Political Trading of South Caucasus30.06.2010 | 15:36
The so-called deoccupation of Georgia is becoming a major topic of late. Now it is Slovakia that calls on NATO to deal with Russia on the issue of notorious "deoccupation" while Romania adopts a resolution condemning recognition of Transcaucasian republics' independence. GeorgiaTimes correspondent spoke to Alexei Pushkov, author and host of Postscriptum analytical program, and Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems. The official statement made by Washington at the end of last week was in violent contrast with general tonality of Russian-US relations and rapprochement between Russia and the States. It seemed Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama had decided that Georgia would not be a sticking point for two superpowers.
decided that Georgia would not be a sticking point for two superpowers.
Sure the two states have differences over the events of August 2008 though both Russian and US leaders view South Caucasus prospects in terms of maintaining stability, not confrontation - far from it. That is why Washington calling Moscow to stop "occupation" and military escalation in the region looks rather awkward.
For others, however, it was a pleasant surprise. Tbilisi dreaming of restoration of bygone territorial integrity immediately snatched at the terminology - which is not incidental. As early as in May Georgian politologists hoped to see "occupation" in the European parliament's new report bestowing a strategic meaning on this word in international documents. Failing then, they were lucky this time.
Not to waste time Georgian diplomats launched an offensive on all fronts: today Georgy Baramidze, Georgia's minister for integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures met with Slovakian FM and was reassured of his support after Miroslav Laychak urged for NATO and EU member states' higher activity on Georgia's deoccupation issue. Romania adopts the resolution "On the situation in Georgia" - also today - with Bucharest acknowledging Abkhazia and South Ossetia as integral parts of Georgia condemning their independence recognition. There is a queer feeling these appeals are not final. What must Russia expect from NATO member states in this situation?
Now pressure on Russia is getting stronger after our partners realized that Moscow is ready to make serious concessions on foreign policy for the sake of modernization concept. I would like to focus on the fact that Russia's mellowness in relations with Europe made no effect on PACE's latest session when Moscow again faced severe criticism and the Georgian-Russian file was not closed as the Russian delegation had hoped. That means there will be reports on revocation of recognition and pull-out of troops. And the so called "reset" didn't bring any change here. Moreover, a while ago Angela Merkel in a long and seemingly smooth talk with Dmitry Medvedev unexpectedly came forward with a mild demand to pull Russian peacekeepers out of Transdniestria promising to support Russia's idea of a collective security treaty in exchange. This promise has no political value since for the treaty to be signed it must be approved by all NATO member states.
It is a classical case asking Russia to make a concession in exchange for a vague prospect. To a large extent it was Moscow that allowed its partners to behave this way. Western press wrote that Russia is introducing serious changes in Western direction slackening control of key regions including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The theory that Russia might reconsider its stance on Transcaucasian republics was not incidental during Medvedev's visit to the USA. Though I personally believe it would be a political suicide for Moscow. A decision taken must be respected.
As for NATO, as recent statements by the bloc's secretary general show, the alliance expects Russian help in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. At the same time they call Moscow to drop cold war rhetoric and thin of cooperation with the alliance. Compromises and spheres of mutual interests must be sought but the idea of "proactive" concessions is inefficient, as time shows. This is also true for US military aid to Georgia. I will remind that this was done after 09/11 support. I believe now Russia must get synchronized in its movement toward the West. Dmitry Medvedev was absolutely right saying that SORT-3 must be ratified in sync. In my view, this principle must be applied in all spheres of cooperation.
Such statements appear since Slovakia is not a self-reliant state that is politically protected by the United States. I don't think Slovaks are really interested in Russian troops deployed in Georgia. This is a political order from the USA that Slovakia performs in exchange for support. This is political trading.
Generally speaking, NATO bloc was conceived as a lever to control Europe. In 1949 the alliance's first secretary general stated: the alliance is needed to keep America inside Europe, Russia - outside Europe and Germany beneath Europe. Now countries like Czechia, Slovakia and Poland fully depend on the USA. Russia must realize that. Everything NATO will do comes from Washington as political decisions that will be complied with more zealously by some European countries and less enthusiastically by the others.
Photo by RIA Novosti