When Barack Obama was sworn in with the solemn oath of the US presidency, he was given a rude awakening to the gravity of his new job courtesy of Russian President Dimitri Medvedev's address to the Russian Parliament. The first day after Obama's historic inauguration, Russia declared it was positioning Iskander missiles in the western enclave of Kaliningrad in response to planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, marking the first time since the Cold War that Russia had threatened the West with aggressive military action.
Not an entirely isolated incident, a resurgent Russia fueled by booming oil revenues has led to a more assertive foreign policy from the Kremlin, epitomized by last August's military incursion into Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. With US-Russian relations deteriorating significantly during the tenure of the Bush administration, it should have come as no surprise to the new US president that Moscow would test him early on. Such aggressive measures, nonetheless, were alarming. When President Obama took office, US relations with Russia were at their lowest point since the collapse of arms control negotiations between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1986. At the center of these hostilities lies the X-Band radar and the silo-based interceptor missiles, with the implications of its construction reaching well beyond Central Europe to a new global power struggle.
Undoubtedly, tensions between the two nations have built up over time, however, the …