While it's appealing on the surface to push for an "everyone wins" solution to the Russio-Georgian war that allows the break-away provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to vote on independence, the long-term result of this approach will be a proliferation of tiny, fragile nations that are incapable of protecting and maintaining their own sovereignty. Is a nation that cannot deter its enemies from attacking and defend its borders when necessary really sovereign? Is a nation that depends on the good-will and assistance of international power-brokers to sustain its territorial integrity sovereign?
It's not that might-makes-right, but might is what transforms rights into reality. Without might, rights are an ephemeral abstraction that can evaporate in an instant.
The brilliantly cynical Spengler agrees that "loser" states shouldn't be coddled:
There is no longer any reason to put up with the tantrums of long-redundant tribes. If 3.7 million ethnic Georgians have the right to break away from the 142 million population of the Russian Federation, why shouldn't the 100,000 Ossetians living in Georgia break away and form their own state as well? Most of them have acquired Russian passports and want nothing to do with the Georgians. The Ossetians have spoken their variant of Persian for more than a millennium and had their own kingdom during the Middle Ages.
If the West is going to put itself at risk for 3.8 million ethnic Georgians, roughly the population of Los Angeles, or 5.4 million Tibetans, or 2 million Albanian Muslims in Kosovo, why shouldn't Russia take risks for the South Ossetians, not to mention the 100,000 Abkhaz speakers in Georgia's secessionist Black Sea province? Once the infinite regress of ethnic logic gets into motion, there is no good reason not to pull the world apart like taffy.
Forget the Kosovo Albanians, the South Ossetians, the Abkhazians, Saakashvili and the Dalai Lama. These are relics of an older world that might deserve their own theme park, but not their own state. Precisely what are 3.8 million freedom-loving Georgians supposed to contribute to American strategic interests with its US$2 billion a year of exports consisting (according to the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook) of "scrap metal, wine, mineral water, ores, vehicles, fruits and nuts"? Georgia's hope was to lever its geographical position on the Russia border by making itself useful to the American military.
I'm starting to think Spengler has been right all along and that we were foolish to take the Georgians in as allies in the first place. I'll need to do some more pondering.