Russia and the Middle East
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Open Letter to Putin and Bush

Washington, D.C. - Moscow February 11, 2005
An Open Letter to:

His Excellency, the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush,
His Excellency, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir V. Putin

Your Excellencies,

Citizens of your countries have re-elected you to head two great nations at a
critical time in world history -- a time when ideological or religious
fanaticism is once again attacking free societies, now using means of mass
terror and destruction. It offers simple solutions to millions of the alienated,
and sows the seeds of hatred against those societies that have moved further
along mankinds path to freedom and human dignity.

Like your predecessors during World War II, you have clearly understood the
menace that threatens our countries and the rest of the world. You are also
fortunate not to be handicapped by the dividing ideology.

Perpetrators of 9/11 and Beslan and their followers have openly declared a war
against our civilization, and therefore this war must only end in our common

Some of the words of our national leaders in this crisis will go down in
history, among them the immediate response to Sept. 11 from Vladimir Putin:
"America, we are with you."

These words opened the way for tangible military and political cooperation
between Russia and the U.S.:

- Russian intelligence assistance to the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan,
which resulted in enhanced security for both countries.

- Your new message on the correspondence of the strategic interests of Russia
and the U.S. and your shared concern for the many common security problems in
the Middle East, Central and East Asia.

- Your underlining of the new reality by your joint declaration at the 2002
Moscow summit, where you state that Russia and the U.S. are already strategic
partners in preserving global security. Mutual pledges to continue this
friendship were made at meetings in St. Petersburg, Evian and Camp David.
Similar declarations, reinforced by signing of commercial and trade agreements,
probably will be made in Bratislava.

Unfortunately we are presently witnessing the growing tensions in U.S. - Russia
relations, largely generated by people who for various reasons resist our
countries' rapprochement. The problem is that in your understanding of the
extraordinary importance of U.S. - Russia security cooperation, you have greatly
overtaken your political elites, state bureaucrats, and the world media.

For many Russians the U.S. remains a phantom enemy that they must heroically
oppose. In turn, an influential part of the American establishment expresses a
continuing distrust in Russias intentions and is reluctant to accept it as a
reliable strategic partner.

However, the elections of 2004 have given both of you an undisputed mandate from
your voters which gives you the right and responsibility to not only recast,
but enhance, the partnership between Russia and the U.S.

As leaders of two great nations you are now answerable not only before your
voters and parties, but before the world and history. The meeting in Bratislava
gives you the opportunity to make unmistakably clear that the relationship will
go forward, and to restore conviction in its foundations in shared strategic

To address the tendency in political circles and media to create distance and
distrust, it is crucial to expand the discussion agenda to include such items

- Russias role in the shaping the world order. Joint efforts to ensure that the
Middle East, Central and Middle Asia, and North Caucuses do not turn into
reservoirs of Islamic radicalism.

- Preparing a joint strategy for steady transformation in the post-Soviet space
to stable democratic societies guaranteeing universal human freedoms.

- Resuming the Energy Dialogue and establishing a more effective energy

- Negotiating agreements that promote the creation of a joint missile defense
system, with the possibility that some of the systems components be located on
Russian territory.

- Establishing joint U.S.-Russia or NATO-Russia bases in several strategic
locations. Such joint bases will be politically more secure, and help the
military focus on the real issue: more effective action against terrorism,
including possible joint strikes against terrorist bases.

We believe that you need to provide such visible reinforcements at this time to
your strategic orientation toward American Russian alliance. Otherwise, it
will undoubtedly be degraded by powerful lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic.

We wish you success in your supreme mission in this important time in world