ZURICH: Five weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin did something few would have expected from a former KGB spymaster. He voluntarily conceded a long-standing American demand. Upon his orders, the Kremlin closed down its Cold War-era listening post at Lourdes in Cuba. A facility which may have once provided three-quarters of Russia’s secret intelligence on the U.S. suddenly ceased to operate. Putin’s former KGB colleagues were unhappy. But the spirit of the times was that Russia and the U.S. were partners against terrorism. This had been the thrust of Putin’s efforts to engage with the U.S. well before 9/11. He wanted to show his sincerity.
The George W. Bush presidency responded by postponing missile tests scheduled for November 2001. It apparently considered political symbolism adequate repayment of a much more substantive demonstration of goodwill from the Russian side. And yet two months later, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty of 1972, despite Moscow’s long-standing objections that such a move would prove detrimental for international stability. Even as it opposed the U.S. on missile defence, Russia shared intelligence on Afghanistan-based terrorist networks and did not object to the establishment of a U.S. base in Uzbekistan, which supported America’s Afghan war....Read More
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