Search This Blog

23 August 2008

Georgia - the Smell of Appeasement

There is a smell of 1930s-type appeasement in the air. The recent Russian incursion into Georgian territory and the reaction of the NATO countries to Russia's outrageous behaviour reminds me of the pathetic attempts to appease Adoph Hitler's Germany before the 2nd World War.

Clearly the Georgian President made an error of judgement in trying to act tough with the ethnic Russians of South Ossetia, but this does not excuse the Russian incursion into the sovereign territory of a neigbouring democratic State.

Georgia wants (or had wanted) to join NATO. The lily-livered response by the European NATO countries to the Russian invasion, and their hesitancy over admitting Georgia for fear of upsetting Russia is disgusting. Russia needs to know that we are prepared to draw boundaries on international behaviour, even if it means we put at risk some of our power supplies for which we are increasingly vulnerable to Russian whims. Russia is becoming rich on their supplies of oil and gas and it is inconceivable that they would be happy to start losing their new-found markets for the stuff.

As it is, Russia knows that democratic Europe is frightened of upsetting it. So what's next? Ukraine? Lithuania? Estonia? Latvia? Russia pretends to be a democracy, and I suppose that compared to the Communist era it has some of the trappings of democracy but that is far as it goes. There is no real freedom of expression and the State has a tight grip on the news media. Vladimir Putin has ceased to be President and is now Prime Minister, but still appears to call the shots and is what one might generously describe as a benevolent dictator (if that's not an oxymoron).

It's about time we in the rest of Europe started to stand up for what is right instead of turning a blind eye to what is wrong in the hope that no more wrong will be done.