[…The head of OSCE, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, has accused Russia "of trying to empty South Ossetia of Georgians." As a result of either force, fear or a combination of both, thousands of Georgians have fled the region. South Ossetia, with Moscow's assistance, is cleansing the area of ethnic Georgians, thereby essentially copying Serbia's effort to ethnically cleanse Kosovo. The West should not countenance such a policy.
Russian claims that Georgia has engaged in Serbian-like ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia are preposterous. The systematic and brutal atrocities committed by a Slobodan Milošević–led Serbia in the Balkans are incomparable to the situation between Georgia, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia. When the majority of the European Union and the United States recognized Kosovo's independence, they acknowledged that such independence was the result of tough, tragic, violent, and unique circumstances. As Lady Margaret Thatcher said in 1999, "It would be both cruel and stupid to expect the Albanian Kosovans now to return to live under any form of Serbian rule."  Apart from Moscow, even the most ardent critic of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili would be at pains to compare him to Slobodan Milošević.
Unlike Kosovo, which wants to enjoy true independence and ingratiate itself into Euro-Atlantic institutions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will become enclaves of Russia, de facto subservient to the will of Moscow. Indeed, Moscow is currently considering basing a permanent military facility in Abkhazia. Russia argued that the principle of self-determination was null and void in Kosovo but has now turned around and used it as an excuse to back South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence, which it ultimately has no intentions of respecting. Moscow remains intellectually bereft in this argument, lacking any sort of consistency with regard to the principle of self-determination….]