As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Go Ahead, Use Our Roads To Speed Into That Quagmire

So what did the President and Dmitry Medvedev decide upon at their Moscow Summit today? The big news is that the two sides have agreed on arms reduction amounting to as much as a 1/3 cut in nuclear stockpiles. More on that here. This is an excellent first step to the ultimate goal of ridding the world of the scourge of nuclear weapons.

A side deal permits Russia to allow transit of US military supplies through its country and into Afghanistan:

On July 6, 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Undersecretary of State William Burns concluded an agreement that will enable the United States to transport its military personnel and equipment across Russia to support American and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

This agreement complements a NATO-Russia arrangement, under which the United States began shipping non-lethal equipment to Afghanistan through Russian territory earlier this year.

This agreement will enable the United States to further diversify the crucial transportation routes and decrease the amount of time needed to move troops and critical equipment to resupply international forces in Afghanistan and to bring needed supplies to the government and people of Afghanistan. This will permit 4,500 flights per year. The new transit routes will save the United States government up to $133 million annually in fuel, maintenance and other transportation costs, and this agreement is free of any air navigation charges. By providing access to these transit routes, the Russian Federation is ena b ling a substantial increase in the efficiency of our common effort to defeat the forces of violent extremism in Afghanistan and to ensure Afghanistan’s and the broader region’s security.

Given Russia's past history in Afghanistan, do you think they signed this agreement with a curl of the lip, saying, "Yes, good luck with your war in Afghanistan, by all means, let us help you!" In the 1980s, the United States helped the mujahedeen fighting the Soviets. These days Russia can just speed the flow of US transit into that snake pit of the country and achieve virtually the same goal. As a side benefit, the move gives the appearance of resetting US-Russian relations at the same time.

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