President-Elect Obama Invited To Renew US Dialog With
In an address to the Federal
Assembly Wednesday, President Dmitri Medvedev outlined specific
measures Russia would take if the US proceeds with plans to
establish a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech
In a speech postponed from October 23, Medvedev said Russia
would locate Iskander missiles and jamming equipment around
Kaliningrad, on Russia's western border.
"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."
In the speech, Medvedev also blamed the US for Russia's
economic troubles and the war in Georgia, saying, "Tskhinvali's
tragedy is, among other things, the result of the arrogant course
of the US administration, which hates criticism and prefers
But it was the planned missile deployment, a possible early
foreign policy test for Obama, that captured attention in the West
on Wednesday, the New York Times opined. Pentagon press secretary
Geoff Morrell said Medvedev's threatening posture was "literally
and figuratively misguided.
"The Russians know full well that our European missile defense
system is not capable of defeating their enormous ballistic missile
arsenal," Morrell said. "Rather, it is meant to counter Iran's
growing missile threat. And we have bent over backwards to invite
the Russians to partner with us to defeat this common threat."
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior Bush official
said, "The day the US gets a new president, it's more important for
them to make sure Russians hear what the Russian president says in
his State of the Federation speech. It's because it's all about
them. They have to find an outside villain to offset the criticism
they are starting to hear about their handling of the economy."
Given the increasingly tense state of relations between the US
reawakened Russian bear, some speculate
that the timing of the confrontationally-toned speech was not
coincidental. Russian diplomats consider Obama a friendlier
negotiating partner than his either President Bush or Senator John
McCain, and hope to spur a new round of talks starting with a clean