MOSCA ARMA ANCHE IL TERRORISMO
Dura accusa del Segretario di Stato, Condoleeza Rice, al Cremlino.
di Condoleeza Rice (Washington 18 settembre - German Marshall Fund)
I have come here today to speak with you about a subject that’s been on everyone’s mind recently: Russia and U.S.-Russian relations.
Most of us are familiar with the events of the past month. The causes of the conflict – particularly the dispute between Georgia and its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia – are complex. They go back to the fall of the Soviet Union. And the United States and our allies have tried many times to help the parties resolve the dispute diplomatically. Indeed, it was, in part, for just that reason that I traveled to Georgia just a month before the conflict, as did German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, among others.
The conflict in Georgia, thus, has deep roots. And clearly, all sides made mistakes and miscalculations. But several key facts are clear:
On August 7th, following repeated violations of the ceasefire in South Ossetia, including the shelling of Georgian villages, the Georgian government launched a major military operation into Tskhinvali and other areas of the separatist region. Regrettably, several Russian peacekeepers were killed in the fighting.
These events were troubling. But the situation deteriorated further when Russia’s leaders violated Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – and launched a full scale invasion across an internationally-recognized border. Thousands of innocent civilians were displaced from their homes. Russia’s leaders established a military occupation that stretched deep into Georgian territory. And they violated the ceasefire agreement that had been negotiated by French and EU President Sarkozy.
Other actions of Russia during this crisis have also been deeply disconcerting: its alarmist allegations of “genocide” by Georgian forces, its baseless statements about U.S. actions during the conflict, its attempt to dismember a sovereign country by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, its talk of having “privileged interests” in how it treats its independent neighbors, and its refusal to allow international monitors and NGOs into Abkhazia and South Ossetia, despite ongoing militia violence and retribution against innocent Georgians.
What is more disturbing about Russia’s actions is that they fit into a worsening pattern of behavior over several years now.
I’m referring, among other things, to Russia’s intimidation of its sovereign neighbors, its use of oil and gas as a political weapon, its unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty, its threat to target peaceful nations with nuclear weapons, its arms sales to states and groups that threaten international security, and its persecution – and worse – of Russian journalists, and dissidents, and others.
The picture emerging from this pattern of behavior is that of a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad.
Now, this behavior did not go unnoticed or unchallenged over the last several years. We have tried to address it in the context of efforts to forge a constructive relationship with Russia. But the attack on Georgia has crystallized the course that Russia’s leaders are now taking and it has brought us to a critical moment for Russia and the world. A critical moment – but not a deterministic one.
Russia’s leaders are making some unfortunate choices. But they can still make different ones. Russia’s future is in Russia’s hands. But its choices will be shaped, in part, by the actions of the United States, our friends, and our allies – both in the incentives that we provide and the pressure that we apply.
Now, much has been said recently about how we have come to this point. And some have attempted to shift the responsibility for Russia’s recent pattern of behavior onto others. Russia’s actions cannot be blamed, for example, on its neighbors like Georgia.
To be sure, Georgia’s leaders could have responded better to the events last month in South Ossetia, and it benefits no one to pretend otherwise. We warned our Georgian friends that Russia was baiting them, and that taking this bait would only play into Moscow’s hands.
But Russia’s leaders used this as a pretext to launch what, by all appearances, was a premeditated invasion of its independent neighbor. Indeed, Russia’s leaders had laid the groundwork for this scenario months ago – distributing Russian passports to Georgian separatists, training and arming their militias, and then justifying the campaign across Georgia’s border as an act of self-defense.
Russia’s behavior cannot be blamed either on NATO enlargement. With the end of the Cold War, we and our allies have worked to transform NATO – form – to bring it from an alliance that manned the ramparts of a divided Europe, to a means for nurturing the growth of a Europe whole, free, and at peace – and an alliance that confronts the dangers, like terrorism, that also threaten Russia.
We have opened NATO to any sovereign, democratic state in Europe that can meet its standards of membership. We’ve supported the right of countries emerging from communism to choose what path of development they pursue and what institutions they wish to join.
And this historic effort has succeeded beyond imagination. Twelve of our 28 neighbor NATO allies are former captive nations. And the promise of membership has been a positive incentive for these states: to build democratic institutions, to reform their economies, and to resolve old disputes, as nations like Poland, and ...
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