| Guest experts:
Deputy Speaker of the State Duma (the YABLOKO faction), Sergei
Karaganov, foreign policy expert, Head of the Defence
and Foreign Policy Council and former ambassador, Aleksandr
Bovin, political commentator, former RF ambassador to
Pozner: The war will be protracted. Clearly Rumsfeld's
plans are not going as planned...What do you think? How will events
develop? Can you say how long the war will last? What outcome
of the war in Iraq will suit Russia?
Karaganov: Now it is possible to say that the
Americans have lost the propaganda war and political war. Consequently
they changed their plans and launched a ground attack instead
of mass bombing. They have been proved wrong in their forecasts,
as they ignored everybody who said that the Iraqis would resist.
I think the war will last at least two or three months. Then there
will be a long and painful period, when there will be guerrilla
operations and suicide bombers and the like. We now face a totally
different situation. And we need urgently to change and reconsider
Pozner: So what would be the best outcome for Russia:
what sequence of events would benefit Russia, if the scenario
put forward by Sergei Karaganov were to prove to be correct?
Lukin: We need to think and must not become
emotional. It is not Russia's war. We are not particularly interested
in the regime in Iraq after the war. We should not be emotionally
attached to Saddam Hussein's regime, unlike some of our friends
on the Left.
It should be noted that America has, through its actions, lowered
the threshold for launching a military campaign. This threshold
was psychologically fairly high until recently. America has lowered
It is in Russia's interests to raise the threshold again. In
this sense we are by no means indifferent to domestic developments
in America after the war. Will we see something akin to the Vietnam
syndrome? You also had the Lebanon syndrome. Remember how in 1983
President Reagan sent troops to Lebanon. There they lost something
like 260 men, and he pulled them out. And the Lebanon syndrome
lasted for quite a long time. So we are interested in seeing a
minimum number of victims during the war, but also a relatively
protracted and problematic war for the initiators of the conflict.
So that we see something like the Vietnam syndrome.
Need to avoid anti-Americanism
Pozner: Aleksandr Yevgeniyevich Bovin . I don't know
about you, but I gain the impression when I look at the newspapers
and TV and put on the radio that people are rejoicing, albeit
not overtly, at the misfortunes of the US. Will we benefit is
America is defeated in this war?
Bovin: Of course, not. This is silly and this
will not happen. Of course, America will win. And the quicker
this happens the better, as less blood will be shed. Everything
else is beside the point. We won't get the USD40 billion in debts
owed by Iraq to Russia back whatever happens, whether Saddam beats
America or not...
The greatest misfortune is that we are driving our own people
God knows where. The anti-American syndrome is attributable to
the fact that we were taught for 70 years that America was our
Pozner: How far have relations with the USA being
Lukin: I think that relations have been damaged
compared to their status before the Iraqi war. They have suffered
psychologically. You can sense a different kind of chemistry,
as the Americans themselves say. Before there was a pleasant chemistry,
now it is, if not confrontational, then cold and reserved, indeed
more cold than reserved. The duration of this attitude will depend
on how our government and the US government control, so to speak,
the chemistry. I think that, first and foremost, it is extremely
important for America and us not to sever relations.
I still think that the Iraqi war is an episode in strategy, where
we should cooperate and where we will cooperate...A partnership
with the USA is in our vital interests, and is inevitable
Karaganov: Relations with the USA have not been
seriously damaged so far. Dialogue is still going on. However,
there are problems which could deteriorate, if we don't pursue
a policy that is clear both for ourselves and our current opponents
in the USA. By the way, I don't know what their policy is, as
it is now fundamentally confused. However, that is their problem,
not ours. The situation will also deteriorate if we do not seek
a way-out for the Americans, for ourselves and for the Iraqis,
if we adhere to a policy that says the worse things are the better.
Such a policy is, in principle, logical for the Americans. But
this is a totally bloodthirsty policy. It would mean more Iraqi
deaths. The better things go for the Americans, the better things
will be for the world...
And the longer the war goes on the longer the current mistrust
and tension will continue to build up between our two countries.
We need damage limitation. And in the coming months we need to
coordinate our policy, which in my opinion has not been coordinated