Friday, 29 August 2008

EU and EU hopefuls show support for Georgia

The short war in South Ossetia seems to have radically changed the balance of power in the world. The failure of NATO states to reach any proper conclusions about how to react to the crisis has confirmed the split within the Alliance; the war and the near-impossibility of Georgia now ever re-establishing its territorial integrity means that NATO accession must be now little more than fantasy.

While the West could not agree on action, it did agree on words. Even as evidence was emerging of atrocities committed by Georgian forces as they invaded South Ossetia, the leaders of various EU, NATO and EU-NATO candidate states travelled to the Georgian capital to show their support for the man who started the conflict, President Mikheil Saakashvili. These included politicians from Germany (Angela Merkel herself went to Tbilisi), Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States. The president of the European Council, Nicolas Sarkozy, meanwhile acted as a broker between Georgia and Russia.

The President of Estonia (who grew up in the United States, like the President of Lithuania, and just as the president of Latvia grew up in Canada), Toomas Hendrik Ilves, has been especially virulent. He attacked Russia, together with his two Baltic counterparts, for having “crossed a red line”. In an interview with the FAZ, Elves said that the Russian intervention in Georgia was “an illegal act of aggression.” He said it was possible to imagine how the EU could have a strategic partnership with a country “which bombs cities in a neighbouring state, which breaks international law and which demands regime change of legitimate and democratically elected governments.” (Saakashvili was originally elected in 2004 with a score of over 95 per cent.) “This is an illegal act of aggression which violates the UN charter and the fundamental principles of cooperation and security in Europe.” He called for the EU to revise the whole of its policies towards Russia as a result. Ilves said it was highly regrettable that NATO had not admitted Georgia and Ukraine in the spring, for Russia had interpreted this as a sign that those countries were to remain in her sphere of influence. [Interview, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 August 2008]

-- From The European Journal. Sign up for FREE to John Laughland's 'Intelligence Digest' to find out what’s really happening in Europe --

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