Interview with Edward Lozansky

Edward Lozansky, President of the American University in Moscow, has commented on the state of NATO-Russia relations.

Russia Today: After ten years of working together, what is the state of relations between Russia and NATO?

Edward Lozansky: They aren’t very good. I think these relations are also linked with U.S.-Russia relations, which are also not very good. So the state of the relationship is pretty bad but it's not terrible.

RT: What’s the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed?

E.L.: From the Russian point of view it is NATO expansion, particularly in Georgia and Ukraine. I think Russia had to swallow more or less NATO expansion into East European countries and even to the Baltic states.  But Georgia and Ukraine are a different matter, there we should be ready for big trouble. 

RT: What strategy do you think may improve Russia-NATO relations?

E.L.: If we go back a little bit in the history of U.S.-Russia and NATO-Russia relations, its high point was in 2001, when Russia and the U.S. co-operated in Afghanistan. At that time many congressmen were talking about a U.S.-Russian strategic partnership, a U.S.-Russia alliance. Unfortunately relations have worsened since then. Maybe the meeting between President Bush and President Putin in July could be some kind of a trade-off. For example, Russia may propose co-operation in Afghanistan, where NATO is really stuck and at the same time NATO will consider not expanding in Georgia and Ukraine. I think that might be the first step.

RT: Are there any positive signs in Russia-NATO relations?

E.L.: NATO is now allowed to do some joint exercises with Russia, which is good. But we should go for big things. The big things are missile defence, Afghanistan and NATO expansion. All those things can be resolved. Whenever the U.S. and Russia worked together in the past, we always succeeded, be it in WW2, Afghanistan or space.  But when we start making trouble for each other it is bad for both sides. So it is better to co-operate.    

RT: The NATO chief says Russia is welcome to inspecte the proposed missile defence sites in Eastern Europe. Is that enough to sweeten the relations?

E.L.: I guess here should be also a trade-off. For example, if the U.S. takes seriously the radar in Azerbaijan. In exchange Russia would agree to co-operate seriously on missile defence. This would be a good trade-off.