Kosovo is expected to proclaim its independence 17 February. What interests me and probably most observers is how Russia is going to react to this. In my problem-solving article http://eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/analyticstext/enganalytics/id/1207071.html I outlined three possible scenarios for Russia and now let me try to make a prediction about what exactly Russians are going to do. Broadly speaking there are three possible things Russians can do: a) to recognise South Ossetia and Abkazia and/or join them to Russia, b) to start withdrawal from these regions, c) to do nothing
My guess is that Russia should response to Kosovo’s recognition by doing something about South Ossetia and Abkhazia, because the link between Kosovo and South Ossetia/Abkhazia became an important part of political myth in Russian politics. So responding in other fields will be seen as a weak and/or inadequate response. But as the Russian strategy has been to keep things in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as they are, i.e. in suspense, their response is most likely to be along similar lines. That is to say, Russians will do nothing decisive, but something symbolic about South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russians have habutually resolved their problems at the expense of the weakest side and in this particular context the weakest side is its supposed allies, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
However, for the US it would be best if Russia recognised these republics and absorbed them for number of reasons. First, it would be easier to accuse Russia of being an agressive, evil country, partitioning neighbours, etc., second, Russians themselves would start breaking up post-soviet borders and this would leave a possibility for Russia’s own break up one day in future. Why would it be desirable at all to have this possibility? Because Russia is going to be a threat to US and their allies until it is sufficiently diminished, that is at least deprived of its ethnic auxiliaries, like the Caucasus, Tartars and some other territories. This would pacify Russia and make it a normal purring state, content with economic development and deprived of too much ambitions.
There are things that worry me about the US though. After the Cold War was over, US indicated surprisingly little maturity, as it got involved into a self-destructing neocolonial type of war in Iraq. I wonder, if a country however democratic and advanced, inevitably becomes agressive and hegemonic, unless it has a counterbalance. If it is so, then it would probably be a good idea to have Russia, counterbalancing US, however ugly this balancing could be. My feeling is though, that there should be a better plan for the humankind.
Further it could be fortold that in time of crisis Russians will again (as Gorbachev and Eltsin did) threaten the West with their own break up, nukes prolifiration and chaos and ask fo help. So the West should be very careful not to take on responsibility for holding together the Russian empire. But that will be another story, of course.