Russia’s Political Folly

In a letter to the Times, an academic notes that the invasion of Georgia may have been a short-term victory and long-term loss for Russia’s regional interests:

Re “Russia’s War of Ambition” (editorial, Aug. 12): While militarily a success, Russia’s incursion into Georgia to reassert its sphere of influence in the “near abroad” is political folly. The Russian-Georgian conflict has likely pushed Georgia out of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine, whose leaders have traveled to Georgia to express solidarity with President Mikheil Saakashvili, will distance themselves further from a domineering, oil-resurgent Russia. Russian military might has won the day in Georgia, but as a means of extending its influence in the region, political pressure and persuasion would have been far more effective. Lawrence P. Markowitz Oberlin, Ohio, Aug. 12, 2008