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Is Dialogue With Russia the Only Way?

Spiegel Online Correspondent Hans-Jurgen Schlamp, writing today from Brussels, Belgium, headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is trying to pressure Russia into a speedy departure from Georgia, notes that, "NATO had some sharp words for Moscow on Tuesday, demanding a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia. But as cowardly as it might sound, the next moves with Moscow should be made at the negotiating table." His argument is headlined "Dialogue With Russia is the Only Way."

There are other ways but this is the only prudent one. You don't start World War III over a nation such as Georgia, especially when that nation's leader, Mikheil Saakashvilli,  foolishly invaded South Ossetia and then called on the West to help him when Russia responded.

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Are U.S. Options Limited in Georgia, Russia Conflict?

In an August 19, 2008, post headlined "Is there nothing the U.S. can do about Georgia?" Dave Montgomery of McClatchy Newspapers' Texas, USA-based Fort Worth Star-Telegram, asserted that, "The United States and its European allies have condemned Russia for its incursion in Georgia, but their options for retaliating against the Kremlin are limited.

"The United States has ruled out military action, and NATO on Tuesday [August 19. 2008] declined to abolish cooperative programs with Russia in part because of misgivings about challenging a nation with vast oil and natural gas supplies, a large military and a huge nuclear arsenal," Montgomery wrote, adding: "Other options under consideration would strike at Moscow's post-Soviet hunger to restore its lost international status, but analysts differ about their potential effectiveness."

McClatchy has several informative articles on the conflict. Click on the headline link above to get to them.

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Speigel Online: 'Half of Poles Fear Russian Attack'

"As NATO ministers gather in Brussels to discuss how tough to get with Russia after the Georgian crisis, an opinion poll shows one in two Poles fear an attack by Russia. Eastern European countries are unhappy with the response of the West," Der Speigel Online International reported August 19, 2008.

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Georgia Charges Russia With Ethnic Cleansing

Mark Franchetti of The Sunday Times of London, writing from Tbilisi, said "The tiny former Soviet republic of Georgia accused Russia of ethnic cleansing yesterday [October 6, 2006] after the Kremlin cut trade, transport and postal links and began to investigate children with Georgian names in Moscow schools."

He noted that, "the clampdown came in retaliation for the arrests of four Russian officers in Georgia on spy charges" on September 27, 2006.

To read more, please see "‘This is ethnic cleansing’ – Georgia."

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Putin Sounds Like A Bully In Threats Against Georgia

The Russian news agency  RIA Novosti reported  October 4, 2006, that Russian President Vladimir Putin (in photo below)said today that Russia will not be blackmailed by anyone.  The news outlet said this is "a clear reference to a diplomatic row with Georgia over spying allegations." For background, see the EurAsia Daily Monitor report headlined Tbilisi Neutralizes Alleged Russian Spy Ring, Gains Political Mileage.

Ria Novosti said Mr. Putin's "statement comes in the wake of a scandal that began when Georgian police detained four Russian officers and charged them with espionage last week. Although the officers were handed over to the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]  and then Russia Monday [October 2, 2006], diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi have persisted." See Euronews.net's October 3, 2006, report headlined Diplomatic row rumbles on between Georgia and Russia

To me, Mr. Putin, playing the aggrieved party, comes off like a bully in Russia's dispute with its smaller neighbor. As the Washington Post said in an October 2, 2006, editorial Enough Bullying."

For more, please see "Putin warns against using language of blackmail with Russia

A FEW RELATED LINKS

Putin accuses Georgia of 'blackmail' --- United Press International, USA

Georgia Urges Russia to Stop --- Kommersant, Russia 

Georgia pledges to continue NATO-membership bid --- Xinhua, China 

Cut off from Russia, Georgians scramble --- International Herald Tribune, France

EU doesn't expect war over Georgia-Russia tensions --- Reuters AlertNet, UK 

Anti-Georgia Campaign Heats Up Across Russia --- MOSNEWS, Russia 

Why the Russia-Georgia Spat Could Become a US Headache --- TIME, USA

US urges Russia, Georgia to tone down rhetoric --- Reuters.uk, UK

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