NATO and Europe on the Rocks

John Vinocur of the New York Times hits upon the contagion effect of the reset policy, and how it is changing French and German approaches to dealing with Russia and the international security architecture.

In this European view, the United States has become significantly dependent on Russia through its maintenance of military supply routes to Afghanistan and its heightened pressure, albeit in wavering measure, on Iran. Because the reset is portrayed by the administration to be a U.S. foreign policy success, criticism from Washington of Russia is at a minimum.

Consider this irony: the more Russia makes entry into the E.U.’s decision-making processes on security issues a seeming condition for deals the French and/or Germans want (think, for example, of France’s proposed sale to Moscow of Mistral attack vessels), the more the impression takes hold that the administration’s focus for complaint about the situation has been off-loaded onto the Europeans.

Example: Ivo H. Daalder,the United States’ permanent representative at NATO, gave a speech inParis last week in which he skipped the over Russians’ maneuvering, butdescribed as “baffling” and “very strange” that “NATO doesn’t have areal strategic partnership with the E.U.”

True enough. On the other hand, Russia is getting a whole series of passes: Ten days ago, when Mr. Medvedev offered Hugo Chávezof Venezuela help to build the country’s first nuclear power station,the State Department expressed concern about technology migrating to”countries that should not have that technology” — but added(bafflingly), that the relationship between Venezuela and Russia (foryears Iran’s supplier of nuclear wherewithal) “is not of concern to us.”