BY CLAUDE SALHANI (View from
29 August 2008
THERE is little doubt that
Russia's forceful response to Georgia's grossly miscalculated military and political gaffe in trying to settle disputes and quell desires of independence in the two autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will have for effect the redistribution of power relations in a complicated political game throughout the Caucasus and beyond.
The outcome of this sordid affair is yet to be determined, and to be sure, historians will probably look back at this Russo-Georgian War as the turning point in post-Cold War East-West relations.
However, where and how all this will end is far from clear at this moment. What is clear, just over a week after Russian troops entered Georgia, is that an era of extended détente between former-Soviet Russia and the West — one which came about with the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the demise of communism in Eastern Europe — appears to be over and a new era is begun.
What will this new era bring? What alliances will be born (or re- born)? What others will fail? It is still too early to tell. What is clear, however, is that
Instead of trying to engage the Russians in pushing through resolutions to long-standing disputes that threatened world stability, such as the Middle East conflict, the West, particularly the
And when historians look back and analyse the conflict, they will likely discover that some of the blame for a coming re-alignment of certain countries in the Levant with
Regarding Russia, the Bush administration failed to engage the Russians on an equal footing as partners for peace, opting instead to aggravate Moscow by moving ahead with controversial projects such as the missile and radar system the United States is installing in the Czech Republic and Poland — both former Warsaw Pact countries. And in addition, rankling Moscow by inviting two former Soviet states, Georgia and Ukraine, to join Nato — an action perceived by Moscow as outright defiance. The Russians regard the deployment of US missiles in Eastern Europe as targeting them, even though the
Russian offers to participate in the missile defence project and to install them in a former Central Asian Soviet republic, such as
Combine the aggravation Bush has provided
The uni-polar policy enjoyed by the
Of course, we will never know for certain, but
If that isn't bad enough, Bush's policies leave behind the development of a new and resurgent type of cold war. As a result of this emerging new Cold war era, new and potentially disadvantageous alliances against US national interests may begin to develop in the Middle East — where
Claude Salhani is editor of the Middle East Times and a political analyst in
Source: Khaleej Times
Source: Khaleej Times