A Russian stalemate

Don't expect the Russia-Georgia conflict to change much any time soon:
The EU's dilemma will come to a head in the weeks before the bloc's next summit on October 15-16. Poland and the Baltic countries, backed by Britain, argue that the EU must choose values over interests. In practical terms, this will mean a freeze on all cooperation with Russia until it goes back to the pre-August status quo in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Pointing out that such a turn of events is extremely unlikely, France, Germany, and most other western EU member states want cooperation with Russia to resume, leaving only verbal pressure on Moscow to back down.

Both camps believe vitally important issues are at stake. The longer they remain divided, the more difficult it will become for the EU to maintain its front of political unity.

In light of Russia's vital role in Europe's energy supply, the EU will need to not only take Russia firmly in hand, not backing down to Russian aggression; it will also need to bolster Ukraine as a strong positive example and look toward using that country as an alternate, and more secure, route for oil and natural gas into Europe. To be able to stand up to Russia, Europe will need as much armor as it can get.