EU Deploys Observer Mission to Georgia

Apparently, not only are Russian forces protecting South Ossetai and Abkhazia from aggression, they’re also protecting the EU observer mission that deploys today:

“To some extent EU officials are frightened by the very mechanism of the transfer of power, as well as by how they can keep the situation in the region under control,” [Russian general Anatoly Nogovitsyn] told Interfax on Tuesday. “They requested that Russians ensure their security there.”

Seriously, though, the mission is taking gradual control of the buffer zones around the two provinces, in advance of Russia fulfilling its promised withdrawal from Georgian territory by Oct. 10. It’s the first concrete fruit, outside of the initial ceasefire, of the EU crisis intervention. There are still some thorny issues to be addressed, such as Russian withdrawal to pre-invasion lines (don’t hold your breath). But I think it’s time to add the EU’s enhanced credibility as a geopolitical actor to the list of outcomes to the Russia-Georgia War. And that’s a direct result of Nicolas Sarkozy’s very activist approach to French foreign policy and France’s presence on the international scene.