Retired Gen. James Jones on Putin and crisis in Ukraine
Former Alliance Commander Told; Voice of America on Prospects for Better Relations with Moscow
General James L. Jones, the former commander of the combined forces of the Atlantic Alliance and ex-national security adviser in the Barack Obama administration, told VOA Serbian Yale de Franceschi why Moscow considers NATO its adversary..
According to General Jones, in the coming years, one can hardly count on an improvement in relations between the countries of the West and Russia, largely because Russia’s foreign policy is still completely dependent on the Russian leader’s ideas about how the outside world works..
“Mr Putin believes that after the liquidation of the Warsaw Pact there was some kind of agreement that NATO would not expand,” he says. – I personally heard him talk about it and I know that he believes in it. But the truth is that some official document, signed by someone, simply does not exist. However, he believes in the existence of a “gentlemen’s agreement”. I do not know how you can conclude such an important and significant agreement without signing it. (Putin’s) position is not very convincing, but this is his position. This is what he believes in “.
Former Obama’s National Security Advisor says NATO’s existence is a “serious irritant” for the Kremlin.
“NATO will never be (an organization) with which Putin feels comfortable or decides to be friends,” said James Jones. “I’m not sure there is a formula that could reconcile Mr Putin to this problem, except that (Western countries) need to refrain from making hasty decisions and not provoking Russia for no reason.”.
The general recalled that until recently, the United States and Russia “quite successfully” cooperated in resolving global issues. And this, according to James Jones, was a big mistake..
“I now very much regret that between about the beginning of 2000 and until 2010, when I left the White House, I had high hopes that Russia and the United States would not only maintain friendly relations, but also become really good partners in the war on terrorism and so on, ”he told Voice of America. – And we really had several years of excellent cooperation when (Dmitry) Medvedev was president. We had very fruitful exchanges regarding Iran’s nuclear program. I left the White House shortly before the (new) Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty entered into force. And now I really regret that since then the relationship has deteriorated so much. “.
James Jones is confident that there is no need to hope for any improvement in relations with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power..
“He is a ‘product’ of a certain historical period, and I think he sees the liquidation of the Warsaw Pact as the most terrible thing that happened on Earth in the 20th century,” he says. – He believes that the United States and NATO took advantage of Russia’s weakness during this period. Plus, he is the type of leader who needs to be sure to put someone at fault. I once said that leaders like Vladimir Putin must definitely appoint an enemy in order to look good against this background. “.
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