EXERCISES IN FUTILITY: NATO, RUSSIA & THE BASES IN ABKHAZIA
"Russia has signed a deal to set up a military base in the Georgian break-away region of Abkhazia.
The agreement, which will give Russia a permanent presence in the region on the Black Sea, has been declared invalid by NATO.
Officials from the region said the base will provide a home to at least 3,000 Russian land troops which are already stationed in Abkhazia. As it stands, the deal would enable Russia to station personnel in Abkhazia for a period of at least 49 years.
Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted the official text of the document, which said the agreement allows Russia "to defend the sovereignty and safety of the republic jointly with the armed forces of Abkhazia."
Abkhazia and nearby South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s. Both regions were formally recognized as countries by Moscow after the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.
The deal was signed by defense chiefs as part of a formal "state visit" by Abkhazian leader Sergei Bagapsh.
"This agreement creates a foundation for the development of Abkhazia as an independent state", Russian President Dimitry Medvedev said at a signing ceremony in the Great Kremlin Palace.
The base is one of several that Russia aims to build in Abkhazia, with plans to eventually station airborne troops and naval facilities at other sites. Russian guards already patrol the borders of both breakaway regions.
NATO urged Russia to reverse the deal, saying it violates restrictions in an EU-mediated ceasefire agreement between the countries. It said that Moscow should not recognize the regions.
"We do not consider any agreements signed between the Russian Federation and the regions of Georgia as having any validity," said alliance spokeswoman Carmen Romero.
"The North Atlantic Council has condemned the decision by the Russian Federation to recognize the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and calls on it to revoke this decision."
Until now, only Nicaragua, Venezuela and the Pacific island of Nauru have joined Russia in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia".
Deutsche Welle, "Russia under fire to build bases in Georgian Rebel territory," in www.dw-world.de
"In the international order, the role of power is greater and that of morality is less....The process of give-and-take must apply to challenges to the existing order. Those who profit most by that order can in the long run only hope to maintain it by making sufficient concessions to make it tolerable to those who profit by it least; and the responsibility for seeing that these changes take place as far a possible in an orderly way rests as much on the defenders as on the challengers."
E.H. Carr, The 20 Years' Crisis, 1919-1939: An introduction to the Study of International Relations (1939), pp. 168-169.
Whatever rationale is offered by the guiding lights of NATO for their decision to protest the Russian move, is all the same rather irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, that in this particular instance, there is no arguing with matushka Russia, and, to indulge in such at this particular time, when the West is trying to gain Moskva's co-operation over the stand-off in the nuclear negotiations with Persia is nonsensical at best. All of the protests in the world are not going to move Moskva one inch on this particular matter. Rightly or wrongly. There can and will be other areas where Moskva can be made reasonable by diplomatic demarches. The Georgian issue is not one of them unfortunately. To pretend otherwise simply shows signs of confusing wishes for reality. Dealing with Putin, et. al., is difficult enough without our indulging in sentimental gestures which lead to nothing. If the policy of 're-setting' Russio-American and Russio-West European relations mean anything, than it means putting to the side and indeed into the past the whole Georgian imbroglio. It is time to move on.