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Posts tagged “Russia

Sobre as verdades PS

Tenho muita dificuldade em dar o benefício da dúvida a Augusto Santos Silva. Sempre tive. Mas faço-o. Augusto Santos Silva é o tipo de pessoa que acha que não deve explicações a ninguém e que detesta ser questionado.

O Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, onde quase tudo é confidencial, classificado e raramente transparente, foi a escolha perfeita para um homem que não gosta nada de prestar contas. Infelizmente, sob o seu consulado ficou ainda mais nebuloso, opaco e sombrio.

Veremos o que nos revelará este caso.


Das verdades

No confronto das realidades, já sabemos qual será a verdade socialista.


“Dear Mr. Putin, Let’s Play Chess”

There have not been a series of attacks on America and Europe by Vladimir Putin. There has been one single operation; it is the same operation.

Read here: Dear Mr. Putin, Let’s Play Chess

One must also consider field operations such as Russia’s annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia, 2008) and of Crimea (Ukraine, 2014). It’s not a espionage move, but it’s also a chess move on a board of another level within the same operation.

If it is proven that the US presidential election were rigged by the Russians, can Mike Pence take office as President?
After all, he also was elected with such sabotage.


Backing Into World War III by Robert Kagan

Xi putin.jpg

Backing Into World War III by Robert Kagan

Think of two significant trend lines in the world today. One is the increasing ambition and activism of the two great revisionist powers, Russia and China. The other is the declining confidence, capacity, and will of the democratic world, and especially of the United States, to maintain the dominant position it has held in the international system since 1945. As those two lines move closer, as the declining will and capacity of the United States and its allies to maintain the present world order meet the increasing desire and capacity of the revisionist powers to change it, we will reach the moment at which the existing order collapses and the world descends into a phase of brutal anarchy, as it has three times in the past two centuries. The cost of that descent, in lives and treasure, in lost freedoms and lost hope, will be staggering.

Where exactly we are in this classic scenario today, how close the trend lines are to that intersection point is, as always, impossible to know. Are we three years away from a global crisis, or 15?

Americans tend to take the fundamental stability of the international order for granted, even while complaining about the burden the United States carries in preserving that stability. History shows that world orders do collapse, however, and when they do it is often unexpected, rapid, and violent. The late 18th century was the high point of the Enlightenment in Europe, before the continent fell suddenly into the abyss of the Napoleonic Wars. In the first decade of the 20th century, the world’s smartest minds predicted an end to great-power conflict as revolutions in communication and transportation knit economies and people closer together. The most devastating war in history came four years later. The apparent calm of the postwar 1920s became the crisis-ridden 1930s and then another world war. Where exactly we are in this classic scenario today, how close the trend lines are to that intersection point is, as always, impossible to know. Are we three years away from a global crisis, or 15? That we are somewhere on that path, however, is unmistakable.

And while it is too soon to know what effect Donald Trump’s presidency will have on these trends, early signs suggest that the new administration is more likely to hasten us toward crisis than slow or reverse these trends. The further accommodation of Russia can only embolden Vladimir Putin, and the tough talk with China will likely lead Beijing to test the new administration’s resolve militarily. Whether the president is ready for such a confrontation is entirely unclear. For the moment, he seems not to have thought much about the future ramifications of his rhetoric and his actions.

China and Russia are classic revisionist powers. Although both have never enjoyed greater security from foreign powers than they do today — Russia from its traditional enemies to the west, China from its traditional enemy in the east — they are dissatisfied with the current global configuration of power. Both seek to restore the hegemonic dominance they once enjoyed in their respective regions. For China, that means dominance of East Asia, with countries like Japan, South Korea, and the nations of Southeast Asia both acquiescing to Beijing’s will and acting in conformity with China’s strategic, economic, and political preferences. That includes American influence withdrawn to the eastern Pacific, behind the Hawaiian Islands. For Russia, it means hegemonic influence in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which Moscow has traditionally regarded as either part of its empire or part of its sphere of influence. Both Beijing and Moscow seek to redress what they regard as an unfair distribution of power, influence, and honor in the U.S.-led postwar global order. As autocracies, both feel threatened by the dominant democratic powers in the international system and by the democracies on their borders. Both regard the United States as the principal obstacle to their ambitions, and therefore both seek to weaken the American-led international security order that stands in the way of their achieving what they regard as their rightful destinies.

It was good while it lasted

Until fairly recently, Russia and China have faced considerable, almost insuperable, obstacles in achieving their objectives. The chief obstacle has been the power and coherence of the international order itself and its principal promoter and defender. The American-led system of political and military alliances, especially in the two critical regions of Europe and East Asia, has presented China and Russia with what Dean Acheson once referred to as “situations of strength” that have required them to pursue their ambitions cautiously and, since the end of the Cold War, to defer serious efforts to disrupt the international system.

During the era of American primacy, China and Russia have participated in and for the most part been beneficiaries of the open international economic system the United States created and helps sustain; so long as that system functions, they have had more to gain by playing in it than by challenging and overturning it.

The system has checked their ambitions in both positive and negative ways. During the era of American primacy, China and Russia have participated in and for the most part been beneficiaries of the open international economic system the United States created and helps sustain; so long as that system functions, they have had more to gain by playing in it than by challenging and overturning it. The political and strategic aspects of the order, however, have worked to their detriment. The growth and vibrancy of democratic government in the two decades following the collapse of Soviet communism posed a continual threat to the ability of rulers in Beijing and Moscow to maintain control, and since the end of the Cold War they have regarded every advance of democratic institutions — especially the geographical advance of liberal democracies close to their borders — as an existential threat. That’s for good reason: Autocratic powers since the days of Klemens von Metternich have always feared the contagion of liberalism. The mere existence of democracies on their borders, the global free flow of information they cannot control, the dangerous connection between free market capitalism and political freedom — all pose a threat to rulers who depend on keeping restive forces in their own countries in check. The continual challenge to the legitimacy of their rule posed by the U.S.-supported democratic order has therefore naturally made them hostile both to that order and to the United States. But, until recently, a preponderance of domestic and international forces has dissuaded them from confronting the order directly. Chinese rulers have had to worry about what an unsuccessful confrontation with the United States might do to their legitimacy at home. Even Putin has pushed only against open doors, as in Syria, where the United States responded passively to his probes. He has been more cautious when confronted by even marginal U.S. and European opposition, as in Ukraine.

The greatest check on Chinese and Russian ambitions has been the military and economic power of the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia. China, although increasingly powerful, has had to contemplate facing the combined military and economic strength of the world’s superpower and some very formidable regional powers linked by alliance or common strategic interest — including Japan, India, and South Korea, as well as smaller but still potent nations like Vietnam and Australia. Russia has had to face the United States and its NATO allies. When united, these U.S.-led alliances present a daunting challenge to a revisionist power that can call on few allies of its own for assistance. Even were the Chinese to score an early victory in a conflict, such as the military subjection of Taiwan or a naval battle in the South or East China Sea, they would have to contend over time with the combined industrial productive capacities of some of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced nations and the likely cutoff of access to foreign markets on which their own economy depends. A weaker Russia, with its depleted population and oil- and gas-dependent economy, would face an even greater challenge.

For decades, the strong global position enjoyed by the United States and its allies has discouraged any serious challenge. So long as the United States was perceived as a dependable ally, Chinese and Russian leaders feared that aggressive moves would backfire and possibly bring their regimes down. This is what the political scientist William Wohlforth once described as the inherent stability of the unipolar order: As dissatisfied regional powers sought to challenge the status quo, their alarmed neighbors turned to the distant American superpower to contain their ambitions. And it worked. The United States stepped up, and Russia and China largely backed down — or were preempted before acting at all.

Faced with these obstacles, the best option for the two revisionist great powers has always been to hope for or, if possible, engineer a weakening of the U.S.-supported world order from within, either by separating the United States from its allies or by raising doubts about the U.S. commitment and thereby encouraging would-be allies and partners to forgo the strategic protection of the liberal world order and seek accommodation with its challengers.

The present system has therefore depended not only on American power but on coherence and unity at the heart of the democratic world. The United States has had to play its part as the principal guarantor of the order, especially in the military and strategic realm, but the order’s ideological and economic core — the democracies of Europe and East Asia and the Pacific — has also had to remain relatively healthy and confident.

In recent years, both pillars have been shaken. The democratic order has weakened and fractured at its core. Difficult economic conditions, the recrudescence of nationalism and tribalism, weak and uncertain political leadership and unresponsive mainstream political parties, and a new era of communications that seems to strengthen rather than weaken tribalism have together produced a crisis of confidence not only in the democracies but in what might be called the liberal enlightenment project. That project elevated universal principles of individual rights and common humanity over ethnic, racial, religious, national, or tribal differences. It looked to a growing economic interdependence to create common interests across boundaries and to the establishment of international institutions to smooth differences and facilitate cooperation among nations. Instead, the past decade has seen the rise of tribalism and nationalism, an increasing focus on the Other in all societies, and a loss of confidence in government, in the capitalist system, and in democracy. We are witnessing the opposite of Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history.” History is returning with a vengeance and with it all the darker aspects of the human soul, including, for many, the perennial human yearning for a strong leader to provide firm guidance in a time of confusion and incoherence.

The Dark Ages 2.0

This crisis of the enlightenment project may have been inevitable, a recurring phenomenon produced by inherent flaws in both capitalism and democracy. In the 1930s, economic crisis and rising nationalism led many to doubt whether either democracy or capitalism was preferable to alternatives such as fascism and communism. And it is no coincidence that the crisis of confidence in liberalism accompanied a simultaneous breakdown of the strategic order. Then, the question was whether the United States as the outside power would step in and save or remake an order that Britain and France were no longer able or willing to sustain. Now, the question is whether the United States is willing to continue upholding the order that it created and which depends entirely on American power or whether Americans are prepared to take the risk — if they even understand the risk — of letting the order collapse into chaos and conflict.

That willingness has been in doubt for some time, well before the election of Trump and even before the election of Barack Obama. Increasingly in the quarter century after the end of the Cold War, Americans have been wondering why they bear such an unusual and outsized responsibility for preserving global order when their own interests are not always clearly served — and when the United States seems to be making all the sacrifices while others benefit. Few remember the reasons why the United States took on this abnormal role after the calamitous two world wars of the 20th century. The millennial generation born after the end of the Cold War can hardly be expected to understand the lasting significance of the political, economic, and security structures established after World War II. Nor are they likely to learn much about it in high school and college textbooks obsessed with noting the evils and follies of American “imperialism.” Both the crises of the first half of the 20th century and its solution in 1945 have been forgotten. As a consequence, the American public’s patience with the difficulties and costs inherent in playing that global role have worn thin. Whereas previous unsuccessful and costly wars, in Korea in 1950 and Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, and previous economic downturns, such as with the energy crisis and crippling “stagflation” of the mid- to late 1970s, did not have the effect of turning Americans against global involvement, the unsuccessful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the financial crisis of 2008 have.

The Obama administration responded to the George W. Bush administration’s failures in Iraq and Afghanistan not by restoring American power and influence but by further reducing them.

Obama pursued an ambivalent approach to global involvement, but his core strategy was retrenchment. In his actions and his statements, he critiqued and repudiated previous American strategy and reinforced a national mood favoring a much less active role in the world and much narrower definition of American interests. The Obama administration responded to the George W. Bush administration’s failures in Iraq and Afghanistan not by restoring American power and influence but by further reducing them. Although the administration promised to “rebalance” American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, in practice that meant reducing global commitments and accommodating revisionist powers at the expense of allies’ security.

The administration’s early attempt to “reset” relations with Russia struck the first blow to America’s reputation as a reliable ally. Coming just after the Russian invasion of Georgia, it appeared to reward Moscow’s aggression. The reset also came at the expense of U.S. allies in Central Europe, as programs of military cooperation with Poland and the Czech Republic were jettisoned to appease the Kremlin. This attempt at accommodation, moreover, came just as Russian policy toward the West — not to mention Putin’s repressive policies toward his own people — was hardening. Far from eliciting better behavior by Russia, the reset emboldened Putin to push harder. Then, in 2014, the West’s inadequate response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea, though better than the Bush administration’s anemic response to the invasion of Georgia (Europe and the United States at least imposed sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine), still indicated reluctance on the part of the U.S. administration to force Russia back in its declared sphere of interest. Obama, in fact, publicly acknowledged Russia’s privileged position in Ukraine even as the United States and Europe sought to protect that country’s sovereignty. In Syria, the administration practically invited Russian intervention through Washington’s passivity, and certainly did nothing to discourage it, thus reinforcing the growing impression of an America in retreat across the Middle East (an impression initially created by the unnecessary and unwise withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq). Subsequent Russian actions that increased the refugee flow from Syria into Europe also brought no American response, despite the evident damage of those refugee flows to European democratic institutions. The signal sent by the Obama administration was that none of this was really America’s problem.

In East Asia, the Obama administration undermined its otherwise commendable efforts to assert America’s continuing interest and influence. The so-called “pivot” proved to be mostly rhetoric. Inadequate overall defense spending precluded the necessary increases in America’s regional military presence in a meaningful way, and the administration allowed a critical economic component, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to die in Congress, chiefly a victim of its own party’s opposition. The pivot also suffered from the general perception of American retreat and retrenchment, encouraged both by presidential rhetoric and by administration policies, especially in the Middle East. The premature, unnecessary, and strategically costly withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, followed by the accommodating agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, and then by the failure to hold the line on threats to use force against Syria’s president, was noticed around the world. Despite the Obama administration’s insistence that American strategy should be geared toward Asia, U.S. allies have been left wondering how reliable the U.S. commitment might be when facing the challenge posed by China. The Obama administration erred in imagining that it could retrench globally while reassuring allies in Asia that the United States remained a reliable partner.

Nature abhors a vacuum

The effect on the two great revisionist powers, meanwhile, has been to encourage greater efforts at revision. In recent years, both powers have been more active in challenging the order, and one reason has been the growing perception that the United States is losing both the will and the capacity to sustain it. The psychological and political effect of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the United States, which has been to weaken support for American global engagement across the board, has provided an opening.

It is a myth, prevalent among liberal democracies, that revisionist powers can be pacified by acquiescence to their demands. American retrenchment, by this logic, ought to reduce tensions and competition. Unfortunately, the opposite is more often the case. The more secure revisionist powers feel, the more ambitious they are in seeking to change the system to their advantage because the resistance to change appears to be lessening. Just look at both China and Russia: Never in the past two centuries have they enjoyed greater security from external attack than they do today. Yet both remain dissatisfied and have become increasingly aggressive in pressing what they perceive to be their growing advantage in a system where the United States no longer puts up as much resistance as it used to.

The two great powers have differed, so far, chiefly in their methods. China has until now been the more careful, cautious, and patient of the two, seeking influence primarily through its great economic clout and using its growing military power chiefly as a source of deterrence and regional intimidation. It has not resorted to the outright use of force yet, although its actions in the South China Sea are military in nature, with strategic objectives. And while Beijing has been wary of using military force until now, it would be a mistake to assume it will continue show such restraint in the future — possibly the near future. Revisionist great powers with growing military capabilities invariably make use of those capabilities when they believe the possible gains outweigh the risks and costs. If the Chinese perceive America’s commitment to its allies and its position in the region to be weakening, or its capacity to make good on those commitments to be declining, then they will be more inclined to attempt to use the power they are acquiring in order to achieve their objectives. As the trend lines draw closer, this is where the first crisis is likely to take place.

Russia has been far more aggressive. It has invaded two neighboring states — Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 — and in both cases hived off significant portions of those two nations’ sovereign territory. Given the intensity with which the United States and its allies would have responded to such actions during the four decades of the Cold War, their relative lack of a response must have sent quite a signal to the Kremlin — and to others around the world. Moscow then followed by sending substantial forces into Syria. It has used its dominance of European energy markets as a weapon. It has used cyberwarfare against neighboring states. It has engaged in extensive information warfare on a global scale.

More recently, the Russian government has deployed a weapon that the Chinese either lack or have so far chosen not to deploy — the ability to interfere directly in Western electoral processes, both to influence their outcomes and more generally to discredit the democratic system. Russia funds right-wing populist parties across Europe, including in France; uses its media outlets to support favored candidates and attack others; has disseminated “fake news” to influence voters, most recently in Italy’s referendum; and has hacked private communications in order to embarrass those it wishes to defeat. This past year, Russia for the first time employed this powerful weapon against the United States, heavily interfering in the American electoral process.

Although Russia, by any measure, is the weaker of the two great powers, it has so far had more success than China in accomplishing its objective of dividing and disrupting the West.

Although Russia, by any measure, is the weaker of the two great powers, it has so far had more success than China in accomplishing its objective of dividing and disrupting the West. Its interference in Western democratic political systems, its information warfare, and its role in creating increased refugee flows from Syria into Europe have all contributed to the sapping of Europeans’ confidence in their political systems and established political parties. Its military intervention in Syria, contrasted with American passivity, has exacerbated existing doubts about American staying power in the region. Beijing, until recently, has succeeded mostly in driving American allies closer to the United States out of concern for growing Chinese power — but that could change quickly, especially if the United States continues on its present trajectory. There are signs that regional powers are already recalculating: East Asian countries are contemplating regional trade agreements that need not include the United States or, in the case of the Philippines, are actively courting China, while a number of nations in Eastern and Central Europe are moving closer to Russia, both strategically and ideologically. We could soon face a situation where both great revisionist powers are acting aggressively, including by military means, posing extreme challenges to American and global security in two regions at once.

The dispensable nation

All this comes as Americans continue to signal their reluctance to uphold the world order they created after World War II. Donald Trump was not the only major political figure in this past election season to call for a much narrower definition of American interests and a lessening of the burdens of American global leadership. President Obama and Bernie Sanders both expressed a version of “America First.” The candidate who spoke often of America’s “indispensable” global role lost, and even Hillary Clinton felt compelled to jettison her earlier support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. At the very least, there should be doubts about the American public’s willingness to continue supporting the international alliance structure, denying the revisionist powers their desired spheres of influence and regional hegemony, and upholding democratic and free market norms in the international system.

The weakness at the core of the democratic world and the shedding by the United States of global responsibilities have already encouraged a more aggressive revisionism by the dissatisfied powers.

Coming as it does at a time of growing great-power competition, this narrowing definition of American interests will likely hasten a return to the instability and clashes of previous eras. The weakness at the core of the democratic world and the shedding by the United States of global responsibilities have already encouraged a more aggressive revisionism by the dissatisfied powers. That, in turn, has further sapped the democratic world’s confidence and willingness to resist. History suggests that this is a downward spiral from which it will be difficult to recover, absent a rather dramatic shift of course by the United States.

That shift may come too late. It was in the 1920s, not the 1930s, that the democratic powers made the most important and ultimately fatal decisions. Americans’ disillusionment after World War I led them to reject playing a strategic role in preserving the peace in Europe and Asia, even though America was the only nation powerful enough to play that role. The withdrawal of the United States helped undermine the will of Britain and France and encouraged Germany in Europe and Japan in Asia to take increasingly aggressive actions to achieve regional dominance. Most Americans were convinced that nothing that happened in Europe or Asia could affect their security. It took World War II to convince them that was a mistake. The “return to normalcy” of the 1920 election seemed safe and innocent at the time, but the essentially selfish policies pursued by the world’s strongest power in the following decade helped set the stage for the calamities of the 1930s. By the time the crises began to erupt, it was already too late to avoid paying the high price of global conflict.

In such times, it has always been tempting to believe that geopolitical competition can be solved through efforts at cooperation and accommodation. The idea, recently proposed by Niall Ferguson, that the world can be ruled jointly by the United States, Russia, and China is not a new one. Such condominiums have been proposed and attempted in every era when the dominant power or powers in the international system sought to fend off challenges from the dissatisfied revisionist powers. It has rarely worked. Revisionist great powers are not easy to satisfy short of complete capitulation. Their sphere of influence is never quite large enough to satisfy their pride or their expanding need for security. In fact, their very expansion creates insecurity, by frightening neighbors and leading them to band together against the rising power. The satiated power that Otto von Bismarck spoke of is rare. The German leaders who succeeded him were not satisfied even with being the strongest power in Europe. In their efforts to grow still stronger, they produced coalitions against them, making their fear of “encirclement” a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a mile

This is a common trait of rising powers — their actions produce the very insecurity they claim to want to redress. They harbor grievances against the existing order (both Germany and Japan considered themselves the “have-not” nations), but their grievances cannot be satisfied so long as the existing order remains in place. Marginal concession is not enough, but the powers upholding the existing order will not make more than marginal concessions unless they are compelled to by superior strength. Japan, the aggrieved “have-not” nation of the 1930s, did not satisfy itself by taking Manchuria in 1931. Germany, the aggrieved victim of Versailles, did not satisfy itself by bringing the Germans of the Sudetenland back into the fold. They demanded much more, and they could not persuade the democratic powers to give them what they wanted without resorting to war.

Granting the revisionist powers spheres of influence is not a recipe for peace and tranquility but rather an invitation to inevitable conflict.

Granting the revisionist powers spheres of influence is not a recipe for peace and tranquility but rather an invitation to inevitable conflict. Russia’s historical sphere of influence does not end in Ukraine. It begins in Ukraine. It extends to the Baltic States, to the Balkans, and to the heart of Central Europe. And within Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, other nations do not enjoy autonomy or even sovereignty. There was no independent Poland under the Russian Empire nor under the Soviet Union. For China to gain its desired sphere of influence in East Asia will mean that, when it chooses, it can close the region off to the United States — not only militarily but politically and economically, too.

China will, of course, inevitably exercise great sway in its own region, as will Russia. The United States cannot and should not prevent China from being an economic powerhouse. Nor should it wish for the collapse of Russia. The United States should even welcome competition of a certain kind. Great powers compete across multiple planes — economic, ideological, and political, as well as military. Competition in most spheres is necessary and even healthy. Within the liberal order, China can compete economically and successfully with the United States; Russia can thrive in the international economic order upheld by the democratic system, even if it is not itself democratic.

But military and strategic competition is different. The security situation undergirds everything else. It remains true today as it has since World War II that only the United States has the capacity and the unique geographical advantages to provide global security and relative stability. There is no stable balance of power in Europe or Asia without the United States. And while we can talk about “soft power” and “smart power,” they have been and always will be of limited value when confronting raw military power. Despite all of the loose talk of American decline, it is in the military realm where U.S. advantages remain clearest. Even in other great powers’ backyards, the United States retains the capacity, along with its powerful allies, to deter challenges to the security order. But without a U.S. willingness to maintain the balance in far-flung regions of the world, the system will buckle under the unrestrained military competition of regional powers. Part of that willingness entails defense spending commensurate with America’s continuing global role.

For the United States to accept a return to spheres of influence would not calm the international waters. It would merely return the world to the condition it was in at the end of the 19th century, with competing great powers clashing over inevitably intersecting and overlapping spheres. These unsettled, disordered conditions produced the fertile ground for the two destructive world wars of the first half of the 20th century. The collapse of the British-dominated world order on the oceans, the disruption of the uneasy balance of power on the European continent as a powerful unified Germany took shape, and the rise of Japanese power in East Asia all contributed to a highly competitive international environment in which dissatisfied great powers took the opportunity to pursue their ambitions in the absence of any power or group of powers to unite in checking them. The result was an unprecedented global calamity and death on an epic scale. It has been the great accomplishment of the U.S.-led world order in the 70 years since the end of World War II that this kind of competition has been held in check and great power conflicts have been avoided. It will be more than a shame if Americans were to destroy what they created — and not because it was no longer possible to sustain but simply because they chose to stop trying.


NATO Should Set Limits On Russia’s Actions In The East

The events leading to Crimea’s secession from Ukraine are not a series of ad-hoc moves, but part of a calculated plan by Russia’s leaders that fits Alexander Dugin’s vision of ‘Eurasianism’.
Accordingly, Russia is determined to follow its own Eurasian path, while the real goal of Eurasianism is the formation of a new political integration bloc. The European Union (EU) and NATO response must set limits on Russia.

A Retrospective View
Following the end of the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) did not disappear as did the Warsaw Pact. On the contrary, NATO grew in size and depth, welcoming former Soviet republics, such as the Baltic states, as members. As a result, in 1999 NATO changed its strategic concept, and the scope of NATO interventions expanded to remote 65ºE and 70ºE meridians of Afghanistan. In 2002, the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council reinforced the relationship between NATO and Russia. Later, at the November 2010 Lisbon Summit, NATO’s new Strategic Concept was published in response to the changing international security environment. This “Active Engagement, Modern Defense” concept reaffirmed the importance of strategic cooperation with Russia, and it strengthened the political consultations and practical NATO-Russia cooperation. The world has undergone radical change since the Cold War. In the 1980s, who would have thought that NATO and Russia would be partners?
However, almost all of this happened in a period of Russian economic weakness and political disorientation. After President Boris Yeltsin’s 1999 resignation, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, took over control of Russia. Putin’s presidency coincided with an outstanding economic recovery (1) and soon Russia re-emerged as an economic and energy superpower. Yet nostalgia proved irresistible in 2014, when Vladimir Putin demonstrated that he had been living in the Cold War era. Russia’s new economic capacity permitted an increase in military spending. The political posture of the Russian leadership changed as well, as evidenced by Putin’s Munich speech in February 2007 and the 2008 Georgia war. Thus, Russia’s agenda clashed anew with NATO enlargement, which from 1999 to 2004 grew to include Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Thus, Russian concerns over NATO resurfaced (2). Finally, the 2010 Russian Federation Military Doctrine expressed disapproval of NATO Eastern expansion and listed NATO as an external threat (3).

A Russian Spring?
Russia’s subsequent actions indicate that Moscow has devised a new strategy aimed at the restoration of Russia’s past glory. Some preparatory steps along this route, including Russia’s exit from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, should have been viewed as a tactical move rather than diplomatic protest (4). Such steps are consistent with a realization of a general assertive Russian strategy that paved the way to war with Georgia in 2008. In fact, Russian hawks were convinced after the intervention in Georgia
that they had found a way to prevent further NATO enlargement (5). President Dmitry Medvedev’s statements in November 2011 echo that conviction (6). The naval base in Gudauta, Abkhazia, and Russia’s “Sevastopol agreements” with Ukraine, which extended the Black Sea Fleet lease until 2042, advanced Russia’s military doctrine and also contained NATO.
NATO cannot grant membership to a country hosting a non-member military base on its territory. So far, Russia’s strategy has worked: neither Ukraine nor Georgia has joined NATO since Russia invaded them.
Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and inclusion into the Russian Federation may be seen as a continuation of the same strategy. Earlier this year, when Putin realized that Viktor Yanukovych was going to be impeached by the Ukrainian Parliament and that Ukraine would not join the Eurasian Customs Union, Putin responded according to the script he used with Georgia in 2008, the only difference being that Crimea requested formal inclusion in the Russian Federation. On March 18 the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation was signed (7).
Seen from this perspective, Viktor Yanukovych’s call for a referendum towards a ‘federalization’ of Ukraine is just an act in Vladimir Putin’s screenplay. The fact that the city of Donetsk (8) and Eastern Ukraine (9) are already being targeted confirms that Russia likely is not going to stop. Furthermore, Odessa may follow the same path (10). Observing these events, one must assume that the most likely scenario is the creation of a new Eastern bloc of satellite states headed by Moscow. Having in mind both the psychological profile of the current Russian leaders, particularly Vladimir Putin, and the sequence in the evolution of Russia with the West, tiny regions like Transnístria (11) or Gagaúzia (12) are going to be disputed, as well.

Friends or Foes?
Russia does not have a high opinion of the European Union on defense and security issues, not only due to the EU’s lack of competence in this area but also because the EU is no match to Russia in military terms. Moreover, aware of its energy predominance over Europe, Russia favors bilateral negotiations with the EU member states. In addition, Russia not only challenged but also rejected EU’s most fundamental feature, its normative power or “Model Power Europe” (13). In fact, Russia was able to promote Europeanization from the East by reversing the political conditionality and asymmetry within the EU-Russia relation (14). Concerning Ukraine, EU actions were disappointing, to say the least. However, this is not surprising: EU action parallels what happened during and after the 2008 Georgia war. Back then, the Extraordinary European Council suspended negotiations with Russia until Russian troops’ withdrawal from Georgia. Talks resumed, notwithstanding the fact that the Russian troops had not withdrawn. Given the fact that the EU did not ponder political alternatives to these actions, the inevitable question arises about what the EU cherishes most, its energy or its values (15).
For its part, NATO decided to suspend cooperation with Russia, but Russia’s leadership does not seem too offended. Alexander Lukashevich, Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman, recalled that this is not the first time such a gesture was assumed by the West and that after Russia’s war with Georgia NATO-Russia militar cooperation resumed (16). But while Russia is not worried about the interruption of a dialogue with NATO, Moscow does fear the integration of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Thus far, Western sanctions do not seem to have had an effect on the Kremlin strategy (17). Quite the contrary (18). Hence, if “freezing assets” is not an issue for Russians, what is? The Kremlin propaganda at the same time does its best to discredit any proactive policy by the West towards Crimea. According to the notorious Director General of the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Dmitry Kiselev, even the present response of the West, restrained though it is, deserves the following label: “Western behavior borders on schizophrenia” (19).

Boldness: Unexpected and Necessary
None of the three countries that are victims of Russia’s actual or potential separatist policy – Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova – can join NATO or the EU with a ‘pending’ territorial conflict with a neighbor. Therefore, the cost of their accession may well be giving up a part of their country. If these states are willing to pay such high price, NATO must welcome them as members as soon as possible. Speeding up Ukrainian, Georgian and Moldovan accession to NATO would be the bold move. Membership Action Plan would not be sufficient (20). Moscow, which has always claimed that NATO enlargement was a broken promise, may be surprised by a swift, unified response, as those in the Kremlin have come to expect feeble behavior and sluggish responses from the EU and even from NATO. A bold move by NATO would finally set limits on Russia’s assertiveness. New Russian interventions in Georgia and Moldova are possible (21). Alexander Grushko, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO, reaffirmed Russia’s warning about Ukraine and Georgia membership. But will Russia really intervene if these countries became NATO members? After all, if we are before a novum frigus bellum we know it will not be the same as the previous Cold War. The division lines are already different, perhaps to a higher degree than is commonly thought. Any move that checks Russia’s influence is welcome (22).
Already some positive signs that could be the necessary precondition for such actions are appearing. NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has stated that “Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine is in blatant breach of its international commitments and it is a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” (23). In Athens on April 5, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that the EU “should be very firm on international law and the rules that must apply”. Referring to the banner “Crimea is in my heart” placed behind Vladimir Putin during a rally last month, Bildt went further noting that we should wonder what else Putin cares about (24). Indeed, one must ask what is going to be the cost of the resurgence of Russian greatness, and how far Russia’s leadership might go. However, we know one thing already: any sign of hesitation from the West will be interpreted by Moscow as a license to proceed with Russia’s previous course. Presently, Russia is well ahead in the triggering of events. Should the EU and especially NATO conform? Now is the time for decision. Deciding according to convenience means a loss of credibility. It also shows a marked lack of values. EU countries must show cohesion and speak with a single voice. NATO must act according to its essential purpose. A refocusing and ‘returning’ to Europe on the part of NATO, rather than a stubborn maintenance of the “Asian pivot”, is wise. And taking a stand against Russia confirms NATO’s raison d’être.

Notes

1 International Monetary Fund, “Russia – Gross Domestic Product, constant prices” (IMF, World Economic Outlook, October 2013).
2 Vladimir Putin, “Press Statement and Answers to Journalists’ Questions Following a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council” (President of Russia, 4 April 2008).
3 Dmitry Medvedev, “The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation” (President of Russia, 5 February 2010).
4 Yuri Zarakhovich, “Why Putin Pulled Out of a Key Treaty” (Time, 14 July 2007).
5 Denis Dyomkin, “Russia says Georgia war stopped NATO expansion” (Reuters, 21 November 2008).
6 Dmitry Astahov, “Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia prevented NATO growth – Medvedev” (Ria Novosti, 21 November 2011).
7 Bridget Kendall, “Crimea crisis: Russian President Putin’s speech annotated” (BBC News, 19 March 2014).
8 Maria Finoshina, “Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk rallies in favor of independence referendum” (RT, 5 April 2014).
9 “Ukraine crisis: What is happening where?” (BBC News, 14 April 2014).
10 Anastasia Vlasova and Oksana Grytsenko, “Ukrainian nationalists, pro-Russian separatists stage rival rallies in Odessa” (KyivPost, 6 April 2014).
11 Christian Oliver, “Tiny Transnistria becomes the frontline in east-west struggle” (Financial Times, 4 April 2014).
12 Tiago Ferreira Lopes, “Post-soviet Unfrozen Dilemmas: Profiling Gagauzia” (State Building and Fragility Monitor, No. 7, March 2014).
13 Laura Ferreira-Pereira, “The European Union as a ‘Model Power’: Spreading Peace, Democracy and Human Rights in the Wider World”, in Federiga Bindi (ed.), The European Union Foreign Policy: Assessing Europe’s Role in the World (Brookings Institution Press, 2012).
14 Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira, “The many patterns of Europeanization: European Union Relations with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus”, in Teresa Cierco (ed.), The European Union Neighborhood. Challenges and Opportunities (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013).
15 Council of the European Union, “Council conclusions on Ukraine” (European Union, 20/21 March 2014).
16 Timothy Heritage, “Russia says NATO reverts to Cold War-era mindset” (Reuters, 2 April 2014).
17 “Russian Deputy PM Plays Down Western Sanctions” (Ria Novosti, 15 March 2014).
18 Igor Ivanov, “Western Sanctions Are a Sign of Weakness” (The Moscow Times, 27 March 2014).
19 “Western behavior borders on schizophrenia” (Ria Novosti, 5 April 2014).
20 Joshua Kucera, “Ivanishvili: We Will Get NATO MAP in 2014” (Eurasianet.org, 2 May 2013).
21 Nicu Popescu, “After Crimea: Putin’s Balance Sheet” (EUISS, Issue Alert No. 24, 4 April 2014); Giorgi Menabde, “Kremlin’s Followers in Georgia Become Active” (The Jamestown Foundation, 3 April 2014).
22 “Eurasian Economic Union Treaty Could Be Signed by May” (Ria Novosti, 3 April 2014).
23 Fred Dews, “NATO Secretary-General: Russia’s Annexation of Crimea Is Illegal and Illegitimate” (Brookings Now, 19 March 2014).
24 Demetris Nellas, “EU Working With Russia, Ukraine to Defuse Crisis” (Associated Press, 5 April 2014).

Read more here: IPRIS Viewpoint 144


Vladimir Putin ou Vlad, the Puti(deto)nator

 

A Rússia está a fazer na Ucrânia, mais ou menos o que fez na Geórgia.
Alguém se lembra o que a comunidade internacional fez sobre Abcásia e da Ossétia do Sul?
Então, a pergunta é: desta vez, qual será a reação da Comunidade Internacional?

Penso que Putin considera ser o herdeiro de Pedro, o Grande.

.

Russia is doing in Ukraine more or less what she did in Georgia.
Does anyone remember what the international community did about Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
So, the question is: this time, what will be the international community reaction?

I think that Putin considers himself the heir of Peter, the Great!


Nostalgias (2)

O diferendo entre a NATO e a Rússia sobre o novo sistema de defesa antimissil, para a europa, relembra outros tempos.

E, a todos os níveis, outras circunstâncias!


Na Encruzilhada: UE, Turquia e NATO

Já foram escritas muitas linhas sobre a possibilidade da integração da Turquia na União Europeia (UE). Mas, numa altura em que as negociações entre as duas partes se arrastam, inclusive estando suspensas em alguns sectores chave, tendo em consideração os acontecimentos vividos no Médio Oriente, em especial no Iraque e às ofensivas do exército turco contra o Partido dos Trabalhadores do Curdistão (PKK), não será perda de tempo reflectir um pouco mais sobre este assunto e equacionar alguns cenários.

Devido à importância da sua posição geográfica, a Turquia é, desde 1952, membro da Aliança Atlântica (NATO). Naturalmente que a data atrás referida remete-nos para o período da Guerra-fria. Não sendo a Turquia um país comunista não é estranhar que, juntamente com a Grécia, ambos os países tenham aderido à NATO e, assim, ficaram mais protegidos das tendências expansionistas da ex-União Soviética. Mas só porque a Guerra-fria já acabou com ela também se foram as tendências expansionistas da Rússia?

Há, desde 1725, na Rússia, um documento que, apócrifo ou não, tem influenciado o seu comportamento como Estado. Nem sequer a Revolução de 1917 e a consequente mudança de regime alterou a execução das ideias nele contidas. Refiro-me ao Testamento de Pedro, o Grande. Sendo que a mudança para o sistema capitalista tem acelerado o seu potencial de crescimento, não é de admirar que o germe da expansão se volte a manifestar.

Ora a Turquia, apesar de ser governada por um partido de natureza islâmica, é um Estado laico. São os militares quem garantem que assim continuará a ser. Como tal, se a sua candidatura à UE for adiada e/ou recusada e na hipótese de um regime teocrático ser estabelecido no Iraque, a Turquia passará a estar muito mais receptiva a uma eventual aliança com a Rússia.

Juntamente com a Turquia são potenciais candidatos à UE, países com uma forte presença muçulmana. Refiro-me à Albânia, Macedónia, Bósnia Herzegovina e Montenegro, países que estão geograficamente localizados entre Estados-Membros da UE, a Eslovénia e a Grécia. Como tal, na eventualidade de um conflito que envolva ocidentais e islâmicos, que género de reacções são de esperar das comunidades muçulmanas destes países? Quais são os tipos de ramificações que estas comunidades possuem com as comunidades muçulmanas em França, Inglaterra, Alemanha e Holanda? E que repercussões devemos esperar nos Balcãs?

Por sua vez, na suposição da transformação do Iraque num regime teocrático, países como a Arménia e Geórgia não ficarão sossegados e irão procurar protecção algures. Supondo que esse apoio virá da Rússia, que efeitos terá no xadrez, não apenas regional mas também mundial, uma aliança que una a Rússia, Turquia, Arménia e Geórgia? Pela mesma ordem de razão é claro que, devido à falta de alternativas, o Cazaquistão, Azerbeijão, Turquemenistão, Quirguistão, Tajiquistão e Uzbequistão também poderão aderir a essa coligação. Afinal, para além da protecção recebida estes Estados também conseguem impedir a sua transformação em regimes teocráticos de matriz islâmica. E, de todos estes países, qual é aquele que, devido ao seu passado histórico, está mais vulnerável a esse cenário? A Turquia, sem dúvida nenhuma.

Convém não esquecer que resultante da sua acção diplomática, particularmente sentida no âmbito da Organização de Cooperação de Xangai, a Rússia foi capaz de recuperar muita da sua anterior influência na região.

E, no que respeita a prováveis perspectivas para o Médio Oriente é prudente ter em mente que o Hezbollah ainda não desistiu do seu sonho de transformar o Líbano num Estado teocrático, que do cenário de guerra civil que se vive no Iraque pode muito bem também emergir um regime teocrático e que o Irão [rodeado por potências nucleares (Rússia, China, Paquistão, Índia e Israel)] não vai abandonar o seu programa nuclear pacificamente. A concretização de qualquer uma destas hipóteses não augura um aliviar de tensão entre ocidentais e árabes. Antes pelo contrário.

Assim, é de considerar que uma adesão da Turquia à UE pode alterar as jogadas do xadrez e teria, entre outras, duas vantagens fundamentais: A primeira, de nível psicológico, permitiria à UE abalar as ideias de superioridade segundo as quais é perspectivada, pelos povos árabes, ao aceitar no seu meio um país de matriz islâmica; a segunda, marcadamente estratégica, tornaria o território da Turquia numa espécie de zona tampão.

No entanto, dificilmente será consensual qualquer decisão que venha a ser tomada neste assunto. Tanto politicamente como historicamente. E, muito recentemente, o Presidente francês reafirmou a sua oposição à entrada da Turquia na UE.

Mas, será que a integração da Turquia na UE sem direito, pelo menos durante um período de tempo nunca inferior a dez anos, às prerrogativas do acordo de Schengen é prejudicial? E qual será o custo da sua não entrada?

Público: 28 de Julho de 2008


Reflexão

A eventual adesão da Túrquia à União Europeia (UE) é uma questão apaixonante e primordial. Ninguém fica indiferente à mesma.

Em princípio, se não se alterar a essência do Estado de Direito, sou favorável à adesão turca. Por várias razões e debaixo de algumas condicionantes, é certo, que não irei aqui elencar. Apenas deixo vários tópicos para maturação:

Relembro que a decisão do Supremo Tribunal Constitucional turco foi conforme o estado de Direito e deixo acesso a um excelente artigo sobre esta temática.

Se queremos que os outros nos aceitem como somos, então devemos aceitar os outros como eles são;  Compromissos serão necessários, é certo.

Para além disso, devemos considerar duas nuances.
Primeiro, imaginemos que Recep Tayyip Erdogan continua a respeitar os valores e princípios do Estado de Direito, mas que vê recusada a adesão à UE; Segundo, que Erdogan transforma a Turquia num estado islâmico, o que automaticamente significará a não entrada na UE.

Considerando uma eventual saída da Turquia da NATO, e uma possível aliança com a Rússia, valerá a pena integrar a Turquia na UE? Será essa circunstância suficiente para manter a Turquia como um estado laico?

Pessoalmente, neste último caso, passarei a ser desfavorável quanto à entrada da Turquia na UE e da sua permanência na NATO.

P.S. – as acções do AKP (Partido da Justiça e Desenvolvimento) sobre os militares e o poder judicial sinalizam uma mudança de postura dos órgãos de soberania turcos relativamente ao estado de Direito, uma mudança que não augura bons sinais. Receio que Erdogan tenha uma estratégia de manutenção do poder que não seja compatível com os cânones ocidentais. Tenho notado uma subtil alteração no comportamento dos responsáveis do AKP nesse sentido.
Evidentemente, poderei estar errado.


Repensar perspectivas

A época actual, no que respeita a temáticas relacionadas com relações internacionais, geopolítica, geoeconomia, etc., está a revelar-se muito interessante.

Consideremos a problemática dos centros de influência mundial. Primeiro, se recordarmos os tempos da Guerra fria, lembraremos que o mundo esteve bipolarmente dividido, em dois blocos, com a predominância de duas superpotências, os Estados Unidos da América (EUA) e a União Soviética e as respectivas conexões de sistemas; segundo, com o colapso do sistema soviético, globo passou a ter uma única superpotência, os EUA; e, terceiro, devido ao desenvolvimento, particularmente económico, daí decorrente, qual Fénix renascida, a divisão bipolar parece estar a regressar.

Quais são as diferenças que podemos observar? Se a nossa análise se focalizar na geopolítica, é facilmente perceptível que a predominância do Atlântico é transversal aos três períodos acima mencionados. No entanto, se os pressupostos de observação forem geoeconómicos, então a bipolaridade é mais inteligível, pois notamos que apesar do centro político mundial ainda permanecer no Atlântico, o centro económico mundial mudou-se para o Pacífico.

Por outras palavras, a globalização teve a consequência de provocar uma dissonância no binómio político/económico e fez com que o mundo contemporâneo seja geopoliticamente visto a partir do Atlântico e geoeconomicamente observado do Pacífico.

A crescente capacidade económica de países geograficamente localizados no Pacífico ou na orla deste, nomeadamente no Índico, coloca algumas questões. Afinal, não é só nos nossos dias que riqueza é poder. Todo e qualquer exemplo histórico de expansão pode ser utilizado para ilustrar esta afirmação. Consequentemente, a possibilidade de uma transferência do centro político mundial para esta região deve ser, pelo menos, encarada e pensada.

E só esta hipótese já levanta problemas consideráveis. Senão vejamos. No caso de uma efectiva deslocalização dos pólos, político e económico, de influência mundial para o Pacífico, no que concerne à transferência dos centros de decisão políticos transatlânticos e internacionais para as imediações para aquela região, os dos EUA serão facilmente deslocáveis, mas para os das Nações Unidas a dificuldade será maior e os da União Europeia (UE) serão quase impraticáveis.

Mas, para já, ainda mais relevante é reter que a União Europeia, que é uma potência económica mundial, terá que se afirmar num mundo economicamente centrado no Pacífico, ou seja, fora da sua zona geográfica, cenário que acontece pela primeira vez na sua história.

Só segundo os prismas acima referidos as elações já são interessantes, mas concomitantemente, também devemos ponderar o ressurgimento da Rússia no palco mundial e a afirmação do Irão como potência regional, e, se preferirem, examinar este mundo com dois centros de decisão distantes segundo as tensões religiosas e as dinâmicas civilizacionais.

Ficará para outra altura a abordagem a esta problemática de acordo com estas duas últimas perspectivas. Por agora, ficaremos pela óptica que temos vindo a desenvolver.

E, na nossa opinião (que já anteriormente defendemos e sustentamos em outros fóruns), para contrariar esta tendência, a Aliança Transatlântica precisa de evoluir no sentido da sua vocação, i.e., uma vez que valores universais estão na sua génese, é chegada a altura de efectivar essa aptidão e de se transformar numa organização mundial.

Há muito mais em jogo do que o aqui considerado. Nos tempos que passam, repensar perspectivas não é um mero exercício intelectual. É uma obrigação. Só assim estaremos preparados quando as probabilidades se concretizarem.

16 de Maio de 2008 – O Primeiro de Janeiro


Contra a corrente?

Os «herdeiros» de Pedro, o Grande parecem estar revitalizados. Pelo menos, no que respeita ao seu actual sucessor.

O Presidente da Rússia, Vladimir Putin, está a demonstrar, ou melhor, a personificar o ressurgimento do seu país no palco mundial. E não o faz de qualquer maneira. Afirma a condição de superpotência russa, alicerçado nos pressupostos e mecanismos económicos do capitalismo. Por outras palavras, faz uso do sistema de controlo característico do aparelho político da ex-União Soviética mas abandona o sistema comunista fundindo estes factores na equação da democracia.

Atente-se nas afirmações proferidas aquando da aceitação como candidato do partido Rússia Unida às eleições legislativas de Dezembro, quando disse que para além de ser necessário a vitória do partido nas eleições também era “preciso eleger como Presidente uma pessoa honesta, capaz e moderna com quem possa trabalhar em equipa” (A nós, portugueses, esta afirmação devia recordar-nos algo ocorrido num passado não muito longínquo).

Aproveitando-se do aumento da volatilidade que emergiu na região do Médio Oriente após a invasão do Iraque e que nos últimos dias têm atingido as relações entre a Turquia e os Estados Unidos, depois de pacientemente ter utilizado a Organização de Cooperação de Shanghai para recuperar grande parte da antiga influência russa na região, Putin demonstrou visão diplomática ao participar na Cimeira dos Países do Mar Cáspio, em Teerão. Para além de ter sido a figura central do encontro, também conseguiu incrementar a posição russa junto do regime iraniano e reforçar a diplomacia russa nas reuniões e instâncias internacionais que discutem o programa nuclear iraniano.

Igualmente é de reter a estratégia seguida pela administração russa no que respeita ao projecto de defesa antimíssil norte-americano e à instalação de vários dispositivos na periferia das fronteiras da Federação Russa.

Incapazes de convencer os russos que o seu sistema não os ameaça e colocados perante as sucessivas tomadas de posição, decididas pelo Presidente russo, de abandono das convenções internacionais em armamento (não apenas do Tratado sobre Forças Convencionais na Europa, como também e principalmente do Tratado de Forças Nucleares de Médio Alcance), no investimento, durante 8 anos, de 100 biliões de dólares na modernização das suas capacidades militares e no recente anúncio do desenvolvimento russo em sistemas de mísseis nucleares completamente novos, deixaram os norte-americanos perante a possibilidade de serem responsabilizados, pela opinião pública, por uma nova corrida às armas nucleares na Europa.

É precisamente fazendo uso das conjunturas que se capitalizam as situações. E nisso, Vladimir Putin está a ser magistral.

Acontece que as medidas que o Presidente russo anuncia e toma têm implicações no sistema internacional. E estando o mundo de hoje cada vez mais interligado, as repercussões desses choques fazem-se sentir em primeiro lugar, na própria globalização.

Assim, na dicotomia entre a esfera económica e a esfera política global, aparentemente, os comportamentos dos actuais responsáveis dos Estados parecem estar a levar-nos para os tempos da Guerra Fria. Isto, numa altura em que o anterior Presidente da Reserva Federal norte-americana, Alan Greenspan, alertou para os perigos resultantes duma contra-corrente à globalização por parte dos políticos.

A ressurgência da Rússia na cena internacional deve-se ao capitalismo e ao know-how recebido das multinacionais ocidentais. Vladimir Putin sabe-o. Mas os norte-americanos também o sabiam e mesmo assim foram para o Iraque. Infelizmente, para e graças a nós, a Rússia de hoje acede muito melhor às suas riquezas naturais. Infelizmente, para e graças nós, também recupera a sua influência de outrora à conta dos nossos equívocos.

Seguir, de vez em quando, contra a corrente parece ser um refúgio humano. Ou é assim que vamos com a corrente?

25 de Outubro de 2007 – O Primeiro de Janeiro


A (de)pendencia da defesa europeia (III)

Com esta terceira, e última, parte de considerações versando a temática da questão da defesa europeia, é apropriado fazer uma recapitulação das perspectivas abordadas nas duas anteriores reflexões.

Primeiro, vimos que as oscilações observadas nas relações entre os Estados Unidos da América (EUA) e a Rússia têm profundas implicações na Europa. Segundo, que a Europa hoje é o que é porque os EUA continuam a defender-nos.

Igualmente observamos que o mundo não é idealista, mas sim realista. E que a Aliança Transatlântica, razão de ser do mundo de hoje, terá que se adaptar num planeta centrado no Pacifico. Para tal, é necessário que ambos os seus pólos sejam fortes tanto económica como militarmente.

Por isso, não são suficientes as reformas, programas e iniciativas que foram implementadas pelos dirigentes da Aliança Atlântica (NATO) na Cimeira de Praga de 2002. Tendo em vista que a NATO deixou de estar geograficamente limitada, que os vários contingentes europeus que integram as forças da Aliança no Afeganistão irão sofrer mais baixas ao ponto de afectar seriamente opinião publica europeia e considerando a possibilidade de um falhanço dos objectivos delineados para a Força Internacional de Assistência à Segurança (ISAF), não podemos deixar que mesquinhices nacionais afectem a coesão europeia e que, consequentemente, abalem a ligação euro-atlântica. Como tal, era muito importante que a União Europeia (UE), e não somente alguns dos seus Estados-Membros, tomasse diligências concretas neste domínio, como a criação de uma verdadeira política comum de defesa. Tal posição representaria um sinal inequívoco que a Aliança Transatlântica é constituída por dois pilares decididos e coesos.

Mas não é somente este cenário que devemos brandir como argumento. Também não devemos descurar as intenções que alguns (Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Bin Landen, Hezbollah, etc) manifestam pela destruição dos princípios e valores que nos identificam. E igualmente não são de descartar as ameaças económicas e o risco que a ausência do poderio militar significam quando confrontados com alianças geoeconómicas, mesmo que temporárias, como as verificadas entre Pequim, Teerão e Moscovo.

Por sua vez, os diversos alinhamentos políticos que se verificam entre os grandes Estados-membros da UE face ao poderio alemão, em virtude do novo sistema de votação, levantam fantasmas do passado. Haverá o risco do reacendimento dos antigos ódios nacionalistas e novas divisões fracturantes na Europa? Felizmente que aqui, mais uma vez, será o vínculo transatlântico que proporcionará o pender para o equilíbrio e para a manutenção do diálogo intra-europeu.

A Europa, e tudo que ela representa, é algo por que vale a pena lutar e morrer. Martin Luther King, Jr., disse: “Se um homem não descobriu nada pelo qual morrer, não está pronto para viver”. Não me parece que abdicar de parte do investimento na esfera económica e social em prol da defesa e segurança, que permite a manutenção do nosso modo de vida, seja realmente pernicioso.

Para a Europa, o aumento do investimento em defesa não é apenas uma questão de afirmação internacional. Também é um imperativo para a sua sobrevivência e para a manutenção do seu nível de vida. Mas não só, porque ao analisar as circunstâncias que caracterizam o mundo, percebemos que tal decisão pode ser fundamental para o futuro da Aliança Transatlântica e, quiçá, da civilização ocidental. E o futuro, como nos ensinou Mohandas Gandhi, depende do que fazemos no presente.

Em suma, o tempo, para a Europa, é de consolidação dos mecanismos e meios que permitam a continuação da sua afirmação num mundo em convulsão. Ou seja, a Europa não deve ficar dependente, nem de outros nem das diferentes preferências que cada um dos seus Estados-membros tem.

E, como muito bem disse Francis Bacon, “Escolher o tempo próprio é ganhar tempo”.

16 de Agosto de 2007 – O Primeiro de Janeiro


A (de)pendencia da defesa europeia (II)

Já vinha de trás, mas a perda da primazia europeia no palco mundial deu-se definitivamente após a segunda grande guerra. Apesar de ser parte no lado vencedor da guerra, a Europa, principal campo de batalha do conflito mundial, estava completamente de rastos. Necessitava de se reconstruir e também de precaver futuras altercações entre os países europeus.

O auxílio norte-americano também aqui foi precioso e a constituição da North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) tornou-se numa peça fundamental na elaboração da Europa pós-guerra. Ajudando, tanto aliados como inimigos, os Estados Unidos da América (EUA) lançaram as bases – e o exemplo – que veio a efectivar o entendimento franco-alemão e, consequentemente, uma nova Europa unida e convergida em objectivos comuns.

Contudo, se tal sentido foi conseguido nas áreas económica, social e política, não foi passível de obtenção, sem a presença dos EUA no seu meio, na área militar. Note-se o fracasso da Comunidade Europeia de Defesa. Assim, foi para a NATO que se transferiram a maior parte dos aspectos englobados nessa temática. Por outras palavras, os norte-americanos defendiam-nos.

É curioso notar que sessenta anos depois, os inimigos de ontem são os aliados de hoje. Mas apesar da estreita aliança que liga os EUA ao Japão e da protecção militar que aqueles dão a estes, o Japão dá sinais de uma insatisfação relativamente ao disposto no artigo IX da sua Constituição. Ora este artigo, para além de estipular o limite de gastos até 1% do PIB em aquisição de equipamentos destinados à defesa também impede o Japão de declarar guerra a outro Estado.

Os mesmos pressupostos são visíveis na base da recuperação europeia. Foi a capacidade de defesa norte-americana e o seu «compromisso» em nos proteger que viabilizou a nossa ascensão económica, pois uma vez que não tivemos necessidade em dispensar quantias consideráveis em defesa canalizamo-las para o crescimento económico e para o bem-estar social. No entanto, se os Estados europeus mantiveram as suas capacidades tout court, não parecem minimamente preocupados com a sua dependência militar, apesar do mundo estar a transformar-se.

O que é que nos diz a história? Que se repete. E a humanidade? Que aprende pouco. Reiterando as questões, respondo fazendo uso das palavras de Charles Snow, “a história não tolera as derrotas” e de Jonathan Swift “como é possível esperar que a humanidade ouça conselhos, se nem sequer ouve as advertências”.

O mundo altera-se e o seu centro desloca-se para o Pacifico. A regra vigente é que não há regras. As ameaças são transnacionais e as guerras são assimétricas. Então, podemos dar-nos ao luxo de ignorar a defesa e a segurança? Nos dias de hoje não basta ser economicamente forte. Num planeta centrado no Pacifico, a aliança Transatlântica precisa de ter dois elos resistentes, tanto económica como militarmente. Para além disso, nós, europeus, não podemos estar sempre a contar com as garantias dos outros. Também temos que as prestar.

Wu Ch’i (430 a.C. – 381 a.C.) disse: “A forma de manter o país seguro está na precaução”. Hoje, mais do que nunca, a precaução é uma responsabilidade. E para a Europa não é perda de tempo ou de recursos investir mais em defesa e segurança. Afinal, não é apenas o interior das nossas casas que devemos proteger. Também o local onde as edificamos deve ser protegido.

Por sua vez, George Bernard Shaw disse: “O homem razoável adapta-se ao mundo; o homem que não é razoável obstina-se a tentar que o mundo se lhe adapte. Qualquer progresso, portanto, depende do homem que não é razoável”. Para o melhor e, infelizmente, para o pior, tal é verificável.

Como a improbabilidade tem a propensão para se transformar numa possibilidade que mais cedo ou mais tarde é uma inevitabilidade, é chegada a altura de o homem razoável servir de contraponto ao homem que não é razoável.

2 de Agosto de 2007 – O Primeiro de Janeiro


A (de)pendencia da defesa europeia

As ocorrências nas relações entre os Estados Unidos da América (EUA) e a Rússia, por causa do escudo anti-míssil, e os seus efeitos na temática da defesa europeia merecem alguma reflexão.

A concepção de um guarda-chuva contra um ataque de mísseis balísticos intercontinentais não é nova. Data da década dos anos 60 do século passado e, apesar de ter sido recusada pelo então Secretário de Defesa dos EUA, Robert S. McNamara, nunca foi completamente esquecida. É precisamente aqui que encontramos a génese do programa “StarWars” que o Presidente Ronald Reagan, em 23 de Março de 1983, no seu discurso sobre segurança nacional, anunciou à Nação americana e ao mundo.

Após o colapso da ex-União Soviética, a perspectiva geopolítica mundial alterou-se e, em 1999, na revisão do conceito estratégico da Aliança Atlântica (NATO) o tema foi alvo de breve alusão, apenas no que respeitava às eventuais ameaças sobre os destacamentos de forças. Com os atentados de 11 de Setembro de 2001, os EUA abandonaram unilateralmente as convenções internacionais que proibiam o desenvolvimento deste tipo de sistemas e iniciaram a construção que um escudo contra eventuais ataques de países inimigos (Irão e Coreia do Norte). Os europeus, na Cimeira de Praga de 2002, aquiescendo com as propostas norte-americanas, foram dizendo que talvez não fosse má ideia pensar na problemática da protecção anti-míssil.

Ao contrário do que se verificou com as administrações norte-americanas e a administração Yeltsin, as relações entre a administração Bush e a administração Putin foram sempre tensas. Se o alargamento da NATO foi sempre visto com alguma desconfiança, a entrada dos Estados Bálticos na Aliança e as posições da actual administração dos EUA, no que respeita ao Iraque, Ucrânia, Bielo-Rússia e Geórgia, só serviram para aumentar essa suspeita. Alexei Arbatov (Vice-presidente do partido YABLOKO e membro da Academia de Ciências Russa) ao referir-se sobre a defesa anti-míssil afirmou que não há argumentos que convençam os russos que os projécteis a colocar na Polónia não são ameaça, pois estes só o perspectivam como tal. Igualmente refere que, contrariamente à sua posição de intolerância sobre a proliferação nuclear, com a instalação desses mísseis interceptores os EUA estão a aceitar que o Irão desenvolva armas atómicas ou não teriam a necessidade de se defender delas.

Porque é que a proposta de utilização do radar que a Rússia possui no Azerbeijão (Gabala) não é suficiente? Usualmente são três as fases do trajecto de um míssil balístico: Boost, mid-course, e terminal. Ora, o radar russo apenas faz a detecção de lançamentos e o sistema norte-americano, para além de a requerer também implica o seguimento para intercepção do alvo durante a 2ª fase do percurso, que é mais longa e onde a trajectória já está definida. Um sistema deste tipo visa a destruição do engenho, por uma “defesa sucessiva por camadas”, durante as duas primeiras fases do voo através de uma intercepção e não por uma perseguição ao alvo.

Então, para a Europa, que tipo de impacto provoca a elaboração de um sistema deste género? Uma vez que a construção do escudo anti-míssil que os EUA pretendem efectivar implica a colocação de dois dispositivos, um radar raios X e dez mísseis interceptores, em dois dos países europeus que durante a Guerra-fria estiveram para lá da Cortina de Ferro, respectivamente na Republica Checa e Polónia, os europeus devem considerar as implicações político-militares que emergem da utilização do território europeu para concretização de tal escudo: a segurança interior da Europa e o contacto exterior, i.e., diplomático, particularmente com a Rússia.

Qual é o risco, para a segurança europeia, da atitude tomada por Vladimir Putin de suspensão do Tratado sobre Forças Convencionais na Europa (FCE)? Respondendo à questão, convém lembrar que um dos pilares fulcrais da segurança e estabilidade europeia é precisamente o FCE. Foi através deste instrumento que a redução dos armamentos convencionais foi negociada e que foi estipulado um mecanismo de inspecções recíprocas e de comunicação mútua de grandes manobras militares que visavam o melhoramento da confiança Este/Oeste. Para além das suposições implícitas nesta suspensão note-se que, recentemente, a Rússia lançou o “Yury Dolgoruky”, o primeiro de uma nova classe (Borei) de submarinos de mísseis balísticos.

O mundo em que vivemos é regido pelo realismo e não pelo idealismo. Para a Europa, talvez fosse prudente um reequacionar das suas capacidades militares e das suas políticas de defesa.

19 de Julho de 2007 – O Primeiro de Janeiro