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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Russia has stopped its invasion in Georgia. But at what price?

From Transatlantic Politics:

Now president Medvedev says Georgia should be "demilitarized". And these are just the conditions made public.

MOSCOW, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday a full settlement of the military conflict with Georgia was subject to two conditions, includingGeorgia moving its troops to pre-conflict positions.
"We can discuss the question of a definitive settlement if two conditions are met," Medvedev said before meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
"First, Georgian troops should return to their initialposition and be partly demilitarised. Second, we need to sign abinding agreement on non-use of force."
But other consequences we can think of are obviously a brutal regime change, an end to Georgia’s NATO aspirations and Europe being cut off from the Caspian oil and gas reserves. Also, a much stronger Russia when dealing with European countries. Already Italy, Belgium and now France are caving in to Russia, condemning the "anti-Russian" stance in Europe.

It may occur to Europe that a demilitarized Europe is as safe from a militarized Russia as a sheep is from a wolf.

It appears that there is literally nothing that Europe can do to stop Russia, energized by its oil wealth, to re-create the old Czarist domain. We live in interesting times, and certainly not the end of history.

And Glenn Reynolds makes some good points:
UPDATE: Okay, I don't like the Russian invasion of Georgia, and I very much hope that it turns out badly for Putin and his satraps. But in light of people calling for massive U.S. action, it's worth noting that there isn't -- and never has been -- very much that we can do. Look at Georgia on a map, and you'll see that there's no easy way to get troops in except by air even if we wanted to, and we can't fight a war against the Russian Army with only air supply. At any rate, a shooting war with the world's second biggest nuclear power seems bad -- I don't think we'd have done it even if Georgia had been admitted to NATO, though it's possible that would have deterred this. If it hadn't deterred it, though, it would have left NATO in a pretty pickle: Betray the alliance's key purpose, or . . . start a shooting war with the world's second biggest nuclear power, over Georgia.

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