Dueling words have replaced dialogue as the conflict between Western nations and Russia over the Georgia incident continues to escalate. Fortunately, at this time both sides are using words in their conflict rather than armed force. US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, warned Russia its actions would result in being isolated from the world while President Medvedev asserted his nation is not retreating into a war like stance but will continue working with other nations. Secretary of State Rice charged the Russian government has no friends other than leftist nations such as Venezuela and Cuba even as Medvedev made clear Russia was not returning to a Soviet Union sense of isolation from the world. He mocked NATO for being unable to provide support for Georgia during the crisis and sarcastically noted “NATO only provoked the conflict and nothing more than that.”
Charge and counter charges make headlines in the morning press but have nothing to do with resolving issues between nations. It is time for NATO to abandon Bush policies of deliberately provoking Russia and engage in comprehensive negotiations which would reduce Russian fears of being threatened by the West. In return there must be Russian evacuation of Georgia. It would help if Western leaders acknowledged the role played by Georgia in precipitating the entire conflict.