1. "Surrounded by hostile powers Russia has no real option but to look Westwards! Yet, in its 1000 year of history, Russia never mastered the art of democracy. Not even one there was a transition of power from one bitter political opponent to another as a result of elections!
    (nik, 25 January 2009 15:33)"

    Why should mastering the art of democracy require giving up territory? And I am not sure which "hostile powers" are currently claiming any Russian territory. Not the Chinese who finally settled their minor border dispute with Moscow with a formal treaty and are now its much valued customer for its mineral resources. Perhaps the US with its ambition to dominate the world? Unfortunately for Washington it is now in a bottomless financial mess of its own making. The US already found out earlier that Medvedev and Putin are no pushovers unlike that boozing Yeltsin.
    (lowe, 26 January 2009 01:33)
  2. Lowe, Georgia truly went to war because of the two long lost territories. That proves how “provincial” leaders could not sort the important out of the trivial! Adenauer once rejected reunification of Germany, (with Berlin divided and all) for Germany outside of NATO. Reunification had to wait for another generation, East Prussia and Silesia were lost for good, but Germany’s rightful place within the Western civilization was assured! De Gaule, being a genius realized that Algeria could not remain “a department as French as…” He had to sacrifice 2 million pied noirs but guaranteed France’s rightful place too. Surrounded by hostile powers Russia has no real option but to look Westwards! Yet, in its 1000 year of history, Russia never mastered the art of democracy. Not even one there was a transition of power from one bitter political opponent to another as a result of elections!
    (nik, 25 January 2009 15:33)
  3. nik,

    Sorry but I have to disagree with you.

    True, the US intends to talk to Iran at last. But this decision was not due to any sudden enlightenment on the former's part. It was more a climbdown because the US no longer could afford its expensive military adventures of the past given its domestic woes. Moreover the Chinese have turned downright cautious about buying more US bonds and greenback to unwittingly finance this huge past spending on credit.

    Georgia went to war precisely to retake these 2 small territories. So while this may seem a "small price" to you and the US, I think Tblisi will beg to differ. If anything the Georgians felt betrayed by the US who had earlier given every indication of material and physical support for their reckless adventures in Ossetia. Russia achieved more than just the 2 small territories. As a result of this war, Nato countries like Germany are now openly opposed to membership for Georgia and Ukraine. And there is nothing Washington can do about this because new members require the consent of all existing members. I will not call this a small achievement by the security conscious Russians.

    True, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the eastern Europeans wanted closer integration with the West. But this was not the same as agreeing to substitute one overlord (Moscow) for another (the then so cocky USA). You talked about the European desire for not having spheres of influence in the post-Soviet era. But precisely the overconfident US tried to created its exclusive spheres of influence not just in Europe but all over the world -- Nato expansion towards east Europe, invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, arming and instigating Taipei to stand up to Beijing, threats and sanctions against countries like N Korea and Iran who refused to toe the American line, etc

    And the recent gas supply problem revealed just how vulnerable the mineral resource poor west Europeans really are. Which the US did nothing and could do nothing to help. Why else do you think Mrs Clinton now talked about "smart" power rather than military might?
    (lowe, 25 January 2009 14:32)
  4. Lowe, The US did not abandon Georgia! They saved Georgia (at the small price of the two long lost breakaway entities). The Russians did nod dare to install a puppet regime in Tbilisi, nor to cut the lifeline from Poti to Azerbeidjan. All the Russians "achieved" was to ensured a hostile Georgia, no matter who wins the next elections! As for Iran, the clear massage of the new administration is that the USA will come to terms with Teheran! There are simply not enough reasons Iran to be hostile to the West. The Iranians are not Arabs, so no matter how strongly anti-Israeli rhetoric Ahmadinajad uses, Iran would never go to war with Israel. Teheran benefited more than anyone from the senseless US adventure in Iraq. So may be not a not openly advertised reconciliation between Iran and the West will soon take place, the Nabuco pipeline will be built etc.
    The BIG question is, what strategy will Russia undertake.
    After the fall of communism in 1989-1991, ALL Central and Eastern European countries accepted a strategy of integration within the Western economic, political and even military framework. That meant abandoning any claims for spheres of influence in exchange for a relatively small, but real voice in managing the common foreign and economic policy of the West. Only Russia and Serbia opted for a strategy of defiance, simply because they could not accept not being a mini, or large center of geopolitical gravity. G. W. Bush’s uniletarism harmed but failed to strip of meaning the integrationist policy of all other European countries! The rise of Chna, India and Iran may make the Russians reconsider!
    (nik, 25 January 2009 13:41)
  5. " If they see a real chance ot get direct access to the energy resources of Central Asia, and a full commitment of the USA, they will come in line!
    (nik, 21 January 2009 13:51) "

    Don't be naive nik. The US betrayed Georgia recently by abandoning it when the Russians responded to its actions in Ossetia. And Central Asia is even much further away from the West geographically than Georgia and Ukraine. And also bordered by anti-US Iran. Therefore what makes you think the Central Asians are full of trust and dying to do oil and gas deals with the economically strapped West now? Especially when they already have an eager and insatiable customer much nearer to them in China. China buys their gas and oil in cash with no strings attached.

    FULL commitment by the US???? After having seen how the US abruptly betrayed Georgia? You must think the Central Asians are dopes to put that kind of faith in the US! Georgia was not the first US victim of betrayal by the way. There was Vietnam earlier.
    (lowe, 24 January 2009 10:36)
  6. Forging a chisle in the soft Russian underbally - cutting a rout from the Balkans via the Black Sea, tha Caucases, the Caspian Sea into Central Asia is the Geopolitical prize os the century for the Wester Civilization. This is the only way the perenial threats comming from the steps or through Asia Minor could be eliminated for good. The bigest folly of Goerge W Bush was that he diverted his attention from this geopiolitical necessity and sunk into the Iraqi sends. Without the much needed massive Western aid the colour revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia came to the bring of collapse. It is unlikely that Obama could aford to let them fall. So most likely he will concentrate his effored in his trust. He already suggested that he will do all possible to start negotiations with Iran. Europeans got sick and tired of being dependant on Russian aupplies. If they see a real chance ot get direct access to the energy resources of Central Asia, and a full commitment of the USA, they will come in line!
    (nik, 21 January 2009 13:51)