The Great Debate UK
from Global News Journal:
Western responses to President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal for a new European-Atlantic security body that stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok have ranged from dismissive to lukewarm. None have been enthusiastic.
But some inside and outside Russia argue it would be unwise for Europe and the United States to reject the proposal out of hand, not least because, as one Russian official put it, this is one of the few occasions where Russia isn’t disagreeing but coming up with something constructive.
Yes Moscow’s draft treaty has gaps, they concede, yes it is almost entirely focused on security in the military sense and yes it doesn’t give much weight to liberal democracy and human rights as envisioned in modern perceptions of security – but it is a starting point for discussion.
Shutting Russia out plays in to the hands of those in Moscow, Washington and other capitals who prefer the simplicity of the Cold War’s zero sum game. It does no favours to modernisers in Russia who want to build cordial international relations, promote democratic society and build Russia’s economy away from its over-reliance on natural resources.
-John Reid, formerly the UK Defence Secretary and Home Secretary, is MP for Airdrie and Shotts, and Chairman of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College, London. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9, 1989, was one of history’s truly epochal moments. During what became a revolutionary wave sweeping across the former Eastern Bloc countries, the announcement by the then-East German Government that its citizens could visit West Germany set in train a series of events that led, ultimately, to the demise of the Soviet Union itself.
Twenty years on, what is most striking to me are the massive, enduring ramifications of the events of November 1989. Only several decades ago, the Cold War meant that the borders of the Eastern Bloc were largely inviolate; extremist religious groups and ethnic tensions were suppressed, there was no internet (at least as we know it today) and travel between East and West was difficult. The two great Glaciers of the Cold War produced a frozen hinterland characterised by immobility.
- Donald Steinberg, Deputy President for Policy of International Crisis Group, is a board member of the Women’s Refugee Commission and served on the UNIFEM executive director’s advisory council. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Preparations are now starting for the 10th anniversary of the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This groundbreaking resolution was passed unanimously in October 2000 to address abuses against women during armed conflict, including sexual violence and displacement, and to bring women more fully into conflict prevention and peacemaking.