Monday, September 08, 2008

Spillover Effects from Georgia

Alert: Vanity Post.

Just submitting for those TWR readers a selection of thoughts on some of the spillover effects from the events in Georgia:

(From the Boston Globe)

Tehran is using the Georgian crisis as a cautionary lesson to the Persian Gulf states. From its podiums and platforms, the message emanating from the Islamic Republic is that the Georgians mistakenly accepted American pledges of support only to pay a heavy price for their naiveté. The Gulf sheikdoms who similarly put much stock in US security assurances would be wise to come to terms with their populous and powerful Persian neighbor. In a region where America is viewed as unpredictable and unreliable, this message has a powerful resonance.

(From the New Atlanticist)

This raises the possibility that Russia in 2008 becomes a repeat of the Iraq war of 2003—with no unified “Euro-Atlantic” position and thus no basis for concerted action. The West would then have to decide, as the EU did this past year vis-à-vis Kosovo, whether the allies could “disagree without being disagreeable”—allowing each individual country to chart its own course on Russia policy. But what would happen, then, if the U.S. and a “coalition of the willing” of NATO members were to extend security guarantees to Georgia? Would other European countries then raise the same objections that France and Belgium did in 2003, when they argued that Turkey could not expect NATO assistance if itthe United States in an “optional” war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein chose to retaliate? NATO is already under strain because of the Afghan mission; another major disagreement between its members could cripple the alliance permanently.

(The Christian Science Monitor made a similar point this past week.)

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