[Guest post by DRJ]
The AP reports Barack Obama and Russian President Medvedev have agreed to allow the U.S. military to use Russian land and airspace to access Afghanistan and to work together in Afghanistan [Note from DRJ: The Afghans should love that]. But the centerpiece of the meeting is an agreement to reduce nuclear weapons in a replacement to the START I treaty:
“The planned START replacement pact – the centerpiece summit agreement – calls for each side to reduce strategic warheads to a range of 1,500 to 1,675, and strategic delivery vehicles to a range of 500 to 1,100. Current limits allow a maximum of 2,200 warheads and 1,600 launch vehicles. The new treaty, as conceived, would run for 10 years. Each side would have seven years to reach reduction goals with the final three years used for verification.”
However, the parties have not agreed on Eastern European missile defense. The Americans apparently think missile defense won’t be a deal-breaker but the Russians don’t sound so sure:
“While Medvedev insisted on Monday that a replacement to the keystone START I nuclear arms reduction treaty, which expires Dec. 5, must be linked to Russian concerns about the U.S. missile defense program in Eastern Europe, it remained unclear if the Kremlin was prepared to scuttle the negotiations over that issue.
Gary Samore, Obama’s chief adviser on weapons of mass destruction and arms control, told reporters he did not believe the Russians were prepared to walk away.
“I think at the end of the day – because our missile defense does not actually pose a threat to Russia’s strategic forces – I think they’ll be prepared to go ahead without trying to extract a price on missile defense.”
How does Obama plan to resolve this stalemate?
“Hoping to ease Kremlin concerns, Obama promised that an assessment of whether the missile defense would actually work would be finished by late summer, earlier than expected, and that he would share initial U.S. thoughts with Medvedev.”
This is beyond naive, it’s foolish.
UPDATE: The Anchoress nails it.