Hitting the Reset Button: Nato Chief Rasmussen discusses joint Nato/US/Russia missile defense

“We should explore the potential for linking the US, Nato and Russia missile defense systems at an appropriate time,”Rasmussen said while speaking in Brussels. He then assured Eastern European countries that their sovereignty would not be threatened by such an alliance. (France 24)

This just after the President Obama announced that he would end Bush administration plans to place missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. (AP)

While in 2001 Bush and Putin looked into each others eyes and seemed to share a deep kinship (BBC World), their love turned into something quite bitter towards the end of Bush’s tenure. In 2005 he told Putin he was “concerned” for Russian democracy (Telegraph). By 2008 Bush was calling Russia a “bully” following the brief and bloody conflict it had with Georgia that summer (The Washington Post).

Obama’s new plan tables long range missile defense discussions to 2015 and concerns itself with shorter ranged missiles that Iran is currently developing.  Administration officials tried to pacify the hawkish Polish government with promises to continue defense dialog and protect Warsaw in the future, as it was to do in the Bush plan. (The Economist)

Feelings are divided down ideological lines on this issue in both the Czech Republic and Poland. Right wingers expressed betrayal while left wingers expressed relief. That aside, September 17th marks the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Poland, perhaps an insensitive day to  discuss back peddling with Polish defense (Reuters)

Why would the U.S. choose to improve relations with Russia this way? On September 15th the White House expressed dismay at a potential arms race in Latin America after Russia agreed to give Venezuela a $2.2 billion credit toward arms purchases. Venezuela feels threatened by Colombia’s decision to allow the U.S. to build new bases on Colombian territory. (Defense Talk)

Iranian protesters signaled another divide in U.S.-Russian relations as they cried “death to Russia” at opposition rallies yesterday (NYT, The Lede)

6a00d83451c0bf69e200e54f0af6e78833-800wiThe result of all of this is a happy Putin and a happy Putin gives clues as to how the United States could use soft power to twist Russia’s arm…

“I very much hope that this right and brave decision will be followed up by the full cancellation of all restrictions on cooperation with Russia and high technology transfer to Russia as well as a boost to expand the WTO to embrace Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan,” Putin said at an investment forum in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. (CBS News)

Now lets see what the Obama administration and Nato can do with that.

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