“US missile defense decision no guarantee of quid pro quo with Russia on Iran”

“US missile defense decision no guarantee of quid pro quo with Russia on Iran”
September 17-20, 2009
     Russian daily Kommersant reports that the US is pressing Russia to cancel deliveries of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran and support tougher UNSC sanctions “in exchange” for the recent US decision to cancel its European missile defense system in favor of a land- and sea-based system located closer to Iran (Agence France-Presse). While both the US and Russia deny any such “quid pro quo”, Roland Oliphant believes US expectations of Russian reciprocation on the Iran issue will not be met. Oliphant writes that Moscow will likely view the US decision as a “return to common sense” rather than a “concession” requiring reciprocation, especially as Moscow believes the defense system always targeted Russia rather than Iran (RIA Novosti).
     Joseph Cirincione argues that the US decision is an example of a “new defense realism” rather than appeasement of Russia. Cirincione points out that Iran does not have long-range missiles capable of striking Europe and that the defense system was too flawed to work, concluding that Obama’s new plan would better counter Iran’s short- and medium- range missiles while strengthening the NATO alliance (Foreign Policy). James Lindsay and others also praise the US decision, citing support among US military leadership, but point out the need to deflect accusations that the decision was designed to appease Russia (Council on Foreign Relations, Associated Press).
     Kimberly Misher offers a detailed analysis in favor of the new US missile defense plan, arguing that the initial system unnecessarily heightened tensions with Russia and weakened NATO unity while failing to offer adequate defense against an Iranian missile threat. Misher argues that joint missile defenses will help engage Russia in European security and strengthen deterrence measures against Iran (Carnegie Endowment).
Agence France-Presse | RIA Novosti | Foreign Policy | Council on Foreign Relations | Associated Press | Carnegie Endowment

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