[FPSPACE] "Russia and the West: Partnership or Confrontation"
Thu, 18 Jan 2001 12:52:04 EST
The gist of this seems to be that, regarding arms sales to Iran, these guys
say, sure, the Americans could threaten us, and throw us off the Space
Station, but so what? It's not a "serious area of cooperation" anyway. Well,
these guys are NOT government spokesmen, they're professors.
PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ALEXANDER KONOVALOV,
STRATEGIC ASSESSMENTS INSTITUTE (SAI) PRESIDENT, AND
SERGEI OZNOBISHCHEV, SAI DIRECTOR
[PRESS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE, 15:10, JANUARY 15, 2001]
Moderator: Thank you for joining us. Our topic is "Russia and the West:
Partnership or Confrontation". And it gives me pleasure to introduce the two
leaders of the Strategic Assessments Institute, Alexander Alexandrovich
Konovalov, who is a Professor with the Moscow State Institute of
International Relations and President of the Institute of Strategic
Assessments and Sergei Konstantinovich Oznobishchev, director of the
Institute of Strategic Assessments.
So, Alexander Alexandrovich Konovalov will be the first to speak.
Konovalov: Thank you for coming on such a bad day when the weather makes
you feel murky in your soul, when it is dark and filthy in the streets.
I would just like to say a couple of words by way of an introduction on
the problems that should be of concern to us. There has been a change of
administrations in the United States. You have already heard the first rebuke
from Bush. I don't quite understand why it came as such a surprise to us
because he has in fact repeated verbatim what he said in the second
television debate. You remember that two of the three rounds failed to
provide any of the sides with a tangible lead, but the second round was won
by Bush although the topic was foreign policy on which he was expected to
lose on every count because he is not a specialist.
And on that occasion he said a very simple thing. He said exactly what
he said in an interview with The New York Times. He said that America has
been throwing money at the Russians to make them like us Americans. They have
not become like us and the money settled in the pockets of Viktor Stepanovich
Chernomyrdin. Viktor Stepanovich took offense and promises to sue him.
Moderator: Did he sue?
Konovalov: No, he didn't. But by taking offense he boosted the
popularity of Bush Jr. The situation in the relations with the United States
is very worrisome. There are no serious areas for cooperation except disposal
of arms. And there is a very serious threat that -- you know that the only
thing that really links us with the United States is the system of arms
control, agreements on reductions and prospects for further agreements, all
this is under threat.
And we find ourselves in a stalemate situation. <snip re START-2>
Perhaps, only Condoleezza Rice left a spark of hope when in her latest
article in Foreign Affairs she wrote that a weak Russia was much more
dangerous for America than a strong one. But I am not sure that one smart
woman will be able to prevail upon such a large number of former defense
secretaries and of those who --
<snip> I categorically disagree with the way President Putin at the
Brunei summit told President Clinton, as a kind of farewell remark, that
"your presidency marked a breakthrough" in Russian-American relations. In my
view, it was not a breakthrough but a total failure. The Clinton presidency
was one of the most destructive for Russian-American relations.
<snip> I believe Russian foreign policy will increasingly reflect
internal interests. There will be small interest in what America is going to
say about Russia's activities in the foreign policy arena. This is
illustrated by the prepared transaction with Iran. It can be said the
transaction with Iran has been restored, the transaction to sell arms. Our
desire will be not to do something pleasant for the United States but to
pursue our national interest as our leadership understands it.
True, there are many risks because we may be thrown out of the
International Space Station, it may be decided not to use our Proton missiles
to deliver payloads. Of course the Americans have more possibilities to exert
economic influence on us than vice versa. But these possibilities, really,
are not so numerous. You see, many of the channels linking us were destroyed
in recent times.