From the Cable: Rasmussen also commented briefly on the French sale of the Mistral amphibious assault ship to Russia, saying the sale is not a NATO issue.

"This is not NATO business, this is a bilateral question between France and Russia," he said, "So as such, NATO is not engaged in this."

As the first major arms sale from a NATO country to Russia, many feel the deal could set a dangerous precedent and further tip the balance of military might between Russia and Georgia. The Georgians, as well as the Baltic states, have raised repeated objections.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates conveyed U.S. concerns about the deal when traveling in Paris this month.

GOP senate aides have warned that Congress could resist an exemption for France in the Iran sanctions legislation currently moving on Capitol Hill, but the State Department has said it will resist any attempts to join the two issues…

"I take it for granted that Russia … will not use this equipment against any of its neighbors or any NATO ally," Rasmussen said. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, for one, has made clear he will not foreswear using the Mistral wherever his government pleases.  (photo: AFP/Getty)