Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A List of Former Soviet Breakaway Regions and How We Can Prevent the Next South Ossetia

BBC: Russian recognizes Georgian rebels
Reuters: Russia warns Moldova against Georgian mistake

A list of former Warsaw Pact breakaway regions
It is easy to forget, with the way the mainstream media acts, that Kosovo, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia are not the only regions trying to gain independence in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and its regional allies – the countries of the Warsaw Pact. Almost all of these regions have received backing from Russia. Without further ado, the list:

Movements supported by Russia
• South Ossetia (Georgia)
• Abkhazia (Georgia)
• Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)
• Nakhchivan (Armenia)
• Crimea (Ukraine)
• Transnistria (Moldova)

Movements not supported by Russia
• Chechnya (Russia)
• Kosovo (formerly in Serbia)

The next war
Where is Russia most likely to provoke war in next? Crimea in the Ukraine has been widely seen as the next target. The Ukraine almost received NATO membership this year, and is becoming a closer ally of the United States. Russia has begun handing out citizenship to those living in Crimea – exactly what it did in Georgia, and Russia’s main excuse for war.

However, Crimea has not been a flashpoint for violence, unlike South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As well, Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko is not as nationalistic or as hotheaded as Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili.

Preventive measures
As I’ve argued before, we must include Georgia and the Ukraine in NATO as soon as possible. One, to deter Russian aggression and to ensure any attack by Russia could be properly responded to. Two, to isolate Russia. The policy of containment worked during the Cold War. There’s no reason it shouldn’t work now.

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