While talking to Charlie Rose the former US secretary of State Madeline Albright said, “What I have been worried about now is that Iraq in many ways has shown the limitations of our power. That is not in any way to derogate from the incredible job that our troops are doing”. She went on to say, “This is to put in question what American power can achieve? Keeping in mind this statement which a bit old, we understand the anxiety found inside the American foreign policy circles about their international role. The limitations are further stretched by the prospects of a Democrat President, who is feared to be focused on domestic front.
Russia’s invasion of Georgia presents the West specially Americans with a difficult choice: if they take a strong stand and try to Punish Moscow by isolating it at international forums, that might embolden Russian by further bullying in places like Ukraine, the Baltic states or Moldova. Still these powers are resorting to tough words, but one could easily recognize the underlying irritation, which is becomes obvious from the tone and expressions with which it is delivered. What these statements are far from what Russians are trying to tell the West, “you can no longer talk to us like that”.
The most amazing side of this whole exercise is when American Foreign secretary Condoleezza Rice talks about it. The time she devoted to sort out the world’s most difficult conflicts is being wasted mercilessly on these issues. In an ideal world she was dreaming of taking the crown of solving the Middle East issues and end her term on a high note. But isn’t it right that you reap what you sow, or in other words if you dig a hole for others, you will one day end up in a hole yourself.
Moscow is keen to seize on these all opportunities of exploiting the rift between the West. The final blow to the left over of the “New World Order” was supposed to be given during the period of the very own son of former President Bush. How ironic is the fact that Russia after ignoring all the pressure from the West Russians went on any way to formally recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and another Georgian enclave, Abkhazia. There were tough words coming from Americans and how could Brits be left behind they also joined the chorus. By threatening that the West will not sit idly by like it did during the Cold War adventures by the Nazis.
British Foreign secretary David Miliband, went on to directly hit on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s statement that his nation is “not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a Cold War.”
David Milliband unleashed his muscle during a visit to Ukraine “The Russian president says he is not afraid of a new Cold War, We don’t want one. He has a big responsibility not to start one.” The growing rhetoric in this whole situation hints on the re emergence of the Cold War times. But is it so easy to return to Cold War? But there is a fear beyond Cold War or no, that what are the real Russian Ambitions? What direction they are looking towards beyond Georgia? The most worried among this whole situation are the newly Westernised Eastern European countries. They are the second in line to support what Americans and Brits are saying.
Russians are very well aware of the loud words no action policy of Europeans. They also take the highly unpopular American presidency and distracted Americans by coming elections. Keeping all this in mind Russians doesn’t expect huge actions from the West. Russians also understand that when it comes to action over Georgia or other issues, Russia has the EU over 1.2 million barrels pumped through the Druzbha pipeline daily, to fuels Europe’s economies in this oil thirsty world. This very fact runs a chill in the minds of those who know that with an already downturn in the world economy they cannot afford to face their electorate with more trouble.
But this is not a one sided risk for the West, the conflict has not been without cost to Russia. Moscow’s stock market has plunged to a two-year low since the invasion, and there are fears that much-needed Western capital will pour out of key infrastructure projects. This conflict has damaged the trust in Moscow’s word, established after long efforts. The now stable economic situation in Russia could turn back if things go for the worst. Russia will find it hard to relay allies in support of its hostile ambitions. It will also cast an adverse affect on the now growing economy, as this will not be possible with increasing isolation. This conflict will also put all those investors on hold who are investing or planning to invest in Russia.
As in what Condoleezza Rice says “mixing economy with diplomacy” is dangerous for Russians. It has started showing it’s signs, which Russians are not taking seriously at the moment. What is more dangerous is Russia getting back to the tricks of old times and ending up adversely affecting the whole region. But it is very clear that the bigger loser will in any way be Russia and maybe with the passage of time the masses that are head over heels in love with Putinsim, become vary of these tactics.
On the other hand America who has been pulling all the “right” forces in the past for various causes is indulged into problems of its own creation, or if am not wrong is correcting mistakes of the past by doing even more mistakes. With nowhere near end wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where in Afghanistan’s case it is not alone and have Europeans involved as well. On top of that an economy that could be on the brink of recession, creating a ripple affect al over the world. Yet American dilemma is not over as above all this distracting presidential campaign. Americans are in no position to show any sort of muscle to back up their words.
The irony of this whole situation is that Russia is aware of all these facts and it has calculated all this. The timing, the choice of Georgia and the step-by-step approach of unleashing its muscle are what it has done with a fine tuned planning. But the questions arising from this are for the West and for Russia too. How the West would like to come to terms with the reawakened Russia round the corner with their somewhat tied hands? On the other hands the Russians have to see how far then can push and test the patience of the Western democracies? Russian might have calculated the endurance of its power, has it taken into account the impact its going to have on the future of its own economy? We have to see the results of this unless someone in Kremlin realize that the battle is not worth fighting and what is done I enough to show that the baby has started walking.