MOSCOW, January 28 (Itar-Tass) – Russia and the United States can start concrete dialogue on missile defence after the appointment of John Kerry as a new secretary of state, Sergei Rogov, Director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, said.
“The upcoming appointment of John Kerry as U.S. secretary of state means continuity in American policy because one can hardly expect sharp turns in Washington’s approaches to international affairs and Russian-Amercian relations under President Barack Obama,” Rogov told Itar-Tass on Monday, January 28.
“Throughout his political career John Kerry has shown himself as a realistic politician who adheres to a sound approach to many international issues and who advocates better Russian-U.S. relations. For example, he played a very big role in the ratification of New START as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It was largely due to his efforts that the Obama administration had succeeded in garnering support for this document, at least among the Republicans. Otherwise, the document would have been blocked and would not have entered into force,” Rogov said.
“Apart from John Kerry, the candidature of U.N. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice was considered. She is known for a strong stance with regard to Russia. From this point of view, the American president’s choice allows us to believe that attempts will be made to avoid further deterioration of Russian-American relations,” the expert said.
“Speaking last week at the hearings in the Committee, which Kerry still formally chairs and which should make the decision as to whether to recommend that his nomination be approved, the future secretary of state, replying questions from the Republicans, who had focused their attention on acute problems in American-Russian relations, sounded positive on the whole and said he thought it necessary to work towards new agreements between Russia and the United States,” Rogov said.
“This does not mean that problems will disappear from Russian-American relations. No, they continue. But John Kerry has a rather moderate position on such a key issue as missile defence. He is not a fanatical advocate of strategic missile defence just as nominee for Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, is not,” he added.
“Kerry was against the Bush Jr. administration’s withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002. I think we may expect certain proposals from the American side shortly,” Rogov said.
“Last year, Obama promised to be more flexible on missile defence after the elections. So let us wait and see. If these proposals are quite balanced and realistic, we may expect serious talks on the entire range of strategic problems to start,” he concluded.