Never underestimate the chutzpah of the West.
Never stated publicly, one of NATO's goals is to "contain" Russia, in euphemistic speak.
But NATO, read Washington, needs help. The Afghan foray is in shambles. U.S. casualties are at all time highs. The Taliban rules most of the country, and even the fortress that is Kabul is not safe. The world heroin trade is in full swing thanks to all the poppy coming out of Afghanistan, although the UN has announced a drop in production, but that's due to over supply in Afghanistan and depressed prices in the West.
U.S. efforts to hoodwink their 27-nation NATO allies to send more sons and daughters to die in Afghanistan has not be exactly a ringing success, as the Informant has noted. Help from "allies", however, does continue to trickle in.
On Tuesday, Slovakia with a hearty force of 262 in Afghanistan announced it would double that figure.
Even with the quagmire in Afghanistan, NATO busily goes about sniffing out new nations. The freshest member to be is mighty Montenegro, a 600,000 cigarette-smuggling bazaar that was once part of Yugoslavia now just a 'rump" of Serbia and Vojvodina.
Amid that backdrop, NATO's glorified spokesman, err, Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is in Moscow today for talks with President Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Rasmussen says he will be seeking more help from Russia on Afghanistan, including equipment and trainers for Afghan forces.
Rasmussen said Russia had already offered transit facilities for NATO supplies.
An unnamed NATO official told Reuters the military alliance also would like to see the Russians "donate" helicopters, assault rifles and artillery to the Afghan armed forces. That's right, gratis.
Western media have labeled the trip a "fence mender."
NATO is still sore Russia came to aid the people of Abkhazia after Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia in August, 2008 on the same day the Olympics were opening in Beijing. Ten Russian peacekeepers were killed in Georgia's initial assault.
Oddly, at least from the West's perspective, Russia was outraged by the attack on its peacekeeper, there on an OSCE mandate, and South Ossetia, where a majority of the people hold a Russian passport. Russia launched a counter offensive and routed Georgian forces.
So conditioned to view Russia as the aggressor, when this girl told Fox News of some of the Georgian military's handiwork in her home, the mediator politely dismisses her account as 'propaganda.'
This was a huge loss for Washington and Tel Aviv who both trained and armed the Georgians. In fact, Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former citizen of Israel. Georgia's Minister for Reintegration, Temur Yakobshvili, is also Jewish. His job is to corral the two breakaway regions back into Georgia.
In this Haaretz article, he takes glee in all the Russian soldiers killed by Georgian troops, due, in no small part to their training by Israeli military trainers.
In this audio cut, George Galloway gives his always interesting take on the Georgian/Russian war. Well worth a listen.
But Russia is already helping.
U.S.Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Sedney told a Senate panel that in the past 11 months, the United States has shipped almost 5,000 containers to its troops along the Central Asian railway route.
That route snakes through Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Having NATO traverse Russian territory is a humiliation for the Kremlin, a sign of weakness.
Rasmussen will also discuss missile defense.
Remember that plan?
It included a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Obama scrapped those elements, and the media cried Obama was going soft to placate Moscow. Now, the plan is more mobile, and it calls for patriot missiles, and SM-3 missiles not only in Poland, but the Czech Republic.
So much for placating Moscow.
Rasmussen will also discuss Moscow's grandiose blueprint for European security. Remember that one?
The media was all abuzz about it between spitting out the latest details of Tiger's infidelities, and the Obama White House gatecrashers.
The West has already rejected the Russian plan, which has the audacity to meekly ask for Russia to be given an equal voice in European security matters.
So why 'discuss' it? Probably to save face for the Russians.
Despite all the bluster of a revived, aggressive Russian bear, using its natural resources as 'weapons' of foreign policy, Russia is outnumbered, outgunned, and outspent by NATO.
Eager to exert even marginal influence in Afghanistan, Russia will probably agree to some type of military package to the Afghanis.
Afghanistan is now the great contagion in central Asia, that has already infected Pakistan. Russia worries the 'sickness' could spread further and eventually hit them.
They have NATO and Washington to thank for that.
Don't expect Mr. Rasmussen, however, to offer any apologies today. He'll be doing all the dictating.