The View East

Central and Eastern Europe, Past and Present.

East European Concern Over Possibility of Closer U.S. – Russian Ties.

On 16th July 22 prominent figures from Central and Eastern Europe published an open letter to Barack Obama’s administration to express concern about recent U.S. moves to establish a closer relationship with Russia following Obama’s meeting to President Medvedev in Moscow earlier this month.

Originally published in Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and signed by 22 prominent individuals including former heads of state, foreign ministers, diplomats and intellectuals from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, including Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, copies of the letter were quickly circulated online. You can read the original letter in full on the Gazeta Wyborcza website here:

http://wyborcza.pl/1,86871,6825987,An_Open_Letter_to_the_Obama_Administration_from_Central.html

The authors of the letter urged President Obama to remember their interests in his negotiations with Russia, expressing fears that they may be ‘sold out’ in his attempts to develop a more positive working relationship with Medvedev; warning that’ Russia is back as a revisionist power pursuing a nineteenth century agenda with twenty first century tactics and methods’ including ‘overt and covert means of economic warfare’ and admitting to ‘nervousness in our capitals’ over recent Russian attempts to advance their interests in the East European region. Particular areas of concern raised in the letter include worries about perceived NATO weakness in the face of a resurgent Russia, US inaction over the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008, and current uncertainty over previous US plans to develop missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic which could ‘undermine US credibility across the region’ – see my earlier post here: https://thevieweast.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/no-russian-missiles-in-kaliningrad/

The letter comes in light of Obama’s recent visit to Moscow where he spoke of his ‘deep respect’ and desire for a ‘strong and prosperous’ Russia and of his aim to  ‘re-set’ US-Russian relations in the twenty-first century by working to forge a lasting partership to ‘resolve differences peacefully and constructively’. Obama was not completely blind to recent Russian posturing in Eastern Europe however, talking of his respect for Georgian sovereignty and warning Medvedev that ‘in 2009 a great power cannot show strength by dominating other countries’ (ummmm – Iraq?). US Vice President Joe Bidden is also currently visiting Ukraine and Georgia where he expected to confirm US commitment to extend NATO membership to both states in the future, despite staunch Russian opposition, and in today’s Guardian, Tony Blinken, one of Biden’s advisors was quoted as stating that any US efforts to ‘re-set’ relations with Russia ‘would not come at the expense of other countries’ – though the Obama administration has yet to make any official respose to the concerns expressed in the open letter.

July 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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