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Monday, August 11, 2008

first person singular

A fair point made by Foreign Policy magazine

Let's dial back the clock to April, when NATO failed to admit Ukraine and Georgia as members. Georgia was told that it must first resolve its "frozen conflicts" with renegade regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia to join. Nobody in NATO relished the prospect of being on the hook for some inscrutable ethnic conflict in the Caucasus.

But, coming on the heels of Kosovo's February declaration of independence, this was practically an invitation to Putin to do his utmost to ensure that Georgia wouldn't ever be stable enough to be a NATO member.

Here's the basic logic:

* Georgia can't join NATO until it is stable
* Russia doesn't want Georgia to join NATO
* Ergo, Russia will destabilize Georgia

The policy had the added bonus of revenge for the Western powers' recognition of Kosovo and it cast doubts on the wisdom of using Georgia as an energy corridor. Plus, it puts the United States in an awkward position and exposes American backing of Georgia as not worth a damned thing. For Putin, it's a quadruple play.

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