Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
The move would be the clearest signal so far of the start of a thaw in U.S.-Russia relations, which could be one of the major changes in U.S. President Barack Obama’s first year in office. We don’t know what commitment, if any, Obama may have given to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the missile shield (the two spoke by telephone earlier this week).
Obama’s scepticism about the effectiveness and utility of missile defence was clearly stated during the campaign. But since the Russians unilaterally made the Kaliningrad threat on the day of his election, the suspension of the deployment plan is a clear goodwill gesture. It follows NATO’s announcement, slipped out without fanfare earlier this week, that political relations with Moscow, frozen after the Georgia war, would resume within a few weeks.
Expect Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to foam about appeasement.
The Obama administration has already made clear it will pursue bilateral and multilateral nuclear arms control treaties which Bush eschewed. At the very least, they will try to negotiate a new strategic arms reduction treaty to replace START 1, which expires at the end of this year. This is important because it treats Russia as a nuclear power on an equal footing with the United States, which the status-conscious Kremlin craves and the Bush administration always dismissed.