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Take that Vladimir

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia says its response to the further development of a U.S. missile shield in Poland will go beyond diplomacy.

Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the U.S. missile shield plans are clearly aimed at weakening Russia.

The U.S. says the missile defense system is aimed at protecting the U.S. and Europe from future attacks from states like Iran.

The United States and Poland signed a deal Wednesday to place a U.S. missile defense base just 115 miles from Russia's westernmost fringe.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WARSAW, Poland (AP)—Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Polish counterpart signed a deal Wednesday to build a U.S. missile defense base in Poland, an agreement that prompted an infuriated Russia to warn of a possible attack against the former Soviet satellite.

Rice dismissed blustery comments from Russian leaders who say Warsaw's hosting of 10 U.S. interceptor missiles just 115 miles from Russia's westernmost frontier opens the country up to attack.

Such comments "border on the bizarre frankly," Rice said, speaking to reporters traveling with her in Warsaw.

"When you threaten Poland, you perhaps forget that it is not 1988," Rice said. "It's 2008 and the United States has a ... firm treaty guarantee to defend Poland's territory as if it was the territory of the United States. So it's probably not wise to throw these threats around."

The deal, which Washington sought as a way of defending the U.S. and Europe from a hypothetical threat of long-distance missiles from Iran, has strained relations between Moscow and the West. Those ties were already troubled by Russia's invasion of its former Soviet neighbor, U.S. ally Georgia, earlier this month.

Speaking to reporters traveling with her, Rice said, "the Russians are losing their credibility."

Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski signed the deal Wednesday morning.

"It is an agreement which will help us to respond to the threats of the 21st century," she said afterward.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the agreement came after tough but friendly negotiations.

"We have achieved our main goals, which means that our country and the United States will be more secure," he said.

After Warsaw and Washington announced the agreement on the deal last week, top Russian Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned that Poland is risking attack, and possibly a nuclear one, by deploying the American missile defense system, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

Poles have been shaken by the threats, but NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop dismissed them Tuesday as "pathetic rhetoric."

"It is unhelpful and it leads nowhere," he told reporters at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

Many Poles consider the agreement a form of protection at a time when Russia's invasion of Georgia has generated alarm throughout Eastern Europe. Poland is a member of the European Union and NATO, and the deal is expected to deepen its military partnership with Washington.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski also expressed "great satisfaction" at the outcome of the long months of negotiations.

Poland and the United States spent a year and a half negotiating, and talks recently had snagged on Poland's demands that the U.S. bolster Polish security with Patriot missiles in exchange for hosting the missile defense base.

Washington agreed to do so last week, as Poland invoked the Georgia conflict to strengthen its case.

The Patriots are meant to protect Poland from short-range missiles from neighbors—such as Russia.

The U.S. already has reached an agreement with the government in Prague to place the second component of the missile defense shield—a radar tracking system—in the Czech Republic, Poland's southwestern neighbor and another formerly communist country.

Approval is still needed the Czech and Polish parliaments.

No date has been set for the Polish parliament to consider the agreement, but it should face no difficulties in Warsaw, where it enjoys the support of the largest opposition party as well as the government.


Re: Take that Vladimir

Russians have this curious mixture of aggression and paranoia.
Putin looked positively unhinged on TV yesterday.

Re: Take that Vladimir

David Wilshire, a leading Conservative member of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly, has lobbied hard to make Mikhail Margelov, a pro-Putin Russian parliamentarian who used to be a KGB language instructor, the next president of the organisation, which is supposedly devoted to promoting human rights. Then come those such as the polemical Peter Hitchens, who have no great liking for tycoons, but a deep admiration for the nation-state. He writes: "I often wish we were more like Russia, aggressively defending our interests, making sure we owned our own crucial industries, killing terrorists instead of giving in to them, running our own foreign policy instead of trotting two feet behind George W Bush." Russia, he says, has come to stand for national sovereignty and independence, while we give up our own.

Correlli Barnett praises the regime in Russia in a similar vein. In the past few days, for example, Barnett has said: "World peace? Give me Putin any day!"; and "the West should jettison moral indignation and global do-goodery as the basis of policy, and instead emulate Russia's admirable reversion to 19th-century realpolitik". The main motive here is dislike for the whole apparatus of modern diplomacy - multilateral organisations governed by international treaties and at least a notional commitment to human rights.

Re: Take that Vladimir

Time for the leaders of the U.S., Japan, Germany, U.K. France, Italy and Canada to start talking about G7 conferences instead of G8.

Re: Take that Vladimir

Leave it to the Iranians to prove Bush correct.

“Iran announced on 12 November that it had test-fired a new medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a stated range of 2,000 km.”


Why would they vindicate Bush in his waning days? To prevent Obama from stepping away from plans to install a missile shield in Poland. Strategically it is in the Iranians interest to have Russia facing a tangible countervailing force in the West. From the NATO perspective: the more missiles pointing at Moscow, the better.

Re: Take that Vladimir

Bush will be missed, and a lot sooner than later.

As recent events have shown, there’s not a whole lot the governments can do to prevent recessions and downturns.

As far as this issue, all the peacenicks simply don’t get it.

Re: Take that Vladimir

Peaceniks never get it.

BTW, get ready for a lot more of Putin - he's changed the Russian constitution to pave the way for him to become as good as president for life.

My prediction is his buddy Medvedev will step down early, citing the financial crisis, and Putin will be elected for the newly enacted 6-year term and will serve two terms.