Wednesday’s press review

Wednesday’s Russian newspapers speculate about the next world leader after the U.S. see the good old OSCE in the new light of the latest Russian initiatives; Editors also expect the return of the Baghdad Pact and count Ukraine’s chances for NATO membershi

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA publishes an article by Russian-American academic Nikolay Zlobin of the World Security Institute in Washington. He writes that the latest estimate by the U.S. intelligence community proclaims the end of the unchallenged U.S. domination in the world, or at least the end of the effort to achieve such domination. The document, writes Zlobin, states that other centres of economic and political power are emerging in the world and that America, while maintaining its status as the strongest among them, is going to abandon hopes of becoming an undisputed World leader ever again.

The academic writes that among the candidates for the future power centres, China is the most prominent; however it lacks the ‘soft power’, the appeal of the kind that the U.S. enjoyed after WW2 and lost in the past few years. Zlobin says Russia has a good chance to become a great power centre in its own right; however to achieve that it would need to say an absolutely new word in national development, to create its own type of governance and to build its economy anew – basing it not on fuel exports alone but first of all on innovative technologies.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes that the idea of signing a new general agreement on European security, voiced last summer by the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in the past weeks has been repeated several times in other declarations of the Russian government and speeches by Russian leaders. The paper says the idea is becoming a policy before our eyes, and that policy may re-activate the process of European security in Russia’s favour.

The essence of the idea is to create a system of European cooperation and security that would return the process back to the basic principles defined in the initial documents signed in 1972-75, and simultaneously include such systems as the OSCE and the regulations on conventional forces – old or new – that will exist at the moment of signing, says the paper. It continues to say that if such a system already existed, there would have been no way for such irregularities as the U.S. plan to deploy missile defence elements in Eastern Europe.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes that so far Baghdad and Washington have been discussing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq on the basis of the UN Resolution 1709 of December 18, 2007. The paper quotes Russia’s Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as saying that Russia does not object if the withdrawal happens that way or if it will be based on another, newer Resolution of the UN. However, says the paper, there is another option, which the U.S. and the American loyalists in the Iraqi government prefer to a UN Resolution: a new Baghdad Pact – a bilateral agreement defining, apart from troop withdrawal schedules, the further military cooperation between the U.S. and Iraq, and excluding any third party from the process. If the second option is chosen, says the paper, the interests of the Russian business community in Iraq may be at risk, because a bilateral pact with the U.S. will effect Iraq’s relations with all the other international partners.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA writes that the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine William Taylor said that Kiev should be accepted into NATO urgently and without any formalities. The Ambassador is quoted by the paper as saying that the whole process of presenting Ukraine an ‘action plan for NATO membership’ is too politicized and controversial and that it should be dropped. The Ambassador continued to say, writes the paper, that ‘there are other ways to reach the next step – the Alliance membership, and Ukraine is ready for that.’

KOMMERSANT DAILY reads the same words of Ambassador Taylor in a totally different way: it says, the U.S., through the Ambassador’s interview to the ‘Voice of America’ radio, is telling Ukraine that its hopes for NATO membership in the near future are hopes in vain. The paper says that the Ambassador has ‘sweetened the pill’ for the Ukrainian government by saying there are other ways to achieve membership than the action plan. However the paper insists that the phrase was only an attempt to comfort the pro-U.S. and pro-NATO forces in Ukraine, while in reality neither Ukraine nor Georgia have strong chances to become NATO members any time soon.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT