President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Tuesday that a new arms race would erupt within the next decade unless Russia and the West forged an agreement to cooperate on building a missile defense system.
In his annual state of the nation address, Medvedev called for closer cooperation with the United States and the European Union, holding out the prospect of closer ties two decades after the Soviet Union's collapse ended the Cold War.
He said tension would ratchet up fast, forcing Russia to bolster its military arsenal, if Western offers of cooperation on a system to defend against missile threats failed to produce a concrete agreement.
The warning appeared to reflect wariness in the Kremlin over uncertainty about Senate ratification of New START, the nuclear arms limitation pact Medvedev signed with President Barack Obama in April, centerpiece of the push for better ties.
"In the coming decade we face the following alternatives: Either we reach agreement on missile defense and create a full-fledged joint mechanism of cooperation, or ... a new round of the arms race will begin," Medvedev said.
Wow. Can't you just feel the warmth and good will? Mmm. "Smart" diplomacy, indeed.
Seriously, just how good a deal is START for Russia if they threaten a nuclear arms race if they don't get it ratified and don't get in on our missile defense plans?
After their little display warning us about their cooperation with us over Iran, just how "reset" can our relations be?
Face it, Russia still thinks of us as the main enemy. Friends don't issue threats like that. And countries seeking better relations don't issue threats like that.
Russia is broke and can't afford an arms race. Tell them to take a hike and good luck with a rising China on their vulnerable Far Eastern border. Until Russia understands that while we would like better relations with Russia but can live without that, Russia will push us for concessions and treat us like dirt to be walked on.
UPDATE: Batman backs up Robin:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told CNN television that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and "strike forces" if it were shut out of a Western missile shield, adding punch to a warning from President Dmitry Medvedev.
Holy Contradiction! Unless we demonstrate our friendship by letting them inside our missile defense shield (so they can understand how to defeat it, I assume), they'll beef up their nuclear and other forces to overwhelm the system (BAM!) to retain their ability to kill Europeans many times over (POW!).