The conflict between Russia and Georgia will likely have long-term consequences for the US. Former US Ambassador to Romania Jim Rosapepe thinks the US response to the Russian invasion will either provide hope or despair to supporters of democracy around the world. Reflecting on his time in the region, Rosapepe wrote in an op-ed:
Romanians would tell us: Wait till Russia is back. When its economy rebounds and its political leadership regains self-confidence, watch out. This week, our Romanian friends are thinking, though they are too diplomatic to say it: We told you so.
I spoke with the former Ambassador yesterday, and asked him to discuss America's past missteps in the region, as well as how the US should move forward. Here's what he shared with me.
What could the US have done differently after the fall of the USSR? The US could have provided more economic aid to the former USSR, just like we helped the economies of Western European right after World War Two with the Marshall Plan.
What should the US do now? The US needs to stay focused and consistent in sending the message to democrats in Georgia and around the world that the US supports them and democratic values. The US should not abandon faith in what America stands for.
To find out what the Ambassador thinks about the priorities of everyday Americans, as well as his thoughts on Russia's future, read more.
The Russian invasion came as a surprise to most Americans last Friday morning. Should the events in this region be more important to Americans? Americans can't stay on top of what's happening in every small country around the world, and that's understandable. But what happens next in Georgia should be a top priority to Americans. The more peaceful democracies there are in the world, the safer America is, whether the democracies be in Georgia, Asia, or Latin America.
Will Russia ever be able to get along with its neighbors? Russia decided to make a political statement on Friday for whatever reason. But Russia's interests are consistent with its neighbors. Russia can be a safe, respected, and prosperous country, and so can its neighbors. Germany and France have proven that historically warring neighbors can coexist and prosper together.