Conciliatory Putin was in evidence and Bellicose Putin was asleep for a moment as he prepared for a three day NATO Council meeting in Bucharest, Rumania. The Ukraine and Georgia seek membership in NATO which Russia opposes and Putin most probably will offer NATO something in exchange for turning down the membership bid of the east European nations. Dimitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, said: “there will be a talk about the philosophy and basis of partnership. If we are partners we should start to jointly solve problems in the area of security.”
Deputy Foreign Minsiter Alexander Grushko on Friday promised Russian cooperation on Afghanistan if NATO turned down the Ukraine/Georgia membership bid. Russia will most probably allow NATO to ship supplies to Afghanistan across its territory. Putin might also endorse a deal that would reintegrate the breakaway region of Transdnestr into Moldova if Moldova ends its desire to enter NATO.
Putin has a few more months as president of Russia to cement his record as a leader in foreign policy. After the NATO meeting he and Dimitry Medvedev, will meet with President Bush to hammer out some issues between the United States and Russia, particularly the problem created by Bush’s desire to build missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Both leaders would like to leave office with good relations established between their nations.