Unless European states and America suddenly adopt a hawkish foreign policy and strengthen their militaries, Europe will become a mere province of the Russian empire.
And, surprisingly, the fate of Europe will be decided not in Paris, Berlin, London, or Brussels, but in Georgia, a tiny, seemingly irrelevant country. The Caucasian republic hosts several strategic oil and gas pipelines. These pipes are the only fossil fuel corridors leading from Asia to Europe that are not controlled by the Russian Federation. Whoever controls Europe's fossil fuel supply rules the European continent.
If the Russians seize those pipelines, their country will be a monopolist in Europe. The Old Continent will then have no choice other than to rely on Russia for the fossil fuel supply. This will mean that Russia will have a de facto veto right over the decisions of European governments. (Russia already has this power with regard to French and German governments; Germany obtains 40% of the natural gas it uses from Russia.)
European countries will thus cease being independent, and that will imply negative consequences not just for Europe, but also for the United States. Europe's policies, leaders, militaries, and assets affect the US, directly or indirectly. If Europe becomes a mere protectorate of Russia, it will be even more anti-American and unwilling to cooperate with the US than it already is, and Russia will seize the large natural resources of Europe (such as those of Ukraine).
Allowing Russia to conquer Georgia unpunished will also inevitably lead to further Russian aggression around the world. When the North Vietnamese Army conquered Saigon in 1975, America did not experience an era of peace, but an era of war. After 1975, the Soviet Union and its client states invaded many countries (including Afghanistan) and killed millions of people.
According to Kim Zigfeld and Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, the Russian Armed Forces are currently deploying troops along the Russo-Georgian border. Russian leaders plan for this war to be different from the war of August 2008.
The first Georgian war was just a test of the West, a survey of how would the West react to a Russian invasion of Georgia. The results were positive for the Kremlin: Western leaders of the time (most of whom remain in office, and those who do not have been replaced by pacifists), and almost all members of Western liberal parties (including the US Democratic Party), have been proven to be cowardice appeasers.
When the Russians attacked Georgia, what was the free world's leader doing? Appeasing Vladimir Putin in Beijing. The Russians have noticed that they could attack any country and not be subjected to any consequences.
The Kremlin wants the second war with Georgia to be one that will lead to the Russian seizure of Georgia and the toppling of President Saakashvili. If the West allows Russia to conquer Georgia and seize the pipelines located in that country, then Europe will be at the mercy of Moscow, and America would also be negatively affected by such an invasion, though not as badly as her overseas allies. And Russian troublemaking will increase, not decrease.
It is therefore imperative that Europe, the US, Canada, and NATO make immediate steps to protect Georgia -- and themselves -- from Russian aggressors. This must include, but not be limited to, accepting Georgia to NATO immediately.
Some people don't believe that small countries can play important roles and dismiss Georgia as a little country. But Georgia, although small and weak, hosts strategically important pipelines. Just like the weak, tiny Panama, which hosts the Panama Canal. Small countries can be strategically important, and Georgia is.
Zbigniew Mazurak is a defense analyst and writes articles for CWA as well as other websites.