The point of the European Union is not to bring European-style parliamentary democracy and regulation heavy free-trade-zones to the Continent. It is to end grinding, vicious, catastrophic wars that leave the Continent a smoking ruin.
While Georgia has gone very far to show its European bona fides, its recent actions speak of a nation not so much hungry for Europe as expecting it.
There is a tragedy here, one that goes even beyond the thousand and one failures of governance that marks this as perhaps the very worst run of the former Soviet Republics.
Brussels and Washington must do what they have been reluctant to do for years and forthrightly assert their interests in the face of opposition.
Officially, the mine accounts for 10 percent of GDP, and employs thousands of locals. Unofficially, its total impact on the official economy is 30 percent, and its impact on the shadow economy is even higher.
Latvia did not rely on sainted austerity for its recovery. Its economy is still fragile. Its banking sector is a mess waiting to happen. It cannot cut off foreign investment, and yet it must.
Poland is becoming the number one supporter of further European expansion.
The choice for a change is stark, and has been for some time: A Ukraine that is part of Europe, or a Ukraine that is merely a glorified province for Russia.
Rakhmon is a despot who has done most of the damage he can do; Tajiks assume Bobonazarova could be as bad or worse, and without the bad stuff already done.
Transnistria is taking on a significance totally disproportionate to its size. It is as if Russia’s regional anxieties are being played out on the smallest stage of all.