— complete article ( 3 pages) attached —
Asia Times, April 14, 2015 — http://atimes.com/2015/04/putins-red-line-for-us-policies
Why did Moscow take such a momentous decision on Monday to scatter to the winds the sanctions regime, which was choreographed so tenaciously by the United States over many years and painstakingly assembled under the direct supervision of the White House, to drive Iran into a corner? The answer to this question will have a lot of bearing on the course of world politics in the coming several decades. (See my blog Putin liberates Iran from sanctions.) (…)
The fact of the matter is that the Russian decision on Monday is both ‘reactive’ as well as ‘proactive’. First, the ‘reactive part’. Some background is needed here, which is not widely known, hence the following brief explanation.
For a start, it is useful to remember that one of the most shameful episodes in Barack Obama’s presidential diplomacy with the Russian leadership was the personal assurance given by him to the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev just before the 2012 presidential election that once he got re-elected he would address Mos-cow’s concerns over the deployment of the US’ ABM system in Europe. The American side no longer talks about it but the cavalier fashion in which Obama went back on the solemn assurance once he actually got re-elected, significantly contributed to the collapse of the US-Russia “reset”.
At the level of a head of state, statesmen don’t behave like school children; nor is the missile defence issue a game of hide-and-seek. But Obama behaved in an abdominal way. Russia all along disputed the American contention that the ABM was directed against the so-called “rogue states” (read Iran and North Korea). Indeed, Obama himself held out an assurance to Moscow, while addressing a public gathering in Prague in 2009, that once the Iran nuclear issue got resolved the raison d’etre of the ABM deployment in Europe would cease to be. But now that the US-Iranian negotiations over the Iran issue have entered the home stretch and a deal is well within sight, Obama is once again suffering from loss of memory, forgetting his pledge in Prague five years ago. Washington has begun quietly shifting the goal post. Funnily enough, the US and NATO now argue with a straight face that the deployment of the ABM system in Europe (in close proximity to the Russian borders) has nothing to do with the Iran nuclear issue.
Of course, Moscow has protested in indignation. (Read the Foreign Ministry statement in Moscow last weekend.) But nowadays, Washington doesn’t care for the Russian foreign ministry’s viewpoint. Obama himself doesn’t want to recall tete-e-tete with Medvedev, either .
The point is, the US intention behind the deployment of the ABM in Europe all along aimed at neutralizing Russia’s missile capabilities. In short, its real purpose is to eliminate Russia’s so-called “second-strike capability”. The agenda here is to realize the decades-old American dream (dating back to the Cold War era) of attaining “nuclear superiority” globally and to terminate this irksome business of “global strategic balance” with Russia.
Russia perfectly well understands the US’ strategic calculus factors in the plain truth that “post-Soviet” Russia still remains the only country on the planet with a thermo-nuclear capability to destroy the United States. Washington knows Russia under-stands its strategic calculus aiming at the weakening and dismemberment of Russia to reduce it to a second-rate power. Russia knows Washington comprehends the authenticity of the Russian fears and concerns.
To cut a long story short, Putin has decided to let Obama also get a feel of what it feels like when America’s core interests and national security concerns come under danger – plainly put, if America ever comes under threat from a nuclear Iran possessing ICBM capability. Indeed, the S-300 missiles make a formidable ABM system, which severely restricts the US’ strike capabilities against Iran. (…)
The bottom line is that the U.S. will have to learn to respect Russia’s legitimate concerns and cease trampling on its core interests.
(…) — emphasis m.z. —