The Magazine

What Is To Be Done?

The conflict in Georgia.

Aug 25, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 46 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN
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All of these actions are defensive. We need not give Russia's neighbors advanced tanks, strike aircraft, or long-range precision weapons. NATO should extend a guarantee to Georgia and Ukraine, but this program could help deter Russian aggression even without such a guarantee. The aims of this effort are very different from our Cold War strategy. We would not be trying to contain Russia in the expectation that it would ultimately collapse of its own contradictions. We would simply be trying to assist independent, sovereign states to protect themselves, and thereby helping persuade Russia to engage the world like any other responsible member of the international community, something that the Russians--in contrast to the Soviets--constantly claim that they are endeavoring to do.

In its own interest and in the interests of its allies, America must reject Vladimir Putin's attempts to rewrite international law to suit Russia's revanchist ambitions. We must reject the Russian fairy tale that aid to Russia's neighbors is a threat to Russia. And we must reject the idea that helping Russia's neighbors stand up to Moscow will create a new Cold War that appeasement would somehow avoid.

--Frederick W. Kagan, for the Editors