Conflict in Georgia Compels World to Fear Russia

Azerbaijan, Baku, 15 August /corr. Trend E.Tariverdiyeva / Moscow's actions in Georgia's conflict with South Ossetia will compel the international community to fear Russia.

"The European Union as the USA will increasingly more fear the actions of Russia, but many governments of the EU participating countries will fear resist it," U.S. expert Mark N. Katz said.

Large-scale military operations commenced in the unrecognized South Ossetia republic in the early morning of 8 August. Georgian Army entered Tskhinvali. Later Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and forced back the Georgian servicemen.

The Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said he made a decision to complete operations to bring Georgia to peace.

According to Katz, the U.S. and the EU will not go to war with Russia over South Ossetia or even Georgia. "Russia's action, though, will lead to America reevaluating Russia as now being a serious threat and not at all a partner," Katz, Professor of Government and Politics of George Mason University, told Trend via e-mail.

British Analyst on Georgia, Ksenia Skvortsova, considers that Russia's relations with the US will be severely tested.

According to the analyst, in many ways, Russian involvement in South Ossetia has confirmed many of the concerns shared in the West about Russia's ambitions for continuing its influence in the Caucasus region and its reliability as a partner.

The American politician Henry Hale also considers that the crisis is already damaging relations between Russia and both the EU and USA for at least two reasons. According to him, Russia seems to be going beyond what most Western specialists on peacekeeping would regard as a reasonable response of peacekeepers to a violation of a peace.

"Unfortunately, this situation for Russia reinforces a widespread Western media stereotype of Russia as being bent on restoring empire in its "near abroad," Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs of George Washington University, Hale, told Trend .

The situation with the USA will further aggravate because Russian policymakers are widely interpreting the crisis as part of a growing NATO-Russia geopolitical struggle, not just a struggle between Georgia and South Ossetia.

According to Skvortsova, exactly the USA mostly condemns Russia for interference in conflict on the territory of Georgia.

"President Bush has always enjoyed a close personal relationship with President Saakashvili and the US has unequivocally criticized Russia's military actions," expert of Control Risks Cottons Centre, Skvortsova, told Trend .

"At the same time, Russia must remain a strategic partner for the US in many areas, particularly international security, which is why I think it will be very difficult for the US to find practical ways of deterring Russia," Skvortsova said.

According to Skvortsova, in the longer term, the results of the November US elections will have a significant effect on the trajectory of Russia-US relations and US-Georgia relations as well.

According to politicians, the conflict in Georgia will strongly affect the reputation of the Russian President in eyes of the West.

According to Skvortsova, it is likely that anyone who was hoping that the foreign policy line will soften somewhat under President Medvedev will now think otherwise and Russia will have more problems convincing international partners of its objectivity and reliability.

According to Hale, the results have been a deterioration in mutual trust and damage to Russian President Medvedev's reputation as someone capable of pushing Russian-Western relations in a positive direction. "If Russia stops its military operations very soon, limiting itself to South Ossetia and embracing new talks with the Georgian leadership, then Russia's relations with the USA and EU will likely recover fairly quickly, which is what I expect to happen," the expert said.

According to Skvortsova, the relations with the EU will not undergo strict re-consideration.

"The EU has also condemned the conflict but has been slightly more cautious in its assessment. This is in large part because the EU remains concerned about European energy security and Russia's continuing provision of gas deliveries to Europe," the expert said.

According to the politician, again, the latest developments will make any dialogue in the EU-Russia group more difficult and are also likely to adversely affect Russia's World Trade Organization (WTO) joining prospects.

The correspondent ca be contacted: trend@trend.az

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