For the past decade, the United States has been promoting national transformation in the Balkans. In pushing the independence of Kosovo, Washington policy makers apparently believed that Serbia would acquiesce, most nations would recognize the newest independent state, and Russia would accept America's decision. None of these assumptions came to pass. Unfortunately, the war in the Caucasus was an inadvertent consequence of US policy in the Balkans. The West acted contrary to international law, violated the sovereignty of another state, and carelessly sacrificed the interests of neighboring states. The point is not that Russia acted correctly or legitimately in Georgia but that American policy makers must learn that actions have consequences, even actions by the US government. They need look no further than from Kosovo to Georgia.

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