It may seem strange that I am writing about the 2009 report by the European Union fact-finding commission on the August 2008 Russia-Georgia war since it was published a year ago.
But the report is still very important today — in some sense, even more important than the war itself. The report, which was lead by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, is a blatant appeasement to Russia — a new Munich Agreement of sorts.
If you build policy and the economy on lies and self-deception, if you sincerely believe that you are the defender of freedom but out of fear and indifference you appease a dictatorship, and if you sincerely believe that you have a market economy despite having long ago sunk into debt and micromanaging the economy, the eventual consequences will be catastrophic.
To be honest, I was shocked by the report. My first thoughts after reading it were: “Europe has gone into retirement” and “Europe is no more.” Now one year later, Europe is falling apart.
According to the report, the Russia-Georgia war started when Georgia attacked Tskhinvali.
I was immediately reminded of a similar event in history. Before Finland declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941, there was one “small event” that triggered Finland’s declaration: The Red Army bombed dozens of Finnish settlements without ever declaring war. I have a question for Tagliavini: Is she certain that the start of the 1941-44 “Continuation War” between Russia and Finland should be considered from the moment that Finland declared war? What about all of the Russian provocations that preceded the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali?
Tagliavini has created nothing short of a revolution in global politics by introducing a new definition of war. It now turns out that wars are started by those who respond to the actions of aggressors. So, when the Red Army dropped bombs on Helsinki, that wasn’t war. But when Finland responded, it qualified as war.
The Tagliavini report was not complicity. It was cowardice in the face of an international bully. That cowardice by itself would not have been so bad had it not come from someone claiming to act as an arbiter in world affairs and as the voice of global conscience.
It turns out that it doesn’t necessarily take bribes to corrupt someone’s conscience. The prevailing motive in the report was to avoid at all costs spoiling relations with Russia by pointing out the Kremlin’s injustices and to heap most of the blame on Georgia, a country of far less importance to the international community.
The same thing is happening with the European economy. It is not just Greece or the euro that is coming apart at the seams. We are witnessing the unraveling of the whole philosophy of European bureaucratic socialism, which by some unfortunate misunderstanding considers itself a democracy.
Tagliavini, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor-cum-Gazprom PR agent Gerhard Schröder did not build Europe. It was built by their fathers and grandfathers following the end of World War II. At that time, Western Europe was an alternative to the Soviet Union — an alternative to slavery and tyranny. Post-World War II Europe symbolized the importance of never again signing a Munich Agreement with a dictator.
But it took only a few short years after the collapse of the Soviet Union for European bureaucrats to completely undo the Europe that their predecessors built. In that sense, Tagliavini’s report and the fall of the euro are just two sides of the same coin.