Clinton said, however, that "[we] should continue to open NATO's door to European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and help them meet NATO standards."
A "fresh start" with Russia moves the US closer to the pragmatic position of Europe's heavyweight, Germany, where the question – as described by Ulrike Guérot, of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin – is: "What is the place of Russia in Europe? Which is tied to the question, 'Which way is Russia going?'"
Allies advocated strengthening a NATO-Russia council, which NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters is "not a fair weather body" – and should be used to discuss "everything," including Russian troops considered to be illegally deployed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
But Afghanistan was the hot underlying issue in Brussels. In Pakistan's Swat Valley, recently ceded to Taliban forces by Pakistan, the Taliban are already appointing civil servants, acting with impunity against civilians, and cranking up heavy new propaganda machinery via FM radio. The secretary began consulting on a nearly finished US strategy for the NATO Afghan deployment.