U.S. Demands Sanctions Against Russia
Posted on Aug 18, 2008
The Bush administration continued efforts to resurrect the Cold War this week by demanding that European governments back sanctions against Russia. So far, America’s allies in NATO are showing relative restraint in the face of a transatlantic temper tantrum.
On Sunday the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, warned against “knee-jerk reactions” on Russia: “Talks in the Nato-Russia council are essential. We need open lines of communication.”
Russia has been seeking a session of the council since the conflict erupted 10 days ago, but the Americans have blocked it. The US ambassador to Nato, Kurt Volker, has not met his Russian counterpart in Brussels, Dmitri Rogozin.
Today’s meeting is the first time the US and European governments have gathered to discuss how to respond to what many see as Russia’s challenge to the post-cold war order in Europe. But with Europe split over how to react, the mood at Nato headquarters appears to be one of deciding to do little for the time being in order to prevent a transatlantic rift, and for fear of jeopardising the ceasefire in Georgia and the chances of a full Russian retreat.
Flickr / DavidDennis