Putin’s power play: Russia builds up missile systems, seeks to limit U.S. defenses

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“If the Russians are indeed improving their existing defenses, while simultaneously leading the Obama Administration down the primrose path of negotiations, it would fittingly embody the president’s naiveté in foreign affairs,” Bolton said. “Moscow must be looking forward to even more ‘flexibility’ from Obama, as he promised Russian President Medvedev last year.”

Obama was overhead during a discussion with Medvedev in Seoul saying he would have “more flexibility” in talks on missile defenses after his presumed reelection in November.

The Russians are continuing to demand legally binding restrictions on U.S. missile defenses as the price for dropping opposition to planned deployments of SM-3 missile interceptors on land in Europe. Those defenses are being planned in phases over the next several years amid concerns that Iran is on the verge of developing long-range missiles.

Frank Gaffney, a former assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, also sounded the alarm about the current administration’s negotiations with the Russians.

“The Kremlin, going back to Soviet days, has always believed missile defenses were not simply legitimate but necessary for protecting at least its priority assets and populations,” Gaffney said.

The Russian military pursued the development and deployment of such weaponry without interruption “including and notwithstanding its obligations under the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,” Gaffney said.

“The Kremlin has, however, been at least as determined to prevent us from doing the same, using negotiations, coercion, and offensive missile enhancements to keep us vulnerable to their attack,” Gaffney said. “We indulge the Russians further in this double-game at our extreme peril.”

 

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