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Will NATO missile defense idea have 'mutual benefit' for US, Russia?

Proposal for partnership follows Obama's decision to nix a missile shield based in Europe.

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The partnership proposed Friday by NATO between the US, NATO, and Russia suggests the Obama administration's decision to abandon a controversial missile defense system in Europe could open up new diplomatic doors. The question will be, how wide?

On Friday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed a new alliance between NATO allies and Russia, suggesting that the countries could work together to counter a common missile threat from Iran.

"NATO and Russia have a wealth of experience in missile defense," he said in his first major foreign policy speech. "We should now work to combine this experience to our mutual benefit."

The White House announced Thursday that it was discarding a multibillion-dollar ballistic missile defense system that was to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic and was a centerpiece of the Bush administration's security stance in Europe. It cited intelligence that any attack from Iran is more likely to come from short- to medium-range missiles, and has proposed a defense system tailored to that threat with interceptors based, for now, on ships.


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