What, Me Worry?
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen fails to take responsibility.
4:52 PM, Feb 23, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Josh Rogin asks NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen if the alliance has any concerns about the proposed sale of several Mistral-class amphibious assault ships by France to the Russian Navy. The answer:
Apparently NATO is taking all kinds of things for granted these days. In fact, the Russians have hardly been perfectly clear about their intentions. As Garry Kasparov, one of the leaders of the Russian opposition, notes in an op-ed in the Guardian today, “The Russian military has not concealed its plan for these weapons. In September of last year, the Russian admiral Vladimir Vysotsky triumphantly declared that ‘a ship like this would have allowed the Black Sea fleet to accomplish its mission [of invading Georgia] in 40 minutes and not 26 hours’.” Moreover, there are now reports that the French firm Panhard General Defense SA is in negotiations with Moscow for the sale of armored personnel carriers of the type designed to for transport aboard the Mistral.
As Gary Schmitt wrote back in November, it's a mistake to reward Russian aggression with the sale of the Mistral. Why does Rasmussen "take it for granted that that Russia ... will not use this equipment against any of its neighbors or any NATO ally" when Russia went to war with one of its neighbors less than two years ago?