Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Oh Putin's move to suspend the treaty was just return the ball to Bush and Co. They are playing game - Iraq proved to be Black Hole and Russians became aggressive in Europe with Gazprom imperialist designs. So Bush and Condi using their advantage (Eastern Europeans are naturally wary of Russia)decided to check Russian ambition in the region by "limited installations" in Poland and Chech republic knowing in advance that would irk Russia and further divide EU.  
by FarEasterner on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 08:23:09 AM EST
Thanks for that comment.

Does nobody remember this one?

NTI: Bush-Putin summit, November 2001 (Michael Jasinski, December 2001)

The most closely watched part of the discussions, however, was the question of strategic arms control. In spite of expectations that the two presidents might reach a breakthrough on the ABM Treaty, no such breakthrough materialized. The two presidents, however, expressed readiness to sharply reduce their countries' strategic nuclear arsenals, and following the December 13, 2001 U.S. declaration of intent to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, some observers speculated that Bush and Putin had reached an informal agreement on the withdrawal during their Crawford meeting.


Following the friendly earlier meetings between Bush and Putin, some observers expected the two presidents to reach a breakthrough on the crucial issue of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which would allow the United States to proceed with the National Missile Defense program without having to withdraw from the treaty. Such a breakthrough, however, did not materialize. But the two presidents appeared ready to sharply reduce their countries' strategic nuclear arsenals, and there are some indications that the Russian Federation has informally adopted a more flexible stance on the ABM Treaty.


During the summit, President Bush unilaterally pledged to reduce the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal from 7,000 deployed warheads to only 1,700-2,200 over a period of 10 years. The promised unilateral cuts in effect side-step the START II treaty and its warhead ceiling of 3,000-3,500 warheads. In response, Putin promised that Russia would respond in kind and reduce its own strategic nuclear arsenal consisting of 6,000 warheads by two-thirds, which would also leave approximately 2,000 deployed Russian nuclear warheads. ... Moreover, the two presidents appeared to have had different views on how formalized the new commitments ought to be. Whereas Putin insisted on turning the commitments into a formal treaty, Bush expressed a preference for a far more informal, and unbinding, arrangement.

I remember Bush came up with some trademark bullshik along the lines of "gentlemen don't need treaties" [but States do, unless you have a patrimonial vision of the State, like Bush] and something about "looking into Putin's eyes", etc.

Let's not look at the propaganda from November 13, 2001...

Johnson's Russia List: Bush, Putin Build a Friendship (By NANCY BENAC on November 12, 2001) — this one shows Bush and Putin drooling over each other despite earlier mutually dismissive statements.

The Acronym Institute: Disarmament Diplomacy (November 2001) — this one has very interesting transcripts from the press conference, all about trust and being friends and no longer enemies, etc.

Center fro Nonproliferation Studies: Hope for a Strategic Breakthrough at the Bush-Putin Summit (William Potter and Nikolai Sokov, November 12, 2001)

For attentive observers, there is little new in that statement. Mr. Putin has warned a number of times that if the U.S. withdraws from the ABM Treaty, Russia would feel free to withdraw from other arms control treaties. The new language simply adapts this old position to the new circumstances and opportunities: whereas previously it was withdrawal for withdrawal, now it is modification for modification.
So where's the surprise at Putin's current position?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 08:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure no surprise. Sometimes it's boredom because of ceaseless repetition of such steps in history, the question I am interested in is whether Europeans (especially Eastern) would fall to hysteria (imagening Russian tanks) or would recover their senses in near future.
by FarEasterner on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 09:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you said "they're playing a game" and "the ball is on Bush's court" I thought that, after all the nice words 5+ years ago, Putin is saying "you want to play hardball? Let's play hardball".

And one can say Russian policy has been consistent over the years. It's US policy that is constantly shifting with respect to others and assigning the role of "bad guy" here and there.

But the current showdown over the missile shield has been an announced disaster since Bush assumed office, and is following entirely predictable lines.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 09:50:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right, nobody should be surprised by what's happening. No Russian president would have let the Pentagon lay out bear-traps in Russia's front garden; certainly not Putin.
It's sad that we're seeing these two players wrestling each other on European ground as mere bystanders like it's 1961 or something. Seems like nothing changed too much, only the playground moved a little east.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 10:58:29 PM EST
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