It was the first high-level Russia-NATO meeting since 2019 - coming immediately after the non sequitur of the U.S.-Russia "security guarantee" non-dialogue dialogue earlier in the week in Geneva.
So what happened in Brussels? Essentially yet another non-dialogue dialogue - complete with a Kafkaesque NATO preface: we're prepared for dialogue, but the Kremlin's proposals are unacceptable.
This was a double down on the American envoy to NATO, Julianne Smith, preemptively blaming Russia for the actions that "accelerated this disaster".
By now every sentient being across Eurasia and its European peninsula should be familiar with Russia's top two, rational demands: no further NATO expansion, and no missile systems stationed near its borders.
Now let's switch to the spin machine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's platitudes were predictably faithful to his spectacular mediocrity. On the already pre-empted dialogue, he said it was "important to start a dialogue".
Russia, he said, "urged NATO to refuse to admit Ukraine; the alliance responded by refusing to compromise on enlargement". Yet NATO "welcomed bilateral consultations" on security guarantees.
NATO also proposed a series of broad security consultations, and "Russia has not yet agreed, but has not ruled out them either."
No wonder: the Russians had already noted, even before it happened, that this is noting but stalling tactics.
The Global South will be relieved to know that Stoltenberg defended NATO's military blitzkriegs in both Kosovo and Libya: after all "they fell under UN mandates". So they were benign. Not a word on NATO's stellar performance in Afghanistan.
And then, the much-awaited clincher: NATO worries about Russian troops "on the border with Ukraine" - actually from 130 km to 180 km away, inside European Russian territory. And the alliance considers "untrue" that expansion is "an aggressive act". Why? Because "it spreads democracy".
Bomb me to democracy, baby
So here's the NATO gospel in a flash. Now compare it with the sobering words of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.
Grushko carefully enounced how "NATO is determined to contain Russia. The United States and its allies are trying to achieve superiority in all areas and in all possible theaters of military operations." That was a veiled reference to Full Spectrum Dominance, which since 2002 remains the American gospel.
Grushko also referred to "Cold War-era containment tactics", and that "all cooperation [with Russia] has been halted" - by NATO. Still,
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