Monday, August 11, 2008

Russian Offensive continues into Georgia, US does little more then Idle

Telegraph UK: "But the conflict was meanwhile increasing in scope. Russian aircraft have already bombed a number of targets inside Georgia including a strike, said the Georgians, on the civilian airport of Tbilisi, the capital. Abkhazia, a larger breakaway Georgian republic, is now a second front in the battle. Russian troops were reported to be advancing on the Kodori Gorge, a foothold of ethnic Georgians in the region."

The strength, the speed, and the fury with which Russia has initiated this incursion indicates a premeditated invasion, with 800-1200 tanks streaming across the border in less then 2 days? That many tanks don't just sit around the border waiting, at least not in a nation interested in peace.

The response of the US and the world?
Times Online:

"The U.S. military began flying 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq after Georgia recalled the soldiers following the outbreak of fighting with Russia. The decision was a timely payback for the former Soviet republic, which was the third-largest contributor of coalition forces in Iraq after the U.S. and Britain.

The risk of the conflict setting off a wider war increased when Russian-supported separatists in another breakaway region of Georgia, Abkhazia, launched air and artillery strikes on Georgian troops to drive them out of a small part of the province they control.

Also, Ukraine warned Russia it could bar Russian navy ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their deployment to Georgia's coast.

Asked about the possibility of sending the U.S. military or other aid to Georgia, Jeffrey said, "Right now our focus is on working with both sides, with the Europeans and with a whole variety of international institutions and organizations to get the fighting to stop.""

I think this person says it best:
"We have no good options," a US National Security Council official told The Daily Telegraph. "We need Russia's co-operation over Iran and derailing that over a localised conflict in Georgia makes no sense. We just have to hope that diplomacy prevails. The next necessary step is for Russia to respond positively to Georgia's ceasefire declaration.""

...which at the time of this writing, has been shattered and rent impotent.

It is appaling how weak the west is in the face of such obvious evil.


Solameanie said...

It goes to show just how complex and tangled international relations/affairs can be. There is an historical element to it all that the news media glosses over. The groundwork for today's conflict was laid decades upon decades ago beginning with Tsarist Russia, and the communist leaders with their arbitrary border-drawing contributed to it. In so doing, they ignored ethnic realities and stoked resentments and hatred that continue to this day.

More than that, who knows what gets said/agreed/bargained/betrayed in smoke-filled diplomatic chambers? It's interesting that the Georgian people are feeling betrayed by Western leaders, in whom they had placed such hope.

It is sad indeed.

I think I am going to have to dust off Machiavelli again.

Gino said...

and what is the US interest in a russian-free georgia?


its their war.
let them fight it.

russia has ruled georgia in the past, and will again.
its the way of those living alongside russians. they oughtta be used to it by now.

Palm boy said...

Joel, it goes back to the monarchs. Not surprised.
And you just inspired me to look Machiavelli up, thanks.

Gino, couple of things.
1. Russian dominance of the region bodes ill for US economic interests, it is far easier to trade profitably with friendly nations then those dominated by a forign power.
2. Oil control, as a considerable portion of the worlds oil flows through this region, its in our interest to keep it in stable and friendly hands.
3. Inter-nation relations. If this US friendly region of the world can't count on US help in a crisis or invasion, who else can trust us, and why?
4. In the long run, allowing this aggressive behavior will only encourage further invasions. It might not be next week, but it's a lesson that will not be forgotten by the rest of the world.

Gino said...

palm boy: did you understand anything i said?

russia has always dominated this region. and we here in the USA were no worse off for it.

georgian oil supplies turkey. about 1% of the world export output. we can make that up by drilling a few extra wells in texas.

russia will again dominate this nation, and others of its former empire.
it WILL happen.
you want to start war with russia over this?
at what cost?
georgia got nothin we need, and even during the ussr days, and after, was/is to eastern europe what sicily is to western europe: the cradle of organised crime.

do a wiki of the caucaus region, including georgia, and read the history. in it, you will also see the future.

georgia allied with the USA for the same reason they allied with poland,ukraine, and the nato states: more out of lack of love for russians than an admiration for thomas jefferson and the ideals of the declaration.

if the georgians are smart, they will do like their neighbors, the chechans: wage guerilla war and terror forever. russians were historically brutal to these people. and russians will forever die in retribution.

as i've stated so poetically elsewhere: as long as one chechen breathes, no russian is ever safe.

georgians can find justice in this example.

"It's interesting that the Georgian people are feeling betrayed by Western leaders, in whom they had placed such hope."

what is interseting, is that they actually thought? western nations would go to war with the russian bear over them.

Palm boy said...

I did understand you, at least partially. I was answering the question 'and what is the US interest in a russian-free georgia?'

So with that out of the way, we can talk history.

Russia has long dominated the region, by sheer size, wealth and weight of numbers.
But the past does not dictate the present. I believe it is the time for these nations to separate themselves from the bear, and have some freedom.
I'll give a few examples of why the history books do not dictate the future.
1. England and Frace, who were locked in conflict for hundreds of years and were bitterly opposed to any form of expansion by the other are now allies, and going back to the World Wars, allies in every sense of the word.
2. Japan/Germany and the US. We're allies now. Wasn't so 80 years ago.
3. Central America was dominated and founded by the Spainards, but has since become a cluster of independent nations, Mexico being the largest.

Palm boy said...

...wasn't finished. :D

Encouraging Georgians to resort to terrorism because we won't stand up for freedom is similar to telling Israelis in the gaze strip to suicide bomb Palestine. It's just ridiculous.

Gino said...

"I believe it is the time for these nations to separate themselves from the bear, and have some freedom."

and when they win it on the battlefield, they will have it.
until then, it is not the time.

geopolitics isnt always nice. but it is always what is has been.

your desires for georgian freedom is kinda like the hippies singing kubaya for peace.
it makes you feel better, but in the end, wont do a damn thing to change realities.

All-American Girl said...

eeesh guys, calm down, and speak in rational tones....

seriously, what more can i add to this heated debate???

i also can't believe you disagree on the fact that the Favre is no longer a Packer,

at least he is still playing football, no matter what team.

good grief,

Palm Boy,
you should make a choice, which is your true love?

or find a way to intertwine them

have a good weekend, i am headed off to New York to visit some family, so i may not be posting much.

Celestial Fundie said...

Russia wants to be the only player in the region. This we know.

However, Russia's reasons for entering Georgian territory appear quite plausible.

Georgia had used her military to enter a region that was unhappy with its rule.

Small ethnically based states like Georgia tend to engage in ethnic cleasing more readily than large multi-ethnic states like Russia.

The possibility that Georgia might use violence against the South Ossetian separatists was real. Those separatists were Russian citizens and so Russia had the responsibility to represent those interests.

To simply portary this conflict as a push for Russian dominance is to ignore the complexities of the ethnic tension between Georgians and Russians.

Western diplomats must focus their attention on resolving the situation between Georgia and South Ossetia. Once that situation is stabilised, Russia can make no excuses for making any further incursions on Georgian territory.

Every Blessing in Christ


Palm boy said...

Gino, I thought they'd been a free and independent nation for the past 15 years, or most of my life. I must have been mistaken.

I'm also well aware my wishes do little to change the situation. :D

American, I thought that was a pretty tranquil exchange actually.
I love the Packers, but reality dictates that I respond to the world around me, including politics. :D

Matt, from what I understand, there's been a good deal of violence in the past few years between the SO rebels and Georgia proper, this was just an extension of that violence.

Celestial Fundie said...

Indeed, which is why the focus has to be on resolving the South Ossetian situation, rather than calling Russia names.

So long as there is a threat to the stability of the SO region, Russia has an excuse to send her forces in.

Solameanie said...

As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. (Just kidding)

The Georgians indeed started this thing going by their offensive to reclaim the province, but the Russians have been waiting for this opportunity that got dropped in their lap. They've been irked over quite a bit of late, most notably over Georgia and Ukraine wanting into NATO. They were angered when NATO and the EU carved Kosovo out of Serbia -- historical allies of Russia. This is the Russians' way of sending a message to the West, slapping their former satellite nations down, and keeping control over the supply of oil in the Caucasus region.

Believe me, when you've studied global geopolitics as long as I have, there's enough cynicism, double standards and sleazy motives to go around for most nations. That's one reason Hell will be so full.

Palm boy said...

Matt, Russia did have a peace keeping force in SO, but the continued excursion past that point is what has me irked. It goes far and beyond the scope of pacification and into the realm of invasion.

Joel, another good point.

Gino said...

not just SO, but azkhabia as well.
a separetist movemnet there was was being crushed by the georgians.

the whole caucus region is a mish mash of ethnics. seems to be a different people living differently on every mountain.

my good muslim buddy who you hear me speak of often enough is 'from' the azkhabia region.
they are a tough mountain people, proud, with the warrior ethic of all mountain peoples, be they american hillbillys, scot highlanders, swiss or chechens.

basically, mountain people are bastards to deal with if you are an outsider. an outsider is anybody from a different mountain, or another nation.

and the causcus folks have been fighting each other for a very long time.

Solameanie said...

Russia itself is made up of different "autonomous" republics, okrugs, krais and oblasts. Between 130-150 different people groups. Add to that the others in the remaining republics of the former Soviet Union, and it's like watching scorpions in a bottle.