Full-course Dinner, not Just Dessert

Missile defense has long been an area of tension in US-Russian relations, but it’s also the issue where the United States, NATO, and Russia could build cooperation from the ground up, said Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. “I believe missile defense is the metaphor for the opportunity of getting things right” with the Russians,she told reporters Thursday in Washington, D.C., acknowledging that “it has been an irritant in our relationship for over 30 years.” She characterized missile defense cooperation as a comparatively new issue. “We can all come in on the ground floor, we can all make decisions,” she explained. “Almost everything else that you work with on European security has been settled. Settled, decided, and worked on together by others for decades. The only thing that is new, where you can actually bring the Russians in, is missile defense.” She said this should be appealing to the Russians, because they are just like everyone else: “They don’t like to be invited to a dinner party and arrive during the dessert.”