Northern Eurasia 2008: South Ossetia War
Following the Color Revolutions of the early 2000s, it began to look like Georgia, Ukraine, and some of the other ex-Soviet states might soon join NATO. However, when war broke out between Georgia and its Russian-backed separatist regions in 2008, Russia’s swift and successful intervention put any thoughts of further Western expansion on hold.
6 Jun 2006–pres. Taliban resurgence▲
In 2006, largely funded by opium revenues, the Taliban escalated their insurgency against NATO forces in Afghanistan, regaining control of pockets of the country by the end of the year. The Taliban resurgence also saw increased terrorist activity in northwest Pakistan, which had been suffering from a Taliban insurgency since 2004.
2 Apr 2007–30 Jul 2008 Subprime mortgage crisis▲
During a boom in housing construction, the bundling and improper rating of high-risk mortgages caused the United States bond market to crash in 2007. The ensuing financial crisis sent the US economy into the Great Recession, with the stock market crashing a year later.
17 Feb 2008 Kosovo independence declaration▲
Having spent nearly a decade of quasi-independence under UN administration, and having an EU-sponsored independence plan rejected by both Serbia and Russia, the Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence. Serbia immediately denounced the declaration as illegal while the United States and most of its allies quickly recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state. However many nations would continue to refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence, including Russia, China, India, Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.
7–16 Aug 2008 South Ossetia War▲
The rise of Vladimir Putin in Russia and subsequent pro-western Rose Revolution in Georgia severely strained relations between the two countries. When Georgia began retaliating against shellings by Russian-backed separatists in South Ossetia, Russia invaded, bombing the capital Tblisi and capturing the main port city of Poti. After five days, a French-mediated ceasefire was declared, by which time Russia had effectively won the war, establishing military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and deterring further integration of Georgia into the European sphere of influence.