News

    US Official Says Missile Defense Will Not Impact Russia

    Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security delivers a lecture to students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in Moscow, March 30, 2012.
    Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security delivers a lecture to students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in Moscow, March 30, 2012.
    James Brooke

    Political controversy has erupted in the United States after an open microphone at a nuclear security conference in South Korea caught U.S. President Barack Obama telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have more "flexibility" after the U.S. election in November. On Friday, the top American arms control negotiator visited Moscow and gave the American outlook for arms control and missile defense.

    Rose Gottemoeller, Washington’s lead negotiator on arms control, told Russian students and reporters that the political controversy simply underlined President Obama’s point. The American election season is a time for technical meetings, not political initiatives on arms control.

    "I see the possibility for homework, as I call it, not only in missile defense cooperation, but in preparing the groundwork for new nuclear reduction negotiations as well. I am also here in Moscow to work on new conventional arms control initiatives," said Gottemoeller.

    Gottemoeller recalled that Americans and Russians have 40 years of experience in negotiating arms control pacts. She said she is confident that the two countries, the world’s largest nuclear powers, will find common ground on missile defense.

    Russia is worried about Washington’s plan to build a missile defense system to protect Europe from missiles launched from Iran. More from Gottemoeller, who is acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security:

    "The technical capabilities of the system are simply not those that would undermine Russian strategic offensive forces," Gottemoeller added.

    Washington’s blueprint for missile defense calls for several land- and sea-based batteries that would knock down one or two missiles launched on a westward path from Iran. In contrast, Russia has about 3,000 rockets that are designed to hit the United States by flying north, over the North Pole.

    "I consider it a very serious matter that my president has confirmed to your president - and will be willing to continue to do so - that this system is no threat to the Russian Federation or any of your military capabilities," Gottemoeller explained.

    In the audience at Moscow State Institute of International Relations was Victor Mizin. Before joining the institute as deputy director, he worked on arms control as a Russian diplomat. He said that diplomats in both countries still have to work against the powerful legacy of the Cold War.

    "There are still huge backlogs, I am afraid, of mutual suspicion, which still have not been overcome," said Mizin.

    On May 7, Vladimir Putin will return to the Kremlin as president of Russia. A former KGB agent who once served in East Germany, Putin is often seen as a hardliner on relations with Washington.

    But Mizin does not predict a major change in policy. He noted that Putin served for the last four years as Russia’s prime minister, closely coordinating policies with President Medvedev. Under the current plan, the two men are to switch jobs, with Medvedev becoming prime minister in May.

    "Probably it will be a little bit tougher, with a little bit more accent on Russian sovereignty, self-assertiveness," said Mizin on Putin’s return to the Kremlin.

    Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, believes that NATO will build a missile defense for Western Europe whether Moscow likes it or not.

    "Any discussion about joint missile defense, which started 2010, officially still is a target. I don’t believe it is any kind of real talk, it is just cover for, empty shell for, nothing," said Lukyanov.

    He agrees that it will be impossible for the two countries to negotiate common ground during the heat of an American presidential campaign.

    "This year, nothing will happen in missile defense area," Lukyanov added.

    So everyone interviewed in Moscow said that for any movement in negotiations on missile defense and arms control, check back one year from now.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Cha Cha Cohen
    April 03, 2012 2:19 AM
    Why we need defense? Why we are creating more enemies and terrorists instead of friends? Why other should hate us unless we deprive them from their legitimate rights, unless we hate them for nothing but because God has created them different. Lets love the world as God has created and intended! The way we are going and if we succeed the world will be a very boring place!I love the slogan 'MAKE LOVE NOT WAR'

    by: Jonathan Huang
    March 31, 2012 8:29 PM
    Do you believe in US propaganda? I dont and never!

    by: Gennady
    March 30, 2012 6:30 PM
    Western Europe needs a missile defense against “rogue states” & undemocratically ruled Russia as well. Putin’s Russia plunges into chaos with current state of law & order, when police and courts of law became threats, people are gagged & harassed, constitutional norms abused, outcomes of any “elections’ are predicted long in advance . Nobody in the world can foresee what future whims of the ruler for life will be & how desperately he’ll act in the case of his personal insecurity.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora