What Do You Do When It’s Too Late to Do the Right Thing?

The Russian government almost certainly should have granted independence to Chechnya the first time around. Innocent Russians are now paying the price for that failure. But is there now anything that the Russian government could do that would placate the child-killers who struck in Beslan? It now seems clear that their goal was to ignite a Caucausus-wide war, pitting Ossetians against Ingushetians and Chechens. It also seems clear that they would not settle for independence for a peaceful Chechnya; they seek to kill and destroy for the sake of killing and destroying. Would an independent Chechnya merely offer them a base from which to carry out their plans?

Despite obvious differences (contiguous borders, history of imperial occupation and Russification, etc.) Russia’s situation resembles that of the U.S. in its war against al Qaeda. What concessions (including withdrawal from Iraq and abandonment of Israel) would placate Osama bin Laden and his troops? Such moves may or may not be desirable for other reasons, but it doesn’t seem likely that the radical Islamists who have launched attacks (outside of Iraq, at least) would be moved by them to do anything other than redouble their efforts against the U.S. and the west generally.

I’m rather at a loss to know what to do in such a situation.