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16 Jun, 2009 23:35

Obama to discuss Russo-US radar partnership in Moscow

Russia could be a crucial partner in America's controversial plans for a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe. That's the view of some U.S. senators who want to incorporate Russian radars into the American project.

This is expected to come up during President Obama’s visit to Moscow next month.

Washington says the shield is necessary for protection from the increasing nuclear missile threat from Iran and North Korea. Initially it planned to build the missile defences in Eastern Europe – a move strongly criticised by Moscow.

“We are looking at this as a good warrior should. There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said.

But Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, believes it doesn’t make economic sense to spend so much on anti-ballistic missiles systems.

“The long range ballistic missile interceptors that the Bush administration had proposed are not cost effective. There’s no reason why the Obama administration should be spending money on that system,” Kimball told RT.

And there may be another ‘small’ problem.

“The Czechs may well reject having facilities in their territories,” Senator Bill Nelson admits.

Generals and Senators have always kept an open mind, particularly when dealing with Eastern Europe.

And when it comes to US Ballistic Missile Defense Programs, Russia is a key player. With no final decision made about those programs in the Czech Republic and Poland, one question seemed to dominate this debate: what are those Russians really thinking?

Russia had offered an alternative system on its territory close to Iran which would give an earlier warning of any threat. And some in the US believe that this might still work out.

“We should talk on parallel tracks. In other words, there’s no reason why we should not be discussing the greater potential of Russian radar to give us early warning information,” Senator Carl Levin says.

“The United States and Russia have time, at least two to three years, to explore cooperative approaches to deal with ballistic missile dangers,” Kimball added.