Recognition of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia

I’m cognizant of the danger of sounding like a broken record, but Kosovo KEEPS COMING BACK.  It’s like the villain in a bad horror movie.

Two quick points on the recognition of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia.

First, is there a clear difference of principle between the recognition of Kosovo and the recognition of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia?  All are small, barely viable, land-locked (Kosovo and S. Ossetia at least), all have outstanding territorial and ethnic disputes, all have been the victims and the victimizers in those ethnic disputes, all have a great power patron, all have their independence opposed by a great power, all have terrible problems with organized crime linked to the state.

And all are seceding / seceded from an imperfect democracy.  Yeah, the Kosovo War happened with Milosevic in power, but when the US recognized Kosovo independence, Milosevic was dead and Serbia was a democracy.  Indeed, the declaration was postponed to avoid affecting the Serbian presidential election.

Is there something I’m missing?

Second, I’m disturbed by the poor quality of the thinking on the part of the Bush administration.  I’m loath to say this, because I do not want this to sound partisan, and I’ve been critical of Clinton administration actions as well.  Nonetheless, when Condoleezza Rice describes the Russian recognition as “dead on arrival in the Security Council” thanks to the American veto, my response is “No kidding.  Just like Kosovo independence was, thanks to the Russian veto.”  That’s empty posturing, devoid of content and devoid of any serious thinking about how to get out of this mess that Saakashvili, Putin, Medvedev, and, yes, the leadership of the West, have gotten us into.

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