Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US' Russian-Centric Aid Policy under Fire Forces Are Lining Up to Move Aid toward Other Ex-Soviet Republics

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US' Russian-Centric Aid Policy under Fire Forces Are Lining Up to Move Aid toward Other Ex-Soviet Republics

Article excerpt

AS the Clinton administration reconsiders its aid policy toward the former Soviet Union, experts caution against a Russia-centric approach, smaller republics call for more balance, and American businesses press for government help in penetrating what promises to be a lucrative market.

In the wake of the Russian spy scandal, and given the recent Russian parliamentary elections that whisked anti-reformers and nationalists back into office, many United States lawmakers have urged a suspension of the outstanding $1.7 billion in Russian assistance and a renewed look at the needs of other fledgling republics.

At a Monitor breakfast on Tuesday, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski criticized Washington policymakers for "living in a fool's paradise, believing our own slogans about a democratic Russia," and implored them to take a much broader approach toward assisting the republics.

He scoffs at "outrageous and childish ... talk about cutting off aid to Russia because of the spy case." But, he says, now is the appropriate time to recognize that "the overconcentration on Russia has created a distortion in our policy toward the former Soviet Union," and see the need to "put money into other republics, with aid to specific regions and projects." A flawed review?

Mr. Brzezinski is relieved that "the administration is just beginning, finally, to realize that its policy is flawed." But while the White House "ordered a major review of American policy toward Russia," he adds, "it's being conducted by State, not by NSC {National Security Council}, which I think is a mistake, because we know what the outcome will be ... a reaffirmation of what's been going on because the people who are doing the review are the people who have formulated the flawed policy."

If the White House is slow to change its policy due to its own internal review, it is hearing from a steady stream of visitors - from Kazakhstan last week, Ukraine this week, and Georgia next week - all of whom want Washington to shift its almost singular focus on Russia toward helping to strengthen the survival prospects of the non-Russian republics.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that "events in Russia over the past few weeks have revived our fears about the future." But, he said, "we give aid to Russia to the extent we do, not as charity, not as something we're doing for them, but as something that's in the American national interest. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.