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Russia and diplomacy

March 27, 2007

Re "Russia's playing ball -- will we?" Opinion, March 22

How sweet the word "independence" is. Make no mistake: Just after independence is granted, Kosovo will declare itself a part of Albania.

Just after independence is granted, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will declare themselves a part of Russia.

Dimitri K. Simes is right -- we look first at the interests of the U.S. The core issue is: Whose support in foreign affairs do we need more -- Russia's or Albania's?

As Simes says, "It's clear which track is best for U.S. interests."




Simes argues that diplomacy with Russia means rewarding Russia's newly responsible position on Iran with approval of its position on Kosovo as a precedent for Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence from Georgia.

Russia's position is specious, for all the reasons articulated by Richard Holbrooke and Dan Fried. Georgia has made some missteps, but it seeks, on many fronts, peaceful reconciliation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia undermines out of its own desire to destabilize Georgia.

NATO sought only to prevent former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from slaughtering the Kosovars, and Serbia has continued to prove itself indisposed to reconciliation.

Abdication of principle -- and abandonment of one of the few remaining reliable U.S. allies -- is not in the national interest.


Tbilisi, Georgia

The writer is director of studies of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies.

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