A new book has revealed sensational details about Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008, claiming that French President Nicolas Sarkozy bullied Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili into signing a vague and unenforceable ceasefire agreement, which eventually saw Russia illegally annex large parts of Georgia’s territory. Sarkozy is quoted as saying: “Where is Bush? Where are the Americans? They are not coming to save you. No Europeans are coming, either. You are alone. If you don’t sign, the Russian tanks will be here soon.”
This is just another insight into the EU’s woeful mismanagement of the crisis, which remains a festering sore on Europe’s doorstep. The EU’s policy toward Russia – driven by France and Germany – returned to business-as-usual with indecent haste after the war, underpinned by Paris’s proposed sale of its Mistral class warships to Moscow. The Mistral is one of the most advanced helicopter carriers in the world which would significantly upgrade Russia’s power projection. Crucially, it would afford the Russian Black Sea Fleet exponentially quicker capacity to deliver its troops into Georgia.
At NATO’s Bucharest Summit in 2008, President Bush pushed hard for the Euro-Atlantic community to send Georgia a strong message of support for its liberal democratic reforms by granting them a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for entry into the alliance. France & Germany viscerally opposed him, arguing that it didn’t want to provoke Russian ire. Failing to grant Georgia the MAP in Bucharest ironically did the exact opposite, sending Russia the message that Europe de facto recognized Moscow’s ‘sphere of privileged interest’ policy.
Europe again missed an opportunity to stand up to Russian aggression when the EU failed to even criticize Russia for simulating a nuclear attack on Poland. Moscow’s gamed invasion of EU member, Poland has cruelly exposed European divisions with regard to Russia and highlighted the fallacy of a common EU foreign policy.