EU: Maybe we’ll kick Russia out of the G-8

posted at 10:00 am on August 31, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Europe has begun discussing tough sanctions on Russia for their imperial invasion of Georgia, and it has Vladimir Putin worried.  Normally mild-mannered Germany has broached the idea of freezing Moscow out of the G-7, and Britain has implored its fellow EU partners not to let Russia bully them through energy deliveries.  The mood on the Continent has taken a distinct turn away from Russia, and may get worse:

European heavyweights Germany and Britain questioned Russia’s ties with global institutions on Sunday, a day before EU leaders meet to decide what action to take over the Kremlin’s intervention in Georgia. …

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who holds the rotating EU presidency, called the summit so the bloc can respond to Russia’s intervention in Georgia and its recognition of independence for two breakaway regions.

“In the light of Russian actions, the EU should review — root and branch — our relationship with Russia,” Brown wrote in a comment published in Britain’s Observer newspaper. He made no mention of possible EU sanctions against Russia.

Referring to Russia’s role as a supplier of more than a quarter of Europe’s gas — which some analysts say has tempered European condemnation — Brown said: “No nation can be allowed to exert an energy stranglehold over Europe.”

Eckart von Klaeden, who holds the foreign policy brief for Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, said leading industrial nations should meet as the G7, without Russia, until Russia complies with international demands.

Putin noted that he expects some kind of action, and worries about the potential fracture from the West:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has urged EU leaders to show “common sense” and ignore calls for sanctions, while acknowledging Russia was nervous about what’s in store.

“If I were to say that we don’t care, that we were indifferent, I would be lying,” Putin said in an interview to Germany’s ARD television.

The powerful former Kremlin leader offered assurances, saying Russians troops “of course will leave these positions where we are now… We will not remain there forever” and declaring that Russia recognises Ukraine’s borders.

This could get ugly, and quickly.  Putin has already threatened the lines of communication recently opened into Afghanistan, which makes the NATO mission more difficult.  Russia can also cut off, restrict, or increase the price on oil and gas flowing into Europe.  More than a quarter of Europe’s energy comes from Russia, and they can do considerable damage to the EU economy.

However, they do that at the risk to their own.  Russia relies on free trade with the West for its own needs.  Putin and Medvedev want entry into the WTO, but now may get excluded from the G-8, a major step backwards in integrating themselves into the global markets.

Georgia struck a note of moderation into this debate.  They want sanctions on Russia, but do not see any point in isolating Moscow.  The Georgians want sanctions targeted to the Russian government — diplomatic sanctions, travel restrictions, and the freezing of assets abroad.  That may be a good first step, and a way to pressure the two leaders in Moscow into re-thinking their plans to create version 3 of the Russian Empire.

In any case, Europe and the US must continue pressuring Moscow into retreating from Georgia.  The pressure thus far has produced a counterproposal for international peacekeepers through the OCSE to replace Russian troops in Georgia proper.  This could be a face-saving way for Putin out of this crisis, but until the last Russian soldier leaves Georgia, one has to consider any of these offers for what it allows Russia, and not how it supposedly restricts Russia.  France made that mistake earlier this month, and the West and Georgia cannot afford to make it again.


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Eh… Europe talks good. Let’s see them do it first.

Noelie on August 31, 2008 at 10:06 AM

All we could hope for at the outset was to slow down the Russian advances through diplomacy. There was no way for us to stop the Russians from their military operations.

Now that things have been slowed down, it is time to bolster the Georgians through aid and sanction Russia until Russia fully steps back. It is good to see the Euros at least leaning that way–by that I mean “Old Europe” since “New Europe” is clearly very worried about Russia’s behavior.

BryanS on August 31, 2008 at 10:07 AM

To he77 with Putin and Russia. It’s past time to shove back, hard. No G-8, no NATO, no WTO, no joint exercises. If Europe wants to sleep with that mangy dog, they can deal with the fleas themselves.

Zorro on August 31, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Normally mild-mannered Germany has broached the idea of freezing Moscow out of the G-7

But they have a pro-American administration now.

jgapinoy on August 31, 2008 at 10:09 AM

“If I were to say that we don’t care, that we were indifferent, I would be lying,” Putin said

…and I’ve never lied before. Hawhawhawhawhaw

jgapinoy on August 31, 2008 at 10:10 AM

“If I were to say that we don’t care, that we were indifferent, I would be lying,” Putin said in an interview to Germany’s ARD television.

that’s a rattler’s tail-shake folks.

sven10077 on August 31, 2008 at 10:13 AM

If Russia pulls out of NATO they should also be required to give up their seat on the UN Security Council.

MSGTAS on August 31, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Let’s send the Alaska national guard to Georgia, with Commander Palin leading.

jgapinoy on August 31, 2008 at 10:20 AM

declaring that Russia recognises Ukraine’s borders.

Meaning, they know where to cross.

ThePrez on August 31, 2008 at 10:23 AM

If Russia pulls out of NATO they should also be required to give up their seat on the UN Security Council

Lets call this what it is …the league of nations, a bunch of gutless wonders.

grapeknutz on August 31, 2008 at 10:23 AM

MSGTAS on August 31, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Russia only has observer status in NATO and the EU.
They are not members…
They are not and never have been a US Ally.

DJ Elliott on August 31, 2008 at 10:26 AM

That’s it boys. If someone invades one of your allies, threaten to tell them they aren’t in a club anymore. Great plan. Here’s another good idea. Censure them, I’m certain we can get a “Reprehensible” movement going can’t we?

I’ve got a suggestion for our European readers. Guys, start learning to speak Russian, because that’s likely going to be the language of the continent before too much longer. Russia has changed names, but not style and the leaders are old KGB men. British readers will remember poor old Georgi Markov won’t they? After all, that was in 1978. During the good old Carter days right?

Snake307 on August 31, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Let’s send the Alaska national guard to Georgia, with Commander Palin leading.

jgapinoy on August 31, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I think she might need some help, perhaps from our current Vice President. After all, Dick Cheney and a Shotgun might be pretty useful in the Diplomatic front. Imagine, you’ve reached a stalemate with the Russian Ambassador, so you take him hunting to establish a friendship level with him, and what do you know, a tragic hunting accident.

Snake307 on August 31, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Please EU. Just say NO to fecklessness.

Loxodonta on August 31, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Let’s send the Alaska national guard to Georgia, with Commander Palin leading.

jgapinoy on August 31, 2008 at 10:20 AM

McCain’s Navy can ferry them across the Bering Strait.

eea on August 31, 2008 at 10:35 AM

and thus it begins….

*grins*

Maybe General Barack O’bama can fire up hsi “Organized Chicago Street Hu$tle” Brigades and whine Ivan away…..

Keep firing moonbats.

sven10077 on August 31, 2008 at 10:36 AM

France made that mistake earlier this month, and the West and Georgia cannot afford to make it again.

.
Any reliance on French diplomacy to do the right thing is always a mistake.

martywd on August 31, 2008 at 10:44 AM

‘Maybe’ is the key word. I expect ultimately, the other members of the G8 make some speeches and then do little if anything.

Vashta.Nerada on August 31, 2008 at 10:51 AM

They’ve got the easy part done, the talking. Now let’s see some action (I’m not holding my breath).

TooTall on August 31, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Any reliance on French diplomacy to do the right thing is always a mistake.

martywd on August 31, 2008 at 10:44 AM

The words “French” and “diplomacy” do not belong in the same sentence.

OldEnglish on August 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Russia should never have been part of the group in the first place.

Disturb the Universe on August 31, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Ha, shades of an Obama rally in Germany — the EU isn’t in the G8.

I don’t mind Germany, France, United Kingdom, and Italy pushing for it in whatever venue they like, though.

Dusty on August 31, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Time for a little Truman/Molotov diplomacy.

whitetop on August 31, 2008 at 11:25 AM

The words “French” and “diplomacy” do not belong in the same sentence.
OldEnglish on August 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM

.
Yes, so true.   What could I have been thinking?   ;-)

martywd on August 31, 2008 at 11:26 AM

i credit Biden’s mom for this move by the EU.

TheCulturalist on August 31, 2008 at 12:04 PM

they won’t.

redrock on August 31, 2008 at 12:17 PM

“If Russia pulls out of NATO they should also be required to give up their seat on the UN Security Council.”

WTF? NATO has nothing to do with the UN.

davod on August 31, 2008 at 12:21 PM

This issue has highlighted a more important point. The UK government does not have an independant view on this. It has stated that they will let the EU be the spokesman fr the UK.

davod on August 31, 2008 at 12:22 PM

This is how to handle PUTIN and the RUSSIAN mindset. The only thing ex-KGB understands is FORCE or ECONOMICS… If you remember it was ECONOMICS that was the DOWNFALL of the old SOVIET UNION… You can’t spread TERROR and FEAR across the globe, when you are for all intents and purposes BROKE…

pueblo1032 on August 31, 2008 at 12:34 PM

The EU is led by a bunch of blow hards – they will achieve nothing at all beyond sending strongly worded letters. Against the backdrop of imploding euro economies this is all just hot air.

In particular, the UK’s demonstrably ineffectual leadership huffing and puffing about this issue has been particularly laughable as the world watches the UK economy go straight down the toilet. These are people in no position to make any demands on anyone.

Forget gun boat diplomacy – this is whining baby diplomacy: a lot of whining, throwing toys out of the crib, and fake tantrums. A lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Ares on August 31, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Stick with 8, just invite China instead.

agmartin on August 31, 2008 at 2:10 PM

I think we are looking at this the wrong way. If Russia gets away with nothing more than meaningless gestures and rhetoric, perhaps the US should follow suit and take over
the Mexican states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas in order to better secure our southern border. Russia is setting the precedent we can follow.

highhopes on August 31, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Finally…the Europeans are standing up to Russia.
That’s what happens when you get conservatives in power. We have Sarkozy in France, Merkel in Germany, Klaus in the Czech Republic, Donald Tusk in Poland, Adrus Ansip in Estonia, Valdas Adamkus (a Reagan-ite!) in Lithuania, Vladis Zatlers in Latvia…you get my point.

Glenn Jericho on August 31, 2008 at 8:46 PM

We have Sarkozy in France, Merkel in Germany, Klaus in the Czech Republic, Donald Tusk in Poland, Adrus Ansip in Estonia, Valdas Adamkus (a Reagan-ite!) in Lithuania, Vladis Zatlers in Latvia…you get my point.

Glenn Jericho on August 31, 2008 at 8:46 PM

You can keep them. Apparently, a “conservative” is now defined as a pawn of a foreign power. Maybe the US should elect a president loyal to China, that would be ultra-conservative!

GermanAtheist on August 31, 2008 at 8:57 PM

We have Sarkozy in France, Merkel in Germany, Klaus in the Czech Republic, Donald Tusk in Poland, Adrus Ansip in Estonia, Valdas Adamkus (a Reagan-ite!) in Lithuania, Vladis Zatlers in Latvia…you get my point.

Glenn Jericho on August 31, 2008 at 8:46 PM

You can keep them. Apparently, a “conservative” is now defined as a pawn of a foreign power. Maybe the US should elect a president loyal to China, that would be ultra-conservative!

GermanAtheist on August 31, 2008 at 8:57 PM

You’re going to have to explain this one, GermanAthiest (if you’re willing). Your comment makes it seem like (1) *you’re* the one equating conservatism with lackey status, and (2) accusing these folks of being lackeys of some foreign power (who?).

To what extent if any, in your opinion, does the political philosophy of these individuals equate to an excessive deference to a foreign power, or is such deference just an added bonus of some kind?

RD on September 1, 2008 at 7:03 PM