Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Invading Georgia

I hope not, but it sure looks like here we go again. I'm not sure what was in any of these people's minds, but there are several mistaken assumptions floating around.

Mistaken assumption 1: Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian president, assumed that if he invaded South Ossetia, Russia would not respond in force.

I have to admit, the scale of the Russian response is pretty startling - they seem to be throwing the whole army across that border, and from what I hear on the news, they aren't staying in South Ossetia. They're in Georgian territory, and in force. Are they trying to take Georgia back?? They say not; I'm not sure I believe them. Vladimir Putin would love to be the man who brought Georgia "back into" Russia; and if he succeeds at it, Ukraine is probably next.

Mistaken assumption 2: Russia having responded, Saakashvili assumed that Western countries (maybe NATO, which he's trying to join) will support him in some way.

I don't know why he thinks that. Is "the West" intervening in Darfur? In Tibet? Did it intervene in southern Sudan, during a civil war that ran for (I think) 20 years? Did it intervene in Rwanda, or in Congo? "The West" intervened in the Balkans for exactly one reason: the United States President at that time was Bill Clinton, who was willing to throw U.S. forces into the game, and who had both international cred and the forces to throw in.

The U.S. has just made the usual critical statements about the Georgian situation, but I'm sorry, remonstrances about invading sovereign nations just don't have the force from George W. Bush that they had from Bill Clinton. Not to mention that the U.S. military is tied by the leg in Iraq and Afghanistan, and simply doesn't have the forces to divert; and the entire world, including Russia, knows this.

1 comment:

  1. Following the "collapse" of the Soviet Union, there was a kind of vacuum in world affairs. The 50 year stalemate which had prevailed following Russia's occupation of Eastern Europe at the end of WWII, had suddenly dissolved, and no one was quite sure what the landscape would look like. For a while, it seemed that economic exploitation or cooperation would replace political and military confrontation; and that has occurred to a large degree. But the Republican vision of a world controlled and dominated by a bellicose and self-righteous America unfortunately was realized, under Bush's two nightmare administrations.

    With America's preemptive invasions of Afganistan and Iraq, our "credibility" on the world stage was shattered. We can hardly claim, at this point, any moral authority to dictate to Russia, or China, or anyone else what their "behavior" should be with respect to their contingent interests, however they may define them. Just as America's Iraq adventure was mounted to attain unwholesome and selfish ends, Russia's aims in Georgia are to a great degree indefensible. The Russian government's Nazi-like excuses ("this aggression will not go unpunished!") has an all-too familiar ring. They'd been planning it for months, and orchestrated the whole thing. Doubtless they're doing high-fives in Moscow now.

    During the 1950's, when Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to quell a fledgling revolution, American liberals scolded America for not defending a democratic movement.

    This is what happens when you fight wars for the wrong reasons. While you're chasing one of your children around the house, the other one is setting the barn on fire. Russia has been looking for an excuse to re-take its "buffer" colonies for years--and now it's begun.

    Thanks to Cheney and the Wolf, millions of people will now come back, again, under repressive domination, their dreams dashed. Thanks Bush. Job well done.