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Ex-Ambassador: NATO Letting Russia Revert to Old Soviet Self

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 09:53 PM

NATO is doing little to stop Russia under President Vladimir Putin from assimilating Ukraine and reviving Soviet-style dominance over neighboring countries, says a former Hungarian ambassador to the United States and NATO, András Simonyi.

Simonyi, who was 4 years old when Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary in 1956 to put down a revolt, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday that Russian actions today feel like history repeating.

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"This is for me a déjà vu situation," said Simonyi, managing director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University. "Thank God my country and many former Soviet satellites are in NATO today. But just imagine — just imagine what would happen to us if we weren't."

But even with NATO as a bulwark, he said, the U.S. and Europe seem to be sleeping while Russia re-expands, and "don't seem to want to acknowledge the fact that there is a major challenge, if not a threat, from Russia to our democratic way of life."

Simonyi said he is "worried about the divide between Europe and the United States" that is contributing to Putin's aggressiveness.

"I'm worried about the Europeans not realizing the threats and challenges, [and] the responsibility they bear for their own defense," he said. "I would also say that it seems like business interests and short-sighted national interests come before an understanding that there is a threat to the security the future of Europe. That's my problem."

He added "that the Europeans don't want to accept the leadership of the United States on this, and at the same time, the United States needs to understand once it acts, then other Europeans will follow.

"But there has to be an action to push back to the aggressive attitudes of Vladimir Putin," said Simonyi.

Putin might also be clever enough to disguise clear-cut Russian aggression against a NATO member country, said Simonyi, pointing to Ukraine, where separatists are believed to be fighting alongside Russian forces, even as Putin denies reports of direct military involvement.

"And my question is, are we ready for an intrusion into our societies, our countries, by what I would call a hybrid warfare?" he said. "I'm not sure we're ready for that. That is why it is so extremely important that NATO, it gets prepared … so that when we need to act, we act fast."

Simonyi said the world is allowing Russia to re-establish geographic "spheres of influence," a practice that was supposed to have gone the way of the Cold War.

"We need to leave that behind us," he said, "and we need to stand firm that a country, if it wants to be a democracy, we should help it become a democracy."

Simonyi also said that Europe must acknowledge and confront a resurgence of anti-Semitism on the continent.

"Anti-Semitism has many faces," he said, pointing to "countries [that] have not faced the past, [and] their responsibility for the Holocaust" and to "countries where there's a totally new kind of anti-Semitism that has come with extremist Islam."

"These are totally different things," he said, "but the bottom line is Europeans need to push back on any sign of anti-Semitism. There is no place for tolerance of this."

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NATO is doing little to stop Russia under President Vladimir Putin from assimilating Ukraine and reviving Soviet-style dominance over neighboring countries, says a former Hungarian ambassador to the United States and NATO, András Simonyi.
nato, russia, soviet, vladimir putin
664
2015-53-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 09:53 PM
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