Stanzel, Fried respond to Rice speech
The discussion featuring Volker Stanzel and Dan Fried held on September 18 at GMF's headquarters in Washington, DC, will be broadcast on NPR Worldwide's stations the weekend of October 3, 2008. Please see the schedule below for broadcast stations and times:
Saturday, Oct. 4 - FM Berlin: 13:00 Eastern, 19:00 CET
Sunday, Oct. 5 - AFRTS: 15:00 Eastern
Monday, Oct. 6 - FM Berlin: 02:00 Eastern, 08:00 CET
Monday, Oct. 6 - NPR Worldwide: 02:00 Eastern, 07:00 CET
More information is available on the NPR Worldwide website.
On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 18, Volker Stanzel, the political director of the German Federal Foreign Office, and Dan Fried, the U.S. undersecretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, agreed that Russia's recent aggression has amounted to increased isolation from the West. Sergey Kislyak, who was in his first day as Russian Ambassador to the United States, was in the audience and took exception during a response to Stanzel and Fried.
The event at GMF's Washington office, which was organized in cooperation with the Friederich Ebert Stiftung, took place just a few hours after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered a major speech on U.S.-Russia relations to a German Marshall Fund audience at a larger venue in Washington.
Stanzel said Germany will continue to support Russia's modernization "sustainably," and that it is a "painful" process that requires sacrifice. But he said that the recent events in Georgia was a "disappointing, reactionary behavior" that hurts Russia's integration into the world order. "The cost of being half-in and half-out... this cost is steep," Stanzel said.
"We don't want to learn the wrong lessons of the end of the Cold War," he said, to an audience of about 100 members of the diplomatic, think tank, and media communities.
Fried took exception to Russia's recent push for "spheres of influence" in its neighborhood. "We profoundly reject the notion of spheres of influence," Fried said. "Russian pressure on its neighbors will not yield results."
In responding to Fried and Stanzel, Kislyak said that Russia is "not going to be isolated" and that it will be the West that will be isolated from Russia.
Fried later said, "It seems to be that no country can prosper in isolation.... If it didn't work for the Soviet Union, how can it work for Russia?"
Kislyak, who is a former Russian ambassador to NATO in the 1990s, addressed NATO enlargement as a reason for Russia's concern. The former Soviet bloc states admitted into NATO in recent years brought anti-Russian sentiment with them, Kislyak said. "It doesn't bring a feeling of security to Russia," he said.
As the conversation turned toward the ability of the U.S. and Europe to work with Russia, Stanzel and Fried had hope on some issues, but expressed disappointment, too.
"What troubles me," Fried said, "is that Russia has missed opportunities" to develop cooperation beyond a narrow set of issues.
Regarding Russia's role as an energy provider to Europe, Stanzel questioned whether it would remain an effective pressure point for Russia. "Russia is an important energy producer, but we are also an important consumer. I wonder which of us can do without the other?"