Putin, McCain, Lieberman & Iranian National Security Advisor Larijani on Peacemaking and A-Bombs
Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his important speech, decried a “unipolar world model” as “unacceptable”. He argued that “the U.S. has overstepped its national borders in every way” and that “today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of power”. NATO’s expansion “represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust”.
These parts of his speech were criticised by several influential politicians, including U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful John McCain and, from the European side, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Schwarzenberg responded bluntly “I would like to thank President Putin for showing all the reasons why NATO should enlarge.”The audience has also to consider that his speech was also directed to please critics in his Nomenklatura, especially the military and the foreign ministry, as these groups are still dominated by old-style thinking.
But to do President Putin justice, one has to read between the lines very carefully; one then sees that the glass of Russian foreign policy and its relations to the U.S. and NATO states is not only half empty but also half full, as documented by these four examples:
- Following its own interests, especially against the backdrop of its experience with Chechen terrorism, Russia is a solid ally in the very important global war on terror.
- Russia is unequivocally in favour of, and in conformity with, U.S. and European efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. Putin spoke against the build-up of medium and long range missiles and nuclear weapons by Iran, supporting the U.N. Resolution and the ongoing international negotiations of both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the West.
- Putin ordered the withdrawal of all shoulder-launched Strela antiaircraft missiles and anti-armour RPGs, which the Syrian army had left in Lebanon in 2006 for their Hezbollah allies. These weapons had been sold by Moscow to Syria years before, under an agreement which limited their use to the Syrian armed forces and forbade any export.
- Further, Russia strongly supports the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine and the vital efforts to stabilize the region.
We should not snub Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, but give him a fair chance to prove his goodwill and give a more positive contribution to the management of crises, especially Iran, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine.
WSN TV exclusively interviewed 13 experts on Russia, the development of international security, the improvement of NATO, and the situation in Iraq:
- U.S. Senator John McCain, Republican, Arizona
- U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat, Connecticut
- Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg
- Francois Heisbourg, Chairman of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London
- Wolfgang Schneiderhan, General, Chief of Staff German Federal Armed Forces
- Eckart von Klaeden, Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the CDU/CSU in the German Parliament and influential advisor of Chancellor Angela Merkel
- Ruprecht Polenz, CDU/CSU, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the German Parliament
- Antonio Milosoki, Foreign Minister of Macedonia
- Konstantin Gabashvili, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of Georgia
- Professor Karl Kaiser, visiting scholar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
- John C. Kornblum, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany
- J.D. Bindenagel, former U.S. Ambassador, Vice President International Affairs, DePaul University, Chicago
- Karsten D. Voigt, SPD, Coordinator for German-American Relations, German Foreign Ministry, Berlin
Iran and its now obvious nuclear weapons development program was another hotly debated issue. In his exclusive WSN TV interview Ali Larijani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran, kept the door open for a diplomatic solution. He argued that Iran had always been defensive and was willing to cooperate fully and honestly with all other countries. As well, he told WSN in Munich that Tehran was “ready to give any guarantee that there will be no deviation towards any nuclear weapons programme”. That declaration could not soften the concerns of Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, who expressed in his WSN TV interview: “Iran only wants to buy time”. He said Tehran should comply with the U.N. Resolution; not only Israel, but Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other countries are concerned about Iran’s hegemonic aspirations in the region.
Three days before, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the IAEA, Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte, gave a keynote address on the history of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the reactions of the international community, in a 40-minute speech, exclusively covered by WSN TV. If Iran continues, he said, it will have built up a nuclear weapons capability by the beginning of the next decade. In the coming years, the international community must jointly increase the pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons programme and to agree to use only nuclear fuel produced outside Iran and provided for nuclear power, under the full control of the IAEA.
A rolling consensus at the conference was the need for a new double strategy on Afghanistan, combining two equal pillars: effective civilian build-up in the provinces on the one side, and on the other, effective military containment of the Taliban with as little collateral damage as possible. A majority agreed that an exaggerated military approach, and the political focus on a strong central government in Kabul for the last five years, has failed. Now NATO is looking for a new Grand Strategy for Afghanistan. WSN will support this approach with new proposals from six experts, in a special newsletter on Afghanistan to be released this week.
WSN TV was exclusively able to get fresh new ideas from a group of respected experts on what such an Afghanistan strategy should look like: former U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Robert E. Hunter, former NATO SACEUR, retired U.S. Marine Corps General James L. Jones, German four-star General Reiner Schuwirth, acting Chief of Staff, NATO Headquarters SHAPE, retired German four-star General Harald Kujat, until recently Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and the Defense Minister of Norway, Anne-Grete Stroem-Erichsen, and influential Liberal Party member of the German Parliament Dr. Rainer Stinner.
On the urgent issue of the international status of Kosovo, WSN TV exclusively interviewed former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Richard Holbrooke, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Serbia, Zoran Stankovic, and former Commander of KFOR, General (ret) Klaus Reinhardt, who also serves on the International Advisory Board of the World Security Network Foundation.
Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, President and Founder
Dieter Farwick, Brigadier-General (ret), Global Editor-in-Chief
Benedikt Franke, Vice President, International Forums