The discussions at the UN over South Ossetia betray the chronic inability of President George Bush to make good decisions. Only now, it appears, is he aware that he cannot have success for all his programmes in all corners of the earth at once. Why he didn’t connect before that the Russians were serious in their threats concerning Kosovo and his attempts to expand NATO to include Russia’s neighbours is hard to fathom. They were made explicitly enough.
Putin met Bush personally earlier in the year and offered to turn a blind eye to Kosovo if Bush would back off from expanding NATO into the Ukraine and Georgia. Bush declined the offer. (Source – Straffor). Now any future negotiations will assume a very different hue, with Russia clearly willing to go to war over the Caucasus and probably the Balkans too if necessary, and the Americans and the Europeans equally clearly unwilling. Putin has now made Bush and the EU look weak, and can drive a far harder bargain.
From the IHT –
At the United Nations, members of the Security Council met informally to discuss a possible response..
“Strategically, the Russians have been sending signals that they really wanted to flex their muscles, and they’re upset about Kosovo,” the diplomat said. He was alluding to Russia’s anger at the West for recognizing Kosovo’s independence from Serbia earlier this year…
For the Bush administration, the choice now becomes whether backing Georgia — which, more than any other former Soviet republic has allied with the United States — on the South Ossetia issue is worth alienating Russia at a time when getting Russia’s help to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions is at the top of the United States’ foreign policy agenda.
One United Nations diplomat joked on Saturday that “if someone went to the Russians and said, ‘OK, Kosovo for Iran,’ we’d have a deal.”
There is many a true word spoken in jest. Full article HERE
America cannot make headway in the Middle East where the West faces real threats, without Russian support and cooperation. If Iran is Bush’s priority, he will have to shake Putin’s hand. And Kosovo’s independence will no doubt have to be reviewed, as part of any deal with Russia.
Putin having started on the path of war to impose Russia’s will, will no doubt not be returning his troops to barracks just yet. Until he gets the deal he desires from America in his own back yard, or former sphere of influence, the temptation to use military pressure will prove overwhelming.
The EU is now clearly seen as being totally ineffectual and weak, and practically irrelevant to the picture.
As in her earlier military struggles, the Americans need Russian military power on her side, if she is to defeat her real enemies. Maybe at last at the eleventh hour of his Presidency, George Bush’s eyes are finally opening.
LINK – Polish politicians (including Lech Walesa) warned in February that recognising Kosovo was going to lead to trouble. See HERE.