- 16 September 2014
Public Program | Corporate Members’ Roundtable: "NATO and Russia after the Cardiff Summit"
Together with the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Aspen Germany invited its corporate members and board members to a spontaneous roundtable with Ambassador Robert Hunter, who had previously been a U.S. Ambassador to NATO and now serves as Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University. He gave a brief analysis of NATO-Russia relations during the last decade and stated that, in his view, the American policy on Russia had gone the wrong way since 2003. He particularly mentioned the Bush policies of basing ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe and of pushing for NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine as being responsible for causing a sense of pressure and humiliation in Russia. This kind of “Versailles“-feeling should have been avoided and, according to him, it had given Putin the necessary public support that first resulted in the war in Georgia and now in the crisis in Ukraine. Ambassador Hunter believed that nothing could be done if Russia went for a land bridge to Crimea and Transnistria and feared that the consequences of economic sanctions would diminish Putin’s support too late. To stop this process, Hunter suggested extending Russia a hand and including the country in a broader European security setting independent of NATO. Rather, free trade could be an area where Western-Russian cooperation could be strengthened again.