As the conflict between Georgia and Russia unfolded in the Caucasus, the West found itself lacking any kind of meaningful riposte. In fact, the response from international bodies responsible for conflict management has been so timorous that it raises important questions regarding Europe’s collective security agreements.
Unable to offer Georgia military support, the United States has been left in an uncomfortable position where it could not be seen to be abandoning one of its most important regional allies. Still worse lies ahead: it must reassure the East Europeans that the Georgia episode is not the start of a 'softer' policy towards Russia, and it may also have to rebut accusations that, through its vocal...
As European foreign ministers gather for an emergency meeting and the diplomacy to halt the violence in Georgia intensifies, we must take stock of the performance of the EU’s foreign policy in this conflict. The conclusions are tentative, but still unmistakable: yet again, Europe scores poorly.
Georgia's military strategy seems to have relied upon a delayed Russian military response, due to Putin's absence from Moscow, and likely predicated on the belief that President Medvedev would not take any action without Putin being present. This strategy was flawed. As a result, Tblisi could see a consolidation of Russian control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The outbreak of fighting between Russia and Georgia has brought Europe to one of the most dangerous moments in East-West relations since the end of the Cold War. And, if a ceasefire is not arranged in the next 24 hours, matters can get far worse. Europe’s ‘frozen conflicts’ are now red-hot.