Wow. If this is the EU’s tough stand on Russia concerning the Georgian conflict, I wonder what would have happened if Russia had gotten off easily. The stormy, four-hour talks with French President and current EU boss Nicolas Sarkozy near Moscow Monday may have yielded an agreement, but it is hard to see how anyone in Europe or in the US could get very excited about it.

That the Russians will withdraw their forces from what remains of Georgia in a month’s time from now may sound like a success at first, but this agreement did not commit Russia to scale back its military presence in the two Georgian separatist regions it created by invading the small neighboring country in the first place. And what else was agreed to here? Basically this:

Russia has established “irrevocable” diplomatic ties with the breakaway (broken away?) regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and sees them now as independent states, still ignoring pleas from the West and refusing to scale back its military presence there.

The agreement also agreed to ignore, in essence, Sarkozy’s original six-point deal made just a few days ago in which Russia would withdraw to the positions it held before last month’s short war.

The agreement also allows Russia more time to figure out its next move with impunity, after the timeline given them in the original plan already ran out.

The agreement also indicates the EU will renew talks on the partnership talks with Russia it suspended indefinitely last week, provided the Russian troop withdrawal is finally completed, and this whether or not Russia backs down from its unilateral recognition of its two new vassal states.

No talk here of sanctioning Russia for effectively redrawing the borders of a neighboring state as it so chooses. No talk here about the bellicose plans for its joint-naval exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean in what it says is a response to the presence of US warships in the Black Sea. If any of you out there can remember the Cold War, this must certainly sound familiar.

What a wonderful agreement indeed. It’s back to business between the EU and Russia again, business as usual.

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