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Western rapprochement with Russia: capitulation or pragmatism?

Georgetown professor Charles King argues the United States needs to hold Georgia accountable for its role in last August's conflict with Russia (Foreign Policy):
The Russian military response was precipitous and brazen, and has rightly been condemned by outside powers, but the next U.S. administration must learn that brinkmanship is a game that countries can play with friends as well as adversaries. U.S. officials warned Tbilisi of the dangers of using military force, but Saakashvili escalated his rhetoric anyway and took advantage of Western statements that Georgia’s path toward consolidated democracy and NATO membership were guaranteed. A history of mixed messages coming from the United States contributed to the Georgian government’s sense that a quick, successful war would meet with U.S. approval.
Following the Russian invasion, NATO halted diplomatic work in the Russia-NATO Council.  However, new chatter from NATO Headquarters suggests the Alliance will relaunch high-level diplomatic relations with Russia soon, reported by Moscow News Weekly:
In an indication that dialogue is possible, an alliance spokesman said earlier on Tuesday that the foreign ministers of 26 NATO member countries may decide to resume the work of the Russia-NATO Council at their meeting in early December.

However, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the alliance would support efforts by former communist nations to join the military alliance regardless of opposition from Russia. He added that NATO was not prepared to sacrifice the alliance's enlargement for good relations with Russia.
The EU already began rapprochement with Russia earlier this month relaunching negotiations over a new EU-Russia partnership treaty despite objections from some Eastern European member states that Russia has not fully met its obligations to withdraw from Georgian territory. 

Are NATO and the EU capitulating, or simply approaching Russia relations with a practical working approach?
 

With regards to NATO, completely severing ties will likely get it nowhere with an intransigent Russia, and may even hurt NATO allies who depend on Russia for things like allowing supply trains through Russian territory to support troops in Afghanistan. Instead, maintaining diplomatic relations without sacrificing NATO's enlargement agenda will be a pragmatic move forward for the Alliance. 

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Marie Claude on :

Russia, despites our bigger commandant in Chief says, is part of the western civilisation, the population there is reacting like anyone of us. It's silly to push her leaders into a radical position like there isn't anymore alternative left for them but retaliation. We need to keep them in the "club", by discussions, but ferm positions, not let them advance their pawns too far that we can't react anymore, equilibrium ! that also meens that we have to consider our defense either, cuz, the Americans aren't going to umbrella us ad vitam eternam, no more money in the house will likely push them to reconcentrate on their prime emergencies, acually, economy, social appeasment, isolation !!! It's evident that Georgia got the hubris big head, time for her to acknoledge her dimension, tiny ! Nato, in this form isn't anymore "viable", see if one can transform it from the inside, um, actually seems it has become a paralysed administration, so let it die and re-born from its ashes

Kyle on :

Agree with all except the last paragraph about NATO not being viable anymore. Do you think it should be completely abandoned, abandoned and replaced, or just needs major internal reforms?

Marie Claude on :

Do you think it should be completely abandoned, abandoned and replaced, or just needs major internal reforms? If I was among the deciders, I would advice them to start a slimming cure in the administration, and to transfer the decisions making to the top leading states heads, be in EU, Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy, as an EU force, and on the other hand, dunno if the US do really need Nato outside the need of this source for foreign "legionnaires"..., the next policy that most of the politicians see for Afghanistan, is that the conflict would have a political resolution, thus an alliance with the Talibani and Pakistan as arbirter... so that was then "much ado for nothing !!! well the end of war on terrorism ??? don't think so

Joe Noory on :

Our Legionnaires? Are you kidding? Every humanitarian or peacekeeping intervention that the continental european forces have stepped into (they can hardly bear the criticism of intervening in anything that ISN'T sold as a humanitarian or peacekeeping intervention), has been done with the hope that it is a short-term excercise which they hope will then be relieved by militaries from the developing world - i.s. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, **Fiji**, Uruguay as was the case with Artemis where the French stepped back in. It is not the case of the Europeans being some some sort of reserve American force, it's a matter of politics that the Europeans insist that the US "never go it alone", especially if it runs the risk of looking successful or necessary, and a matter of the US guaranteeing that western Europe is never at risk of abuse in any way witout risking a response by the US. In other words, it is precisely the opposite relationship. The US, Canada, and the developing nations that can be bullied by the Europeans are the backup/replacement forces of Europe - giving it the only gravitas is has at all when it tries to play the lecturesome make-believe superpower.

Marie Claude on :

Artemis ? http : // sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/home/2008/11/lagence-spatial.html um, yes, some of the EU interventions were under humanitarian or peacekeeping label, following the idea of "Doctors without borders" that governments ought to interfer in countries where populations are suffering of their government malpractices. Some have been ackwardly driven. This is due to the fact that so many non-responsable persons have to take a decision, (which they hate, ie mostly administrative)and that it is easier to make a decision when your alone until 3, outside this fatidic number it's becoming ungovernable, as said Georges Brassens you become then a "bande de cons" Also, your bright Madeleine pushed the button on for american interventions, just to show us who were the "masters" (ie ex Yougoslavia) The US, Canada, and the developing nations that can be bullied by the Europeans are the backup/replacement forces of Europe - giving it the only gravitas is has at all when it tries to play the lecturesome make-believe superpower show me where ? are you relating Lebanon ? Darfour, Chad ?.... um Irak, Afghanistan, Georgia, Colombia, Chilea.... Iran ? lots of extreme-right-wing leaders have been set on power in latin America by the CIA see how the future of the US is forecasted here : http : // www.drudgereport.com/flashrur.htm where it is discussed, it doesn't seem that your people are optimist, check the comments http: // www. americanthinker.com/blog/2008/11/russian_analyst_the_us_will_br.html

Ean on :

Completely agree with the statement "The Russian military response was precipitous and brazen, and has rightly been condemned by outside powers". I would like to cite Agatha Christie "One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one."

Noah on :

Itís this second part of this alternative that is making appeal to me. Because it isnít the time of Cold War, not anymore. Maybe itís a right moment to make the right decision and to see what is on surface and not to be surching the pitfalls.

Alison on :

The Russian military response was precipitous and brazen, and has rightly been condemned by outside powers, but the next U.S. administration must learn that brinkmanship is a game that countries can play with friends as well as adversaries. U.S. officials warned Tbilisi of the dangers of using military force, but Saakashvili escalated his rhetoric anyway and took advantage of Western statements that Georgiaís path toward consolidated democracy and NATO membership were guaranteed. A history of mixed messages coming from the United States contributed to the Georgian governmentís sense that a quick, successful war would meet with U.S. approval. Well me, to be honest, I am pretty ashamed from Russia.

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