From World Politics Review: But some U.S. allies in the Baltic and Eastern Europe warn against cozying up to Moscow, in light of Russia's new assertiveness, most evident in the Georgia war. 'It is important that dialogue with Russia must not harm the allied relationships of today,' Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a press release, after meeting Obama in Washington, this week.
For more from President Ilves on NATO, cyber attacks, and relations with Russia, see www.president.ee/en/media/press_releases.php?gid=128614.
From Evgeny Morozov in Net Effect: Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks mentioned the growing impact that DDoS-attacks - used predominantly as means of intimidation - are having on elections worldwide. To illustrate his point, he spoke of attacks on Kasparov.ru in Russia as well as the recent DDoS attacks on the web-sites of several parties in the UK; the Iranian case was, obviously, an elephant in the room (yet, surprisingly, Iran was barely mentioned throughout the entire conference). Nazario also pointed out to the disturbing frequency with which DDoS attacks are now accompanying important geopolitical and diplomatic negotiations, pointing to a spike in DDoS attacks against Ukrainian web-sites as anti-NATO protests where [sic] sweeping the country (the attacks carried a 'NATO go home' message).
From the Jamestown Foundation: While Moscow's intentions to use the CORF as a potential counterweight to NATO's eastward expansion, and in response to the American military presence in Afghanistan are clear, Kazakhstan's role in this military structure remains open to question. In theory it can offer 4,000 troops from its three airborne assault brigades, and has agreed to be the second largest military force within the new structure.
From U.S. Department of State: "The United States strongly supports the right of both Ukraine and Georgia to pursue their membership aspirations in NATO. To achieve NATO membership, both countries must complete rigorous reforms to meet NATO’s performance-based standards. Under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions, Allies, including the United States, are working with both countries to provide concrete advice, assistance, and practical support to help guide these efforts."
From Reuters: "Making individual NATO members responsible for specific provinces in Afghanistan has hindered international cooperation efforts, NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in a magazine interview.
'All countries like to think they are the champions of reconstruction,' NATO Secretary General De Hoop Scheffer said in an interview with Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland on Tuesday.
'But that has not stimulated real international military and civil cooperation, and from time to time it has even worked against it,' he told the magazine."
From the Jamestown Foundation: "General Makarov [Chief of the General Staff Army] confirmed this during a press conference on June 5, also characterizing the military reform as a response to the conventional strength of Western forces: 'The U.S. and NATO armed forces' superiority, many times over, in their general-purpose forces in all strategic sectors, is one of the threats to which Russia's pre-reform armed forces could not have reacted adequately' (Interfax, June 5)."
From Heritage: "The other day, Minsk unveiled the likelihood of introducing border and customs controls on the Russian border. This move actually signifies an end of the unified state project. Lukashenko is clearly looking to the EU’s support in his standoff against Moscow and is counting on the Kremlin’s deep appreciation of Belarus’ geopolitical position and military potential to contain NATO. No matter the Moscow-Minsk standoff’s outcome, Russia is clearly losing its chief and only ally in Eastern Europe."
From Kyiv Post: "A senior fellow at the Cato Institute (Washington, the United States), Doug Bandow, has said that Ukraine's joining NATO will not guarantee the country full-scale protection in the case of any military attack.
'The fundamental question during Ukraine's accession to NATO is how much such an action would really ensure the country's security. This will most likely bring tension in relations with Russia, but the question remains unclear how much Ukraine could really hope for support from alliance members,' he said at a roundtable entitled 'NATO, U.S. Influence, and Ukraine's Elections' in Kyiv on Tuesday."
From Associated Press: "Two former Soviet republics refused to sign onto a deal Sunday to create a NATO-style rapid-reaction force for a Moscow-dominated security alliance, undermining a Kremlin bid to bolster its power and prestige amid a struggle with the West for regional clout.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko angrily boycotted the Moscow summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization amid a politically charged trade dispute with longtime ally Russia. Central Asian power Uzbekistan attended the summit but balked at signing a deal that could increase Moscow's influence over its affairs . . .
An effective rapid-reaction force would raise the profile of the alliance, seen as an anemic answer to NATO, and would increase Moscow's influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus, where the Kremlin is competing with the West over political influence, energy resources and export routes."
From Radio Australia: "LAM: So is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation positioning itself as a kind of a regional counterpoint if you like to US European NATO?
HUISKEN: I think it's a long way from that, it has certainly been a forum that within which they've conducted multilateral military exercises, particularly counter-insurgency ones, but also a couple of bigger ones where the message was wider, not least to Japan. And certainly both China and Russia in particular are vehemently opposed to NATO expansion, and particularly of course to the US presence in central Asia that was legitimised if you like by 9/11." (Interview of Dr. Ron Huisken, senior fellow, at the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre by Sen Lam)