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Monday, August 11, 2008

Bugger.

Assuming you haven't been in a dark hole somewhere you've most likely heard about the current war between Russia and Georgia. Sadly I do not mean the state of Georgia, which would be the most awesome war in history. What could be better than aging Russian steel versus a bunch of absurdly well-armed good 'ol boys? Granted, Georgia has serious issues with their recruitment standards, but I think they'd probably make a good showing.

No, kidding aside, I actually mean Georgia, a small country on the Black Sea that is presently getting its ass kicked by overwhelming Russian firepower. The reason, near as I can figure out, is that Russia is tired of Georgia suppressing pro-Russia separatists within Georgia. So, basically, Russia is pissed that Georgia is doing in Ossetia what Russia has been doing in Chechnya. Only, as far as I know, Georgia hasn't started using chemical weapons or napalm. Speaking generally, I am unhappy about this war. Russia under Putin is drifting ever more deeply into nationalistic solipsism and reminds me of nothing so much as interwar Germany under Hitler. Moreover, this focus on enemies outside the state as a way of shoring up power can only work so long as there are enemies outside the state. And, let's face it, unlike Nazi Germany, Russia has access to thermonuclear weaponry. So intervening is going to be one hell of a lot more difficult.

Do we need to intervene? Well, Russia says no- they claim they're embarked upon a peacekeeping mission. At the same time, my wife has family in Europe who, in turn, have colleagues in Georgia. They recently sent this:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Probably you are aware of catastrophic situation developing in Georgia during the pats days.

After the heavy fights with Russian Army (provoked by Osetian separatists) trying to stop their invasion, Georgian troops have pooled back.

The tens of thousands of refugees have left there houses in Georgian villages and in town Gori.

Gori which is 30 km away of conflict zone is now attacked by Russian Army.

Russian air strikes do not stop all over the Georgia. Last night Tbilisi suburbs were bombed and we all have felt horror of these attacks.

Georgian sky is absolutely exposed to Russian attacks. Without International valid support, we are left alone against Russian jets with useless rifles in our hands.

President of Russia (Putin not Medvedev) has officially declared that his aim in nor the 'South Osetia' not the 'Abkhazia' but occupation of Georgia and displacement of our President.


We sincerely thank those of you who have contacted us during the past days, those of you who have felt concern .

Good save Georgia !


Staff of Seismic Monitoring Centre: Tea, Zura, Misha and many others..

Russian Bombing of Tbilisi suburbs during the past night recorded by our seismic stations.


The recording was sent along as well:



Doubtless it would have more of an impact on me if I had the first damned clue how to read a seismograph.

Regardless of who is in the right here, regardless of what should be done, it is unfortunately the case that the U.S. will probably do nothing of substance whatsoever. Leaving aside the fact that a confrontation with Russia has the potential to be very, very dangerous to the world, our military resources are stretched pretty thin right now. This just isn't a good time to go fight the Russians. I expect we will whine a bit, but do nothing.

And what really bothers me about that is that Georgia was trying to approach the west, to join NATO, and has been a good ally. They are presently pulling back the troops they had in Iraq where they were the third largest coalition member after the U.S. and the U.K. During the last election Bush admonished us to not forget Poland. Fine. Great. But here's the thing: when the chips are down, are we going to forget Georgia?

Yep. I think that's exactly what Bush, Cheney, and the rest are going to do. And Georgia? For what it is worth, I am goddamn sorry.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Another Sociologist said...

At this point, I think we can fairly apportion blame to both sides in this conflict. Georgia, for its part, knew that Russia would push back when they moved into Osettia. It's just that the response has been larger than they expected. And help from the US has been less forthcoming than they might have expected. As I heard one commenter argue this morning, trying to retake Osettia was "not a particularly good decision."

As to action: we're in complete agreement, I don't think the United States will act--no terrorists hiding in that Georgia. But, if Russia keeps pushing their lines forward I think someone else will take the lead. Letting Russia reclaim old territory would seem to set a very bad precedent.

As it stands now, though, it doesn't look like that's going to be necessary. The Russians, for their part, are saying that they're going to overrun the staging areas for the conflict, and then stop. A bit more than a slap on the wrist for the Georgians, but not the complete takeover that might occur. Certainly not good, but better than starting a bigger regional war.

Monday, August 11, 2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger ZRVPVO said...

'unfortunately the case that the U.S. will probably do nothing of substance whatsoever'

It would be fair to say then: 'unfortunately the case of Iraq - Russia will probably do nothing of substance whatsoever'

I love when Americans judge world with their primitive views. Pathetic!

Friday, December 25, 2009 12:07:00 PM  

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