Medvedev takes first step toward new world order
Gazeta.ru, Vedomosti.ru, Vedomosti
Russia’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia several months after the leading Western countries recognized Kosovo’s independence has closed the door on a short period of a stable world order. Analysts say Moscow has provided a much more radical example of solving international problems without resorting to traditional mechanisms. Russia put off the recognition of the breakaway Georgian republics for as long as possible, until it had to choose between doing it or bowing to the West – although it did not consider itself guilty of anything, and eating humble pie in this situation would have been vivid proof of its inefficiency. Boris Shmelev, head of the Center for Comparative Political Studies at the Institute of International Economic and Political Studies, said,
In chess, such situations are described as zugzwang, or the necessity to move when every decision has negative consequences. It is a choice between bad and worse. Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will enrage the West, and a crisis in bilateral relations that began several years ago will deteriorate into confrontation. However, a decision not to recognize the two republics would have seriously damaged Russia’s prestige and possibly destabilized the situation in Russia’s North Caucasus, which would be still worse.
Nikolai Zlobin, director of Russian and Asian programs at the U.S. Center for Defense Information, said Russia had delivered the final blow at the system of international relations agreed by the anti-Hitler coalition in Yalta, and opened the door to what the United States and other Western countries have demanded for the past few years – a revision of the fundamentals of the current world order. Zlobin said,
Dmitry Medvedev, the first Russian president to become a politician after the Cold War, has driven the last nail in the coffin of the system that has long become ineffective and inadequate, and has more than once led the international community into a dead-end. When the West gets over its emotional reaction to Moscow’s decision, many will sigh with relief there, because they will see that Dmitry Medvedev has untied their hands and actually made the decisive move toward a new world order. This offers Russia and the West new opportunities. The main thing now is not to become too involved with foreign policy maneuvering and attempts to punish each other, or else the sides will miss this rare strategic opportunity to change the world to one’s liking.