Writing in the Washington Post, ex-Soviet dissident and strategic studies analyst Natan Sharansky suggests that the "real Russia problem" is a fundamental lack of democracy within the Russian state, and the West's failure to implement an effective post-Cold War policy in the light of this. The West has not made the inherent connection between internal freedom and external aggression which was at the heart of the now-abandoned Jackson-Vanik Amendment of 1974. Nothing has been put in the place of this important lever, with the result that now the West is faced with only a few choices where Russia is concerned:
The threat to Georgia, Russia's other democratic neighbors and America ultimately arises from a lack of democracy within Russia. Changing that should be the focus of statecraft today -- if we want to ensure that the Kremlin poses no threat to peace tomorrow.