Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's first Foreign Policy Challenge

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a formal congratulations to Barack Obama, but also warned the incoming U.S. administration that Russia would not accept the Bush administration's proposed missle defense. In his speech today, President Medvedev threatened to station mid-range nuclear missiles closer to the border of Poland. These missles would be difficult for the current missle defense system to counter, though I doubt it is Russia's intent to move the missles closer to Poland. This has all the earmarks of a chess game. The Russians have demanded that the missles should not be placed in Eastern Europe, have warned that the missles should not be placed in Eastern Europe, and have offered an alternative. All of which have been turned down. Now the Russians are changing the playing field. They are putting a new bargaining chip on the table. It will be interesting to see how Barack Obama will respond. Will he push forward with a defense system that doesn't work, for a supposed threat that doesn't exist, in countries where the majority of the population doesn't want it?

Or will there be some kind of grand bargain where Russia will not move the missles, will decommission some others, and the United States will not go forward with the missle defense?

It will be interesting.

By the way, news reports are that President Medvedev did not congratulate Barack Obama, this is not true. It was not an enthusiastic congratulations, but there was a congratulations.

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