Rebuffed and repudiated over Ukraine by
Western G20 members in Brisbane,
seniorLe Figaro columnist Pierre Rousselin writes that Europeans can no longer
ignore Russia's desire to revisit Europe's once sacrosanct
Kremlin Demands for New Global Security Architecture Cannot
be Ignored (Le Figaro, France)
"In the annexation
of Crimea and the manifest destabilization of Ukraine, there is a very clear
message that Western leaders pretend not to hear: the international order on
which European relations are built no longer works. … Russia, struck with
sanctions by a West that is unlikely to be seen fighting for Sebastopol, has
turned to China and Iran. Europe is clinging to its grand principles without realizing
that it would do better to bring them into line with reality - before it's too
At a time in which Russia is reinforcing its military
presence in east Ukraine, is expanding the aerial incursions over Baltic skies
and is taking an increasingly anti-Western line, it seems there is nothing to
stop the escalation of tensions with Moscow.
In the annexation of Crimea and the manifest destabilization
of Ukraine, there is a very clear message that Western leaders pretend not to
hear: the international order on which European relations are built no longer
works. Hasn't the time come to set the record straight?
It is a demand that Moscow has been making for years and
which Vladimir Putin took up again on October 24, during his remarks at the Valdai
Discussion Club, accusing the West of being solely responsible for the
drift that obliged him to act similarly outside the established norms in order
to defend the interests of Russia [video, top, right].
When reproached by the West for unilaterally annexing Crimea
and trampling underfoot the Helsinki Agreement -
the founding act of stability in Europe since détente - the Russian president
retorted that the ten precepts that form the “Ten Commandments” agreed on in
1975 are no longer applicable save when it suits Western capitals.
equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty;
from the threat or use of force;
integrity of States
settlement of disputes;
in internal affairs;
VII) Respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief;
XIII) Equal rights
and self-determination of peoples
X) Fulfillment in
good faith of obligations under international law.]
From where the Kremlin sits, the twin principles of the
inviolability of borders and the territorial integrity of states were first
called into question with the independence
of Kosovo, even if that resulted in a very different process, whereas
non-interference and respect for national sovereignty, dogmas that also form
part of the 1975 “Ten Commandments” - were routinely flouted by the color revolutions in
the former Soviet space or by military interventions decided on here and there
by Western countries.
If the Helsinki call for respecting human rights and
fundamental freedoms was the instrument that allowed the liberation of Europe
from the Soviet yoke, Russian officials argue that the context was the era of
the Cold War, when the balance of power was very different from what it has
become, when deterrence was fully effective and when the spheres of influence
were clearly drawn and recognized by both sides.
Russia's desire to take up a new security pact in Europe is
not new. In June 2008 at a meeting in Berlin just after he became president, Dimitri Medvedev advocated a complete overhaul of the
security architecture “from Vancouver to Vladivostok.” The proposal, made shortly
after the NATO summit in Bucharest where despite opposition from the Merkel-Sarkozy couple, ambiguity was maintained on any subsequent NATO
accession by Georgia and Ukraine, was less subversive than the Europe “from the Atlantic to
the Urals” of General de Gaulle. Considered at the time to be a challenge
to the Atlantic Alliance, it sparked widespread skepticism. Some weeks later,
war broke out in Georgia.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
France had nevertheless tried to get the ball rolling by
proposing a summit meeting of the OSCE (Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe) charged with preparing a new treaty.
“Security in Europe and beyond is a common good and therefore a natural area
for cooperation between Europe and Russia,” President Sarkozy
declared. His sentiments were hardly heard then and considering the Atlanticist shift taken by our diplomats would be
To renegotiate Helsinki would mean putting back on the table
the inviolability of borders after Kosovo and the Crimea and in the context of dismembering
the Middle East. It would also mean redefining the right to self-determination
in the context of Scotland and Catalonia. That would open a Pandora’s Box that
no one dares touch.
In the meantime, Russia, struck with sanctions by a West that
is unlikely to be seen fighting for Sebastopol, has turned to China and Iran.
Europe is clinging to its grand principles without realizing that it would do
better to bring them into line with reality - before it's too late.