Small Georgia – big test

Marian Miszalski

What are the goals of the Russian politics in Europe? The events in Georgia put this question in focus. Pushing the American military presence out of Europe is a constant goal that has not changed since the end of the war, regardless of the political system in Russia. This would make the enlargement of the Russian sphere of influence in Europe beyond its present border possible. That’s why the American missile defence ‘shield’ to be placed in Poland and the Czech Republic, strengthening the American presence in the Old Continent, enrages the Russian politicians. The attempt to build ‘natural resources monopoly’ (earth gas, oil), which would make Europe a dependent and obedient ‘contractor’ of the Russian politics, corresponds to this trend of the Russian politics towards Europe. It is the Russian interference into the state’s territorial integrity of Georgia that paralyses the alternative transit of the energetic resources from Asia to Europe through Georgia, omitting Russia. This is the most important reason for the Russian aggression against this country. Building the Berlin-Moscow axis (‘strategic partnership’, the Baltic oil pipeline system) completes the above-mentioned Russian political goals; it is a kind of a preliminary condition of achieving these goals. Fishing Germany out of the circle of America’s allies, tempting Berlin with the Russian natural resources and a mutual division of the Central-Eastern Europe into the German and Russian spheres of influence (according to the old Curzon line modified in the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact), is another ‘smaller goal’, an indirect one, of the Russian policy towards Europe. It is meaningful to see Germany’s political eagerness to accept the Russian offer. In her first political reaction Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel did not condemn the Russian aggression on Georgia as such but she only condemned ‘the disproportion of the means used.’ The French President Nicolas Sarkozy took a similar stand. It is worth stressing that several months ago both politicians were sceptical about the idea of admitting Georgia into NATO. However, after the Russian attack on this sovereign country, most likely influenced by the strong American pressure, they changed their minds, exacerbating the tone of their statements concerning Russia. However, the question ‘Are their words sincere’ remains valid. Reacting to the violent and sudden political action of Russia, aiming at strengthening the effects of the accomplished fact (interrupted holiday of the MPs, the Russian Parliament demanding Russia’s president to acknowledge the independence of the separatist South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the threat of ‘freezing’ the relationships between NATO and Russia) the Americans exerted pressure on the ever more doubtful European allies from Berlin and Paris, forcing them, for the time being, to take a firmer stand towards the Russian fait accompli. One can say that in the background of the events in Georgia Paris and Berlin were tested: ‘do they still collaborate with America or have they collaborated with Russia yet?’ Near future will bring a more precise answer to this question. The Russian threat of freezing the relationships between NATO and Russia is a camouflaged threat against America: Russia’s withdrawal to collaborate in the ‘war against terrorism.’ Is it only ‘withdrawal’? Is there in the background of this threat, rather effective concerning the Western countries, especially those who uncritically support Israel’s politics, including the United States, another more serious threat: support of the anti-American terrorism? Therefore, the issue of Georgia has tested the efficiency of the United Stated to re-evaluate their Near East policy and to face the terrorists’ challenge but without, even limited, Russia’s co-operation. But there is another thing. It also tests the reliability of the American policy towards the weaker countries: one of the goals of the Russian politics is to discredit this reliability. It is worth adding that the Russian aggression against Georgia is an element of the clear political struggle for influences and spheres of influence in Central Asia, the struggle that has intensified for the last decades. Thus one can say that the most important threads of the European and international politics interweave and focus on the Georgia’s issue. This extreme ‘test of strength’ will have serious consequences for the EU, NATO, America and Russia – regardless of the winner of this test. If the Russian ‘reason of the stronger’ wins, the unity of the EU and NATO will be seriously weakened; if the American option wins, the impetus of the Russian politics in Europe will be curbed and the Berlin – Paris axis will be weakened…, which is significant for the Polish politics.

"Niedziela" 36/2008

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: