En av de främsta amerikanska utrikesexperterna och politiska bloggarna heter Steve Clemmons. Han fungerar som strategy program director för New America Foundation i Washington.
Nedan är vad han hade att säga om den rysk-georgiska konflikten. Det skiljer sig ganska rejält från de verklighetsfrämmande analyser som svenska ’utrikesexperter’ kommer med.
Jag håller uppenbarligen med Steve Clemmons om konsekvenser av den politik som Carl Bildt med flera drev i Kosovo och öst-europa i samarbete med USA. Räkna inte med att se detta i någon svensk media. Med det är vad jag försökt säga i ett dussintal inlägg.
Dimitri Simes, President of the Nixon Center, was one of the leading foreign policy experts in Washington to predict some kind of hot clash between the former Soviet state of Georgia and Russia involving the autonomous provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia at the time Kosovo declared its independence. My colleague Anatol Lieven was another.
In coordination with The National Interest, I have asked Simes to offer guest commentary here at The Washington Note on what many Georgians and Russians are calling a ”war”. I expect to post his thoughts on Monday.
My own view is that the U.S. has displayed a reckless disregard for
Russian interests for some time. I don’t like Russia’s swing to greater
domestic authoritarianism and worry about its stiffened posture on a
number of international fronts — but Simes convinces me in his
important Foreign Affairs essay, ”Losing Russia,” that much of what we are seeing unfold between Russia and Georgia involves a high quotient of American culpability.
When Kosovo declared independence and the US and other European
states recognized it — thus sidestepping Russia’s veto in the United
Nations Security Council — many of us believed
that the price for Russian cooperation in other major global problems
just went much higher and that the chance of a clash over Georgia’s
breakaway border provinces increased dramatically.
By pushing Kosovo the way the US did and aggravating nationalist
sensitivities, Russia could in reaction be rationally expected to
further integrate and cultivate South Ossetia and Abkhazia under de
facto Russian control and pull these provinces that border Russia away
from the state of Georgia.
At the time, there was word from senior level sources that Russia
had asked the US to stretch an independence process for Kosovo over a
longer stretch of time — and tie to it some process of independence
for the two autonomous Georgia provinces. In exchange, Russia would not
veto the creation of a new state of Kosovo at the Security Council. The
U.S. rejected Russia’s secret entreaties and instead rushed recognition
of Kosovo and said damn the consequences.
Now thousands are dead. The fact is that a combination of American recklessness, serious miscalculation and over-reach by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili,
as well as Russia’s forceful reassertion of its regional national
interests and status as an oil and gas rich, tough international player
means America and Europe have yet again helped generate a crisis that
tests US global credibility.
I think that Saakashvili who has been agitating for Georgia’s membership in NATO
just lost his chance with his own reckless behavior. Saakashvili’s
decision to send tanks into South Ossetia gave Russia the trigger that
it may have wanted to send in more of its own troops and weapon
systems. Russia was ready. Putin, now prime minister of Russia but
still the center of power, was relaxing and chatting with George W.
Bush in the bird’s nest Olympic stadium in Beijing looking quite in
control and confident.
It is possible that Condoleezza Rice’s July 10th visit to Tbilisi and joint press conference
with Saakashvili was interpreted by him that American power and resolve
were firmly behind Georgia and its intention to reassert control over
the autonomous provinces. The Georgian president miscalculated about
American power in the world today and our resolve to take on Russia
directly — no matter how much the Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt and Anne Applebaum would like to see the situation differently.
While the seeds of this conflict between Georgia and Russia had been
planted long ago, the U.S. helped engineer events that are now
undermining its own interests and the global perception of American
When the media report on what drove this ”war”, commentators should
look to Kosovo as well as Saakashvili’s own recklessness and
overconfidence to further understand the reasons why tanks from both
sides rolled into South Ossetia.