American Vice-President Joseph Biden at the Munich Security Conference in early February pledged to "press the reset button" with Russia.
Since then prominent Washington officials have repeated their intention to reset, reboot and so forth relations with Russia but have, starting with Biden at Munich, not relented in any substantive manner on any of the behaviors and projects that have antagonized Moscow.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently and American President Obama is to meet with his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev in London early next month.
Russia has permitted the US and its NATO allies transit rights for non-military goods to assist the West's expanding war in South Asia, though in the process is abetting the extension of the NATO military nexus from the Baltic to the Black to the Caspian Seas and hence tightening the noose around its own neck.
How are the US and NATO demonstrating their supposed resolve to mend ties with Russia, not in words but in deeds?
Starting at Russia's northwestern most border and proceeding counter-clockwise, in the following manner:
In nine days NATO will commence a ten-day military exercise, Cold Response 2009, consisting of 7,000 troops from thirteen nations in northern Norway, off the coast of the Norwegian Sea, adjoining the Barents Sea and the Russian coast.
It will be a full spectrum exercise with land, naval and air forces simulating an 'emergency' military intervention.
The Barents Observer reports:
"This year, about 700 of the participants are special forces.
The [imaginary] conflict increased in 2008 when Northland attacked and occupied Midland. After a cease-fire Northland withdraws its forces and a power vacuum which NATO has to fill, occurred."
Moving slightly southwest, NATO has just completed the four-day Baltic Host 2009 exercise in Estonia, which Russia's Novosti described as involving "a series of scenarios simulating the arrival and deployment of NATO troops in a member country."
Participating in the war games were forces from the United States, Britain, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in "the first exercise of this type in the Baltic region, which could become a regular event in the future to improve interoperability between NATO troops."
Continuing southward, nine days ago Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and insisted that American Patriot missiles would be deployed in his country.
The new US Patriot PAC-3 missile covers seven times the area of the original model and has double the range, enabling such missiles in Poland to hit Russian territory in the Kaliningrad region.
Two weeks ago US Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a pact with his Polish opposite number Defense Minister Bogdan Klich "to bolster Poland's special forces and enhance how it operates within the NATO military command structure" as the US armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes reported.
This was two days after Poland's Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski said, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine, "that there is much more of a discussion right now within the alliance [NATO], to a large extent because many partners realize that the enemy unfortunately can be much closer to our borders" and "We have to take this into account when we plan the future of the alliance."