Analysis: Will Europe stand up to Moscow?
European Union heads of state and government meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss what to do following Russia's crushing of Georgia. Can they make a better job of facing down Russia's new assertiveness than NATO's foreign ministers did? The EU has scheduled for September 15, for example, a meeting to discuss a new EU/Russia partnership. What will the Brussels conclave decide about that?
MONEY & WAR
Should not forget $ 15 bn investment left russia since Georgia conflict, Russia wants to keep it's value on the stock market. Germany has a Volkswagen Passat factory in Russia. In case of sanctions no cars. Britains spy network at Moscow is weak. Putin closed down the so called british cultural associations; Britain's economy all time low since 60 years, can't even pay the costs of Irak war. UK is the Biz home of the Anti-Putin Russian billionaires, delicate situation for UK, depending partly on this investors in UK soccer clubs. Europe at the mercy of Russias OIL/GAS pipeline with 40% dependance. It gets winter, nobody wants to sit in the cold. If no further "cowboy" approach to the Ukraine is made, both sides can make a living.
Multipolar balance of power, US Hurrican Home security
Europe has at least 30% of geographic area in Russia. So interfacing on new power of balance with SCO Shanghai neutral is the task. NATO is a defense system, can not act without being attacked, Russia getting out of the Squeeze now, no overheating. All together refinancing Georgia's peace economy. The multipolar power balance will work. America can focus on it's economic downturn to get US based refinancing in order, the greatest challenge for the next US president, cleaning up the sub-prime scam, getting Americans back into their homes, fighting climate change to secure American coast territory against hurricane triggering ocean surface water temperature ( 27° C / 81° F ), the name of the enemy "El nino".
So what are we likely to see at the end of the Brussels meeting? Even well in advance French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is conceding that the EU is split on sanctions against Russia and may impose none.
Sarkozy called Russian recognition of the enclaves "simply unacceptable" but added: "Nobody wants to go back to the time of the Cold War. NATO is not an adversary but a partner of Russia. As for the EU, it seeks to build with this country a close and positive relation. It is for Russia today to make a fundamental choice."
Baltic nations and Poland, a close ally of Ukraine, will be pushing for tough language and action. But Germany, Italy and even Britain do not believe that isolating Moscow is a sensible way forward.
Because of the difficulties in securing agreement it seems likely that the focus will be more on helping Georgia than on penalizing Russia. The meeting is likely to approve sending a civilian monitoring mission to Georgia, increasing aid there and in Ukraine and Moldova and relaxing visa restrictions on Georgians