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Thursday, June 7, 2007

the 'New Cold War' - - Redux

The two presidents, smiling and looking relaxed, have not met since Putin attacked the Bush administration in February, accusing it of trying to force its will on the world and become its "single master."

"There's a lot of constructive work we can do and so I'm looking forward to my dialogue with Vladimir Putin this afternoon," Bush said on Thursday.

Bush said he would discuss with Putin at a bilateral meeting later in the day his proposal to invite Russian generals and scientists to the United States to reassure them on his plans to put a radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The White House has insisted the shield is planned to block any future Iranian nuclear missiles, not Russian ones.

But Putin warned he may aim nuclear weapons at European targets unless Washington abandons its proposal.

The diplomatic row coupled with harsh criticism over faltering democratic reforms in Russia has soured relations between Washington and Moscow, raising fears the standoff could derail the three-day summit's main agenda which is supposed to focus on climate change and African aid. (Full story)

Muscle flexing from an economically confident Russia -- the European Union depends on Russia for 40 percent of its energy needs -- could also make reaching an agreement difficult. original source

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