Thursday, 10 May 2012

Putin Skips G8 Summit at Camp David

Russia's President Vladimir Putin will be skipping the G8 Summit to be held later this month at Camp David.  The venue has been moved to Camp David intentionally to appease Putin and give him an opportunity to engage one on one with the other leaders.  Putin has decided to send his predecessor Dimitry Medvednev. 

The White House says it was surprised at the change in plans.  While Putin claims that he needs to finish work setting up his new Cabinet.  It is likely that the change of heart comes because of the U.S.'s insistence of setting up the European Missile Defense System, which Russia opposes. 

Russia has been opposed to the missile shield from the outset and fears that the deployment would harm its own nuclear deterrence.  Russia has warned that if the United States proceeds, it would be forced to unleash its own massive armament system if the U.S. did not address its concerns.

Russia's Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov argues that Russia could station short range Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad location, which is close to the Polish border, aimed at destroying the system's European infrastructure.

Russia's General's also argue that once the third and fourth phase of the missile system is deployed, it would have the capability to eliminate Russian rockets by the end of the decade.

Earlier this year President Obama was caught on an open mike asking Medvednev to give him some space and that he would be in a better position to negotiate after the election.  The outgoing President told Obama that he would relay the message to Vladimir.

Despite the seeming strained relations between Putin and Obama,  the White House said that the two leaders expressed interest in sustained high level talks.

"The two presidents reiterated their interest in the sustained high-level dialogue that has characterized the reset of relations and the substantial progress of the last three years."

During the recent elections for the President and the Duma (Russian Parliament), there were allegations of fraud and large protests, which continue.  The U.S. has criticized Putin on this issue, which, of course, was rejected by Putin.

Obama and Putin agreed to meet next month on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Mexico.

How is the reset working so far? 

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