10 August 2008

If I should die, think only this of me...

The conflict in North Ossetia between Russia and Georgia has caught everyone off guard - the most serious news story of the year right in the middle of the silly season, the classic example of the place "far away about which we know little". While all reportage of bombardments and refugees fills the airtime, it seems even the "serious" journalists have been so busy trying to work out which side is The Good Guys, everyone seems to have overlooked a salient point:

Georgia is an "accession" country to NATO - on the threshold of joining the biggest military coalition since the great alliance between France, Britain and Russia in 1914. And we all know what happened then. So, if we had accepted Georgia's entry when it was last mooted at the Bucharest summit last April, we would technically find ourselves at war with Russia right now, under the protocol of mutual security.

As NATO seeks to expand ever eastward, under the principle of Annoying The Russians, the potential for embroiling ourselves in ever more obscure ethnic conflicts multiplies almost exponentially. There may well come a time when there's some corner of Kamyanets-Podilsky that is ever England.

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