Skip to comments.Russian Behavior in Georgia Isolates Moscow, Rice Says at NATO Meeting
Posted on 08/19/2008 4:40:27 PM PDT by SandRat
WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2008 Russias actions in Georgia are isolating Moscow from the international community, Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice said today in Brussels, Belgium.
Russia escalated a simmering conflict with neighboring Georgia 11 days ago when it invaded the former Soviet republic, followed by bombing civilian infrastructure and wreaking havoc and destruction in Georgian villages, Rice said.
The behavior of Russia in this most recent crisis is isolating Russia from the principles of cooperation among nations of the communities of states, she said at a news conference after an urgent meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
It is not an act of the United States or the European Union or anyone else to isolate Russia, it is what Russia is doing, Rice said.
In a strongly worded statement, NATO leaders today called for an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-conflict levels. This posture is in accordance with a peace agreement signed late last week by Russias President Dmitriy Medvedev and Georgias President Mikheil Saakashvili.
We call on Russia to take immediate action to withdraw its troops from the areas it is supposed to leave under the six-principle agreement signed by President Saakashvili and President Medvedev, read the statement, referring to the French-brokered deal.
Russian tanks and armored vehicles reportedly have begun to withdrawal from the Georgian town of Gori, but a Defense Department official today said there has been no substantial drawdown.
I would say, with respect to the Russian disposition, that we dont see much change in the forces that were there, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Echoing the NATO statement, Rice said normalized relations between NATO partners and Russia will cease amid Moscows self-isolating actions.
There can be no business as usual with Russia while this kind of activity goes on, she said, adding that a NATO assessment team will be sent to survey Georgia's military situation.
Other elements of the NATO response include the creation of the NATO-Georgia Commission. The ad hoc group will oversee the alliances relationship with Georgia, including supervising its Partnership for Peace status -- an antecedent to NATO membership -- and responding to any special requests by the nation.
Rice said the statement issued by NATO captures what the U.S. sought: support for Georgia's democracy, a very strong message that the Russian president keep his word, and maintaining the openness of NATO membership to aspiring countries.
This document is a very clear statement that this alliance, NATO, having come so far after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in achieving a Europe that is whole, free and at peace, is not going to permit a new line to be drawn in Europe between those who were fortunate enough to make it into the transatlantic structures and those who still aspire to those transatlantic structures, she said.
The real question is, does Russia care? And what are we going to do about it if the answer is negative?
I read a very good article earlier today that pointed out that Russia has had many chances to make a decision to be a normal state. The most recent was around the time of Yeltsin, but for many reasons, the opportunity was missed.
When people blame Putin, I always think - well, sort of. If it hadn’t been Putin, it would have been somebody else. Russia - or rather, Moscow - is still waiting to become the “Third Rome.” But they mean this solely in terms of conquest, not civilizing authority or anything remotely related to the real Rome.
They’re gambling everything on this last-ditch stand. Their population is older and, as a result of the fact that Russian women have had something like 10 abortions for every live birth, they have no children. They have paid the Iranians to love them and enlisted the Muslims that they subdued on their borders - the Chechens, at the moment - to come and serve in their army.
At a certain point, the Muslims are going to turn on their Russian masters. Russia thinks it can ally with Islam against us. As long as it has sufficient force, it can probably dominate Islam, which respects only force. But when Russia finally becomes just a few elderly men rattling around shouting orders, will Iran or any Islamic power, state or otherwise, be inclined to pay attention? I doubt it.
Spain was conquered by the Muslims centuries ago because one of the Spanish Visigothic kings had enlisted the Moors to come and fight for him against another Spanish Visigothic king. Guess who’s head got cut off first.
The french lead UN security council initiative language continues to be watered down by the second so Russia won't be too offended. What a freakin joke.
I suspect you are right. And though Moscow has long been suspicious of outsiders (and rightly so, from their experience), it seems a real tragedy that a people who could produce Tolstoy, Doestoyevsky, Turgenev and so many others (somehow I missed Chekhov and Pushkin didn't translate), are fallen to the state you describe.
Communism's bitter legacy.
That's true. I had a great deal of contact with Russians at one point in my life, and they were people of great extremes. They could be enormously profound and devout at one moment, and absolutely boorish, bearish and awful at the next.
I guess the hitch is that it is possible to put up with this in individuals, but when an entire state acts that way, it's a different matter.
"Boorish, bearish and awful" obviously would not surprise me much, but to see the culture in general sink to that level saddens me greatly. At least they have left a great literature behind.
(Someday ask me what I think of America today.)
” I had a great deal of contact with Russians at one point in my life, and they were people of great extremes. They could be enormously profound and devout at one moment, and absolutely boorish, bearish and awful at the next.”
My exact experience.