START: Cultivating Old Frienships and New

From the New York Times:  With flourish and fanfare, President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia signed a nuclear arms control treaty on Thursday and opened what they hoped would be a new era in the tumultuous relationship between two former cold war adversaries.

Meeting here in the heart of a once-divided Europe, the two leaders put aside the acrimony that has characterized Russian-American ties in recent years as they agreed to bring down their arsenals and restore an inspection regime that expired in December. Along the way, they sidestepped unresolved disputes over missile defense and other issues. …

Mr. Obama called the Russian a “friend and partner” and said “without his personal efforts and strong leadership, we would not be here today.” For his part, Mr. Medvedev said the two had developed a “very good personal relationship and a very good personal chemistry as they say.” …

Warmer relations with the Kremlin worry American allies in Central and Eastern Europe, which were already concerned that Mr. Obama’s decision last year to scrap Mr. Bush’s missile defense plan in favor of a reformulated architecture was seen as a concession to Moscow.

Hoping to soothe those concerns, Mr. Obama plans to have dinner Thursday night in Prague with 11 leaders from the region, including the presidents or prime ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.  (photo: Doug Mills/New York Times)

Image: nyt_4_8_10aa.jpg