In Ronald D. Asmus’s new book, he asserts that that Russia has been significantly damaged by its 2008 invasion of Georgia – a familiar argument. Writing in the New York Times, John Vinocur doesn’t believe that any costs have been felt – thanks to the U.S., Europe, and NATO “sweeping it under the rug.” Perhaps its too early to tell.
At its most significant, the invasion had the double characteristic of Russia maximizing its capacity to exercise a veto over the West’s security interests, while the West, divided and without clear leadership, sought to minimize the obvious importance of the event.
Mr. Asmus’s book offers the details. And clarity: “A close partner of the United States and a candidate country for NATO was invaded, and neither Washington nor the Atlantic Alliance did much to come to its assistance.”
Add to that the still incomplete withdrawal of Russian invasion troops, the declarations of “independence” (or de facto Russian annexation) of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the assertions by President Dmitri A. Medvedev, immediately following the war, enunciating a doctrine of privileged Russian interests in the countries along Russia’s frontiers.