[The Independent, U.K.]



Sydsvenskan, Sweden

Obama's Anti-Missile Gambit Pursued for the Greater Good


"The strategy isn't without risk. … but Obama must secure support for further sanctions on Iran. Given how far Iran’s nuclear program has progressed, this will perhaps be the last chance to make the mullahs an offer they can't refuse."


By Hiedi Avellan


Translated By Tomas Ageskog and Mia Shanley


September 18, 2009


Sweden - Sydsvenskan - Original Article (Swedish)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: Will Russia help President Obama deal with Iran's nuclear program? It is on this basis that his decision to scrap the East European anti-missile shield will be measured.


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

Plans for an American anti-missile shield in Europe have been scrapped, at least in their original form. Yesterday the persistent rumors were finally confirmed. Instead there are now discussions about a more flexible system to improve its effectiveness.


Under an earlier agreement between Poland and the United States, ten anti-missile missiles were to be installed in Poland by 2013.


Russia had opposed the plan - and loudly. And this, despite the fact that missile defense was intended as a protection against long-range missiles from Iran, thus posing no threat to Russia. This wouldn’t have upset the balance of power or in any way neutralize Russia's huge arsenal of nuclear missiles. But Russia's reaction and anger were triggered by a connected issue.


The missile shield was seen as a way for the U.S. to advance its position, further strengthening ties with the now-free nations that were once part of the Soviet Union and which remain in a region that Russia considers it own backyard.


Russia is eager to present itself as the superpower country that - fortunately - it isn't. Obama is being accommodating by agreeing to scrap the missile shield.


The strategy isn't without risk. This summer in an open letter, a number of once leading European politicians, including former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Poland's Lech Walesa, warned Obama about giving in to Russian demands. They instead urged the U.S. to engage itself more deeply with Europe's security and to strengthen - not weaken - transatlantic military ties. "Russia is back as a revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods."   



Obama wants to thaw frosty relations with Russia. But this is apparently about a problem more pressing than relations between Washington and Moscow: the possibility of building a strong international coalition against Iran.


There could be a connection between yesterday’s announcement and signs of a possible Russian shift in attitude toward the regime in Tehran.


As recently as last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov dismissed the idea of any further sanctions on Iran. On Tuesday, one sensed the opposite message from President Dmitry Medvedev: “Sanctions as a whole are not very effective, but they are sometimes necessary and could provide the way forward.”




Gazeta, Russia: After the Shield: 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

Le Monde, France: Obama's Missile Policy Change a Shrewd Gambit

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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On October 1, it will be time for yet another round of negotiations - during which Iran intends to discuss anything and everything but what they are intended for: the country’s nuclear development program.


Before the meeting, Obama must secure support for further sanctions. Given how far Iran’s nuclear program has progressed, this will perhaps be the last chance to make the mullahs an offer they can't refuse.


Seen in this light, sacrificing the missile shield seems like a reasonable exchange - particularly when older plans could later be given a new lease on life. After all, they might be needed if Iran does manage to become a nuclear power.








































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US September 21, 10:35pm]


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