From the New York Times: I talked to an international security and nuclear arms expert who spent most of a recent week speaking to Russian counterparts. He said there wasn’t a conversation that didn’t begin without a Russian’s saying something like, “The important thing these days is for NATO to make clear it is not adding new members” in the Russian neighborhood.

Is that what Russia wants as quid pro quo on Iran? Or could a tradeoff be in a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty whose terms would explicitly link strategic nuclear arms and defenses against them, something that Russia seeks to connect to plans for a U.S. missile shield in Europe against Iranian nukes, and that the United States has resisted?

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated this month that NATO must remain open to all qualified applicants. As to the fine print of the Start treaty’s successor, The Associated Press, wondering in a dispatch from Moscow whether the Americans’ language was shifting in Russia’s direction, said this might please Russia but noted, “any restrictions on missile defenses would make it difficult for the White House to win approval for the treaty in the U.S. Senate.”

So is there a reasonable price to pay for Russia’s help? (photo: AP)