Sunday, April 05, 2009

Flip-Flopping Obama: Missile Defense System

Looks like Russia isn't ready to cooperate. And once again, Obama flip-flops.

In early March, Obama had this to say.

MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Washington has told Moscow that Russian help in resolving Iran's nuclear program would make its missile shield plans for Europe unnecessary, a Russian daily said on Monday, citing White House sources.

U.S. President Barack Obama made the proposal on Iran in a letter to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, Kommersant said, referring to unidentified U.S. officials.

Iran's controversial nuclear program was cited by the U.S. as one of the reasons behind its plans to deploy a missile base in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic. The missile shield has been strongly opposed by Russia, which views it as a threat to its national security. The dispute has strained relations between the former Cold War rivals, already tense over a host of other differences.

The leaders have exchanged letters and had a telephone conversation since Obama was sworn into office in January, Kommersant said. The first high-level Russia-U.S. meeting will take place later this week, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva.

Moscow has not yet responded to the proposal by Obama, the paper said, adding that a decision was unlikely to be made during Lavrov and Clinton's meeting.

The issue is likely to be discussed when Obama and Medvedev meet in London on April 2 on the sidelines of the G20 summit of world leaders to address the financial crisis. Earlier reports said Medvedev had also invited the U.S. leader to visit Russia and the date of Obama's first visit to the largest country in the world could be announced in the British capital.

What is Obama saying in April?

Obama: US to pursue missile shield

PRAGUE -- US President Barack Obama said Sunday that he would move forward with a controversial plan to base a missile defense shield in central Europe, saying the threat posed by Iran remained real.

The outgoing Czech Prime Minister liked what Obama had to say.

Czechs say U.S. comments back view on missile shield

PRAGUE, April 5 (Reuters) - U.S. comments on the need to continue developing defences against ballistic missiles have confirmed the Czech position that a defence shield is needed, the Czech Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

"It confirms what we have been saying the whole time and what was also confirmed by the NATO summit -- that the anti-missile defence is necessary, or it will be sooner or later," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalova said.

The White house said North Korea's rocket launch earlier on Sunday demonstrated the need for the United States to continue developing anti-missile systems. (Reporting by Martin Dokoupil; Writing by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Michael Winfrey)

If you see any news on Russia cooperating on the missile defense shield, don't believe it.

Does it sound like Russia is cooperating with the United States on Iran? If they were, Obama could keep his word. But as we all know, words don't matter much to Obama unless they are on a TelePrompter.

Here is an excellent analysis in excerpt, from a Russian reporter on the Obama-Medvedev relationship.

Obama-Medvedev talks fail to 'reboot' relations

What happened in London was neither. The presidents routinely agreed to hold a summit in Russia in July. The purpose of the summit is also routine - to address the future of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, with tentative plans to further cap the current nuclear arsenals that are to be reduced to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by 2012. The treaty expires this year.

This outcome falls short of White House attempts at "rebooting" U.S.-Russian relations. Notably, the need for such "rebooting" right now is highly doubtful because the Kremlin has given no indication that it is ready to give up its spoilsport role - which it plays wherever and whenever U.S. interests are concerned.

The Kremlin - on the other hand - gets to play its Cold War-type zero-sum games with the White House. Moreover, Russia gets to cast itself as a superpower - the role long lost with the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.

It is true that Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev also agreed to work together against terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But Russia has always given lip service to such cooperation while sabotaging it - most recently when it forced the U.S. military out of Central Asia by outbidding the United States in financial support of the local governments that used to provide staging ground for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.

Mike Sigov, a former Russian journalist in Moscow, is a staff writer for The Blade.

As a side note, the comments made in emphasis is a situation that happened under the Bush administration. However as I stated before, Obama was doing a little horse trading with Medvedev on providing a staging ground for military hardware into Afghanistan for a softer stance on Georgia.

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