And the echoes of the Cold War continue…
It doesn’t look like any peace will hold with the apparent reports of Russian troops looting, sniping civilians, and further invading Georgian territory. Despite U.S. officials assurances, I fear the only way this will end is with a conflict involving the United States and NATO especially with Russia saying it will support Georgian separatists. (Or as the China Daily put it: Russia: Georgia can ‘forget’ regaining provinces.) While that is an unpalatable thought to me it’s better than repeating the mistakes of the past that eventually led to an even greater conflagration along the lines of World War II. It’s a pity really that the Russian government wastes its efforts on militarism.
And despite, or perhaps to spite, Russia’s behavior many former Warsaw and Soviet nations along with NATO appear to be taking a stronger stand against Russia: U.S., Poland sign missile shield deal | Politics | Reuters , NATO bars Russian ship from anti-terror patrol | Reuters, and Ukraine vows to implement orders on Russia fleet | International | Reuters are but some examples and not wholly indicative of unity amongst the allies.
RIA Novosti – World – S.Ossetia, Abkhazia to seek sovereignty under international law I honestly don’t see Georgia accepting S. Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent without some sort of protest unless Russia gives up North Ossetia as well, in essence turning Ossetia into a buffer state between Russia and Georgia. I doubt Georgia will accept any succession of Abkhazia, especially since it was given a special status as an autonomous region continuing a practice implemented by the Soviet Union. I expect were Georgia to accept it they would demand a number of things out of Russia in return. Whether Georgia would get it or not is another thing entirely.
All I do know is the Russian government needs to tread carefully with stirring up ethnic tensions in various regions like Dagestan as such tactics could be turned against them to ignite ethnic tensions in other regions of Russia particularly in the krais and okrugs with large non-Russian or non-Slavic minorities. The Serbs discovered using ethnic tensions to attain political and territorial gains to be disastrous as evidenced by Serbian actions in Yugoslavia leading to the break up of Yugoslavia and most recently Kosovo succeeding from Serbia.
On the news side, I have noticed a sudden and decidedly less virulent anti-west tone in online Russian news sources, though venom aimed at former Soviet states like Ukraine and Georgia remain intact. We’ll see how long that lasts with Poland signing the anti-missile shield deal with the U.S. and Ukraine making it clear they wont give the Russian Navy free reign in their ports and waterways with respect to military activity.