The war suits Makarov, both financially (presumably for orchestrating the airport incident), and politically, since going to war with the US cements support for the Russian Ultranationalist state, who Makarov supports. The war - and in particular, the EMP blast - allows Shepherd to take absolute control of the US forces, and claim his government 'blank cheque'. In Shepherd's mind, it's an acceptable loss for restoring the US's military might and invigorating interest in joining the forces.
It might, in a potential sequel, all get linked even more obviously to real-world affairs, where the US government is currently 'weakened' by its reliance on privatized soldiers (PMCs), with a dangerously small core group of US paid soldiers. Shepherd either wants to restore the US's core military base and/or he's involved with a large PMC style company; the equivalent of a Lockheed Martin or Blackwater in real-life. Could the mysterious Kriegler corporation be involved in such a way - the money men behind the true conspiracy? All to be revealed in MW3.
Fore more background, head here http://bit.ly/2vEVss
Private military company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/gDD4g
Why is the data I had to defend in 'Loose Ends' so important to Shepherd?
This mission sees you downloading data from a computer in Makarov's safehouse, while hundreds of Ultranationalist soldiers swarm towards you. The reason this data is so sought after is because it may pinpoint Makarov's hiding place.
Shepherd wants it so he can kill him, reducing the risk of his grand scheme being revealed. However, Task Force 141 think he wants it for more noble reasons - to bring him to justice. But just as you escape with the data, Shepherd betrays you, shooting Roach and Ghost fatally. If Ghost really is Gaz, he's the unluckiest soldier in the world.
VIDEO: Shepherd's betrayal
In 'Exodus', who is the 'HVI'? And what was in his briefcase?
The Rangers are instructed by Shepherd to retrieve 'intel' from a panic room in a house at 4677 Brookmere Road. The intel is in a briefcase owned by an unnamed HVI (high value individual) who lives there.
When Ramirez and the Rangers reach the address, they find the panic room raided and the HVI dead, but the intel is still there. A body nearby bears the same neck tattoo as Makarov's men in 'No Russian', which one of the Rangers comments on. This is the biggest plot hole in Modern Warfare 2. Why was one of Makarov's men there? Who was the HVI? What is the 'intel'?
It's never revealed. Before you enter the house Foley even asks Shepherd why the briefcase is so special, and he doesn't elaborate, simply stressing its importance again. If you zoom into the briefcase contents with a scope you can see two copies of Modern Warfare 2 - which is clearly an in-joke from the art team.
Our theory is that the briefcase contents don't matter, nor does the HVI. It's a MacGuffin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin) - a means to propel the plot forward, and give the Rangers something to do. Or, alternatively, perhaps Shepherd used the HVI as a distraction for Foley and Ramirez' team, to keep them away from something. But to what end? Mysterious - or an example of poor sign-posting/writing.
Q. Who is Nikolai, the helicopter pilot? He seems to be a friend of Price and Soap...
That's because in the COD4 mission 'Blackout', Soap and Price rescued Nikolai from the clutches of the Ultranationalists in the Caucasus Mountains. He was the informant who tipped the SAS off to the location of the nuke aboard the Estonian ship in 'Crew Expendable', and in return the order was given to rescue him by the British government. In Modern Warfare 2 he's a pilot for Task Force 141.