The Russians justifiably claim Gates may have already forced Obama’s hand. They see a distinct pattern. In August, cleverly using the Caucasus crisis and the unfriendly public mood in the West about Russia, Gates pressed ahead with the signing of an agreement on the deployment of elements of an American strategic missile shield – 10 interceptor missiles at Wick Morskie between the towns of Ustka and Darlowo on the Baltic coast in Poland and an X-radar in Brdy near Prague, Czech Republic. Of course, Russia has concluded that the US deployments are intended to blunt the thrust of its strategic forces in the European theater. ..
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Russia seems to weigh that the war in Afghanistan presents a dilemma of a different kind to Obama and Moscow should not make things harder. Indeed, the Afghan war will be the number one foreign policy priority for the Obama administration. Here too, a struggle has commenced for influencing Obama’s policy. Two Pentagon consultants – Ahmed Rashid and Barnett Rubin – did some kite-flying recently. In an article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine titled “From Great Game to Grand Bargain”, they argued that the US strategy should be to seek compromise with insurgents while addressing regional rivalries and insecurities.
Their recommendation was to offer “political inclusion” to the insurgents “in return for cooperation against…