[The Independent, U.K.]



Le Monde, France

Obama's Missile Policy Change a Shrewd Gambit


"Accusations 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."




Translated By Juliet Fox


September 18, 2009


France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

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.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Russia's Ambassador to NATO, Dimitri Rogozin, applauds U.S. decision to drop plans for anti-missile shield in Europe, Sept. 18, 00:04:00RealVideo

One 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.


Unsurprisingly, 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.


Accusations 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 United States.     



But 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.


With 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. 




Gazeta, Russia: After the Shield: It's Time for Kremlin to Bring Itself to Reciprocate  

Novosti, Russia: Iran Can't Be 'Swapped' for Halt to U.S. Missile Defense  

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russia: Medvedev 'Confesses' His Plans Differ from Putin's    

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Obama's Russia 'Gambit'

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Obama's Lesson: Poland Can't Count on the United States

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Banish All 'Magical Thinking' Regarding the Russian Bear

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Missile Shield Talks: How the Bush Team Lost Poland

Der Spiegel, Germany : 'Russian Euphoria' at Obama's Decision To Shelve Missile Shield

The Times, U.K.: 'Dismay in Europe' as Obama Ditches Missile Shield

Novosti, Russia: Russia's NATO Envoy Warns Against 'Childish Euphoria' Over Shield


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Will 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.












































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US September 21, 2:28am]


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