A. New Sanctions on Russia
1. Russia Condemns New U.S. Sanctions, RFE/RL Newsline (04/06/99)
B. US-Russian Relations
1. A Role For The Russians, Washington Post (04/04/99)
2. PSR Calls on Clinton to Reduce Nuclear Danger amid Increased Tensionof Kosovo Conflict, US Newswire (04/06/99)
3. Attacks Stir Cold War Feelings in Russia Balkans Conflict CompoundsHeightened Suspicions of the West, Washington Post (04/04/99)
A. New Sanctions on Russia
Russia Condemns New U.S. Sanctions.
April 6, 1999
(for personal use only)
Russia's Foreign Ministryon 4 April called the U.S.'s imposition of sanctions againstthree Russian defense enterprises for cooperating with Syria"an openly hostile move," Interfax reported. According to theministry, Russian supplies to Syria "do not violate thenonproliferation or export-control regimes," nor do they"upset the alignment of forces in the region" or "compare interms of characteristics and volumes of U.S. arms supplies toother regions." The ministry concluded that the sanctions arerepresentative of "one more anti-Russian step taken by theU.S. administration." "Izvestiya" argued on 6 April that theU.S. is driving Russia "into a corner" by restricting itsroom to maneuver in the Mediterranean region. DefenseMinister Igor Sergeev earlier called the U.S.'s chargesagainst the Tula machine-building design bureau, the Volskmechanical plant, and the Central Research Institute ofPrecise Machine Building "groundless."
B. US-Russian Relations
A Role For The Russians
April 4, 1999
(for personal use only)
Even before the bombs started falling, the timing of the StateDepartment's symposium on arms control last week was slightly off.
The Easter season, with its miracles and renewal, is always anappropriate time for talk of peace. But the occasion of the gatheringwas daunting. It was to "celebrate" the end of the Arms Control andDisarmament Agency as a separate entity. Its job was to argue, withoutregard to politics, the virtues of stopping the arms race. Its peoplewere being swallowed up by the State Department bureaucracy--perhapsnever to be heard from again.
Panel speaker Richard Butler, the Australian diplomat who ran the U.N. special commission that went to Iraq to hunt down killer weapons, saidglumly that he did not feel "celebratory" --a sentiment shared by otherserious arms control advocates.
Arms control is not a priority concern with Bill Clinton. He has talkeda good game, but acted like Ronald Reagan. It isn't just that arms saleshave reached astronomical highs. (As another symposium speaker, formersenator Dale Bumpers, pointed out, deals up to $14 million areunrestricted. And it isn't just that the president has gone along withRepublican demands to up the military budget. The killer event for armscontrollers is Clinton's backing of a national missile defense system,Reagan's fantasy of a nuclear umbrella. His support also has sent theRussians into paroxysms of fury and dismay. That used to be a goal ofour foreign policy during the Cold War, which is officially over butlives on in the hearts and minds of geopoliticians.
Nobody on the panel was rude enough to say any of this. Butler, apleasant, dignified man, did not even mention the terrible blow dealt toU.N. arms inspection by the discovery of a U.S. spy in his entourage.The episode could spell the death of U.N. inspection tours inrecalcitrant countries that are suspected of secretly manufacturingbiological and chemical weapons, as well as other means of sickening orkilling large segments of civilian populations.
Nor did anyone--not even Susan Eisenhower, president of the EisenhowerGroup, who devotes herself to improving relations with Russia--speak ofour lamentable policy of kicking Russia when it is down. If we are evergoing to reduce the nuclear threat, it is Russia we have to deal with.Russia, after all, is the only other country with 7,000 nuclearwarheads.
Economically, the Russians are on their knees. We take the attitude thatour former enemies have only the bottom line in mind--that they aredesperate for an IMF loan to bail them out of their near-destitution.Their wounded pride, their shattered egos will mend with cash, we seemto think.
Boris Yeltsin implored us not to expand NATO. We did it anyway. He toldus that the expansion would strengthen the hand of the hard-liners inMoscow who want to return to communism, and we said he was beingparanoid. It was the same with missile defense. We ignored the Russianpresident again. That is no way to foster cooperation. Everybodyunderstands that the Russians can be difficult, often impossible, todeal with, that they can be arrogant, rude and intransigent. But the keyfact is that they have the nukes.
And now, with a hot war raging in Kosovo and the hordes of tragicrefugees increasing daily, we are continuing to ignore Moscow. Russia isthe only nation on the scene that has, as Bumpers observed, historicaland religious ties with the Serbs. "They have shown a great deal ofrestraint," said Bumpers. "They have condemned the bombing, but Yeltsinmade it clear they do not intend to send arms to Milosevic."
Eisenhower said the administration had better come up with some creative options after its bad guess about the Serb reaction to the bombing--shenoted that "bombing can often have reverse effects." The Russians couldbe middlemen, a role they would love. Milosevic might find it easier totell his comrades in Russia that he had had enough of our B-1 bombersthan to say "uncle" to Uncle Sam.
Milosevic will do anything rather than accept NATO troops to monitor any agreement that might be made about Kosovo. Would he accept a Russian occupying force? Nobody seems to know what to do with the Russian army.It could be a mutually rewarding arrangement. What harm would there bein finding out? It beats bombing Belgrade, last week's macho act. AsSusan Eisenhower said, the Russians seek out unsuitable company amongnations like Iran because they are so consistently and emphaticallysnubbed by the West. Bill Clinton has no idea what to do. Maybe theRussians don't have any ideas either, but we should at least ask. Ifwe're ever going to end this war--and the arms race--they are essential,and we might let them know we know it.
PSR Calls on Clinton to Reduce Nuclear Danger amid Increased Tensionof Kosovo Conflict
April 6, 1999
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON -- The unfolding catastrophe in Kosovo underlines the needfor rapid progress toward nuclear abolition, warned a Nobel PeacePrize-winning medical organization today.
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), which shared the 1985 NobelPeace Prize with International Physicians to Prevent Nuclear War(IPPNW), urges President Bill Clinton to take some U.S. nuclear missilesoff hair-trigger alert unilaterally as a confidence-building measure andto reduce tensions.
"We have to restore dialogue on nuclear arms control," declared PSRExecutive Director Robert K. Musil, Ph.D. "We should take a smallunilateral step toward lessening the danger of an accidental nuclear warand ask the Russians to match it."
PSR deplores the recent Russian decision to suspend cooperation inY2K-related problems that might lead to an unintended nuclear attack."We cannot let this crisis lead to a new nuclear confrontation," Musiladded. "The U.S. must take leadership in reducing the dangers of adisastrous nuclear accident."
PSR has been warning for years that the warm relations betweenWashington and Moscow might not last and that it is imperative to takeadvantage of the window of opportunity created by the end of the ColdWar to eliminate the vast nuclear arsenals built up by both sides.
"We may be entering a new period of significantly increased tensionsbetween the U.S. and Russia," warned PSR board member Ira Helfand, M.D."We must not allow those tensions to interrupt efforts to reduce thenuclear danger. Now more than ever it is critical to get nuclear weaponsoff hair-trigger alert."
In January of 1995, Russian military radar mistakenly identified ascientific rocket launched from Norway as a possible nuclear attack onMoscow. President Yeltsin had five minutes to decide whether to launch aretaliatory attack against the United States. "Imagine if we had anotherepisode like that," Helfand cautioned. "Would the Russians think it wasa real attack this time and retaliate?"
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last Aprilshowed that if even one Russian submarine launched its missilesaccidentally at the United States, there could be nearly 7 millionpeople killed immediately from blast effects and firestorms with another6 million to 12 million dying over the following month from radiationpoisoning. "It is insanely irresponsible to keep missiles on hair-trigger alert when we know that their accidental use can cause death onthis scale," declared Helfand, a co-author of the study.
"We cannot foresee how this crisis will end, and there will be othercrises in the future," declared PSR President Thomas Hobbins, M.D. "Weneed to make sure that if the U.S. and Russia confront each other, theyare not armed with nuclear weapons. The tragedy in Kosovo must not leadto the ultimate tragedy of nuclear war."
PSR is organizing a national call-in to the White House on May 13 and14. "We urge everyone to call the White House now and again in May,"said Hobbins. "Tell the President it is his highest responsibility toprotect the lives of the American people. That means getting the nuclearmissiles off hair trigger alert."
Attacks Stir Cold War Feelings in Russia Balkans Conflict CompoundsHeightened Suspicions of the West
Washington Post Foreign Service
April 4, 1999
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW -Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was asked in the lower house ofparliament last weekend whether Russia should send a few warships to theMediterranean as a show of force against the NATO bombardment ofYugoslavia.
Ivanov quickly rejected the idea. "Just sending ships from Murmansk toGreece is not going to stop the aggression," he said.
But four days later, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev announced thatRussia was sending a reconnaissance ship to the Mediterranean, and waspreparing to send as many as six more. "We must ensure the security ofRussia," he insisted.
The abrupt turnabout speaks volumes about the whirlwind of anti-Westernfeeling that the NATO attack on Yugoslavia has stirred here. For Russia,the airstrikes have been a moment of truth, revealing a vein of uneaseand suspicion about the West -- especially the United States -- thatanalysts say is stronger than at any time since the collapse of theSoviet Union.
The doubts are the results of various factors and perceived betrayals --from pledges that an expanded NATO would be purely defensive to theU.S. decision to move ahead on an anti-ballistic missile system toRussia's economic meltdown last August, which discredited Westerneconomic ideas here.
"It's a full-blown crisis, the first real crisis since the end of theCold War" in Russian-U.S. relations, said Sergei Rogov, director of theInstitute for the Study of the U.S. and Canada here. "It covers economicrelations, foreign credits, debts, sanctions, arms control, START II,the ABM treaty and, I am afraid, a few others.
"It's a bad crisis which could have very long-term implications forRussian-American relations, producing something between disengagement,'cold peace' and maybe even something more serious."
In recent days, President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister YevgenyPrimakov have been buffeted by the anti-American sentiment. They haveresponded with selective withdrawal from military agreements whileholding back from far more serious measures demanded by nationalistsand Communists in parliament.
The rhetoric has been white-hot, with Russians accusing the UnitedStates and NATO of "genocide" in Yugoslavia, of supporting KosovoAlbanian separatists with "narco money," of seeking world diktat and ofusing the Balkans as a proving ground for new, high-technology weapons.
In its actions, however, Russia has been more restrained. Russiacanceled meetings with Western military experts, ousted NATO militaryattaches, rejected plans for sharing early warning missile launch datawith the United States, and shelved, once again, parliamentaryratification of the strategic arms treaty. The first ship that Russia issending to the battle zone is the Liman, a 27-year-old, 60-manelectronic spying vessel from the Black Sea Fleet that carrieseavesdropping gear but no rockets.
Russia so far has not announced plans to break the United Nations armsembargo and ship weapons to Yugoslavia, and there has not been a majordisruption of U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear and chemical armsdismantlement. However, Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, head of the military'sinternational department, told reporters today that the Russian DefenseMinistry has severed all contacts for the next few months with countriesin the "criminal organization" of NATO.
And some analysts worry that sentiments are so strong that anti-Westernreactions could spin out of control.
"I'm afraid that now it is serious; we see some sort of consensus insociety which we haven't seen since 1991," said Alexander Pikayev, anonproliferation specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for InternationalPeace Center here. "Then, it was a broad anti-communist consensus.Now, unfortunately, we face a strong anti-NATO consensus, which couldhave a very dramatic impact on the overall U.S.-Russian relationship.
"In August, we saw the collapse of Yeltsin's market-reform policy and inMarch, we saw the collapse of Yeltsin's foreign and security policy."
Analysts have predicted that economic hardship and humiliation couldtrigger a retreat from market democracy here. But until recently, theeconomic woes of post-Soviet Russia seemed to have created a benignisolationism. Russians were too preoccupied with survival to be outragedabout their weakening influence abroad.
But the Yugoslav crisis is changing that. "What you have today is, theanti-American sentiment is enormous," said Rogov, of the U.S.-Canadainstitute. "This is very bad. It is something that can be used againsteconomic reform, especially since the people who are blamed for theeconomic collapse are also the people who are friends of the UnitedStates . . . It was coming to the surface before. Now, it is a seachange.
"There is something personal in the attitude of Russian leaders," headded, recalling earlier claims of a friendship between PresidentClinton and Yeltsin. "The president feels that his friend Bill is notsuch a friend at all, who simply does not pay attention. 'What friend?'Boris is saying."
[In Washington Friday, Clinton said he believes the Russians "arelooking for ways to continue to oppose what NATO is doing, but to leaveopen the prospect that they could play a very constructive role inmaking peace. I don't think anyone wants to see this conflict escalate,and I certainly don't believe the Russian government does."]
In a nationwide survey last week, the Public Opinion Foundation, one ofRussia's leading polling organizations, found overwhelming opposition tothe NATO attacks. The group reported that 92 percent of those surveyedwere against the NATO bombing and only 2 percent supported it. The pollfound an unusually high level of awareness about the NATO strikes; fewerthan once percent said they knew nothing about it.
Andrei Kortunov, a political analyst, said that Russia has lostconfidence in the West in the wake of the ruble's devaluation and debtcrisis last August.
"One of the problems today is that we had a narrow but vocal stratumwhich favored better relations with the West," he said. "It is nearlynonexistent right now. The middle class was a major social base forbetter relations with the West, and it is now disintegrating. There isvery little to replace this. . . ."
There are still some checks and balances. One is Russia's continuingdependence on Western financial aid, underscored by the ongoingnegotiations with the International Monetary Fund for new loans. Butthis dependence is increasingly unpopular. According to the PublicOpinion Foundation poll, when asked last year whether the IMF bringsbenefit or harm to Russia, 17 percent said benefit and 19 percent saidharm and 46 didn't know. But today there is a major shift: 14 percentsay benefit, 43 percent say harm, and 28 percent know nothing.
However, one small contrary sign appeared in a call-in survey by Echo ofMoscow, a popular radio station. When listeners were asked if they wereprepared to give up using American dollars to protest the airstrikes,the answer was unequivocal: 77 percent said no, and 23 percent said yes.