2nd Europe – USA Forum (2010)
Washington, D.C 9-10 December 2010

 

                      

 

FORGING A TRANSATLANTIC CONSENSUS ON RUSSIA

Recommendations for Action

"Forging a Transatlantic Consensus on Russia: Recommendations for Action" coorganized by the Institute for Eastern Studies, Warsaw and SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations, Washington D.C. was held on 9 and 10 December 2010, in the US capital city. It gathered more than 200 participants representing not only current american administration but also numerous politicians and experts from European Union and Russia.

An opening speech was delivered by a distinguished speaker: Senator John MacCain (R-AZ). In his intervention he summarized the need for a more realistic approach to Russia, its power, interest and values among the US policy makers.

Senator McCain pointed out that every American admnistration has been in search of its own way of defining and reseting the relations. He insisted that US needs to apply a more cirtical and realistic approach towards Russia because it has not developed as the Americans would actually wished. START is a modest achievemnt which should be accompanied by many more. McCain also critised the overperonalization of the US-Russian relations reminding about Bill&Boris, George & Vladimir and now Barack and Dimitry bilateral relations which didn't really bring tangible results. He also described Russia as a delining power  hounted by democrafic deficit, lack of national cohesion, lack of real military strenght and economy heavily dependant on hydrocarbon resources and malignant corruption. He claimed that today's Russian interest differ form American interest a great deal. Additionally, the lack of democratic mechanism and wide-spreadig assaults on journalists and oppositionists are by no means to be ignored. McCain wondered if President Miedviediev either tolerates the injustice or is simply uncapable to deal with it. 
 Among the recommendations for action McCain named the necessity to observe Georgia very closely and provide it with early warning system and defence missiles. He also stated that Georgia's memberhip in NATO would have been a huge deterrent for Russia and would most probably prevent it from further acts of aggression. Senator McCain stated as well that although american Congress is very busy with economic-related legislation (taxes, budet cuts etc) and a new START treaty is not a top priority it is of outmost important to get it ratified as soon as possible.

The first panel discussion was dedicated to the topic Values and Political Tradition: Commonalities and Differences and was moderated by Ms Angela Stent, Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University in the USA. Participants elaborated on differences they see prevailing. Mr Vladimir Pozner, renowned Russian journalist,  in his short but blunt speech claimed that he sees very few commonalities between Russia and the West. He pointed to the fact that both are human beings and share Christian heritage. Othar than that such profound differences as historical differences like lack of Renaissance or Russian slavery shaped the societies in very different ways. As a result, although not visible to the eye and despite long history of high mutual expectations there has always been a lack of true understanding. Mr Pozner clearly contended that it is high time to accept the fact that the West vs Russia division is so profound.


 

Urban Ahlin, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Parliament of Sweden; Damon Wilson, Vice President, Atlantic Council, former Senior Director, National Security Council; Jean-Dominique Giuliani, President, The Robert Schuman Foundation, France Vladimir Pozner, Journalist, Russia; Pavel Fischer, Political Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic

Swedish parliamentarian,  Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Urban Ahlin, contradicted Mr Pozner’s view and shared with his experiences that show that many Russians are just like him. He continued by claiming that Russia is closer to Europe than to the USA and is a giant economic partner for the EU. This should result in its clear geopolitical orientation and prevail in Russia defining its interest in the near abroad. Mr Ahlin underlined the importance of the Eastern Partnership, a joint Swedish- Polish initiative. He also wondered about possibilities of Russian involvement in solving frozen conflicts. He suggested that it should become a member of NATO, an impossibility due to the fact of public contradiction, and fight with its post-imperialistic stress syndrome manifested in such political moves as behavior towards neighboring states such as Ukraine.

Mr Pavel Fischer, Political Director from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs focused on the ‘muscle –lens’ of Russian foreign policy and expressed his strong regret about the failure of an important challenge: Astana NATO meeting. He also pinted to the fact that every Anerican administration tried to find new themes in relations to Russia, redefine it – therefore there was no continuity. Mr Damon Wilson, Vice President of the Atlantic Council, former Senior Director, National Security Council, USA, didn’t share this perspective and said that neither of the party perceives the other one as a threat. He also stated that Russia can be very helpful in solving many global issues important to both to the US and Europe.

The panel evoked many questions and comments from the audience. Laure Mandeville, US Chief Correspondent for the French Le Figaro, underlined that Russian elite has taken the West as a reference for many years because Russia itself was not an attractive model. She also posed a question whether we are not underestimating the widening gap in values. A Spanish perspective was shared by David Chico from the Office of the Prime Minister Zapatero. His opinion was that All men are equal  doctrine has never existed in Russia and that is where most differences are rooted.

Energy was a topic of the heated debate during the panel discussion titled Is a US-EU-Russia Partnership for Energy Sustainability Possible? It was moderated by Mr Kurt Volker, Managing Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA. Mr Mikhail Krutikhin, Partner & Analyst, Rus Energy, Russia pointed to his experiences as an energy consultant to foreign companies wanting to invest in Russia. He emphasized that there are no energy investments without ‘corruption tax’ and that it is very hard to grasp and plan for the companies from outside. He also analised the internal relations between Gazprom and the Russian government and finished saying that it is Gazprom which defines priorities and influences Russian government, not the other way round. He also pointed to very specific motivations behind Russian pipelines and 65% portion of budget assigned to that projects being stolen.  Marko Mihkelson, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the European Affairs Committee from  Estonia, pointed out to Russian oil and gas as main tool applied by Russian administration in reaching its sforeign policy goals. Mr André Mernier, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat in Belgium expressed his opinion about lack of energy supply crisis. Karl-Georg Wellmann, Member of German-USA Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag emphasized the need for more energy connectivity and more liberal energy market in the CEE. He criticized Polish state gas monopoly.


 

Marko Mihkelson, Member of Parliament, Chairman of the European Affairs Committee, Estonia
Ross Wilson, Director of Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council, former US Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan 
Mikhail Krutikhin, Partner & Analyst, Rus Energy, Russia

 

NATO And Russia: How Can We Broaden Cooperation to Enhance Security? panel discussion was moderated by Mr Dan Hamilton, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA. The discussion was open by Mr Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary General and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, who summarized the Lissabon NATO meeting and mentioned that in his opinon Ukraine, Georgia nad Turkey should be members of the EU which would definitely reshape the security situation in Russia’s proximity.


 

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union (1999-2009), Spain

Mr Huseyin Diriöz, NATO Assistant Secretary General, Turkey, shared the view of Mr Solana and described the last summit as a milestone. He also talked about a need to push for tangible decisions and re-establishing of relations between the Alliance and Russia. Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation, former US ambassador to NATO, USA, commented that during the summit too much attention and time was dedicated to Artcle 5.

Mr Karl-Georg Wellmann, Member of German-USA Parliamentary Group, German Bundestag, Germany, said that we still have not defined the role that Russia should play in the global security framework. He wondered if the West needs a strong or a weak Russia. In his opinion it would be better if Russia was strong. To see Russia falling apart would be a tragedy. He asked about the good way to establish a modernization partnership dimension. He also repeated that Russia is a European state and made some refernces to the Lissabon summit and the willingness to see the new START being ratified as soon as possible.
Mr Vincent Mertens de Wilmars, Diplomatic Advisor to the Belgian Ministry of Defense, Belgium expressed his worry over the negligence of the NATO-EU relations and the need to tackle that.

Mr Jakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State Foreign and Security Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, pointed to internal contraptions to Russian government and the fact that emerging economies are not interested in climate change or sustainability because they are too much concerned with their own economies and home stability. He claimed that Russia shouldn’t not be treated as a junior partner in the Euroatlantic security community. It should be treated as a peer.

Mr Borys Tarasiuk, Chairman of the Committee on European Integration of the Verkovna Rada,Ukraine, Mr Giorgi Baramidze, Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Georgia and Mr Charles Gati, Senior Adjunct Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA took part in the closing session Central Europe and the Transatlantic Consensus: a Bridge or an Obstacle? 
Mr Tarasiuk stated that the Russians are successful to divide the united Europe. As an example he quoted European national discrepancies over Iraq. He described the importance of the transatlantic link. His recommendations for the US included consolidating with the EU and constructing its own, independent relations with Russia. To Russia he recommended to continuation of provoking USA and to EU fight with tendencies which might lead to a split.
Mr Baramidze claimed that although the Cold War is finished its spirit is unfortunatellt still present. The regret over dissolution of the USSR is still very present in Russia nad reflected in its foreign policy. He emphasized that Russia trioes to divide the West through, most notably, Russian energy policy. This brings harmful results: EU has not managed to have its own consolidated security policy. He said that it is in the very interest of both West and such states as Georgia and Ukraine to be united. The division between the countries gives misleading messages to Russia and is very provoking. At worst, it leads to such test as Georgian war. Europe has to be a ‘glue’ in transatlantic relations and present unity. Russia has to recognize the independence and sovereignty of the former republics. Unity must protect and save western principles and values, they must serve as a lighthouse and lead to a pragmatic approach. The approach must be constructive and helping Russia to transform itself and become European.


 

Borys Tarasiuk, Chairman of the Committee on European Integration, Verkovna Rada,Ukraine;  
Giorgi Baramidze, Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Georgia

Mr Gati elaborated on Central Europe and its present state of affairs which defines its role in the transatlantic relations with Russia. He pointed to the variety and differences between states belonging to the region which should exclude generalizations about it. He says that CEE countries know more about Russia and are more skeptical about it. They experienced many difficulties in relations with Russia. He question the existence of a bridge in the transatlantic consensus. He said there is no need for such and discussion about it is not worthwhile. Russia prefers dealing directly with Germany or France – does not need any intermediaries. Additionally, CEE countries belong to NATO and EU and these are the platforms active in shaping the relation.

 

Programme

December 10, 2010

19.00 Opening Dinner: Forging a Transatlantic Consensus on Russia
Venue:  Embassy of Italy, Washington, DC
3000 Whitehaven St., NW 
Hosted by Chargé d’affaire Gian Lorenzo Cornado
Keynote speech: Michael McFaul, Special Assistant to The President Obama for National Security Affairs, the US

December 10, 2010

Kenney Auditorium, Johns Hopkins University , Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, 1740 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC  20036

08:00  Coffee and Registration

08:20  Welcome and Introduction

08.30  Opening speech by Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
"Realism about Russia: Power, Interests, and Values in U.S. Policy"

09:30  Values and Political Tradition: Commonalities and Differences

Moderator: 
Angela Stent, Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University, USA 

Speakers:
Urban Ahlin, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Parliament of Sweden; Foreign Policy Spokesman of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Sweden
Damon Wilson, Vice President, Atlantic Council, former Senior Director, National Security Council, USA 
Jean-Dominique Giuliani, President, The Robert Schuman Foundation, France 
Vladimir Pozner, Journalist, Russia
Pavel Fischer, Political Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic

Commentator: 
Laure Mandeville, Senior Journalist, US Chief Correspondent Le Figaro, France
David Chico, Office of the Prime Minister, Spain

10:45  Beyond the Crisis: Challenges for the US, EU and Russia in a Globalized Economy

Keynote speech: György Gordon Bajnai, former Prime Minister, Hungary

Moderator: 
Keith Crane, Director of the Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program, RAND Corporation, USA 

Speakers:
Kimmo Kiljunen, Member of Parliament, OSCE Special Representative for Central Asia, Finland 
Douglas Rediker, U.S. Alternate Executive Director, IMF, USA
Andrey Shastitko, General Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Russia
Knut Fleckenstein, Chairman, Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, European Parliament, Germany

Commentators:
Dmitry P. Piskarev, Deputy Head of Staff, Committee on Economic Policy, Entrepreneurship and Property, The Council of Federation, Russia

11:45  Coffee Break

12:00  Is a US-EU-Russia Partnership for Energy Sustainability Possible?

Moderator: 
Kurt Volker, Managing Director, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA 

Speakers:
André Mernier, Secretary General, Energy Charter Secretariat, Belgium
Marko Mihkelson, Member of Parliament, Chairman of the European Affairs Committee, Estonia
Ross Wilson, Director of Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council, former US Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan , USA
Mikhail Krutikhin, Partner & Analyst, Rus Energy, Russia

Commentators:
Maria Belova, Head of the Oil Infrastructure, Institute for Energy and Finance, Russia
David Koranyi, Visiting Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA 
Konstantin Simonov, Director General, National Energy Security Fund, Russia 

13:15-13:45  Lunch

Keynote speech: Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH) "Russia: Challenges and Opportunities"

14:45  NATO And Russia: How Can We Broaden Cooperation to Enhance  Security?

Moderator: 
Dan Hamilton, Director, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA 

Speakers:
Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary General and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain
Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation, former US ambassador to NATO, USA
Jakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State Foreign and Security Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Finland
Karl-Georg Wellmann, Member of German-USA Parliamentary Group, German Bundestag, Germany
Huseyin Diriöz, NATO Assistant Secretary General, Turkey
Vincent Mertens de Wilmars, Diplomatic Advisor to the Belgian Ministry of Defense, Belgium 
Georgi Bovt, Co-founder, Political Party ”Pravoye Dielo”, Russia

Comentators: 
Istvan Gyarmati, Director, International Center for Democratic Transition, Hungary
Vladimir Batyuk, Head of the Center Regional Aspects of U.S. Military Policy, Russia

16:00  Conclusion

16:30  Closing Session:  Central Europe and the Transatlantic Consensus:  a Bridge or an Obstacle?

Moderator: 
Mike Haltzel, Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA

Speakers:
Borys Tarasiuk, Chairman of the Committee on European Integration, Verkovna Rada,Ukraine  
Giorgi Baramidze, Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Georgia
Charles Gati, Senior Adjunct Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, USA

Commentators:
Pawel Lisicki, Editor in Chief, Rzeczpospolita, Poland

18:00  Closing Keynote speech: 
Rose Gottemoeller, Chief US Negotiator for new  START Treaty, USA
 
18.30  Dinner at the Hungarian Embassy