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Georgia. What could Westerners do?

(B2) When we want to gauge the reaction of Europeans to Russia and its muscular intervention in Georgia, we must first have as a reference what could be done. And, often there, it’s a beautiful silence…

1° Sending an armed force to fight against the Russians? ...No one wants to engage in this showdown. Starting with the Americans. During the crises that have punctuated the European continent for 50 years, they have never committed troops directly and immediately to counter Russian action. Whether in 1956 (Budapest), in 1968 (Prague)… the message has always been the same. Vibrant declaration then action, more or less discreet, effective or long, to the opposition movements. Never directly. This strategy has not changed today. And this explains NATO's silence on this issue.

2° The freezing of all relations with Russia. It is possible but will be very painful in return for Europe. And
The European Council meets on September 1 in Brussels in an exceptional manner dedicated to the Georgian crisis. This will be the second meeting (after those of EU Foreign Affairs, not counting that of NATO) devoted to this issue in a few days. This includes reacting to the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia, the XX. Which looks a bit like annexation. But what can Europeans really say when we see that the United States and NATO, despite resounding declarations, have not decided to intervene directly in the conflict:

So what's left?
– gradually free itself from Russian energy influence;
– accelerate the integration of Georgia into the European world;
– maintain a diplomatic link with Russia, alternating (like them) a stick and a carrot

3° Refrain from

- diplomacy. We can criticize or dispute with Nicolas Sarkozy the merits of his visit to Moscow, his room for maneuver in relation to the Russians. But it is an incontestable fact, it is in the name of the European Union that this fact was recorded (in agreement with most European capitals, at least of the “big” countries). And it was done quite quickly. If the

- punishments. There is no question. Bernard Kouchner's so-called statement on the use of sanctions was a bit “inflated”. The minister having mentioned during the press conference the fact that certain member states were considering sanctions. Even a simple recall of ambassadors, a significant diplomatic measure, “is not envisaged, and has never been mentioned by any member state” underlined the spokesperson for the European Commission.

- humanitarian aid. Europe has not failed



Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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