Missile shield causes blast from the past

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Missile shield causes blast from the past

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Echoes of the Cold War are resonating through US/Russian relations over Washington’s proposed missile shield in Europe. Tensions over the controversial plan have flared again with President Dimitry Medvedev warning that Russia will deploy its own missiles to counter it.

In response the White House has said it would not by deterred from pushing ahead with what it says is a defensive system that carries no strategic threat to Russia. It involves setting up missile launchers in countries the Kremlin considers to be within its sphere of influence.

But some analysts see other motives behind the harsh words. Andrey Kortunov of the New Eurasia Foundation said: “Mr Medvedev would like to appear as a tough and strong politician when he has to wage an election campaign. He leads The United Russia Party and he wants to appeal to the conservative elements of the Russian electorate.”

The missile shield is one of several divisive issues simmering between the US and Russia. Others may yet boil over in what is an election year for both presidents.