NATO Acts to Renew Its Relations with Russia
By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: December 19, 2008
PARIS — The secretary general of NATO had lunch on Friday with the Russian ambassador to the organization, beginning the “conditional and graduated re-engagement” with Moscow that NATO foreign ministers approved earlier this month.
(Source: NY Times)
Russia has always taken NATO as an aggressive alliance, especially when the Czech Republic, Poland and Baltic countries became members of NATO. While the United States tried to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, Russia finally made a move and gave a firm response with the Georgia War, condemned by the West afterward.
However, a large part of European countries’ gas imports are from Russia. No one can promise the stability of gas sources since Russia once cut the pipeline to neighboring countries. If the European countries are in conflict with Russia, it will only threaten their energy supply and consequently their economy.
While China, being more influential after the Olympics, actually gets the most benefits from the status quo. How to avoid a firm alliance between Russia and China in confrontation against the West might be the latter’s priority challenge. It seems the big nations have no choice but to gradually re-engage with Russia as a new rising power. Hope the re-engagement is as good as the lunch.