NATO governments divided…but later "cools relations with Russia

The way forward

Nato governments divided on what to do about Russia


Nato cools relations with Russia

Nato says there will be "no business as usual" with Russia, demanding Moscow withdraw troops from Georgia immediately.




Genetically speaking, Finns and Italians are the most atypical Europeans. There is a large degree of overlap between other European ethnicities, but not up to the point where they would be indistinguishable from each other. Which means that forensic scientists now can use DNA to predict the region of origin of otherwise unknown persons (provided they are of European heritage). found in 306 – The Genetic Map of Europe

Who are the citizens of Europe?

Philosopher Jürgen Habermas called for a pan-European referendum in the wake of the Irish ‘No‘. He overestimates the wisdom of the masses and underestimates what has been achieved up to now, counters Alfred Grosser.

Russia stages carefully-scripted withdrawal

Russia staged a carefully-scripted troop pullback as NATO foreign ministers watched for signs of a withdrawal, while Moscow confirmed it had seized 20 Georgian soldiers from the port of Poti, saying they posed a security risk

Gomorrah – mafia and southern Italy on Europe’s big screens

By Andrew Burgess

Roberto Saviano’s whistle-blowing book first hit the headlines in 2007. Before its October UK film release, a report from southern Italy, where the underground mafia systems are a firm part of daily life

Russia is not evil, the US is not angel

By Harry Chen

Besides the Beijing Olympics, the most talked about international news in the past week is Russia’s invasion of Georgia. The story behind this event is rather complex. In the mainstream news media, the story is told as the follows. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia became an independent democratic state . Unfortunately, not everyone who live in that country are loyal to the new government. Some people in that country were loyal to the Russian government, and they lived in the area of South Ossetia. Recently, the Georgian government sent in military troops to crack down these Russian loyalists. The outcome of this event angered Russia. Military tanks and troops were sent in from Russia to protect Russian interests and revenge the Georgian attacks in South Ossetia.

Europe’s Russia strategy / Russia’s Europe strategy

By nosemonkey on South Ossetia

So, what is it going to be, exactly? A military response isn’t an option, and Moscow knows it – though quite how far they can push before getting shoved back in return we don’t yet know (Georgia may be strategically important, but isn’t yet a member of NATO; the same goes for Ukraine; but what about Estonia, with it’s sizable population of ethnic Russians and history of tensions with its larger neighbour? We’re all meant to fight for EU and NATO member Estonia – but if push did come to shove, would we?) Economic sanctions are unlikely to have much impact when Russia has such a tight grip of the European energy market and can hurt us far more than we can hurt them. We also can’t risk ceasing to trade with Moscow as winter approaches and Russian gas supplies become ever more vital – whereas they can do without European markets, if necessary.

Czech-Slovak sausage: under EU protection

By Sarah Truesdale

A ceasefire was called between the central-eastern nations in July, after the EU intervened in the sausage war dividing them

EU still divided by national borders

Crossing borders between EU countries which have officially eliminated frontier controls remains a challenge, mainly as a result of queues at petrol stations in countries with cheaper gas, journalists from EurActiv discovered while travelling over the vacation period.

Georgia, Russia, the EU and future UK foreign policy

By nosemonkey

Russian troops heading to GeorgiaYesterday’s Observer was on really rather good form, with a decent long article amply demonstrating the human cost – easy to forget when trying to work out the wider geopolitical remifications:

MAIN FOCUS: The consequences of the Caucasus crisis | 18/08/2008

Military action in the conflict between Georgia and Russia appears to have come to an end. Today the Russian troops are to begin their withdrawal. However it remains unclear what the political fallout of the crisis will be.

Citizen war-journo? A Caucasus test , Evgeny Morozov

To watch Russian leaders and mediamake the public case for war with Georgia when the conflict was still in its infancy was also to wonder why at that point there was still so little factual evidence – particularly photos and videos – from observers on the ground in South Ossetia’s capital, Tshkinvali. The Kremlin’s spokespersons wanted the world to believe that the city had just suffered a Stalingrad-like devastation – though there was as yet no visible proof of the thousands of victims claimed.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia: heart of conflict, key to solution , George Hewitt

On the second full day of the Georgia-Russia war of 8-12 August 2008, Russian patrol-boats operating off the Black Sea shore of Abkhazia sank four Georgia vessels apparently intent on landing in the territory. The identity of these vessels is not yet clear, but it is interesting to note that a published list of military equipment in the possession of the Georgian government – equipment largely supplied over many years by Tbilisi’s western friends – includes a ship called the General Mazniashvili.

Dos cadáveres en busca de parentesco

By Francisco Veiga

Una fotografía que fue portada en diversos diarios occidentales durante la reciente crisis de Osetia del Sur-Georgia. Muestra los efectos de un bombardeo ruso sobre la localidad georgiana de Gori. Un hombre sin camisa abraza desesperado a lo que parece ser una víctima del ataque, supuestamente su hermano. Los informativos enfatizar

on una y otra vez que Gori es la patria chica de Stalin, dictador que, por cierto, fue pionero en la manipulación masiva de los medios de comunicación soviéticos, incluyendo algunas conocidas fotografías retocadas para denigrar o simplemente, eliminar a sus adversarios. Veamos a continuación un homenaje (supuestamente involuntario) del fotógrafo al venerado antepasado.

[CROSS READER] Saakashvili’s miscalculation cost Georgia dearly

The whole world watched developments in the Caucasus closely over the weekend, with tension still high between Russia and Georgia despite calls for peace by several international mediators, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

[In the aftermath of the Russian invasion] How to counter resurrected Russian expansionism by MEHMET KALYONCU

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s move to ensure Tbilisi’s control over the separatist province of South Ossetia was an appropriate action at the intentional level, but a poorly calculated one in practice. Nevertheless, his intention was seemingly to maintain his country’s sovereignty over its territory and, more importantly, to assert his country’s independence from the regional wannabe hegemon.

Russian Belligerence Will Strengthen Transatlantic Relations

Marek Swierczynski: Even though technically Russia won the war, the victory will paradoxically weaken Russia’s position towards its western partners, especially the US. Military action against Georgia – however limited in scale – is a symbolic resurrection of Russia’s imperial ambitions and will thus strengthen transatlantic partnership.

Russia’s war is the West’s challenge by MIKHAIL SAAKASHVILI

TBILISI — Russia’s invasion of Georgia strikes at the heart of Western values and our 21st century system of security. If the international community allows Russia to crush our democratic, independent state, it will be giving carte blanche to authoritarian governments everywhere. Russia intends to destroy not just a country but an idea.

Russia’s ominous new doctrine? by Strobe Talbott

WASHINGTON – Russia has been justifying its rampage through Georgia as a "peacekeeping" operation to end the Tbilisi government’s "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" of South Ossetia.

What is going on in Georgia? What can Turkey do about it? (1) by HASAN KANBOLAT

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to operations against Georgia on Tuesday, Aug. 12th in order to "force the Georgian authorities to peace." Yet this will not bring an end to escalating tensions that erupted in South Ossetia and spread to Georgia.

A new Cold War?

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 all the former satellites of Moscow grew accustomed to the idea that the Cold War was over. Last week’s events in Georgia are bound to radically change this perception. It has only been a week since the conflict erupted, but the ramifications of Russia’s resurgence as a regional hegemonic force are already visible.

The sixth point that will change many things

The five-day armed conflict between Georgia and Russia seems to have stopped thanks to a draft peace plan brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy this week.

Caucasus and Russia

When we add up all the developments in Georgia, the sum is considerably big for Turkey. We must remember that there are more Caucasians in Turkey than in the Caucasus.

Opinion: How Georgia outplayed the Russians in the PR war

By Katherine Thompson

The Guardian‘s Peter Wilby argues today that in the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia in South Ossatia, "the Georgians played the PR game more skilfully."

He says the Georgian PR machine quickly sprung into action at the start of the conflict, posting press releases to news organisations around the world on the hour as the fighting began.

Georgia between Russia and Europe

It seems that Georgia is slowly coming under Russia’s occupation or, at least, under its domination. However, we were told that Georgia was pursuing a westernization process with the help of NATO and the EU, and its president, Mikhail Saakashvili, the hero of the Rose Revolution, was presented as the leader of this process.

What is going on in Georgia? What can Turkey do about it? (2)

What has Turkey done and what has Turkey not done throughout the Russian-Georgian conflict? Turkey hasn’t taken any significant steps during this conflict beyond taking humanitarian precautions.

[MONDAY TALK]‘Russia’s imperial comeback not desirable for Turkey’


International relations expert Hakan Kırımlı has stated that Moscow’s behavior in the current crisis in the Caucasus shows the world that the Russian state is coming back as a significant “derzhava,” or power, and that it could have serious repercussions for Turkey and the West.

Lessons from the war in Georgia


The Balkans of Eurasia

Ron Fraser

In the 1990s, countries that had not been in the news in Western media since World War ii suddenly burst onto front-page headlines. Up to that time, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro were historical place names that appeared on very old postage stamps, largely unknown places in a Europe of yesteryear. They were but historic spots on a map that had become walled in behind the Iron Curtain that descended on Eastern and Southern Europe after Soviet tanks had rumbled right up to the gates of Berlin at the close of the Second World War."

No Sign of a Russian Departure in Georgia

By Tara Bahrampour and Jonathan Finer

ZUGDIDI, Georgia, Aug. 18 — Russian troops remained camped out Monday in a Georgian military base in this western city and in a nearby house said to be the Georgian president’s vacation retreat, showing no sign of leaving on what Moscow called Day One of a pullout from Georgia.

Responding to Resurgent Russia: Should US Troops Go East or Go West?

By Joerg Wolf

Wess Mitchell, director of research at The Center for European Policy Analysis, writes that the EU’s largest states are more interested in avoiding a rupture with Moscow than in protecting the vital interests of the Unions eastern members. Therefore,

Is Ossetia Essential?

By Richard Cohen

Last year, Brent Scowcroft described to the Council on Foreign Relations his "most difficult judgment call" as George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser. It entailed preparing Bush for an early morning news conference regarding an attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev.

Are Russia and the West Facing a New Cold War?

The West’s weak response to Russian aggression is triggering concerns about a new cold war.

Russia’s Flashback To 1968

By Anne Applebaum on Caucasus

Forty years ago this week, on the night of Aug. 20-21, 1968, thousands of tanks and hundreds of thousands of Soviet and Warsaw Pact soldiers entered Czechoslovakia. The goal of the invasion was straightforward: to prevent a Soviet satellite from carrying out democratic reforms that, had they been allowed to succeed, could have threatened the legitimacy of the governments of other Soviet satellites and, indeed, of the Soviet Union itself.

French hold crisis summit

François Fillon, the French prime minister, called on Europe to co-ordinate its response to the eurozone’s growing economic malaise yesterday after holding an…

Back in Tbilisi

By Doug Merrill

We’re back after a happily uneventful, if hot and a bit long, drive from Yerevan. Went past one of the air bases that was bombed, and saw what looked like a burned field, but otherwise no damage visible from the public road.

A Week after Russian Intervention


France urges action on Europe’s economy

Prime minister calls on Europe to co-ordinate its response to the eurozone’s growing economic malaise, after an emergency session of his own ministers

A bully’s deserts

It is time for the EU and Nato to reconsider whether they can maintain partnership deals with a country that is determined to treat them as hostile

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