For his surprise proposal to integrate the Gabala radar system, which Russia leases in Azerbaijan, into the U.S. missile defense system. After the highly contentious spat that escalated between Russia and the U.S. over the building of a new missile defense system in Europe, Putin’s apparent change of course has yet to be fully understood. His Gabala radar proposal needs a thorough analysis.
But wily Putin pulled a diplomatic masterstroke at the G-8 meeting in Germany, changing the entire tone of the missile defense argument from Cold War glacial to post-glasnost congenial. Whether this was a deliberate tactic to steer the U.S. into a strategy that better suits Russia or whether Putin was steered into a corner by the U.S is not important. Putin took the high road, and both sides can now pursue the missile defense issue against a more constructive backdrop.