EU Must Avoid Acting Like America In Georgia Crisis

The German newspaper, Der Spiegel, called upon members of the European Union to strike a balance between expressing concern for issues surrounding recent events in Georgia while avoiding the Bush confrontational style to problem solving which inevitably winds up creating problems rather than solving them. It makes clear President Saakashvili assumed “the EU would support and defend Georgia. Recent events now confirm ho wrong he was. Yet there is no question that Russia’s invasion, for which it was surprisingly well prepared, was clearly disproportionate.” The paper believes the EU should more quickly have intervened in the role of mediator,”but now must distance itself from the confrontational position that the united States has adopted toward Russia.”

Der Spiegel urges EU leaders to move away from Bush style rhetoric and action that seeks to “deepen polarities in an unstable power balance. Instead, the EU must develop a foreign policy that equilibrates its own economic concerns with the special needs and considerations of the countries and people of the region.” The paper warns against joining in American rhetoric which almost appears to be urging a crusade against Russia for its alleged evil behavior because at this point, there is sufficient blame to cast on all participants in recent events.

The central issue is the reality of an emerging more powerful Russia which will no longer be treated in threatening and humiliating ways by Western powers. Der Spiegel argues for the following actions:
1. Recognition of the autonomy of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
2. Guarantee the right of return of refugees to those regions.
3. A peace treaty that is hammered out with the assistance of the EU.
4. A peace treaty must apply to all three regions.
5. Strengthening of human rights.
6. Provide economic and humanitarian aid.
7. Develop energy independence so the EU no longer depends exclusively on Russia.