IN OTHER WORDS:Lot at stake
The Kremlin’s leaders continue to bluster and preen in the wake of their invasion of Georgia. Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian president, urged Washington this week to abandon Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili — calling him a “political corpse” — and claimed a “sphere of influence” outside Russian borders. His foreign minister warned Europe that countries dependent on Russian energy had better look to their “core interests.”
The Bush administration responded Wednesday, pro-posing $1 billion in American reconstruction aid for Georgia. The US must also keep up the pressure on Russia to withdraw its remaining troops from Georgia and permit deployment of neutral peacekeepers. Its decisions to suspend military exercises and a civilian nuclear deal, worth billions to Moscow, were sensible.
On Monday, the EU affirmed support for Georgia’s territorial integrity, but it postponed a decision on suspending talks with Russia on a new economic and security pact. They shouldn’t delay too long. Russia has vast oil and gas wealth, thousands of nuclear wea-pons and a veto on the UN Security Council. It is also a poorly developed, corrupt and fragile country with a lot to lose. While many Russians are exulting in the Kremlin’s new assertiveness, we suspect few are eager to return to the bad old days of isolation. — The New York Times