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A.Вершбоу, посол Соединенных Штатов Америки в России
A.Вершбоу, посол Соединенных Штатов Америки в России
9 апреля в МГИМО состоялось выступление посла Соединенных Штатов Америки в России A.Вершбоу.
U.S.- Russian Relations: Taking Relations to a Higher Level
Moscow State Institute for International Relations,
Rector Torkunov, Professor Melville, Distinguished Guests, Students,
I am very happy to have the opportunity to speak with you today. As a career diplomat myself, I have long been impressed by MGIMO’s high standards and by its role in training many of Russia’s leading diplomats, government officials and more recently, business persons and media specialists. As I look around the room today, I have no doubt that many of you will follow in the footsteps of MGIMO’s most distinguished graduates, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Of course, one of the secrets to producing successful graduates is to admit only the best and the brightest, a strategy that MGIMO mastered long ago.
We know also that MGIMO is distinguished by the high quality of its faculty, both in terms of its sheer intellectual force and its long practical experience in international relations. For this reason we are especially honored that MGIMO agreed to our proposal to have our own distinguished senior diplomat,
I would like to begin by offering my perspective, as the
Before I focus on our bilateral relationship, however, let me say a few words about the single most important issue confronting the United States, Russia, and the entire civilized world — the spread of terrorism. Terrorism in all of its forms, including the nightmare scenario that terrorists may acquire weapons of mass destruction, is the greatest security threat of our time. The tragic train bombing in Madrid last month on the eve of the Spanish elections once again demonstrated the lengths to which terrorists are prepared to go to disrupt our free and democratic way of life. President Putin himself has called terrorism «the plague of the 21st century» and he has urged the international community to show resolve in jointly fighting these despicable acts. He is right on both counts.
I don’t have to tell you that Russia, too, has been a victim of numerous terrorist acts in recent years, including February’s horrific Metro bombing in Moscow. The United States and Russia have taken significant steps to cooperate in our shared war on terrorism. For our part, we have designated several groups active in Chechnya as terrorist organizations under U.S. law, and we have worked with Georgia to remove terrorist camps from the Pankisi Gorge. The Russian government has shared valuable intelligence on the situation in Afghanistan, and of course both the United States and Russia are far more secure after the fall of the Taliban regime and the destruction of
The better part of my life has been spent studying and working to improve U.S.-Russian and U.S.-Soviet relations. I first came to the Soviet Union as a seventeen
I have been deeply involved in managing the many ups and downs in our bilateral relations over the past 27 years, which in many respects have paralleled the changes that have transformed Russia. I’ve been through the lows of the early 1980s, the era of high hopes that accompanied perestroyka and the
Some say that today’s relationship is too dependent on the strong personal bond between our two Presidents, and that is to some extent true. Your own studies should have shown you numerous examples throughout history of the remarkable power of personal relations at the highest level to influence the course of world events — Roosevelt and Churchill come immediately to mind in this context. The friendship of Presidents Bush and Putin, based on a recognition of the common interests between our two countries in the 21st century, as well as mutual respect and trust on the personal level, is the model for the kind of relationship we need to develop at all levels between our two governments and, indeed, between our two great countries as a whole. The Presidents' relationship has shown itself to be strong and capable of withstanding periodic differences of opinion, even on such profound issues as the military campaign in Iraq. Moreover, we have succeeded in cooperating across an extraordinary range of geopolitical and economic issues. But the relationship is still more broad than deep, and it is still vulnerable to unexpected shocks and crises that could knock us off course. We need both to institutionalize cooperation to a greater degree among our two bureaucracies, where Cold War thinking and suspicion may still linger, and to broaden the agenda so that both countries have a more concrete stake in our partnership.
This was the goal of the last
At Camp David, the Presidents also agreed to expand our cooperation on fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS, which Secretary of State Colin Powell has called «the greatest weapon of mass destruction today." As the AIDS epidemic struck the United States long before it threatened Russia, our doctors and public health experts gained valuable early experience in treating and controlling the disease. For its part, Russia has outstanding scientists and medical professionals who can contribute to the global search for a vaccine and a cure. And as the HIV/AIDS virus is spreading more quickly today in Russia than almost anyplace else on the planet, our bilateral cooperation on this issue — including support for the efforts of
Both sides recently took stock of progress in implementing the Camp David checklist. They concluded that the results were good — but that more could be done. We are now working on a new set of goals and deadlines that the Presidents may endorse when they meet at the
Even though it’s probably fair to say that our relationship has never been stronger, there is clearly lots of untapped potential. Yes, we are cooperating successfully on a number of specific strategic issues — some of which used to be very contentious — and that is, in itself, quite an achievement. But I believe that given the serious shared threats our countries face today, and the many interests that our nations share, we ought to set our sights higher and aim not just for cooperation on specific issues, but for a broader partnership similar to what the United States enjoys with such long time allies as Britain, Germany or France. Such a relationship will not be built overnight — it took us years to develop such relationships with some of our closest allies — but given the seriousness of the threats we both face, the sooner we begin working on it, the better.
One area where there is room for improvement in our relationship is the need for closer
Russia also needs to realize that, as with the rest of our relationship, America’s relations with the countries of the CIS do not represent a
Our economic relations also have the potential to expand. The United States supports the full participation of Russia in the
I would be remiss if I did not note that the United States still has concerns about recent trends with respect to the consolidation of Russian democracy and civil society, including the gradual but steady erosion of press and media freedoms over the last several years. Secretary Powell, National Security Advisor Rice, and even President Bush have voiced these concerns in recent months.
Although the future of Russian democracy may seem like an internal issue, in fact it has profound implications for U.S.-Russian relations and for Russia’s ability to assume an international role befitting a great country. As Secretary Powell noted in the article he published in Izvestiya in January, «Russia’s future greatness lies in its achieving stable democratic institutions. Political, economic and intellectual freedom form the gateway to prosperity, strength and social development in the 21st century." We believe that economic and political freedoms, and the rule of law, are the foundation of the prosperity of the United States and our western allies. We doubt that Russia can achieve similar prosperity for its people without the checks and balances that one sees in other democratic systems. Moreover, the American people consider the issue of democratic values to be an important factor in U.S. foreign relations. There will be public pressure to limit our relations if Americans perceive that our Russian partners are not guided by the same democratic values that underpin our relationships with our traditional allies.
One way of helping to build shared values is by increasing
Expanding trade and investment will also help strengthen our relationship as it will give average Russians and Americans a direct economic interest in the success of our relationship, as well as provide additional shock absorbers when political disagreements between our governments occur, as they inevitably will from time to time. Before our true potential on trade and investment is achieved, however, Russia must do more to ensure that investors feel that there are clear rules of the road for all companies, both foreign and domestic. Protection of property rights, the sanctity of contracts, and a predictable and transparent legal system are all necessary elements of an attractive investment climate and it is in Russia’s interest that these principles be promoted.
We already have taken some important steps in expanding our trade relationship. One of the accomplishments of our economic partnership with Russia has been our Presidents' establishment of the Russian American Business Dialogue and the Commercial Energy Dialogue. These
One of the issues with which I am particularly concerned is the protection of intellectual property rights. While your government has enacted some promising legislation, it needs to take more effective enforcement action to end rampant piracy in all intellectual property spheres, and in particular the illegal production of CDs and DVDs. Lack of effective action could block Russia’s WTO accession, scare off future investors, and even invite punitive action. The losers in this battle are not just Americans, but also Russian musicians, filmmakers, drug researchers, and software designers. So, the next time you feel tempted to run out to Gorbushka to buy a pirated version of the latest Britney Spears or Tatu CD, think again!
To sum up, since the end of the Cold War, our two countries have built a very positive partnership that enables us to cooperate on a range of shared strategic interests, from fighting terrorism and nuclear proliferation to controlling the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The challenge we now face is to move beyond these areas of cooperation where our common interests are readily apparent, to more sensitive and complex issues, where cooperation can benefit both countries, but also requires new thinking and a less rigid worldview. To do so will require strong leadership on the part of our Presidents and hard, skillful work by our diplomatic services. As future international affairs specialists, I hope all of you will bring that new thinking to your work on behalf of Russia. I look forward to meeting many of you one day at conferences, negotiations and receptions, and I can assure you that challenging and highly relevant careers await you.
I think I have covered a lot of ground and I would like to use the remaining time to take your questions. Whenever I speak to university students, the event organizer frequently assures me that the students have been advised in advance not to ask provocative questions. In fact, I welcome an open debate of issues, and being able to handle controversial issues in a tactful way is a key diplomatic skill, so I encourage you to ask about any policy issue that interests you.