Seoul, South Korea – Confirming that Election politics have a lot to do with President Obama’s agenda at the moment, President Obama assured outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” on missile defense after the election.
The conversation was overheard by a reporter who leaked the details of the conversation. Fox News Reported on it in the U.S.
Obama told Medvedev,
“This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility,”
Obama was telling Medvedev to relay his message to incoming Russian President Vladmir Putin. The two met at a nuclear arms summit in Seoul, South Korea.
Obama told Medvedev,
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense … this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space,”
Medvedev told the president he understood the “message about space. Space for you …” After Obama noted he’d have more flexibility in the future, Medvedev told him: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
The Unites States planned missile defense shield in Europe is a bug issue for the Russians. Putin won the election using his strength against the shield as a platform. Russia has vowed to counter the U.S. Missile shield with stronger weapons.
The White House, told the press that the conversation was basically meaningless.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said,
The U.S. is “committed” to implementing the missile defense system, “which we’ve repeatedly said is not aimed at Russia. However, given the longstanding difference between the U.S. and Russia on this issue, it will take time and technical work before we can try to reach an agreement. Since 2012 is an election year in both countries, with an election and leadership transition in Russia and an election in the United States, it is clearly not a year in which we are going to achieve a breakthrough. Therefore, President Obama and President Medvedev agreed that it was best to instruct our technical experts to do the work of better understanding our respective positions, providing space for continued discussions on missile defense cooperation going forward.”
Republicans are bound to seize on Obama’s words as proof that Obama is saying one thing to the American media during the election year but plans on a serious leftward shift after he wins office.