There are some clear winners and losers in the conflict over South Ossetia - and the crisis has shown the need for a fresh start in relations between Russia and the West.Since then, someone I know mentioned Bush 41's invasion of Panama to depose Manuel Noriega (and put him on trial) as another precedent for Moscow's actions. And there was President Clinton's invasion of Haiti,as well as President Reagan's invasion of Grenada to protect American medical students. Even without invoking the "Kosovo precedent," Russia's actions are not unprecedented: Turkey recently raided Iraq's Kurdish provinces, Israel raided Lebanon, and so forth and so on...
First, the balance sheet:
Russia: It has emerged strongly, able to impose its will in South Ossetia and sending a clear signal about its readiness to assert itself.
It agreed to a ceasefire plan when its objective - control of South Ossetia - was achieved. The plan basically calls for no further use of force and some kind of return to the position before the conflict. However, Russia's foreign minister said Georgian troops would "never again" be allowed to resume their role as part of the joint peacekeeping force agreed with Russia in 1992. It is not clear whether Russian forces will be reduced to the battalion-sized unit allowed for in that agreement.
This is unlikely. Think more of Cyprus in 1974, when the Turks intervened, making similar claims about protecting their kith and kin. They are still there.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
From Paul Reynolds' report at BBC World News: