Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Agreement reached on missile defense in Europe?

For as long as I can remember, the missile defense system (SDI) has been a bone of contention between us and Russia. It's what caused Reagan to tell Gorbechev "nyet" in Reykjavik, and once we actually constructed it and began talking with nations like the Czech Republic and Poland, Putin got angry with us. But, in a quirky twist of events, that rhetoric has cooled, and Putin sounds much more upbeat about the prospects of the missile defense system:

Putin disclosed that he had received and closely analyzed a letter from Bush, which a Gates spokesman said was meant to spell out an agenda for this week's talks in Moscow and to propose that both sides agree on the fundamental issues for the future of their relationship.

Rice said Bush sent the letter last week after talking by phone with Putin to set up this week's meetings in Moscow. "The president wanted to assess whether there was an openness to cooperation on issues that have been difficult, like missile defense," Rice said after the Putin and Medvedev meetings.

"I frankly was surprised at the relatively positive tone of the meetings, both with the president-elect and with President Putin," Gates told reporters. "I think we have some opportunities here. We'll see."

Bush offered to send Gates and Rice because he hoped that "maybe we're close enough on some of these issues that we can bring them to closure," Gates said. On Tuesday, Rice and Gates are scheduled to meet their Russian counterparts for a full day of discussions on missile defense and several other issues.

The Bush administration's push to expand its missile defense network into central Europe _ and Putin's firm and unrelenting opposition to it _ is the most contentious security issue facing the two countries. But there are other issues, including economic and political matters, that the Bush administration would like to see advanced as Putin steps aside to assume a role of uncertain political clout.

The Russians have criticized U.S. missile defense efforts for decades, but their opposition intensified when the Bush administration began negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic to build missile defense sites on their territory. The Russians argue that it is a potential threat to their own nuclear deterrent.

The missile defense system isn't designed to thwart the Russian's missile forces. It was never designed to do that. It was created in the wake of North Korea testing a nuke, and announcing to the world they had nuclear weapons, and it was timely when it came to Iran. While there is still conjecture regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions, the missile defense system has been tested and proven to be able to handle incoming "rogue" missiles.

The only way it could effect Russia's missile force is if theirs has been depleted to the point of virtual nonexistence. That's something we don't believe. On the contrary, we believe they have maintained their ballistic missile forces, as we have ours. It's a deterrent, and nothing more.

And just as Reagan did with Gorbechev, Bush offered to share this with Putin, but Putin balked at it. Cest la vie, but we're doing what we can to defend the West from the likes of rogue nations with a bone to pick with everyone else on the block. We're not going to back down with that defensive posture, and Putin, and his successor Medvedev, has best wise up. See, Russia may have some shady deals with nations like Iran, but that doesn't mean they couldn't become a target very quickly if the wind shifts.

Publius II


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