Sunday, August 10, 2008

With Georgia having withdrawn from South Ossetia, it is possible that the conflict may be over. What's going to happen now is anyone's guess, since there seems to be no easy way to end the situation. It is not clear how the West is going to respond to Russia's actions, but it seems very likely that South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be even more independent, if not nominally so, after this week's action. This would be much less of an issue if "independent" didn't mean de facto Russian rule.

Some notes about after-effects:

There are a number of countries who have to be more worried about Russian aggression now, first among the Ukraine. But without dealing with that situation directly, lets ask what seeing this conflict would do for some hypothetical alternate Georgia. It would certainly strengthen Russia's hand, make military conflict less appealing, and create a certain amount of paranoia.
However, the real losers in this conflict have been the South Ossetians. Would they really provoke Georgia if it meant the destruction of their country? The exact situation in Georgia is unlikely to be repeated, but at the moment it seems as though Russia's allies suffered more than its enemies.

Was this situation exceptional? In many countries, rebellious regions are held in check by the government and don't have a Russia to turn to. On the other hand, the protection of Russia made South Ossetia more autonomous than, say, "kurdistan", Darfur, or even the FARC rebels.

1 comment:

Rafael said...

In the name of Ossetian "autonomy", it looks, at this point, like Georgia is going to lose its autonomy. For a moment, when the Kodori Gorge started getting shelled, it looked like the Abkhazians were just taking the opportunity to rebel and break off while Georgia was occupied elsewhere. Now with Russia entering Georgia through Abkhazia (as reported by the BBC) it looks like Russia is going to use the Ossetia conflict as a reason to steamroll Georgia. The Georgian President has even left the capital. If Russia doesn't slow down, Georgia is toast.

Also of note, Putin is the one doing ALL the talking.