Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The west is wrong on Georgia

So Russia has gone ahead and recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states in accordance with the wishes of the people of those states but against the wishes of Georgia and the west.

It feels as if every article and opinion piece I read on this portrays Russia as the bad guys and little Georgia as the victim. How very different from the situation with Serbia when they behaved exactly as Georgia did in response to various states of the former Yugoslavia decided to go their own way, but as far as I can see there is no difference.

Why does Kosovo deserve the protection of the west from a neighbour that views the region as it's own, but South Ossetia doesn't? Why was it right for us to go to war with Serbia over Bosnia and, with overwhelming military might, crush that proud nation but it is wrong for Russia to do the same to Georgia over Abkhazia?

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who is to make a speech in Ukraine strongly condemning Moscow's recent actions, said its recognition of the two regions was "unjustifiable and unacceptable".

Why is it "unjustifiable and unacceptable" for two states to have independence? Why should they remain part of a territory they don't want to be part of? Why are the people of those states to be denied the right to self-determination?

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, also condemned Russia's decision as "absolutely not acceptable,"

Now that is a severe case of hypocrisy - after all, wasn't it Germany's decision to recognise the independence of former Yugoslav states (with the support of the EU) that sparked the Balkan crisis? Why should a small nation which wishes to be independent be forced to surrender its sovereignty to a foreign power just because "international law" says so?

This is very serious for the simple reason that, one day, soon, the EU will be an internationally recognised state and Britain merely a part of that state and one day Britain will wake up to the fact that we are no longer an independent nation but a region of a larger state - and with that realisation will come the realisation that our nation is being exploited for what it can provide to that larger state and we will want to become independent again.

When that happens - as it will - do we expect "international law" to tell us that we have no right to be independent? Will the USA sit by and watch the EU invade Britain to bring us into line?

The right of a nation to self-determination is paramount. I do not understand why the west thinks it is wrong for the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to have freedom from what they see as an oppressive foreign power - especially considering that we were quite happy to accept such decisions in the Balkans.

Russia is behaving no differently to the way the west behaved with Serbia. The situation is exactly the same and I do not understand why we now think Georgia has a right which Serbia did not. Russia was as put out about Serbia (a long standing ally of Russia) as we appear to be about Georgia but didn't respond with the kind of rhetoric and grandstanding that we are now doing.

Were we right to go to war against Serbia? In my view we were and, because of that, I believe Russia was equally right in defending South Ossetia and Abkhazia's right to independence. We in the west can not have it both ways. I hope this does not come back to bite us one day - but I know it will if we stay in the EU for much longer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you read the postings on this over at EUreferendum?

My 2cents: When have the Russians ever been the good guys?