There was good and bad news last week about western efforts to end Russian aggression against Georgia. Good was that international donors pledged $4.5 billion to help repair the damage Russia inflicted upon Georgia during the hot phase of the war. Bad was that the European Commission and the French Presidency of the European Union backed resumption of talks on the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).
Russia’s Gazprom recently announced plans for the formation of a ‘gas troika’ along with Iran and Qatar. Initially proposed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2007, the development has raised fears in the West that a gas cartel will destabilize energy supplies and pose a security threat to Europe.
Russia in Global Affairs editor Fyodor Lukyanov recently proclaimed, “[O]ur long effort to integrate with Western institutions, to become part of the Western system, is over. The aim now is to be an independent power in a multi-polar world in which Russia is a major player.”
Ilan Goldenberg, policy director for the National Security Network, argues that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama for president sounds the death knell for "the Republican foreign policy establishment as we know it. The final break between traditional pragmatic foreign policy conservatives and Neocons."
As the world gears up for the UN Climate Change extravaganza (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCC) in Copenhagen in December 2009, achieving a serious accord to establish post-2012 commitments that could slow or halt global warming increasingly appears a mirage.
General John Craddock, the Supreme Allied Commander, gave a talk this morning to RUSI, the UK's Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, issuing his boldest pronouncements to date on the problems besetting NATO. He details the problems with cooperation in the mission in Afghanistan that are familiar to regular readers of this site and then moves on to the longer-term strategic and political issues, boldly declaring:
There has been a good deal of talk about the Kosovo precedent in discussions about what to do next with regard to Georgia, Russia and the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.