Russia views US, NATO as ’top security threats’

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Russia views US, NATO as ’top security threats’
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Mayıs 14, 2009 00:00

MOSCOW - International ties will be shaped by battles over energy resources, which may trigger armed conflicts on Russia's borders, says a Kremlin policy paper, naming US and NATO as top threats to global security. But the document also adds Moscow will seek an equal ’partnership’ with Washington

Russia views the United States and NATO as major threats to global security and potentially to its own military, according to a sweeping new security document unveiled by the Kremlin yesterday. The document, outlining Russia's national security strategy through 2020, also warned international relations will be shaped by battles over energy resources, which may trigger military conflicts on Russia's borders.

Russia will seek an equal "partnership" with the United States, the policy paper said, adding Moscow would pursue a "rational and pragmatic" foreign policy and avoid a new arms race. It also named U.S. missile defense plans in Europe among top threats to the national security.

The 13-page document was posted on the Kremlin Web site yesterday, one day after being approved by President Dmitry Medvedev and following months of discussion among Russia's top security officials.

"The international policy in the long run will be focused on getting hold of energy sources, including in the Middle East, the Barents Sea shelf and other Arctic regions, the Caspian and Central Asia," The Associated Press quoted the paper as saying.

Relations between Moscow and Washington were deeply strained last year amid bitter disputes over the Russia-Georgia war and U.S. missile defense, but ties have warmed somewhat since the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The document stressed the "unacceptability" of NATO expansion to include countries bordering Russia, an apparent reference to Ukraine and Georgia, former Soviet republics which have sought to join the alliance.

"The instability of the existing global and regional architecture, oriented, especially in the Euro-Atlantic region, only toward NATO... is an increasing threat to the guaranteeing of international security," it said, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

The security strategy did not name the United States in a list of direct military threats to Russia, but the list left little doubt that Moscow's generals were preoccupied with U.S. military might.

"The threats to military security are: The policies of an array of leading foreign countries aimed at achieving overwhelming supremacy in the military sphere, above all in strategic nuclear forces," the document said. It also described "the unilateral formation of global missile defense" as a military threat, in an apparent reference to the U.S. missile shield.

The new security strategy said Moscow would seek "the most cost-effective level for retaining parity with the United States in the field of strategic attack weapons."

Pragmatic policy to avoid Cold War-style arms race

At the same time, Moscow will seek to avoid a Cold War-style arms race, the document said. "Russia... will pursue a rational and pragmatic foreign policy, refraining from costly confrontation, including a new arms race," it said.

The wide-ranging document also listed terrorism and nuclear proliferation as potential dangers to Russia, as well as a range of non-military threats like AIDS, alcoholism and the impact of the global economic crisis. It called for raising Russians' standard of living and diversifying the country's economy away from oil and gas.

The criticisms of NATO and the United States in the new strategy are largely a rehash of Moscow's previous positions, said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs. But the emphasis on economic factors reflects a shift in thinking from the traditional military-dominated approach, he told AFP. "In my view, this is a significant shift toward a more modern understanding of national security - the awareness that socio-economic factors in society can have no less an effect than external factors," Lukyanov said.
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