Well, it's not exactly a success. In fact, it's a flop.

The discussions were initiated by the president himself. That is, the president of the United States. And the person he talked to, apparently at least twice (first in April, again in July), was the president of Russia, Dmitri A. Medvedev. Would the Russians facilitate an open corridor for American troops and weapons into Afghanistan? Of course, we'll just have to work out the details.

Depending on how you're counting, these details may be taking as much as half a year to work out. But let's say it's only four months. In any case, they're not worked out yet. And maybe they never will be.

Just for the sake of quid pro quo for the American repudiation of our missile and rocket plans for Poland and the Czech Republic shouldn't Moscow have done this pronto?

All of this is discussed in a finely detailed article by Peter Baker in Saturday's New York Times.

But aren't there other alternatives? India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and the other teensy weensy kingdoms in the Gulf some of which already have American bases defending them against Iran, for example.