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by Jaxhawk

Aug. 16th, 2008 | 10:59 am

WILL NATO SURVIVE THE EU? Posted by Jax Hawk on Saturday, August 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM While the Democrat Congress dithers over legislation to solve the USA's energy crisis, even though we have enough crude oil off our shores and ANWR to supply decades of crude oil. The Russians are using naked agression to solidify their dominance in the oil supply business.

Any one who believes that Putin and company are attacking Georgia because Georgia attacked the break away province of South Ossetia, is in "la-la land! The Russians want to get back the pipe line that runs through Georgia to the Baltic sea. The only pipeline the Russians don't control, and one that supplies the USA with badly needed crude oil!

After Russia's invasion of Georgia, what now for the West? At least for now, the smoke seems to be clearing from the Georgian battlefield. But the extent of the wreckage reaches far beyond that small country.

Reuters reports that the US has delivered aid but no military support to besieged Georgia! Russia’s invasion across an internationally recognised border, its thrashing of the Georgian military, and its smug satisfaction in humbling one of its former "fiefdoms" represents only the visible damage.

As bad as the bloodying of Georgia is, the broader consequences are worse. The United States fiddled while Georgia burned, not even reaching the right rhetorical level in its public statements until three days after the Russian invasion began, and not, at least to date, matching its rhetoric with anything even approximating decisive action. This pattern is the very definition of a paper tiger. Sending Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice to Tbilisi is touching, but hardly reassuring; dispatching humanitarian assistance is nothing more than we would have done if Georgia had been hit by a natural rather than a man-made disaster.

The European Union took the lead in diplomacy, with results approaching Neville Chamberlain’s moment in the spotlight at Munich: a ceasefire that failed to mention Georgia’s territorial integrity, and that all but gave Russia permission to continue its military operations as a “peacekeeping…nbsp; force anywhere in Georgia. More troubling, over the long term, was that the EU saw its task as being mediator – its favourite role in the world – between Georgia and Russia, rather than an advocate for the victim of aggression.

Even this dismal performance was enough to relegate NATO to an entirely backstage role, while Russian tanks and planes slammed into a “faraway country†, as Chamberlain once observed so thoughtfully. In New York, paralysed by the prospect of a Russian veto, the UN Security Council, that Temple of the High-Minded, was as useless as it was during the Cold War. In fairness to Russia, it at least still seems to understand how to exercise power in the Council, which some other Permanent Members often appear to have forgotten.

The West, collectively, failed in this crisis. Georgia wasted its dime making that famous 3am telephone call to the White House, the one Hillary Clinton referred to in a campaign ad questioning Barack Obama’s fitness for the Presidency. Moreover, the blood on the Bear’s claws did not go unobserved in other states that were once part of the Soviet Union. Russia demonstrated unambiguously that it could have marched directly to Tbilisi and installed a puppet government before any Western leader was able to turn away from the Olympic Games. It could, presumably, do the same to them.

Fear was one reaction Russia wanted to provoke, and fear it has achieved, not just in the “Near Abroad…nbsp; but in the capitals of Western Europe as well. But its main objective was hegemony, a hegemony it demonstrated by pledging to reconstruct Tskhinvali, the capital of its once and no-longer-future possession, South Ossetia. The contrast is stark: a real demonstration of using sticks and carrots, the kind that American and European diplomats only talk about. Moreover, Russia is now within an eyelash of dominating the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the only route out of the Caspian Sea region not now controlled by either Russia or Iran. Losing this would be dramatically unhelpful if we hope for continued reductions in global petroleum prices, and energy independence from unfriendly, or potentially unfriendly, states.

"It profits us little to blame Georgia for “provoking…nbsp; the Russian attack. Nor is it becoming of the United States to have anonymous officials from its State Department telling reporters, as they did earlier this week, that they had warned Georgia not to provoke Russia. Ethnic violence has been a fact of life since the break-up of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1991 – and, indeed, long before.We are facing the much larger issue of how Russia plans to behave in international affairs for decades to come. Whether Mikhail Saakashvili “provoked…nbsp; the Russians on August 8, or September 8, or whenever, this "rape" was well-planned and clearly coming, given Georgia’s manifest unwillingness to be “Finlandized…nbsp; – the Cold War term for effectively losing your foreign-policy independence". source:John Bolton

By its actions in Georgia, Russia has made clear that its long-range objective is to fill that “gap…nbsp; if we do not. That, as Western leaders like to say, is “unacceptable†. Accordingly, we should have a foreign-minister-level meeting of NATO to reverse the spring capitulation at Bucharest, and to decide that Georgia and Ukraine will be NATO’s next members. By drawing the line clearly, we are not provoking Russia, but doing just the opposite: letting them know that aggressive behaviour will result in costs that they will not want to bear, thus stabilising a critical seam between Russia and the West. In effect, we have already done this successfully with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Second, the United States needs some straight talk with our friends in Europe, which ideally should have taken place long before the assault on Georgia. To be sure, American inaction gave French President Sarkozy and the EU the chance to seize the diplomatic initiative. However, Russia did not invade Georgia with diplomats, but with tanks. This is a security threat, and the proper forum for discussing security threats on the border of a NATO member – yes, Europe, this means Turkey – is NATO.

Now is the time to find out if NATO can withstand a potential renewed confrontation with Moscow, or whether Europe will cause NATO to wilt. Far better to discover this sooner rather than later, when the stakes may be considerably higher. If there were ever a moment since the fall of the Berlin Wall when Europe should be worried, this is it. If Europeans are not willing to engage through NATO, that tells us everything we need to know about the true state of health of what is, after all, supposedly a “North Atlantic…nbsp; alliance. Is the "EU" now more important to Europeans than mutual defense through NATO? SOURCE: LONDON TELEGRAPH

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Tags: commentary, eu, georgia, nato, russia





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