President Sarkozy who currently heads the European Union told Russia, “we cannot go back to the age of spheres of influence. Yalta is dead.” His comment came in response to statements by President Medvedev of Russia who insists his nation now has the right to carve out a sphere of influence in areas that formerly belonged to the old Soviet Union. An emergency meeting of 27 EU leaders urged all nations to refuse accepting the incorporation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia into Russia. Sarkozy and a EU delegation will visit Moscow next week in an attempt to negotiate with Russian leaders concerning recent events with Georgia. “Relations between the EU and Russia have reached a crossroads,” said a summit statement. It went on to denounce Russia for failing to live up to cease fire agreements.
It is a time for reflection as well as action. Perhaps, the EU might reconsider its support of the Bush plan to build missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Perhaps, it is time for NATO to invite Russia to become a member. There is need to take concrete steps that recognize legitimate concerns of the Russian government. Sarkozy says “It takes two to tango,” but that also means both sides should be cognizant of fears and anxieties of the other.