Russia Declares Victory, but Troops Remain Put

James Carafano /

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, brokered a deal this week between Russia and Georgia, and the Russians are declaring victory. Sarkozy, as the current EU President, negotiated the deal with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and later got it approved by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

In the deal, Georgia pledged “not to use force against its two breakaway republics – a key Russian demand,” in return Russia would begin removing its troops from a safety zone in Georgian territory currently occupied by the Russian military. That Russia is declaring victory should not bode well to the resolution of the conflict.

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, “the deal may help drive a wedge between [Europe] and Washington,” as Washington aims for a stronger message. On Monday, the US froze a US-Russia nuclear cooperation deal; a stark contrast to Europe’s dovish deal making. Some even see the recent events as a strategic effort by Russia to play Europe and the US against each other.

According to Sally McNamara , Russia should not be trusted by anyone. The last deal, also negotiated by Sarkozy, Moscow “shamelessly flouted…at every turn, thereby exposing the weakness of Sarkozy’s shuttle diplomacy.” Russia has proven its contempt for the international law, including its recent recognition of independence for South Ossetia and Abkhazia and attempt to redraw borders by force. The case of Russia shows the need for stronger international institutions that are able and willing to act, and the need for Europe and the US to work together in confronting such an aggressive actor.”