|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Kissinger Praises Putin's 'Bold Initiative' on Missile Defense
Aug. 9 (EIRNS)Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to the United States to jointly develop and deploy a ballistic missile system is a "bold initiative," with "potentially profound, long-range significance," writes Henry Kissinger in today's Washington Post. This "historical initiative," which Putin has linked to NATO, Kissinger compares to President Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars vision," which posed "new creative opportunities." The potential is the shift into "a wider approach to other global challenges," by redefining the strategic relationship between the United States and Russia, bilaterally, and also, importantly, through NATO.
Kissinger does not believe the United States should back away from its plan to deploy components of the system in Poland and the Czech Republic, because it "underline[s] their ties to America." But what the United States should do, he counsels, "is limit the proposed deployment to its stated objective ... and find ways to define specific steps that separate the anti-missile deployment in Central Europe from a strategy for a hypothetical and highly implausible war against Russia."
U.S. General Levels More Provocations Against Russia
Aug. 9 (EIRNS)The recently confirmed vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General James Cartwright, told the Senate Arms Service Committee on July 31 at his confirmation hearing, that the Bush Administration will not extend the U.S.-Russian START Treaty, because "it will provide greater flexibility to pursue prompt global strike solutions." Cartwright has been a promoter of a conventional, non-nuclear "prompt global strike capability," which, he admits, is not easily distinguishable from a nuclear capability. Sergei Markov, head of the Institute of Political Research in Moscow, responded: "All that we see today is that a global superpower is essentially ruled by extremists who commit catastrophic mistakes, throwing the world into risky ventures," Novosti reported on Aug. 2.
Cartwright, when asked about ways to reduce tensions with Russia, said that the Russia-NATO Council should work toward "managing Russia's reaction to possible NATO enlargement." Goals should include "to help allies' concerns about a resurgent and assertive Russian Federation and remind them of the importance of united pushback against Russian behavior when needed." Russia Today TV on Aug. 1 characterized this view as no different than the rhetoric of the Cold War.
Lyndon LaRouche responded to Cartwright's statements: "Idiots in a bankrupt nation, want to send that nation to a world war."
Russia Charges Georgian Missile Incident Was Provocation
Aug. 7 (EIRNS)The Russian Foreign Ministry has an official commentary on an incident that occurred yesterday evening near the border of South Ossetia, a district within Georgia that has declared its autonomy. Denying charges from Tbilisi that a Russian plane had violated Georgian airspace and fired a missile, the Foreign Ministry called the incident "a new provocation," aimed against renewal of work by the Mixed Control Commission on a Georgian-Ossetian settlement. According to the statement, the missile was reportedly fired by an Su-25 fighter-bomber "with Russian markings," but the Russian General Staff "categorically denies any flights by Russian aircraft in airspace near Georgian territory at the time in question." The Foreign Ministry suggests that Georgian opponents of a settlement deployed the plane and its air-to-ground missile, in order to impede the Control Commission's work. Russia's just-arrived special envoy for those talks, Yu. F. Popov, has now left Tbilisi for the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali to investigate, according to the statement.
Chinese and Russian Presidents Increase Cooperation
Aug. 10 (EIRNS)Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet twice next week, both at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and at the SCO joint maneuvers near the Russian Ural city of Chelyabinsk, and will discuss security cooperation and joint energy projects, Voice of Russia reports today.
President Hu will also visit Kazakstan during his tour Aug. 14-18. The trip will help bring relations between China and its Central Asian neighbors into a whole new age, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui announced in Beijing yesterday. The SCO nations are to sign a "long-term good-neighbor treaty of friendship and cooperation" in Bishkek, Li said. "The treaty will confirm the SCO spirits of pursuing peace and friendship generation over generation in the form of a legal document, which is of great significance to mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation in central Asia."
China has already signed a bilateral Good Neighbor treaty with Russia, and with the other SCO members. However, this multilateral treaty "will have more binding force
and lay a legal foundation for the good-neighborly ties among SCO member countries," Xinhua quoted Xu Tao, of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
As the SCO maneuvers got under way yesterday, Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the Russian General Staff, said that successful economic activities within the SCO "are impossible without building up security in the region, particularly involving the SCO military agencies in this process," Itar-Tass reported. Baluyevsky was speaking from Urumqi, China, where the SCO military leaders will meet during the maneuvers. Baluyevsky said that the SCO is not forming any military-political bloc, but that it is a priority to work out "conceptual foundations of military cooperation within the SCO framework." Russia has already proposed a draft policy, which must now be considered. He also said that the SCO is preparing to deal not only with terrorism, extremism, and drug trafficking, but also stressed the problems of ensuring information security "in conditions of the growing pressure on part of media outlets in some Western countries. These countries keep making attempts to persuade our peoples that so-called 'truly democratic'" public institutions "on the Western pattern" must be set up, and this "contributes to the destabilization of the situation in the countries of the region," Baluyevsky said.
Mironov: Food Price Inflation Is National Security Issue
Aug. 9 (EIRNS)Inflation, especially of food prices, has to be seen as a national security issue, Russian Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov stated yesterday, the daily Kommersant reported. Mironov, speaker of Russia's Federation Council, called for government regulation of staple food prices. "I am convinced that the state ought to regulate prices on such basic foods as bread and milk. We need to buy from farmers not only grain at fixed prices, but milk and meat as well," Mironov said. He called for special agricultural exchanges to let the state buy agricultural products.
This issue is all the more acute if we view a galloping growth in food imports as a threat to national security," he stated. "Authorities ought to take a more active part in staple foods pricing, not only record growing prices on the basic food basket. We need to entirely reconsider the state's relation to agriculture as part of a strategy to ensure the natural food security."
In Russia, bread prices have risen 7% in the past seven months, and a "basket" of basic food costs 17% more nationwide this year. Food prices have risen higher in Moscow and are especially high in the Far East regions. There is more pressure on living standards, due to rising utilities costs, which are up 13% this year. Mironov said that "no pay or pension rises can make Russians feel better, if essential goods such as bread, flour, milk, and vegetables keep moving up."