Americans, Russians and Europeans confronted with flaws in the European security architecture

Behind the fate of Ukraine, it is the ultra sensitive stake, of the negotiations between the Russians and the Americans which are to open Sunday January 9 in Geneva: barely sketched, the negotiations on the security architecture of the European continent are expected to be stormy, as Moscow and Washington diverge on the subject.

The order in force, forged in the context of the collapse of the USSR thirty years ago, has suffered a great deal of battering in recent years, for which the Russians and Americans alike are blaming themselves. “We have never succeeded in discussing the security order in Europe; discussions are blocked from the first exchanges ”, recalls a veteran of continental diplomacy, without too many illusions about a possible breakthrough. The latter keeps in mind that between 2007 and 2008, Russia had already proposed – in vain – a new European order, which echoed the current demands of the Kremlin.

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In fact, the Russians are demanding neither more nor less to question the security architecture in force since the end of the Cold War, an agenda that worries the United States and its European allies, still very dependent on American protection. The West rejected in advance the double treaty requested in mid-December 2021 by Russia to freeze the enlargement of NATO – to Ukraine in particular – and strictly regulate the deployment of Alliance troops and armaments in the countries of central Europe which have joined since the end of the 1990s. “It is unacceptable that Russia has a say in NATO”, warns a European diplomat.

“Beyond the Ukrainian question, the field of talks between the Americans and the Russians looks very wide., worries Piotr Buras, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in Warsaw. The concern, in particular in the states on the front line in the face of Russian threats, is that their security situation, already very precarious, will not worsen further. “ For the countries of central and eastern Europe in particular, there is no question of the Russians obtaining a sort of buffer zone in their neighborhood and once again projecting the continent into a logic of bloc.

“Red lines”

Moscow’s demands indeed call into question the principles agreed upon at the end of the Cold War, in an attempt to organize the continent after the dislocation of the Eastern bloc. Among the founding documents, the Charter of Paris, adopted in November 1990 in the context of German reunification by 34 countries, including the dying Soviet Union and its allies of the Warsaw Pact, advocated new relations between European countries, in order to avoid any use of force, while respecting the rule of law, democracy and minorities.

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Americans, Russians and Europeans confronted with flaws in the European security architecture

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