Freitag, 15. August 2008

A Taste of What is to Come

In 2007 I was in Brussels for a briefing by the US-NATO Ambassador Nuland at the Manfred-Woerner Seminar. She made an interesting remark when saying that it was interesting to note how much we (NATO) speak about Russia rather than with Russia. It was clear that Russia's aggressive posture wasn't merely rhetoric. So it was hardly a surprise, when Russia made its move: the Russian invasion of Georgia, in clear violation of international laws and more importantly conventions shades a shadow over the international relations and especially over this years' Olympic Games in China. It was, however, in the making for a long time: For years now Russia handed passports to anyone in South Ossetia, who could not hide, massed troops across the border and prevented a long-term solution of the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abchasia. In the long-run both regions were the wild card in Russian foreign policy, they displayed Moscow's ability to sabotage Tiflis' aspirations to join NATO. When Russia began to hand out Russian passports it was clear that its ultimate goal was to annex the regions and while preparing for that moment it developed a pretext for confrontation with Georgia and the international community. It is telling that Russia dismisses any call for the integrity of Georgia as an illusion. At the same time it is one of the windfall for Russia that it interfered with the oil-supply of the West by targeting the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that undermined the Russian monopoly on transport of the Central Asian oil. Now, that Georgia has been invaded the West hopes for the best, a Russian pull out and withdrawal to position held prior to the recent war. But we should prepare for what is to come. Russia already announced that Ukraine will not be able to join NATO and if it does its territorial integrity would be gone. It also stated that it will not accept a termination of the contract that allows for the Russian Black Sea Fleet to be stationed at Sevastopol on the Krim. Russia's apparent violation and disrespect for the right of self-determination of sovereign states must end. The Russian bear will only respond to pressure and his actions must have severe consequences: Russia should be excluded from the G8 immediately and only be invited again once it withdrew form Georgia entirely. Should Russia deliver any threat to the territorial integrity of another state, NATO should terminate cooperation with Russia.

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