The Cable

Another short circuit in the reset button?

When The Cable reported in October that there were severe problems with the U.S.-Russian agreement to transit war supplies over Russian space to Afghanistan, the Obama administration was not happy. Sure, there were some "technical details" to be worked out, U.S. officials said, but that was par for the course and would be smoothed over ...

When The Cable reported in October that there were severe problems with the U.S.-Russian agreement to transit war supplies over Russian space to Afghanistan, the Obama administration was not happy.

Sure, there were some "technical details" to be worked out, U.S. officials said, but that was par for the course and would be smoothed over soon. So now, half a year after the deal was signed, how many flights have gone off?

Only one, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Radio Free Europe.

To be fair, the American side disputes that figure. U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle said, "In fact there were five, and 11 more are planned."

But that’s still somewhat short of the 4,500 flights per year that were expected when Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev made the agreement in July.

"Hard to see this as a particularly major achievement of a revived relationship," writes Politico‘s Ben Smith.

New York Times reporter Peter Baker had some good details on what the problems were and some sharp analysis as well:

The agreement to allow American troops and weapons to fly over the territory of Russia, its onetime cold war enemy, was seen as a symbolic breakthrough as much as a logistical one, and administration officials argued that it was a triumph even if no planes actually ever used the route. Still, just as some people in Moscow appear apprehensive about American forces in their airspace, some American officials are wary of putting too much faith in the Russians, who could easily close down the corridor if political tension rises again.

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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