Friday, February 12, 2010

Ambassador Beyrle’s blog makes news

Most days the ambassadors’ blog posts do not really make news. The topics they address in their blogs are normally selective and noncontroversial ranging from travel, development/relief work or embassy events.  On very few occasions, they skirt on policy areas like this one and recently in livejournal Ambassador Beyrle blogged about missile defense. Josh Rogin of The Cable had this item yesterday: State Department: No shift on missile defense:  

U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle's recent blog post about ongoing negotiations for a START follow-on agreement does not represent a shift in the U.S. position, despite the articles saying so.

Written in Russian, Beyrle's post says, "The treaty deals with offensive, not defensive systems, but since we acknowledge a logical link between them, our presidents have agreed that the treaty will contain a provision on the interconnection between strategic offensive and defensive weapons."

The Associated Press declared on its own authority that "Beyrle's statement indicated the U.S. stance has shifted," and that "Beyrle's statement apparently reflects an attempt by Washington to overcome Russia's suspicions of the U.S. missile defence plans."

Not so, say our State Department sources, who point out that Beyrle was simply referring to the July 8 Joint Understanding between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, which said that the START follow-on would include "a provision on the interrelationship of strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms," nothing more, nothing less.

The ambassador’s post has a link to the DOD’s February 2010 report on Ballistic Missile Defense Review, if you want to read up on that.  Do do think a follow-up post is coming?  

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