President Bush in Germany, facing what could be an angry confrontation with the president of Russia. The president will meet with Vladimir Putin at the G8 Summit.
Once friendly, the two leaders are now at odds over a U.S. plan to place a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, but the president signaled he will not change his mind.
There is a reason President Bush is starting his week in Prague. He could send a message to Putin, who’s been complaining of a renewed arms race in Europe.
“The Cold War’s over. It ended. The people of the Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia - you can be both,” Bush said.
The Czech government has agreed to let a missile defense radar be installed southwest of Prague, and Poland has accepted ten anti-missile launchers. President Bush insists this is to defend against rogue missiles from Iran or terrorists.
“This is a purely - it’s not my attitude, it’s the truth - it’s a purely defensive measure, aimed not at Russia, but at true threats,” Bush explained.
Putin has responded with acid criticism warning Russia might have no choice but to turn its own weapons toward Europe again. Anti-war demonstrators who flock to international summits are making a noisy protest. Now the debate shifts to Germany, where Presidents Bush and Putin have an hour of what could be blunt talks scheduled for June7, 2007, on the sidelines of the G8 Summit.