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13 Oct, 2009 07:33

“Afghans just like the peace within Afghanistan”

Russian scholar Professor Ethan Burger has told RT that there is little that Russia can do to help the US in Afghanistan that is feasible politically.

This is because, at this stage, the second step, which is Pakistan, is far more important.

“People joke that Pakistan is a territory ruled by the army, which is really not a state,” Burger says.

Comparing the current situation in Afghanistan with the Soviet campaign in the country in the 1980s, Burger finds it very different.

“When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan they were viewed as being hostile by everyone… while the US is really not viewed as an occupier. The Soviets were always viewed as an occupier.”

He adds that “The Taliban is certainly fighting the US and NATO forces, but I think that an average Afghani just really wants the country to be able to develop economically and peacefully.”

The scholar also mentioned that “Obama’s timing over the AMD decision in Eastern Europe is unfortunate, because these systems in Poland and Czech Republic did not pose any real threat to Russia. At the same time the Poles and Czechs do not like the idea of Russia dictating their own defense policies,” believes Professor Burger.

“The US interest is not merely to defend Europe from Iran, which is actually a secondary consideration, but to defend Israel and the Arab states, which is of far greater concern,” explains Ethan Burger.

Burger expresses hope that the new generation of Russians is going to take a more constructive position on the foreign affairs of their country.

“The younger people are better educated and view foreign policy within a very different context. They are not products of the Soviet era; they are products of the post-Soviet era,” Burger hopes. “They travel more and interact more with their Western counterparts. They are accepting the fact that they are not dealing with the situation that they are surrounded on all sides which could have posed a threat to the country’s future,” he added.

“Russia is in a very strange situation. On the one side they have a technologically advanced European Union and on the other side they have very cheap labor in China, Vietnam and Korea. The question is – where is Russia? Russia is certainly a natural resource provider,” Ethan Burger noted.

“In order for economic relations to develop in healthy way, Russia has to be an international environment which is conducive to cooperation,” he concluded.