Talks between French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Dmitri Medvedev went in Russia’s favor. The Russian’s received a security guarantee that Georgia wouldn’t attack South Ossetia and Abkhazia in exchange for withdrawing its forces from Georgian territory and allowing the deployment 200 international monitors beginning Oct 1. Russia will keep nearly 8000 troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia just in case.
This is not to say that the talks went smooth. At one point Sarkozy almost walked out. Sounds like Georgia was left in the dust. Saakashvili tried to save face by calling the agreement “a step forward.” The scorecard: Russia: win; the EU: win, South Ossetia and Abkhazia: win; Georgia: lose; and the American Cold Warrior blowhards: lose.
According to the NY Times, the hardliners in the Bush Administration have lost another internal battle. Bush, to his credit, has decided follow the EU’s lead and not to take any unilateral action against Russia. As US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, “If we act too precipitously, we could be the ones who are isolated.” I hope that plate of realism served to Dick Cheney tasted real bitter.
Speaking of Cheney, here’s a good article from Kommersant on how the Azeris snubbed him. The Guardian‘s Lionel Beehner sums up the real motives behind Cheney’s Caucasian swing: antagonizing Russia, oil, and helping the Republicans.