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August 8, 2008

Russia Invades Georgia
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:15 AM * 341 comments

Breaking news: Russian tanks are rolling south. Georgia (whose army has US trainers) appears to be surprised and is calling up the reserves.

Preemptive defense is a nasty precedent, isn’t it?

Comments on Russia Invades Georgia:
#1 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 09:27 AM:

You left out the two Russian planes that the Georgians shot down.

The lady who sits next to me at work is Russian. She says that North Ossetia is Russian, South Ossetia is half-and-half and has been mostly independant from Georgia since the early '90s. Recently Georgia moved to take more administrative control, re-escalating the conflict. Back in the early '90s Russia had problems of their own so they didn't take action when Georgia was fighting the rebels, but now they seem to think they've got a plurality of the provincial natives who want to rejoin.

#2 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 09:42 AM:

Irony of ironies: the Olympic opening ceremonies are going on at this moment.

#3 ::: Lindra ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 09:46 AM:

Well, shit. I hope they can get their reserves in order.

Debbie: I can't decide whether to watch or not. On the one hand, spectacle. On the other hand, principle.

#4 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Georgia can hardly be surprised, they've been shelling and rocketing South Ossetia (which has Russian troops on its territory under a previous agreement) since yesterday (after several days of Ossetian attacks on Georgian forces, I should add).

A shooting war with Russian troops on one side and US troops on the other in one of the real flashpoint areas of geopolitics (i.e. oil politics) makes me a little nervous.

#5 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:14 AM:

Nina Katarina #1: Your friend has got it mostly right. South Ossetia was set up in the Soviet period as an autonomous republic within Georgia (North Ossetia was an autonomous republic within Russia). Most South Ossetians, apparently, have taken out Russian citizenship -- how they did that while being citizens of Georgia is an interesting matter -- and Russia is claiming to be acting in support of its nationals.

#6 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:19 AM:

I was going to write something like "well, Ken, the chance of the US getting directly involved is quite small, after all it's only a few trainers" and then I saw this:

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL1556589920080715?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

Three weeks ago, the US put 1000 troops into Georgia for exercise Immediate Response 2008, due to finish last week. Don't know if they left on schedule or not.

AFAIK the Ossetians have always been pro-Russian, and were the Russians' chosen instruments against the Ingush in the early 1990s - and earlier, during the deportations of the Chechens and the Ingush in the late 1940s.

#7 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:20 AM:

It looks like the UN has got the situation under control:

"NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer issued a statement Friday saying he was seriously concerned about the recent events in the region, and he called on all sides to end armed clashes and begin direct talks."

#8 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:22 AM:

5: ah, yes, acting in support of their citizens. Russia uses that line a lot with regard to the Russian population of the Baltic states as well. It's a good one to use. (coughsudetendeutschcough)

#9 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:23 AM:

Debbie @2: Irony? Really? To me it seems more like "Coincidence? I think not!" If you want to distract people from that little war you've started there, the day the Olympic Games open sounds like a good opportunity to me.

#10 ::: Anthony Storheim ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:41 AM:

After reading through everything, I am confused as to how the Georgians can be surprised. I am even more confused as to how this is Russia's fault. The Georgians shell the place while it is full of Russian peace keepers, and then act surprised when some die and Russia invades.

Guess what, YOU signed the agreement to let these peacekeepers in a long time ago. The agreement was clear. And the Russian peacekeepers were acting in good faith. You can't bomb them.

Which brings me to the ridiculous story that Russia started everything by bombing Georgia. If the Russian air force had planes in the area, they were where they were supposed to be. People like to think the Russian and American military are bullies, but this is not the case. These are VERY well trained professionals. Russian pilots don't unilaterally start dropping bombs on hospitals in foreign countries. That just doesn't happen. The US has satellites and radar trained on Russian bombers 24/7, if they had engaged in anything untoward the US military would be raising STRENUOUS objections right now. We would know they had done it. We would not need Georgia to tell us. I have to say, the Georgian story sounds suspect.

Speaking of the US military, I can tell you unequivocally that if Iran was launching shells into Iraq and killing our peacekeepers, they had better expect some bombs to fall on Tehran at least. A column of American tanks crossing the border seems reasonable to me.

You don't want to be invaded? Obey international law.

#11 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:50 AM:

ajay #8: I can think of another analogy closer to home (home being the UK of GB and NI). Howevah, I think it's best to avoid these as far as possible because they can't help but be a little bit inflammatory. The situation of Russian nationals and other ex-Soviet minorities in the 'near abroad' is a case in itself (or rather, lots of different cases).

#12 ::: steve buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:59 AM:

Gee, I'm so glad we escaped having a head on fight with the Russians with the fall of the Wall and the end of the Soviet Era, oh, wait. Damn.

#13 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:09 AM:

What scares me is the potential US reaction to this, what with an election coming up and the Republicans needing a distraction and all.

Hey! Look, George! Russia has oil too!

Sigh.

#14 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:09 AM:

Hmm, now I'm starting to wonder what effect this will have on the US election. I guess the obvious answer is that it'll help the wrinkly white-haired guy, as president Hilton puts it.

#15 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:10 AM:

11: good point.

10: first of all, I wouldn't be 100% confident that anyone's planes, even US ones, are "where they are supposed to be" at all times. Everyone makes mistakes.

Second, although the situation has greatly improved since the 1990s, the Russian air force is still severely undertrained compared to Western forces; tac air pilots get 20-25 flying hours a year, compared with USAF pilots who get that number every month.

Third, I am touched by your confidence that the Russian army is acting in good faith as a neutral peacekeeper. I would describe its role more as "supporting South Ossetia with the goal of using it as a lever against Georgia".

Fourth, to my knowledge, the US does not have "satellites and radars trained on Russian bombers 24/7"; it doesn't have the Awacs.

#16 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Daniel Klein @9 -- that occurred to me, too. It's both. And a tragedy, and a damned mess, and very worrying.

#17 ::: martyn44 ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:25 AM:

According to the BBC news I was watching yesterday, the Georgians were merrily (Stalin) organising the S Ossetian capital - so the fighting began before the Olympics.

Just had the 'pleasure' of hearing Richard Holbrook discussing this. Why am I not surprised? US, this isn't about you. Get over it. On the other hand, if you want to get involved in a shooting war in Mother Russia while you're over extended in Iraq and threatening Iran, go ahead. It will be a salutary experience.

On the other hand, we can all sit on our hands, watch the Olympics and pray it gets sorted with the minimum of deaths.

#18 ::: Anthony Storheim ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:54 AM:

#15:

As to your first point, we're not talking about a knuckle head Russian pilot straying off course. We're talking about a knuckle head Russian pilot straying off course, and then pushing the 'FIRE' button rather than the button to activate the navigation system. AND pushing that 'FIRE' button at just the right time for the bomb to slam into a city in a country that Russia has escalated tensions with. If you believe that Russian pilots are that inept, then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Regarding your point number 2. It doesn't matter how many flight hours they get. They get enough hours in the sims to know the difference between the targeting computer, the throttle and say . . . the eject lever. These are the things that would need to be confused to let a bomb loose on a civilian populace.

As touching your point number three, NO ONE, not even the Georgians, have claimed that the Russian peace keepers have been anything but professional. Georgian commanders were in the command center WITH the commanders of the Russian peacekeepers at all times, AS PER THE AGREEMENT. They may be acting to give Russia leverage, but they are acting WITHIN the constructs of an agreement outlined by Russia, Georgia and the West. They did NOT break the agreement, the Georgians did. Guess what, you can't break treaties and NOT be invaded.

And lastly, the US early warning system is the best in the world. Literally a movable feast. Appetizers comprised of Radar stations from Norway to Turkey and beyond. Including unofficial agreements with nations that would prefer that no one know we are there, or at least what we are doing. These are both active and passive by the way. A main course of top of the line early warning satellites, the bulk of which get Russian duty. And for desert, recon satellites that can catch Russian bomber pilots taking leaks behind sheds during breaks in their exercises. AWACS is for when we feel gluttonous and we want seconds. There are no meaningful gaps. Over a place like Georgia, THERE ARE NO GAPS AT ALL. We have generals FAR more intelligent than you or I who do nothing but make sure of that. These Generals are supported by an array of Colonels and promising Majors whose creativity and brilliance have crossed the border into genius. Your assertion that Russian bombers can come an go in a place like Georgia without us knowing is patently ludicrous.

You and I will agree to disagree sir.

#19 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:04 PM:

We have generals FAR more intelligent than you or I who do nothing but make sure of that. These Generals are supported by an array of Colonels and promising Majors whose creativity and brilliance have crossed the border into genius.

Or even - dare I say it? (yes! dare!) - into godhood!

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Anthony, the US warning system may be the best in the world, but it isn't perfect, and it's part of a system currently being run by people who really want to start a war with Iran and probably wouldn't mind a sidebar involving Russia either, especially if they can use some of their strategic bombers, possibly with strategic nukes.

I wish I had your trust in our government, but what was left of that disappeared several years ago.

#21 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:12 PM:

the US early warning system is the best in the world. Literally a movable feast. Appetizers comprised of Radar stations from Norway to Turkey and beyond... There are no meaningful gaps.

I should point out that there is one hell of a meaningful gap right now in the Lower Manhattan skyline that would suggest your confidence is misplaced.

#22 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:14 PM:

It's better to have this right now so that US troops don't get seriously involved (as they are operatively crippled by the various "islamic" quagmires) and things can't escalate too much.
If everything goes well, this will be similar to what NATO did in Kossovo; this time the Russians are more or less right to flex a bit of old-school military muscle.

This said, the timing of the "exercises" mentioned by ajay @6 is very curious.

#23 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:20 PM:

Has anyone considered the fact that there's a strategic oil corridor through the Balkans -- and Georgia?

This is a side note to the conflict, but ... I daresay Russia would rather that pipeline not happen. I expect that US oil interests are ... interested. And would not like to see Russia win.

Minor factor? Major factor? Something to worry about?

Dunno, mostly because I'm not entirely sure just how stupid Chimpy is, and how much of his soul he's sold to the oil companies.

Maybe you smarter people here could tell me if I'm way off base or not.

#24 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:21 PM:

ajay @21: Anthony is way too idealistic ("genius" Colonels and Majors? Looking at the failure in Afghanistan, and the current bunch of "office warriors" like Petraeus, I really don't think so), however thanks to the Cold War I'd understand if Russian borders were much more monitored than US mainland.

#25 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:28 PM:

It looks like most western media sources have retreated to the passive voice "fighting breaks out".

There's a Wikipedia page, but this Stratfor timeline (newest events at the top) seems to be the most detailed for recent events.

I'm not seeing a lot of good faith on either side, but there are airstrike allegations on both sides.

What I didn't see is any statement by the US on what Russian planes were doing, so I can't figure out why the US early warning system is a topic of discussion here.

#26 ::: Anthony Storheim ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:30 PM:

#21
Wrong. The Early warning system detected EXACTLY where all the planes were. the PEOPLE at NEADS didn't know which one to shoot. AND . . . BECAUSE THEY WERE PROFESSIONALS . . . didn't want to shoot. Put yourself at NEADS, and imagine the first plane just crashed, you SUSPECT there are others, you have a pretty good idea where they are, and now you have 2 or 3 minutes to tell a pilot whether or not to bring down a civilian airliner. That's right . . . only on your suspicion, at that time you aren't POSITIVE that it is a terrorist attack. Not so easy is it.

NOTE! Someone actually has to TELL the pilot to bring down the plane, he or she does not do it unilaterally.

#27 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Correction: the stratfor site is monitoring the referrer field. If you want to see the timeline I mentioned, go to google and search on "stratfor Georgia: A Timeline of Events Aug. 7-8", then follow the top link.

#28 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 12:51 PM:

Oh, shit.

I used to know rather oo much for comfort about the NATO view of potential Soviet Operations.

This isn't 3rd Shock Army coming out of the barrack gates and turning West. The assumption was that lots of troops could roll with no warning, because they were in place.

Georgia maybe doesn't have the technical advantage that NATO had, but I doubt they have the numeric disadvantage. Even so, the sound of tanks coming up the street adds a whole new dimension to shock and awe.

If this has been planned in detail, with forces in place for a major attack, there's fuck all the USA can do. If it's less deliberate, with no significant numeric advantage to either side, you have the wonderful option of shooting at Russia.

Where did I put my copy of The War Game.

#29 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 01:18 PM:

re Russia and the Ossetians:

Mr. Storheim: You are being a rude guest, with the tone of patronising condescension. Jim (who posted this) spent no small number of years with an active commission in the US Navy. I have spent the last 16 in the US Army Military Intelligence, as a Russian Linguist, Interrogator, Interrogation/Counter Intelligence INSTRUCTOR.

Our attitude is not anti-military, not anti-US, and most certainly not anti-international law.

It is, however, more than a little anti-stupid.

1: There is no such animal as a radar coverage which is 100 percent, 24/7. 2: (on this topic) given the nature of the beast (and the cost of atttempting; in time, troops and equipment: there is no way on God's green earth; given the present disctractions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US can afford to even make the attempt to maintain such a coverage.

Most important (to the question of Russia's blameworthiness). Peacekeepers get shot at. It's part and parcel of being a peacekeeper. The response isn't to invade (nor even yet to engage in infrastructure attacks [and if the Russians have attacked a hospital they have done that]).

It's to deal with the specific aggressions (insofar as can be done; in the terms of the peacekeeping models in place) and deny the aggressor the ability to further disturb the peace.

So they overreacted to the provocation.

So to did you overeact when you arrived here.

I'm not even going into the propogandistic jingoism of your charactarizing the US troops in Iraq as peacekeepers, which is precious. Going on to say that one who doesn't want to be invaded ought to obey international law is silly, because the simple fact of the matter is that most interpretations of international law would define the US invasion as an act of agressive war; esp. in light of the present understandings of the Bush Administration's misuse, and misrepresentation of the intelligence they were using to justify the invasion (and the bad faith claims about things such as inspections and yellowcake from Niger).

So by your lights Iran would be more than jusified in attack the US troops in Iraq; because our country has admitted; albeit obliquely, to engaging in cross border incursions, in the interest of furthering that illegal war.

In short (ignoring the trollish turns of phrase) your analysis of the situation, and characterisation of events is, at best, all wet.

#30 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Not to mention the idea that the well-trained American and Russian military forces "aren't bullies" and don't drop bombs on hospitals.

#31 ::: Robert W Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 01:44 PM:

This is all about Putin punishing Georgia for the crime of being pro-Western and wanting to join NATO. The Russians aided an abetted the seccession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as means of pressuring the Georgians back into being a puppet and they've been keeping up the pressure ever since.

Try reading up on the human rights violations committed by Russian peacekeepers in Chechnya to find out just how non-professional they are. And those are supposed to be troops on contracts, rather than conscripts.

Russia (and the Soviet Union before it) never signed the Geneva Conventions, and in the past have had no hesitation about bombing schools, hospitals, etc, and they have never really cared about civilians getting in the way, including their own.

#32 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 01:47 PM:

It is, however, more than a little anti-stupid.

He shoots; he scores!

Leva Cygnet at 23, good point. I wonder if the price of oil is going to start climbing again. And the cynic inside me wonders if this might indeed be one of the purposes of the exercise.

#33 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Turkey just agreed to send electricity to Georgia. Georgia was a net exporter of electricity until the fighting started; I expect they've lost some production capacity.

If Russia has a reasonable, restrained response to this, they'll shoot the power lines on the Georgian side.

If they shoot the power plants on the Turkish side things might get kinda interesting in a hurry.

#34 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 02:03 PM:

Pity someone had to go and shoot the troll down; I'm sure he was ABOUT to mention his precious bodily fluids.

#35 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 02:04 PM:
Russia (and the Soviet Union before it) never signed the Geneva Conventions

Though as the U.S. repeatedly demonstrates, signing it doesn't have to affect your behavior very much anyway.

#36 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 02:34 PM:

I wouldn't have thought sneakers would be appropriate footwear for infantry.

#37 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 02:37 PM:

Anthony @ # 18 - Guess what, you can't break treaties and NOT be invaded.

Oh sure you can. What utter hogwash. Treaties are violated all the time without invasion.

#38 ::: Robert W Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 03:26 PM:

People here are forgetting that the old Soviet Union had quite a habit of staging border incidents to justify their acquisitive habits. Russian special forces (spetznaz) are well trained in that particular line of work. They've based out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia for years, staging incidents, raiding across the borders, killing civilians and hoping to provoke a response. Everytime the Georgians would try to clear out the Kodori Gorge, a disputed area between Abkhazia and Georgia, and a well-known staging area for bad guys. the Russians would prevent it.

#39 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 03:54 PM:

(I don't think people are forgetting that.)

#40 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Re: many South Ossetians having Russian citizenship:
#5: "how they did that while being citizens of Georgia is an interesting matter"

Why? Russia gave them citizenship because both they and Russia evidently think of them as Russian.

There's nothing particularly unusual about that sort of thing. And Georgia can't legitimately forbid its citizens from adopting citizenship in another country - it might be able to strip them of Georgian citizenship, but doing so would hardly bolster their argument that South Ossetia is rightfully part of Georgia.

Note that I have no opinion on the merits of either set of claims. I generally think that people should be able to belong to whichever country they want if it wants them (and sometimes if it doesn't), even if that means territorial loss for another country, but the apparent ethnic cleansing that created the majority support for incorporation into Russia isn't something to be rewarded either.

#41 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:13 PM:

Oh, let's go ahead and crank up the Scary to 11, why don't we?

According to this blogger, the conflict between Georgia and Russia is a US-backed diversion intended to tie up any significant Russian response to the US attack against Iran, for which US Naval forces are moving into place right now.

I hope this is an extremist conspiracy theory.

(I think I've heard of "Lord Stirling", the blog's author, a few times, with the impression that he was considered a whackjob by reasonable people. Still... if his facts about the composition and destination of the US Naval forces are accurate... bigtime scary.)

#42 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:19 PM:

#41: Oh, please. Not every damn conflict in the world is about us and Iran. And it's not like the whole Russian military is bogged down. Or that they could do much to help Iran anyway.

#43 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:25 PM:

OT-OT-OT

Breaking News: John Edwards confirms that he was having an affair.

Why would anyone in their right mind do this, and then still campaign to be President?

Sigh.

#44 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:25 PM:

The US Navy moves all the time, it's in the nature of ships that they actually move :)

I'm pretty sure somebody said last November that "USS this-and-this is moving to prepare an Iran invasion in February"... and it didn't happen. I don't think even Cheney would be so reckless to start a full-scale conflict with Iran (of all countries) just before leaving the White House (what GHB did leaving Somalia to Clinton was just a sick joke). Seriously, I think this is just Putin teaching a lesson to Sahakashvili, who is a pain in the neck much more than his predecessor ever was.

I hope the Ossetians don't have to suffer too much; the losers, in every war, are always the civilians. Lost in our little wargames and conspiracies, we tend to forget that.

#45 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:25 PM:

I don't have to get any farther than "both sides have nukes" to crank the scary up to 11, kthxbai.

#46 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:28 PM:

(Err -- I just checked my assumptions. Georgia doesn't have nukes. Officially, anyway.)

#47 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:49 PM:

Wow, the commenters on the blog Bruce linked to are like an international conspiracy theorist cocktail, with a dash of biblical apocalyptics and an it's-all-about-the-bank-of-Israel chaser.

#48 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:51 PM:

I just did a bunch of reading on the Web, and I want to take back the stupid comment I made upthread about oil being a motivating factor here. It doesn't seem to have any damn thing to do with this conflict.

I hope that the US has the sense to stay out of this. I note that the Georgians are using words like "multi-ethnic democracy" and "freedom" in discussing their position, language surely designed to appeal to simple-minded US Presidents.

#49 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Lori at 43: because he's a narcissistic assh*le?

#50 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Lori Coulson #43: John Edwards confirms that he was having an affair.

Why should I care about a TV psychic's off-camera hijinks?

[someone mutters an aside]

Oh, Edward(s). Never mind. Lemme start over.

Why should I care about a politician's off-camera hijinks if it doesn't involve something substantial like not giving equitable favors to corporate overlords for value received?

Proxy wars are much, much more interesting than that.

#51 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 05:05 PM:

#43: That pisses me off so much. Stupid arsehole . . . what was he thinking?

McCain had the good sense to get his affair / wife and kid ditching / heiress marrying several decades ago, so it doesn't count, right?

#52 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Lizzy -- weapons of mass destruction were the official motivating factor for the Iraq war.

With Georgia, we know the oil pipeline exists in the region. I mean, we can prove it and stuff. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. It really is there. And we need it. Because we couldn't possibly do without the 1% of world oil that it moves. The fact we're doing without it right now because the Kurds bombed it is totally irrelevant. We NEED it, y'know?

The fact that we can't even manage to defend oil pipelines in Iraq where we have the advantage of bigger guns, well-trained troops, and lots of cool gizmos doesn't mean we couldn't stop the Russians from dropping bombs on the pipeline from the air.

And hey! Defending the pipeline would make Halliburton all sorts of happy. And it'd get McCain elected. And it'd be SO SATISFYING to get the Russians a big fat black eye and watch them crawl off with their tails between their legs like you know they would if US troops showed up.

There really is no down side here.

(Do I think we'll go to war with Russia over this? Not really. But if you'd asked me if we'd be in Iraq eight years ago, I'd have said no, too, because it was just too ... dumb.)

#53 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 05:35 PM:

Leva Cygnet, I'm not going to claim that the presence of an oil pipeline won't become an excuse for the US government to do something. I suppose it could, given who's running things at the moment.

However, I think the conflict between Georgia and Russia has to do with conditions other than the presence of the pipeline, though of course the fact that it's there affects everyone's calculations.

#54 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 06:11 PM:

Jacob Davies #40: It does look as if Russia considers Georgian independence, ahem, reversible given the obvious desire of Putin and Medvedev to lever Abkhazia and South Ossetia away from Kartvelian control. Not to mention their obvious hostility to Georgia's budding relationship with the West.

I wonder if the Russians see this war as a step towards reasserting great power status not only regionally (in the 'Near Abroad') but globally?

#55 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 07:49 PM:

On the one hand, it would be a very bad idea for any outside power to try to do anything about it.

On the other hand, it would probably be a rather bad idea to let Russia get away with more and more attacks on other countries, too.

Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

Lance Weber @#7, err, you do know the difference between NATO and the UN, right?

#56 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 08:11 PM:

This isn't a particularly "communist" or "quasi-communist" situation. Russia has a long history of grabbing territory in central Asia and the Caucasus.

#57 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Lori, #43, why in heck would he do it while his wife was having cancer treatment? What a jerk.

#58 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 08:19 PM:

Hmmm, I think my Risk game board needs to be updated a bit....

#59 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 08:48 PM:

(sitting in green room at masq.)

I saw Bush called Putin on a CNN trailer. I'm imagining he said "Look, I don't know what you think y'all are doin but if your guys get anywhere near Florida, we're gonna have a problem..."

#60 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 10:05 PM:

#57
At least Edwards didn't replace her with a younger wife, like Gingrich and McCain did.

#61 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:04 PM:

Marilee #57: Apparently the indiscretion happened in 2006. Elizabeth Edwards has made a statement in a recommended diary on Daily Kos. People wanting to discuss the matter probably should read that first.

#62 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:28 PM:

I saw Bush called Putin on a CNN trailer.

Considering how frequently CNN gets things wrong, my initial misreading of that becomes somewhat more plausible.

#63 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2008, 11:40 PM:

OT-OT-OT

How John Edwards chooses to conduct his personal affairs should be his business. His sexual habits should not be a matter for public discussion. Except they are, of course; that's the world we live in. "I did not have sex with that woman -- Miss Lewinsky." I called Edwards a narcissist; my other choice would be simply to call him a fool. Only a fool or a stunningly self-absorbed man would believe, post-Clinton, post-impeachment, that he would be able to keep adultery secret, or that such a secret, once revealed, would not be used against him and his party by vicious, clever people. That he had the affair is not what disturbs me -- it's not my business. I'm furious that he ran for President ignoring the fact that when (not if) this came out it would be used against him and against his party. Imagine for a moment that Edwards, not Obama, had won the primaries. Imagine Edwards in the position Obama is in now, heading toward the convention, the nomination, the election. Now imagine what Karl Rove and the right would do with yet another Democratic politician trapped in a lie about adultery. Eight more years of Republican folly. Now explain to me why, if you and I can see this so clearly, that John Edwards didn't. If he didn't see it, he's a fool. I think he did see it, and decided to ignore it because he wanted to be President so damn much.

#64 ::: USA_Dave ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 12:26 AM:

Russians train ground and air forces as hard or harder than any other country. The peacekeepers are veterans chock full of killing experience. The USA has peacekeepers as well. We also didn't recruit icecream truck drivers for that responsiblilty. As for the rest of the comments about suprises, there have never been any suprises prior to any mass invasion. Soldiers sit on both sides of the border waiting for the order to die. (Note: taking potshots prior to invasion time is allowable on both sides."Aint war hell?")

On a brighter note, the USA can equip and deploy teenagers faster than any other country in the world. Russia, Iran, and any other militant country would be very hard pressed just to survive the first day of strategic bombing. This country rocks where war-making is concerned and we're stronger today in war-tech than we were yesterday. That's a fact. I'm sincerely proud of the USA.

The world very much needs peace and love for its children to grow and flourish. But those children grow up and create conflicts of their very own.

News Flash: "Parenting starts at home... wherever that may be." Hows your cute little prejudicial gangster coming along?

God bless all the olympians. They're all winners to me.

Ex-soldier.

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 12:33 AM:

The pointless drive-by can be treated as a piñata, turned into verse, or ignored. It is not recommended that anyone spend time seriously replying.

#66 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 12:51 AM:

Icecream truck driver
armed with unmatchable speed
keeps a vanilla peace

#67 ::: USA_Dave ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 01:00 AM:

#65 deserves a comment.

You'd have us believe that your pointless drive-by should be ignored. All criminals say that...

Seriously and unversed,

Ex-Soldier

P.S. Since when do "abi" types beat on piñata's anyway?

(Palm Bay, Florida)

#68 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 01:30 AM:

USA Dave @ 64/67:

I post infrequently on Making Light, but I lurk often, and since this is apparently your first set of comments, I would like to offer you a small helping of enlightenment--abi isn't a drive-by, she's a moderator.

Thought you should know before you pop off with another "criminal" comment.

And I'm going to stop feeding piñatas now.

#69 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 01:42 AM:

Earl Cooley @ 50

Proxy wars are much, much more interesting than that.

Luckily, it's not a proxy war yet. But if the Shrub is as stupid as he's been acting, and as deaf to military advice as he was 5 years ago, it might be one soon, and then we should all put on our lead overcoats.

Fragano @ 54

I wonder if the Russians see this war as a step towards reasserting great power status not only regionally (in the 'Near Abroad') but globally?

I'd bet a case of vodka on it.


#70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 02:07 AM:

USA-Dave:

We get a lot of people who come by, post one comment, and never return. This is particularly the case for political and current events threads. We call them drive-bys, because they're about as engaged and interesting as a drive-by shooting.

The fact that you've never posted before, and the fact that the way you constructed your comment means that you're probably not a lurker just popping up to chat, made it very likely that you were just such a one. If you want to stay and be interesting, great.

So tell me, in slightly less gnomic terms: what are your views on the current conflict? Do you think that it will spread to a wider arena? Who is in the wrong, and why?

#71 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 02:30 AM:

New sekrit weapon:
Trebuchet-flung ice cream trucks!
Cold War dreams return.

#72 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 02:38 AM:

Chock-full of icecream
Beats killing experience
When keeping the peace

#73 ::: Mr. GreenEyes ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 02:43 AM:

We can all speculate as much as we want, the truth is that more information needs to be gleaned before any suppositions of substance can be put forth.

#74 ::: USA_Dave ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 03:10 AM:

Hello Abi,

I'll offer my opinion again. The world is filled with sorry people. From presidents and dictators to parents with children, all become sorry at one point or another about their levels of participation (or the lack thereof) in shaping the events that transpire in our world.

Theactrical performances require a stage, props, actors, and and a dialog.
War props: 150 Soviet Tanks, A couple jets
Actors: a small ground force with supplies/support items. (The polititions/politburo)
Dialogue: who fired first.. who's to blame? The border should be here, it should be there...blah, blah, blah...

This is a short term conflict, preprogrammed and derisive. The point of a short term conflict is to force a short term objective which has longer repercussions. Look into your own soul and tell me how hateful the children of this conflict will become as their families are slain. Over time more conflicts will occur because it was ordained or sanctioned if you prefer.

Within the next day or so, the entire world will ensue both sides for peace successfully. Georgia will be united in the end but not today. The outcome will be democracy despite what the hatemongers propogate. As a bottom line, once you've experienced freedom you'll never relinquish it, or so they tell me.

Incidentally, all of the above remarks require enlightenment. Good luck with that...

Really,

Ex-Soldier

#75 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 03:44 AM:

Dave,

Your "enlightenment" is our assumed knowledge, apart from the nonsensical elements.

Having dispensed of this explanation of Realpolitik crossbred with original sin, can we move from the theatrical metaphor to how to deal with this particular consequence of the nature of humanity? Because for all your stage metaphors, real people are dying in this conflict.

I am beginning to think that my first impression of you was correct.

#76 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 03:55 AM:

USA_Dave: Incidentally, all of the above remarks require enlightenment. Good luck with that...

Care to share the wealth, Oh, Mahatama of of the drill pad?

As for the facile comments about what is, and isn't; generally, allowed, when waiting for the orders to invade... it seems you served in a different version of the US Army than it has been my pleasure to take part.

The fluff about how quickly we can train and equip teenagers, well... no. Ignoring the supply line problems of equipping, clothing, feeding and housing all those new troops, we don't have the cadre of drill sergeants to pull it off.

Countries like Russia, which have both an extant draft, and huge stockpiles of "obsolete" and out of service weapons; many of which don't have the technical requirements of the US equipment.

What we do well is high tech, for which we gave up the ability to field large numbers of plain vanilla troops.

But realizing all that takes a small amount of actual reflection on an army's TTP, the warplanning implementation of METT-T and the social constructs of the society in which that army fuctions.

In short some realistic understanding of how things really work, good luck with that.

#77 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 04:06 AM:

Teryy, if all I had available were small arms, even including current infantry-portable anti-tank weapons, I'd worry about a battalion of Russian conscripts in T-34s.

#78 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 09:36 AM:

Georgia has apparently declared a state of war exists with Russia, and has recalled its troops from Iraq.

#79 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:17 AM:

Oh wonderful.
Just what that part of the world needs. [/something or other, not intended for serious consumption]

#80 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:33 AM:

What kind of mutual aid treaties, if any, does the United States have with Georgia?

#81 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Terry Karney @ 76

Let me point out that while your reasons for the combat preparation being a problem with deploying US troops, especially now, that's not all that stands in the way.

Because of the concentration on Central Asia as a (couple of) theater(s), the US has no cadre at all trained in the particular circumstances of combat in the Caucausus: terrain, population, culture, local technology level (if you roll through hostile territory, what will they make IEDs and other booby traps out of?), etc, etc. There is almost certainly a set of documents somewhere that represent potential military doctrine for US troops in that region on a variety of missions, but turning those documents into training for large numbers of troops is not a quick or simple exercise.

And we're assuming US intelligence on the strategic situation, and on the tactical situations in critical areas where we'd want to insert troops and equipment is both reasonably complete and accurate. As our intelligence agencies have been focusing almost totally on Iraq, Afghanistan, and (sort-of) Iran, I doubt very much we have good uptodate human intelligence on the ground.

Oh, and where would the US stage deployment of a "peacekeeper" force from? I would bet gold jewelry to rusty steel washers that Turkey is actively hostile to the idea, that Kazakhstan and the rest of former Central Asian SSRs would be at least uneasy to the point of getting hives at the thought, and Iraq is right out.

Hmmm ... that deployment question makes me wonder if preparations to deploy peacekeepers in Georgia / Ossetia could be used as a cover for preparation of a small force for hit-and-run operations into Iran. Of course that's a truly bad idea, but on form, the Bush administration doesn't seem to see these little subtleties.

#82 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:57 AM:

USA_Dave @ 74: "Incidentally, all of the above remarks require enlightenment. Good luck with that..."

And here I was, thinking that you weren't making any sense because you were babbling like an incoherent lunatic. But it's really because you're enlightened, and I am but a padawan. Boy do I sure feel silly now!

#83 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Bruce Cohen at 81, we're already there. Nathan Hodge at Wired has a post about the presence of US trainers in Georgia, clearly in exchange for Georgian troops in Iraq. (I attempted to link to it but my link-fu is not strong.)

#84 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 11:22 AM:

USA Flag Waving Homecoming Parade Dave - P.S. Since when do "abi" types beat on piñata's anyway?

Define "abi" types, oh Bhodisatva of Blowing Shit Up.

#85 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 11:35 AM:

How come I didn't see this on the Google news page?

#86 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 11:58 AM:

Nina Katerina @ 1 and Fragano Ledgister @ 5:

From what I can tell, the background is something like this:

North and South Ossetia are what's left of a medieval kingdom (Alania) created by a branch of Iranian nomads known as the Alans (some of whom, earlier on, ended up in Western Europe and North Africa during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire). "North Ossetia" was absorbed by the Russian empire in the late 1700s; "South Ossetia" had become part of Georgia, and was taken over, along with the rest of Georgia, in the early 1800s.

Under the Soviet Union, North Ossetia was set up as an "autonomous province" ("oblast"), later elevated to an "autonomous republic", within the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic. When the Soviet Union broke up, it became an autonomous republic within Russia; the historical name "Alania" was added in 1994 (apparently in deference to rising Ossetian nationalism), so it's official name is now North Ossetia-Alania. The population is about two-thirds Ossetian, one quarter Russian, and a mix of other minorities.

In Soviet times, South Ossetia was made an autonomous province within the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, but never elevated to the status of autonomous republic. (Georgia subsequently abolished its "autonomous province" status.) The population just prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union was apparently about two-thirds Ossetian and slightly over one quarter Georgian. As both Ossetians and Georgians have fled the region since fighting started in the early 1990s, it's not clear what the current makeup is, though I'd imagine it's still majority Ossetian.

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 11:58 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #69: I suspect you are correct (besides which, I can't afford to buy a case of vodka).

#88 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Peter Erwin #86: Thanks. It looks as if the current brannigan will make things even messier.

#89 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 12:17 PM:

The outcome I expect is that nobody from the west will get involved other than making harsh comments and Russia will take South Ossetia as its own, feeling even more empowered than they already do. Russia has been being aggressive for a while now, and nobody has done a thing. There's no reason people would suddenly decide to keep guard right now.

In specific, the USA is too busy obsessing over Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan/Obama/McCain/Britney/KidnappedChild-7B/LatestAffair/ScandalGate to actually notice a new problem, and the rest of the world is too busy watching the largest and most belligerent power in the world (USA) to pay sufficient heed to the previously-competitive-for-powerfulness-status-and-eyeing-world-domination-again country.

Maybe its just my own pessimism, but I don't see any progress being made on this front by the spectacular diplomatic geniuses that put an end to the Iranian nuclear program peacefully, and I find the idea of a war involving Russia highly frightworthy.

#90 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 01:09 PM:

Stratfor confirms an impression I picked up from the media that the significant parts of South Ossetia are the capital city and the two-lane tunnel that connects it to North Ossetia. The value of chokepoints is limited when someone's bombing the spit out of you, of course. The BBC has a good map of the area, and includes a mention that the Abkhazian separatists claim they're using this opportunity to attack Georgian forces there.

It looks like Georgia may want to pull half its 2,000 Iraq contingent back, but the only way to bring them back quickly is through US air transport assets. That could be awkward.

The fortune cookie I picked up from the remains of the pinata says: "More people are surprised after invasions than before."

#91 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Execuse me for my English, first!
I'll try to be polite, not to hurt anybody patriotic feelings.
All said by Georgia- is a compromat.
Osetia (south) was not a part of Georgia, as it used to be, since the USSR was created. In 1990-s the Georgia set fire on Osetia- like to make place for georgians- it was a real genocid
We (people of the world) shougeorld not think about our narrow individual interest but think globally and support decline in escalating any war conflicts.

Now georgia said that russians bombed their territory- that is not true- I have returned from Georgia today- people are nervous- that is all. but was is true- is that georgian soldgiers set fire on ionnocent citizens and prevent medical staff to assist injured ossetians.

I REALLY WANT AMERICAN AND EUROPIANS TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!

Thank you very much for your attention.

Its terrible, that close nations, like georgians, ukrainians and russians are now struggle due to the unfair efforts of our governments!!

People? Does oil decide on everithing?

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Lizzy L @ 83

The problem with that is that the missions and tactical doctrine of a training force and a peacekeeping (or invasion suppression, for that matter) force are very different. Rules of engagement are obviously different, but more to the point, trainers don't roll in company or battalion strength through hostile areas, nor do they have to maintain supply lines, intelligence gathering units, air reconnaissance and fire support, or a lot of other kinds of support. The way those things get done depends on the characteristics of the region. So you can't just take a training unit and make it a peacekeeping force by giving it a few Stryker or Bradley fighting vehicles and a heavy-weapons team, and you can't just take a combat team from Iraq and put it in Georgia.

#93 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Maria - Добро пожаловать! (I hope that's right.)

Thank you for your perspective from the area. However, even if the part of Georgia you were in was not under attack, the BBC reports seeing airstrikes against military targets in Gori, and there are other reports of attacks on Georgian port cities.

I think that almost all of us we would prefer that this situation be resolved by peaceful means, and that it is unfair that innocent people are dying because of governmental power struggles.

As an aside to the crowd, "compromat" seems to mean "blackmail materials", in this context I'm guessing propaganda with the intent of blackmailing Russia.

#94 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 03:49 PM:

Lizzy L #83: Nathan Hodge at Wired has a post about the presence of US trainers in Georgia, clearly in exchange for Georgian troops in Iraq.

Here

#95 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 04:27 PM:

Earl Cooley III at 94, thank you. Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) at 92, I didn't mean to imply that the training forces from the US would suddenly turn into combat troops. However, the presence of US peacekeepers in Georgia creates further grounds for the US to support Georgia both diplomatically, which we are already doing, and (ugh) militarily. Bush in China has already made a statement suggesting that Russia should back off and implying that Russia is the aggressor here -- which seems in fact to be the case. But I have no knowledge of the politics of this region so I am happy to defer to others who do.

#96 ::: Bob Rossney ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 04:54 PM:

At http://exiledonline.com/georgia-gets-its-war-onmccain-gets-his-brain-plaque/ you can find a pretty detailed and angry picture of the situation by Mark Ames. He's very frank about calling Georgia the aggressor; he calls it "Saakashvili's invasion."

Ames is no fan of the Russian government. They did, after all, shut down his newspaper. And I'd like to know more about Georgia's connections to John McCain's campaign, yes I would.

#97 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Peter Erwin wrote @ #86:

North and South Ossetia are what's left of a medieval kingdom (Alania) created by a branch of Iranian nomads known as the Alans...

Iranian nomads? For heaven's sake, don't tell Shrub & Co!

#98 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 05:55 PM:

#96
My understanding is that one of his campaign management people was (and maybe still is) a lobbyist for Georgia.

This is a really good reason not to have lobbyists working on one's campaign, but McCain is, shall we say, not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

#99 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 06:25 PM:

There are reports that the Russians have begun bombing the oil pipelines in Georgia. That's not a target in a limited incursion or anything designed to gain a limited objective. That's a longterm strategic target with long term impacts.

#100 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 07:13 PM:

Sylvia, #61, I saw that on the news last night. The earlier news, suggesting that the child is his, made it seem much more recent.

Bruce, #81, and there's a good chance we have Tomahawk missiles already aimed at Russian targets, should we choose to take sides.

#101 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 09:16 PM:

John L. @ 99

That's a longterm strategic target with long term impacts.

Or the actual objective of the exercise for which South Ossetia is the excuse.

Marilee @ 100

and there's a good chance we have Tomahawk missiles already aimed at Russian targets, should we choose to take sides.

Don't we always? And that's a really scary thought; Russia will not take well to having missles rain down on their troops. Tomahawks can fly "nape of the earth" and not be spotted until they're near the target; troop deployments take a lot longer and are a lot easier to see.

#102 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 09:19 PM:

Marilee,

Just what would targeting Tomahawks on Russian targets accomplish, other than to get us involved with a country no sane person anywhere wants to fight? We could launch every cruise missile we could get within range and do nothing but piss them off.

I'd like to think that our leadership is not so stupid as to even consider for a moment to actively intervene in this fight; this wouldn't be something that could "shock and awe" the Russians or "make a statement" that would get them to reconsider what they're doing.

Tomahawk strikes in Russian territory is the fastest way I can think of to get a much larger war started inadvertently that I can think of.

#103 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Coverage at the Guardian

I think I'd summarize the Russian strategy here as "shock and awe"--they are hoping either to disable the Georgian military, or so intimidate Georgia that it will never again oppose Russia. I suppose they will succeed in whatever immediate military objectives they have and I hope those objectives do not include mass murder. However the likely result of this is a long-running conflict in the region. Unfortunately, in our unified world, all wars, now, are civil wars. Which means, connections on both sides, divided loyalties, non-governmental resources coming in from outside (according to the Guardian, Russian paramilitaries are already joining the fray), and all the suffering and bitterness of the battle between brothers.

#104 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Treat as questionable.

Regional blogging from a British journalist.

Commentary at Global Voices Online; note especially the translated blog posts.

The level of violence appears to be far beyond a reasonable response to the Georgian military action. Cautiously, based on the reporting I have seen, I would say that Russia believes it is necessary to destroy South Ossetia in order to save it.

#105 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 02:31 AM:

Maria: Я знаю гисторию, в резуплтатем Я знаю ты не сказала правда.

#106 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 03:25 AM:

"The level of violence appears to be far beyond a reasonable response to the Georgian military action."

People prefer to be slaughtered reasonably.

#107 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 04:55 AM:

Randolph at #104: 'The level of violence appears to be far beyond a reasonable response to the Georgian military action.'

Randolph, I haven't waded through all the posts, but as far as I can see the first post quoted on these sites describes the massive artillery and rocket bombardment of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali by the Georgians on Thursday night.

If anyone is 'destroying South Ossetia in order to save it' it's Georgia.

#108 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 06:16 AM:

105 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 02:31 AM:

Maria: Я знаю гисторию, в резуплтатем Я знаю ты не сказала правда.

To the nice guy how is great at Russian and knows the history.

In the early days of Soviet union we had many Caucasus nations, united under communists. Among the were Osetia and Georgia as well. At that time these nations had very tolerant feeling with each other and ok, no problem that they became Georgia as one state.
Here we have the same story as with Cosovo. So why NATO feel free for the independence of Cosovo and have so much against th Osetian independence, cause most of the citizens want to separate from Georgia.

Believe me, there's no direct evidence, but to be honest, there's no surprise for Russians, that NATOwant to set influense over the regions, surronding Russia, and this is their right, ok.

But in reaching this influense they provide support (even financing) for those govenrmental leaders, that are rather inadequate. Saakashvilly is not strong in politics and will only reach the escalation of conflict.

I shoul said agan, that Georgia have never cared of Osetian citizens, since 1990-s when Shwvrdnadze gave rize to a slogan "Georgia for Georgians".

To those, who do not know georgraphical details- South Osetia consist of a city and some small villages. The aim of Georgia was just to boost all the civil people to preserve the territory.

#109 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 09:25 AM:

For a few years now, the accepted wisdom has been that the USA is the World's Only Superpower. Now we'll have to get our minds round the fact that there are two other nations that are powerful enough to commit acts of war against any other country they choose (except perhaps the USA and each other), and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it, because both those nations are nuclear-armed and -capable, have vetos on the UN Security Council and have their fingers round the economic necks* of the West. For the latter reason, even if Georgia had become a member of NATO as it wanted (but some European countries prevented) earlier this year, NATO would have done precisely nothing to support Georgia in the present crisis.

* or other more private anatomy.

#110 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:46 AM:

Well, I see Jhon Stanning is a very sensible man with some profound knowledge, I think, and talk without any unnecessary fobias of Russia.

Trouthly speaking, some people in Russia have some USA-fobia.

So I just wany to ask the question, if USA wants to proteckt itself from Russian potential agreession, why it chose the way to support govenrments of former USSR region (e.g. Ukraine) in such a way to break down any good relationships between nations that used to be friends. It is so obvious and clear, looking at the actions of Ushenko. Most of people in that country do not approve the actions of Ukraine government.
For what sake NATO think they have the right to act in such way))? This will lead sooner or later to civil conflicts inside former USSR countries.

John, execuse me, do you, personnaly believe this is good of NATO.

May be I expressed some unnecessary emotions(

#111 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 12:19 PM:

Maria, the USA doesn't need to protect itself from Russian potential aggression, nor does Russia need to protect itself from the USA; while the relationship between USA and Russia is not exactly friendly (and neither Bush nor Putin is trying to make it better), both sides know that direct aggression would be disastrous for both.

Many former republics of the USSR, and satellites of the USSR, became independent after the USSR collapsed in 1991. Most of those newly independent countries want to become part of 'the West' rather than to remain in the 'sphere of influence' of Russia, which may tell you something about their view of Russia. They see membership of the EU and/or NATO as a way of confirming their independence of Russia. Several of those countries are already members of the EU and of NATO.

In the case of Ukraine, the 'orange revolution' was generally seen in the West as democratic and positive, so to be supported. Ushenko wanted to join NATO and the EU, and there was no reason to say no to him (although Ukraine has a way to go before it would be accepted as a candidate for EU membership). As it turns out, Ushenko (and prime minister Tymoshenko) don't seem to have been quite such good democrats as the West hoped. But still, I think that the West's support for Ushenko was in the hope of a good result for Ukraine. Maybe most Ukrainians don't approve of their current government, but I think what they want is a better government, not to be back in the Russian empire - except perhaps for the Russian minority in the east and in Crimea.

#112 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Georgia announced they give up; they really didn't put up much of a fight, did they? They seem surprised that their NATO friends didn't give a toss.

If it was a gamble from Sahakashvili, from outside this might look like a complete failure, but I suspect he managed to coalesce internal support (which he desperately needed just a few weeks ago).
Russia got a bit of its pride back, Chechnya is forgotten a bit further, and NATO will twice curse GWB for getting embroiled in a useless quagmire right when the Age of the Capitalist Superpowers is dawning.

(And I guess we can expect the next "Queen & Country" to happen somewhere in Tiblisi...)

#113 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 12:50 PM:

The creeping re-emergence of Russia as a "Great Power" continues. For all Maria's attempts to paint this as some general piece of Russian altruism, untainted by realpolitik; divorced of hegemonic interest, the fact is they've been supporting the S. Ossetian autonomy since the inception of Georgia as independent.

Just as they've been monkeying in Ukranian politics (the dioxin poisoning of Ushenko, the very questionable vote returns which led to the Orange Revolution, the attempts to coerce a sort of Finlandization with the availbility of heating oils in the winter, threats to NATO, and Ukraine because of Partnership for Peace exercises, etc.) they have wanted Georgia (along with Belorus and Ukraine) back in the fold.

It is, appallingly, reminiscent of the Sudetenland in the late '30s, an excuse to extend the reach of Russia. They aren't above other bits of monkeying in regional politcs either. The sympathy for the Serbs had something to do with just how bad the situation got in the former Yugoslavia.

I've liked all the Russian soldiers I've gotten to serve with, but that doesn't change a thing about the wrongness of this, nor the questionable direction in which Putin/Medveev is taking the country.

Giacamo: Of course Georgia didn't put up much of a fight. They don't have the means, and they got no support. Not even so much lip service as they might have. The cruel fact of the matter is there is no one, at present, in the position to come to their aid, not even in an untimely fashion (a la the Austrian response to the death of Ferdinand, which might have been forgiveable, if they'd not waited so long to actually invade in 1914), so as soon as Russia decided to initiate hostilities; in the "interest" of protecting the cultural Russians in S. Ossetia, Georgia was doomed to lose the fight.

What will happen now, is anybody's guess, but I suspect a much less independent Georgia, and new pressures on Ukraine. Belorus has already been Finlandized, and is not likely to do much straying now.

So Russia gets all it wants, and probably more; with great help from this administration.

#114 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 01:09 PM:

Terry, my sympathies are with the Georgians, and particularly with the bombed and the refugees forced from their homes, but was there really anything the US could have done to change the situation? Even if it were possible to do it, logistically, providing military assistance to Georgia would be insane. I suppose more Stern Diplomatic Words might have been said, though it's pretty clear they would have made not a damn bit of difference. Your post suggests that the Bush administration could have done something here to change the outcome -- I'm wondering what you think it is.

#115 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 01:32 PM:

My sympathies lie entirely with the Georgian civilian population. I don't need any kind of complicated analysis (though that is necessary for other reasons) to know that the Russian and Georgian leaderships, just like ours, are a bunch of sociopathic assholes.

(Firefox, do you really not know the word "sociopathic"? Did I just make it up?)

#116 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Ack--when I said "just like ours", I meant the USA. Yes, I know not everyone in the world is from the states. Yes, I'm an ass.

(Yes, I'm sure other people's leaderships are also sociopathic assholes.)

#117 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 01:37 PM:

Lizzy L @ 114

There are several things I can think of that either NATO collectively, or the US by itself could do to support Georgia militarily; every single one of them would be insane from any diplomatic or long-term political viewpoint, and probably not very effective from a military viewpoint unless they're prepared to escalate to an unlimited armed conflict with Russia. Any military operation requiring the deployment of large numbers of troops would be insane from a military standpoint, without first using large-scale air and missle attacks against Russian units in the region; the whole mess would escalate before the deploying troops could arrive.

In other words, for anyone else but Russia this is a no-win situation (well, yes, Sahakashvili personally comes out of it in better shape politically than he went in, but the general situation of Georgia vis a vis Russian interests in the region has gotten worse).

#118 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 01:46 PM:

It turned out really, that europians and americans became the victims of a massive information campaign, set out by NATO leaders.

Most people in Ukraine and Georgia were against of "export of democracy" in the face of entering NATO.

"Democracy" is just a vaile for politicans to separate their areas of influence over natural resources, Russian is the final force, that prevent american political and economic elite to gain total control.

As a part of humanity what you prefer- to leave in a peaceful world, or to leave in the country, that would benefit when other nations are struggling due to decisions of youe government?

the ordinary people would never benefit from "your democracy"

What do you no about real "orange revolution"- it was not the choice of the nation, many people were against, just money, provided by NATO, were spent massive campaign among young and pasionate people and make all this stuff.

WHY THAN YOU DON"T TRY TO SET DEMORACY ON CHINA,


You speak so much about democracy, it now seems that it is the only solution for nation to florish. Than look at China- what a great progress it made. In case of this democratic Eutope is in recession))

Here in Russia, we are not communists, as you may think, and rather democratic. Some people in America still belive that the Moscow is a great forest with bears walking through the streets, don't they.

You were quite right, when saying, that NATO is not afraid of Russia, but...

#119 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 01:50 PM:

I had to look up Finlandization. At first, I was all, "OMG the Russians are forcing weaker countries to speak Finnish, call The Hague!!!" but then I was like "okay, big countries are going to beat up on little countries whether we like it or not, it's not as though we haven't set a precedent in that department ourselves; they just need to do a better job of sweeping their atrocities under the rug than we did".

#120 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Lizzy

I suppose you could read this!!!

I don't know what your journalists reported, if you think so much of Georgian civilians.

The really victims- are Osetian people. Russian troops at least don't shoot down children and old people just staying in front of them.

That is true, that while bombing there could be injured from Georgian part, but they are mostly soldgiers.

Your journalists just forgot to visit Schinvcally, where georgians very punctially set fire on hospitals, schools, civil houses, fired people still alive.

For Russia was provocated in this situation. As most of osetian people has russian citizenship, Russians could do nothing but helping this people.

I don't approve violance from both Russian and Georgian sides, but they have some different nature...

May be Georgians think they struggling for their territory- OK/ But they will not give the chance for osetians to survive, they would rather kill all osetians to achieve their goal.

When you draw your conclusions Lizzy (and you have the right for your own, I don't try to change your point of view) but please think about the little Osetia, that suffers much more from georgian troops, that give the start to all this battle

#121 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 02:13 PM:

#113 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Terry, you have very logical view of the situation, as you know a bit of USSR history.

But you didn't take into consideration, that before the USSR came into the stage, the friendly nations were acting under the Russian impreia, and they even caucasian countries asked the Russian tsar to support them in struggling with Iran, for example.

Time has changed. I'm personally, have nothing against independence of the states, but if is done with the help of establishing negaitve attitude to Russians in Ukraine and Belarus, its cruel.

Because, you may not know, but we are closer, than you may think from the economic or political or (whatever else prospective). But still 30% of Ukraine peaple have Russian relatives and VV.

Terry, Sometimes there things, that cannot be described just from the point of Democracy.

American government struggle for control over independent nations like ukrainers, but in a very cruel way.

#122 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 02:35 PM:

#111 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 12:19 PM:

My previous comment partly adressed to you, too. Thank you for your unswers for my (may be stupid) questions, you ia a good opponent.

Really, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine and Belarus for you is a like a heap of the iceberg, you see only the worse perspective and the "bad Russians" who want to control them. But the history of the Russians started in Kiev about 15 centuries ago, you know? Till the end of the 19th century Ukraine was a constituent part of Russia of Russia.

I don't mean that the Ukraine shouldn't be independent, the world is changing.

The thing that astonishing me- you like a zomby tells that- we want "democracy" to win. Democracy would be better for all small nations!!!

Open your eyes: a small part of oil producers want to control the world. I'm not approve all Russian government steps, but it is not your right
to SAY what WOULD BE BETTER to other nations (like COsovo, Ukrain etc). May be from the child-hood mass media make a trick on your mind?

I'm not a socialist, beklieve me, but economic stability of the country is much more important that your "democratic" insights.

And again, what about CHINA. You said nothing about the intentions of NATO in respect of this country. May be it would be too expewnsive to set democracy there.

Regards

#123 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 02:57 PM:

For those, who have little knowledge of Russian- how people from georgia assess the situation.


События, получившие развитие в зоне грузино-осетинского конфликта, не оставили равнодушными председателей грузинских диаспор, действующих на территории России. В пятницу, 8 августа, с резким протестом против военных действий выступили сразу несколько землячеств грузин. Также не остались в стороне представители православной церкви и мира шоу-бизнеса.

Эта война не нужна никому. С такими словами выступил Союз грузин в России, давая оценку тому, что происходит на границе Грузии и Южной Осетии. Это объединение было создано в 2007 году в Москве на базе трех грузинских организаций. Одним из его приоритетных направлений является развитие дружбы, согласия и взаимопонимания народов России и Грузии.

«Ни у какой войны не может быть оправданий, потому ее единственное последствие – гробы пацанов, женщин, детей и стариков, которые ни в чем не повинны» По словам руководителей организации, участники конфликта должны немедленно сесть за стол переговоров, поскольку альтернативы миру нет, а несогласные с этим являются злейшими врагами как грузинского, так и осетинского народов.


«Информация, которая приходит из районов боевых действий, не может оставить нас равнодушными, так как безвинными жертвами любой войны становятся в первую очередь мирные жители, женщины, старики, дети. Мы не хотим называть зачинщиков этого кровопролития, ибо поиск виновных способствует продолжению вооруженного противостояния», – говорится в тексте, опубликованном на сайте Союза грузин в России.


Его авторы призывают самые влиятельные страны мира, и в первую очередь Россию, предпринять политические, дипломатические меры и сделать все возможное для воцарения мира в Грузии во благо всех народов, населяющих эту страну.

Все фотографии


Также подобное требование было составлено осетинской и грузинской диаспорами в Свердловской области, передает ИТАР-ТАСС.


«Мы переживаем за их судьбы и призываем государственных и политических деятелей Грузии и Южной Осетии незамедлительно прекратить боевые действия, начать мирный переговорный процесс, чтобы только путем переговоров решать все вопросы. Пусть разум возьмет верх над эмоциями и прекратит кровопролитие», – указывается в обращении, под которым подписались также представители армянской, узбекской, якутской, белорусской и украинской диаспор.


Кроме того, ситуацию на Кавказе прокомментировал руководитель саратовской областной общественной организации «Грузинская община «Иверия» Темраз Бечвая.

На эту темуТретья сторона войны
Прогноз развития войны
Медведев отдал приказ
Мир требует мира
Европа просит одуматься

Ключевые слова: Грузия, Южная Осетия, война, грузино-осетинский конфликт, непризнанные республики
«Этот конфликт надо решать мирным путем. Необходимо садиться за стол переговоров, иначе эта война принесет много жертв, будут убиты безвинные. В конфликт необходимо вмешаться, но не силовым путем, а путем переговоров», – подчеркнул Темраз Бечвая.

Не остались в стороне и представители православной церкви. На протяжении всего дня в православных храмах Грузии шли молебны об установлении мира в Цхинвали. Католикос-патриарх всея Грузии Илия II выразил большую озабоченность в связи с тем, что пролилась кровь, есть убитые и раненые как среди военных, так и среди мирного населения. Он призвал прихожан молиться и читать псалмы за скорейшее завершение кровопролития.


Также против военных действий высказался известный журналист, историк и член Общественной палаты Николай Сванидзе. В эфире «Эха Москвы» он подчеркнул, что самое опасное – это всеобщее возбуждение и жажда крови.

Тайны метросексуалов и рэперов

Бестселлеры, доступные всем
«Сегодня вышло заявление Общественной палаты. Его смысл в том, что нужно прекращать боевые действия, это призыв ко всем общественным организациям, не только российским, но и международным. Необходимо в максимальной степени поспособствовать прекращению военных действий и тому, чтобы политики снова сели за стол переговоров. Мирные переговоры по сравнению с войной – это уже победа. Есть страны, которые не дружат между собой, но они не стреляют друг в друга. Сейчас важно прекратить стрельбу. Потому что ситуация грозит гуманитарной катастрофой», - отметил Сванидзе.

По поводу войны высказался и известный шоумен Отар Кушанашвили.


«Любая война – это бессмысленная кровавая бойня. Ни у какой войны не может быть оправданий, потому ее единственное последствие – гробы пацанов, женщин, детей и стариков, которые ни в чем не повинны. Я не слышал о том, что со стороны Грузии кто-то объявил войну. Но если грузины это сделают, то ответственность за этот шаг ляжет на одного человека – Михаила Саакашвили. Если же это обоюдная неприязнь, вылившаяся в военные действия, значит обе стороны доказали, что они дебилы. В любом случае происходящее – на совести политиканов, а не простых людей. В Грузии боготворят русских и всегда будут хорошо к ним относиться, потому что мы – братья», – заявил Отар Кушанашвили в интервью газете ВЗГЛЯД.

#124 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Maria, I am equally saddened by the pain and suffering of the Ossetians, please believe me. I was under the impression that most of those killed were Georgian, from Tbilisi and Gori; however, it sounds like Tskhinvali in South Ossetia has been heavily bombed by the Georgians, and has taken many casualties.

From what I can tell from wading through articles on the web, the Georgians initiated the military action against South Ossetia; they sent troops in on Thursday. Russia responded with massive force. Saakashvili has made a huge mistake and the people of the region are paying the price for it. I assume he thought the Russians would not respond militarily (why not?) or that if they did he would get NATO military support.

#125 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 03:22 PM:

Maria: Thank you for being so kind as to tell me what I didn't take into the situation, really, years spent studying russian history were absolutely ignored.

I might say you failed to take the Tartar period and the sense of opressed infeiority stamped into the russian psyche at a level below awareness, and how it shaped Stalin's desires to enforce a protective hegemony, lest something like that happen again.

Neither did I mention the massive distrust of Western Motives as result of the interference in the Civil War aspects of the revolution, and the role the US Army was playing in the area until 1920/21.

I didn't mention a lot of things, because really, this is more about present politics, and the desires of Putin/Medveev to secure the buffer zone/hegemony/empire they grew up in. The impossibility of regaining the Central European states which aren't "russian" speaking (though the mush-mouthed mumbling which is how Georgian sounded to me when getting sit-reps makes it plain to me that it's not Russian, no matter how closely related, rapid-fire Ukrainian, vowel-shifted and with the differences in ending, and midddle verb structure was easier) means that Poland, etc. will be independent (though finlandizing them may be attempted), but won't stop the urge to make sure the closely related aren't brought back into the fold.

And the idea that a selection you chose to pressent, represents an accurate cross section of the Georgain people as a whole... well it's not exactly rising to the level at which I'll take it at face value. I've spent a lot of time in that part of the world, and with a large cross section of the nations there (if a narrow subset of the population) and I know it's nowhere near monolithic in political opinion.

It would be a lot easier to accept what you said if you didn't dress it up as, "The Truth".

#126 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 04:34 PM:

Dear all!!!

Thank you a lot for understnding and giving reasonable and profounded response for my (always) very empotional proclamations.

It was very important for me to understand :
NOT that people abroad take my point of view:
But ists VERY important to see, that they understand that the situation is very complicated, more, than is reported by mass media (on both sides).

You should understand my feelings too. As a grew in SUnion, i travelled a lot and communicate with people. And we seemed to be close nations.

Nowdays the mistakes of politicians give rise to escalation of violance. I'm looking at the fresh news on TV, see hospital blown up in skhinvally, and the situation, when georgian snipers prevent to escape injures.

Saakashvilly troops even used "Grad" on civil people, which is prohibited, as I know.


Still I believe, that many Georgians already were injured in the conflict.By the way, by this action, Russians were provoked by Saakashvilly and now this may seem to look like agression too.

I believe, that if such people as I've wrote to on this site, understand that Saakashvilly now should be accused for his measures in reaching participation in NATO.

Even if his aim was good (NATO), his measures were unfair. His provocation (for he knew that Russia would defend Ossetia) cannot be approved.
And now he just sets a large piece of desinformation.

I believe in your understanding!

Thank you all, for just trying to understand Russians, and not falling into Unti-Russian hysteria


THANK YOU ALL!

#127 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 04:41 PM:

#125 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 03:22 PM:

Terry, excuse me for being sometimes rude or give much way to my emotions. I didn't want to hurt anybody's feeleings.

I believe, that you have a strong knowledge of the world's history and you quite right in saying, that people in each country are not a monolite, having very different political and religious preferences.

Thank you


#128 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 04:45 PM:

Maria #122: Yes, I know some of the history of Ukraine. But that was then, this is now. It may be hard for Russians to see Ukraine as an independent state, but somehow Ukrainians still have their own culture and language, and 90% of them voted for independence.
If Mr Putin wanted to keep Ukraine together with Russia, he could try being friendly. But he doesn't. He cuts off their gas, he threatens to point his missiles at Kiev, he accuses their politicians of being Western puppets. If you were Ukrainian, would that make you want to join with Russia, or would you look for protection from NATO?

Remember that 'democracy' doesn't just mean voting. It means the rule of law and human rights as well.

Here's a little story: Serbs and Croats fought a messy war in the 1990s. Now it's over and Croatia wants to join the EU. But you can't join the EU until you have democratic government, rule of law, human rights, etc. So the EU has people in Croatia showing them what they need to do. In Croatia there are villages and even small towns that don't have electricity yet, so the Croatian power company is busy installing electricity in those villages and towns. Now, lots of ethnic Serbs still live in Croatia, and lots of ethnic Croats live in Serbia, even after all the 'ethnic cleansing' that happened in the war. So the Croat power company goes down a street and connects all the Croat houses and leaves out all the Serb houses. And the EU people say no, if you want to be democratic and join the EU, you connect the Serb houses too. That's what democracy means. No country gets it right all the time, but the democratic countries know what they ought to be doing, and have plenty of people who are free to tell them, and do tell them.

You said "a small part of oil producers want to control the world". Yes. Russia is the second or third largest oil producer in the world, and the largest producer of natural gas.

And you said "what about China?". Well, back to my #109; China is the other nation that the West cn do nothing about, notwithstanding the Olympic Games, for the reasons that I gave up there.

#129 ::: Reynolds ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 06:36 PM:

It's obvious that the goal of putin is to re-take the soviet bloc countries. And as for people who think that the russian pilots are not intentionally targeting civilian targets because they are a "professional military", what about afghanistan in the '80s?

Putin is basically the dictator as prime minister. How funny is it that the UN is so useless? Russia is a veto power in the UN which means it can take away any measures the UN would even attempt to do, but they would not.

Hopefully the European Union will do something but that is very unlikely. They will probably just "urge" the russians to halt like bush's speech while he is at the olympics.

So maybe we will get another Chamberlain to say we have achieved peace for our time if Russia agrees to push no further than Georgia.

#130 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:30 PM:

John L, #102, when I worked on the Tomahawks, they were for MAD with the Soviets. Since then, presidents have been stupid enough to use them on third-world countries, thus inuring us to the idea of use. Yes, sending them at Russian targets is a really stupid idea, but we have a really stupid CinC.

Maria, To consider China a great nation is to accept that people are cattle. That's why we have democracy.

#131 ::: Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:43 PM:

The Russians(at this point) Have no reason to invade Georgia, and to do it during the Olympics( a time when the world comes together) is a bunch of Bull shit. Russia still doesnt have the guts to invade any country in it's weak state. Georgia,as you should know, is thinking about joining NATO and so in invading Georgia will totally Piss off NATO.

#132 ::: Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:50 PM:

Nato could react in a very violent way or they may not. Invading Georgia is like nuking France or Germany or any NATO country for that matter.

#133 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:52 PM:

Is 131 a drive-by pinata or just out of touch with reality?

(I don't think NATO is going to do anything about Georgia. I hope that George and Dick don't decide to get the US in between Russia and anyone else, because right now the Russian military is in a lot better shape than ours.)

#134 ::: Falstaff ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 11:06 PM:

P.J. @ #133:

Seems to me that Kieran's comment at #132 marks him as... well, if not a drive-by, then not a very thoughtful person, given that he compares the invasion of Georgia to dropping an atomic bomb on France. I'm not especially well-educated, nor do I keep as up to date on European affairs as I ought, but that strikes me as a blatantly false comparison.

Of course, since I lurk here and almost never comment (I think I've done so all of once since moving countries a couple years ago), I can potentially be dismissed as a drive-by myself. Heh.

#135 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 11:07 PM:

Charlie Stross has some links up on the cyberwar tactics used by the Russians. Especially disturbing are the apparent links between the Russian mafia and the Russian military. Reportedly (no link yet--sorry), there were also physical attacks on communications infrastructure. Apparently, the libertarian analysis holds here; there is no clear line between the Russian government and Russian organized crime.

A lesson here, I think: one of the best things a small power can invest in is a hardened communications infrastructure.

#136 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 11:37 PM:

Marilee @ 130: "To consider China a great nation is to accept that people are cattle. That's why we have democracy."

Um, what on earth does that mean?

#137 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 04:27 AM:

It should have been apparent some time ago that Russia was not going to tolerate NATO having a presence directly on their border; the Warsaw Pact nations were more about building a buffer of compliant, controlled nations between them and everyone else (especially Germany) than anything else.

Russia's sphere of influence includes all the countries adjacent to them that used to be part of the larger Soviet Union. They correctly judged that NATO would only shake their fingers and 'tut tut' disapprovingly if Russia took action against Georgia; that country is small and isolated from any possible direct help.

It's a shame that the Georgian leadership believed Bush when he was told the US "supported" his democratic government and bid to enter NATO.

#138 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 05:26 AM:

Terry Karney @ 125:
... though the mush-mouthed mumbling which is how Georgian sounded to me when getting sit-reps makes it plain to me that it's not Russian, no matter how closely related ...

As it happens, Georgian is not even remotely related to Russian (though, after a couple centuries of being ruled by Russian-speaking empires, there are probably a number of Russian loan-words). Russian is an Indo-European language, so it's (distantly) related to English, French, Farsi, Hindi, etc.; Georgian is a South Caucasian/Kartvelian language, so it's related to the few other Kartvelian languages that exist and nothing else. (People have suggested other connections, e.g., a distant relationship to Basque, but that's considered highly speculative at best).

#139 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 05:41 AM:

As a resident part-time third-rate troll on this blog, I take offense at Reynolds' #129 drive-by. I've rarely seen so many right-wing talking points so lightly camouflaged.

#140 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Very interesting thread. A lot of misinformation going on here. First, South Ossetia is not a sovereign state. No UN member nation, including Russia, has recognized it as such. Therefor, Georgia's military actions against the South Ossetian region, no matter how ill advised, can not be inferred to be an attack upon a sovereign state. Russia granted de facto citizenship to a large number of people living in South Ossetia without the consent of the government of Georgia. This would be analogous to the United States issuing US passports to citizens of Moscow and then claiming it had some right to protect them from the Russian government, even though they resided within the internationally recognized borders of Russia.

Now, disregarding the well documented efforts of the Russian government to re-establish its former Soviet hegemony, the big problem here is the fact that Georgia has mutual defense treaties with a number of Western and former Eastern Bloc countries. And, though those countries, the US included, have little desire to actively engage in a military conflict with Russia in that country, invasion of non-contested Georgian territory could well spark international intervention.

It is likely that Russia was only prepared to secure the contested area of South Ossetia, but that could change if Russian leaders feel confident that they can secure Georgia with impunity. A lot can happen in the next few days. Stay tuned.

#141 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 11:00 AM:

138: Is there any small language family that someone, somewhere, hasn't tried to link to Basque?

(But, yes, Georgian isn't even remotely similar to Russian.)

#142 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 11:55 AM:

This is a Russian land grab at its most basic, using the Georgian military actions as the excuse. It appears, though, that they're going past just annexing South Ossetia; reports now have their forces advancing through the other province and into Georgia proper, with calls for their President to abdicate and all Georgian troops to disarm.

Mutual defense treaties notwithstanding, it was naive of the Georgian President to think any NATO country would risk all-out war with Russia over his country. About all that NATO will do is frown disapprovingly at Russia.

#143 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Looks like the Russians have decided not to withdraw, even though there are reports that Georgian troops are "trying" to surrender.

How long before Saakashvili flees the country and sets up a government in exile?

#144 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Mac @ 140:
Russia granted de facto citizenship to a large number of people living in South Ossetia without the consent of the government of Georgia.

Russia has done this, yes, and I agree with you that this was almost certainly done with malice aforethought and with the aim of setting things up for something like this ("Look, our citizens are being attacked, we must defend them!"). But governments do not need other government's permission to grant citizenship.


... the big problem here is the fact that Georgia has mutual defense treaties with a number of Western and former Eastern Bloc countries. And, though those countries, the US included, ...

I'm sorry, but what treaty, specifically, are you referring to? As far as I can tell (e.g., from this State Department listing), the only defense-related treaties or agreements between the US and Georgia concern military training and miscellaneous "defense cooperation" (including non-proliferation measures), which does not constitute "mutual defense". There's certainly nothing listed here in the way of any formal "treaty" (which would have to be ratified by the US Senate).

#145 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 12:39 PM:

140 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 10:53 AM:
no matter how ill advised,

Dear George, what are than USA was doing in Yuogoslavia, just likewise "interfering".
And the same job NATO deed in many other "souverign countries".

We just now sitting cousily near our laptops, while the following thing happened.

Saakashvilly desided to preserrve the terrotory by just killing all the people (his nation, as he used to say) by bombing civilians with Grad (which is prohibited by UN in such cases). To kill all the small nation to save the state, its nice.

Telling about our control over Georgia- nobody feels as free about Georgia as Russia, this is out of the Medvedevs interest.

There about 1 mln of georgians leaving inside Russia, if the genicid was our terget it was easier to start with many respectful people (actors, businessman).

But Russian people is still wise and generous enough not to mix the great georgian nation and those mad politician, that acts for the sake of oil oligarkhs.

Than, telling about NATO and souverinity.

Georgia is not yet a member of this block, nor most of people wish to enter it (except for the georgian government of cause). But this country is already was supported by USA, granting not only weapons but about 150 military specialists, working for Georgian army.

USA was the first party who contributes for the escalation of violence. Georgia was the state with the most rapidly increasing war budget in the world, bu the way.

and again- if you say, that Russia should not interfere, than lokk strait at the same things America do, in respect of other small countries> setting "setting democracy"- just providing money for the purpet governments, no matter, what people on this countries desire.

#146 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 12:53 PM:

#128 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 04:45 PM:

For me its great experience to make coversation, with such peaople as you are.

Well, John you speaks so much about democracy.

Can you prove, that this is the best ruling priciple.

You know, that the christian church has the most (damn sometimes I don't know, how to put it in English, but suppose, you'll understand me) human-oriented, most generous principles. But centuries ago the Spanish cancistadors burned down innocent indians in the name of this church. And inquisition.

Well, the same thing (I should say, unfortunetly)I can say about socializm as it was set out by Stalin.

Well, You may just write it my current mail, cause, I suppose this question is somewhat out of the topic,you know.


But your point of view is really important to me.

#147 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Maria, #145: wow, gummint propaganda.

One thing we have been reminded of, in the past seven years of horrible government in the USA: the criminals always accuse their opponents and victims of what they want to do, sometimes what they have already planned to do. (And the kindergarten excuse: "he did it, too", is often heard.)

There was a real genocide in Yugoslavia; the intervention was to the end of stopping that. Despite all claims, and despite a real attack, so far as can be told Georgia did not commit genocide in South Ossetia. And now Russia has invested South Ossetia and is using it as a base for expanded military operations. Whatever Georgia left (and it's impossible to tell at this point, because Russia has cut the communications, making it conveniently impossible to verify their claims of genocide, or track any harm that is done), will be further harmed by this invasion, and the long-term establishment of a military base.

I wonder how the South Ossetians feel about Russia now?

#148 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:05 PM:

#130 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:30 PM:

Execuse me, I don't know from what country you are, but it seems to me, it has much smaller history, than the China.

Well, most of them starving, but this is the matter of time, they're improving.

Being at your place, I wouldn't call people "cattle", its just not quite correct and sounds like snobism and rather impolite.

Well, "democracy" is good thing, but the way you put it it sounded more like "look what a nice new-year tree we have"...

May be you are a kind of a cattle inside your mind?


#149 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Maria, many people who post here have and do frequently criticize the conduct of the US government when it acts in a way they do not support. Many of us did not and do not support the war in Iraq, for example, for reasons which you will find in archived threads. And I feel certain that those of us who post here who are in fact US citizens consider ourselves patriots. Quite a number are former or active military.

Our critique of the Russian government's actions in Georgia does not mean we are anti-Russian or that we do not see the flaws in our own government's policies. We do. If you look at Jim's original post, he clearly is pointing out the application of and making a critique of the Bush doctrine of "preventive war."

But the fact that the US is an imperfect state does not prevent her citizens from noting, discussing, analyzing, and trying to understand another imperfect state's bad actions.

No doubt we could have a very interesting discussion of the complexities of the policies of the US government towards China. But that should probably happen elsewhere, not here, where we hope to continue our discussion of Russia's military engagement with Georgia.

By the way -- no one here (I believe, I have not gone back and reread the thread) has suggested that the Russian motive for military action is genocide. I don't see why you bring it up. And no one here is defending Saakashvili's bombing in South Ossetia. I think most of us would agree that it was strategically questionable and morally indefensible.

#150 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:23 PM:

#147 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:01 PM:
Despite all claims, and despite a real attack, so far as can be told Georgia did not commit genocide in South Ossetia.

Randolph, did you see any reports from South Osetia?

Hey-ho we didn't want you splendid Georgia by the way, there is no other country so less intrested in this country, than Russia.

Don't you think that system "Grad" over a 2 mln nation, when 2000 were killed inn the first day of bombing died (children, wemen) is not a genocid.

#151 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:32 PM:

Another point of view, from Salon.

#152 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Maria: Even if we agreed that the situation in S. Ossetia was one in which the Georgians were wrong, the people here aren't likely to think the way the Russians handled it was right.

Merely repeating (once more, a little louder this time) the same talking points (genocide, how nice the Russians are, how mean the Geoargians are, how interested Russia is in Georgia, etc.) isn't bringing anything new to the discussion, and so can't actually persuade people.

#153 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:49 PM:

This looks a lot like Czechoslovakia 1938 all over again, except back then there was little if any fighting.

#154 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Jennifer @141 -- ha. Saved me the trouble of saying it.

#156 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Randolph # 147: Despite all claims, and despite a real attack, so far as can be told Georgia did not commit genocide in South Ossetia.

Fine: 'genocide' is a loaded term. What is completely undisputed though consistently underplayed and under-reported in the Western media, is that last Thursday night Georgia bombarded the South Ossetian capital with artillery, mortar and rocket fire and (according to some reports) aerial bombarment as well. The town, according to two Western reporters on the spot, is in ruins.

Equally undisputed is that thousands (the Russians say 30 thousand) of refugees have fled north into North Ossetia (i.e. inside Russia). Another Western reporter, on the spot there, writes:

Eyewitness accounts from those sheltering in the makeshift camps set up by the Russian Emergency Ministry match the official claims of the Russian government and the South Ossetian rebel leadership. Most people described scenes of horror, chaos and destruction. Few buildings are left standing in Tskhinvali, refugees said. Aerial and artillery bombardment had destroyed the hospital, maternity ward and cemetery, while most of the city's housing lies in ruins.

The Georgian night-time razing of Tskhinvali (a town with no military targets other than the local militia and the Russian peacekeepers, previously agreed to by Georgia) is in itself a major atrocity, comparable (proportionately) to the Russian razing of Grozny in Chechnya back in the 90s. What it suggests to me is that the present Georgian government has no interest in winning over the South Ossetian population - instead, the population's flight north was an entirely predictable and, I suspect, predicted and intended consequence.

#157 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 02:47 PM:

Maria #146: Democracy is never perfect, but it's the best ruling principle that we know - all the others are worse - provided that you understand that democracy means not only voting, but also rule of law, human rights, respect for minorities, etc.

Let me quote a famous Englishman, speaking 60 years ago:

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time; but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters.

#158 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 03:27 PM:

John L @ 137 and 153
While I do not doubt at all that the Russian leadership does not like the idea of having new NATO-members at their doorstep, they obviously *do* tolerate that: Poland, Lithuania (both wrt Kaliningrad oblast), Latvia and Estonia all a) share a border with Russia and b) have become members of NATO in 1999 and 2004.

1938 all over again? I am not sure if this frequently seen comparison is helpful. Of course there are quite a few parallels, especially when the South Ossetians and the Sudentendeutsch are compared (but that of course might lead to a very biased view of the situation if one assumes from the start that Putin/Medvedev enticed S.Ossetian protests the same way Hitler and his lackey Henlein did.) Generally, I think the differences are more important: The CSR did not start an military attack to bring the "Sudetenland" back under control and so Germany had no excuse to start shooting. In fact, likening Sakashvili to Beneš is insulting the latter.

So the situation is no longer similar, and since probably there won't be an international conference formally appeasing Russia by forcing Georgia to cede the South Oassetian area, it won't become similar again.

Shorter: I think 1938 would be a very broken and dangerous model.

(John L, this is not meant as tirade against you, sorry for picking your posts. I just think that these historical models can mislead very quickly.)

#159 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 03:35 PM:

Yet another take on the situation from an American scholar writing for The Christian Science Monitor.

#160 ::: albert ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:43 PM:

The Russians(at this point) Have no reason to invade Georgia, and to do it during the Olympics.
You mean who cares even if Georgians would cut Ossetians to the last baby - it is thier family affair. Lets watch the Olimpics.

#161 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Jorg,

As I pointed out earlier, there's a difference between the countries west of Russia that are now in NATO and Georgia; the latter is isolated and there's damn-all anyone can do about it. Poland, et. al, while adjacent to Russia, are adjacent to NATO countries too (or have easy naval access).

And while the lead-up to this little international brawl may have been different, Russia's reasons for intervening are very similar to Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia; Germans in that country were being "oppressed" and wanted to be ruled by Germans, not Czechs.

I'm thinking that Russia has a larger goal here, though, beyond protecting Russians in South Ossetia. Perhaps that lucrative pipeline in southern Georgia? We'll know by how much territory (if any) is left to Georgia once Russia is through with them.

#162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 03:56 PM:

The egregious Michelle Malkin is hinting strongly that the US ought to intervene on the side of Georgia with a specious comparison to Hungary in 1956.

Ms Malkin, of course, has not thought through the consequences of direct confrontation between thermonuclear powers.

#163 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 04:13 PM:

If they're so eager . . . Malkin and Bill Kristol should be outfitted with the latest armor and weaponry and parachuted in behind the lines.

#164 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Stefan Jones #163: That'll be the day.

#165 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 04:33 PM:

#163
Can we drop Bush, Cheney, and McCain in too? They all seem to want pieces of the action.

#166 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 05:11 PM:

They all seem to want pieces of the action.

... concrete galoshes...

#167 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 05:11 PM:

albert @160:
Kieran, like you, is a stranger to this community. Just so you know.

All newcomers:
To find out if people commenting here are new or not, click on the (view all by) next to their name.

If they have not posted here before this thread, they are strangers. If they haven't stayed around for more than one or two comments, don't get into an argument with them.

I am an administrator on this blog, and we require that people be civil and polite if they want to stay. Think about what you write.

#168 ::: kaden ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 05:54 PM:

huh........i just hope the americans (usa) get involde and get there ass'sssssss kicked to teach them a dam leasin they think on the top of the damn world and can do whatever they want (americans) they really piss me off hope they get ride of president bush he's really put them in a hole obama looks good....

#169 ::: reynolds ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 05:54 PM:

At this point Russia has split Georgia in two. What will happen to many countries like Ukraine if the West does not come to Georgia's aid? It means little to tell the Russians that their standing in the world has dropped because i really don't think they care.

#170 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Maria @ 146:

No, we do not "know" that the Christian church (which Christian church? Christianity has never been monolithic) has "the most human-oriented, most generous [1] principles." Many religions claim to have excellent principles, and followers of each claim to have the best. In practice, it's hard to say one is unequivocally better than another: among other questions, you have to consider who those principles are considered to apply to.

If a group calls for generosity to members, and treats non-members as prey animals or enemies, those of us who aren't members are unlikely to care how fine the rhetoric of brotherhood is.

Note: I'm not saying this is a specifically or uniquely Christian tendency. It's an unfortunate human tendency, from which Christians are no more exempt than the rest of us.

It's not just that Christians, like anyone, can fall short of their stated ideals (as above, they're human, like the rest of us here). It's that those ideals as stated by some Christian leaders do not delight me, as someone who is not Christian, not male, and not heterosexual. [The first of those is, in theory, changeable, though it would I think be perjury for me to attempt to do so in my current state of mind; the others would be much more difficult, even did I want to, and many people who consider those distinctions important wouldn't believe that gender can be changed.]

[1] I think the English word you're looking for is "humane," by the way.

#171 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 06:37 PM:

Ken, #156: I agree the Georgian government has probably committed an atrocity in South Ossetia. (The quibble is because of the uncertainty of all information from the region, and especially information from the Russian-controlled areas.) It's also possible that, as you argue, the Georgian government intended the ethnic cleansing of South Ossetia; it's also possible that they are as self-absorbed as most governments, and acted out of internal politics. In any event, the Russian efforts to provoke Georgia are also reprehensible, and the Russian response to the Georgian invasion is equally, if not more, reprehensible. The Russian rhetoric, and the Russian invasion, now, of Georgia itself makes me concerned that Russian will undertake greater atrocities or true genocide--I am unpleasantly reminded of the Iraq war.

(BTW, there is a UN Convention on Genocide; that's where to go for a legal definition.)

#172 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Maria, #150: see my reply to Ken at #171. BTW, there is no disinformation campaign against Russia in this matter, what news there is, is getting through. The US public response has much more to do with Cold War memories; the US public is not sympathetic to Russian military actions. On the other hand, some of Europe appears to be actively supporting Russian actions.

As to Russian actions in Georgia, it is worth comparing them with NATO actions in Bosnia; once the genocide was stopped, NATO took no further action against Serbia and handed the matter over to an international tribunal. This is not the case in Georgia; the Russian government is expanding the war and shows no interest in any justice that it does not itself deal out.

#173 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 07:45 PM:

Kaden @168: You might want to read the comment immediately preceding yours, now.

#174 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 07:49 PM:

John L @ 161

As I pointed out earlier, there's a difference between the countries west of Russia that are now in NATO and Georgia; the latter is isolated and there's damn-all anyone can do about it. Poland, et. al, while adjacent to Russia, are adjacent to NATO countries too (or have easy naval access).

But what about Turkey? It is a NATO member and shares a 200+ km border with Georgia's south, where there is little or no internal fighting, AFAICT.

And while the lead-up to this little international brawl may have been different, Russia's reasons for intervening are very similar to Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia; Germans in that country were being "oppressed" and wanted to be ruled by Germans, not Czechs.

I will not argue with that, but for me, your earlier words sounded as if you saw much closer parallels over all.

I'm thinking that Russia has a larger goal here, though, beyond protecting Russians in South Ossetia. Perhaps that lucrative pipeline in southern Georgia? We'll know by how much territory (if any) is left to Georgia once Russia is through with them.

I am no Russia-apologist and they may have purely expansionistic goals. But I still think that any attempt to cast Putin/Medvedev as an Hitler-analogue and Saakashvili as an Beneš-analogue is deeply flawed.

Apart from the historical injustice:
a) I think no one here sees the Georgian government as so innocently victimised as the CSR government was, and
b) either one believes that the current Russian leadership is irredeemably megalomaniac, sees itself as chosen by destiny and is insanely, suicidally aggressive, so it must be treated accordingly (forced to unconditional surrender, e.g.)- or the comparison is meaningless blather.

Sorry for being impolite, but the frequent "X ist just like Hitler/the Nazis" rhetoric really, really grates my nerves.

#175 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 10:57 PM:

Maria @ 146: "Well, John you speaks so much about democracy. Can you prove, that this is the best ruling priciple."

That democracy is far from perfect has already been said, so let me instead try to illustrate one of its virtues. Take the United States, which has fallen into the hands of a selfish, power-hungry and kleptomaniacal regime. Compare what that administration has achieved with their stated goals: they failed to destroy and privatize social services, they haven't invaded Iran, they have lost numerous court cases over their abuses of civil liberties, and so on. Then realize that that regime is going to be removed without violence in less than six months.

Compare that with the numerous former Soviet satellites that have fallen under the sway of similarly kleptomaniacal rulers, like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Notice how in those cases the rulers have managed to dismantle or subvert democratic institutions, giving them unlimited power for an unlimited amount of time. Which of these systems do you think is better?

This is the point of democracy: even with the most mendacious leaders in place, it still works, kinda.

(Now take a look at Russia itself: however much you like Putin, how sure are you that you will like his eventual successor/deposer, who will have access to the same powers?)

#176 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 11:12 PM:

heresiarch at 175, that's very nicely put. Cheers.

#177 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 11:19 PM:

John Barry, whoever he is, over at Newsweek's blog, is suggesting that the proper response to Russian's invasion of Georgia is to send in the 82nd Airborne. Really.

These people are insane.

#178 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 12:17 AM:

Lizzy, John McCain is making noises more warlike than Bush. (Or Cheney.) He seems to think we can afford to start a war with Russia. I think he's completely lost it and should be taken in for observation.

#179 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 12:29 AM:

Lizzy L @ 177: I've heard Dave Barry is writing again. Perhaps it's just a typo in the byline. Trying reading it again, pretending Dave Barry wrote it, and see if it's any funnier.

Hope this helps!

#180 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 12:29 AM:

heresiarch, #136, I said To consider China a great nation is to accept that people are cattle. That's why we have democracy. and you asked what that meant. China treats its people like cattle. If you consider China a great nation, then you accept that people are cattle. We have democracy to keep us from being cattle.

Mac, #140, This would be analogous to the United States issuing US passports to citizens of Moscow and then claiming it had some right to protect them from the Russian government, even though they resided within the internationally recognized borders of Russia.

This is exactly how some German Jews were saved. The ambassador from El Salvador gave them El Salvadoran passports and protected them in the embassy and on their way out, as much as possible (he didn't bring an army with him).

Also, Russia has ships at Georgia's Black Sea border and has bombed Tbilisi. I don't think they're just interested in South Ossetia.

maria, #148, the US may be cack-handed in many ways, but we do have an effect on our government and I expect to see the recent years somewhat recompensed in the next years. A nation isn't great because it's big, or because it's existed a long time, or because it has a lot of weapons, or because it holds a lot of US debt. It's great because of how it treats its own people and the people it deals with. China has been missing that for many centuries.

#181 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 12:32 AM:

I used to have a neighbor from Tbilisi, and I thought of her recently when an agent came to do a background investigation in regards to her getting a federal job. I gave her a rave review, as apparently did everybody else. I hope her family and friends are safe.

#182 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 01:48 AM:

P J Evans @ 178

The noises McCain is making about Georgia sound to me like standard politician's "sound 'n fury", not intended as a promise of any sort of action. It's what's sometimes called "viewing with alarm", intended to make it seem like you give a damn about the right things in the right way. Same-same "tough on crime".

(I hope.)

#183 ::: Leeroy Jenkins ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:24 AM:

Disclaimer: Blatant Drive-By.

All facts aside, it sounds like Russia is testing the resolve of Georgia's western allies. Soviet power may have been a myth, but Russian power is very real and very dangerous to western economies.

#184 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:39 AM:

Lizzy L @ 176: Thanks!

Marilee @ 180: "China treats its people like cattle. If you consider China a great nation, then you accept that people are cattle. We have democracy to keep us from being cattle."

Apparently in China they have exceptionally high expectations for their cattle's level of education. Uncanny, really, how they produce so many college graduates while treating human beings like animals.

It's true, the current Chinese government spies on its own citizens and manipulates the media. Their bureaucracy is shot through with corruption, and they toss political opponents in jail. Clearly, a nation with such a government can't possibly be called great, no matter how distinguished its history. The title of "great" must be reserved for nations that without exception act selflessly on the international stage and treat all the people within their borders humanely, like... Hm.

#185 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 04:24 AM:

Jorg,

I wasn't trying to paint the current Russian leadership as modern day Nazis, but I was pointing out that their excuses for intervention appear to be similar to those in 1938. As for Turkey, well, yes, they are part of NATO, but have always been looked at as the odd stepchild of that organization and only recently invited into the EU. The bulk of NATO forces are in Germany or readily available if Russia had decided that no, Estonia can NOT be allowed to join NATO, for example; not so much for Georgia.

#186 ::: old ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 05:02 AM:

I am not sure what word I am looking for here, but there must be a word to describe the feeling one might get when one realizes that it doesn't matter if you are old, young, woman, or child, or anybody for that matter and your village, town, city, or house lays in an area where some people want a pipe line and access to the sea, and those people have an army.

#187 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 05:39 AM:

One more point in favor of democracy: the major limit on the US government's military adventures is the size of the army, and the reason the army is stretched thin is that there isn't a draft. The reason there isn't a draft is that the public wouldn't stand for it.

#188 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 06:06 AM:

All done. Whether this shows that the resolve of Georgia's western allies has been tested to Medvedev's satisfaction, or just that he's open to a reasonable and polite request from Sarkoszy, remains to be seen.

#189 ::: Irene Delse ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 06:26 AM:

@ chris y (188): "open to a reasonable and polite request from Sarkoszy"?

Make no mistake, Sarkozy is in a very unconfortable position, here. He's trying to be both an American satellite and a commercial partner of Russia. (It doesn't help that when he's acting as a European diplomat, his policy is "France first". Other Europeans don't seem to appreciate that...)

At best, the guy is going to listen politely to Medvedev and relay Russia's terms to the Georgians and their OTAN allies, helping negociations along the road to the statu quo ante, only more comfortable for Russia.

At worst, we'll see more of Sarkozy's now well-known bluster and gaffes, and cringe a lot, hoping that it ends up only in a shouting match, not actual shouting. The EU have a window of opportunity here as a go-between, but failure to do so might result in a kind of new cold war between the USian and Russian "blocs".

#190 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 07:01 AM:

heresiarch #175: (Now take a look at Russia itself: however much you like Putin, how sure are you that you will like his eventual successor/deposer, who will have access to the same powers?)

I am unable to decide whether this is a mistake or satire, and am erring on the side of pedantry. Vladimir Putin's term as president of Russia ended in May, and he has been succeeded by Dmitry Medvedev.

#191 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 07:05 AM:

Putin is now Prime Minister of Russia, and he appears to be the real power-holder right now.

#192 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 07:54 AM:

It...doesn't seem to mean anything. A lot of people have died--maybe we'll eventually know how many--and a lot has been destroyed, apparently to no end. But then, it may not be over yet; the early reports aren't certain. Assuming it is over, the comparison which comes to mind is the invasion of Grenada by the USA, under Reagan, in which the mighty US military showed it could successfully overwhelm a tiny island. There are important differences: it is probably the case that there actually was a Georgian atrocity in South Ossetia. And it sounds a lot like there's going to be a permanent Russian base in South Ossetia, which I suspect will not make the South Ossetians particularly happy.

#193 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 08:03 AM:

SeanH @ 190: "I am unable to decide whether this is a mistake or satire, and am erring on the side of pedantry. Vladimir Putin's term as president of Russia ended in May, and he has been succeeded by Dmitry Medvedev."

...which has resulted in exactly no change in the scope of his power, as far as I can tell. That is my point--he is still the power-holder, nevermind his supposed role. When I spoke of his successor, I meant the successor to his power, not to his titular role.

#194 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 10:06 AM:

John L:
Ok, now I understood it.

But on the level you used, I think the similarity of excuses/explanations is hardly surprising; even the timing is "correct": 16-18 years after a major trauma and loss of territory.

Germany+Austria in 1914-1920 as well as Russia in 1989-1991 were toppled from a position as a leading empire of the time and humbled. With the population believing to be treated unfairly by the Western victors and seeing quite a lot of there own ethnic relatives caught up behind new borders in neighboring states, where they had less power and influence than before.

Now I will not try to map Yeltsin on Ebert (ouch!) or something that detailed, but when, over years, the humiliated nation becomes stronger again and tests its new muscles, acting on these revanchist and irredentist feelings is quite natural. What I have seen from Maria reminds me quite a bit of texts by German nationalists (not Nazis) from the 1920s.

I think that it is important that even the democratic German and Austrian multi-party governments of the 1920s maintained the claim that the treaties should be amended and the wishes of ethnic Germans in neighboring countries respected - self-determination and all that. That in itself is not a damnable stance, IMO.

What I am trying to say is: Leaders of former empires trying to re-strengthen their country and regaining lost territory is not that unusual. OTOH, Hitler with his desire for apocalyptic war and his conviction he could make Germany more dominant than it ever was *is* a singular case.

IMO, Putin (who appears to still be the strongman of Russia) is more similar to other, much less Weltenbrand-prone leaders from the 1920s. Trying to map him on Ataturk might be more enlightening.

BTW, speaking of Turkey: You are, of course right, that the situation there is very different from central Europel. I was just pedantic, basically.

#195 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 12:09 PM:

heresiarch, SeanH

And Putin, being a Russian politician, is no doubt aware that one's title is not necessarily reflective of one's power. For many years the most powerful man in the Soviet Union had the title "Secretary of the Communist Party". Needless to say, he did not take shorthand.

#196 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Randolph #72:

As to Russian actions in Georgia, it is worth comparing them with NATO actions in Bosnia; once the genocide was stopped, NATO took no further action against Serbia and handed the matter over to an international tribunal. This is not the case in Georgia; the Russian government is expanding the war and shows no interest in any justice that it does not itself deal out.

There is another important difference. Although this doesn't directly apply to the South Ossetian situation--the history of the conflicts in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia are very different--it nevertheless shows something of the policy of Russia toward Georgia in particular and other neighboring countries in general, which is to support any separatist movement that may weaken the said neighbor.

NATO in Kosovo was stopping a genocide. In Abkhazia in 1993, it was quite a different story.

Leo

#197 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 02:35 PM:

More here.

#198 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Leonid Korogodski, #196: Thank you.

The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia offers a backgrounder on the matter, with first 30,000 Abkhazians fleeing a Georgian response to a separatist movement in 1992, followed by 500,000 Georgians fleeing a Russian-supported Abkhazian response in 1993. (Closed link to the Encylopedia Britannica 1994 Book of the Year "Georgia" article; probably available through most US library web sites.) While I can't quickly confirm the Wikipedia accounts, what I can confirm shows Russia in a very poor light indeed. The Stalinized USSR had a history of divide-and-conquer strategies, and it appears that Putin, who after all is a former KGB officer, is continuing it. I suppose we must wait for a new generation of Russian leaders before matters will improve.

#199 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:26 PM:

One word again for those people, whom I started to respect on going through this chat: sometimes democracy is not worth for different countries due to their mentallity (they would benefit more from strong monarchy, for example, Asian East), they maybe not ready for democracy or whatever else...

and one point- american people have democracy, because for THEM ITS THE MOST effective political organization. And I respect all western countries, because of their rational thinking and logical language, and patriotism with no compromising.

May be Russians are just CATTLE, as (let me remember, Lizzy, said). I can agree, we have still much from tatars. That sometimes reveal in that we don't just plan our actions like in the way, from which we will benefit the most.

Now the participants of the chart are trying to understand the motives of our government.

Ok some motives may be selfish, but every case of conflicts in the world is a mix of different circumstamces and motives. That's why I do not appeal to 100% right way.

But say 60% was the reaction on a cruel intentions of Georgian government that for 60% approve of the actions of Putin. Sometimes asians and varvars just have no raitonal platforma...

What a pity, that the realationship between Osetian people and georgians, no matter, how right were the purposes of Saakashvilly were broken down.

At least Medvedev is trying to find a solution ((

Thank you all for your attention to a "sharp-thinking" alien (me), I really feel like emotional monster, after all I've written down in this chart and I'll leave the chat without notification from moderator ,

BUT BE SHURE, I'm greatful for your attention, and I suppose you'll go on maintaining critical thinking.

THANK YOU ALL

#200 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:28 PM:

#157 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 02:47 PM:

I suppose it was Cherchyll?

Of cause, no objections, now you find a man, whom I really respect

#201 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:32 PM:

And again, thank you all.

#202 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:32 PM:

And again, thank you all.

#203 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 03:39 PM:

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the separatist movements in places like Abkhazia, South Ossetia, the so-called Dniester republic, and the like--are not only supported by were actually created by Russia.

Leo

#204 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 04:09 PM:

Maria, I don't know if you're still reading this, but I don't think you've been behaving like an emotional monster. I've been on line since the early 90s, and I know what emotional monsters look like.

It's hard to be civil when there are big divisions in the world. You've pushed some, but you haven't been seriously obnoxious.

I disagree with a number of your points, but that's a different thing.

#205 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Maria, I hope you are still reading this. I definitely did NOT say that Russians are cattle. I would never say such a demeaning thing about any people except those of my own country. (That's a little joke....) By the way, my paternal grandfather was Russian, before he emigrated to this country and became an American.

I also don't think you have behaved like a monster. You have strong opinions and strong emotions, but you have been courteous in expressing them both. Nothing to apologize for!

#206 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 04:28 PM:

204 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 04:09 PM:

I can't help writing some words back.

Nancy, thank you very much, because, for me (and I suppose for most part of Russian people) its very important not to confine to the information received from our runet, but listen to the other nations views. We are open to listen to other people thoughts.

And unfortunetly, I can't now add anything really new to the conversation(

Thus I will continue to read, at least, because I've really changed my focus with your comments.


Wish you and luck)

#207 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 09:29 PM:

heresiarch, #184, China lets its peasants starve. It takes organs from prisoners and makes prisoners at the whim of party organizers. I don't remember saying the US was a great nation, but I do think we deal with our people better than China deals with theirs.

SeanH, #190, I think Putin will be in charge until he dies.

Maria, #199, as far as I know, there are no more true monarchies in the world. (Someone will correct me now.) And I said that China treated its people like cattle. I didn't say anything about how Russians treated their people.

#208 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:05 AM:

Maria @ 199: "sometimes democracy is not worth for different countries due to their mentallity (they would benefit more from strong monarchy, for example, Asian East), they maybe not ready for democracy or whatever else..."

East Asia might disagree, seeing how they've spent the last century or so fighting for democracy against impossible odds. Even in the face of brutal regimes willing to kill anyone who dared oppose them, democracy movements have been pushing forward--sometimes with remarkable success. Democratization didn't happen in South Korea, the Phillipines, and Indonesia because the elite decided to bestow democracy upon the unappreciative masses, it happened because those masses fought for it. Myanmar isn't a military dictatorship because the people like it that way; it's because the dictatorship has all the guns.

Let me be blunt: saying that some peoples simply "aren't ready for democracy" is racist. It's apologetics for tyranny. Blaming Russia's lack of democratic government on an invasion of Asian steppe nomads what, seven centuries ago? is just stupid. It's not exactly like England or Italy was a hotbed of democracy at that point. If you really want Russia to be more like Western (ha!) "logical" and "rational" nations, the best way to do that is fight for that at home, not sit back bemoaning your irrational corruption by those darn Mongols.

Marilee @ 207: "China lets its peasants starve."

"Lets"? That's an interesting way of describing the situation. China has roughly a fifth of the world's population, but only 7% of the farmland. In the last several centuries, China has had to deal with a disastrous series of wars and famines and social disruptions. The current regime (which I'll conveniently date from the post-Mao period) inherited a terrible situation. Since then, they've put a huge amount of effort into poverty and hunger reduction, with no small amount of success, especially in the last twenty years. They reduced the number of undernourished by 74 million in the 1992-2000 period. That's pretty good, especially compared to the rest of the world--declines in world malnutrition rates are largely attributable to the decline within China.

So no, China is not "letting its peasants starve." It's actually working really, really hard to keep them from starving. No, it hasn't enjoyed perfect success, but it's not from lack of effort. If you have any ideas about how to feed 1.3 billion people, I'm sure they'd be thrilled to hear from you.

#209 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:11 AM:

Here's an irony: in 2005, John McCain nominated Saakashvili for the Nobel Peace Prize. Wonder how the folks in South Ossetia -- hell, how the folks in Gori and Tblisi! -- feel about that now.

#210 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:56 AM:

Maria, your remark about readiness for democracy puts me in mind of Frederick Douglass's remark that "There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him." * (UNC--the University of North Carolina--has Douglass's complete autobiography up, and it comes highly recommended--he was one of the great orators and writers of his time.)

Leonid Korogodski, #203: "I wouldn't be surprised if some of the separatist movements [...] are not only supported by were actually created by Russia." There is not, I think, that much difference--not just around Russia, but anywhere in the world and in domestic politics as well as international. There are always radical fringe groups, but they stay minor unless they get support.

#211 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:29 AM:

Randoplh @ 210: "There is not, I think, that much difference--not just around Russia, but anywhere in the world and in domestic politics as well as international. There are always radical fringe groups, but they stay minor unless they get support."

There is, I think, a significant difference between a radical independence movement supported by the people it is advocating the independence of, and a similar group supported by a foreign power. While trying to decide how legitimate the independence movements in Abkhazia and S. Ossetia are, I think that knowing to what extent they exist because their people want them to exist as opposed to because Russia wants them to exist is pretty crucial, but pretty difficult to discern.

#212 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 06:09 AM:

I've got the impression that in a Russian context democracy (and Western support for democracy) is often thought of as squabbling, powerless parlamentarians and an economic system in which the many become poorer and a few get very rich indeed, in short, a widespread evaluation of the Yeltsin era (and also what quite a few Russians suspect is the Western hope for the long-term or permanent status of Russia), and the Putin era is therefore seen as a normalisation as opposed to this. This might be the reason for some of Maria's comments regarding democracy.

#213 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 07:32 AM:

Per, there are times when the democracy practised in the USA seems to be part of the lunatic fringe.

Democracy can work better than that. But, as a model for other nations, the USA just isn't good enough. They've been getting on with destroying their own system since before the Iron Curtain fell apart, and there are plenty of power-hungry idiots who have been copying them.

I don't know much about the Russian system, but it is pretty damning that so many people expect the looming US elections to be corrupted. Even worse, they seem to have good reason to expect large scale electoral fraud.

No, I wouldn't want US democracy, where you seem to have a choice of voting for right wing politics or right wing looney politics. And where your vote might never be counted. (And, unfortunately, while the vote-counting may be more honest, I'm not sure the choice in the UK is any better.)

But that doesn't mean democracy is a bad idea.

Though I sometimes wonder if I am turning into an anarchist.

#214 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 08:58 AM:

#213 ::: Dave Bell:

In re anarchy: I'm not convinced that people have the tools to make it work (yet? ever?), but I believe we need looser big organizations with more room for bottom-up limits on stupidity at the top. It's not just the current administration, it's the big US car companies making obvious bad business decisions for decades.

Unfortunately, I don't know what a somewhat looser big organization would look like. (Theory-driven blue sky notions? Moi?) Any ideas?

#215 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 11:08 AM:

According to NPR, John McCain actually called Mikhail Saakashvili as the Russian tanks were rolling into his country to assure him of US "support". I have no idea what he meant by support, or what Saakashvili might have believed he meant.

Can you imagine the (righteous) furor that would erupt if Obama had done this? It's entirely inappropriate. But of course, the mainstream press will barely mention it.

#216 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 11:41 AM:

Lizzy #215: Why would a furor have erupted?

#217 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:07 PM:

The NPR I heard made it sound as if interfereing in foreign policy was normal, and even appropriate behavior for senators.

#218 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Russia continues to advance into Georgia, despite the ceasefire. It appears that agreements with Russia are not worth the paper they are printed on. Back to containment, perhaps for another generation. Bleh.

#219 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Oh, crap. Bush is now promising "humanitarian aid" (otherwise known as logistic support) to Georgia. We are at not-war. Surely there was something else to do?

It's been very nice, but I have to scream now.

#220 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Can you imagine the (righteous) furor that would erupt if Obama had done this?

It would be pretty out of character for Obama, him not being a dumbass and that. People would feel let down.

#221 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:35 PM:

On the other hand, Obama apparently has 'advisers' telling him that admitting Georgia to NATO would be a good idea.

Remind me again why he's the Democratic nominee-presumptive?

(On the other hand, McCain would be Bush on steroids, with all that that implies.)

#222 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:50 PM:

If we get into this war, we are going to lose. One of the consequences of the travesty that is Iraq is that we've lost our ability to intervene where we're actually needed (Darfur, Georgia).

And did you hear our wonderful ambassador to the UN saying that Russia has to learn that "the days of foreign powers using force to unseat heads of state in Europe are over" (emphasis mine)? But it's OK if it's in the Middle East, right? So Russia could invade Israel or Saudi Arabia and we wouldn't object?

I can't figure out if these people are assholes or the products thereof.

Oh, and Russia's hypocrisy in helping the Georgian breakaways secede is pretty amazing...too bad no one thought to help the Chechens, right? And they're now ethnically cleansing South Ossetia, if I understand correctly.

I don't think Georgia is blameless here. I just think...well, a plague on both their houses.

#223 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 12:52 PM:

On the other hand, Obama apparently has 'advisers' telling him that admitting Georgia to NATO would be a good idea.

In my heart, Obama has the sense to ignore these siren voices. It might have been a good idea if there had been reason to think it would have made the Russians behave more cautiously or the Georgians more responsibly, but I have to say it's looking like a good call by France and Germany.

Remind me again why he's the Democratic nominee-presumptive?

He has charisma? I mean, don't ask me, I'm not even a US citizen. How anyone could even *think* of voting for McCain is a total mystery to me, something to do with cultural nuances I'm too faraway or (alas) ign'ant to appreciate.

#224 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Adrian: racism has a lot to do with it. Also McCain is familiar and has been around forever. Smart people want change when things are going south; stupid people want to hang on for dear life to whatever is already there. A sizeable minority (being optimistic) of people are stupid, at least among the American electorate: the results of the 2004 election make that fairly undeniable.

Actually I think the GOP is throwing this one. The rich got richer and sucked money out of the taxpayer, like they always do in Republican regimes, and now the bill is coming due, so they want the Democrats to pay it. So Obama will preside over the even worse economic times that are coming, and in 2012 the GOP lie machine will blame him for them, and they'll get in for another 8-12 years of raping and pillaging this once-great nation.

It's what they do. I hope we can stop them, but that's why people vote for McCain: people are stupid and uncritical and watch Fox News and other GOP propaganda organs, and believe what they hear. And the Republicans have always had tons more money to spend on campaigns of lies than the Democrats have (on lies and on truth).

Most people would rather believe a convenient falsehood than...well, an inconvenient truth. Most people would rather be told "honestly, we just have to get you clean, it's only a shower, really" until it's too late. Because then it isn't their fault, you see. They can blame someone else when they have to work until they drop just to get their children to the age where they can work until THEY drop, with no hope of getting out of the "working poor" class the Republicans keep in existance as a warning to the rest of us.

Bitter? Me? Ya think?

#225 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Xopher #222:

It all depends on how you define a win and a loss, which is far from being obvious in these particular circumstances.

#226 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Leonid: I mean if the US attempts to intervene on behalf of Georgia in its current conflict with Russia, the Russians will kick our asses all the way back to Washington. Massive financial loss, at least moderate loss of life, diplomatic disaster setting back the credibility of the US for another extended period of time (not that I had much hope of the US regaining much credibility on the world stage in my lifetime).

#227 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:38 PM:

Xopher #226:

I highly doubt that US would enter the conflict directly. Simply stopping Russia and keeping Saakashvili in power would already be a win for US. That's why Russia doesn't seem to be willing to keep by the agreements.

However, if you do want to consider a highly unlikely scenario of limited direct confrontation, then I would disagree with your prognosis. Russia does have a logistical advantage, the conflict being much closer to home. But Russia would still be fighting on the enemy's ground, so the perspectives of guerrilla warfare are bad. Knowing the Russian army (I served in it, after all, although not in an elite unit), I would say that in a set-piece campaign, provided it is not too long, the US army would beat them easily. But, once again, this is purely theoretic, just for the purposes of intellectual amusement. It won't happen.

Leo

#228 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Xopher@224: racism has a lot to do with it.

Yeah, well, that's a can of worms I won't be opening for a while around here.

So Obama will preside over the even worse economic times that are coming, and in 2012 the GOP lie machine will blame him for them, and they'll get in for another 8-12 years of raping and pillaging this once-great nation.

Sort of like happened with Carter? I dunno, I can't help thinking there's more at stake now.

I mean if the US attempts to intervene on behalf of Georgia in its current conflict with Russia, the Russians will kick our asses all the way back to Washington.

I wouldn't worry (about that, at least) - I'm fairly certain picking on someone your own size isn't part of whatever's left of neocon foreign policy.

#229 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:42 PM:

Leonid and Adrian: I certainly hope you're both right. Optimism is getting harder to maintain as more and more things turn to shit though. No, not shit, that's actually useful: toxic waste.

#230 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:53 PM:

I really wish I could get the phrase "Never get involved in a land war in asia" out of my head...

#231 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:57 PM:

A curious aside: Just now, Georgia beat Russia in women's beach volleyball at the Olympics. On the positive note, there didn't seem to be any bad feelings shown between the teams. On the contrary, it was all very polite and civilized. Now, if only this was the case in politics.

#232 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 01:58 PM:

xeger, what about getting involved in two or three at the same time? Whose bright idea is that (so we can find a nice padded room for them)?

#233 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 02:07 PM:

Evans #232:

Actually, the US military doctrine includes the ability to sustain two large-scale military conflicts in any part of the world. The problem is that the same doctrine is woefully inadequate in dealing with protracted guerrilla warfare. Some years ago, a certain group in the US Army was active in formulating a new, more mobile doctrine, specifically with asymmetric warfare in mind. But apparently it was too radical, involving a nearly complete redesign of units, including a completely different size and nature of Army divisions, etc. So the top brass didn't like it and it went nowhere. Ironically, the decision not to go on with it was taken shortly before the war in Afghanistan, followed by the war in Iraq.

#234 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 02:19 PM:

The problem is further aggravated when politicians begin to think they can be good generals and started ordering professionals around.

#235 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Yeah, but the only alternative to civilian control of the military has drawbacks of its own.

#236 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 02:26 PM:

There is control and there is control.

#237 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 02:31 PM:

Leonid at 216: what everyone else has said, plus: if Obama called Saakashvili in this situation there would be an outcry that Obama is being presumptuous, arrogant, interfering with matters of state, etc. etc. -- unspoken subtext being the uppity n-word. McCain can get away with it because he's "experienced," whatever the f*ck that means, and because the press is refusing to or unable to (pick one) question his behavior.

#238 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 02:34 PM:

Leonid - the comment was not meant to be that serious.

There is an old saying that 'only a fool gets involved in a land war in Asia'. Meaning, I believe, fools from the West. We're certainly not doing a good job, and we have a couple of hundred years of examples in front of us, of what happens when you do get involved without understanding the area.
There are a bunch of guys in DC who really really want the Cold War back, though, and unfortunately they have a lot of influence in this maladministration. (Me, I grew up with id, and I'd rather not have it back.)

#239 ::: mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 03:54 PM:

Anthony#10: did you not pay any attention to the last thing you said? Invading a country is also in violation of international law, the fact that Georgia was in the wrong is of little importance when the Russians continued to bomb areas with no military occupancy after agreeing to a ceasefire.

#240 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 04:17 PM:

New York Times calls george sending troops to Georgia humanitarian aid:

The Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, hailed the decision as a “turning point,” but also immediately cast the American presence in military terms.

“What I expected specifically from America was to secure our airport and to secure our seaports,” he said, in a telephone interview minutes after Mr. Bush spoke. “The main thing now is that the Georgian Tbilisi airport will be permanently under control.

However, it looks different from the U.K. Independent's viewpoint:

Mr Bush said military planes would deliver supplies in a move which would put American forces in the heart of the region.

McCain needed this, since the Georgian president called him on it. Plus October Surprise in August.

But in the end, this is a war between two oil corporations, Gazprom and Chevron. That's why so many mercs there. Of course, paid for by our money. Lordessa save us if the corpses had to pay for their adventures with their own profits!

Love, C.

#241 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Constance #240:

Why Chevron, of all things? I thought BP owned most of the pipelines going through Georgia.

#242 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 06:28 PM:

It sounds like the South Ossetian militias are taking revenge on Georgian civilians; there are reports of burning, killing, and various atrocities targeting civilians with no Russians in sight.

Constance at 240, the oil companies make no money when militias are fighting and bombs are falling, because no one is safe. No company will be willing to invest money in buildings, repairs, pipelines that can be destroyed the next day. A state of war is the last thing any oil company finds useful.

#243 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 07:59 PM:

A catch by Matt Yglesias (posted today at 4:40 pm on his blog at yglesia.thinkprogress.org).

Statement by McCain (on Fox News) "in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations."

Apparently 2003 is not in the 21st century...

#244 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 08:55 PM:

Leonid Korogodski @ 233

Current US military doctrine is Win-Hold-Win: being able to fight a major engagement to victory whild holding another at stalemate, then moving the forces from the first in to win the second. At least that's the theory. The US is currently fighting 2 major engagements, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and neither is going very well. But the cost of those two engagements has been the complete exhaustion of reserve forces to fight another engagement. At this point the forces in Iraq need to start drawing down right now or have their duty rotation there be extended, just to ensure that combat units be rested, resupplied, and retrained for the existing theaters. Another major deployment just isn't possible without losing ground, especially in Afghanistan.

P J Evans

Remind me again why he's the Democratic nominee-presumptive?

He's not as dumb as the other f*kwits and not as self-serving as the other oath-breakers.

#245 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 10:06 PM:

"On the other hand, Obama apparently has 'advisers' telling him that admitting Georgia to NATO would be a good idea."

I'm a little confused: in the aftermath of the Russian invasion I've heard a lot of people saying, well thank goodness they weren't part of NATO! Then this would have started World War Three! But isn't the whole point of Georgia getting NATO membership that, if Georgia had it, Russia wouldn't dare invade? Hasn't membership in NATO protected Latvia and Lithuania from similar sorts of Russian expansionism? Why aren't people saying "Curses, why weren't they already part of NATO! Then this would have never happened!"?

My knowledge of Eastern European politics is next to zero, and so I'm sure there are good reasons for people's reactions. But I'd appreciate it if someone explained them to me.

#246 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 10:32 PM:

heresiarch @ 245: I think the concern is that Georgia would take NATO membership, or even a sense of American support, and feel emboldened t antagonize Russia.

Such as, for instance, flattening a city and killing Russian peacekeepers. If Russia then chooses to react militarily to save face and maintain local hegemony, and misjudges what NATO will do, the conflict could escalate.

Miscalculations and alliances really screwed up the early part of the last century. Deja vu could glow this time.

#247 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 10:37 PM:

Bruce #244:

As I said, the US military is not good at dealing with protracted guerrilla warfare.

#248 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2008, 10:56 PM:

heresiarch #245:

The problem with Georgia's NATO membership may--and I'm guessing here--have to do with the fact that it has two ongoing conflicts already. Do you think that would have involved NATO in them automatically? Isn't NATO supposed to ensure the territorial integrity of any member country?

#249 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 12:22 AM:

Oh, wow. Georgia delenda est, or at least it will be if Russia has its way. Seriously, after the ethnic cleasing of Abkhazia, and the apparent beginning of ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia, does anyone believe Russia will stop? If so, why? This is looking more and more like the beginnings of genocide. Is the Ukraine next? And it seems unlikely there is anything to stop it. The US has no moral authority to do so, nor troops to commit, and NATO probably will not act until directly threatened.

#250 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 04:51 AM:

Randolph #249: the real ethnic cleansing of Abkhazia happened in the early 90s. What has happened in the current war is that Georgian troops have been pushed out of the Kodori Gorge.

The Russian position you link to is not 'Georgia delenda est'. It's that 'self-determination' has over-ridden 'territorial integrity' this time. (Which of these two conflicting principles apply in any instance is for all sides purely a matter of whose ox is gored.)

I don't think the Russians are going to try to take Tblisi (short of some escalation from the other side). What I worry about far more is that the Russian army will not do enough (or anything) to restrain the Ossetian, Russian, Cossack(!) and Chechen(!) militias and irregulars in and around South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

And by the way, the only reason Sevastopol is in Ukraine is that Khrushchev gave Ukraine the Crimea in a moment of absent-mindedness.

#251 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 05:19 AM:

Georgia (whose army has US trainers)

...that explains why they're able to run away so fast...

(yes, I know this joke only works in British English. Sorry.)

#252 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 08:21 AM:

Ken MacLeod, #250: The responsibility for maintaining order in captured territory falls on the captors, as it did with the US in Iraq. If there is ethnic cleansing or genocide in South Ossetia, the responsibility falls on Russia. Why do you expect Russia to show restraint in Georgia, when operations outside of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are continuing?

#253 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 08:26 AM:

Actually, both McCain and Obama have called for an accelerating of NATO membership for Georgia; they're both idiots for saying this, IMO.

Look, with the logistic and manpower advantages the Russians have, there's nothing the US can do about this Georgian invasion. Airlifting the 82nd Airborne there just means we get a US body count to go with the Georgian one. The Black Sea is controlled by the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and we'd have to deal with THAT before sealifting a heavy (armored) division, which is really what they'd need to force back the Russian armored units. That's dependent on Turkey allowing passage of the forces through the Bosporous in the first place, too.

And then the Russians could just commit 3 or 10 more divisions, plus airpower. It's all about logistics, people; they can reinforce almost at will, we'd be at the end of a very long, vulnerable supply line.

The Georgians were naive to think the US or NATO could shield them from Russia, and it is stupid of McCain to promise them support in the fight. For that matter it is stupid for their President to ask McCain for help; it's not like he's in a position of power.

#254 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 12:17 PM:

#41-42-44 re "According to this blogger, the conflict between Georgia and Russia is a US-backed diversion intended to tie up any significant Russian response to the US attack against Iran, for which US Naval forces are moving into place right now":

Middle East Times, August 11, 2008:

SPECIAL REPORT: Kuwait Readying for War in Gulf?

The small oil-rich emirate of Kuwait – situated between Iraq, Iran and an un-enviable geographic hard place on the northern end of the Persian Gulf – has reportedly activated its "Emergency War Plan" as a massive U.S. and European armada is reported heading for the region.

Coming on the heels of Operation Brimstone just a week ago that saw U.S., British and French naval forces participate in war games in the Atlantic Ocean, the object of which was to practice enforcing an eventual blockade on Iran, the joint task force is now headed for the Gulf and what could easily turn into a major confrontation with Iran.

The naval force comprises a U.S. Navy super carrier battle group and is accompanied by an expeditionary carrier battle group, a British Royal Navy carrier battle group and a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine.

Leading the pack is the nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its Carrier Strike Group Two; besides its 80-plus combat planes the Roosevelt normally transports, it is carrying an additional load of French Naval Rafale fighter jets from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, currently in dry dock.

Also reported heading toward Iran is another nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan and its Carrier Strike Group Seven; the USS Iwo Jima, the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and a number of French warships, including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste.

Once the naval force arrives in the Gulf region it will be joining two other U.S. naval battle groups already on site: the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Peleliu; the Lincoln with its carrier strike group and the latter with an expeditionary strike group.

Telephone calls to the Pentagon were not returned by publication time.

This deployment is the largest naval task force from the United States and allied countries to assemble in the strategic waters of the Persian Gulf since the two Gulf wars.

The object of the naval deployment would be to enforce an eventual blockade on Iran, if as expected by many observers, current negotiations with the Islamic republic over its insistence to pursue enrichment of uranium, allowing it, eventually, to produce nuclear weapons yields no results.

Adding to the volatility is the presence of a major Russian navy deployment affected earlier this year to the eastern Mediterranean comprising the jewel of the Russian fleet, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov with approximately 50 Su-33 warplanes that have the capacity for mid-air refueling. This means the Russian warplanes could reach the Gulf from the Mediterranean, a distance of some 850 miles and would be forced to fly over Syria (not a problem) but Iraq as well, where the skies are controlled by the U.S. military, and the guided missile heavy cruiser Moskva. The Russian task force is believed to be composed of no less than a dozen warships as well as several submarines.

However, Russia is unlikely to get involved in a military showdown in the Persian Gulf, particularly at this time when it is engaged in a major confrontation with the Republic of Georgia in South Ossetia.

#255 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Randolph # 252: The reason I expect Russia to show restraint in Georgia is that it's not in their interest to escalate (and ending the independence of what everyone seems to be calling 'Georgia proper' would be a major escalation).

On military operations outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia, these are (so far) consistent with two objectives: making sure the Russian forces inside the enclaves aren't attacked again from outside, and stopping local militias from running amok and/or helping themselves to abandoned Georgian ammunition dumps, etc. Latest from Gori here and here.

#256 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 12:32 PM:

254: Pyre, look, every six months the US sends more carriers to the Gulf and someone somewhere starts worrying that this is the lead-in to a strike against Iran.

The truth: those carriers do six-month tours. Lincoln will be going home as soon as Roosevelt and Reagan get on station.
Those Rafales may have been on deck for carrier training with Roosevelt during the exercise, but that's no reason to think they're still there.

As for Ark Royal, that's just not true - it's just gone into Portsmouth for a six-week refit, it's nowhere near the Gulf.
http://www.shippingtimes.co.uk/item_10095.htmlcontroversy.html

Conclusion: Egyptian media not always 100%.

#257 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Ken #255:

On stopping the local militia from running amok: Russia didn't do anything about it before and is unlikely to do it now. Russia has been granting Russian citizenship both in Abkhazia and South Ossetia left and right just to claim their non-Georgian population as Russian citizens. It's interested in Georgians fleeing the area.

#258 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 12:52 PM:

According to TPM, McCain announced yesterday that Lieberman and Graham were going to visit Georgia in their capacity as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (see this).

As I canceled my cable subscription last Halloween and my whiz-bang tv has lousy reception without an aerial, I have to ask: Has anyone seen any commentary about this in the MSM, especially in light of Lieberman's and Graham's ties to the McCain campaign?

Talk about presumptuous...

#259 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 01:36 PM:

Pyre, #254: The link is sufficient. And, sure, it's possible this is a diversion, but it's hardly a certain thing.

Ken MacLeod, #255: reading those articles, I found that General Nogovitsyn was using preventing looting as an excuse for not withdrawing and that General Borisov wants Georgians to return to Gori, claiming all will be safe. There are no independent confirmations--why should anyone believe them when they broke the ceasefire agreement only the day before? You object that "it's not in their interest to escalate." But it was not in their interest to go to war in the first place, nor in their interest to make 600,000 homeless (the 500,000 from Abkhazia have been joined by 100,000 in the current conflict.) Russia does not need to control South Ossetia and Abkhazia at all! As with the US in Iraq, their intervention has made matters worse for the people they claim to support. As, again, with the USA in Iraq, Russia is apparently acting out of internal politics rather than any well thought out strategy, and so we can't make any predictions based on their self-interest; their idea of their self-interest is not based in reality.

#260 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 03:49 PM:

#250 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 04:51 AM:

And by the way, the only reason Sevastopol is in Ukraine is that Khrushchev gave Ukraine the Crimea in a moment of absent-mindedness.


It is surprising for me, but YOU QUIte catch the idea. Nikita, despite of his contribution into the development of USSR, was a very poor politician, knocking by his boot on higher level rbiefings and things like this- silly man.

The greater fool was Eltsing when having left Crimea with Ukraine (with mostly tatar and Russian population and fleet bases) and South Osetia (separate nation but only an autonomy, not uSSR republic) in 90-s with Georgia. No we have the result, but Russians can only blame themselve, not Georgia, when electing an old shizo (Eltsin) as a president.

For me the Eltsin period was without democracy at all but it was a real "Eltsin" genocid of Russians, couples even stopped to give birth to new children, because they were not sure in the future. That was the price for the Eltsin democracy... However, even Putin, beeing a KGB breeded man made more progress in this area

Just for you to know, that Russians are ready to criticise their leaders)

#261 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Randolph # 259: Since Russian President Medvedev announced that 'hotbeds of resistance' would continue to be destroyed, in the same breath as he announced that the Russian objectives had been achieved, I don't see what ceasefire agreement there was to break.

As for interest: of course it was in their interest (as an imperial(ist) power) to respond to Georgia's attack on South Ossetia. The Russian state's credibility (and the internal credibility of the government) would have taken a massive hit otherwise. However, in both repects they also have an interest in not going into all-out confrontation with the US, which toppling the government of a US client state (let alone attempting to occupy it in the teeth of undoubtedly ferocious local resistance) would bring.

Maybe it'll come to that, but I don't think it likely this time and I don't see the inevitable local skirmishes (which each side will exaggerate and blame on the other) as evidence that it's come to that.

#262 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 04:23 PM:

#160 ::: albert ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2008, 10:43 PM:

The Russians(at this point) Have no reason to invade Georgia, and to do it during the Olympics.
You mean who cares even if Georgians would cut Ossetians to the last baby - it is thier family affair. Lets watch the Olimpics.


Albert, I don't no, whether you've read anything of Dostoevsky, but I suppose, you have catched up his idea from "Karamazovy brothers".

Well, Dostoevsky said (by the words of Ivan Karamazov": "I don't believe in a world-wide harmony (no matter how fair it would be) if this harmony was based on one killed child".

So

#263 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Leonid # 257: On stopping the local militia from running amok: Russia didn't do anything about it before and is unlikely to do it now.

As I said upthread (#250), that's what I'm worried about.

#264 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Maria @262:
I don't believe in a world-wide harmony (no matter how fair it would be) if this harmony was based on one killed child.

Interestingly enough, neither do I.

I'm not sure you can defend this invasion on a humanitarian basis.

#265 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 04:55 PM:

The Russians have sunk Georgian patrol boats in the Black Sea, bombed their main naval base, attacked airbases across their country, and attacked both oil production facilities and communication sites.

None of these are really in keeping with limited objectives such as controlling S. Ossetia and Abkhazia; these are similar to objectives needed to be met in order to Finlandize the nation of Georgia itself.

After all, if Georgia marches to Russia's drum, there's no need to actually occupy the country entirely. The threat of doing so would be sufficient.

#266 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 05:12 PM:

On the matter of Crimea:

Note, however, that attempts to organize a separatist movement in Crimea have failed. Whatever the history and the demographics, the Crimean population doesn't want to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

#267 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 11:29 PM:

Thanks, those who replied to my question. In light of those replies, however, this was very interesting:

The US special envoy to the region, Matthew Bryza, told the BBC that the outbreak of violence in the Caucasus strengthened Georgia's case to join the Nato alliance. "Russia, a country with 30 times the population [of Georgia] decided to roll into its much smaller neighbour and tried to roll over it. It failed to roll over Georgia, but it would never have even thought of doing this if Georgia were already a member of Nato," he said.

Looks like I'm not the only one following that chian of thought.

#268 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 12:47 AM:

heresiarch @267 - but what if he's wrong?

I think you'll agree that that there are at least two very dubious statements or omissions in what Bryza said. Where there are two, a third is not out of the question, and what does NATO do when its deterrence is challenged over legally and morally questionable grounds?

#269 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 01:12 AM:

abi: "I'm not sure you can defend this invasion on a humanitarian basis."

Um, do I have an irony award somewhere?

Maria, it's nice that Russians feel better about themselves. Now how 'bout they give 600,000 people back their homes? (And some undetermined number their lives.) I've said the same thing about the US in Iraq, which the Russian attacks on Georgia more and more resemble--if this is what it takes us to feel good about ourselves, we're sick fucks.

Ken, "credibility" and things like that are just what I hear from the US gummint about the Iraq invasion. It's all nonsense. It's cost us enormously both in credibility outside our borders and in cold hard cash, it's hurt and killed a lot of people, and it's made us literally millions of enemies. Georgia isn't quite that much of a disaster for Russia yet, but give them time; it's only a few days into the second (recent) invasion.

And, yes, I'm being sarcastic; nothing seems to penetrate. Sigh. Maybe Barack Obama could say it in a way that more people would hear.

#270 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 01:40 AM:

Until Russia is out of Putin's (and alike leaders) slavery, the Russian neighbors have no hope. The World is moving toward internal isolation following the false sense of unity of end of Cold War. Unfortunately the freedom seeking Russians have been demoralized, prosecuted,killed, jailed, poisoned so many times by their own government that Russian democracy is almost hopeless. However, as soon as the Oil Economy is over, the Russia will return to its poor state that we saw at the end of the USSR. That's when the Putin and alike will lose their power and the Russian revolution will be inevitable.

Having said that, no matter what the politics are, the fact is that the human catastrophe is happening in Georgia right now. Most vulnerable of the civilians, women, children, elderly, sick, are at the mercy of drunken militias backed by Russian army.

The urgent need right now is to help THEM. How many calls for donations have you seen in the media? Almost none, everyone is too busy figuring out the Russians and their next move, while people are dying.

SoUntil Russia is out of Putin's (and alike leaders) slavery, the Russian neighbors have no hope. The World is moving toward internal isolation following the false sense of unity of end of Cold War. Unfortunately the freedom seeking Russians have been demoralized, prosecuted,killed, jailed, poisoned so many times by their own government that Russian democracy is almost hopeless. However, as soon as the Oil Economy is over, the Russia will return to its poor state that we saw at the end of the USSR. That's when the Putin and alike will lose their power and the Russian revolution will be inevitable.

Having said that, no matter what the politics are, the fact is that the human catastrophe is happening in Georgia right now. Most vulnerable of the civilians, women, children, elderly, sick, are at the mercy of drunken militias backed by Russian army.

The urgent need right now is to help THEM. How many calls for donations have you seen in the media? Almost none, everyone is too busy figuring out the Russians and their next move, while people are dying.

SoUntil Russia is out of Putin's (and alike leaders) slavery, the Russian neighbors have no hope. The World is moving toward internal isolation following the false sense of unity of end of Cold War. Unfortunately the freedom seeking Russians have been demoralized, prosecuted,killed, jailed, poisoned so many times by their own government that Russian democracy is almost hopeless. However, as soon as the Oil Economy is over, the Russia will return to its poor state that we saw at the end of the USSR. That's when the Putin and alike will lose their power and the Russian revolution will be inevitable.

Having said that, no matter what the politics are, the fact is that the human catastrophe is happening in Georgia right now. Most vulnerable of the civilians, women, children, elderly, sick, are at the mercy of drunken militias backed by Russian army.

The urgent need right now is to help THEM. How many calls for donations have you seen in the media? Almost none, everyone is too busy figuring out the Russians and their next move, while people are dying.

SoUntil Russia is out of Putin's (and alike leaders) slavery, the Russian neighbors have no hope. The World is moving toward internal isolation following the false sense of unity of end of Cold War. Unfortunately the freedom seeking Russians have been demoralized, prosecuted,killed, jailed, poisoned so many times by their own government that Russian democracy is almost hopeless. However, as soon as the Oil Economy is over, the Russia will return to its poor state that we saw at the end of the USSR. That's when the Putin and alike will lose their power and the Russian revolution will be inevitable.

Having said that, no matter what the politics are, the fact is that the human catastrophe is happening in Georgia right now. Most vulnerable of the civilians, women, children, elderly, sick, are at the mercy of drunken militias backed by Russian army.

The urgent need right now is to help THEM. How many calls for donations have you seen in the media? Almost none, everyone is too busy figuring out the Russians and their next move, while people are dying.

So

Please support this cause at: http://www.firstgiving.com/aid-georgia

Your energy would better be spent on efforts such as this.

#271 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 03:05 AM:

Mildly off-topic, the product of a quick legitmacy check on the above posting:

Firstgiving appears to be a kind of charity platform provider, giving infrastructure support for short-notice donation needs.

The costs are explained in a popup: 2.5% credit card fee + 5% commission on donations.

However, note that although the firstgiving page has links to Save the Children, its emblem is for "Georgia Aid: Fundraising for Victims of Russian Aggression of Georgia".

So I don't know how official or vetted this is. Draw your own conclusions, make your own choices.

#272 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 03:08 AM:

Note as well that this thread is the third result for a Google search on "Russia invades Georgia".

This may explain the nature and variety of some of the people coming here.

#273 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 03:16 AM:

"Note as well that this thread is the third result for a Google search on 'Russia invades Georgia'."

Gulp! How did that happen?

I wonder what you get if you ask in Russian? And Georgian?

#274 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 04:45 AM:

Gulp! How did that happen?

The Gurgle, she like blogs.

#275 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 06:40 AM:

Randolph # 269: Like the US and UK in Iraq? Ho hum.

For now, over to Mary Dejevsky and Mikhail Gorbachev.

#276 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 07:28 AM:

Adrian, Randolph, look at what isn't in this thread, or in this blog.

Even with most of the fluorosphere gasping for oxygen at temperature-inflated density altitudes, last weekend, there was a happy few who held the line.

Jim: O that we now had here but one ten thousand of those fen in Denver that do no work to-day!

Abi: What's he that wishes so? Why, 'tis stout Macdonald. No, my ancient friend, if we are mark'd for spam, we are enow, to do our country loss, and if to live, the fewer fen, the greater share of honour. God's will! I pray thee, wish not one fan more.

(Somebody shall have to Photoshop this. Olivier or Branagh?)

Not that I think anyone's condition was gentled by events, not at the political level.

#277 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 07:55 AM:

Adrian, Randolph, look at what isn't in this thread, or in this blog.

Er...well, I've drawn myself a Venn diagram, figuratively speaking, but I'm having trouble focusing on the contents of what you suggest.

#278 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 08:27 AM:

Abi @ 271: That the text consists of four copies of the same blurb doesn't enhance its credibility.

#279 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 08:48 AM:

Joel @278:
That the text consists of four copies of the same blurb doesn't enhance its credibility.

I have seen regular commenters post things like that; I suspect that some combination of browser, connection, and thread count of bedsheets* is responsible rather than human error.

Cleaning it up might have seemed like endorsement. Deleting it denies its relevance. Thus did I leave it alone.

-----
* or other random factor of your choice

#280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 09:16 AM:

What do the Russians have against Georgia O'Keefe? They shall pry her art prints from my cold dead fingers.

#281 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 09:38 AM:

Next week is the fortieth anniversary of another Russian invasion.

BBC Radio 4 has a memorable half-hour feature, broadcast just now but to be repeated on Sunday at 8pm UK time (1900 UTC) on the Internet as well as on good old steam radio:

On 21 August 1968, Russian tanks entered Czechoslovakia to put an end to Alexander Dubcek's Prague Spring. An extraordinary irony saw the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra making its debut at the Proms on the same day in a programme featuring Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's Cello Concerto. The performance by soloist Mstislav Rostropovich remains one of the greatest ever live recordings of the piece.

#282 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 10:24 AM:

abi @ 217
If I may be allowed to push a disaster relief agency that I firmly believe in:


Mercy Corps distributes food as humanitarian crisis grows

As a major humanitarian effort gets underway in Georgia and South Ossetia, Mercy Corps is rushing emergency relief to thousands of people displaced by the fighting between Russian and Georgian forces.

We need your help to expand our efforts to more affected families.

Mercy Corps - Dept. W - 3015 SW First Ave - Portland, OR - 97201
www.mercycorps.org

Mercy Corps puts 92% of the money donated to actual relief operations and supplies; their overhead is as low as they can make it. The only time I've given money to any other relief organization in the last 2 years was during the floods in Iowa; ARC was able to get their local offices in the state organized to put the money to that specific purpose faster than anyone else. But when it comes to international aid, Mercy Corps is fast and very efficient. Please check them out.

#283 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 11:35 AM:

Fungi From Yuggoth @ 268: "I think you'll agree that that there are at least two very dubious statements or omissions in what Bryza said. Where there are two, a third is not out of the question, and what does NATO do when its deterrence is challenged over legally and morally questionable grounds?"

Oh, I didn't mean that I still agreed with that position, just that others seem to be making it too. (And what others! If I hadn't already been convinced that it was a bad argument, hearing that guy make it in that way would cause me to start edging away slowly. Yugh.) What I meant was that perhaps people should start explicitly laying out the scenario by which including Georgia in NATO destroys the organization, not just taking it for granted that that destruction is patently obvious.

The best argument I've found against the "shoulda included Georgia in NATO already" position is over at Obsidian Wings. Cliff Notes version: Signing up a country like Georgia, whom NATO can't defend nor particularly wants to, is something of a bluff. If Russia called that bluff by invading, it would immeasurably weaken the protection NATO offers all the other countries under its umbrella.

#284 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Well, it looks there is a cease fire, proving that Russian leaders are more sensible than US leaders, at least if it holds. Now, I suppose, everyone picks up the pieces and tries to figure out what and why. There are some odd ones: did John McCain encourage Saakashvili to attack South Ossetia? Ken, I think Gorbachev's proposal (your two links are the same) is not too bad, but the reality is you can't displace 600,000 people and not create lasting resentment, so it is going to be hard to make any solution work. And federalism only works--we know in the USA!--when there are broad agreements on civil rights and economic forms throughout the federation. Legal structures based on ethnicity do not last. The presence of Russian tanks on the border may make hash of any agreement anyway. On the other hand, it may be one of these situations where people only do the sensible thing after exhausting themselves. The parties involved have finally done one sensible thing, let's see if they can manage two.

David, you have a point.

#285 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 10:02 PM:

The Washington Post has the transcript from a discussion with the Georgian Ambassador to the US:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/15/DI2008081502199.html

#286 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 04:32 AM:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR2008081403048.html?sub=new

Extract from Washingtonpost: Posted by Olga Ivanova

Who's Blogging» Links to this article
By Olga Ivanova
Friday, August 15, 2008; Page A21

I wish I could fly back to Russia. I have been in the United States for a year, and I am studying and working here to get experience in American journalism, known worldwide for its independence and professionalism. But in recent days it has felt as though I am too late, that the journalism of Watergate is well behind us and that reporting is no longer fair and balanced.

#287 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 04:56 AM:

#266 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) :::
August 14, 2008, 05:12 PM:

On the matter of Crimea:

Note, however, that attempts to organize a separatist movement in Crimea have failed. Whatever the history and the demographics, the Crimean population doesn't want to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

Respond:

And the same is for russian population in Baltic ciuntries and so on- this is not the characteristic of their position. Why should they, eg: a man leaving in Crimea for 60 years, why for god's sake should he move, leave home and work, for finding nothing in Moscow or SPb.

I don't think, that you have always quite correct information on the thoughts and desires of the people in Ukraine and other former Soviet nations.

Ok they don't want to return to USSR times, neither want Russians, belive me. And we are not under Putin's slavery, as you wer mb convinced. The young people in Russia are free to choose their own way, mb leave for USA, why not.

As it is clear for everybody, who at least works in the economic sphere: The USA is an imperialistic country (well Russia is too, I know).

Russia is the only element, that prevents SU economy (don't just vail it by the idea of "all over the world democratic revolutions"). One way to starve Russia to death is to surround it by the opponent nations. That's why the informational war is conducted all over the world now, which Russia fails to resist. Nobody in the west knows about real situation about the NATO moving to the east- NOBODY in the Ukraine and Georgia really approves the treaties of the Governments. The orange revolution was a bullshit a well planned action. I know 65% of people in Ukraine were against NATO, but who cares.

May be I have repetitive comments? I respect all the comments here, because the strength, for example, of the american nation, is that they believe in their government and state, and critical articles in press is rear.

#288 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 05:00 AM:

#285 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 10:02 PM:

The Washington Post has the transcript from a discussion with the Georgian Ambassador to the US:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/15/DI2008081502199.html


John, if you would base you vision of the situation on the comments of the person engaged and being well paid by the american media corps, you'll nether get the real idea of the situation

#289 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 05:38 AM:

Maria @ 288:

John, if you would base you vision of the situation on the comments of the person engaged and being well paid by the american media corps, you'll nether get the real idea of the situation

Are you saying that the "american media corps" (whatever that may be) is paying the salary of the Georgian ambassador? Do you have any evidence for this?

The link John L provided is a transcript of an online, moderated chat session with the Georgian ambassador, with questions coming from various places (including one from someone in Mexico).

Since it's the ambassador of one of the countries in the conflict, I don't think anyone here expects to get anything like the whole truth from him, any more than we would automatically expect to get the whole truth from any other ambassador, including the Russian one. (If you read the transcript, you can see "Arlington, Va." questioning seemingly contradictory statements that the ambassador just made.)

#290 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 06:53 AM:

Maria @ 287

I think you misunderstood Leonid. He wasn't saying that the Russian speaking people in Ukraine should want to get up and move to Russia.

He was saying (as far as I understood it) that they didn't seem to want their region to stop being a part of Ukraine and become a part of Russia instead or become 'independent' but supported heavily by Russia.

btw as a factoid, I'm not American, I'm Icelandic. The people commenting here on Making Light are from all over the world. Some are American but not nearly all.

#291 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 07:14 AM:

#270 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 01:40 AM:

However, as soon as the Oil Economy is over, the Russia will return to its poor state that we saw at the end of the USSR. That's when the Putin and alike will lose their power and the Russian revolution will be inevitable.

Respond:

Naive guy!

We have the most powerful economy in the world till Eltsin empowered internal genocid and we returned back to the state of 1920-s. We lost most of our economical and industrial power at this period.

Have you ever tried to understand the trends- even now we have all the benefits of developing countries- markets are expanding, not only for oil- its another part of the story. If you think oil is the only thing that makes Russia alive- you're blind.

If any part has to seek for help in the world- its Europe (except German). Everything is stable, and unmotivated. Hopefully if America will support they will survive for a vile, but not independingly.

And again- our poor state was the consequense of Eltsins morazm, and longer the case. And of cause, we will survive without any support from future slaves of NATO, like Georgia, belive me. This is just to give the idea that Russia has no OTHER purpose to answer on a Georgia agression.

The real purpose was- just to be an independent country with our own view of situation (not to be a beatch, just acting like Europa wants us to be).

The other point was- to save OUR citizens. That's the way USA always acts, no matter where its citizens stay

And finnaly your article is an information with no reasonable base.

Please, forgive me for the tone

Thank you

#292 ::: derek ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 07:14 AM:

stay out of it america,, not your business. georgia gets what it asked for.

#293 ::: Maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 07:32 AM:

270 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2008, 01:40 AM:

However, as soon as the Oil Economy is over, the Russia will return to its poor state that we saw at the end of the USSR. That's when the Putin and alike will lose their power and the Russian revolution will be inevitable.

Respond:

Naive guy!

Continued:

Of cause, Uncle SAM wants to rule the world, thats the idea.

And America will be pleased to have more polite leaders, than Putin and Medvedev in Russia. But now we are not that poor country like in late 1990-s, seeking for international credits. Now we have well-developed financial markets, raising level of life, made not from oil incomings, but from real industrial growth. and make me just admit, none of former republics of USSR contributed to this growth nowdays.

Now America stays for liberation of Cosovo region, their independence.

From this prospective, USA have to save Ossetians rather, than Georgians. Why so powerful country, that is said to be not only the most powerful, but most generous and democratic country left in need the small and helpless nation, that was almost killed in the first day of georgians agression.

You may say, that Russia have no right to enter this conflict. But for me, Russian government had done the job of USA, that have to anyway convince its rascal, saakashvilly, not to send troops against the civil population

#294 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 07:39 AM:

#290 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 06:53 AM:

Maria @ 287

I think you misunderstood Leonid. He wasn't saying that the Russian speaking people in Ukraine should want to get up and move to Russia.

He was saying (as far as I understood it) that they didn't seem to want their region to stop being a part of Ukraine and become a part of Russia instead or become 'independent' but supported heavily by Russia.

Respond:

I would, may be disappoint you. The really want.
90% of Russian and Tatars were against the orange revolution and want to leave te state of Ukraine- but here we have the situation, that this is not even Osetia- a separate nation.
Their desire couldn't be supportted bu any political or economical practice. They can't just one day sai- we are a part of Russia.- That would be real separatism. And nobody will support them, even Russia.

#295 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 08:20 AM:

Extract from INDEPENDENT UK
Mary Dejevsky: Russia the bad guys? Who are the West trying to kid?

Friday, 15 August 2008

m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk

Well, Russia did not have long to worry about losing its reputation as backyard bully. Within hours, the United States envoy to Georgia was spinning a whole new myth to the BBC about how it was only decisive US intervention – by which he presumably meant the warplanes laden with humanitarian aid by then ostentatiously parked at Tbilisi airport – that the mighty erstwhile Red Army had been turned back.

The many Georgians who had counted on more timely and robust assistance from their US protector surely laughed a bitter laugh. But there were signs, with the arrival of the US Secretary of State in Georgia, that this version was gaining hold. The story of this war, it seems, will be that the US faced down a snarling, expansionist Russia, and forced it to limp back to its lair.

This is a travesty. But it is only the latest and most glaring in a series of Western misrepresentations and misreadings of Russian intentions throughout this sorry episode. They began with the repeated references to Russian "aggression" and "invasion", continued through charges of intended "regime change", and culminated in alarmist reports about Russian efforts to bomb the east-west energy pipeline. None of this, not one bit of it, is true.

Take "aggression" and "invasion". Georgia declared itself to be in a state of war with Russia. War, regrettably, is war, and a basic objective is to reduce, or destroy, the enemy's military capability. This is what Russia was doing until it accepted the ceasefire. The positions it took up inside Georgia proper can be seen as defensive, not offensive. Gori houses the Georgian garrison on South Ossetia's border.

And anyway, how did hostilities begin? Georgia sent troops into South Ossetia. The status of that region – which declared unilateral independence – is anomalous. It is inside Georgia's borders, but outside its control. But one reason why the dispute has not been solved is that the "fudge" over independence brought with it a degree of stability. Georgia's action upset that stability. But did anyone describe it as "aggression"? Trying to explain Russian "aggression", many reports went further, observing a "new" mood of Russian aggressive nationalism. Today's Russia, they reasoned, was uniquely liable to lash out, because energy wealth had fuelled new national ambitions. Where, though, is the evidence that Russian national pride is automatically malign?

If you exclude Chechnya, which Russians have always regarded as part of Russia, then neither Putin, nor Medvedev, had sent troops outside Russian borders before this point. As for the idea that Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union – derived from his remark about the Soviet collapse being "among the greatest catastrophes" of the 20th century – nothing could be further from what he did. Far from hankering after a lost empire, Putin used his years as president systematically to fix Russia's post-Soviet borders, signing treaties with every neighbouring country that would agree – including, last month, China. Of course, Russia does not like the idea of another Nato member on its borders. But this is not the same as wanting to restore "ex-Soviet space". It reflects Russia's view of its legitimate security interests.

Perhaps the most pernicious assumption over the past week, however, is that Russia wanted to effect "regime-change". Russian officials categorically denied this, insisting that they had no business overthrowing an elected leader. You might scoff, but Russia has done nothing that would contradict this. The Kremlin would probably be delighted if Georgians eventually punished their President for his misguided enterprise, but Russia seems to accept that Georgians decide what happens in Georgia.

Why was it so difficult for outsiders to believe that Moscow wanted precisely what its leaders said they wanted: a return to the situation that had pertained before Georgia's incursion into South Ossetia – and does it matter that its intentions were so appallingly misread? Yes it does. If outsiders impute to Moscow motives and objectives it does not have, they alienate Russia even further, and make a long-term solution of many international problems that more difficult. It is high time we treated Russia's post-Soviet leaders as responsible adults representing a legitimate national interest, rather than assuming the stereotypical worst.

m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk

#296 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 08:35 AM:

It is high time we treated Russia's post-Soviet leaders as responsible adults representing a legitimate national interest, rather than assuming the stereotypical worst.

IT WAS said by UK professional journalist and (as I have very poor language, I will agree with her observation)

#297 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 08:54 AM:

Maria,

I hardly expected the Georgian ambassador to provide a completely nuanced, balanced explanation to this conflict. I'm neither stupid nor naive; perhaps you should recognize that before proceeding with your usual pro-Russian multiposts next time.

I linked the ambassador's transcript because it did provide a certain view to this conflict, and how he responded to a wide variety of questions.

#298 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 09:21 AM:

I'm not as pro-Russian as you might think, but as you might notice that I even proceeded with a bounch of criticism to eltsin regime and neither I approve the hesitating position of Medvedev in most cases.

My main idea, that neither of leaders of Russia wants to restore USSR.

Still, you may be surprised, but all former USSR had migrated inside former RSFSR and Moscow, gerorgians, armenian, other nations, Ukraine massively moved to Russia to find here support and to make business. Still this countries are already independent and nobody interefers their government. But people feels more comfortable and safe here.

The main problem, as I can see, is that Westen countries apply to "interfering in the integrity of Georgia". This intergrity practically means not a unit of equal nations. Georgian people always think a lot about their nation (like about elite) and their only desire in this conflict was to get reed of ossetians and abkhazians (they even thought about them as about lower level naitons).

I'm not pro-russian in all espects, but I accuse the NATO, who may practically give support to peaceful outcome of the conflict (about which Bush was well informed) by plainly not providing such various help to non-adequate people (like Saakashvilly), they may introduce more thoughtful leader in this country of their interest.

Many resources in net and press showed, that Saakshvilly was ambicious and inadequate far before this conflict had broken out. An this "beast" was fed up by Bush support.

One french writer, former pilot of the second World War2 (you definetly know about whom I'm saying) wrote: We are in charge of those whom we have tamed.

I should ask you and everybody, whether NATO could and should have known the conflict and turn it peaceful outcome.

#299 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 09:38 AM:

#297 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 08:54 AM

I never make comment as to call you naive.

The only naive is David writing about donations,
execuse me, if I made you belive that I assessed you as naive person.

And, naive person would not refer to Gorbachev, I suppose. You probably want to make decisions after having reviewed different sources.

But many words was said about Russian expansion.
Than, what do you think about American involvment. If they are so intrested in Georgia safety, they must be intrested in peace in Ossetia too.

May be some steps were done, but I have not got the information. If you have one, would you please provide me with the reference.


Thank you.

#300 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 12:21 PM:

#266 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2008, 05:12 PM:

On the matter of Crimea:

Note, however, that attempts to organize a separatist movement in Crimea have failed. Whatever the history and the demographics, the Crimean population doesn't want to leave Ukraine and join Russia.


I can't talk for people in Crimea. May be this is true.

But the same true thing, and you can find info in the net, that civil people establish real struggle with NATO troops to avoid their establishing military base this May, 2008. Their actions were supported by the local government.

If people, part of the nation themselves go out to prevent NATO troops and called them "invaders", why do NATO insist on democratic and military aid. Its looks like establishing collonies.

And about democracy in the USA, from our side it looks so sttractive, many europians (including Russians) left our country for comfortable life in th USA.

For me, as I will say again- I respect USA as an economical power and many other things. But unfortunetly, I can't say, whether the DEMOCRACY in USA contributes to this power,

By the way, Bush is not a from a democratic party

Please help me on this question, because untill today I could form my vision on things like Oruell books.

#301 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 02:38 PM:

Maria: I’ve been to Ukraine, a number of times, from L’viv in the West to Kyiv: You’re use of, “NOBODY in the Ukraine and Georgia really approves the treaties of the Governments. The orange revolution was a bullshit a well planned action. I know 65% of people in Ukraine were against NATO, but who cares. is at odds with my conversations.

Even in Kyiv, as eastward looking a city as Ukraine has, speaking Russian was only really comfortable because I have an american accent. The people who spoke with a more Russian accent got a very different treatment; at times with the people they were speaking to refusing to admit they understood them.

So saying (without more support) the Orange Revolution was all staged (didn’t seem that way to me when I was there, several months later), and 65 percent of Ukrainians are against NATO seems a bit less than persuasive.

I recall (Rapid Trident, 2005) when Russia threatened Ukraine if they allowed the field exercise portion of the excercise to take place. It seemed more than a little over the top (the language was the diplomatic sort of, "this is one step short of war" rhetoric.

I do think the Russian are rational actors. I just (as often with the US, esp. of recent times) don't think the actions they take are always good; or legitimate (Afghanistan? I have freinds who served there; in the Soviet Army) nor even in the long-term interest of Russia.

Saying that all the nations around her are part of a larger plot: One way to starve Russia to death is to surround it by the opponent nations. That's why the informational war is conducted all over the world now is silly.

This little bit of agression wasn't a threat to the existence of Russia. If Russia isn't planning to assert an imperialistic sphere of dominance, then neither is the expansion of NATO a threat to them(I am of a mixed mind on the expansion of NATO; and we can discuss the changes I've worked on in the Ukrainian military, in NATO supported [but not NATO] excercises, and why Albania and Poland were accepted, but Ukraine hasn't been. It's not political opposition of the people (Albania has more than Ukraine seems to, but that [NATO politics] isn't what we are talking about).

Treaties like NATO, and the Warsaw Pact were/are troubling to nations, not when they they don't plan aggression, but when they do.

If NATO were a, "support me in all I do" treaty, then that would be a serious worry. Since it's a defensive treaty (support me whan I am unjustly attacked ) it's a little less so.

If the situation in S. Ossetia is as Russia says it was, then all the NATO Alliance in the world wouldn't have triggered automatic response.

It might have delayed action, while Russia justified it's intended behavior, but (speaking as one who has been in combat, and has acquaintances in the Georgian army) that doesn't strike me as a bad thing.

#302 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 04:11 PM:

#301 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 02:38 PM:

Thank you very much for response.

The thing that today I'm concerned about is that civil people again became the victims of political leaders manipulation.

Ilike georgian people and wish they finally receive their aid, whoever will bring it.

The reports are coming each hour- in Gori the local robbers steal this aid from the people, and local government can do nothing about it. In Zugdidy is a better situation.

Believe me, I don't approve the actions of USSR in Czekh republic, 1968 and Afganistan. But today we have another story- till the current month I didn't hear a word in press nor any actions of Russia's interest in the territories of Georgia or any other countries. This country now is too conctious about its internall economic stabillity.

Now I have not pro-russian (history shows we were not always right), but today we have seen on TV that:

GEORGIAN MINISTER THREATENS OSSETIAN and georgian, that have Russian passports, that they will be either killed, or at least pushed from their territory.

If anybody reads this, please, what are the actions of Russia to be, if such speach is adressed to the people, supposed to be its citizens.

Thank you.


#303 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 07:17 PM:

Maria: Since the Russian citizenship was voluntarily adopted (Gerogia didn't grant it, and by all evidence it wasn't a blanket gift to everyone in the country, and not even to those in S. Ossetia: one might argue that Russia extended it to them, and by taking it they forsook their Georgian Citizenship, and must choose to give up either the Russian citizenship, or the Georgian one.

It's not exactly what I'd call right, but it seems a rational excercise in "legitimate national interest" since the presence of Russian's living in the borders of Georgia (as Russia defined it, way back when) has been the justification for this invasion/violation of Georgian sovereignity.

One might also wish to take the reports of newspapers/radio and television stations with a grain of salt: because they certainly have an interest in keeping the gov't happy, esp. in light of both the closeness of the owners with the gov't, and the recent spate of reactions to more independent coverage.

#304 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 08:30 PM:

Terry Karney -
One might also wish to take the reports of newspapers/radio and television stations with a grain of salt: because they certainly have an interest in keeping the gov't happy, esp. in light of both the closeness of the owners with the gov't, and the recent spate of reactions to more independent coverage.

And some of those reactions have been rather severe - those who criticize the esteemed prime minister or his government too harshly or too closely have a tendency to end up dead (or nearly so) under very suspicious circumstances.

#305 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 12:01 AM:

First of all let me address the doubt that was expressed regarding the http://www.firstgiving.com/aid-georgia fundraiser for victims of war in Georgia.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not in any way affiliated with neither of the two organizations.

The above fundraiser has been approved and earmarked by a fundraising manager at Save the Children USA. Save the Children program expenses are 90.4% of the donations which is pretty good.

firstgiving.com is a legitimate business and is certified by BBB and Trustwave.

The Georgia Aid on the fundraiser page is simply a symbol for this particular fundraiser and doesn't represent any entity but the fundraising event itself. In fact this is the exact purpose of this imageholder.

As far as the triple post, I have not noticed any anomalies when posting, so it could have been a network glitch. If the moderator wishes to correct the error, I won't take it as endorsement, but rather fixing a glitch resulting in a triple-post.

While my political opinion is biased, I have to note that the purpose of the fundraiser is to help victims of the war in Georgia REGARDLESS of their ethnicity.

Finally I apologize for the link, but as the moderator noted, I felt my post was relevant.

#306 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 06:45 AM:

#303 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2008, 07:17 PM:

Maria: Since the Russian citizenship was voluntarily adopted (Gerogia didn't grant it, and by all evidence it wasn't a blanket gift to everyone in the country, and not even to those in S. Ossetia: one might argue that Russia extended it to them, and by taking it they forsook their Georgian Citizenship, and must choose to give up either the Russian citizenship, or the Georgian one.

It's not exactly what I'd call right, but it seems a rational excercise in "legitimate national interest" since the presence of Russian's living in the borders of Georgia (as Russia defined it, way back when) has been the justification for this invasion/violation of Georgian sovereignity.

Response:

Of cause you right.
But-

Forb a very long time in the past this was always the land of Ossetian people. They chose Russian xitizanship not because of any separatist campaigns, but because (to follow the history)- georgians always set genocid to invade this territory, where osetians live all the time (because it was THEIR LAND). May be it was just mistake of Eltsin do devide the country into two parts - NOrth and South, but we should correct our mistakes.
It will look the same, if USSR came to Germany and said- the Easten territory is ours, those who want to be with FRG- go away.

Georgian nation is not monolite, always there were mainly mengrells, swans, etc.

To give light to the national characters, that also define many thigs.

Ossetians is a very united and disciplinned state, that have strong principles of hel[ing each other.

Georgians (believe me, I'm not tending to be a natzi)- were always leaving in feodalic state, many small earls, always battling with each other.

So Georgia state is much more young than Ossetians. When these two nations have the coice- either to be conquered by Tutkey or to be attachecd to Russia, both nations appeal to Russia, but mengrells at first were rejected.
Georgians are more militarized by nature, and having none of their land- in 1920-s they imposed genocid on Ossetians- to push them from their land.

Nowdays we should correct the mistake, done USSR leaders, and make one country live in one state, may be independent (both from Russia and Georia).

At least UN has to do anuthoing with Saakashvilly, who said, that he wants a spare Ossetian land, without any leaving beings.

His military campaign was called "Clear field". He ment "empty" under "clear".

Of cause I agree with you, that NOW in the CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES and agreements, Georgia has the right on this territories.

But sometimes you should think not from position of the law, but leave Ossetian decide, and still they should live on their own land.

And of cause, I try (not always sucessfully) to save the independent position.

I'm not for georgians, or Ossetian, or Russian.

And of cause, thanks for David, I will be glad to contribute to the humanitarian action for both parties, at least because I have georgian friends and ossetia friends as well

#307 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 08:24 AM:

Maria,
You have made a lot of good points.
Georgia certainly played a major role in starting this conflict. The concern that a lot of people in the US and Europe have, I believe, is that Russia's reaction went too far when they pushed beyond the disputed territories into Georgia. Some reponse was to be expected but they went too far.

I don't understand your point on Bush not being from a democratic pary. The US is a demoncracy and has two main political parties - Republicans which Bush is a member of and Democrats - one is not more democratic than than other(obviously some will disagree but that is that nature of politics). While I'm no big supporter of Bush I also disagree with a lot of the liberal bias that you find on the Blogs, including this one.

I think Russia has the chance to do the right thing by pulling back out of Georgia and negotiating instead of using guns to settle the argument. I hope they take this approach but many of us are skeptical, even though they signed the agreement. Right or worng there is a lot of mistrust of people like Putin with his KGB backgroud. Events like this cetainly make some of it seem justified.

It would seem to me that Russia's best approach would be to try to negotiate a plan under which the people of the two break-away regions were allowed to vote on their future with international monitoring of the elections. Understandably Georgia would probably not agree to this because the outcome would probably not be favorable to them, but at least this approach would begin to provide some "high ground" for Russia to stand on with much of the rest of the world.


#308 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 08:24 AM:

Maria,
You have made a lot of good points.
Georgia certainly played a major role in starting this conflict. The concern that a lot of people in the US and Europe have, I believe, is that Russia's reaction went too far when they pushed beyond the disputed territories into Georgia. Some reponse was to be expected but they went too far.

I don't understand your point on Bush not being from a democratic pary. The US is a demoncracy and has two main political parties - Republicans which Bush is a member of and Democrats - one is not more democratic than than other(obviously some will disagree but that is that nature of politics). While I'm no big supporter of Bush I also disagree with a lot of the liberal bias that you find on the Blogs, including this one.

I think Russia has the chance to do the right thing by pulling back out of Georgia and negotiating instead of using guns to settle the argument. I hope they take this approach but many of us are skeptical, even though they signed the agreement. Right or worng there is a lot of mistrust of people like Putin with his KGB backgroud. Events like this cetainly make some of it seem justified.

It would seem to me that Russia's best approach would be to try to negotiate a plan under which the people of the two break-away regions were allowed to vote on their future with international monitoring of the elections. Understandably Georgia would probably not agree to this because the outcome would probably not be favorable to them, but at least this approach would begin to provide some "high ground" for Russia to stand on with much of the rest of the world.


#309 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 08:26 AM:

Maria,
You have made a lot of good points.
Georgia certainly played a major role in starting this conflict. The concern that a lot of people in the US and Europe have, I believe, is that Russia's reaction went too far when they pushed beyond the disputed territories into Georgia. Some reponse was to be expected but they went too far.

I don't understand your point on Bush not being from a democratic pary. The US is a demoncracy and has two main political parties - Republicans which Bush is a member of and Democrats - one is not more democratic than than other(obviously some will disagree but that is that nature of politics). While I'm no big supporter of Bush I also disagree with a lot of the liberal bias that you find on the Blogs, including this one.

I think Russia has the chance to do the right thing by pulling back out of Georgia and negotiating instead of using guns to settle the argument. I hope they take this approach but many of us are skeptical, even though they signed the agreement. Right or worng there is a lot of mistrust of people like Putin with his KGB backgroud. Events like this cetainly make some of it seem justified.

It would seem to me that Russia's best approach would be to try to negotiate a plan under which the people of the two break-away regions were allowed to vote on their future with international monitoring of the elections. Understandably Georgia would probably not agree to this because the outcome would probably not be favorable to them, but at least this approach would begin to provide some "high ground" for Russia to stand on with much of the rest of the world.


#310 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 08:29 AM:

All,
Sorry,
First time I posted to this site. It did not appear to be posting - initially got an error message.

#311 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 10:37 AM:

#306 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2008, 08:24 AM:

Keith, thank you for the weight and reasonable answer.

All we have to do about this conflict, is to wate and be wise enough.


About Putins KGB background.

You're a kind of a patriot of your country, and even, if you are not agree with all the aspects of your government its very good of you to understand that democracy is unavoidable.

And the Russians understand this, too.

The only thing that is disputable, is that Putin behave himself like a KGB monster, trying to pull the things back to the state of 1980-s.
The style of our government is already becoming more democratic, we have different parties. All people and journalist have the fredom of speach. One of th reasons, why Putin was elected not once- is the conomic stability and this freedom, that people received.

Some may say that Eltsin was a good point for democravy. But real facts says, that even democratic leader may lead its country to starving and economic defolt, if he is a poor and inadequate leader.

I want all people know (I have written about this before) that I lived during eltsin was ruling, this was the real "genocid", all in all, russian women didn't give born to children, because they were afraid, they won't be able to raise them.

Apparently, my father was a democrat (not communist nor socialist), he is a doctor of sience. Their electronical institute didn't work, he had to go to plant to earn money.

He tried to elect anybody else, than Eltsin, but
he can do nothing of this monster to come back again.

I do not deny, that some of Eltsins actions were good- just give freedom to former USSR countries at the beginning of his ruling period.


Things are improving this times. And all over Putins hysteria in the western coiuntries are not reasonable. Though not all his steps are appreciated by me and my husband

#312 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 06:47 AM:

Looks like the Russians are playing the same game the US did in Iraq:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/17/georgia.russia.war/index.html

'Russian troops will leave "sooner or later," Kosachev said, saying the timetable depends "definitely on how Georgians will continue to behave."

"If I would ask you in response to the same question how fast the American forces can leave Iraq, for example, the answer would be as soon as we have guarantees for peace and security there," Kosachev said. "The same answer would be toward this situation."

I'd love to see how Bush/Rice respond to that little comment.

#313 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Maria #306:

So Georgia state is much more young than Ossetians.

Are you kidding me? The united Georgian kingdom existed since 1008 AD uninterrupted until 1812 AD when it was incorporated into Russia. Before that, the eastern Georgian kingdom (Kartli-Iberia) existed since around 300 BC. And the western Georgian kingdom (Colchis) existed since the 13th century BC. Kartli-Iberia was one of the first states in the world to convert to Christianity in 327 AD and possibly even in 317 AD.

#314 ::: keego ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 12:30 PM:

yeah we should alie with the russians, there the only threat to the U.S. unless you count iran but what are they going to do, throw there nukes at us ?.. bomb the world

T.O.S.

#315 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Hi, keego.

What does T.O.S. stand for?

#317 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 02:41 PM:

Russia isn't 'the only threat'.
The other major threat uses the English acronym PRC.
Iran doesn't make the top five, IMO.

#318 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Now the Russians are moving short range ballistic missile launchers into S. Ossetia.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/08/18/europe/19georgia.php

Oh yes, they're going to pull out. Sure they are; that's what they said, isn't it?

You don't need SRBM's to keep the peace in an area you claim is being oppressed. You use SRBM's to target big immobile targets like airfields, dams and communication centers.

And to make sure the other side (Georgia) thinks twice the next time they want to ask for NATO inclusion.

#319 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 04:05 PM:

313 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Maria #306:

So Georgia state is much more young than Ossetians.

Are you kidding me? The united Georgian kingdom existed since 1008 AD uninterrupted until 1812 AD when it was incorporated into Russia. Before that, the eastern Georgian kingdom (Kartli-Iberia) existed since around 300 BC. And the western Georgian kingdom (Colchis) existed since the 13th century BC. Kartli-Iberia was one of the first states in the world to convert to Christianity in 327 AD and possibly even in 317 AD.

Well, I possibly said about the final state of this nation as.

Well, since I consulted with Dad (his a doctor of electronic sience, but fonds of history as well- can you imagine in a KGB ruled country were people are barbarians (as from the words of current Georgian leader).

The most aincient states Iberia and Colhida were the most close relatives to Spanish Basks, and tend to move to Caucasus. Thus we have to close nations in the opposite sides of Europe.

Ossetians have yet a veri aincent history, going from Alans.

HA, I know,I've gone too far))

Madyars are from Volga river.

I have just to stop my deeping back in history.

You're right.

Russian is a mix with tatars (damn, they are).


In what you can really help me- is to overcome and say some calming words, about MacKeinfobia. PRO means, may be attacking Moscow. I'm afraid about the lives of my children(( I mean, you have more rational vision and real facts.


#320 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 04:14 PM:

#319:

I'm no fan of McCain, but I don't think he'd be that crazy.

We could really use an invasion of incompetent aliens around now. Or an easily deflected meteor. Something that requires international teamwork.

#321 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Maria #319:

Yes, there are two Iberias, one in Spain, the other in Georgia. Two different things, not to be confused. Some speculate that the Georgian language may have a distant relationship to Basque.

Not that it much matters in the context.

#322 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 04:47 PM:

John L #318: Now the Russians are moving short range ballistic missile launchers into S. Ossetia.

SS-21's in the conquered territories puts all of Georgia and parts of Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan within range of attack.

#323 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Earl @322:

Right; it's not like they had to move SS-21's into S. Ossetia in order to protect the occupied territory; they could reach anywhere they wanted by staying in Russia.

The Russians are there to stay, and probably looking to gobble up (or at the least, intimidate into submission) the rest of Georgia shortly.

#324 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 03:54 PM:

#323 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 05:37 PM:

So many economic and infrastractural problems, even if it is for the oil-pipe))) I suppose the putins government is counting money and can't afford such spending (Russia of cause not so reach as USA today, I should admitt. And now idea of keinsian approach.

Some more threat for USA comes from is government debt to Russia and China)

#321 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Thank you for a valuable information. Do you specialize in history or its just a hobby

#325 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Maria,

It's no secret that Russia has resented the Georgian oil pipelines being outside their control ever since they were proposed. Now that they've demonstrated they can occupy Georgia whenever they want, with little to stop them from anyone else, they can "encourage" Georgia to dance to their tune. That way Russia avoids having to maintain the infrastructure while reaping the benefits of the pipeline.

#326 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:42 PM:

I could be wrong, but I thought there was something in the rules of the Olympic Games saying that there must be peace between the (competing) nations while the Games are in progress. Shouldn't the Russians forfeit all their medals?
And who else?

#327 ::: VMS ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 11:12 PM:

I have been reading some interesting things here but I do think that the main motive for russia is the oil pipeline...What if, the plan is to overthrow the present leader of geogia and get someone inplace who is an ally to Russia not US.. (like how the US ally is no longer in pakistan)

Russia i think is pissed at the fact that the pipeline is bypassing them and Iran, they already have everything in place to get the oil out so why not use them? But as we all know the US is driving the pipeline deal and why is that? even spending a few millions to get it done...not to let it fall into the hands of Iran and russia. I wont dance around the influence of the oil factor in the wars and conflicts around the work. But i could be wrong.

#328 ::: VMS ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 11:16 PM:

Are we now surprise russia wants to bomb poland. LOL.. They have it coming..this is so getting back at them for the occupation of the kremlin

#329 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 11:23 AM:

This time around, though, I doubt the Russians will let Germany have the western half of Poland.

#330 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 09:27 AM:

Well, Russia really does seem to be testing whether the rest of the world is going to let them get away with this and so far Europe's response seems to suggest that they will do almost nothing.

I hope that Russia honors their agreement but the puu-back doesn't appear to be happening.

Really sad if we are heading for another Cold War period.

#331 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 11:01 AM:

No one has explained to me why the Russians think the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict is so very different from the Russia-Chechnya conflict. They probably have some stupid excuse, but of course it really boils down to "we are big, you are small: therefore we can do what we want, and you can't."

I was pretty stunned listening to this Russian frellnik on the radio this morning, asserting that yes, Russia would pull back all its troops to their pre-August 6th positions, but of course that doesn't include the "peacekeepers" (even though they're armed), because they're not "troops," are they?

Reminds me of the good old Soviet statement: "We do have a moratorium on executions, but [person whose name I can't remember] isn't being executed, he is being shot."

And of course it's been several days since Condi Rice said that it's unacceptable in the 21st Century to invade a sovereign country and topple its leadership just because you don't like how they're treating their people.

American exceptionalism vs. Russian exceptionalism. It is to vomit.

#332 ::: VMS ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 08:03 PM:

Hi Keith
could it really be that russia is just flexing their muscles .. seems the real reason is being disguised and it will soon be revealed for all the world to see.

#333 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2008, 01:59 AM:

VMS,
I think the reasons are many but the oil pipeline is certainly one. Also Russia does not want the countries on their borders aligned with NATO and the West. I had hoped that they would join with Europe and the US but it is clear they consider NATO a threat and are almost paranoid about what will happen if they allow countries like Georgia and Poland to begin aligning themselves with NATO and the US.

With the wealth that Russia has gained recently there is also growing nationalism. This combination of events is disturbing. I'm afraid Russia is beginning to feel that it is their interest to exert more influence and control over the countries that share a border with them.

#334 ::: VMS ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 04:17 PM:

with that said keith,how is America any different?
They try to keep watch on everyone and whomever are not allies to them are in fear of being invaded and their government deposed.. they are bullies and i think they are instigators invariably to alot of what is happening around the world but its being disguised because they preach neoliberalism for their own self interest.. Isn't behaviour like that disparaging? take a look at my part of the region and tell me what you think ..U.S ,Bolivia, Venezuela... just after bolivia expelled the U.S. envoy out of bolivia for (as they say) trying to deposed their prime minister, washington ordered the expulsion of the bolivian ambassador out of the U.S. seems fair to you? well Venezuela did the same thing and the U.S. to Venezula.. I think we are in for some serious times ahead. I would love to get your take ..then i'll tell you what i make of it all..

#335 ::: VMS ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 04:17 PM:

with that said keith,how is America any different?
They try to keep watch on everyone and whomever are not allies to them are in fear of being invaded and their government deposed.. they are bullies and i think they are instigators invariably to alot of what is happening around the world but its being disguised because they preach neoliberalism for their own self interest.. Isn't behaviour like that disparaging? take a look at my part of the region and tell me what you think ..U.S ,Bolivia, Venezuela... just after bolivia expelled the U.S. envoy out of bolivia for (as they say) trying to deposed their prime minister, washington ordered the expulsion of the bolivian ambassador out of the U.S. seems fair to you? well Venezuela did the same thing and the U.S. to Venezula.. I think we are in for some serious times ahead. I would love to get your take ..then i'll tell you what i make of it all..

#336 ::: Lila can't read Russian but suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 08:47 AM:

Terry? Anyone?

#337 ::: Terry agrees with Lila about the Spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 10:20 AM:

The comment is almost topical, but the url is spam.

It is, in tone, and tenor, better comment spam than most, but still spam.

#338 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 10:35 AM:

I'm glad Terry can read it. I threw it at Babelfish and got

Question in the theme. Indeed oil they rock straight from under us, it is possible to state. This oil in the essence general, [tk] we all live in the territory RF, simple whom probability this to in other words completely make, but in whom that does not have any. So is it possible to us as first to obtain for this although that? well, price lowered by the gasoline for "[svoikh]" inhabitants RF, and to raise to the export or that the similar. Or [eto] it is correct, that who on these bore holes works that the money and are obtained? I hope my correctly thought it reported.
I guess the meat is rotten and the vodka is watered.

#339 ::: tykewriter thinks it's spam, too ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 11:10 AM:

Ubiquity gives this:
The question in the topic. After all, oil pump straight out from under us, we can say. Oil is in fact common, maybe, we all live in Russia, just someone other words, it is likely to do so, but others do not. So whether we like it for it to get at least something? Well, the price of gasoline reduced to "their" citizens of Russia, and to raise the export or something like that. Or eto true that people in these wells is working and gets the money? I hope I have correctly denounced his idea.
- which seems to be about the same thing.
Still spam, but differently served.

#340 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 11:40 AM:

Google searches yield multiple copies of identical text, on wildly inappropriate threads (the Desperate Housewives forum?), across the 'Net.

#341 ::: The Modesto Kid spots meta-spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 09:34 PM:

...proxy. Proxy proxy proxy.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

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