Confrontation with Russia in the U.S. explain Putin’s great power ambitions and aggressive policies of the Kremlin. But this ruling elite in the American point of view (aka propaganda) had not been uniform – there are realists. Who are ready to acknowledge at least the fact that America is their action itself pitted Russia against itself – as it did the other day former Secretary of defense William Perry.
The older American retirees, the more revealing they become.
“William Perry was the first of the former Ministers, who recognized the responsibility of Washington for the deterioration of relations with Russia”
Former President Carter, noting the 90th anniversary, mentioned that in USA there is no democracy, and the power usurped “big money”. Henry Kissinger, who is now in the 93rd year, becomes more and more realistic, speaking about the need for Washington to consider Russia as a key element in any global balance. And 88-year-old William Perry, former Deputy Secretary of defense under Carter, and the Minister of defense under Clinton, recently made it very clear that a large part of the blame for the current hostility between the two countries rests with the United States.
Perry can not be attributed neither to the “doves” nor to politicians sympathetic to Russia. However, he knows Russia better than many of their colleagues from the Pentagon – not least because that was the only Minister of defense, visiting our country every year of his tenure (and he was Minister from 1994 to 1997). Perry just says what he thinks and says what was witnessed. His memoir, “My journey on the brink of nuclear war” came at the end of last year, and recently he performed at the London live Live The Guardian where spoke about who is to blame for the deterioration of Russian-American relations:
“Over the past few years much of the blame can be placed on the actions taken by Putin. But I have to mention that at first much of the blame lay on the United States”
Ex-Minister identifies three main points in the actions of Washington. In the first place purely chronologically, he places what happened when he was defense Minister – however, he says contrary to his opinion:
“Our first action, which pushed us in the wrong direction, occurred when NATO began to expand, taking in its membership countries in Eastern Europe, some of which border Russia. At that time, we worked closely with Russia, and she was beginning to get used to the idea that the Alliance may not be so much the enemy but rather a friend, but she’s very worried that NATO was right at her borders, and the Russians urged us not to do it again”
In his memoirs, tells Perry that he advocated a slower pace of NATO enlargement, to not cause the exclusion of Russia, but won the point with Richard Holbrooke (American strategist, among other things, formed the Dayton agreement on Bosnia, 1994-1996 he was Deputy Secretary of state), who were supported by Vice President al Gore, who believed that will be able to settle with Russia all the problems – that is, to convince Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin to swallow NATO expansion. Perry, unlike Gore, was a frequent visitor in Russia – Americans watched the movement of nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation and communicated regularly with the U.S. military, including the Ministers of defense Grachev and Rodionov. He at least knew what Russians think of NATO enlargement – but his view was not supported in Washington.
There, in his words, there was neglect of the former superpower:
“We cannot say that we listened to their arguments and said he did not agree with these arguments. In principle, those people with whom I was arguing, trying to put the Russian question, gave an answer that was effectively: “who cares what they think? They’re third-rate power”. And, of course, this viewpoint became known to the Russians. And then we rolled down the hill”
While Perry explains that he was not against adoption by NATO of new members: “I advocated strongly for the expansion of the Alliance – just not right now.” Perry left his Ministerial post in early 1997, and two years later Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were accepted into NATO.
The second important milestone former Minister calls that have already happened during the Bush administration (which continued the expansion of NATO, including the Alliance even the Baltics) – the decision to deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe:
“We tried to explain the placement of the need to protect against Iranian nuclear missiles – Iran does not, but that’s another issue. But the Russians said, “Wait, this weakens our deterrent system”. And again the problem is not discussed on the merits, taking into account the specific circumstances – again, all agreed on the principle of “who cares what he thinks.” And again we waved”
Perry himself already as an expert was against installation of missile interceptors – for purely technical reasons: “I think it’s a waste of money. I don’t think these systems are effective. In fact, when I spoke Russian, I tried to convince them that they are not worried that these systems do not work, but the Russians did not believe”.
And the third factor exacerbating the relations between the US and Russia, Perry calls Washington’s support of “color revolutions” in former Soviet republics, including Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004. agree that they should have been supported by ethical considerations, he noted the extremely destructive influence of these “revolutions” in relations between East and West:
“And from that point, Putin started thinking differently, thinking: “I’m not going to cooperate with the West”. Don’t know how Putin thinks we actually have a plan to provoke a revolution in Russia, but more importantly, he believed in it”
Perry highlighted three factors repeatedly noted by Vladimir Putin, and many native experts as key signs of aggressive toward Russia in U.S. policy. Defiantly not reckon with the most fundamental of our national interests, attempt to obtain military advantage in the field of nuclear missiles, to expand its zone of military control along our borders, to do anything for the reorientation of post-Soviet countries from Russia to the West – all these actions the U.S. could not fail to provoke a response from Moscow.
In the Munich speech in February 2007, Putin openly voiced our complaints to “global hegemony” – and then another four years Russia tried his best to lead a normal dialogue with the United States. After the Arab spring, invasion of Libya, open opposition to the plans on creation of the Eurasian Union and attempts to play the “swamp” scenario in our country, relations between the two countries began to deteriorate rapidly when it reached the lowest point in 2014, after the Kiev coup and the return of the Crimea to Russia.
By the way, in August, 2014 William Perry, along with former Secretary of state George Schultz (both now senior research associates at Stanford University) published an article in which he called on Obama to provide Ukraine with military aid and place on a rotating basis by the American military in the Baltic States. So Perry is not a supporter of soft policy towards Russia, moreover, he even said that “Putin may use tactical nuclear weapons”. In General, he believes that the threat of nuclear war is now higher than during the cold war, and considers the main danger of nuclear conflict between the USA with Russia – but this is his argument in favor of developing good U.S.-Russian relations.
Importantly, Perry is a realist and that is why it is quite objectively outlined the underlying causes of the deterioration of relations between the two countries, while remaining an absolute advocate of the concept of “American leadership in the world.”
Perry is not the first, who gives a critical evaluation of U.S. policy towards Russia during the Clinton and Bush is that Russia’s interests were not considered, said and some other prominent retirees – but it is perhaps the first high-ranking officials of that time (i.e., those who directly participated in the events) who recognized it.
And it’s important symptom is a gradual recognition of the error of first methods, and then individual elements of policy towards Russia will become commonplace for the American establishment. Because the myth of Russia’s “unprovoked, natural aggressiveness” will not long be able to sell even the Americans, not that the world community is not obtained, as before, to feed the “red threat” of the two post-war generation.
Regardless of who wins the November presidential election, trump or Clinton, will begin a reassessment of the “Russian policy” Washington – though Americans don’t like to admit their mistakes, but it is important to understand what actually led to such a sharp aggravation of relations. Of course, it is difficult to admit that you provoked the crisis – but this understanding will be the inevitable consequence of a gradual abandonment of belief in its uniqueness and being all-powerful.Related posts: