One major test of that improved relationship would be the renewal of the START treaty, due December 9 of last year. That treaty has not been renewed. Claims that a major agreement is near could, instead, be a negative forecast:
By emphasizing the “half step” and the “radical and unprecedented” nature of the agreement, Moscow may be preparing the ground to blame Washington if the talks collapse.In fact, Vladimir Putin has claimed that the reason the treaty is delayed is the very missile shield the US just ostensibly forswore:
The rhetoric Moscow is using in recent days is also similar to what it deployed when Medvedev was pushing his draft treaty on European security – namely, the idea that it was necessary to radically overhaul existing agreements which Russia argues are outdated and even counterproductive. Medvedev’s proposal seems to be part of a broader Russian strategy of undermining the post-Cold War institutions that it sees as propping up the unipolar world.
Asked by a reporter what the biggest problem was in the talks, Putin said: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one."As Wired notes, "But the administration’s concessions to Russia on ballistic missile defense, which hurt a lot of feelings east of the Oder-Neisse line, also don’t seem to have won much leverage."
Speaking to reporters in the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, Putin said the U.S. plans would fundamentally disrupt the Cold War balance of power and Russia would thus be forced to develop new offensive weapons.
In the interest of intellectual honesty, I was wrong.