Russia and USA Understanding

Russia and the US have signed a Memorandum of Understanding "to enhance their military ties". I hope this is the start of a genuine attempt to repair relations, and IIRC William Hague will be going to Russia next month, so we may sign something similar. It just involves setting up high-level committees from what I can see. Unfortunately we have a long way to go before our paras can chase their paras across the steppes on exercise, and then get drunk with them afterwards.

Times of India report here US, Russia sign agreements to enhance defence ties - The Times of India
The Ruskies helping the Septics in Afghanistan?

Do'nt think so, given their recent history. Russia would be pilloried in the press but that would'nt phase them. US would be pilloried in the press and at home which would upset them. Can you see Archangel Barry and The Sinister Clinton selling that one to both Houses AND the Democrat Party?

Though, of course, Terry and the Afghan nation would greet them with open arms.
Bingo. But for a price. A very high price. The current US commitment to two campaigns largely irrelevant to their national interests mean they're going to get it in the shorts, and I see this as the equivalent of making sure plenty of lube is involved.
Sounds like Barry is drawing in DC's horns and trading recognition of Vlads sphere of influence for a Northern LOS through the Stans. Necessary bit of strategic groveling the way things are shaping up in the Punjab.

President Barack Obama's administration needs Moscow's permission to allow the US military and NATO to move troops and supplies across Russian territory for the war in Afghanistan.

The deal has eased the pressure on supply routes through restive areas in Pakistan, and Gates was expected to express appreciation for Russia's assistance, officials said.

The US has also struck deals with countries across Central Asia to allow access to air fields and supply lines for the mission in Afghanistan, where nearly 100,000 US troops are deployed.

The Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, citing defense ministry sources, said on Wednesday the Kremlin expected Serdyukov to discuss the "division of spheres of influence" in central Asia and the south Caucasus during his visit.

"In particular, Moscow is no longer against a wider presence of NATO military contingents in the post-Soviet space," the report said.

Serdyukov told reporters the sensitive issue of missile defense was discussed, but gave no indication if Moscow might be ready to participate in a US-led system designed to thwart a possible ballistic missile attack from Iran.

US officials have invited Russia to join in the network of anti-missile radars and interceptors, suggesting that Moscow could cooperate in the use of a radar site in Azerbaijan.

Gates and Serdyukov were due to hold three formal meetings as well as a working dinner on a US Navy vessel on the Potomac river, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

With the Pentagon rolling out the red carpet for Serdyukov, analysts said the visit demonstrated the two governments were serious about strengthening ties.

"As a signal of the 'reset,' having the defense ministers meet is huge," said Olga Oliker, senior international policy analyst at the Rand Corporation think tank.

"Historically this is how countries show they trust each other," with military exercises and high-level talks, Oliker told AFP.

On the eve of the visit, Gates -- a former CIA director who spent much of his career battling the Soviets -- described Russia as a partner in an interview with the Russian agency Interfax.

"I don't see Russia as a threat," Gates said.

"We're partners in some areas and competitors in others. But on important things, we are cooperating," he said.

Gates saw "a much greater opportunity for military exercises" and said the administration wanted to buy Russian MI-17 helicopters for Afghan security forces, despite some opposition from US industry.
Gates can afford to be generous in throwing the Ruskies some pork scraps having engineered that big deal with Saudi, their US competitors troughs are already brimming.

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