Assertive Russia

WITH Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates failing to achieve their prime aim in the high-level Moscow talks with their Russian counterparts, it cannot be long before the diplomacy ends and time for action is finally at hand.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sat 13 Oct 2007, 9:38 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:02 AM

President Putin has again ruled out a compromise on the US missile defence programme in Europe, so encouraging lines like Condi’s “we’re looking to work together” will have to be replaced with what Washington really thinks of Moscow’s concerns as well as its threats should the former go ahead with the deployment.

Significantly, other main issues of the talks have also gone largely unaddressed. Putin’s threat of abandoning the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) still stands, Russia has already dented efforts for a tougher stance on Iran by implying it does not have any proof of Teheran’s alleged nuclear ambitions and the Kosovo matter remains as disputed as ever. Furthermore, Putin also avoided focus on his continued hold on power even after stepping down as president next March, which no doubt the White House does not see as the ideal continuation for Russia.

In how the US now proceeds on the missile defence system predominantly lies the answer to how seriously it takes Vladimir Putin’s new, more assertive international role for modern Russia. And ironically, this decision also personifies Bush’s new dilemma. Rolling back implies adding to international loss of face following misadventures in Afghanistan and the Middle East, whereas going ahead leaves another distasteful legacy, this time at the expense of America’s friends in Europe.

There can be no denying that Putin has engineered Russia’s new emergence well. His country is no longer the unimpressive, crumbling structure he inherited from Boris Yeltsin. Instead, playing on old KGB designs of using Russia’s energy card for increased international political eminence, he may have given the people just what they required to allow him flirting with constitutional nuances to stay at the top for longer than many thought likely.

More news from