To continue a theme I’ve touched on in a few recent posts, Daniel Drezner’s comments (via the 8th Circle) on Georgia, Russia and NATO expansion are worth reading. Drezner cautions against believing that encroachment of Western influence and institutions like NATO and the EU is the primary cause of Russian coercion of its near abroad:
He also notes that joining institutions like the EU and NATO could moderate Georgia’s behavior, though he still comes out against NATO membership for Georgia:
For the record, I think I’m with Hilzoy on this question — extending NATO membership to the Baltics makes sense, but extending it to Georgia is a country too far. My point in this post is that I’m very leery of either all-in arguments (neocons) or all-out arguments (realists). Neither group has really distinguished themselves in this debate.
I remain in the realist camp with regard to NATO expansion to Georgia and Ukraine, but I’m skeptical of knee-jerk attempts lay the Georgian conflict at the feet of the United States. (Notice, for example, the dissonance between the headline of this story, and the quotes of every U.S. official within the body of the article.) It’s clear to me that U.S. policy toward Russia at the strategic level has been muddled and counterproductive, but U.S. policy didn’t cause the Georgia war.