Friday, September 08, 2006

U.S.-Russian Military Co-operation in Trouble

There are signs that military co-operation between the United States and Russia - a process that began in the 1990s, and has been hailed as one of the major gains achieved by the assumed ending of the Cold War, is now in trouble. RFE/RL reports that Russia has officially informed the U.S. that the joint military maneuvers known as Torgau, which were scheduled for late September and early October, have been indefinitely postponed, "allegedly due to unresolved legal issues regarding the presence of foreign soldiers on Russian territory." (Newsline, September 6).

Several Russian commentators have pointed out that the real reason for the postponement is political. In EJ, Alexander Goltz writes (my tr.) that
In actual fact, the Russian-American maneuvers, and even the entire existing system of military co-operation, was not all intended to prepare the armed forces of the two countries for joint operations. However strange it may seem, these maneuvers represented a certain modern form of mutual restraint. With the increased cooling in Russian-American relations, and the growth of anti-Americanism cultivated by Federal television, the Torgau maneuvers were supposed to demonstrate that even if our two countries plan to wage war, they will only do so together, and not against each other. It appears that now the Kremlin does not feel the need for this demonstration.
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