The story

It was against the terms of the Russia/Georgia cease-fire, brokered by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy. It was directly in contravention of the request not to do it from President George W. Bush of the United States. But Russia's President Dimitri Medvedev has gone and done it anyway. He has made Russia the first country to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

So does that, as some of the more fevered commentators are suggesting, amount to a new Cold War? It certainly ratchets up the East-West tension still further. It breaks the terms of a cease-fire which insisted Georgia's territorial integrity should be respected. Russia's announcement that it will station troops in the two territories to ensure their "security", a word others might spell as "subservience", is a direct provocation.

It is, says Georgia, an illegal "annexation". Other European nations have hastened to condemn it as an unacceptable rewriting of borders by force. What do you think of Russian recognition? Read full article »

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