Tuesday, February 03, 2009

# Posted 10:38 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  


Steve Biegun:
Sources within the Russian Ministry of Defense appear to be hinting at a retreat from their plan (which Medvedev announced in his November 5 speech) to deploy Iskander short range missiles closer to Central Europe, in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad...

Obama has to beware that the Russian piper will want to be paid. During the campaign, Obama fudged questions on the NATO missile defense by saying he wanted to be sure the system was first viable before moving to construct it. Those evasions will not work for long as president: Either the system will have to be built or the Czech and Polish governments, which committed to its construction at significant political risk, will have to be cut loose. All of this is complicated of course by Iran's continued aggressive pursuit of both a nuclear weapon and a long range missile delivery system (and Russia's unhelpful role in ending those pursuits).

he Russian government's other demand is to reject Ukrainian and Georgian desires to join NATO. For nearly two decades, the United States has held inviolable the right of all European nations to make a sovereign choice of the institutions (e.g. NATO) that they will join to ensure their security. To rebuff outright the Ukrainian and Georgian desires to join NATO is likely to have a steep cost both in terms of the message it sends to struggling democracies in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the encouragement it gives to Russian irredentists.
On the campaign trail, President Obama insisted that America must listen more to its friends and allies. He also promised a more vigorous diplomatic approach to our adversaries. In this case, he may have to choose which one matters more.
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