Washington, DC The Friederich Naumann Foundation hosted a discussion on “War and Peace: Russia and her neighbors” on September 30. Foreign policy experts gathered to listen to guest speaker, Alexander Graf Lamsdorff who is a Member of the European Union Parliament and a member of the Free Democratic Party in Germany.
Early August 2008, the Russian-Georgian conflict escalated and put the EU and the US on notice. Securing a ceasefire agreement has been the utmost priority. Leading to valid questions to better understand the dynamics in the region. Mr. Lambsdorff made clear that to find the best solution, “We must put ourselves in Russia’s shoes.” He also offered the merits of engaging and the consequences of disengaging. Encouraging more superpowers into the G8 – perhaps India and Brazil would be beneficial. Constant dialogue and exchanges are essential. Known measures of freezing assets, trade embargoes, and visa restrictions are possible mechanisms to achieve stability but not the initial measures to be taken. Lambsdorff stated clearly, “canceling meetings is not a good policy.”
But – left unanswered was the question, “Why do the two regions Southern Ossetia and Abkazia want to be separate from Georgia?” One guest asked what was their similarity to Kosovo. Begging the question, how do policy makers make one decision to support independence in one region but not in another? One young EU representative commented on global foreign policy making with, “Consistency would be a wise policy.”