At RFE/RL, Ahto Lobjakas points out that the European Union’s self-satisfied belief that it had gained emancipation from Washington in the matter of security has been shattered by the recent events in Georgia:
The EU’s foreign policy apparatus has been exposed as ineffectual, its minor diplomatic victories as nothing more than window-dressing covering up major strategic reverses. The bloc’s vision of peaceful integration through democratic and economic reforms, which enabled it to transform the eastern half of the continent over the past decade, now has a serious question mark hanging over it. August 8 — the day Russian troops entered Georgia — was in a sense Europe’s 9/11, regardless of parallel claims for Russia made by President Dmitry Medvedev.
In spite of the fact that the EU has been the only outside mediator attempting to negotiate an end to the conflict, the results of its mediation remain doubtful, and it looks increasingly as though Russia has scored a fait accompli in its illegal annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Europe’s security has been severely compromised, and the consequences may be disastrous:
South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s secession has become […] a dangerous precedent for Russia’s other neighbors, some of them EU member states who take that threat very seriously. Even though Finland has traditionally been difficult to alarm, its president, Tarja Halonen, went on record as telling the French daily “Le Monde” of September 11 that “we cannot rule out a military conflict in our region.” She also pointedly observed to “Helsingen Sanomat” on August 27 that “Finland is one of the few countries in Europe capable of defending itself militarily.”