Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Real World: Good Old Days Of The Cold War And U.S.-Russian Competition May Be Returning To The Middle East

Georgia War Lessons for the Middle East

Middle East Times, August 22, 2008
Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation

Avoiding the New Cold War

It is still early to digest all the lessons of this conflict, but this geopolitical earthquake symbolizes that the tectonic plates of Eastern Europe and Western Eurasia are shifting. And this is just the beginning: the future of southern Caucasus, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Empire is at play.

Most important, this war is not about Georgia, but about what kind of international actor Russia will be in the 21st century. If Russia expands its confrontation, grave implications for the Middle East will follow.

After an almost-20 year hiatus, the United States and NATO allies may once again prioritize Russia as a potential threat to their vital interests in Europe and beyond.

The question is whether NATO will send a strong signal to Moscow that its aggression will not stand. This should be done through tough diplomacy, in international organizations, and through inventive economic measures. The United States, its allies and Europe must do everything possible to reverse Russian aggression against Georgia -- and to prevent further hostile action against its allies.

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