Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sarkozy-Medvedev Talks

Over at the Atlantic Community, I've raised the question about the possible trans-Atlantic divide over the response to the Georgia/Russia conflict.

(Former German Foreign Minister Fischer's piecein Die Zeit also illustrates some of the real divergences in perspectives.

Now that we have the news that French President Sarkozy, having met with Russian President Medvedev, has unveiled a plan for restoring peace to the Caucasus. It is not clear whether Washington will like provisions four--calling for Georgia to withdraw its forces to the pre-conflict lines outside of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in essence returning to the status quo of these two provinces being de facto independent--and five, which not only keeps Russian forces in place as peace-keepers but allows for them to be reinforced. Having a new round of discussions on final status for the two provinces--provision six--may also be problematic for Washington because it has endorsed complete reintegration of these two provinces with Georgia, whereas European negotiators may be more inclined to explore Kosovo-style options.

At any rate, Sarkozy's visit to Russia doesn't bode well for U.S. calls for a forceful Western response.

And the USG has a say in this why? Is it not abundantly clear that what the RFG cares not what the USG thinks, and that what the RFG wants is far more important to resolving this crisis than what the USG wants? And isn't it clear that sane Euro governments understand this very well? London, Warsaw, Vilnius, and Tallinn don't much like it, but they're simply not important here.
Doesn't appear that the French think too highly of the Saakashvii government, based on this report:

Part of the problem here is the failure to develop a functioning forum for discussion of security in Europe that allows all the relevant players including Russia to participate on a equal footing. The EU is in some senses in competition with NATO. NATO is a Cold War era institution, which was set up to contain the Soviet Union and continues to contain Russia. The OSCE is more inclusive, but has never really been a security provider. Having listened to David Miliband this morning, I wonder sometime whether our leaders remember that security is socially constructed - we have to attempt to make everyone feel secure rather than just ourselves and our friends.
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