News

USIS Foreign Media Reaction 
Report

24 November 1997

TRENDS--RUSSIA: BACK AS BIG PLAYER, BUT WITH A DIFFERENCE?



Russia's seemingly successful intervention in the Iraqi crisis last
week prompted the foreign media to conclude that Moscow is making
strides in restoring its status as a "major power" on the
international scene. But, unlike in the days of the former USSR,
Moscow was seen by several writers as willing to work "responsibly"
with the U.S. and other leading nations while advancing its own
interests at the same time. Russia, this group of analysts indicated,
has opted for partnership with NATO and the U.S., and is attempting to
balance its loss of influence in Europe by bolstering its ties with
China and Japan and raising its profile in the Middle East and Latin
America. Some of these opinion-makers welcomed Russia's "reappearance"
on the international stage, hoping that it would serve to restrain
what they insist is a too powerful U.S. Others, however, remained
suspicious of Russia's growing assertiveness abroad and of its
endorsement of a "multipolar" world as a counter to perceived U.S.
hegemony.


MIDDLE EAST--An overwhelming majority of observers concluded that,
with Russian Foreign Minister Primakov's "diplomatic victory" in
persuading Saddam Hussein to readmit UN inspectors, Moscow scored an
impressive comeback among Arab countries. Moscow papers and some
French ones were delighted with the Primakov initiative, with centrist
Nezavisimaya Gazeta of Moscow declaring that Russia had acted "as a
world power which has averted a seemingly inevitable war in the
Persian Gulf." In Paris, left-of-center Le Monde noted how Russia had
defended the idea of a multipolar world, "dear also to President
Chirac." Dailies in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also voiced
their satisfaction, hoping this would "create a balance" they assert
is lacking in the U.S. approach to the Middle East.


* Skeptical commentators, including one on German national ARD- TV,
stressed that the Iraq crisis did not tilt the balance of power in the
Middle East in Moscow's favor. Moscow, the TV outlet held, "has too
many problems of its own to really offer anything substantial to the
Arabs." German, British and Polish critics were concerned that the
U.S. had opened the door to Russian mischief. They pointed to the
Russian and French push for lucrative oil contracts with Iran and Iraq
and their hopes of "containing U.S. influence in the Middle East." In
Moscow, centrist, army Krasnaya Zvezda and reformist, business-
oriented Kommersant Daily unabashedly spelled out what Russia could
gain from its mediation: "Iraq offers vast opportunities for Russian
business, from oil-mining to the defense industry."


ASIAN POWER PLAYS--President Yeltsin's Nov. 9-11 visit to China and
his Krasnoyarsk "meeting without neckties" Nov. 1-2 with Japanese
Prime Minister Hashimoto sparked plenty of speculation as to which
power in Asia--the U.S., China, Japan and Russia--would come out ahead
as their relations have shifted this year. The U.S.-China summit in
October, journalists judged, set off the jockeying for closer
alliances after much-needed fence-mending. Russian columnists were
particularly impressed by the good will surrounding the Yeltsin-
Hashimoto talks, although one predicted that it would be difficult for
the Japanese leader to secure Moscow's consent to ceding "part of
Russian land anywhere," a reference to the disputed Kuril islands.




* Despite welcoming the Kremlin's improved ties with Beijing and
Tokyo, observers believed that Moscow might benefit the least from the
shifting political winds of the Asia-Pacific. Brussels's conservative
Catholic La Libre Belgique noted that Russia could not compete with
the attractions of the U.S. "The Asians, primarily the Chinese, swear
by America, its technology, its universities and its dollars, even
though domestic considerations prompt them regularly to cry wolf
ideologically," this paper said. A few in the Moscow press provided an
equally realistic assessment of Moscow's chances. Reformist Izvestia,
for instance, acknowledged, "In the next century's Asia- Pacific
region, Russia will have a supporting role, compared to those of the
three key players--the U.S., China and Japan. But a backup player has
his advantages, as the main players can't do without his aid."


This survey is based on 67 reports from 21 countries, Nov.  1-24.



EDITOR:  Mildred Sola Neely

To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click Below

Europe Middle East East Asia and the Pacific South Asia Latin America and the Caribbean

EUROPE RUSSIA: "Moscow Figured Compromise Was More Constructive" Reformist Izvestia (11/22) published a comment by Aleksandr Bovin, a former Russian ambassador to Israel: "It is a fact that Baghdad provoked the current crisis over Iraq.... The way the Americans, the chief instigator of the economic blockade, were acting was insolent, arrogant, void of any respect for the Iraqis' mentality and dignity. Moscow rightly figured that compromise was more constructive than ultimatums and the use of force, especially as, of the four files, two (missiles and nuclear weapons) were actually closed and the other two (chemical and bacteriological weapons) were almost closed." "Yeltsin Helps U.S. Save Face" Reformist Segodnya ran this comment by Igor Sedykh and Valeria Sycheva (11/21): "Thanks to the Yeltsin plan, the United States has saved face and the UN Security Council, remaining united, has received the moral satisfaction that the Iraqis were not allowed to violate its resolutions. Moscow has proven its worth without using force, through high-class diplomacy." "U.S. Settles For Supporting Role" Dmitry Gornostayev stated on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta(11/21): "This time Russia has been acting not as a country upholding its rights--it has had to do so recently for a multitude of reasons-- but as a world power which has averted a seemingly inevitable war in the Persian Gulf. On the other side, the Americans have had to be content with a supporting role in what was supposed to be a play of their own scripting." "Hard But Rewarding Mission For Russia" Vadim Markushin said in centrist, army Krasnaya Zvezda (11/20): "Russia's is an honorary role as the principal mediator, one which may bring her good political dividends, if played right. But it is a hard one, too, having to satisfy both Washington and Baghdad. Even so, it is worthwhile. Iraq offers vast opportunities for Russian business, from oil-mining to the defense industry." "Primakov To South America: Moscow Sets Its Sights On U.S.' 'Soft Underbelly'" In the run-up to Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov's South American tour, reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (11/19) published this article by Andrei Ivanov: "Moscow has set its sights on the U.S.' 'soft underbelly.' By official sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow does not seek to change the balance of forces in that region; nor does the Primakov tour have any anti-American implications. But, since he, among things, is going to discuss military and technological ties, U.S. interests will be affected, anyway." "Pacific Powers' Game Temporary: Ambitions Won't Be Given Up" Andrei Ivanov of reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (11/13) commented on recent China-U.S., Japan-Russia and China-Russia summits: "For the first time in many years, the Sino-American and Russo- Japanese duets have gotten over political differences to make progress in economic relations. Relationships among the four big Pacific powers are a complex combination of common political aims and economic contradictions. For instance, Moscow competes with Beijing for foreign, primarily American, investments and with Washington for the huge Chinese market. As far as that competition is concerned, Tokyo has been a natural partner. Russia and Japan have nothing to fight over except for a few islands, a dispute they have wisely decided to set aside for a while. Their economies, vastly different, would sooner complement than rival with each other. By contrast, economic relations between Japan and America are strained, at times to the point of a trade war, this in spite of a defense alliance between the two countries. With China building up its military potential, Tokyo has lately been inclined to expand military ties with Moscow. This game of duets, however, is temporary. Its participants are too strong to give up their ambitions as individual poles of power." "Russo-Sino Ties May Slump" Aleksandr Chudodeyev stated on page one of reformist Segodnya (11/10): "By signing a border agreement, Russia and China have finally put an end to 'the territorial problem' that has marred Moscow-Beijing relations over the past 30 years or so. Some observers, however, predict a slump after the current peak in Russo-Sino relations. The reason is the low level of economic cooperation between the two 'great neighbors.' According to Russia's First Vice Premier (Boris Nemtsov), bilateral trade, having its 'bad moments,' went down 13 percent in the first half of this year. 'We made an analysis,' he said, 'and came to the conclusion that the reason is simple: incorrect regulation of and discrimination against imported Russian commodities by the Chinese side.'" "Cutting Ankara Down To Size As Eurasian Power" Vadim Markushin said in centrist, army Krasnaya Zvezda (11/4): "Turkey has jealously been following the Russians' building up ties with her neighbors, seeing this as a threat to her claims as a growing Eurasian power. Encouraged by the USSR breaking up and U.S. diplomacy, she draws on her old ambition at least to equal Russia's status in the region. There, of course, is nothing wrong with that, Turkey being on the rise economically and militarily. Nor is there any harm in Ankara discovering its identity as the capital of a booming regional colossus. The shocking part of that is its rhetoric which, familiar in the context of 'Aegean disputes,' sounds out of place in a dialogue with Russia. After all, Russia, for all her current ills, is a power of a different order." "Moscow Capitalizes On Iraq Crisis" Aleksandr Shumilin pointed out in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (11/6): "Less rigorous on Iraq than the other permanent members of the Security Council, Moscow has learned to capitalize on this fact. By identifying with the rest of the Security Council, the Russians make Baghdad doubt their pro-Iraqi stand, causing it to respond, always in the same manner--it offers Russia new oil contracts." "Moscow Braced For Competition With U.S. In Chinese Market" According to Aleksei Portansky and Anatoly Sautin in the Finansoviye Izvestia supplement to reformist Izvestia (11/6) in the run-up to Boris Yeltsin's visit to China: "Moscow attaches no less importance to this trip than to the Russian president's meetings with G-7 countries. Presidential press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky said that, for Russia, 'the Eastern vector of diplomacy is absolutely equivalent to the Western.' Although Yastrzhembsky stated that the Russians will not raise questions in Beijing about a growing Sino-U.S. economic partnership and the recent summit in Washington, Russia must brace itself for stronger U.S. competition in the Chinese market." "U.S., Russia Must Cooperate To Prevent War In Mideast" Reformist Izvestia (11/5) published an article by Aleksandr Bovin, former Russian ambassador in Israel, on the Primakov tour of the Middle East: "Moscow and Washington must cooperate if a new war in the Middle East is to be averted. U.S. foreign policy has never been particularly delicate, an observation which has never been truer than now. We must be frank and straightforward about that, not because we want to quarrel or fight but because we want to avoid treading on each other's pet peeves. In that sense, the Primakov trip was useful." "Russia's Supporting Role In Asia-Pacific" Stanislav Kondrashov remarked in reformist Izvestia (11/5): "In the next century's Asia- Pacific region, Russia will have a supporting role, compared to those of the three key players--the United States, China and Japan. But a backup player has his advantages, as the main players can't do without his aid." "Tokyo-Moscow Rapprochement A Priority" Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (11/4) published a comment by Vsevolod Ovchinnikov: "By meeting in Krasnoyarsk, the two leaders showed that a territorial dispute cannot block cooperation.... It was pointed out that in the next century relations among the United States, Japan, China and Russia will, in large measure, determine chances for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. In that rectangle, Tokyo and Moscow are farthest apart. Thus their rapprochement has become a priority from the standpoint of regional as well as bilateral interests." "This Was Unthinkable Only A Year Ago" Yekaterina Grigoryeva said on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta(11/4): "The so- called Yeltsin-Hashimoto plan is the main result of 'the meeting without neckties.' In addition to that, the two countries are expected to solve their key problem--the lack of a peace treaty--by the year 2000. Such a treaty basically presupposes resolving the issue of the Kuril islands and a common border. The leaders of both countries have shown an approach absolutely unthinkable only a year ago." "Hashimoto Can Celebrate A Victory, But..." According to Vasily Golovnin in reformist Izvestia (11/4): "Hashimoto can celebrate a victory--a peace treaty, by Japanese logic, is impossible without settling 'the problem of the northern territories.' If he makes this happen, he will be proclaimed the premier of modern times. It is too early to speak of the two countries having really come closer together on a peace treaty. Besides, they don't have much time to do so, a year or a year and a half at the most--nobody in Russia will talk seriously about giving up part of Russian land anywhere around 2000, the year of the next presidential elections." "Great Success" Rossiyskiye Vesti (11/4), a newspaper of the Russian presidential administration, ran a report by Andrei Ilyashenko of RIA Novosti: "The results of the (Yeltsin-Hashimoto) meeting seem to have surpassed all expectations." "Happy Chance For Japanese" Georgy Bovt and Aleksandr Chudodeyev suggested in reformist Segodnya(11/4): "For the Japanese, the Krasnoyarsk accords could be the long- sought happy chance to break out of a diplomatic impasse without losing face and forsaking territorial principles and join in an effort to develop the promising Russian market." "West Wants To Pit Russia Against China" Vasily Safronchuk asserted in nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (11/4): "The West is considering the Kuril islands issue in the context of having Japan, America's chief partner, strengthen its stand in Asia, as well as a way to pit Russia against China." "Russia-Japan Summit: Stupendous Accomplisment" Andrei Smirnov stressed on page one of reformist Segodnya (11/3): "'The meeting without neckties' at Krasnoyarsk wound up with Boris Yeltsin adding yet another name to his list of foreign 'pals.' For Moscow-Tokyo relations, that is a stupendous accomplishment. The success of the first contact between the two leaders gives hope that Russia and Japan may soon put an end to the formal state of war between themselves. Having talked informally with the Japanese premier during a fishing trip and later at lunch, the Russian president announced that they had agreed to sign a peace treaty in 2000." "U.S., Moscow Vying For China Strategic Partnership?" Ivan Kolchanov said in neo-communist Pravda-Five (11/1): "Coming to the United States 12 years after the previous visit by a top Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin won a new strategic partner for his country. Russia was granted the same title earlier. It looks as if Moscow and Washington may start vying for leadership in partner-type relations with fast-growing China." "U.S., China Don't Play Russia Card" Commenting on the U.S.-Sino summit, Vladimir Nadein filed from Washington for reformist Izvestia (11/1): "Neither side tried to play the Russia card. Obviously, the Americans are not scared by the Russian defense industry's being timidly attracted to the Chinese army. Similarly, the Chinese do not feel threatened by Clinton having met with Yeltsin thrice as often as with Jiang Zemin." "South America, Russia Trade Roles" Karen Khachaturov opined in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (11/1): "Russia and Latin America have traded roles in geopolitical terms, in relations with the outside world, primarily the United States. The former 'banana republics' demand that they be treated as partners and refuse to take orders from the Americans. Russia is different and lets Washington constantly lecture it. Speculation that Russia has been Latin-Americanized could have been true when the southern part of the New World was called the U.S.' backyard. Not any more. Today that name applies to Russia." GERMANY: "Moscow Did Not Become A World Power Overnight" National ARD-TV's Klaus Stenzel decided (11/20), "The balance of power has not changed. Russia did achieve a nice diplomatic victory, but not more. Moscow did not become a world power overnight. It has too many problems of its own to really offer anything substantial to the Arabs." "Warning: Primakov" Josef Joffe cautioned in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich that using Primakov to deal with Saddam (11/20), "could turn out to be Clinton's biggest mistake, who, so far, did not make any big blunders in the foreign policy arena.... (Primakov's) underlying motive is as clear as in 1990-91 when he was Gorbachev's chief negotiator to prevent a war with Saddam Hussein. It was easy to foresee that Primakov would not have the strength to resist the temptation.... Now there is a golden opportunity to reinstall the Russian influence by offering Iraq its protection and offering to be the negotiator for the United States. It is not only political interest, but also business interest which causes this behavior. Iraq still owes Moscow $7 billion for weapons, which Moscow sold to Iraq. Since 1994, Moscow is calling for an easing of the UN embargo on Iraqi oil exports in order to receive its money." "Russia Seeks Support In East For Its Controversy With NATO" Right-of-center Maerkische Oderzeitung of Frankfurt on the Oder (11/4) noted: "The pragmatists in the Kremlin have realized that the accession of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary can no longer be prevented in the first enlargement round. But the real test is still to come. The catchwords are the Baltic states and Ukraine. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have never tried to hide that they want to join NATO at any cost. It is true that the leadership in Kiev has not yet announced its interest in NATO membership, but there are strong forces for an accession to the Alliance by the year 2000. If this came true, a world would collapse for nationalistic forces in Moscow, in particular. Then, Russia would have only one ally among its Slav neighbors: Belarus. It is already obvious that Moscow is now trying to find an accommodation with the East--evidenced by the visit of the Japanese premier--in order to be armed for the controversies with the West." "Russia-Japan: Progress, But..." Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/3) front-paged this editorial, "A sustainable improvement of relations would be in the mutual interest. Russia would profit from an increased Japanese economic engagement.... Japan is interested in Russia's support for a permanent seat on the UNSC. In the Japanese opinion, with its appreciative attitude to the Japanese-U.S. Security Agreement, Moscow is clearly distinguishing itself mainly from China. The statement from Krasnoyarsk shows that we need no longer be afraid of a fallback to the times of silence between Moscow and Tokyo. But national sensitivities on both sides are likely to prevent a positive development in relations in the coming three years." "Sorting Things Out" Georg Gafron asserted in an editorial in mass-circulation, right-of- center Bild Zeitung of Hamburg (11/3), "Again, world history has taken one step forward--for the better. In remote Siberia, Russia's President Boris Yeltsin and Japan's Premier Hashimoto cut an ugly knot in their relations: Within two years, a peace treaty between the two states is to be accomplished.... Changing interests and strong personalities who realize this and who are willing to shape things by showing courage: They are the engine that make history. The world is sorting itself out--every day!" BRITAIN: "Why Invite Primakov?" The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (11/21): "What is less clear is why the West, and especially the United States, should have invited Mr. Primakov to sort out this crisis. Russia's interests, for all its international rhetoric, are not those of the West. More to the point, a strategic disaster for the West (that is, an Iraqi hegemony in the Gulf) would be entirely consistent with Russian objectives. Why? First, because men such as Mr. Primakov would derive satisfaction from an American humiliation out of residual ideological hostility. Second, because an Iraqi push in the Gulf would lead to an energy crisis and rocketing price--from which Russia, also an energy exporter, would benefit. Their not-so-good offices may have bought us breathing space, but we have not heard the last of this." "Russia Basks In Rare Success" The centrist Independent highlighted (11/21): "Russia's mediation in the Iraq crisis has given Moscow new hope that it is still a powerful force on the international stage. It was a triumph for a nation that has long felt neglected in the wake of its lost empire. It was a foreign victory abroad for a president grappling with a scandal at home. And it was a vintage performance in the negotiating career of a wily former Soviet spymaster." "Second Time Lucky For The Smiley Of Moscow" According to the conservative Daily Telegraph (11/21): "Saddam Hussein's decision to scale down his confrontation with America is a belated success for Yevgeny Primakov...who is the world's leading expert at finding ways to get the Iraqi leader out of tricky situations." FRANCE: "A Comeback For Russian Diplomacy" Under the headline above, left-of-center Le Monde's editorial judged (11/21): "The outcome of the Iraqi crisis is a major success for Russian diplomacy.... Since the signing of the Founding Act, the Kremlin feels much more free to act. Yeltsin openly defends the idea of a multipolar world, dear also to President Chirac, in which Russia will be one of the poles.... Presumably, Russia no longer has the means of the former Soviet Union, but its weakness is in itself an asset in a sensitive region where the merest imbalance can be a source of instability.... Unless Saddam Hussein makes a sudden turn- around, Russian diplomacy has clearly scored twice: It returns to the Middle East 'en force' and, through its 'solidarity with the international community,' proves its sense of responsibility." "The Great Game" Charles Lambroschini concluded in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/21): "Now that Moscow has concluded an arrangement with the United States on NATO and its enlargement to the East, Russia dares to look beyond Europe. Because it is overcoming its inferiority complex triggered by the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia believes it can again play an international role.... Fortunately for the West, Russia has chosen realism." "Russia's Desire For International Integration" Helene Carrere D'Encausse concluded in right-of-center Le Figaro(11/4): "For Russia, 1997 represents a return to political life for its president and clarification in its relations with the CIS and NATO.... Russia's relations with NATO reveal Russia's subtle approach on the international scene...for integration in international structures...such as NATO.... In relinquishing its hostility toward NATO's enlargement to the East, Russia has shown where its priority lies.... On an international scale, Russia has traded its traditional demands in exchange for the status of major power equal to others, and privileged relations with the European Union and NATO. Yeltsin probably had no other choice, but having accepted this necessary policy has helped to strengthen his country." ITALY: "Moscow Is Also U.S.' Friend" An article from Cairo by Antonio Ferrari was published in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/21): "Saddam accepted the Russian proposal with a goal and a hope. The goal is to restore Moscow's diplomatic role as a superpower; the hope is that such a result may have positive repercussions in the Gulf region as a whole. In other words, that it may lead through Moscow to curbing Washington's exaggerated power.... Saddam may have won this round by facilitating the Russian plan, but perhaps he is forgetting that Moscow is a friend of the United States now, and needs its generous financial contributions. And, all things considered, a certain influence by Russia in the delicate Middle East chessboard can be an advantage for Washington." "Moscow Is A Protagonist Again" A commentary by Ugo Tramballi ran in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore(11/20): "Russian Foreign Minister Primakov's curriculum is so full of (Cold War) memories that his mediation in the Iraqi crisis could be misinterpreted, seen as aimed at dividing the Western front and putting the Arab world against the U.S.-Israel axis as in the past: i.e., at making Russia count again so that it can again consider itself a superpower. There is certainly some of the above in Primakov's mission, since the (Russian) bear never gives up its bad habits and since, in any case, Russia is destined to again become in any case a major protagonist. But there is most of all something new in Primakov's mission. Russia is not trying this mediation against, but with the United States.... And this will affect world peace much more than Saddam Hussein or what China intends to do. " "Reaffirming Russia's Role As Superpower" Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto filed for centrist, top- circulation Corriere della Sera (11/19): "For Russia, the Iraqi crisis represents a unique occasion to reposition itself as a protagonist in the Islamic world.... Boris Yeltsin may exploit it to relaunch his foreign policy in other areas of the world as well, thus reaffirming Russia's role as a superpower." "Clinton Triangle With Russia, China While Europe Remains In Margins" A commentary by Franco Venturini in leading, top-circulation, centrist Corriere della Sera (11/5) read: "The game of the triangle, inaugurated by Nixon 25 years ago....is once again fashionable and could accompany us into the next century.... Clinton's United States and Zemin's China have discovered the full extent of their common interests. Russia is responding by opening toward Japan, and using Tokyo as a way to remain hooked to the American-Chinese wagon. Deja vu? Not exactly. Compared to the time of confrontation between blocs, the new element is the enormous stakes and the fluidity of the global economy.... This triangle is much more complex (and, fortunately, less conflictual).... Europe is striving to transform the triangle into a square, but it does not yet have the political weight necessary to be part of the game." BELGIUM: "Russia Wins On All Counts" According to socialist La Wallonie on Iraq (11/21): "By offering its mediation....Russia wins on all counts. It reaffirms its presence and its status as a big power, which was dormant for more than two years." "Yeltsin's Meager Chances In China" Discussing Yeltsin's visit to Beijing, Philippe Paquet observed in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (11/8): "The Kremlin's diplomats are the first to recognize that Russia does not really find its place in Asia and in China in particular, whereas the Asians, primarily the Chinese, swear by America, its technology, its universities and its dollars, even though domestic considerations prompt them regularly to cry wolf ideologically and to obstinately denounce the ravages of imperialism. "This new transpacific deal augurs nothing good for Boris Yeltsin. With $7 billion, Russo-Chinese trade lags far behind the $45 billion of Sino-American trade, and it is likely to remain so after the nuclear cooperation agreement concluded by Messrs. Jiang and Clinton....(and the order placed by China with Boeing.) This last example suffices to demonstrate how meager Mr. Yeltsin's chances in Beijing are: Even Aeroflot does not want the aircraft that he wants to sell to the Chinese, the Ilyuchin or Tupolev." "Moscow-Tokyo: Balancing Washington-Beijing" The Yeltsin-Hashimoto meeting sparked this assessment by Philippe Paquet in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (11/4): "Although one did not expect much from this first meeting which was supposed to be limited to a mutual psychological familiarization between the exuberant Russian president and the very reserved Japanese prime minister, both of them, without any fuss turned a page of history and undertook to write a new one. Indeed, they put an end to the silent war that their countries have been waging against each other since 1945 and pledged to conclude an official peace treaty before the end of the century, leaving aside the haunting territorial differences about which the Japanese's nationalist intransigence was equal only to the Russians'.... "Of course, more than a sudden flash of inspiration hitting the Russian and Japanese leaders, Krasnoyarsk saw the translation of converging interests. A massive Japanese participation in Russia's economic takeoff is in both sides' interest.... But there is also, for Moscow as well as Tokyo, the strategic need to balance the spectacular Sino-American rapprochement which Bill Clinton and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin have just sealed. So far, privileged partnerships linked Japan and the United States on one hand, Russia and China on the other. In this respect, the timing of the Krasnoyarsk meeting was not innocent. No more so than the informal Russo-Japanese summit scheduled as early as April 1998 in Japan, while the Chinese and American presidents also decided to meet every year." CZECH REPUBLIC: "The Success Of Russian Diplomacy" A commentary in economic Hospodarske noviny (11/21) noted regarding the Geneva meeting on Iraq, "The meeting underlined especially the success of Russian diplomacy." HUNGARY: "Bejing Does Not Want A China-U.S. Anti-Russian Axis" Right-wing leaning Uj Magyarorszag's op-ed piece said (11/12), "The close cooperation between Moscow and Beijing can hardly be interpreted as having been aimed against Washington, and the recent visit of Jiang proved that ideological or political differences cannot be barriers to the development of trade. In addition, the fact that Yeltsin received a very warm welcome in the Chinese capital indicates that Beijing, after a successful Washington visit, does not aim to build an anti-Russian Chinese-American axis. There could only be one factor of motivating an ad hoc, bilateral alliance: the closer relations of Moscow and Beijing on the eastward expansion of NATO. The call of Russian opponents of the enlargement might easily be received in China." POLAND: "Russia Moving Out Of The Corner" Jacek Kalabinski wrote from Washington in centrist Rzeczpospolita(11/23): "Russia is triumphantly returning to the Middle East. Saddam Hussein turns into a winner in the confrontation he has provoked. The White House is putting a good face on a bad situation.... Formally, after the United States, Russia is the other guarantor of the peace process in the Middle East. In practice, however, in recent years they were pushed aside, with Washington playing the first--and the only--fiddle.... Clinton and his team let Primakov enter and use this opportunity to bring Russia back into the Middle East scene--which Moscow had practically been absent from since the collapse of the USSR. Russia's diplomacy managed to create a situation in which it can only win. If the United States agrees to poorly camouflaged concessions for Hussein, then the Russians will be able to say with a clear conscience, 'It was we who brought about the concessions.' If, in turn...America is forced to use a veto in the Security Council, the whole responsibility for the sustained crisis will fall on Washington.... Fascinated with building democracy in Russia, the Clinton administration has stopped seeing reality. Saddam Hussein and Yevgeny Primakov were quick to notice this in time and were able to efficiently avail themselves of the opportunity." "If There Had Not Been A Crisis, Moscow Would Have Invented It" A commentary by Leopold Unger ran in center-left Gazeta Wyborcza(11/20), "If there had not been an Iraqi crisis, Moscow would have invented it. From the point of view of the Kremlin, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has never had such a favorable opportunity to spread the rusted wings of its diplomacy.... Russia is returning...to the Middle and Central East not by force, but at the invitation of the Arabs who think...that Russia's support for their standpoint on the dispute with Israel will somehow restore the balance affected by the dominant role of the United States.... But Russia, which wants to play a significant role again in the Arab world, does not have the resources needed to counterbalance the U.S. presence, be it in the Middle East...or any other flash point in the world." SPAIN: "Japan, The Kuriles And Riches Of Siberia" Liberal El Pais pondered (11/5): "Since [the close of World War II], Japan has insisted as part of any peace agreement [with Russia] that this insular 'Gibraltar' [Kuril islands] be returned to it...[although]...the solution most palatable to Russian nationalism would be to return only the two southernmost islets just off the Japanese coast...and even then, in exchange for economic [advantages].... The riches of Siberia would prove an excellent testing ground for Japanese investment and technology, and both share a mutual interest in not leaving the United States as the preferred ally of either Russia or Japan." TURKEY: "Russia Increases Its Influence" Ergun Balci observed in liberal Cumhuriyet (11/21): "The most interesting part of the Iraq/UNSCOM crisis is that the United States found itself alone in the diplomatic arena, with the exception of Britain, and Russia emerged as a winner in terms of diplomacy by managing to solve the crisis. As a matter of fact, it was the United States which asked for Moscow's role as a mediator. However, the success of Russian diplomacy can be described as a forward move in terms of the influence struggle going on from the Mediterranean to the Middle East between the United States and Russia. With the help of its success in the Iraq crisis, Russia will have more influence with the Middle East countries. And Arab countries, which are disappointed by American's pro-Israel policies, will now open their doors to Moscow." MIDDLE EAST EGYPT: "Russian Diplomacy Returns To Mideast" An editorial in pro-government Al Ahram noted (11/24): "The direct intervention of Russian diplomacy indicates a return of Russian diplomacy that was needed in the region." UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "A Necessary Development" Semiofficial Al-Ittihad's editorial pointed out (11/22): "The success achieved by Russian diplomacy nominates Moscow to return strongly to the Middle East arena, (a development) which we believe necessary to create a balance in international stands regarding our causes." EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC JAPAN: "A Big Step Toward Ending World War II For Japan And Russia" Conservative Sankei Shimbun's editorial said (11/3), "The agreement reached by Prime Minister Hashimoto and Russian President Yeltsin...to conclude a peace treaty and settle the northern territorial issue was epoch making, and put the end to a barrier between the two countries since the end of the last world war. The Krasnoyarsk accord is all the more significant because it will normalize Japan-Russia ties. The promotion of a relationship of friendship and trust between the two countries will also contribute to peace and stability in Asia. "The accord will also replace Russia as the 'northern threat,' which has borne down on Japan for over 50 years, and now raises the possibility of creating a regional security system extending from Russia--through the Russian maritime provinces, the Korean peninsula and China--to Southeast Asia. Of course, this regional security system should not harm the U.S.-Japan security system, which has been strengthened by the new defense guidelines." CHINA: "Who Won? Russia" Ge Xiangwen told readers of the official Beijing Municipal Beijing Daily (Beijing Ribao, 11/21), "Apart from Iraq, Russia is also a winner in the crisis. Through diplomatic channels, Russia has successfully dissolved the likely U.S.-Iraqi armed conflict, elevating its own prestige among Middle Eastern countries. Russia's success also clarified Russia's ability and influence in international affairs since the end of the Cold War." HONG KONG: "Moscow: More Important To Beijing Than Washington" In an editorial, independent Ming Pao Daily News declared (11/10), "It is believed that Beijing will attach more importance to the partnership with Moscow [than that with the United States.] The so- called Sino-U.S. strategic partnership is only an illusion, pursued by Beijing, which wants to be on an equal footing with the world's number-one nation. In comparison, the interests of Beijing and Russia seem to coincide more.... "In terms of internal affairs, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership clearly got rid of the possibility of interfering in the other's domestic issues.... In terms of international affairs, China and Russia both suggested the multipolar nature of the international political situation. .. Nevertheless, there are also difficulties if Beijing really wants to further develop its relations with Russia, as they have to talk about their real interests." INDONESIA: "Russia-China: Good Neighbor Policy" Leading, independent Kompas held (11/12): "Both Jiang and Yeltsin prefer to create a multipolar world which rules out domination by a single nation, i.e., the United States. Although neither leader supports the United States as the world's single superpower, Jiang and Yeltsin are determined not to use their constructive partnership to make the United States an adversary.... So, China's agreement on borders with Russia served as an initial step to express Jiang's intentions to be a good neighbor." PHILIPPINES: "A Welcome Development" Columnist Ricardo Malay wrote in the independent Manila Chronicle (11/12): "It is ironic that the two former bastions of socialism have begun an earnest process of reconciliation only after turning their backs on the ideology that catapulted them to nationhood and leadership in the revolutionary world.... The border agreement signed in Beijing frees the energies of the two countries to concentrate on the task of building their economies, rather than on military concerns. To the world at large, that is a welcome development." SINGAPORE: "Bear Hugs For The Bear" An editorial in the pro-government Straits Times (11/17) cautioned, "The China-ogre lobby in America would do well to digest the image of Mr. Jiang giving Mr. Yeltsin a bear hug so soon after visiting Mr. Bill Clinton in Washington. The message seemed clear: China has options. That said, far the greater importance to attach to the regular Yeltsin-Jiang meetings is the continued narrowing of differences between two old ideological rivals to the point where accidental war is less conceivable now." SOUTH ASIA INDIA: "Russians Are Back In Middle East" An analysis in the centrist Times of India (11/21) by Washington correspondent Ramesh Chandran held: "It looks like the Russian intervention has proved decisive.... One immediate fallout of Thursday's rapid-fire developments is the prevailing sentiment that the Russians are back in the (Middle East)." LATIN AMERICA ARGENTINA: "Moscow Takes Center Stage" Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst for leading Clarin, penned this analysis (11/22): "Last week, for a brief moment, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his foreign minister, the astute and enigmatic Yevgeny Primakov, managed to produce a small but impressive political miracle.... Moscow found itself for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the midst of the recurrent Washington-Baghdad crisis, a place of undeniable political controversy, befitting superpowers.... The concessions that Primakov and his diplomats obtained from Saddam Hussein...brought Russia back to playing a real role on the international stage. This represents a strong contrast to the uncomfortable and unprestigious game of 'follow the leader' that Moscow has played with Washington at least since 1990, many times to the detriment of its national self-esteem." "A New Prominent Player In Mideast" Marcelo Falak, international analyst for business-financial Ambito Financiero, pointed out (11/21) "A new prominent player has appeared in the Middle East scene: Russia.... The Russian trade strategy in the Gulf was made clear last September, when the state-owned enterprise Gazprom joined the French company Total... in a $2-billion investment in Iran which upset the United States. In this framework, the present 'Moscow-Paris axis' which was worked out during this crisis is no surprise." CHILE: "Significant Diplomatic Triumph For Russia" Catholic University-owned Channel 13 TV featured this on the Iraq crisis by international commentator Karin Ebensperger (11/20), "It is a significant diplomatic triumph for Russia." ## For more information, please contact: U.S. Information Agency Office of Public Liaison Telephone: (202) 619-4355 11/24/97 # # #