The current military clash between Russia and Georgia is one of the most serious crises of the post-Soviet era. Russian forces quickly overwhelmed the Georgian military in South Ossetia and then broadened the conflict by conducting air strikes throughout Georgia and deploying forces in Abkhazia. While Russian President Medvedev halted military operations on August 12, it will take time and careful diplomacy to stabilize the still volatile situation.
On Thursday, August 14, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings hosted a group of leading foreign policy experts for a discussion of the implications and possible solutions to the Ossetia conflict. The panel addressed what motivated President Saakashvili’s decision to send Georgian troops into South Ossetia; the ramifications of Georgia’s defeat; what motivated a very robust Russian response and what the crisis reveals about Russian policy toward its neighboring former Soviet states. The panel also explored U.S. and European options for engagement with Russia and its neighbors.
CUSE Director Daniel Benjamin made introductory remarks and Visiting Fellow Steven Pifer moderated the panel discussion featuring Brookings President Strobe Talbott; Cory Welt of Georgetown University; and Robert Kagan and Martha Brill Olcott of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
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