Reaching Out to Russia

There's no love lost between Moscow and NATO. Over the past two decades, nine former Soviet states and satellites have joined the U.S. led alliance, and others have hinted at following suit. This expansion has fed a deep distrust between Moscow and the West, and even contributed to Russia's decision to invade Georgia in 2008.

But NATO seems to be following President Barack Obama's lead and attempting to "reset" relations with the Kremlin. At last week's NATO meeting in Estonia (itself once part of the empire), Secretary General Anders Rasmussen suggested that Russia be included in NATO plans to build a missile defense system. Although thick with irony--President Reagan first proposed a missile shield in 1983 as a safeguard against the Soviets--the overture was a clear attempt to ease Kremlin concerns that the antimissile system is targeted at Russia. Also last week, four key NATO countries called for removal of the last U.S. tactical nukes on the European continent. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev must surely be pleased: he recently called for "a new European security architecture," with Russia as Europe's partner instead of its opponent. NATO has held out the olive branch; now it's up to Russia to grab it.