Russia’s Extremist NATO Envoy


Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Interesting article in the International Herald Tribune about Russia’s envoy to NATO, who’s scary:

Dmitri Rogozin, Russia’s representative to NATO, a finger-wagging nationalist who once hung Stalin’s portrait in his office, is not sounding so extreme any more.

“There are two dates that have changed the world in recent years: Sept. 11, 2001, and Aug. 8, 2008,” Rogozin said in an interview, explaining the ramifications of the conflict that erupted in Georgia nearly three weeks ago. “They are basically identical in terms of significance.”

“Sept. 11 motivated the United States to behave really differently in the world,” he said. “That is to say, Americans realized that even in their homes, they could not feel safe. They had to protect their interests, outside the boundaries of the U.S. For Russia, it is the same thing. We were sitting in our homes, the national discussion was internal. Now this Georgian attack is perceived as aggression, and made us realize that we cannot stay home. We have to go outside our homes to protect ourselves on new frontiers.”

Only a few months ago, the blustery Rogozin, 44, was regarded even in the Kremlin as more performance artist than diplomat. Established officials sometimes rolled their eyes when he was mentioned, as if to acknowledge that Vladimir Putin had dispatched him to NATO to do a little trash talking to rattle the West.

After arriving in Brussels early this year, Rogozin quickly scorned what he called the “blah, blah, blah” diplomatic niceties and pounded away at his theme: after years of affronts, Russia had had enough.

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