Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said yesterday that Moscow would not drop its opposition to an enlargement of NATO in exchange for the Western alliance’s offer to ease limits on Russia’s forces under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. "We oppose NATO expansion and there can be no horse-trading on this question," he told reporters. Other Russian officials who cautiously welcomed NATO’s willingness to allowing changes in the implementation of the CFE treaty similarly stated that it would not affect Russia’s opposition to NATO’s enlargement. Both issues will be among the topics discussed when U.S. and Russian officials lay the groundwork this week for a likely October summit between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.(2)
Opposing NATO enlargement is a sacred cause to hardliners in the Duma and elsewhere, and Kozyrev and his Ministry only stand to lose if they are seen to softpedal the issue. But there are also propaganda costs involved in blowing the alarm too loudly. Every time a Russian leader highlights the issue, scores of leaders of former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact allies rush to press conferences to offer smiling assurances that NATO expansion is good for Russian security. Moscow probably views NATO’s changed CFE proposals as an indication that the West is beginning to take into consideration its arguments about changed security requirements. Hence, it is unlikely to turn a benign eye on NATO expansion until the West does the same on its request to keep a strong military grouping in its volatile North Caucasus region.
Chinese Foreign Minister To See Yeltsin After All.