură este acum măcinată de incidente locale. La ce a dus ocuparea Irakului? Cu ce preţ, cu ce costuri umane, cu ce soluţii pentru viitorul imediat? Dincolo de afacerile lui Donald Rumsfeld şi gologanii păpaţi de Helliborton. Au şi americanii asfaltangii lor, nici la ei iarna nu-i ca vara.

by Scott Stantis, 2009

Ce zice Congresul ? Dar opinia publică, dar strategii de la Pentagon şi analiştii de la Departamentul de Stat? Deja Preşedintele Barack Obama a declarat retragerea trupelor combatante americane de pe teatrele de operaţiuni începînd cu 1 septembrie. Este clar că soldaţii americanii au deja bagajele făcute şi masivele avioane Hercules vor duce acasă zeci de mii de militari. Deja Preşedintele Barack Obama a declarat că pînă la sfîrşitul anului viitor nu vor mai fi soldaţi americani pe teritoriul irakian. Totuşi un corp expediţionar de încă 50 000 de soldaţi americani non combat vor fi prezenţi încă un an în Irak. Retragerea definitivă va fi abia peste un an. Sună frumos şi în mod cert aşa va fi. Ce se va întîmpla şi cum va continua lupta împotriva terorismului după încetarea intervenţiei militare NATO în Irak şi Afganistan? Britanicii se pregătesc şi ei de retragere. În ultimele zile, ca un făcut, 8 soldaţi americani şi 4 britanici au fost ucişi. Ceea nu sună bine şi nici încurajator. Ce se va întîmpla la Basra, Falujah, Tikrit sau Bagdad după retragerea definitivă a militarilor NATO? Vor începe iar lupte intestine între suniţi, şiiţi şi kurzii din nord? Ce fel de democraţie, pace şi prosperitate rămîne în Irak după plecarea americanilor? Greu de făcut evaluări corecte. Dar cu militarii români ce se întîmplă? Noi decidem dacă retragem ostaşii noştri sau decid americanii? Dacă ar fi după noi, s-ar găsi destui ca să şi meargă şi acum, dacă ar fi de cîştigat bani. E bine, e rău, banu-i ban şi  banul la ban trage. Dacă nu moare sau nu e nici un soldat român rănit, atunci este bine. Şi toată lumea e fericită, noi că suntem alături de americani – nu doream asta de zeci de ani ? –, cîteva sute de familii româneşti frecîndu-şi mâinile că mai vin nişte dolari şi vor avea ce să cheltuiască în vremurile astea de restrişte. Dacă rromii trimişi înapoi din Franţa au primit cîte 300 euro de căciulă şi 100 de euro de [copil], militarii vin cu mult mai mulţi bani. Toată chestia e bine, Doamne ajută şi toata lumea e fericită pînă se întîmplă vreo nenorocire, Doamne fereşte, cu o mină sau vreo rafală de Kalaşnikov. Dar, în fine, la război, ca la război.

Totuşi, ce se va întîmpla în continuare? Putem face oarece speculaţii.

Turcii joacă o carte nouă în Orientul Mijlociu. Israelienii nu privesc cu ochi buni nici ce se întîmplă la Ankara, nici la Teheran. Iranienii rămîn în continuare o ameninţare la securitatea lumii, nu are rost să ne ascundem după vorbe sau cireş. Islamul a devenit agresiv şi intoleranţa afişată nu poate duce la nimic bun. Nu putem ignora femeia  lapidată ca în evul mediu sau acele imagini îngrozitoare cu o tînără iraniană cu nasul şi urechea tăiate. Sinistru. Suntem în secolul XXI şi nu pe vremea lui Aladin! Ruşii s-au înfipt şi ei iar tare în Iran şi Armenia. Prezenţa a mii de soldaţi ruşi la Gumri (baza rusească în Armenia, închiriată recent pe încă 50 de ani) cu rachete sol-aer şi Mig 29 în dotare poate tăia avînturile belicoase ale azerilor. […] În Caucaz treburile rămîn încîlcite. În Iran, unde buba cea mare: specialiştii ruşi au fost alături de cei iranieni la încărcarea reactoarelor. Ar putea ataca aviaţia israeliană (cum a procedat în Siria) sau cea americană (cum a procedat în Libia) obiective iraniene acolo unde sunt şi militari/experţi ruşi? Puţin probabil. NATO, americanii şi israelienii vor trebui să privească şi să gestioneze extrem de atent acest complex dosar iranian.

Pentru ai noştri însă, doar chestiunea rromilor din Franţa şi cea basarabeană par de mare actualitate. Nu ne este indiferent cum vor evolua lucrurile la Chişinău. Chiar dacă ruşii îşi încordează muşchii şi nu privesc cu ochi buni ce se întîmplă acolo. Apropierea Moldovei de România şi UE, atît de dorită de actuala conducere de la Chişinău – dar şi de cei de la Bucureşti, sotto voce – ar fi benefică pentru viitorul românilor. Dincolo de actualele graniţe. E bine să ştim cum să acţionăm cu eficienţă şi pragmatism. Măcar în chestiunea Moldovei să fim inteligenţi, dacă în cazul altor dosare externe am pus-o de mămăligă. Totuşi o întrebare rămîne. Cînd revin în ţară trupele române din Irak? Şi cu scutul antirachetă cum rămâne? Iată că sunt două întrebări.

Trăim în Romanistan şi o să trăim şi mai bine. Cică.

________________________

– text publicat în săptămînalul Observator cultural, septembrie a.c.

16 Septembrie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

12/febr/2010 „The Economist”: aliaţi din NATO îngrijoraţi de decizia Franţei de a vinde nave Mistral Rusiei

French arms sales to Russia. The cruel sea

NATO allies worry about France’s decision to sell big warships to Russia

Feb 11th 2010 | PARIS AND TALLINN | From The Economist print edition

CHAMPAGNE and other French products may soon face declining sales in Tallinn, Tbilisi and places in between. The possible sale by France to Russia of up to four Mistral-class assault ships, at up to $750m each, is stoking fear and mistrust. The deal, agreed on “in principle” by France, could be formalised during a visit to Paris next month by Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev. The ships would enter service in 2015.

The deal highlights Russia’s increasing military ambitions and the decay of its own arms industry. Once one of the world’s top naval powers, Russia is now struggling to complete even the repair of an aircraft-carrier destined for India, let alone to build new ships from scratch. The Mistral is a mighty, 199-metre-long vessel that carries tanks and helicopters, and can conduct and manage amphibious landings. Kaarel Kaas, of the International Centre for Defence Studies, a think-tank in Tallinn, says that such ships would “transform the power balance” on Russia’s borders. (foto EPA)

One region affected is the Baltic, where Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, NATO’s most vulnerable members, are still waiting to see concrete plans for the alliance to defend them in a crisis. The other is the Black Sea. The Mistrals could matter in any conflict over Crimea in Ukraine, where Russia is due to give up a naval base in 2017. Russia’s naval chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, says that with such ships Russia would have won the 2008 war against Georgia “in 40 minutes instead of 26 hours”.

But if Russia wants to attack Georgia again, it can do so without Mistrals. And to make the new ships usable, Russia will need to buy or build flotillas of escort vessels, as well as advanced (and expensive) weapons and electronic systems. Even then, the Russian navy would be no match for NATO’s navies. Those who remember the backstage help that France gave Britain in trying to counter the French-made Exocet missiles used by Argentina during the Falklands war in 1982 may wonder how effective the Mistrals would be in any war that France disapproved of.

The sale was first mooted in November when Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, visited France. Georgia has complained publicly, as have some Baltic officials. Robert Gates, the American defence secretary, had a “good and thorough exchange of views” (ie, a disagreement) this week with his French counterpart, Hervé Morin, but this may be just a blip in the improving relations between France and America. The Pentagon is planning manoeuvres in the Baltic later this year. It may now beef them up.

Some critics worry more about the political balance than the military one. Some compare the Mistral deal to Nord Stream, a controversial planned Russian-German gas pipeline. Running along the bed of the Baltic Sea, it would circumvent troublesome transit countries in eastern Europe. But its real importance is that it provides Russia with a tool to peddle influence in European countries.

The Saint-Nazaire shipyard, which builds the Mistral class, is in trouble. It has won only one order, from the French navy, in the past three years; 350 workers there are being asked to quit. The French state recently bought a third of the shipyard company to save jobs and know-how.

Haggling over the Mistral orders (one will be built in France, the others probably in Russia) could thus give the Kremlin bargaining clout in the coming years. An early sign of that, cynics say, is a decision to boot a Georgian-run Russian-language television channel off France’s Eutelsat satellite. France pooh-poohs the ex-communist countries’ protests as paranoia. Russia cannot be treated both as a NATO ally and as an enemy, France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy said this week. Yet that is how Russia seems to see things. Its new military doctrine paints NATO, and particularly its enlargement, as the biggest threat to Russia. The ex-communist states know that protesting against a done deal will only make them look weak and paranoid. Still, they don’t like it.

12 Februarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

12/febr/2010 Invitatul din weekend – Vladimir Socor: vânzarea de nave franceze „Mistral” către flota rusă este o provocare pentru NATO

The Jamestown Foundation, 11 februarie a.c.

 FRANCO-RUSSIAN NAVAL SALE IS A CHALLENGE TO NATO

Vladimir Socor

NATO is being tested, with “its future at stake,” not in Afghanistan as the line recently went, but rather in Brussels itself and in the Alliance’s most influential capitals. The latest among these tests–one that the Alliance seems only determined to side-step–is over the proposed French naval modernization program for Russia. The program envisages selling one French Mistral-class warship–a state-of-the-art, offensive power-projection capability–to Russia and licensing the construction of three or four ships of the same class in Russia, potentially usable in the Baltic and Black Sea.
The Mistral would be the first-ever military and production-licensing sale by a NATO country to Russia; and the deal’s value could set a billion-Euro benchmark or even higher. Moscow has also expressed interest in purchasing the “soldier of the future” integrated kit Felin from France’s Sagem company, as part of modernizing the Russian ground troops’ offensive potential. Again, Russia’s “near abroad” would be the likely arena for using such forces
Certain other West European countries could well use a French “precedent” and start selling their own military production to Russia, with similar disregard for the security of Russia’s neighbors, who are NATO Allies or Partners. Ideally from Moscow’s standpoint, European countries would ultimately even compete with each other in arms offers to Russia. Moscow is trying to induce such competition already by hinting at talks with other European countries for Mistral-class analogues, if France bargains too hard on the terms of its sale. (foto RIA Novosti)

Beyond crass commerce, France is also justifying the Mistral sale to Russia as an anti-crisis stimulus program and employment-generating measure, in addition to its grand political rationalizations (see EDM, January 7, 26, February 11). Thus, France is creating a panoply of excuses that other NATO countries can emulate in future arms deals with Russia, if this Mistral sale goes ahead, with corrosive effects on the Alliance’s solidarity and its policies.
If NATO tolerates the Mistral deal, then other member countries and companies may scramble for bilateral arms deals with Russia, outside any NATO consultation processes, and without objection from an Alliance self-consigned to irrelevancy on this account. NATO needs to deal with the Mistral case pro-actively, before any fait accompli and precedent will have been set. If NATO fails on this issue now, then the entire issue of arms sales to Russia will spin out of the Alliance’s ability to control.
Meanwhile, NATO looks reluctant to face the implications of the proposed sale for the Alliance itself. The office of NATO’s Secretary-General seems to give the Mistral deal a green light without qualms, thus distancing itself from the US position. According to NATO’s chief spokesman James Appathurai, “NATO has no formal role at all in this sale. We are quite confident that the sale would be–when it takes place– perfectly legal, within all the relevant frameworks. But of course some allies have expressed concern about the sale, and we are aware of it” (RFE/RL, February 9).
This statement’s first part sounds like a resigned admission of NATO irrelevance to the issues at hand. The second element implicitly disavows US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ objections to the Mistral sale and the Pentagon spokesman’s statement of receptiveness to regional concerns (La France D’Abord: Paris First to Capitalize on Russian Military Modernization, EDM, February 11).
The NATO Secretary-General’s office backtracked somewhat the following day, with the same spokesman conceding that “the anxieties of some Allies are of course real and are understandable for historical and for geographical reasons” (AP, February 10).
This interpretation, however, avoids the issue of Russian intentions and capabilities in the context of the Mistral deal. It reduces the debate to history and geography, omitting the recently experienced Russian conduct. And while mentioning Allies, it overlooks NATO Partners, although Georgia and Ukraine would be directly affected by the possible Mistral deployment in the Black Sea.
Georgia remains a prime target of opportunity for Russia in the Black Sea basin at present. A Mistral-class ship would enable Russia to threaten amphibious and helicopter landings on Georgia’s sea coast, with far greater speed and effectiveness than those of Russia’s existing capabilities. Russia’s naval command publicly alluded to the Mistral’s potential use against Georgia when starting the talks with France for the sale. Paris has ignored Georgian officials’ appeals (see EDM, September 18, November 2, December 2, 2009). Meanwhile, Georgia is an all-but disarmed country and–as a thwarted NATO aspirant–is not covered by any external security guarantees.
Russia could also use this type of ship to intimidate Ukraine in the run-up to 2017, when the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s lease in the Crimea runs out. Moscow has indicated in multiple statements that it is prepared to keep the Sevastopol naval base (in eastern Crimea) regardless of legal issues. The Mistral’s helicopters and armored vehicles would give Russia the threat option of a quick landing on the Crimean peninsula’s western side. Meanwhile, immersed in electoral confrontations, and with a moribund presidency, Ukraine failed to join Georgia in raising the Mistral issue at the international level, although Ukraine might equally be affected in due course.
Defense ministers and other officials in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania continue expressing concern about the possible impact on Baltic security, if Russia stations a Mistral-class warship there. According to Latvian Defense Minister Imants Liegis, this would change the security situation in the Baltic Sea, necessitating adjustments in defense planning (BNS, February 9). Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene will raise this issue within NATO: “Such a sale is quite astonishing to us, this will become a precedent. It is an important issue for NATO and we will bring it up” (BNS, February 9). According to Estonian Foreign Ministry senior official (and previously ambassador to NATO) Harri Tiido, the Mistral sale to Russia could undermine the Baltic States’ security; and “Baltic nations may in that case have to consider changes to their defense planning (RFE/RL, February 9).
Thus far, Baltic and Black Sea countries have not been effective in raising their concerns on this matter within NATO. They have not yet spoken in a concerted fashion; they worried about irritating France (even about possible French retaliation on other matters); and they seemed at times to hope that the Mistral issue would just go away.
NATO’s internal politics are also partly responsible for inhibiting debate on this issue. Debate was discouraged at the political level, and the United States hesitated for four months before Gates raised the issue, privately and publicly, with Paris on February 8. Apparently, the quest for Russian “help” on Afghanistan and Iran, all its frustrations notwithstanding, took precedence over longer-term considerations.
However, serious examination of the proposed Mistral sale in NATO need not be construed as jeopardizing NATO-Russia relations, nor primarily as a Baltic and Black Sea issue. Ultimately, the most relevant issue is that of NATO’s own viability, and the integrity of its internal consultation processes and procedures. The Mistral affair should bring the wider issue of arms sales to Russia onto NATO’s agenda. The new NATO Strategic Concept, currently being drafted, provides a compelling first opportunity in this regard.

12 Februarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

06/ian/2010 Invitatul din weekend: Vl. Socor din nou despre „dosarul Mistral” – contractul de armament dintre Rusia şi Franţa (2/2)

PARIS S’EXCUSE: FRENCH OFFICIALS TRY RATIONALIZING NAVAL REARMAMENT OF RUSSIA (Part II)

Vladimir Socor, The Jamestown Foundation

(pentru prima parte, aici)

While French officials improvise ad-hoc excuses, the French ambassador to the United States has exceptionally attempted a more comprehensive defense of the proposed Mistral deal with Russia. Responding to a letter of inquiry from six U.S. Senators, Ambassador Pierre Vimont made the following points in his letter: 

a) “We have been keen to consult our partners, notably Georgia, before any move. b) „We have to engage Russia constructively, so as to anchor it into a mutually beneficial partnership with Europe and NATO.” c) „France has used this [warship class] in particular for humanitarian missions, due to its transport and medical capabilities.” d) The advanced communications equipment will not be exported to Russia; e) The proposed deal with Russia „would not represent a credible threat to the North Atlantic alliance.”

Contrary to Vimont’s first point, however, Georgia has objected loud and clear to the Mistral sale, through Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze in Paris last November, and President Mikheil Saakashvili most recently in the French press (Le Monde, January 15). Meanswhile, Paris is attempting to put a multilateral NATO and EU cover on a strictly bilateral Franco-Russian affair. It even implies that Russia might perhaps after all use this class of warship just for philanthropic purposes. Vimont avoids the basic issue, which is about equipping the Russian navy with these powerful platforms for offensive operations; he only addresses a possible aggravating circumstance–the handover of advanced electronics. And his final point digresses from the issue at hand, which is not global, but theater-specific in the Baltic and or the Black Sea.

Following that exchange of letters (December 18 and 21, with copies to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in both cases), French embassy spokesmen have reprised those same points for Washington media in recent weeks. While France considers equipping Russia with four or five Mistral-class ships, Russia insists on basing its Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory indefinitely and has recently practiced offensive operations with its Baltic Fleet, as part of the Zapad 2009 combined-arms exercises.

Asked recently about where Moscow might deploy Mistral-class ships, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov replied cryptically that Russia is riparian to five seas (Le Monde, January 26). This number matches the maximum proposed number of ships under discussion. Lavrov follows Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s line that Russia would use such ships “wherever they would be needed.” This seems to imply that Moscow would not accept restrictions on deployment, if the sale goes ahead.

A Mistral-class ship carries 16 attack and landing helicopters (while allowing the operation of up to 30 on both decks), 900 troops, four conventional landing craft (also allowing the operation of two hovercraft), and 40 Leclerc tanks, or alternatively 13 tanks and 40 other vehicles (http://www.netmarine.net/bat/tcd/mistral/histoire01.htm). These are the figures for short-term operations, which are primarily relevant to Russia for possible actions in theaters nearby.

NATO seems politically reluctant to face the implications of the proposed sale for the Alliance itself. Some member countries are reluctant to take up the issue with Paris, while some others (including apparently the Alliance’s leadership) seem unilaterally to shoulder the onus of „resetting” relations with Russia. However, serious examination of the proposed Mistral sale in NATO need not be construed as jeopardizing NATO-Russia relations. The more relevant issue is that of integrity of NATO’s internal consultation processes and procedures.

Moscow would like–and NATO seems about to tolerate–an entirely new dispensation, whereby one or more allied countries would sell armaments to Russia in bilateral deals, uncoordinated with NATO and without objections from the Alliance as such. Ideally, from Russia’s standpoint, European countries would ultimately even compete with each other on arms offers to Russia. Trying to induce such competition even now, Moscow continually hints at buying Dutch or Spanish warships, if France does not come to terms with Russia on the Mistral. Should this sale go ahead, other West European countries might well use it as a “precedent” for selling their own military production to Russia, with a similar disregard for the security of Russia’s neighbors. Moscow has already expressed its interest in purchasing the “soldier of the future” integrated kit “Felin” from France’s Sagem company (Izvestiya, January 12).

Some safeguards may be invoked outside NATO. These include the European Union’s Code of Conduct on Arms Sales, as well as the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. However, these instruments are not legally binding; and relegating the issue to these arrangements would signify an abdication of NATO responsibility, further eroding confidence in the Alliance.

The Mistral affair should bring the wider issue of arms sales to Russia onto NATO’s agenda. The new NATO Strategic Concept, currently being drafted, provides a compelling opportunity to deal with this issue before it spins out of NATO’s ability to control (see EDM, September 18, November 2, December 2, 2009; January 7, 2010).

6 Februarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

02/febr/2010 Analistul Vl. Socor revine asupra contractului de armament dintre Franţa şi Rusia – dosarul „Mistral”

The Jamestown Foundation, 26 ianuarie a.c. 

PARIS S’EXCUSE: FRENCH OFFICIALS TRY RATIONALIZING NAVAL REARMAMENT OF RUSSIA

(partea I-a)

Vladimir Socor

The approval process for boosting Russian naval power is moving forward in the French government. Paris and Moscow are negotiating the sale of one French-built Mistral-class warship to Russia, to be followed by construction of three or four such ships in Russia under French license (Interfax, January 15; RIA Novosti, January 22).

These intentions amount to a program of naval rearmament for Russia, an openly revisionist power in Europe and on its periphery. Mistral-class ships constitute by definition a power-projection capability, carrying tanks and helicopters for offensive landing operations, with an intimidating potential in Russian hands vis-à-vis maritime neighbors. NATO member and partner countries in the Baltic and Black Seas are concerned about the possible appearance of Mistral-class ships in the respective Russian fleets, if the French sale goes ahead.

France’s Inter-ministerial Commission for the Study of War Material Exports (French acronym CIEEMG), has now cleared the deal with Russia in a report to the French government. At the next higher level, the General Secretariat for National Defense and Security (SGDSN) is preparing its report on this issue for President Nicolas Sarkozy (Le Monde, January 26).

Representatives of French authorities at various levels are invoking justifications that range from the politically expedient to the crassly commercial; adding an ingredient of historical nostalgia for the Franco-Russian entente on the part of Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who actively promotes the Mistral deal.

According to two prominent French analysts receptive to government views, the Mistral deal is in line with “French diplomatic tradition…which holds that engaging Russia is better than isolating it.” Paris ought to address Russian complaints about the lack of Western technology transfers to Russia since the end of the cold war; and the Mistral deal could elicit Russian cooperation on larger strategic issues. The Sarkozy presidency regards the Russians “more as partners, albeit difficult ones. This more global vision does not [see] Georgia or Ukraine as a top priority” (Eurasianet, January 21).

By such French logic, withholding arms sales would be tantamount to isolating Russia, or undermining the credibility of political overtures to Moscow. Further by such French logic, Russia’s “difficult” behavior vis-à-vis the West would justify Western concessions to Moscow, at the expense of Russia’s neighbors in this case. And conversely, Russian cooperative behavior would have to be rewarded with arms transfers. Such official arguments need not be taken at face value, however. They purport to invoke overall Western interests in justifying a purely bilateral Franco-Russian transaction.

French government officials say off the record that no ultra-sophisticated electronics would be transferred to Russia in a Mistral transaction. By the same token, Russian officials anticipate having to buy some of the more advanced communications equipment from other suppliers. Withholding the state-of-the art French electronics, however, would not significantly diminish the Mistrals’ potential to overturn the naval power balance, if deployed with Russia’s Baltic or Black Sea fleets.

Aware of those implications, some senior officials speaking on the background at the Quai d’Orsay would prefer that Russia quietly renounce the Mistral deal: “this would be an ideal solution.” This could even help Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner out of his dilemma. The global humanitarian physician regards the Mistral affair as a “choice between consciousness and realism.” President Sarkozy and other political figures, however, are also concerned to rescue the crisis-hit French shipyards. According to management at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire (the former Chantiers de l’Atlantique, now partly state-owned), the sale of just one Mistral-class ship would save “approximately one thousand jobs for two years.” One more ship (the third overall) of this class is due for delivery to the French navy by June 2011, whereupon the shipyard has no further orders (Le Monde, January 26).

That logic implies that arms sales to Russia could be justified as an anti-crisis measure and employment-generating program by a NATO member country. It also seems to imply an open-ended policy extending well beyond 2011 and with potential spinoffs, if a Mistral contract with Russia is signed. This could create a precedent for other bilateral deals between individual NATO countries and Russia, with corrosive effects on Alliance policies.

The financing of the Mistral deal is not being discussed publicly, although it must form a subject of Franco-Russian discussions. One ship of this class in a “naked” state costs an estimated $600 million to build in France. Given Russia’s current financial situation, it would hardly be surprising if French banks are enlisted to finance Russia’s purchase of the Mistral, under credit guarantees from the French government.

2 Februarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

07/ian/2010 „Le Figaro” despre România din 2009: dezamăgită şi dezamăgitoare

În continuarea suitei de reportaje despre 20 de ani de la căderea comunismului în Europa Centrală şi de Est (vezi, ieri, reportajul despre Bulgaria), reporterul Le Figaro ajunge la Bucureşti – pentru a vedea capitala unei ţări dezamăgite şi dezamăgitoare, o capitală mai puţin cochetă decât Sofia – scrie reporterul parizian -, într-o ţară care este, la prima vedere, cu zece ani în urma celor din Europa Centrală şi care se dovedeşte a fi căzută în capcana televiziunilor definitiv mondenizate, care promovează emisiuni de scandal, şi a ziarelor tabloid care se laudă cu reuşitele lor de tiraj. Inocent, reporterul Le Figaro o compară pe una dintre sursele sale – o angajată a PRO TV-ului – cu un personaj al romancierului francez Michel Houellebecq, nici măcar punîndu-şi problema dacă doamna în discuţie l-a citit vreodată pe autorul romanului „La posibilité d’une île” (tradus în româneşte, de altfel). 

Într-un cuvânt, o ţară cu o clasă medie în suferinţă, în care tele-bârfa ţine loc de adevăr. Dezolant. (sublinieri – EURAST). 

*** 

En Roumanie, quand la télé trash fait l’actualité 

 François Hauter  

30/12/2009 

  

VOYAGE DANS LA NOUVELLE EUROPE (8) – Escale à Bucarest, ville de la révolution télévisée de 1989, où Ceausescu et son épouse furent fusillés en direct. Ici, la liberté passe souvent par la corruption. Et le raffinement n’est pas une valeur promue par les médias. 

 

«On va voir si vous êtes malin : comment a-t-on pu rentrer cet immense tapis dans cette salle de bal ?», demande le guide à un groupe de touristes silencieux, éberlués par l’absurdité du lieu qu’ils visitent. C’est curieux, ce jeune Roumain parle de la taille des lustres, de détails insignifiants, mais ne pose jamais la question qui vient forcément à l’esprit dans ce Palais du peuple qui symbolise Bucarest, avec ses proportions schizophrènes. Mais pourquoi les Roumains sont-ils fiers de ce lieu vide et inutile, construit par le dictateur Ceausescu qu’ils abhorraient tant, un palais qu’ils ont néanmoins fidèlement achevé après sa mort ? Est-ce parce qu’ils sont ravis de pouvoir le qualifier «deuxième plus grand bâtiment du monde après le Pentagone», comme ils l’affirment ? Ou est-ce pour démontrer qu’ils sont bien d’Europe et non originaires d’un incertain pays d’Orient ? Ce pastiche monstrueux, boursouflure incestueuse de Versailles et de Schönbrunn, a l’air d’un faux nez. Peu importe la forme, d’ailleurs. Là-bas, à Bucarest, aux marches lointaines de notre espace européen, les Roumains ont appris à offrir à l’Europe exactement ce qu’elle attend. 

text integral, în format word doc.: – LeFigaro – Romania – 30 dec 09

7 Ianuarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

25/nov/2009 Vladimir Putin merge mîine la Paris, pentru cumpărături de lux

Vladimir Putin vizitează Parisul cu cîteva contracte în buzunar

Rusia doreşte una, două sau poate patru nave de asalt din clasa Mistral

EURAST – Adrian Cioroianu

Începînd de mîine, 26 noiembrie a.c., premierul rus Vladimir Putin întreprinde o vizită de două zile în Franţa – cu care prilej el va participa la cea de-a 14 întîlnire a comisiei bilaterale ruso-franceze de cooperare economică şi, bineînţeles, se va întîlni (joi) cu preşedintele Nicolas Sarkozy.

Elementul de interes pentru observatori este însă un alt punct din agenda vizitei: eventuala semnare a unui contract (în valoare de cca. 500 milioane de euro / cca. 750 milioane dolari) prin care Rusia va cumpăra un vas de asalt portelicopter din clasa Mistral (de producţie franceză). Dacă acest contract va fi semnat, vasul va fi primul cumpărat de la o ţară membră NATO şi cel mai mare cumpărat vreodată de forţele navale ruse – iar vasul ca atare va fi al doilea ca mărime din întreaga flotă rusă (după portavionul Amiral Kuzneţov, singurul din dotarea armatei ruse).

Primele zvonuri referitoare la acest acord au apărut la începutul toamnei: pe 19 septembrie a.c. ministrul adjunct rus al Apărării, Vladimir Popovkin, declara că Rusia intenţionează modernizarea forţelor navale prin cumpărarea unei nave de ultimă oră şi a know-how-ului tehnologic aferent. Anunţul privind posibila semnare a contractului pentru un portelicopter a fost făcut pe 1 octombrie a.c. de către ministrul francez de Externe, Bernard Kouchner. Potrivit agenţiei ruse RIA – Novosti, un alt vas din aceeaşi clasă ar putea fi construit în Franţa, de constructorul DCNS, pentru marina rusă. Potrivit altor surse, Rusia ar mai dori încă patru astfel de nave!

Cîteva date tehnice ale vasului portelicopter din clasa Mistral: poate transporta 16 elicoptere, 4 barje de asalt, 70 de autovehicule (inclusiv 13 tancuri de luptă) şi un echipaj de 450 de oameni; nava este dotată şi cu un spital cu 69 de paturi. Vasul cîntăreşte cca. 23 mii de tone şi este lung de cca. 300 de metri. Datorită manevrabilităţii şi multiplelor funcţiuni asigurate, în limbajul specialiştilor el este denumit “un briceag swiss army printre navele de război”.

Cum era de aşteptat, vestea privind iminenţa semnării acestui contract a alarmat unele dintre statele vecine Rusiei – chiar dacă, pentru moment, secretarul general al NATO nu s-a pronunţat asupra subiectului (şi e destul de improbabil că o va face, cel mult în sensul aplanării temerilor). Mai vocale, în ultima vreme, au fost oficialităţile estoniene: comandantul-şef al forţelor armate Ants Laaneots a declarat la Tallin, pe 21 noiembrie a.c., că în eventualitatea cumpărării acestui vas şi trimiterii lui în misiune pe Marea Baltică, Estonia se vede obligată să-şi revizuiască măsurile privind asigurarea securităţii naţionale. Ministrul de Externe estonian, Urmas Paet, a declarat că ţara doreşte să ştie dacă în cuprinsul contractului sînt cuprinse şi clauze de vînzare a tehnologiei de top aferente.

Inutil de precizat că, în egală măsură, acest tip de navă poate moderniza şi flota rusă de la Marea Neagră – cea care, în ultimii ani, în virtutea evenimentelor, a fost mult mai în centrul atenţiei decît cea de la Baltica!

Luni, 23 noiembrie a.c., un vas de asalt portelicopter din clasa Mistral (identic cu cel din posibilul contract) a venit în vizită “de afaceri” pe rîul Neva, în portul Sankt Petersburg şi a fost ancorat în apropierea muzeului Ermitaj. El a fost vizitat de ofiţeri superiori ai marinei ruse şi de lideri politici. Imediat, un înalt ofiţer rus a declarat că, în cazul unui asalt asupra unei coaste maritime străine, un astfel de vas ar putea depune în 40 de minute tot atîţia soldaţi cît au depus navele Flotei ruse a Mării Negre în 26 de ore, în timpul războiului din august 2008 cu Georgia. Comparaţia este prin ea însăşi neliniştitoare, chiar dacă scopul el propagandistic este evident. 

Pe de altă parte, Vladimir Putin va vizita şi cartierul general al firmei Renault – într-o încercare transparentă de a salva constructorul auto rus AvtoVAZ, fabricantul maşinilor Lada (în care Renault are o cotă de participare de 25 la sută, pe care ruşii ar dori-o mărită pentru a salva firma de la faliment).

by Bill Schor, 2009

25 Noiembrie 2009 Posted by | caricaturi / comics, Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , , | 2 comentarii

04/nov/2009 Vladimir Socor despre contractul de armanent dintre Franţa şi Rusia

Allons Enfants de la Russie in the Black Sea ?
FRANCE READY TO SELL OFFENSIVE HELICOPTER-CARRYING SHIPS TO RUSSIA

Vladimir Socor

 

(Recomandăm acest text scris de Vl. Socor – pentru Jamestown Foundation – despre un recent contract între Franţa şi Rusia şi posibilele sale consecinţe în aria Mării Negre – Adrian Cioroianu)

The French government and, apparently, the Élysée Palace are moving fast to sell at least one Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russsia–along with a license to build several such ships–possibly for deployment in the Black Sea. Such a sale would endow Russia with a modern naval and amphibious warfare capability that Russia currently lacks. The Mistral is by definition a power-projection capability and it can be deployed for intimidating effect on Russia’s maritime neighbors.
Less than two months ago the Russian Navy’s Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy, had announced Moscow’s intention to buy a Mistral-class helicopter carrier from France and the license to build several ships of this class in Russia. He also hinted at possible Russian deployment of this capability to meet contingencies in the Black Sea: “In the conflict in August last year [against Georgia], a ship like that would have allowed [Russia’s] Black Sea Fleet to accomplish its mission in 40 minutes, not 26 hours which is how long it took us [to land the troops ashore]” (Interfax, September 11, 15).
The Mistral is a state-of-the-art class in the French naval inventory, with only two vessels of this type on active duty thus far and a third under construction. It carries 16 attack and landing helicopters (while allowing the operation of up to 30 on both decks), 900 troops, four conventional landing craft (also allowing the operation of two hovercraft), and 40 Leclerc tanks, or alternatively 13 tanks and 40 other vehicles (http://www.netmarine.net/bat/tcd/mistral/histoire01.htm). These are the figures for short-term operations, which are mainly relevant to Russia for possible actions in theaters nearby.
According to West European observers (Financial Times, October 13), Russian deployment of a helicopter-carrying ship in the Black Sea would not necessarily violate the 1936 Montreux Convention. While that convention bans aircraft carriers from passing through Turkey’s Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits, Russia could argue that a helicopter carrier does not qualify as an aircraft carrier. The interpretation might then depend on Turkey, Russia’s latest “strategic partner” in the Black Sea.
With Russia’s other strategic partner, France, negotiations are proceeding apace over the technical and financial terms of the Mistral sale. As currently envisaged, the first ship and, possibly, a second one would be built in France, to be sold without sophisticated electronics. Two or three additional ships would then be built jointly, under French license in Russia. The French decision is expected to be finalized during the first half of November.
Selling the Mistral without sophisticated electronics would not reassure Russia’s maritime neighbors. Russia would even in that case acquire a potentially threatening capability for power projection vis-à-vis most of its European maritime neighbors. The Russian military intends to put Russian Ka-27 and Ka-29 helicopters on the Mistral, if the sale goes ahead (Interfax, October 23; RIA Novosti, October 31).
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has declared in a speech at the École Militaire that partnership with Russia “can take several forms in the defense sphere, from military cooperation to close industrial partnership,” alluding to the Mistral deal (Agence France Presse, October 9). Last year at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Fillon had voiced concerns that membership action plans for Georgia and Ukraine would upset the “balance of power” to the detriment of Russia. Whether delivery of the Mistral would upset the balance of power to the detriment of France’s NATO allies and partners in the Black Sea or other theaters, however, does not seem to be very important to official Paris.
The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Defense Minister Hervé Morin, discussed the Mistral sale during their latest visit to Moscow, where Russian President Dmitry Medvedev received them. Kouchner and Morin joined their Russian counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Anatoly Serdyukov, in the regular Franco-Russian 2+2 ministerial consultations on foreign and defense policies. At the joint news conference, Morin welcomed Russia’s intention to purchase the Mistral; while Kouchner voiced hope that Russia would soon acquire this “great,” “wonderful” class of ships, once the technical and political procedures are completed (Interfax, Ekho Moskvy, October 1).
From the official French standpoint, the Mistral sale to Russia would both express the “strategic partnership” and provide an economic stimulus for the crisis-hit STX France shipyard. The latter would team up with the French DCNS naval shipyard to build the Mistral for Russia. The STX, traditionally known as Chantiers de l’Atlantique, currently two-thirds South Korean-owned and one-third French state owned, badly needs shipbuilding orders to save the threatened French jobs. President Nicolas Sarkozy promised this when visiting the shipyard almost one year ago. Apparently, he wants the government to secure the Mistral contract for Russia (Les Echos, October 7).
Meanwhile, Moscow is alluding to possible deals with the Netherlands or with Spain for helicopter carriers made in those countries. Such hints serve to goad Paris into rushing the sale of the Mistral.
Russia’s naval command is now equivocating about the number, possible missions, and basing for the Mistral in Russia. According to Vice-Admiral Oleg Burtsev, First Deputy Chief of the Russian Navy’s Main Staff, Russia may acquire, and build under French license, up to five ships of this class for possible deployment anywhere, from the Northern or Pacific Fleets to Somalia. The Russian shipyards in Severodvinsk or in St. Petersburg could build these ships, he told Russian media (RIA Novosti, Ekho Moskvy, Zvezda TV, October 31).
French authorities ignore warnings such as that of Sorbonne professor Francoise Thom: “Is it wise to arm a country that has just dismembered a neighboring state, Georgia, and no longer conceals its intentions to restore, by force if necessary, its hegemony in the ex-Soviet space? Is France, in the name of its ‘strategic partnership’ with Russia, closing its eyes to Russian preparations for future wars of aggression, which will become possible once Russia’s military reform, launched in September 2008, will have borne fruit? We must not be deluded into selling offensive armaments to Russia” (Le Monde, October 7).
In Brussels, however, an unidentified “senior figure at NATO Headquarters” sees no problem there: “This is a legal and bilateral issue between France and Russia and there has been no discussion about it at NATO” (Financial Times, October 13). If this is indeed an official position, it would only reflect the deterioration in the quality of consultation processes there since August. Candid discussion of this issue among NATO Allies could be one way toward restoring that quality.

4 Noiembrie 2009 Posted by | Geopolitica | , , , , , | 3 comentarii

29/oct/2009 EURAST recomandă: interviu cu Henry Kissinger

H. Kissinger: mutaţii geopolitice ale prezentului (China, Japonia, Rusia etc.)

EURAST Center

Întors dintr-o călătorie în China via Paris, Henry Kissinger (fost secretar de stat în administraţiile Nixon şi Ford, artizan al deschiderii SUA către China la începutul anilor 70 etc.) a acordat un interviu revelator pentru interpretarea pe care el o dă ultimelor evoluţii pe plan internaţional.

Una dintre cele mai importante schimbări de natură globală i se pare a fi noua poziţie a Chinei faţă de dominaţia dolarului pe piaţa financiară a lumii. În analiza lui Kissinger, chinezii au fost dezamăgiţi de maniera în care instituţiile americane generic denumite Wall Street au reacţionat în faţa acestei crize de acum. Încrederea chinezilor în finanţele americane şi în dolarul american au scăzut şi, din acest punct de vedere, „nimic nu va mai fi precum înainte” – spune Kissinger.

O altă schimbare importantă i se pare a se produce în Japonia. Confirmînd, în parte, aserţiunile lui Samuel Huntington (făcute la mijlocul anilor 90) referitoare la faptul că într-un viitor apropiat Japonia se va orienta mai mult către China şi va accepta înlocuirea influenţei americane cu o influenţă chineză în Asia, Kissinger atrage atenţia că, deja, noul guvern japonez a anunţat cîteva măsuri (precum retragerea ajutorului militar japonez pentru războiul din Afganistan, repunerea în discuţie a statutului bazelor americane din Okinawa) care nu trebuie subestimate. „Perioada în care Japonia se poziţiona necondiţionat în spatele Americii mi se pare de domeniul trecutului” – spune Kissinger.

În legătură cu Rusia, Kissinger crede că administraţiile americane de după 1990 au greşit pentru că au subestimat „umilinţa pe care elita şi populaţia Rusiei au simţit-o odată cu prăbuşirea Uniunii Sovietice”. În context, el apreciază politica administraţiei Obama de a reiniţia „un dialog de la egal la egal” cu Rusia – dar aceasta nu înseamnă că trebuie acceptate excesele Rusiei, precum războiul şi politica faţă de Georgia după 2008.

Kissinger mai comentează cu acelaşi prilej noile evoluţii în „dosarul nuclear iranian„, noua strategie pentru Afganistan, gîndirea geopolitică a Franţei etc. (text integral)

29 Octombrie 2009 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu