Closer View has been covering the Georgia-Russia conflict and has made some interesting points. I do, however, disagree with this:

“It is only in U.S. and E.U. interests to have Georgia fight the Russians in an open conflict. Contrary to what the naive Yuschenko may be saying, having Ukraine part of NATO is still best for the West only. “

From the western point of view, Georgia breaking up this fight was a silly mistake, a case of jumping the gun. Even though it seems clear that pretty much any opposition to Russia in the Caucasus, slowing down the enormous Russian influence, is beneficial to western interests, an open conflict would only be interesting if stalemate was guaranteed. Having Georgia invaded, or its pro-West government overthrown, are not welcome options.

Instead, Georgia gave to Russia all the reasons for the same old excuse of “protecting its citizens“. Russian response was overwhelming as expected, taking advantage of a unique composition of factors: Georgia has no powerful allies in the region, has not yet joined NATO or EU, President Bush is a lame duck, and western countries are in waiting mode until US elections. Oh, and yes, everybody is watching the Olympics.

If Georgia was part of NATO, things could have been different. Since its inception, no member has ever been attacked by another nation (with one silly exception). The treaty would ensure military protection and would probably force Russia to continue its policy of undercover support to South Ossetian rebels.

Which brings us to Ukraine. I think Ukraine, after the Georgia debacle, will place its diplomatic forces in overdrive, trying to hurry up its NATO membership.