Stanley's blog

Among the thousands of congratulatory messages received by Barack Obama was one from Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev: “Russian-American relations have historically been an important factor for stability in the world and have great importance and sometimes key significance for resolving many of today’s international and regional problems”, Mr Medvedev said in his telegram.”We in Russia are certain of the need to work consistently on developing cooperation between our countries not only on the broad range of issues in the international agenda but also on building real bilateral cooperation in all different areas. We have already built up solid positive potential in this area but much still remains to be done for the good of our peoples and in the interests of making the world more peaceful and secure.

I hope for a constructive dialogue with you based on trust and consideration of each other’s interests”.

This message was overshadowed by Medvedev’s speech on the same day to the Federal Assembly, in which he promised to place short-range missiles on Russia’s western border if Washington proceeded with its planned missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

“These are forced measures,” he said. “We have told our partners more than once that we want positive cooperation, we want to act together to combat common threats. But they, unfortunately, don’t want to listen to us.”

My post of 5 September, ‘Russia: it’s time to be realistic’, concluded that unless Russia’s legitimate grievances are met, the EU will not progress beyond issuing consensual but ineffective declarations. And this means Georgia and Ukraine not becoming full members of NATO, and no US anti-missile bases being sited in the EU.

Hopes of the two countries joining NATO are fading on both sides of the Atlantic. The warning on the missiles is unequivocal and should be taken at face value. Now is the time for a doubting world to understand why the US anti-missile project is both vital for US security and will work.

President Obama should announce an immediate review of the entire project.

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  1. I think it would further undermine the cohesion of the Union if the USA would just simply cancel the missile project. The more Russia wants to block NATO projects with threats, the more Central European countries will insist on a build-up of American military presence in the region. I think that after the German-Russian Northern Stream agreement and the Russian cyberwar against Estonia, not to mention the invasion against Georgia will more and more reinforce the feeling in the Central European member states that their No. 1. ally is the United States.

    The current NATO position is that the new anti-missile system is not aimed against Russia. If it is still a Russian priority to be called off, Russia should give something in return: for instance that it won’t blocade Ukraine should it join NATO, or an unconditional return to the CFE agreement.

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