De Facto Acquiescence

Jackson Diehl has an interesting op/ed today on Georgia:

“By refusing us, [NATO] will be sending a signal to Russia of, ‘Go and get them. We are not going to mind too much,’ ” Saakashvili said. “Russia will be emboldened. They will conclude that they are on the right track when they stir up trouble with us.” The Germans argue, weakly, that it is trouble that they are trying to avoid — that Putin has been pushed enough by NATO’s support for Kosovo’s independence and U.S. missile defense bases in Europe. The trouble with that logic is that, by insisting on those Western priorities over Moscow’s vehement objections while conceding on Georgia and Ukraine, NATO governments are effectively drawing a line in a still-unsettled post-Cold War European order. On one side are Kosovo and the missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, which Putin is powerless to tamper with; on the other are the only legitimate democracies between Poland and Turkey, where the response to aggressive Russian meddling would be de facto acquiescence.