Sergey Oboguev (oboguev) wrote,
Sergey Oboguev

Никсон о Козыреве

Из прочтенного на днях; чтобы не пропало. Сначала – частичный перевод, затем более полная выдержка из оригинала на английском.

Dmitry K. Simes, “After the Collapse”, NY, 1999, стр. 15-20.


Это ясно проявилось в беседе между бывшим президентом и Российским министром иностранных дел Андреем Козыревым весной 1992. Я хорошо помню ту беседу: Никсон спросил Козырева, как его правительство определяет российские национальные интересы. Козырев, известный своей прозападной ориентацией, ответил, что в прошлом Россия чрезвычайно страдала слишком пристальным сосредоточением на собственных интересах за счет остальной части мира. Теперь, добавил он, для России настало время “чтобы думать больше в терминах универсальных человеческих ценностей”.

“Это очень похвальное чувство для Министра”, – не без иронии ответил Никсон, – “Но, конечно, имеются некоторые специфические интересы, которые Россия, как нарождающаяся держава, считает важными для себя?”

Это не убедило Козырева. Быть может и есть такие сугубо-российские интересы, сказал он, но Российское правительство еще не имело возможности подумать о них. “Возможно, Президент Никсон, как друг Российской демократии, желал бы помочь нам установить, что это за интересы?” – спросил Козырев с застенчивой улыбкой.

Бывший президент хранил непроницамое выражение лица. “Я не возьму на себя смелось указывать министру, в чем состоят Российские национальные интересы. Я уверен, что в свое время он обнаружит их самостоятельно. Но я хотел бы сделать одно замечание. Россия не может и не должна пытаться идти вослед за Соединенными Штатами во всех вопросах внешней политики. Как большая страна, Россия имеет собственную судьбу. Мы хотим видеть дружественную Россию, и мы чрезвычайно высоко ценим вашу личную дружбу, г. Министр, но я знаю, что любой человек в России, кто попробует следовать за иностранными советами слишком близко, неизбежно прийдет к неприятностям. И мы не хотим, чтобы это случилось с нашими друзьями.”


Когда мы вышли из здания Министерства Иностранных Дел и уселилсь в наш лимузин, Никсон спросил меня, что я думаю о Козыреве.


“В том-то и дело”, – ответил Никсон, – “[…] Я не могу представить, чтобы русские люди уважали таких слизняков как этот.”


“Dimitri, it's all over. It's really all over for the Soviet Union. Gorbachev still doesn’t get it, he still talks like the clock can be stopped, like he can find a formula to outsmart history. But the poor bastard belongs to the past. The Soviet Union is beyond salvation. It’s time for Bush to understand it,” said Richard Nixon.
It was late March 1991. The former president had just returned to the plush President Hotel from an hour-long meeting with then Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in the Kremlin. Because the hotel was built for the Soviet elite and high-level foreign Communists, who were carefully monitored despite (or perhaps because of) their positions, Nixon took me for a walk along the Moscow River to escape electronic eavesdropping in his room.

The apparent inevitability of the collapse was a startling revelation for the former president, who had become accustomed to managing the Soviet empire when possible and fighting it when necessary throughout his political career. But, always a pragmatist, a «doer,» he was already masterminding a strategy to influence American foreign policy in the coming new era.


both of us knew this struggle was coming to an end. “It’s never going to be the same,” Nixon said to me. “But the fact is, Dimitri,” he added, “it still can go several different ways. We just cannot afford to screw it up. Russia is a great and proud country. If we don’t handle it right, the future may be worse than the past. But the State Department is totally blind to what’s going on. They will do everything possible to persuade Bush to stick with Gorbachev and to play it safe. These people would not see the future ’til it hit them like a ton of bricks and then they would blame it on somebody else.”

Eight years later, Nixon's gloomy prediction sounds prophetic.


Recognizing that Russia and the United States represent different civilizations is essential in developing a responsible policy toward that important country. Too often, American politicians and opinion-makers talk about Russia as if it were natural for Moscow to try to replicate American society and to defer to Washington in world affairs.

This inability to accept Russia-as-Russia comes at a cost.


The apocalyptic rivalry with «the evil empire» is over. But efforts to build a new American century are likely to encounter a determined response from Russia, even before it is firmly on its feet once again. The re newed Russia – and China, an emerging world power – will inevitably become a serious obstacle to the United States if it seeks to remake the world into a democratic and harmonious global village without the expenditure of blood and treasure.

The foreign policy genius of Richard Nixon was his talent to be aggressive, indeed ruthless, in the pursuit of U.S. national interests while remaining remarkably broad-minded and understanding about the circum stances of other nations. He described himself as “the quintessential living Cold Warrior,” yet he was neither hostile nor condescending to the Russian people. “Even in a struggle as clear-cut as between Communism and freedom there are grey areas,” Nixon wrote at the height of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry. Nixon always believed that extremism in the name of freedom was still extremism, and as soon as the Soviet threat to American interests began to fade, he was the first to call for a new approach to Moscow and eventually for offering U.S. assistance to the new Russia and American acceptance of its status as a major power even before it was genuinely deserved. Similarly, Nixon never thought that the United States should try to help Moscow to remake Russia in the American image or to turn Russia into an American dominion.
This came out clearly in a conversation between the former president and then Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev in the spring of 1992. I remember the conversation vividly: Nixon asked Kozyrev how his government was defining Russian national interests. Kozyrev, known for his pro-Western orientation, replied that in the past Russia has suffered greatly from focusing too intently on its own interests at the expense of the rest of the world. Now was the time, he added, for Russia “to think more in terms of universal human values.” “Well,” Nixon, responded wryly, “that is a very commendable sentiment on the Minister’s part. But surely there are some particular interests which Russia considers important as an emerging power?” Kozyrev was not persuaded. Probably there are such uniquely Russian interests, he said, but the Russian government had not yet had a chance to focus on them. “Perhaps, President Nixon, as a friend of Russian democracy you would be willing to help to identify them?” Kozyrev inquired with a shy smile.

The former president somehow kept his poker face. “I would not presume to tell the minister what Russian national interests should be. I am sure that in due time he will find them on his own. But I would like to make one point. Russia cannot and should not attempt to walk in lockstep with the United States on all foreign policy issues. As a great country, Russia has its own destiny. We want Russia as a friend, and we tremendously appreciate your personal friendship, Mr. Minister, but I know that anyone in Russia who tries to follow foreign advice too closely is bound to get into trouble. And we do not want this to happen to our friends.”

Once out of the Foreign Ministry building and back in our limousine, Nixon asked me for my evaluation of Kozyrev. I said that he was well meaning but unimpressive, and that unless he were to grow quickly on the job, there was a risk that he would make himself vulnerable to public indignation over a blindly pro-Western policy – and possibly even make the United States guilty by association.

“That is exactly the point. He is a nice man. But you need a real son of a bitch to do this job right, Dimitri,” Nixon replied. “You need to be able to see straight, but also to be ruthless to build a new country on the ruins of the empire. I can't see the Russian people respecting wimps like that.”

This was vintage Nixon. Here he was, in Moscow, appalled by a Russian foreign minister asking for his guidance and being too deferential to the United States. Surely, being treated with such respect – and, in effect, being offered a role as a senior advisor to the Russian leadership – could not but delight Nixon. He loved confirmations of his influence, and the more public the better. But as much as he wanted to have an impact, Richard Nixon first and foremost wanted to have the right impact, especially on the key foreign policy issues that made him tick. Thus, he was brutally honest in his assessment of Kozyrev's flattering remarks. Subsequent events have demonstrated that he was also absolutely right.

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