Recently US-Russian relations are strained again after a period of relative relaxation following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent deep Russian economic crisis. Today, Russia adopts an assertive attitude in defending its interests and trying to re-gain its previous international role. This approach is also assumed in relation to current US plans to install elements of its national missile defense program in Central Europe, which Moscow perceives as a threat to its security.
Behind US claims on defending itself and NATO allies from international terrorism, the missile debate relates to the long-standing bilateral discussions on the arms control process and consequent Russian and American national defense scenarios in view of current and future strategic configuration.
Bilateral negotiations vary from cooperative tones to explicitly antagonistic ones but this ambiguity in US-Russian relations must be reconsidered through the lenses of upcoming US presidential election, which ultimately will determine the course of regional and global missile defense.