Thursday, 19 February 2009

Tone Softens on NATO Enlargement

In a shift from the Bush years, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has taken a much softer tone on future NATO enlargement. The Ukrainian Kyiv Post notes:

The enlargement process will continue, but we will make it equally clear that Russia's legitimate security concerns won't be ignored or overlooked," Scheffer said referring to NATO's future strategy. "The new strategic concept must make it very clear that both tasks [NATO enlargement and good relations with Russia] remain essential.

This contrasts with the harder tone set in the past, when NATO leaders insisted that neither Russia nor any other country outside the Alliance could have a veto on NATO enlargement, and that the matter was one for NATO alone to discuss. It seems that the Obama administration's desire to 'hit the reset button' on relations with Russia (as Vice-President Joe Biden put it in Munich a week or so ago) is already having a positive effect.

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