Potential of Russia and NATO Partnership

By Alexander Bartosh

Cyclic Recurrence of Relations of Moscow and Brussels

At the background of intensive activity of the USA and NATO on formation of global system of international security under the aegis of Washington, relations between Moscow and Brussels have once again entered stagnation.

And it is not at all Moscow to provoke another wave. Declaring in words about devotedness to the course of strategic partnership with Russia, NATO persistently implements decayed stereotypes of block thinking.

NATO extension goes on – now at the cost of locating by Russian boarders of new military infrastructure objects, with the help of powerful American contribution the plans of the Alliance on the establishment of anti-missile defense system in Europe are being accomplished. It’s clear that no “obligations” of the US and NATO about non-targeting of the system against Russia compensate real threat of such step.

As a result for the past 15 years from the date of signing of the Founding Act the outlines of our “new” interrelations with NATO still remain to be quite blurred.

Apparently, development of positive agenda in Russia-NATO relations and their constructive changeover is counteracted by powerful forces, interested in preservation of the atmosphere of uncertainty and mutual distrust. This created additional options for the lovers of fishing in turbid waters and for trying to accomplish the models of world order beneficial for west.

It’s worth to acknowledge that unfortunately traditional cyclicity in the relations of our country and NATO doesn’t correspond the interests of Russia.

Dynamics of development of international situation is the way  that having reduced the rate as a result one may find himself in the role of the one who needs to catch up. Now as never before within the relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization it’s extremely important to image oneself clearly, which Moscow has the right to expect from the partnership with the alliance and which by all attractiveness, should be referred to the long-term strategic goals, but not current tasks. We should learn to look further to see the prospect for decades ahead. This task should be the aim of strategic planning and strategic forecasting of development of key compounds of Russian national power: economy, defense, science and education, health system, core steps in policy.

The case is about systemic approach towards planning of the steps on development of military-political, military, military-technical relations between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization with the goal of approaching qualitatively new level announced in Lisbon, leading  to a real strategic partnership. The kind of planning is understood as definition of main directions of partnership, ways and indicators of achievement of set goals to the benefit of assistance for steady promotion of partner relations and assurance, security and stability in Euro-Atlantic region.

Planning as a rule may be performed for a long-, middle and short-term prospect. Simultaneously we’ll note that the analysis of practice of partner relations development between Russia and NATO for the past 20 years proves the existence of high level of uncertainty, rotation of these stages of relative stability and freezing of relations. Even by the most optimistic approach these circumstances yet allow saying only about plans for a short-term (three-five years) prospect. This is the way to go chosen by the Heads of the Headquarters of Russia and NATO, who In January 2012 in Brussels approved the road map of cooperation till 2014, which anticipates in prospect transition to a long-term planning of cooperation within military line: military logistics, fighting sea piracy and terrorism, search and rescuing at sea, military-academic exchanges, anti-missile defense.

Planning should anticipate gradual reaching of strategic level of relations and grounding at agreed set of basic data, limits and indicatives of development. By this, it is expected also to solve a complex of tasks of forecasting and planning, including analysis of common threats and development of counteraction measures; analysis and development of preferable scenarios of further relations between Russia and NATO; defining of priorities of partnership between Russia and NATO and working out of the system of measures on their accomplishment in reality; formation of monitoring mechanisms to fulfill adopted decisions and achieve the indicatives set; improvement of norms-legal basis of relations considering existing international and other liabilities of participants; informational-analytical, resource and personnel support of the processes of planning and accomplishment of decisions; urgent is high quality auditing of plans accomplishment, including control over resources for implementation and reporting.

Dynamics of development and scales of challenges and threats, in many aspects common for Russia and NATO, sooner or later shall push the partners towards the need to plan joint activity for a more extended time period. The sooner the parties recognize it the greater shall be the chances to avoid misunderstandings and complications.

Global idea about the state and prospects of relations promotion between the Russian Federation and NATO together with other fundamental issues define the Strategy of national security of the Russian Federation till 2020, National Security Concept, Foreign Policy Concept, Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation.

However as it appears, by the whole significance and timeliness of occurrence of mentioned documents they have common system disadvantage: composition of each documents at the ground of own internal logic at the background of insufficient mutual connection with other documents of the set.

In this respect it’s worth to note along with it, that disappointing discrepancies in doctrine documents – not only general political or military dimension, but also economic, on the strategy of the development of science, education, health system – reflect common lack of specialists on strategic planning. During Soviet times the system of strategic planning implemented in our country served as world reference sample. Here it is enough to mention famous scientific school for strategic planning of Nikolay Veduta. Now the situation, unfortunately, has changed to worse and demands decisive adjustments.
Partnership Concept

As it appears, formation among specialists and public of strategic idea of the state and prospects of development of relations with the Alliance can be promoted by development of the Concept of Partnership between Russia and NATO – an integral document, reflecting the leading idea, system of views of our country on the objectives, tasks and the most significant directions of partner relations development with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization  for the interests of assurance of national security of Russia and strengthening of international security in general. Occurrence of the concept, with no doubts, would promote system character of relations development and at the same time would assist reduction of the level of unneeded emotional heat in multiples discussions on this subject.

First time the issue on the need to develop the concept was raised in December 1997 when in the order of the President of the Russian Federation  on the establishment of interdepartmental commission of the Russian Federation on interaction with NATO and accomplishment of the Founding Act. One of the tasks of the Commission was to develop the concept of relations between Russia and NATO. This document doesn’t exist so far.

The reason for such situation, obviously, can be that during a pretty long time till the end of 90-s it was considered as normal when  relations between Russia and NATO were defined with the ideas of current political environment in terms of absence in Moscow of at least some entire ideology of such relations. As a result the Alliance gained freedom of hands in accomplishment of extension policy, in activities in the Balkans, developing of the plans of anti-missile defense system deployment. Response statements from Russia were often only delayed, faded and inadequate reaction on strategic initiatives of Washington and Brussels.

In the beginning of the XXIst century new approaches in the sphere of relations of Russia with the Alliance announced themselves. NATO-Russia Council has been established, military and military-technical cooperation plans are being adopted.

However the declared will of the both parties to give a new impulse for the development of mutually beneficial partnership haven’t brought Russia and NATO to the new level of relations. Their permanent peculiarity remains to be non-stability and unpredictability.  As a result many significant common initiatives slow down: counteraction extension towards  mass destruction weapon (MDW), fighting drugs traffic, no progress within development of overwhelming system of international security assurance, one of the key elements of which could become the partnership of Russia and NATO.

Together with mentioned ones, there are whole spheres of relations, where till now remains to exist not demanded potential of partnership Russia-NATO. In this respect we may address for example the sphere of mutually beneficial development of many applied scientific-research programs, technologic information exchange. Now if something is done here then it is by evident disadvantage of system approach.

The concept exactly shall have to grant the kind of work urgent stability and protect it from differences of political tempers.

Exactly in the frameworks of this concept the ideas of Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on appointment of supervisors from Russian scientific community for each of seven working panels of NATO Organization on Research and Technologies. In general for Russia the experience of the Alliance on establishing of information exchange between scientific community and military men, standardization of weapon and military equipment, procedures of long-term defense planning and joint leading of military R&D, transfer of their results for civil industry may be quite useful. We hardly can be expect a breakthrough qualitative moves in this sphere, however even comparative analysis with the same works in Russia would allow our scientists, developers and producers of weapon and military equipment considering new directions of defense studies.
Prospects of NATO and CSTO Relations

In the context of oncoming NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan imperative character is gained by the tasks on establishment of the field for development of relations between the Alliance and the CSTO. And this is only one of promising directions of cooperation, which should be set in the document.

As it appears, in the concept with complete connection with other strategic planning documents the interests of Russia on development of Russia-NATO cooperation should be reflected on the complex of interconnected fields and tasks, including:
- establishment and maintenance of stable relations by preservation of corresponding level of trust and transparency, which should define further status of NATO-Russia relations;
- assurance of stability, trust and security in Europe considering the interests of all European states;
- improvement of possibilities of Russia-NATO Council (RNC) to control disagreements and reduce of their possible negative influence in cases when there is no option of settlement;
- fulfillment of the principle of general responsibility for jointly adopted decision by RNC in agreed fields on the ground of consensus;
- development of practical agenda for RNC with the aim of determination  of common tasks, relating common European space;
- implementation by interaction of NATO and Russia of achieved results within the activity of other organizations and institutions, such as the UNO, CIS, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the European Union. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and within bilateral relations;
- preservation and enhancement of international security and strategic stability by adapting of existing regimes of control over armaments for new global reality;
- development of a humanitarian compound of partnership of Russia and NATO.

One of pragmatic tasks is not to allow the use of potential of Russia and NATO partnership for the interests of approval of already mentioned NATO-centric model, but to involve opened opportunities, perform the model of multipolar world suggested by Russia. For this particularly, it is urgent to develop a complex of agreed norms and legal documents of Russia, CSTO and SCO, which should clearly contain common lines, objectives and prospects of partnership with NATO. Otherwise famous line of the USA and the Alliance for the development of bilateral connections with many of our partners –members of these organizations shall for sure work to collapse and weaken them.

Such prepared concept can be observed as a significant doctrine document, aimed at improvement of ability of the Russian Federation and NATO to withstand jointly against the threats for the benefit of stabilization of the situation in those regions of the world, which spread the threats for Russia, Europe and the United States.