Yesterday, the first day of the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, was marked by a rift at the very heart of the North Atlantic alliance on the issue of its expansion along the soft underbelly of Russia. US President George W. Bush reiterated Washington’s position in favor of Ukraine and Georgia’s admission to NATO’s antechamber, telling Russia that it has nothing to fear as NATO is «dedicated to peace.» At the same time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that «it is too early» for Ukraine and Georgia. The belief of Germany, as well as of 11 more NATO member states, that Russia would react vehemently to the possibility of further NATO expansion eastward, appeared to be confirmed by the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. «This will not go unanswered. But we will respond in a pragmatic way, not like little schoolboys who were hurt and flee their classroom slamming the door to weep in a solitary place,» the usually mild-mannered Lavrov said.