Nothing exists in isolation. This is especially true of geopolitics where superpowers and former superpowers are concerned. Witness the proliferation of difficulties that follow from Russia’s invasion of Georgia:
- Absent Russian cooperation on the issue of a nuclear Iran, there is little the EU or the US can do to effect meaningful sanctions. European goods can simply be channeled through Russia.
- For years, Syria has been without any major patron except Iran. Now, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has gone to Moscow for talks with President Medvedev about turning their two nations’ on-again/off-again defense relationship back into the “on” position. Syria is no doubt encouraged by Russia’s growing potency in the Caucasus and the West’s inability to do anything about it.
- Stratfor has issued an excellent article (available to subscribers only), detailing the difficult position of Germany. Will Angela Merkel, the article wonders, sidestep NATO and seek a separate peace with Moscow – e.g. security arrangements that do not include the rest of its allies in Europe? Some believe Merkel’s silence throughout the Georgian conflict indicates that Germany might.
Whether the Russian invasion of Georgia on August 8th turns out to be a (tragic) tempest in a teapot, or an event that will resonate for decades to come, remains to be seen. However, Russia’s tantrum is already changing America’s geopolitical calculations throughout the world.