Former cold warriors can be expected to see the Georgian conflict as signalling a return to simpler East-vs-West geopolitics, writes Bridget Kendall for the BBC. But the reaction of the post-Soviet states shows something very different: Former Soviet client states whose loyalty was assured 20 years ago—including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Belarus—are now looking out for themselves first.
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have unambiguously backed Georgia out of fear of disrupting the lucrative Baku oil pipeline. Ukraine has sharply criticized the Kremlin in a show of what a good NATO member it would make. And Belarus has freed its political prisoners in what could be a show of Western-minded good faith.