They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bush in Prague for "defence" shield talks

President George W. Bush arrived in Prague on Monday for talks about locating part of the proposed US missile defence shield in central Europe.

But Mr Bush’s most immediate concern was seeking protection from the latest in a series of rhetorical bombs lobbed by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president

Mr Putin warned on Sunday that Moscow would take “retaliatory steps”, including the possible retargeting of Russian missiles against Europe, if Washington pushed ahead with plans to place radars and interceptors in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Washington insists the system is designed to protect the US and its allies against states, such as Iran, that could one day acquire nuclear weapons.

But Moscow fears the technology could be used to neutralise Russian missile capabilities and accuses the US of upsetting the balance of power in a region that once fell firmly within the Kremlin’s sphere of influence.

Mr Putin’s comments were the starkest sign yet that Russia had chosen the proposed missile shield as an issue on which to make a stand after 15 years of – in Moscow’s view – being pushed around by the west.

Moscow believes it has been forced to swallow a series of western foreign policy actions against its will since the Soviet Union collapsed, including expansion of Nato into former Soviet satellite states, Nato intervention in Kosovo, and agreement to open US military bases in Romania and Bulgaria.

But with its economy enjoying an oil-fuelled recovery and Mr Putin set on returning Russia to its former position as a global power, it has decided to draw a line in the sand.

“Russia is saying that to agree to disagree is not enough any more,” said Ivan Safranchuk, defence analyst at the World Security Institute in Moscow. Link