Lacking significant power in numbers and euros, NATO countries are ultimately consigned to the will of the Anglo-American alliance. And so the debate over expansion of membership to Georgia and possibly Ukraine strikes analysts as a showdown between Washington and Moscow, and nothing more. It's a test of Russian and American political will, played out through the US' proxy organization NATO, which many in Russia see as "anti-Russian."
This week, however, the German defense ministry published a position paper that outlines its transition from a post-war army to one that will undertake a greater role in global security. Specifically, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung is calling for raising troop levels by 5,000.
Germany is currently engulfed in a debate over the misadventures of some of its troops in Afghanistan, but the idea of Germany contributing more, especially within the context of NATO, was welcomed by The New York Times.
Military ties to the United States will remain at the heart of Berlin's defense policy. But larger and more robust troop contributions from the most populous European NATO country can help restore a measure of political balance to an alliance increasingly distorted by Washington's military role.
If Germany really does retool its army, it will be a positive for Estonia, because it will be easier for Estonia to cooperate in international missions - and have a say in critical decisions - if Berlin's thoughts count at least half of much as Washington's.
But I am sure our resident blog pundits have some ideas of their own.