Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed decrees recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In response, the US is reading from Russia's playbook following the independence of Kosovo. "I want to be very clear," Sec. Rice said, "Since the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council, this simply will be dead-on-arrival" in the UN.
Eternal Remont fans will remember how Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin previously claimed there was “no legal basis” for Kosovo’s independence. Any thought of international recognition should be "disregarded by the international community.''
To be fair, Article 1, Section 2 of the UN Charter should reasonably cover the Kosovo and Abkhazia/South Ossetia declarations, since “The Purposes of the United Nations are: to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples."
The fun part, however, is that UN Resolution 937 (1994) also happens to recognize Russian forces as international peacekeepers in Abkhazia alongside the UN's observation mission. A fact which Moscow, will no doubt, use to parallel Kosovo.
The quid pro quo is rather gratuitous.
Likewise, it will be interesting to see if other CIS members follow Russia’s lead in recognizing the mini-states, especially Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and the Tajiks. There’s been a lot of talk about the influence of soft power in the region. We’re about to see just how much weight it pulls.