Congressman Mike Turner has written to President Barack Obama regarding his concern about what the President meant in what he stated to Russia’s former President, Dmitri Medvedev during a recent meeting. Obama had stated that after his “last election” this coming November, he “would have greater flexibility” to make a deal with Russia concerning U.S. missile defenses. The issue was a significant point of contention during recent House debate over the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
Recently, one of the President’s aides, Mr. Nabors, wrote to Turner stating “[i]t is no secret that this effort [referring to the effort to negotiate an agreement with Russia about U.S. missile defense] will be more complicated during election years in both the United States and Russia.”
“The inference is that the American people may not like the deal your Administration is planning to negotiate. If that is the case, why make it at all? What is it you and your administration are concerned the American people would object to in such a deal with Russia? Would it be limitations, unilateral or bilateral, with Russia on the speed, range, or geographical deployment of U.S. missile defense interceptors?” wrote Turner in his letter to the President.
The President may be able to put to rest such concerns if he would simply direct his Administration to share with Congress the draft agreements that have been offered to Russia. For example, according to President Putin in a March 2, 2012 interview with RIA-Novosti:
“They [referring to your Administration] made some proposals to us which we virtually agreed to and asked them to get them down on paper…They made a proposal to us just during the talks, they told us: we would offer you this, this and that. We did not expect this, but I said: we agree. Please put it down on paper…We were waiting for their answer for two months. We did not get it, and then our American partners withdrew their own proposals, saying: no, it’s impossible,” he added.
This is not the first such reference to a secret deal the Obama Administration offered to Russia. The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported last October that it obtained the copy of a deal that was to be agreed to at the May 2011 G8 summit in Deauville, France.
“I encourage you to direct your Administration to provide to the Congress the draft agreements provided to the Russian Federation. Such transparency would be the best way to resolve concerns in the Congress about your statement to President Medevedev,” concluded Turner.
Note: The letter to President Obama can be found here.