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10 Jul, 2008 01:43

Interview with Dmitry Rogozin

“It's time for NATO to ‘go on a diet’,” according to Russia’s Envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin. In an exclusive interview with RT, he talks about the U.S. missile shield and the prospect of Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO.

RT: What kind of dialogue do Russia and NATO have on the alliance’s expansion?

Dmitry Rogozin: NATO expansion reminds me of over-eating in an American fast-food joint, because there comes a point when you get so big you may not be able to get off your chair. It's time for NATO to go on a diet. Their mechanical Eastward expansion disturbs the balance of forces on the European continent. And – if they think we're the Russian bear, and choose to use that terminology, I can tell you as a hunter – that approaching a bear's den is dangerous.

RT: Do you think Ukraine and Georgia will be asked to join NATO’s participation plan in the near future?

D.R.: If we use NATO standards, neither Ukraine nor Georgia are ready to receive the action plan for NATO membership, the so-called “map”. It is impossible because these two countries are absolutely not ready – neither in a democratic sense, nor militarily, nor in terms of being ready to carry out infrastructure reforms. […] The majority of Ukraine’s population is against NATO membership. […] And Georgia is a country with two smouldering armed conflicts, two civil wars on its territory. So NATO risks not only having half of Georgia as its member, but also being dragged into Georgia’s internal ethnic conflicts. So I think accepting these countries into NATO would be an act of such stupidity that even the biggest stupidity in the world couldn’t compare to it.

RT: Some say NATO is out-dated as an alliance. How do you respond to that?

D.R.: It’s not that it’s out-dated as an alliance. These kinds of organizations are very long-living, because they are like old apartments – it has all the furniture in it, everything becomes dear to the heart, you don’t even want to throw away an old broken ash-tray. The same is with NATO. There are bureaucrats who say if there’s no NATO, where would we go? Where would we get our pay-checks?

RT: The media has been paying a lot of attention to the Russia-NATO expansion conflict. What other issues are there?

D.R.: The Collective Forces in Europe Treaty and the U.S. Missile Defense Shield plans in Europe. We understand that the U.S. wants the shield not because of the bad guys in Iran, because the bad guys in Iran don’t have that kind of technology. The talk of the bad guys in Iran is all a fairytale. We treat these plans as being against Russia. We’ve done everything we can to establish a political dialogue, but it looks like we will need to respond with military-technical measures. They will be cheaper than what the U.S. has, but will be very effective. But it’s too early to talk about these measures. We don’t want to scare anyone, but we will be forced to use systems that will fully patch up the hole that the U.S. is trying to create in our security.