Long-term consequences of the recent events in the Caucasus are still unclear. The sides involved in the conflict have said everything that they considered necessary to say under the current political situation. The unrecognized republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have survived another bloody conflict with Georgia. The conflict has proved that it is absolutely impossible for the three nations to live within the borders of one legal state. It means that the two republics will ask Moscow to recognize their independence again.
Georgia has had an objective impression of its own political administration and its aptitude to the solution of strategic goals. The Georgian military has proved to be absolutely incapable of waging civilized military actions, whereas the authorities of Georgia showed that they did not care to think about their people.
Russia was forced to launch a massive military action in response to Georgia’s aggression. The Russian troops tested their skills on the enemy armed with US, Ukrainian and Israeli weapons.
US presidential runoffs did not miss a good opportunity to exercise their views in foreign politics. For the first time in many years, Washington’s hawks and their secretary of state became honest in their statements about Russia.
Politics is full of cynicism. Georgia was obviously solving its own problems shelling Tskhinvali with bombs and missiles at night. Thousands of Ossetians were thinking about their future existence.
Anti-Russian sentiments were voiced in Washington, Brussels, Kiev, Warsaw, etc. Russia, Europe and the USA had their own reasons to set their claims to each other, of course. However, Georgia and South Ossetia were quickly moved into the background against the issues of the US-Polish missile deal and the future of Russia’s fuel shipments to Europe. Moscow stood up to defend its geopolitical interests, whereas NATO stood up against Russia, and the USA demonstrated its real influence in the world, which in its turn proved to be indifferent to Washington’s views about a small democratic country of Georgia.
The Caucasian knot became a classic example of the beginning of a global crisis. The crisis appeared at the time, when Russia decided to pass from words to deeds for the first time in its recent history. The West was obviously surprised and scared.
The institutions, which imitated the maintenance of peace on the globe, appeared to be worthless organizations. The OSCE became a participant of the conflict because the Georgian administration had previously informed the organization of the imminent attack on South Ossetia. NATO showed that it was unwilling to find itself in a tough opposition against Russia. As for the United Nations, there were no illusions regarding the efficiency of this organization before. Its headquarters can only be good for televising international discussions, but they can not be a platform where consolidated and efficient decisions are made.
The crisis in South Ossetia has split the Western society. Such a large variety of opinions and views in European and American media could last be seen on the threshold of USA’s incursion in Iraq.
It is an open secret that the world has a rather mean opinion of Russia. However, many Western journalists urge their leaders to finally stop annoying the Russian bear, especially when it comes to Russia’s influence in its historic regions.
The Western media have always been quite precautious in their attitude to Russia. Their current approach carries one simple message. The West should have tamed Russia a decade ago, but now it just has to deal with it.
Russia has exercised a strong determination to rise from its knees, although it has not stood out yet. Its actions in South Ossetia and Georgia have tested Russia’s military, diplomatic and political possibilities. It seems that Moscow has been winning the fierce fight in foreign policy, although it does not intend to win the fight at all costs. Russia depends on the West just as like the West depends on Russia.
Russia must do its best not to step into the euphoria of the rising superpower. It is worthy of note that even skeptics acknowledged the new quality of Russia’s policies as a result of Moscow’s political restraint in everything about the recent military activity in the Caucasus.
If Moscow maintains the new status, then the conflict in South Ossetia will become a springboard for serious geopolitical changes in the world. Splitting NATO, Turkey’s opposition to the USA, the nuclear problem of Iran - these are only a few issues of the developing crisis.