Thursday, 25 October 2007


Not having followed the news on this I needed to roughly find out what was going on.
This is a rough timeline of events based on a LexisNexis search. Search included NY Times, Washington Post and USA Today only. You can find the two PDFs which include all the articles searched here:
- Search terms (NATO/missile defense system) - 20 articles
- Search terms (Putin/United States/Czech Republic/G8/missile defense system) - 14 articles
*the PDF's are hosted on MediaFire.. the link will take you to another website and just follow the instructions...

Here's the timeline, it follows the date the article was published which is usually one day after the event. All articles sited are in one of the two PDFs linked above


-20 Jan 2007
First mention I could find of the US announcing plan for base. Both CTV and WP use the same AP story.
Russia warns U.S. over Czech missile defence base
PM: U.S. Wants Base in Czech Republic

- 9 Feb 2007
NY Times
Russian Criticizes U.S. Plan For Missile Defence System

NATO foreign ministers session

Russia's defense minister chose a NATO session for a pre-emptive verbal assault on American plans to base elements of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

Sergei B. Ivanov, argued that North Korea cannot strike NATO territory in Europe with its current ballistic missiles, Mr. Ivanov said, adding that ''any school globe or map'' showed that Europe would not be under the flight path of any missile from North Korea toward the United States, either.
Mr. Ivanov also said that for Iranian missiles to strike in NATO territory or to hit the United States would require extensive industrial reorganization of Tehran's missile program.

- 11 Feb 2007
NY Times
Putin Says U.S. Is Undermining Global Stability

43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia accused the United States on Saturday of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Mr. Putin said. ''We have the right to ask, 'Against whom is this expansion directed?'

Fun article with western leaders bashing each other on the head and having a jolly good time while doing it!

- 17 Feb 2007
World Briefing Euorpe
NY Times

Gen. Yuri N. Baluyevsky, the chief of the Russian military's general staff, said that if the United States went through with the system, Russia might drop out of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty of 1987.

- 2 March 2007
World Briefing
NY Times / AP

Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, the director of the United States Missile Defense Agency, said Washington wanted to base antimissile radar in the Caucasus.

- 6 March 2007
U.S. Moves to Soothe Growing Russian Resentment
NY Times

The article is about some sort of an initiative by the Bush administration to “engage” the Russians more.
Things like:
Senior administration officials said the initiative would also involve a more intensive dialogue between the Russian and American militaries, a forum that might lend itself to fuller technical exchanges about Washington's plans for missile defense.

Forums and “intensive dialogue”… Yay!

The most interesting quote for me is:
''We weren't paying attention. We were distracted, busy, with other problems in the world, in particular Iraq,'' said Michael A. McFaul, a professor at Stanford University who is a Russia scholar. ''The administration is now put in a position of playing defense, as we are finally seeing the international consequences of the rather dramatic internal transformation inside Russia with the erosion of democracy, a new ruling class, a massive transfer of property rights from so-called oligarchs to, basically, friends of Putin, most of whom are from the old K.G.B.''

So not only is there a nuclear crisis but an “erosion of democracy”!
Fun quote:
Ms. Rice and Mr. Lavrov have a peppery relationship.

What is that supposed to mean?

- 20 April 2007
World in Brief

The meeting of NATO and Russian officials was part of a U.S. bid to soothe European concerns and Russian anger at the plan to deploy 10 interceptors in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic by 2012 to preempt threats from states such as Iran.

- 21 April 2007
NY Times

More carrot for Russia:
The Bush administration is offering Russia a new package of incentives to drop its strong opposition to American missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, including an invitation to begin linking some American and Russian antimissile systems, according to senior administration and military officials.

The German government, in particular, has urged the administration to pull together the exact sort of initiative on missile defense cooperation and transparency that will be presented to Russia. The administration has also heard complaints from other allies, including France, that it must do better at managing the relationship with Russia if the United States wants allied support for the missile defense effort, American officials said.

American officials concede that part of the Russian motivation to block American missile defense is a fear that the United States, over time, might develop a bold, new ''breakout'' technology that could some day neuter the Russian strategic arsenal.

- 27 April 2007
Russia to Suspend Compliance With Key European Pact; Putin Cites U.S. Missile Defense Plans.
BYLINE: Peter Finn; Washington Post Foreign Service.

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he was suspending Russia's obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, ratcheting up a tense standoff with the NATO alliance over U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

So in the words of the lovely Ms BeyoncĂ© Knowles… Ring the Alarm!
Western governments have contended for years that Russia has not fully complied with the treaty and amendments to it, pointing to force levels it keeps in the Chechnya region and the continuing presence of its troops in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.

The announcement on the CFE Treaty move appeared to take NATO officials, who are gathering in Oslo for a meeting with their Russian counterparts, by surprise.

On the same day in the NY Times

BYLINE: By C. J. CHIVERS and MARK LANDLER; C. J. Chivers reported from Moscow, and Mark Landlerfrom Oslo.

Mr. Putin suggested that Russia would use its future compliance with the treaty as a bargaining point in that disagreement with the United States.

On Monday, Mr. Putin's defense minister, Anatoly E. Serdyukov, rejected an offer from the visiting American defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, to share antimissile technology, which had been intended as a way to assuage Moscow's opposition to Washington's missile defense plan.

Carrot not tasty enough then….

Bush sings Blame It On Iran
The Russian president's remarks coincided with the latest effort by the Bush administration to promote its missile defense system, which it says is necessary to protect Europe if diplomacy fails to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The system would take at least several years to install and be put into operation, American officials say, and the project would be running on a parallel clock against Iran's suspected weapons program.

Aside from the military issues, Mr. Putin chided the West for what he called meddling in Russia's domestic affairs in the guise of democracy promotion efforts.

- 10 May 2007
House Panel Considering Cuts In Budget for Missile Defense

…. critics ask: With the system still unproven and, under the best of circumstances, years from completion, why rush construction now?

The bill, still under consideration late Wednesday, would cut $160 million from construction in Poland, as part of $764 million in cuts from the $8.9 billion the administration has sought for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency in 2008. A cut of $160 million would prevent breaking ground on the interceptor silos in Poland, while leaving funds to move forward with buying the 10 interceptor missiles and installing the radar for the Czech Republic, Congressional officials say.

the administration says the United States must begin pouring concrete soon to have the European system operating by 2012 -- to counter an Iranian long range missile ability that American intelligence warns will be reached between 2010 and 2015.

Apparently this whole crisis is Iran’s fault
''The fact is alliance security should be indivisible,'' Daniel Fried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs,added. ''And if Europe is vulnerable to Iranian missiles, that means we're insecure as well.''

''It doesn't matter that the deployment poses no plausible physical threat to Russia's deterrent, because Moscow fears it might serve as a toehold that could be expanded and upgraded in the future,'' said Wade Boese, research director for the Arms Control Association, a research and advocacy group here. ''The administration should be careful that its response to a projected or hypothetical threat does not create a much bigger problem with Russia.'

- 15 June 2007
U.S. to Keep Europe as Site For Deterrent To Missiles

US stamps it foot down
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made clear Thursday that the United States would not alter plans to deploy parts of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic…

And then springs a surprise on Russia
In an unexpected development sure to be scrutinized by the Kremlin, Mr. Gates indicated an interest in pushing cooperation on missile defenses even further into the former Soviet hemisphere of Eastern Europe by raising the prospect of future discussions with Ukraine.
Ukraine is not a NATO member, but is part of an alliance dialogue, the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Mr. Gates said that on Thursday he ''indicated a willingness to share information, data with Ukraine'' on the missile defense efforts in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russian officials have complained that the proposed system is a Trojan horse designed to counter Moscow's strategic rocket forces.

- 15 July 2007
Russia Halts Participation In Arms Pact For Europe; Suspension Seen as Response To U.S. Missile Defense Plan
BYLINE: Peter Finn; Washington Post Foreign Service

Russia formally halts its obligations to the CFE - Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty
Russia can now move more tanks and other heavy weapons to its western borders, and officials in Poland, Estonia and other neighboring countries quickly said they deplored the suspension.
But political and military analysts said major redeployments are unlikely. The suspension, they said, was both a symbolic expression of Russian anger over missile defense and a demonstration that the country has returned as an assertive power that must be reckoned with.

Relations between the United States and Russia continue to slide despite a recent attempt at mitigating the tension when President Bush invited President Vladimir Putin to the summer home of Bush's parents in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Cute, a family dinner to discuss your nuclear arsenal!
Bush said that when he talks to Putin this week, his message will be "Vladimir -- I call him Vladimir -- you shouldn't fear a missile-defense system. As a matter of fact, why don't you cooperate with us on a missile-defense system?
From Bush: 'Russia is not our enemy'; President talks of missile defense and democracy USA TODAY June 6, 2007 Wednesday

There is a widespread view here that the United States, which has consistently criticized the pace of Russia's democratic development under Putin, wants to undermine the country's newfound self-confidence in its status as a booming energy superpower. Putin's decision is likely to be viewed not just as a snub of the West, but as further proof that the Russian president has restored the country's ability to assert its independence.

Worth a check. Putin as national hero restoring old glory.
"Russia can't just twiddle its thumbs when it sees the Americans taking root in the Baltic and Caucasus countries and strengthening their positions in East European countries," Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, told the Russian news agency Interfax. "When NATO's steam engine is directed toward us, we simply must respond."

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