By Sylvia Gurinsky
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had a strange way of congratulating U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama last week: He did so at the same time he announced plans to base short-range missiles near Poland.
Actually, this is less of a response to Obama than a continuing game of one-upmanship between Russia's real leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and President George W. Bush. The Bush Administration has now attempted to placate the Russians by saying that its proposal for a missile defense system in Poland and elsewhere is an effort to protect those countries from an Iranian threat. So far, and to no one's surprise, it's to no avail.
What's less clear is what Obama plans to do about Russia. Sadly, not one reporter asked him about the issue at last week's press conference. But it is as serious a threat as the economy, and it points to the truth of Vice President-Elect Joe Biden's statement during the campaign that Obama would be tested early.
It's true that, as Obama has said, there's one president at a time, and until Jan. 20, that president is Bush. But the time will come soon for Obama to state his plans about the reforming Iron Curtain. Russia must be addressed, and quickly.