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29 Sep, 2010 08:10

There are people to carry on the torch of world leadership – ex NATO boss

After the Cold War ended conflicts in the world went down by 80% so the world now is a much better place to live in, believes former NATO boss George Robertson, who was the alliance’s Secretary General in 1999-2004.

However, modern conflicts are quite different, so NATO – as well as Russia – has to adapt to new realities – not to fight the last war – in order to be able to confront those new challenges, he said, adding there are too many ghosts of old conflicts and groundless fantasies ruling the political agenda instead of focusing on what people are really concerned with.

“NATO’s enemy is instability. It is global terrorism, it is armed insurgents, exactly the same as Russia’s enemy is. We are not talking about NATO being Russia’s enemy or Russia being NATO’s enemy. The fact is that we have got to deal with these problems,” Robertson stated.

There is no reason to be afraid of China with its biggest army in the world because “China faces the same problems.”

“The neighbor of China is North Korea. North Korea has got nuclear weapons and it is the craziest state. Crazy people run that state so that is a threat. And it is much more closer to China than to New York City,” Robertson evaluated.

He named NATO “the greatest and most successful defensive alliance the world has ever known,” because it thrives due to being “not just a military organization, but an alliance of values, a belief in democracy.”

“Russia needs to be a part of this community of values,” he said, adding, “today’s world is about defending the order states against the disorder parts of the world and bringing stability to these parts of the world as well.”

Answering a question about plans of attacking Iran, Robertson mentioned that “Iran is not a normal country seeking to acquire nuclear weapons,” and since Iran has expressed desire “to wipe one of its neighbors off the map” and advances in developing ballistic missiles – it is a danger to its neighbors, Russia included.

As for the never found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which served as a cause to go to war on the country, Robertson said “we know that no, we did not know that then,” but “Iraq and Iran are not the same” because Iraq once attacked neighboring Kuwait, used chemical weapons against its own people in the Kurdish area and the US had a good reason to believe, even if the intelligence was faulty, that “Saddam was up to something and it was only a matter of time before he would again threaten his neighbors in the region.”

Iran is not a fundamentalist dictatorship and “we need to be more sympathetic to the good, honest, decent, peace-loving people in Iran and encourage them to stand up to those who would oppress them and seek to destabilize the region.”

“I’m an ex [NATO] Secretary General, but there are people who must carry on the torch of leadership in the world today,” Robertson concluded.