Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday asserted that U.S. Republican presidential nomination front-runner Mitt Romney displayed outdated Cold War-era thinking for describing Russia as the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the United States, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, March 27).
Romney made the statement to CNN while castigating President Obama for telling Medvedev he would have more "flexibility" to negotiate a deal on European missile defense with Moscow following U.S. presidential and congressional elections in November. The Russian leader shot back that Romney's comments "smacked of Hollywood" (Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press/Google News, March 27).
"Missile defense is a political issue that various political forces are manipulating to pursue their own political interests, including interests connected with elections," Interfax quoted Medvedev as telling reporters on the sidelines of this week's Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea (Interfax I, March 27).
Washington and Moscow for more than a year have engaged in discussions on areas for potential missile defense collaboration in Europe. They have been unable to strike a deal largely due to Russian fears that U.S. missile interceptors planned for deployment on the continent would be aimed against its nuclear strategic force. The Obama administration insists the interceptors would be focused on deterring a ballistic missile attack from the Middle East and would not target Russian nuclear weapons. However, it has refused to put this promise in writing.
The Kremlin has warned it would pursue an arms buildup aimed at defeating the planned U.S.-NATO missile shield if a compromise is not reached on the matter.
"We shall judge the sincerity and commitment to partnership the United States has declared not on words, but on specific deeds," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in an ITAR-Tass report (ITAR-Tass, March 27).
Medvedev said bilateral talks on missile defense will continue with the Obama administration, Interfax reported.
"The U.S. has demonstrated its desire to continue [the talks], and we support it in every way," he said to journalists.
The Monday one-on-one meeting with Obama in Seoul was "exemplary," Medvedev said. "The most important thing in a dialogue is for the sides to hear one another. This is what we have learned with Barack Obama. In that sense, he is a comfortable partner for a dialogue."
Still, "President Obama is a typical U.S. president. He has taken an absolutely pro-American position and no other," he continued.
"When I said to him: you know, Barack, this I can do and that I cannot. And he told me the same: this I can do now, but here I will be harassed by the Congress, and it will be hard to pass this decision. This is accounting for political realities."
Medvedev said he would like to see this "trust-based friendly dialogue" continue with Washington irrespective of "who is sitting in the White House" (Interfax II, March 27).
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday asserted that U.S. Republican presidential nomination front-runner Mitt Romney displayed outdated Cold War-era thinking for describing Russia as the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the United States, the Associated Press reported.