Russia Invades Georgia

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 3 months ago

Ralph Peters has the best analysis of the situation I can find.  All of Ralph’s commentary is worth studying, but the summary is that Russia planned this in advance.  They cannot move that much armor without pre-deploying the right equipment and troops.  The military materiel is too dilapidated.

Vladimir Putin is a criminal and thug, and also has a heavy hand in the parent company of Airbus, erstwhile winner of the tanker contract (which is reason enough to reject out-of-hand any proposal made by this company).  But leave it to some shallow thinkers to romanticize the issue.  Courtesy of the Small Wars Journal Blog, Gordon Chang has a short piece in Commentary Magazine, and following the comments leads to this jaw-dropping statement:

I’m a great admirer of the Georgians, their music and their traditions. They poked a stick in the bear’s eye. It’s not up to us to tell the bear what to do right outside his lair.

That way, madness lies. Thank God we never admitted Georgia into NATO. This crisis would prove that obsolete entity a toothless cat, indeed.

Good grief.  Say what you will about American self-protection by imperial presence across the globe, but she has never forced anything upon a population except its own will.  Russia is still communist, and communism imposes the will of the government regardless of the will of the people.  It’s evil to the core, lest we forget the lessons taught to us by 60+ years of watching Russian brutality, or the lessons taught to us by our great leader Ronald Reagan.

The “bear” is evil, and we should be working towards the diminution of his “lair,” romantic stupidity and inane blog comments notwithstanding.

  • Dawg

    Georgia sent 2000 troops to Iraq to help us out. So, what the hell are WE doing for Georgia? Light criticism and handwringing isn’t isn’t what will get the job done in Georgia. Only one way to stand up to thugs. Apparently America is OK with ceading our Super Power status to russia. Because that is exactly what is happening as we speak. Sad but true. I expected more from President Bush, whom I have supported all along.

    If he could tear himself away from china and get himself to Tbilisi, stand side by side with President Shaakashvili and “lay down the law” (send some Troops and Air Power to Georgia) (the russians won’t dare to attack our Troops) to stalin, I mean putin, then he can redeem himslef and America’s stature as the world’s only Super Power will be intact. Then it will be the russians who are wringing their hands and whining while America takes resolue action, instead of the way it is now. The opposite.

  • Dawg

    Also, interesting how there are no “peace protests”, “anti.war protesters” out on the streets of london and elsewhere in w. europe. But then, I didn’t expect any. Only one, well, two (Israel) coury that receives that “honor”.
    And we all know who that is.

  • Dawg

    Natural gas-rich Turkmenistan is next. Why not? Nobody will do anything about it. Oil-rich Azerbaijan? Kazachstan later on, perhaps? The region and world is now wide open for stalin, I mean putin. No reason not to take the Baltic states. The can evoke paragraph 5 all they want. We’re not coming. And the world now knows that. Unless President Bush acts and acts decisively in the next 48 hrs. or so. If not, there will be a new “world order”.

  • mhchien

    Suggestion to everyone – buy yourself a case of Georgian wine tonight. Try a couple, find your favorite, and keep buying it after the Russian invasion is no longer “hot topic.”

    You’ll be directly supporting a fledgling democracy surrounded by thugs. And please help spread the word!

  • jonesgp1996

    Perhaps the best comment in the Peters article was about how he thought the Chinese would be PO’d at the Russians stealing the thunder from the Olympic opening ceremony. Maybe we’ll gain some traction from that in the Security Council.

    This development should not be entirely unexpected. After years of being run over and manhandled by the West, Russia is finally in an economic and therefore political position to exercise its will. Here’s a little historical context: part of the deal for German reunification (at least as the Russians understood it) was that there would not be any NATO expansion into ex-Warsaw Pact areas. But what did we do? We expanded NATO membership to most of those states and extended our influence to former Soviet republics by way of the Partnership for Peace program. Furthermore, for years we have supported the idea of national self-determination in parts of Europe where it suited our policy but that was counter to Russian policy; I’m specifically referring to Kosovo here. We made a huge strategic error this year by recognizing Kosovo’s independence because it sent the signal that it is okay to undertake violent action to secede from a larger state, wait out the international mediation process (9 years in the Kosovo case), and then declare independence.

    We kicked Russia when it was down in the 1990s. They couldn’t realistically oppose any of our policy aims at the time: Gulf War I, the Bosnian War, NATO expansion, the Kosovo War. They were politically weak and poorly led (Yeltsin). More recently, they even played ball with us in the early period following September 11th by permitting basing in Central Asia to prosecute the GWOT. (One could contend that Russia doesn’t have to approve US/NATO basing in sovereign Central Asian states, but the reality is that those countries remain in Russia’s sphere of influence.) We, however, did not recognize or (more likely) chose to ignore the changing winds: Russia’s new petrodollar-funded affluence also brought increased political influence. One only has to look at Europe’s fragmented response to Russia’s decision to cut off gas supplies during its recent disagreement with Ukraine; it was “every man for himself” as each European state tried to cut separate energy deals with the Russians. So much for the European “Union” – they were all busy trying to save their own skins. Is it any wonder that there isn’t much outrage coming out of Europe about the attack into Georgia? Europe is beholden to Russia for energy and they lack the political will to do anything about the situation.

    So after failing to heed the warning signs (Russia’s opposition to missile defense, its resumption of bomber patrols, and its vociferous opposition to Georgia & Ukraine’s entrance into NATO) and setting a dangerous precedent (recognizing Kosovo’s independence), the US and Europe have created the conditions that have allowed Russia to justify its incursion into Georgia in order to 1) maintain its traditional sphere of influence and 2) protect ethnic Russians who do not want to be part of the country in which they find themselves. Like it or not, we have contributed to Georgia’s current unhappy condition.

    What I would be interested to know (and which I’m sure will come out sometime in the near future) is if the US green-lighted the Georgian adventure into South Ossetia. I have my doubts that this fledgling democracy dependent on US & European support would just up and decide to take action without at least consulting with the people it would expect to save its bacon if things went south.

    I’m not an apologist for the Russians by any means, and I think the situation is deplorable. I am merely seeking to explain what happens when high-minded idealism crashes into brutal realpolitik.


You are currently reading "Russia Invades Georgia", entry #1233 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Russia and was published August 9th, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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