Mot NATO, for fred

February 1, 2008


Dette er et telegram sendt fra USAs daværende Moskva-ambassadør William J. Burns til Joint Chiefs of Staff, NATO - European Union Cooperative, National Security Council, Russia Moscow Political Collective, Secretary of Defense (USAs daværende forsvarsminister Robert Gates) og Secretary of State (USAs daværende utenriksminister Condoleezza Rice). Kilde: Wikileaks. Uthevningene i gult er foretatt av Taliban Norges redaksjon.


DE RUEHMO #0265/01 0321425
O 011425Z FEB 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000265 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018 
     B. MOSCOW 182 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (C) Summary.  Following a muted first reaction to 
Ukraine's intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) 
at the Bucharest summit (ref A), Foreign Minister Lavrov and 
other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, 
stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion 
as a potential military threat.  NATO enlargement, 
particularly to Ukraine, remains "an emotional and neuralgic" 
issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also 
underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and 
Georgia.  In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue 
could potentially split the country in two, leading to 
violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force 
Russia to decide whether to intervene.  Additionally, the GOR 
and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership 
would have a major impact on Russia's defense industry, 
Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations 
generally.  In Georgia, the GOR fears continued instability 
and "provocative acts" in the separatist regions.  End 
MFA: NATO Enlargement "Potential Military Threat to Russia" 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
2.  (U) During his annual review of Russia's foreign policy 
January 22-23 (ref B), Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that 
Russia had to view continued eastward expansion of NATO, 
particularly to Ukraine and Georgia, as a potential military 
threat.  While Russia might believe statements from the West 
that NATO was not directed against Russia, when one looked at 
recent military activities in NATO countries (establishment 
of U.S. forward operating locations, etc. they had to be 
evaluated not by stated intentions but by potential.  Lavrov 
stressed that maintaining Russia's "sphere of influence" in 
the neighborhood was anachronistic, and acknowledged that the 
U.S. and Europe had "legitimate interests" in the region. 
But, he argued, while countries were free to make their own 
decisions about their security and which political-military 
structures to join, they needed to keep in mind the impact on 
their neighbors. 
3.  (U) Lavrov emphasized that Russia was convinced that 
enlargement was not based on security reasons, but was a 
legacy of the Cold War.  He disputed arguments that NATO was 
an appropriate mechanism for helping to strengthen democratic 
governments.  He said that Russia understood that NATO was in 
search of a new mission, but there was a growing tendency for 
new members to do and say whatever they wanted simply because 
they were under the NATO umbrella (e.g. attempts of some new 
member countries to "rewrite history and glorify fascists"). 
4.  (U) During a press briefing January 22 in response to a 
question about Ukraine's request for a MAP, the MFA said "a 
radical new expansion of NATO may bring about a serious 
political-military shift that will inevitably affect the 
security interests of Russia."  The spokesman went on to 
stress that Russia was bound with Ukraine by bilateral 
obligations set forth in the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, 
Cooperation and Partnership in which both parties undertook 
to "refrain from participation in or support of any actions 
capable of prejudicing the security of the other Side."  The 
spokesman noted that Ukraine's "likely integration into NATO 
would seriously complicate the many-sided Russian-Ukrainian 
relations," and that Russia would "have to take appropriate 
measures."  The spokesman added that "one has the impression 
that the present Ukrainian leadership regards rapprochement 
with NATO largely as an alternative to good-neighborly ties 
with the Russian Federation." 
Russian Opposition Neuralgic and Concrete 
5.  (C) Ukraine and Georgia's NATO aspirations not only touch 
a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about 
the consequences for stability in the region.  Not only does 
Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine 
Russia's influence in the region, but it also fears 
unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would 
seriously affect Russian security interests.  Experts tell us 
that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions 
in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the 
ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a 
major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war.  In 
that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to 
intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face. 
6.  (C) Dmitriy Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie 
Moscow Center, expressed concern that Ukraine was, in the 
long-term, the most potentially destabilizing factor in 
U.S.-Russian relations, given the level of emotion and 
neuralgia triggered by its quest for NATO membership.  The 
letter requesting MAP consideration had come as a "bad 
surprise" to Russian officials, who calculated that Ukraine's 
NATO aspirations were safely on the backburner.  With its 
public letter, the issue had been "sharpened."  Because 
membership remained divisive in Ukrainian domestic politics, 
it created an opening for Russian intervention.  Trenin 
expressed concern that elements within the Russian 
establishment would be encouraged to meddle, stimulating U.S. 
overt encouragement of opposing political forces, and leaving 
the U.S. and Russia in a classic confrontational posture. 
The irony, Trenin professed, was that Ukraine's membership 
would defang NATO, but neither the Russian public nor elite 
opinion was ready for that argument.  Ukraine's gradual shift 
towards the West was one thing, its preemptive status as a de 
jure U.S. military ally another.  Trenin cautioned strongly 
against letting an internal Ukrainian fight for power, where 
MAP was merely a lever in domestic politics,  further 
complicate U.S.-Russian relations now. 
7.  (C) Another issue driving Russian opposition to Ukrainian 
membership is the significant defense industry cooperation 
the two countries share, including a number of plants where 
Russian weapons are made.  While efforts are underway to shut 
down or move most of these plants to Russia, and to move the 
Black Sea fleet from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk earlier than 
the 2017 deadline, the GOR has made clear that Ukraine's 
joining NATO would require Russia to make major (costly) 
changes to its defense industrial cooperation. 
8.  (C) Similarly, the GOR and experts note that there would 
also be a significant impact on Russian-Ukrainian economic 
and labor relations, including the effect on thousands of 
Ukrainians living and working in Russia and vice versa, due 
to the necessity of imposing a new visa regime.  This, 
Aleksandr Konovalov, Director of the Institute for Strategic 
Assessment, argued, would become a boiling cauldron of anger 
and resentment among the local population. 
9.  (C) With respect to Georgia, most experts said that while 
not as neuralgic to Russia as Ukraine, the GOR viewed the 
situation there as too unstable to withstand the divisiveness 
NATO membership could cause.  Aleksey Arbatov, Deputy 
Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, argued that Georgia's 
NATO aspirations were simply a way to solve its problems in 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and warned that Russia would be 
put in a difficult situation were that to ensue. 
Russia's Response 
10.  (C) The GOR has made it clear that it would have to 
"seriously review" its entire relationship with Ukraine and 
Georgia in the event of NATO inviting them to join.  This 
could include major impacts on energy, economic, and 
political-military engagement, with possible repercussions 
throughout the region and into Central and Western Europe. 
Russia would also likely revisit its own relationship with 
the Alliance and activities in the NATO-Russia Council, and 
consider further actions in the arms control arena, including 
the possibility of complete withdrawal from the CFE and INF 
Treaties, and more direct threats against U.S. missile 
defense plans. 
11.  (C) Isabelle Francois, Director of the NATO Information 
Office in Moscow (protect), said she believed that Russia had 
accepted that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually join NATO 
and was engaged in long-term planning to reconfigure its 
relations with both countries, and with the Alliance. 
However, Russia was not yet ready to deal with the 
consequences of further NATO enlargement to its south.  She 
added that while Russia liked the cooperation with NATO in 
the NATO-Russia Council, Russia would feel it necessary to 
insist on recasting the NATO-Russia relationship, if not 
withdraw completely from the NRC, in the event of Ukraine and 
Georgia joining NATO. 
12. (C) Russia's opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine 
and Georgia is both emotional and based on perceived 
strategic concerns about the impact on Russia's interests in 
the region.  It is also politically popular to paint the U.S. 
and NATO as Russia's adversaries and to use NATO's outreach 
to Ukraine and Georgia as a means of generating support from 
Russian nationalists.  While Russian opposition to the first 
round of NATO enlargement in the mid-1990's was strong, 
Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully to 
what it perceives as actions contrary to its national