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Subject: Obama offers Russia deal. Help US in Iran & We'll walk on ABM treaty with Poland and Czech Rep.
RockyMTNClimber    3/3/2009 11:22:25 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/washington/03prexy.html?_r=1 WASHINGTON — President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday. The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran. “It’s almost saying to them, put up or shut up,” said a senior administration official. “It’s not that the Russians get to say, ‘We’ll try and therefore you have to suspend.’ It says the threat has to go away.” On Tuesday, a press secretary for Dmitri A. Medvedev told the Interfax news agency that the letter did not contain any “specific proposals or mutually binding initiatives.” Natalya Timakova said the letter was a reply to one sent by Mr. Medvedev shortly after Mr. Obama was elected. “Medvedev appreciated the promptness of the reply and the positive spirit of the message,” Ms. Timakova said. “Obama’s letter contains various proposals and assessments of the current situation. But the message did not contain any specific proposals or mutually binding initiatives.” She said Mr. Medvedev perceives the development of Russian-American relations as “exceptionally positive,” and hopes details can be fleshed out at a meeting on Friday in Geneva between Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev will meet for the first time on April 2 in London, officials said Monday. Mr. Obama’s letter, sent in response to one he received from Mr. Medvedev shortly after Mr. Obama’s inauguration, is part of an effort to “press the reset button” on Russian-American relations, as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. put it last month, officials in Washington said. Among other things, the letter discussed talks to extend a strategic arms treaty expiring this year and cooperation in opening supply routes to Afghanistan. The plan to build a high-tech radar facility in the Czech Republic and deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland — a part of the world that Russia once considered its sphere of influence — was a top priority for President George W. Bush to deter Iran in case it developed a nuclear warhead to fit atop its long-range missiles. Mr. Bush never accepted a Moscow proposal to install part of the missile defense system on its territory and jointly operate it so it could not be used against Russia. Now the Obama administration appears to be reconsidering that idea, although it is not clear if it would want to put part of the system on Russian soil where it could be flipped on or off by Russians. Mr. Obama has been lukewarm on missile defense, saying he supports it only if it can be proved technically effective and affordable. Mr. Bush also emphasized the linkage between the Iranian threat and missile defense, but Mr. Obama’s overture reformulates it in a way intended to appeal to the Russians, who long ago soured on the Bush administration. Officials have been hinting at the possibility of an agreement in recent weeks, and Mr. Obama’s proposal was reported on Monday by a Moscow newspaper, Kommersant. “If through strong diplomacy with Russia and our other partners we can reduce or eliminate that threat, it obviously shapes the way at which we look at missile defense,” Under Secretary of State William J. Burns said about the Iranian threat in an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax while in Moscow last month delivering Mr. Obama’s letter. Attending a NATO meeting in Krakow, Poland, on Feb. 20, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said, “I told the Russians a year ago that if there were no Iranian missile program, there would be no need for the missile sites.” Mr. Obama’s inauguration, he added, offered the chance for a fresh start. “My hope is that now, with the new administration, the prospects for that kind of cooperation might have improved,” he said. The idea has distressed Poland and the Czech Republic, where leaders invested political capital in signing missile defense cooperation treaties with the United States despite domestic opposition. If the United States were to slow or halt depl
 
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WarNerd       3/3/2009 12:43:24 PM
This is not a potential policy change.  This deal has been on the table since the ABM proposal was first floated.  Obama's letter is just a worthy attempt to keep it alive, but do not expect anything to result.  Obama is hoping that Russia will supply political cover for when he cancels this very expensive project.  Russia will probably bet that if they say nothing he will cancel it anyway.
 
Mostly this is just another display of press bias against the Bush administration at the NYT.
 
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Nichevo       3/3/2009 5:54:51 PM

This is not a potential policy change.  This deal has been on the table since the ABM proposal was first floated.  Obama's letter is just a worthy attempt to keep it alive, but do not expect anything to result.  Obama is hoping that Russia will supply political cover for when he cancels this very expensive project.  Russia will probably bet that if they say nothing he will cancel it anyway.

 

Mostly this is just another display of press bias against the Bush administration at the NYT.


So many traitors, so little rope.  Never mind Pres. Obama - a rabid dog cannot choose but bite, although Mr. Harvard Law Review Editor should be able to read the IIUC excellent ABM test results - how did this get out again?  Does anybody at the Times understand the English word, "secret?"
 
Besides, what can the Russians possibly do if they wanted to?
 
Time to find some things to do that the Russians won't like, and do them.
 
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Wicked Chinchilla       3/4/2009 10:43:19 AM
Its not a bad idea to at least be at the negotiating table, there probably is another deal in there we are angling for.  Sort of like when you bargain: you always start higher than they are willing to pay knowing they will through out your offer.  Then you reduce your offer bit by bit and in the end get exactly what you really wanted for less than would have orginally cost.  Its putting your upper limit out there knowing it will be rejected with your eye on the desired end result. 
 
Its also not the first time something like that has happened.  During the cuban missile crisis we finally got them to remove the missiles because we said we would remove our missles from Turkey.  What they, presumably, didnt know is we were going to retire those quite soon anyway due to obselesence.  Sure we  gave something up: but it was something that was on the outs anyway for something that was VERY important to both nations.
 
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RockyMTNClimber    Czech Republic and Poland   3/4/2009 10:54:40 AM
This merely demonstrates that the US can not be counted upon to follow through on any diplomatically difficult agreement. We will enter agreements and leave allies behind as the political wind blows.A very poor performance on our part.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
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strat-T21C    Russian missle tech?   3/4/2009 12:03:34 PM
It's my understanding on this issue that the Iranians are getting the missle tech from the N. Koreans and Chinese. The Russians are giving them the tech to start the nuke program. Anyone?
 
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Nichevo       3/4/2009 12:05:43 PM
Correction - the Russians GAVE them the tech.  Cat, say goodbye to bag.
 
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WarNerd       3/4/2009 12:34:04 PM

So many traitors, so little rope.  Never mind Pres. Obama - a rabid dog cannot choose but bite, although Mr. Harvard Law Review Editor should be able to read the IIUC excellent ABM test results - how did this get out again?  Does anybody at the Times understand the English word, "secret?"

It probably was an official unofficial Whitehouse press leak.  Politicians in general seem to have become addicted to using easyly deniable "trial balloons" to determine policy.  The Obama team seems to be taking it to a new low.

Besides, what can the Russians possibly do if they wanted to?

Time to find some things to do that the Russians won't like, and do them.

Sure, and then the Russians will find some things to do that we won't like, and do them.  Let's not start down that road.
 
Russia is too weak to take on NATO, the US, or China and win, but they have the capabilities to make sure that their opponent does not win either.
 
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Nichevo       3/4/2009 12:53:40 PM




So many traitors, so little rope.  Never mind Pres. Obama - a rabid dog cannot choose but bite, although Mr. Harvard Law Review Editor should be able to read the IIUC excellent ABM test results - how did this get out again?  Does anybody at the Times understand the English word, "secret?"




It probably was an official unofficial Whitehouse press leak.  Politicians in general seem to have become addicted to using easyly deniable "trial balloons" to determine policy.  The Obama team seems to be taking it to a new low.




Yeah, the operative word being "low."  I wish I could copyright that like Pat O'Reilly copyrighted "Three-peat," it's going to get a lot of use.

 
 
 

Besides, what can the Russians possibly do if they wanted to?



Time to find some things to do that the Russians won't like, and do them.




Sure, and then the Russians will find some things to do that we won't like, and do them.  Let's not start down that road.

 
 
 
 Well, they are already.  What could they be doing to us, that they aren't?  And we realyl have very little leverage over them.  When we do have an opportunity - a few planeloads of the right weapons and support gear to Georgia last year could have changed history - we renounce it.
 
Russia doesn't seem to give a damn for hurting our feelings or our interests.  Why is that?   Why aren't they afraid of us?  Why don't they go through policy discussions saying "But what will the Americans think?" except as the setup to a punch line? 
 
 

Russia is too weak to take on NATO, the US, or China and win, but they have the capabilities to make sure that their opponent does not win either.

Zzzzzz...nobody is going to invade Russia fer Gossakes!  Nobody is going to nuke them either!  At least nobody coming from the west of Russia. 
 
And AFAIAC nothing else is any business of theirs.  Near Abroad my fat arse.
 
Meanwhile, their power is declining, the threat to them increasing.  Again, not from us.
 
[The world] will look up and shout, "Save us!"
 
And [I'll] look down and whisper, "No."
 
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