Russian President Medvedev on START and … Health Care
So, between health care reform and the New START nuclear reduction treaty with Russia, this is kind of a big week for President Obama. And you know who agrees? Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
Apparently, when Obama and Medvedev put the finishing touches on the long-negotiated accord over the phone this morning, Medvedev started the call by congratulating Obama on his health care victory. That’s a far cry from saying health care was in any sense a key to unlocking the talks, since all of the substance of this treaty was decided long before Congress finally passed the health care bill.
But the interpersonal relationship between the two presidents apparently was key to getting the most far-reaching nuclear reduction treaty in two decades. Obama and Medvedev had 14 talks about New START and related issues since Obama came into office, and this morning, Medvedev acknowledged the need for the two of them to get down into the weeds on verification mechanisms and what counts as “parity” between land-based missile systems (the bulk of Russia’s nuclear delivery capability) and submarines (the strongest leg of the U.S. nuclear-delivery “triad”) and so forth.
“If you want to get something done right,” Medvedev told Obama in English, apparently having practiced the proverb, “do it yourself.”