News / Europe

    Russia and NATO to Cooperate on Key Issues

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, participates at the start of the NATO Russia Council Meeting Working Session at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov. 2010
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, participates at the start of the NATO Russia Council Meeting Working Session at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov. 2010

    At the recent NATO summit, the 28-member alliance agreed to end military operations in Afghanistan by 2014 if conditions are right. The leaders also agreed to a new mission statement. But many analysts say the meeting between NATO leaders and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the highlight of the Lisbon meeting.

    Russia-NATO issues

    The meeting between President Medvedev and NATO leaders was held in the context of the Russia-NATO council which brings together the 28 members of the Western alliance plus Russia. It was a parallel meeting to the official NATO summit and provided a venue to discuss issues important to both sides.

    Missile defense

    One of the key issues discussed was missile defense. The Bush administration proposed to deploy ground-based ballistic missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. The Russians strongly opposed such a plan, saying it was aimed against Moscow, a view rejected by U.S. officials.

    Ohio Wesleyan University NATO expert Sean Kay says the Obama administration proposed a more mobile, regional missile-defense system. And that system was approved by the NATO leaders.

    "They have agreed in principle to begin the process of building an architecture for ballistic missile defense that would in theory cover all of Europe," Kay said. "I am not sure that's actually technically possible at this stage, but it is a significant victory diplomatically for the Obama administration. It is a major shift from the hard, heavy pressing for ballistic missile defense that the Bush administration pushed through and only got begrudging acceptance of that in the NATO alliance and of course, very much upset the Russians at the same time."

    Missile defense cooperation

    But in what many analysts say is a major shift, President Dmitry Medvedev has accepted a NATO invitation to cooperate on missile defense. Lowell Schwartz is a NATO and security expert with the RAND Corporation.

    "Russia has been firmly in opposition," Schwartz said. "And this has been a major bone of contention, and the fact that Russia and the president (Medvedev) has agreed that Russia will certainly not stand in the way and would like to help and participate, is a very important milestone."

    Promising shift

    The head of the private research firm, the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball, says Moscow's shift is promising.

    "But as you heard from the Russian officials, they still have a lot of questions about how this might work," said Kimball. "They want to make it clear that this should not simply be a defense for Western Europe and not European Russia. And there has been talk, we have to remember, for decades about potential cooperation between the United States and Russia on missile defense sharing technology, sharing early-warning radars, but that cooperation is going to be much more difficult to achieve when you get down to brass tacks and we will have to see how this develops."

    On Afghanistan, Russia has agreed to facilitate and expand railway transit of non-lethal supplies from Europe to that country.

    Daryl Kimball says this is part of the Obama administration's efforts to reset relations with Moscow.

    "Russia's cooperation mainly has to do with helping NATO with its supply lines going into Afghanistan," Kimball added. "It means the United States does not have to depend solely on supply lines through Pakistan which is very important for NATO, gives it greater flexibility. And so I think that is another sign that the Obama administration approach with Russia is paying dividends in terms of tangible Russian cooperation on issues that matter to the United States and NATO."

    But Sean Kay says Russia helping NATO in Afghanistan can be a double-edged sword.

    "Because at the same time they can signal support for access to corridors, they are also sending the message that we also have the power to shut that down if things do not go our way," Kay said.

    Support for START

    Analysts say NATO leaders also provided a boost to President Barack Obama when they expressed support for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between Washington and Moscow. The U.S. Senate is supposed to vote on whether to ratify the treaty, but the timeframe is uncertain.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora