Russian President Medvedev has acknowledged recieving a letter from President Obama last March, but said there was no offer of a 'quid pro quo' on the U.S. missile shield and on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.
must applaud Barack Obama's decision to abandon the proposed missile shield that
would have been deployed in Europe. This costly project, the effectiveness of
which was doubtful at best, was a profound source of controversy among
Europeans and was turning the atmosphere of relations with Russia into one that
harkened back to “Star Wars" [Reagan's Strategic
Defense Initiative]. In Russia, as elsewhere, the American President stands
firmly by his policies of détente and negotiation.
the announcement by President Obama - who, contrary to popular criticism, acts
firmly and definitively despite his domestic difficulties - incited collective
gagging among the American Right. After calling for the prosecution of
deserters in the face of terrorism in Iraq, right-wing conservatives are now
denouncing the Obama Administration for betraying United States allies in “New
Europe,” which according to them, comes in the form of letting down its guard
with respect to Moscow.
that the American President acted out of naive altruism would have had more
merit had he decided to do away with ballistic defense plans altogether. But
this is not the case. President Obama is continuing the policies of his Republican
predecessor, considering (this is the officially stated reason) that Iran and
its possible nuclear plans remain the biggest threat to the security of the
even if the risk from Iran remains significant, officials in Washington
estimate that the Iranians won't be capable of developing long-range or
intercontinental missiles for a long time to come. So the United States must
adapt its defenses. At the multilateral meeting with Iranian representatives
set for October 1st, the United States will deliver a message of double
détente: goodwill and realism.
respect to Russia, which felt directly affected by the missile project, the decision
of the American President is one of especially high stakes. If Barack Obama
follows through with his stated decision, he can hope for reciprocal gestures
from Moscow, particularly in terms of Iran - whether in regard to Russian arms
sales and perhaps tougher sanctions on the country - which until now have been
rejected by the Kremlin.
Moscow want to respond to this American overture? Poland, the Czech Republic as
well as the Baltic States, the countries most affected by the U.S. change of
heart, are very skeptical. For these countries which have joined NATO and the
European Union over the past decade, Russia is still perceived as a potential
threat, especially since the 2008 war that reached so deeply into Georgia.
Barack Obama will have to allay their concerns.