Russia warns US of potential new arms race
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he might deploy missiles to 'neutralize' a planned US-backed missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Russia emerged Wednesday as a front-runner among the many foreign-policy challenges President-elect Barack Obama is likely to face. In his first State of the Union address, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned the next American administration of a possible new arms race.Skip to next paragraph
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The New York Times reports that while his speech stressed that Russia has "no inherent conflict with America," Mr. Medvedev took a firm stance:
President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia greeted his future American counterpart, Senator Barack Obama, with bristling language on Wednesday, promising to place short-range missiles on Russia's western border if Washington proceeded with its planned missile defense system in Eastern Europe....
"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," [Medvedev said].
Rather than sending out a straightforward message, Medvedev offered some liberal reformist proposals – juicily sandwiched between layers of hawkish threats and announcements.
Medvedev began and ended his speech with a foreign policy message that seemed to confirm Western fears that he would follow former President Vladimir Putin's hawkish stance. But in between, he offered some domestic proposals welcomed by proponents of liberal change.
The aim of the base, and a related radar in the Czech Republic, is to complete an anti-missile shield already in place in the United States, Greenland and Britain.
Washington says the system, endorsed by NATO this year, aims to fend off potential missile attacks by what it calls "rogue states," specifically Iran.