Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West

SILK ROAD FORUM with Ronald D. Asmus

Executive Director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Center

Monday, January 18, 2010, 11:00-12:30

Over a year after the war in Georgia, the outstanding issues in European security that the war raised have yet to be addressed. Ronald Asmus’s book, A Little War That Shook the World: Georgia, Russia and the Future of the West, is being released in January 2010. In this in-depth study, Asmus takes us behind the scenes to explore the run-up to and the causes of the Russo-Georgia war of August 2008, with a particular focus on the Western diplomacy during the conflict. Although this war may seem like ancient history to some, the issues it raised are still very much with us. This was a war in which there were no winners, only losers. None of the underlying tensions have been resolved. There is no solution in sight for the future status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Asmus argues that the conflict’s root cause was not the future status of Abkhazia or South Ossetia but Georgia’s desire to go West and Russia’s determination to stop it. Asmus says in his book that the war was also part of a broader Russian move to stop NATO enlargement once and for all and to change the rules of a European security system that Moscow has concluded no longer served its interests.

As Washington and Moscow zero in on a new arms control treaty, it is time to look at what lies ahead in the West’s relations with Russia. Most specifically, the U.S. and EU relations with Russia must examine how to deal with wider Europe and those countries lying between the borders of the EU and NATO and Russia.

Dr. Ronald Asmus is currently Executive Director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Center and responsible for Strategic Planning at the German Marshall Fund of the US. He has played an important role in expanding GMF’s operations in Brussels and its overall growth and expansion in recent years. Dr. Asmus has been a leading thinker, practitioner and policy entrepreneur working on US-European relations for over two decades. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 1997-2000 and has been a senior analyst and fellow at Radio Free Europe, RAND and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been a pioneering voice in the debate over post-Cold War European security and NATO’s transformation. Dr. Asmus holds a Ph.D. in European studies and an M.A. in Soviet and East European studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University. He received a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mr. Asmus’ book will be available for purchase at the event.