BACKGROUND: The major reason for Karzai to turn to Russia and other members of the Russia-led military bloc is the continuing deterioration of the military situation in Afghanistan. The U.S. attack against the Taliban was launched with the presumption that Afghanistan would naturally evolve into a basically democratic country. But the attempt to impose democracy from above was even more ill-conceived than the USSR attempt to impose socialism. Indeed, the Soviets entered Afghanistan prepared for a long stay, whereas the USA expected a quick and essentially painless transformation. --- While the problem with the American engagement in the war seems to have been clear to Karzai early on, he became especially alarmed by the American desire in 2006 to pull out some American troops and replace them with troops from NATO partners, countries that were especially unwilling to send their soldiers into harm’s way. Karzai apparently started to think that a change in the White House could lead to the Americans abandoning him. He is, of course, well aware of the gruesome end that Najibullah, the Soviet-installed ruler of Afghanistan, met, as well as the fate of the last Iranian Shah, who was not able to settle in the United States after the Iranian Revolution. It is not surprising that Karzai tried to find other options, even if they meant antagonizing his Western sponsor.