Pacta non sunt servanda

From Denis MacShane on Comment is Free:

Now, the Kremlin has thrown down a new challenge to Sarkozy, to the EU, and to the OSCE (one of the most important examples of successful US diplomacy) at a time when Washington preferred jaw-jaw to war-war. In the six-point agreement Medvedev signed with Sarkozy pride of place went to a clause which stated “the international observation team of the OSCE will continue to exercise their mandate” as defined before the conflict.

The OSCE mission with the duty to observe and report on what was happening in the disputed territories has been in place since 1991. Now the Kremlin has ordered its expulsion in clear violation of the Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement. The mission was never more than 200 strong. It could not stop Russian ethnic cleansing of Georgians or prevent Georgian president Saakashvili’s attack. But the contempt and cynicism with which the Kremlin has expelled the OSCE mission shows that a solemn agreement signed by the Russian president is worthless. Pacta non sunt servanda is Putin’s new contribution to the lexicon of 21st century diplomacy.