San Francisco State University professor describes geostrategic environment from Moscow’s perspective.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: “Although Obama’s efforts to ‘reset’ relations with Russia have been encouraging and although Georgia is entering a period of political change, the structural conditions for a great-power confrontation in the Caucasus remain in place. The Crimean War became possible because Russia could not defend the rights of its co-religionists without being perceived as a revisionist power.

Today the European balance of power remains equally fragile. Russia cannot neglect those who turn to it for protection from state violence. Nor can the Kremlin ignore its own interests that have been jeopardized by NATO expansion and efforts to divert flows of Caspian energy away from Russian territory.

In addition, many in the West continue to share the Russophobic attitude of Britain’s Lord Palmerston by viewing Russia’s weakness as essential for asserting U.S. and European interests in the region. Finally, the Caucasus has become heavily militarized and exposed to the use of force by various state and nonstate actors. To this day, Georgia has refused to sign an agreement on the renunciation of force with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”