British foreign secretary David Miliband says that Russia is trying to carve out a sphere of influence in the former Soviet republics:
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband has warned Russia against hankering after a Soviet past in its border disputes. He told the BBC Russia had been trying to assert the concept of “ex-Soviet space”, which was “not acceptable”. Russia had adopted a 19th Century approach and “blatant aggression” in Georgia, when it should be asserting itself economically, he said.
I agree with Miliband. The question is, how to rein in the bear? Earlier this year, Georgia had been denied NATO membership, and Russia probably interpreted this as meaning the West wouldn’t intervene if Russia invaded (indeed it would be hard to interprete it any other way, since the whole point of NATO membership is that the West will intervene if a member is invaded).
So, if the West wants to signal that it doesn’t agree to Russia having control over the Caucasus, Ukraine or Moldova, the obviously way would be to offer them NATO membership. Furthermore, the West should point out that it is only doing this because of Russia’s actions in Georgia.