Russia has invited all NATO member States and the NATO leadership to attend a security conference in mid-April, said the Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. The invitation comes against the backdrop of deteriorating relations between members of the Atlantic Alliance and Russia. Meanwhile, during a recent symposium, experts warned about the risk of a military escalation that includes the use of nuclear weapons, whether it be wanted or unwanted.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Thursday that NATO cannot be the sole guarantor of freedom and security in a modern world, reports the Russian Tass news agency, Antonov added that some countries now are trying to impose their policy and position on others and that latest developments show how imperfect the world is.
In 2008 NATO and the UN signed a Secretariat Coordination Treaty that implies that NATO has become the de facto military enforcement instrument of the international body, even though NATO is not representative of UN members or their individual rights or policies. The signing of this treaty was largely omitted by most media.
Russia has since the reunification of Germany repeatedly complained that it perceives NATO’s eastwards expansion and the deployment of anti-missile systems directed against Russia along its borders as a potential threat and as a violation of the agreements which led to the reunification of Germany.
This position has, among others, been stressed by the last Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev. It was confirmed by the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas who stressed that the understanding that NATO would not expand eastwards was by all sides understood as “the essence of peace”.
The dispute was to some degree mitigated by the Russian – NATO cooperation within the NATO’s “Partnership for Peace” program which has largely been suspended since the eruption of the conflict in and about Ukraine in 2014. The Tass news agency quotes Antonov as saying that:
“Some countries and even associations, such as the European Union, venture to define who and how should behave themselves on the international arena. If anyone voices another stance, which is different from that of Washington, Brussels and Ottawa, then they try to punish this country. … This is what is happening in regard to Russia today.”
Antonov stressed that there today is a lack of confidence between the countries and that it would be difficult to mend the international security system which has been seriously undermined by the actions of the United States and its allies in the international arena.
He added, however, that the potential of Russian – U.S.’ relations has not yet been exhausted although he never, in his entire diplomatic career that relations had been has difficult as they were today. Antonov stressed that the Ukrainian crisis affects security throughout Europe.
International law with regard to the situation in Ukraine is difficult and subject to interpretation rather than regulation. On one hand there is the principal of non-interference into internal affairs which has been undermined, practically by financing policy groups and NGOs and legally by constructs such as the “responsibility to protect”.
One the other hand there is the principle about the invulnerability of national borders. This principle, on the other hand, is being contradicted by the equally valid right to self-determination as seen in the Crimean referendum and Crimea’s accession into the Russian Federation or the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. International law is, on other words, highly subjective and based on policy and constructs about apparent “legitimacy” rather than legality and law.
It is within this climate that Russia invited NATO members to attend a security conference in Moscow in mid-April. Antonov noted that Moscow has invited all NATO member States as well as the leadership of the Alliance. He added that some countries had confirmed their participation but that the names of these countries and participants would be announced later.
Experts warn about the risk of unwanted nuclear war. Several analysts would note that the deterioration in relations between NATO and Russia poses an acute risk for a military escalation which could include the use of nuclear weapons and escalate into a conflict of global reach regardless whether it is wanted or unwanted.
During a two-day symposium at the New York Academy of Medical Sciences on February 28 and March 1, 2015, several internationally renown experts warned about the risk about a potential escalation of the situation in Ukraine and the involvement of nuclear weapons due to mutual distrust and nuclear forces being on hair-trigger alert.
The symposium, organized by the Dr. Helen Caldicott Foundation was attended by internationally renown experts, including Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy, MIT, Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics, MIT, Alan Robok, Distinguished Professor, Department Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, Holly Baker, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, John Feffer, Institute of Policy Studies, and many others.