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Russian analysts suspect U.S. of intentions to revive "Cold War"

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Russian analysts argue that Washington's consistent efforts to redeploy its missile defense system closer to Russia's borders may be an indication the U.S. administration seeks to revive the "Cold War" against Moscow and its allies.
MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian analysts argue that Washington's consistent efforts to redeploy its missile defense system closer to Russia's borders may be an indication the U.S. administration seeks to revive the "Cold War" against Moscow and its allies.

Washington has recently moved its largest sea-based missile defense radar in the Pacific from Hawaii to the Aleutian Islands, not far from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. It has also announced plans to install a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor site in Poland, which it says it needs to protect itself against a potential threat from Iran.

Gleb Pavlovsky, Russia's most famous spin-doctor, said that U.S. plans to build missile defense sites in Central Europe may spur an arms race.

"This surely is the beginning of an arms race in some sense," he said. "Which is all the more unjustified given that Russia has never, not on a single issue, expressed an intention to confront the U.S. or to deter it."

According to Pavlovsky, another sign of Washington's increasingly hostile policies vis-a-vis Moscow is Freedom House's latest Freedom in the World survey, where the U.S. government-funded advocacy group placed Russia in the ""not free" category, alongside North Korea, Cuba and Libya, countries where the U.S. is waging or considering military action.

"We should be aware that Russia has been placed in the group of targeted nations," he said.

Sergei Markov, director of the Institute for Political Research, also believes the United States views Russia as a potential adversary.

"We can see that Russia is increasingly perceived [by the U.S.] as a potential foe," he said, explaining that Washington tends to build its missile defense shields near countries whose political regimes it deems dangerous for its own security.

Speaking to the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace said: "I think we need the full range of military capabilities. We need both the ability for regular force-on-force conflicts because we don't know what's going to develop in places like Russia and China, in North Korea, in Iran and elsewhere."

Vasily Likhachev, deputy head of the International Affairs Committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, said the deployment of U.S. missile shields close to Russian borders is intended as a political weapon against Moscow.

"It is not as much about the [George W.] Bush Administration's self-promotion to boost ratings as it is about [creating] a system of ideological and political pressure on Russia and its allies," he said.

"Is it the 'Cold War' in a 21st-century packaging, or just some elements of it? That's a subject for further reflection. But this much is clear: the West is not ready for full-fledged cooperation with Russia."

Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, interpreted the U.S.'s latest moves in the area of missile defense as an offensive on Russia's strategic interests. He specifically cited the deployment of U.S. interceptor missiles around Russia's borders and the creation of a radar and space reconnaissance system.

"The Americans withdrew from the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] treaty precisely to restore full control over the strategic nuclear potentials of Russia and China," he said.

In December 2001, President Bush announced the U.S. would unilaterally pull out of the treaty, signed with the Soviet Union during the "Cold War" era, saying it hindered his government's ability to protect the nation from future terrorist or missile attacks by rogue states.

Ivashov warned that unless it takes countermeasures to neutralize the U.S. threat, the country could be in for a bleak future.

"Russia may end up cornered in the north, and it will become a tiny Nordic country."

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