martes, 5 de abril de 2011

Artículo No. 26 Libya overshadows missile defense at Gates’ Moscow talks Ria Novosti 24.3.11 RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev

Immediately after a meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made his sensational announcement that major combat operations over Libya will taper off markedly within the next few days. It is only a coincidence but certainly a happy one for Russia, which, as a permanent UN Security Council member, remains cautiously pessimistic about Western intervention in that North African country.
In last week’s vote, Moscow chose not to veto down Resolution 1973, authorizing military action against Libyan government targets – apparently in a gesture of solidarity with adjacent Arab countries behind this document. But it also abstained from voting in favor, unsure of the actual intentions of the U.S. and European allies keen to send in their warplanes.
Libya also dominated the agenda of Gates’ subsequent talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, which initially had been expected to focus on plans for a missile defense system in Europe.
The Russian leader suggested Moscow could act as a mediator between Muammar Gaddafi and Western governments.
According to the Kremlin press office, Medvedev expressed his concern over the no-fly zone as well as potential civilian casualties as a result of the U.S.-led coalition’s indiscriminate air strikes in
The possibility of Moscow’s involvement in the military operation was not under discussion, presidential spokespeople say.
As for the ongoing debate over the planned European missile defense shield, the sides reportedly made no headway on that front. Medvedev just reiterated
 Moscow’s official stance, presented at last autumn’s Russian-NATO summit in Lisbon.
 is pushing for a system that could protect the entire European continent against outside threats. ButWashington wants a national shield of its own, which could potentially be directed at Russian targets. 
The military intervention in Libya leaves us wondering how the American public feels about the U.S.government having unleashed yet another overseas campaign “to spread democracy.”
Here is what Richard Cohen, a journalist who runs a weekly political column in The Washington Post, has to say on the issue:
 “A day into the operation, the bedraggled chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, appeared everywhere but on Animal Planet to say that the operation he himself clearly did not favor might end with the man the president said he wanted gone — a certain Col. Gaddafi — still in power… Libya is — and ought to remain — a humanitarian mission, one that would have been better undertaken sooner rather than later by a unified administration that… could have made an argument for staying out or it could have made a more forceful argument for going in. Instead it made both.”
And here is a comment from another Washington Post columnist, George Will:
America’s war aim is inseparable from… destruction of that regime. So our purpose is to create a political vacuum, into which we hope… good things will spontaneously flow. But if Gaddafi cannot be beaten by the rebels, are we prepared to supply their military deficiencies? And if the decapitation of his regime produces what the removal of Saddam Hussein did — bloody chaos — what then are our responsibilities regarding the tribal vendettas we may have unleashed?”
Washington’s declared intention to scale down its military involvement in Libya deserves respect. But it remains to be seen whether this is a real curtailment or just a brief lull marking the end of the mission’s first leg. 
No one expected that Gates’ farewell visit ahead of his resignation would make a significant contribution to the process of Russian-American rapprochement. It is only a part of the process, although the layout of our missile defense cooperation is a serious issue. The dialogue will continue, and it is possible that the lessons learned in Libya (when the operations end) will give both parties an opportunity for reassessment.
While in St. Petersburg, Gates urged Russia to consider possible models of involvement in international military coalitions. This seems somewhat curious against the backdrop of the current chaos in Libya in, especially light of the Pentagon chief’s announcement that this chaos will soon have to be brought to an end. Given the situation in Libya, what form could Russia’s involvement in such coalitions take in the future? There is ample food forthought. 

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