Engaging with, not isolating, Russia is the path to avoiding further confrontation over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, writes Sir Ivor Roberts
BEHIND the war of words over the conflict in South Ossetia and the threat of a new Cold War lies a key strategic issue which should not have caught Western policymakers napping in their August somnolence.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia are among those frozen conflicts which Russia warned of if the West persisted in redrawing boundaries in the Balkans by recognising Kosovo's declaration of independence. The cases are two sides of the same coin in Russian minds.
If the West was prepared to support Kosovo's secession from Serbia and disregard internationally recognised borders, then Russia could do the same in respect of Georgia by recognising the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as those of independent states. Russia's strategy is brutally simple. Keep South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent buffers, and discourage its neighbours who aspire to Nato membership.....Read the Rest at IE