The 42nd Meeting of "Diplomatic Roundtable"
on "Russian Foreign Policy after the Georgian Conflict" Held

JFIR and its two sister organizations, the Global Forum of Japan and the Council on East Asian Community, taking advantage of an occasion of a visit to Japan of a prominent person on international and other affairs, regularly organize "the Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting, which is an informal gathering of members of JFIR and its two sister organizations for a frank exchange of views and opinions with the visiting guest. The 42nd "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting on the topic of "Russian Foreign Policy after the Georgian Conflict" was held on 3 October 2008. An introductory presentation by Dr. Jonathan EYAL, Director of International Security Studies at Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), was as follows.

The Russian invasion of Georgia means the end of the "post-Cold War era." The collapse of the Soviet Union was not hailed as liberation in Russia. On the contrary, the Russians nostalgically long for the past glory to come back again. After the end of the Cold War we in the West have offered many cooperatons in the hope that we could build a new partnership. However, they have shown little interest in our offers, and asked us, instead, to pay an unacceptable price. Having defined themselves to be a "great power," the Russians asked us to help them to re-build their "past empire." The Georgian conflict took place in this context. It was intended and carefully planned by Russia. However, it must be admitted that EU countries are not single minded in the face of this conflict. First, Germany, which feels indebted to Russia for its re-unification, does not want to offend Russia. Second, U.K., Central and Eastern European, as well as Scandinavian countries think that this is a matter of principle and no compromise is possible. Third, France, Spain and Italy do not want a decisive confrontation with Russia while acknowledging problems of the Russian invasion. I do not think that the Cold War would come back again though there might appear something which looks similar to the Cold War. The reason is because the Russians are neither ready nor capable of waging another Cold War. The present Russia is different from the former Soviet Union in the following three points. First, its economy is dependent on the world economy. Second, Russia has no allies abroad. Third, Russia's military power is overwhelmingly inferior to that of US or NATO. If a new Cold War emerges, Russia will inevitably get defeated.

 

The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)

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