William Cohen, the ex-U.S. secretary of defense, said in an interview with RIA Novosti on Saturday that the United States had planned deploying new military bases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia long before the September 11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq.
Mr. Cohen is taking part in the Russian-American meeting in Veliky Novgorod, which is part of the Leaders project.
Mr. Cohen said the issue of reforming, rebuilding and redeploying U.S. military bases had been discussed long before September 11. Although the cold war is over and there are no tensions in relations between the United State and Russia, the U.S. must build up its military presence in the east, believes the politician.
According to Mr. Cohen, the U.S. is opening bases in the East European countries that joined NATO on April 1 and in Central Asia to address the burning problems of the present day and future challenges.
Mr. Cohen said the U.S. would have boosted its military presence in those regions irrespective of the September 11 tragedy or the Iraqi war.