The NATO foreign ministers gathered yesterday to confer on the crisis in the Caucasus. NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer sharply condemned Russia and called for an immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops. Europe’s press discusses the role of the alliance after Moscow’s show of force.
So, at the end of the emergency NATO meeting, the decision of the Western alliance is to "suspend" meetings of the NATO-Russia Council. Since there wasn’t a great deal of meaningful NATO-Russia coordination and joint activity to begin with, I don’t see why this will be a major blow to Moscow.
The U.S. Secretary of State, despite calls from many U.S. pundits, did not press the alliance to accelerate efforts to bring Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance, correctly assessing that there is absolutely no consensus on this issue.
Groping for a response
TODAY´S NATO meeting on the Georgian crisis was bound to be a tough one, given the divided views of members going into the session. They emerged with a joint statement saying there would be no more "business as usual" with Russia as long as it had troops inside Georgia, but didn´t specify exactly what there would be in its place.
Italy’s anti-immigration measures are counter-productive – the key is to manage integration, not to inflame prejudice against the least protected
Russian public opinion polls indicate that the government and its media allies have succeeded in winning public support for the military campaign in Georgia that has been condemned in the west
The western alliance has suspended top-level ties with Russia and told the Kremlin that it could not draw a ‘new line’ in Europe preventing Georgia and other countries from joining Nato
So, Georgia Georgia Georgia. Yet there’s one name I’ve hardly seen mentioned: the late Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the first president of independent Georgia.
That’s sort of strange. Because if there’s one man who’s responsible for the current mess in Georgia — more than Saakashvili, more than Putin — it’s Gamsakhurdia.
Because he was a complete jackass.
By Patricia Lee Sharpe
The more the bear growls and paws its Georgian neighbor, the better it is for the US, no thanks to George W. Bush, whose disfunctional aviary of hawks and doves probably helped to create this tragic opening for heavy-handed Russian self-assertion.
Move against our citizens and we will crush you! So says Russia’s cute puppet president Dmitri Medvedev. Say it again, Dimitri! As for the icy-eyed puppeteer and growl-coach Vladimir Putin, he had long contended that NATO expansion on Russian borders is a direct threat to Russian interests. He had virtually guaranteed some sort of quid for the Kosovo quo. Then, stupidly arrogantly, he overdid it, in the manner of his czarist and Soviet forbears, who could never have won an unrigged popularity contest.
The nation of Georgia is a place of inspiration and danger. I saw both in a single hour.
Europe has entered the new 19th century. The Russia-Georgia war of 8-12 August 2008 has acted as a time-machine, vaporising the "end of history" sentiment that shaped European politics in the 1990s and replacing it with an older geopolitical calculus in modern form.
An older calculus – but not a cold-war one. Indeed, though the conflict over South Ossetia has generated heady rhetoric of the cold-war’s return, the real constellation of power and ideology it has revealed is different from the days of superpower confrontation in the four decades after 1945. This is indeed time-travel, not a mere reversal of gears.
Volodymyr Horbach: Consequences of the recent conflict in Georgia will be as serious and global as those after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Ukraine’s position in this conflict is especially uncomfortable as it needs to preserve good neighborly relations with both Georgia and Russia. Kiev should not, therefore, take sides but take part in the peacekeeping mission.
While the Union’s cautious approach to granting market authorisation to new technology applications like GMOs or products derived from nanotechnology has meant that EU has not suffered from any major backlash, it could also mean the bloc is missing out on major opportunities to improve its competitiveness, argued a policy analyst from a Brussels-based think tank in an interview with EurActiv.com.
France’s Prime Minister François Fillon called yesterday (18 August) for a "coordinated response" by EU governments to the major global economic slowdown, saying his country would propose measures later in September.
There won’t be one single European Olympic Team any time soon and European nations together have many more contenders at the Olympic Games in Beijing than other countries. But as most medal winners would presumably still feature in a single European Union team here is – just hypothetically – what the current Olympic medal table would look like: