U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry Counters
Russian Objections to NATO Expansion
(Munich, February 5, 1996) U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry says NATO will press ahead with plans to admit new member states in spite of opposition by Russia. Perry made his comments at the Annual Conference on European Security Issues in Munich one day after a top Russian defense official warned of a possible backlash if NATO proceeds with its plans.
Mr. Perry said it is inevitable that the 16-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will grow, but that any increase in its membership should not be seen as a threat to Russia. Perry told reporters in Munich that a strong NATO actually contributes to the security of Russia. Perry claims that the stability from a stong NATO keeps the U.S. actively involved and keeps Germany bound into the architecture of European security.
Perry praised Russia's cooperation with NATO's Operation Joint Endeavor, describing Russia's active participation as a model for other ventures. "Russian participation in Bosnia casts a very long shadow. It will have an impact on security in Europe for years to come," Perry told an annual conference of military and political leaders from North America and Europe. When we deal with the most important security problem which Europe has faced since the Cold War was over, we want to have Russia inside the circle working with us, not outside throwing rocks at us," Perry said.
In the audience, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin took notes as he listened intently to Perry. In a speech Saturday, Kokoshin had said many Russians view NATO's planned eastward expansion as a threat, and said that during the 1990 negotiations on the unification of East and West Germany, it was understood that NATO would not absorb former Warsaw Pact allies of the Soviet Union.
On Sunday, Perry and NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana were firm in answering that some eastern European countries will join NATO. "If NATO enlargement is the carrot for encouraging reform, then we cannot keep the carrot continually out of reach," Perry said. "Russia will come to understand that NATO enlargement means enlarging the zone of security and stability that is very much in Russia's interest."
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Russian Military Strategy in Historical Perspective, U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office
Russian Military Document Index, U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office
Russian Area Studies Web page at the University of Missouri
Soviet Archives Exhibition at the U.S. Library of Congress
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