The Wrong Reset Option?

On the issue of arms control, Jamestown’s Pavel Felgenhauer writes that

Washington seems to have chosen a potentially self-defeating “Cold War style” policy in order to reset its relations with Moscow. A high-level international diplomatic effort to prevent a possible renewal of conflict in Georgia in the coming months might be more appropriate – addressing a present real threat.

On the other hand, Georgia’s President Saakashvili, speaking today, appears almost sanguine:

So we have very firm support from the U.S. administration. You know that the U.S. general [James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] visited Georgia two days ago and that we are moving to a new stage of strategic partnership, which means completely new level of [cooperation] and in fact [means] launch of creation of new Georgian army.”

“We have no other alternative,” he continued. “Georgia needs strong allies; Georgia needs further development and Georgia needs to act hand in hand with our friends to rule out problems.”

In this situation, especially after yesterday’s meeting in London [between the Russian and U.S. Presidents], I practically rule out any further Russian military adventures against Georgia. And on the other hand of course, Georgia will not be happy until the de-occupation of Georgia and until the last invader soldier does not leave the territory of Georgia.”

2 comments

  1. If Georgia thinks it has nothing to fear from Russia anymore, simply because of words spoken (or even treaties to be signed) in high places, it ignores the lessons of history that would speak of different outcomes.

  2. I don’t think President Saakashvili is under any illusions about the lessons of history, Mark. He is talking about the short term, and given Russia’s present weakened economic position – it has large and rapidly growing dollar debts and badly needs Western support – coupled with the new US and NATO assurances to Georgia, it is reasonable to suppose that for the time being, at least, Moscow is not going to risk another costly military adventure in Georgia. In the longer term, of course, all bets are off, and your guess as to what the future holds for Russia-Georgia relations, and for Russia-Europe relations as a whole, is as good as mine.

    Pavel Felgenhauer’s analyses are always informative and well worth reading, but sometimes he appears just a little too eager to ‘stir the pot’.

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