RUSSIA'S GEORGIAN WAR: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
"In weeks and years past, each of us has argued on this page that Moscow was pursuing a policy of regime change toward Georgia and its pro-Western, democratically elected president, Mikheil Saakashvili. We predicted that, absent strong and unified Western diplomatic involvement, we were headed toward a war. Now, tragically, an escalation of violence in South Ossetia has culminated in a full-scale Russian invasion of Georgia. The West, and especially the United States, could have prevented this war. We have arrived at a watershed moment in the West's post-Cold War relations with Russia....
This is a not a war Georgia wanted; it believed that it was slowly gaining ground in South Ossetia through a strategy of soft power....
Moscow seeks to roll back democratic breakthroughs on its borders, to destroy any chance of further NATO or E.U. enlargement and to reestablish a sphere of hegemony over its neighbors. By trying to destroy a democratic, pro-Western Georgia, Moscow is sending a message that, in its part of the world, being close to Washington and the West does not pay....
Finally, the United States and the European Union must make clear that this kind of aggression will affect our relations and Russia's standing in the West. While Western military intervention in Georgia is out of the question -- and no one wants a 21st-century version of the Cold War -- Moscow's actions cannot be ignored. There is a vast array of political, economic and other areas in which Russia's role and standing will have to be reexamined. Moscow must also be put on notice that its own prestige project -- the Sochi Olympics -- will be affected by its behavior.
Weak Western diplomacy and lack of transatlantic unity failed to prevent an avoidable war. Only strong transatlantic unity can stop this war and begin to repair the immense damage done. Otherwise, we can add one more issue to the growing list of this administration's foreign policy failures."
"Black Sea Watershed", Ronald Asmus & Richard Holbrooke, 11 August 2008 in www.washingtonpost.com
"Under the circumstances, Saaskashvili has made a virtue of necessity and tactfully and intelligently made changes to his prior policy. Hopefully, this will not be merely be a tactical maneuver, but a strategic shift, in which he recognizes that the only means to reunite Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, is to come to some type of modus vivendi with Moskva. That and nothing else it would appear will result in the reunification of Georgia with its two dissident regions. To maintain an anti-Russian course, is one that will guarantee that Saakashvili will be forever remembered as the Georgian leader who ensured that his beloved homeland was partition into three parts. Something that one hopes Saakashvili recognizes and wishes to avoid at any cost."
"Kavkaz Crisis: A Quick Update," 13 November 2006, in Diplomat of the Future, www.diplomatofthefuture.blogspot.com
The tone exhibited by Messieurs Asmus & Holbrooke is reflected in much of the Western, or at any rate, the Anglo-American media. It matters not a jot that the writer is a Conservative or Labour or Liberal, Republican or a Democrat, the tone vis pretty much the same: Russia's advance of the last two days, indeed Russia's entire role in the crisis, and for some such as Richard Holbrooke, Russia's role for a good number of years now, both in the Kavkaz region and in the general diplomatic orbit, has been malicious and mendacious. The root of all evil. Hence the constant reiterated usage of the analogy with Nazi Germany which has appeared in the last two to three days.
The above raises the issue of: why all of the (pent-up I would surmise) hostility vis-`a-vis Russia? For a some like the egregious William Kristol in today's New York Times, it is merely a substitution of present-day Roissya for the ex-Sovietskaya Vlast (see: www.nytimes.com). For others like Mr. Holbrooke, and much of the American, nay-Anglo-American foreign policy elite, the Putin regime's refusal to recognize and kowtow to American hegemony is simply a refusal to face the post-cold war reality and a sin. Using the word in its original, metaphysical sense. The end result in the case of the current Kavkaz crisis, is that Russia's policy of seeking to subordinate Georgia to its new found quest for regional hegemony, attracts the type of attacks which all or most of our learned gentleman, would never care to utter in the case of say Peking or India. The reason for this being that we, have all become to way too comfortable to the Roissya of Yeltsin and the late Gorbachev. The Roissya that refused to say 'nyet'. Make no mistake, I think that Russia's current policy is perhaps mistaken insofar as it wishes to topple the Saaskashvili regime, and, install or have installed internally, a government much more friendly to its. The current policy may, destroy for twenty years, any Georgian policy to either join NATO, or to re-annex South Ossetia or Abkhazia. The upshot as I predicted of Saakashvili's adventurism back in late 2006, that if he wished to re-unify Georgia, only a policy of reapprochement with Moskva would work. A policy of playing the 'American tune', would be self-defeating and the results are all to easy to see on our newspapers and television. Thanks to Grazhdanin Saakashvili, and his Anglo-American supporters we can almost say, for good or for ill: 'Finis Georgia'.