New Security Architecture, Born at Safe Haven of Lisbon

Gregory TINSKY (Russia)

In antique Phoenician language “Lisbon” meant the “safe haven”. This beautiful city has already been a cradle of one historical agreement — the Lisbon Treaty, which revived the European Union. Now we may say that Lisbon also became a place of birth for the new European security configuration. New Strategic Concept of the Northern Atlantic Alliance — accompanied by the new configuration of partnership with Russia — has without doubt become a main achievement of the NATO summit, which took place this weekend. From now on, NATO and Russia are the strategic partners.

Thousands of commentators will analyze and comment Lisbon events. As for now, we may just state that the hand that Russian President stretched to the West, didn’t hang in the midair. Handshake of both parties was decisive and — which is also important — well-considered. Anders Fogh Rasmussen even said: “The paradox is that economic austerity will make NATO more effective, more efficient and also more engaged”. I absolutely agree with you, Mr. Secretary! Today no one can afford the wastefulness of the pre-crisis years. Russia, perhaps, understands it better than anyone else. Soviet Union — with Russia being its legal successor — bankrupted exactly due to the disproportionate costs of the arms race. Having this negative experience, Russia has neither intention, nor capability to repeat these mistakes. It’s clear that cheapskate, trying to save some money on security, would pay twice, but given the today’s circumstances, everyone would have to learn how to safely cut down the security expenses. As Dmitry Medvedev fairly mentioned, military spending costs a pretty penny to every average citizen. It is very important for the Russian will for the allied partnership with the West to be unequivocally understood in the NATO.

Democratization of the Russian society — undergoing in a turtle pace and being steadily guided from the top —finally got the chance if not for the acceleration, but for the continuation at the very least. However, as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Still, a single problem remains — we’re talking about a new START Treaty. President Obama is surely aware of the fact that its ratification is important not just for the relationship with Russia, but for the U.S. national security itself. Will he be able to railroad the START treaty through the Congress or not? It is almost a Hamlet’s “To be or not to be?”President Medvedev said that the failure would be a pity. It certainly wouldn’t be a disaster, but of course would cause a certain disappointment. We may just wish Obama the best of luck and keep our fingers crossed.

Source: Russian Interests

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