BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO proposed a new era of cooperation with the United States and Russia on Friday, calling for joint work on missile defense systems after Washington scrapped a planned anti-missile system.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described as "correct and brave" President Barack Obama's decision to drop the missile shield planned for Europe by predecessor George W. Bush. Russia's NATO envoy welcomed the NATO co-operation proposals.
Some military experts saw the moves as a sign of weakness by Obama, that Moscow hardliners would want to exploit further. Putin called in a speech on Friday for Obama to follow up with concessions on trade and technology transfer.
Others described abandonment of the system as a bold gesture that could improve frosty relations between the West and Russia.
"I do believe that it is possible for NATO and Russia to make a new beginning and to enjoy a far more productive relationship in the future," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a speech in Brussels.
Critics accused the White House of dangerous weakness.
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama in 2008, called the move "seriously misguided" and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a leading Bush-era hawk, was scathing.