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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rumsfeld Known for Tough Line

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U.S. President-elect George W. Bush's choice of Donald Rumsfeld as the new secretary of defense is likely to raise pressure on the Kremlin to reach a compromise with the United States on its plan to deploy anti-missile defenses, observers said.

"Rumsfeld is known as a proponent of a tough line, and he is likely to take a rigid stance on the national missile defense," said Dmitry Trenin, an analyst with Moscow Carnegie Center.

Russia has categorically rejected the Clinton administration's push to modify the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty — which has formed the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament accords for three decades — to allow the deployment of a limited anti-missile system.

U.S. President Bill Clinton has deferred to his successor a decision on whether to start activities that would lead to the deployment of a national missile shield.

Rumsfeld led a bipartisan commission that concluded two years ago that potential missile threats either from an accidental launch or a rogue nation were closer than U.S. intelligence believed, fueling arguments to push ahead with missile defenses.

"The report by Rumsfeld's commission has stoked the Americans' desire to have anti-missile defenses, so his appointment isn't going to make life easier for the Russians," said Ivan Safranchuk, an arms control analyst at PIR-Center, an independent think tank in Moscow.

He and other analysts predicted that Moscow would eventually have to abandon its staunch resistance to changes in the ABM treaty, and would bargain for concessions from the United States in exchange for an agreement to modify it.

"There is no chance Russia might convince the United States to abandon its missile defenses, so it will have to reach an agreement," Safranchuk said. "Despite all the rhetoric, Moscow doesn't want to quarrel with the United States."

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Saturday that Moscow would move quickly to establish a "serious dialogue" on missile defense with the incoming Bush administration.

In an article published in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, Ivanov made it clear that Russia was not ready to drop its opposition to a proposed NMD shield.

(AP, Reuters)