Russia-West crisis enters 'breathing period'
Contradictory messages are rampant as the EU and US reconsider security pledges to Georgia while new players such as Iran and Turkey enter the game.
The effort to resolve the Russia-Georgia war and its fallout is entering a period of uneasy waiting and testing in Europe, the United States, Russia, and the Caucasus. All sides are entering what some diplomats call a "breathing period" amid the global credit crisis.Skip to next paragraph
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Conflicting messages are rampant as the international community waits to see if Russian troops withdraw from Georgian territories by Oct. 10.
"We need to wait and see if Russia pulls all its troops out of the buffer zones on Oct. 10," says Francois Heisbourg, special adviser to the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. "In the EU, there's a tight link between implementing the cease-fire and future talks. The latter won't happen without the former."
But Paul Goble, a former Central Intelligence Agency and State Department specialist on Russian nationalities points out that "Moscow thought it would get more support from its traditional allies over Georgia." He adds that Russia's markets are down 57 percent.
"Before Aug. 8, Russian central reserves were adding $5 billion a week. After, they were losing even more," says Mr. Goble. According to the Moscow news site, NR2, Russian markets declined more than $40 billion – due to the war as well as the global financial crisis – after the conflict.
Contradictions in the Russia-West crisis are rife. Recently, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Russia's nationalist rise as a "dark turn." Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates quietly told NATO allies that Russia "is needed" in the war in Afghanistan.