August 24, 2008
Kishore Mahbubani rightly points out (see post of 22 August) that, while the West sees Georgia as the underdog against Russia, others see Russia resisting the bullying West. The gap “between the western narrative and the rest of the world could not be greater.”The US would not tolerate Russia intruding into its geopolitical sphere in Latin America. The US (and the UK) illegally invaded Iraq. Double standards abound. Ominously, both India and China remain silent over Georgia.
No effective long-term strategy will emerge until the West accepts that it can no longer dictate the terms of its relationship with Russia and that there will have to be more geopolitical compromises.
The starting point is for Western leaders and media to try to see the events in Georgia objectively. John McCain’s “We are all Georgians now” does not help.
Russia clearly had a South Ossetia strategy on hold, and may have deliberately provoked Saakashvili into attacking, but there is no doubt that Georgia launched an all-out assault on South Ossetia on 7 August. Georgian peacekeeping troops turned their weapons on their Russian colleagues.
The excessive Russian response and current behaviour is clearly disproportionate but a continued preoccupation with “Russian aggression” is hardly objective and distorts the search for a solution.
Author : Stanley Crossick