Never Prod A Sleeping Bear

Submitted by Yardbroom

TimesOnline

Russian troops in South Ossetia - there are fears that the fighting could move further into Georgia/Source:Times Online

Georgia made a mistake, some might say encouraged by the West to prod a sleeping giant…Russia. Sweet words and the prospect of joining NATO encouraged President Mikheil Saakashvili to invade South Ossetia. If he felt that NATO would come to his aid when Russia engaged them with maximum force, he was sadly mistaken. There is a world of difference between giving tactit support in an internal dispute over territory, and committing troops in combat against Russia.

In the recent past Russia has had its problems, but buoyed up with its gas and oil reserves, particularly with the West’s thirst for them. Russia is again a force to be reckoned with. Georgia gave Russia the opportunity to demonstrate its power…and demonstrate it they did. From a position of having a toehold in South Ossetti, even if the majority Russian population were in defiance. Georgia after a misguided attempt to stamp their authority on South Ossettia have nothing. They have been forced out and humiliated, it does not matter what kind of spin is put on their retreat to Tbilisi, it was a rout.

Of course French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his delegation will come up with a form of words, but make no mistake the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has dictated terms…with Putin in the background.

As Saakashvili hunkers down in Tbilisi he has time to contemplate on what he has lost, the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, not to mention his chances of Georgia becoming a member of NATO. Did he really believe that NATO would confront Russia in its own back yard? If he did, he was sadly mistaken.

There is a crisis afoot in the Caucasus, the peace will not bring peace.

36 comments

  • A big concern for the BU household is the kind of role Russia intends to place in the region and by extension world politics. The last time Russia played a significant role in world politics was when a part of the Soviet Union. The world has changed a lot since cold war politics. The next few days may tell the tale.

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/9505

    Like

  • I support Russia on this one. I believe privately Bush and the Europeans see the Georgia president as an overbearing deluded jackass. There is no way he should be invading the territory where the people for a long time say they are not Georgians. The Americans blew Belgrade to bits because Mislovic did same thing in Kosovo. The Georgia president was taught a deserved lesson. If he is not kicked out of office after this humiliation he will at least keep his fake American accent and pie in the sky dreams of beating Russia to himself.

    Like

  • Russia is right on this one. You are going to get a lot of lip service from the West and that will be all. Condeleesa Rice has gone to Georgia but just for photo ops. She is basically helpless.

    Like

  • The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power
    August 12, 2008 | 1508 GMT

    By George Friedman
    Related Special Topic Pages
    • Crisis in South Ossetia
    • U.S. Weakness and Russia’s Window of Opportunity
    • The Russian Resurgence
    • Kosovo, Russia and the West
    The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery. This, as we have argued, has opened a window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power. The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public. They did that Aug. 8.
    Let’s begin simply by reviewing the last few days.
    On the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, forces of the Republic of Georgia drove across the border of South Ossetia, a secessionist region of Georgia that has functioned as an independent entity since the fall of the Soviet Union. The forces drove on to the capital, Tskhinvali, which is close to the border. Georgian forces got bogged down while trying to take the city. In spite of heavy fighting, they never fully secured the city, nor the rest of South Ossetia.
    On the morning of Aug. 8, Russian forces entered South Ossetia, using armored and motorized infantry forces along with air power. South Ossetia was informally aligned with Russia, and Russia acted to prevent the region’s absorption by Georgia. Given the speed with which the Russians responded — within hours of the Georgian attack — the Russians were expecting the Georgian attack and were themselves at their jumping-off points. The counterattack was carefully planned and competently executed, and over the next 48 hours, the Russians succeeded in defeating the main Georgian force and forcing a retreat. By Sunday, Aug. 10, the Russians had consolidated their position in South Ossetia.

    (click image to enlarge)

    On Monday, the Russians extended their offensive into Georgia proper, attacking on two axes. One was south from South Ossetia to the Georgian city of Gori. The other drive was from Abkhazia, another secessionist region of Georgia aligned with the Russians. This drive was designed to cut the road between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and its ports. By this point, the Russians had bombed the military airfields at Marneuli and Vaziani and appeared to have disabled radars at the international airport in Tbilisi. These moves brought Russian forces to within 40 miles of the Georgian capital, while making outside reinforcement and resupply of Georgian forces extremely difficult should anyone wish to undertake it.
    The Mystery Behind the Georgian Invasion
    In this simple chronicle, there is something quite mysterious: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? There had been a great deal of shelling by the South Ossetians of Georgian villages for the previous three nights, but while possibly more intense than usual, artillery exchanges were routine. The Georgians might not have fought well, but they committed fairly substantial forces that must have taken at the very least several days to deploy and supply. Georgia’s move was deliberate.
    The United States is Georgia’s closest ally. It maintained about 130 military advisers in Georgia, along with civilian advisers, contractors involved in all aspects of the Georgian government and people doing business in Georgia. It is inconceivable that the Americans were unaware of Georgia’s mobilization and intentions. It is also inconceivable that the Americans were unaware that the Russians had deployed substantial forces on the South Ossetian frontier. U.S. technical intelligence, from satellite imagery and signals intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, could not miss the fact that thousands of Russian troops were moving to forward positions. The Russians clearly knew the Georgians were ready to move. How could the United States not be aware of the Russians? Indeed, given the posture of Russian troops, how could intelligence analysts have missed the possibility that the Russians had laid a trap, hoping for a Georgian invasion to justify its own counterattack?
    It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes. The Georgians rely on the United States, and they were in no position to defy it. This leaves two possibilities. The first is a massive breakdown in intelligence, in which the United States either was unaware of the existence of Russian forces, or knew of the Russian forces but — along with the Georgians — miscalculated Russia’s intentions. The second is that the United States, along with other countries, has viewed Russia through the prism of the 1990s, when the Russian military was in shambles and the Russian government was paralyzed. The United States has not seen Russia make a decisive military move beyond its borders since the Afghan war of the 1970s-1980s. The Russians had systematically avoided such moves for years. The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.
    If this was the case, then it points to the central reality of this situation: The Russians had changed dramatically, along with the balance of power in the region. They welcomed the opportunity to drive home the new reality, which was that they could invade Georgia and the United States and Europe could not respond. As for risk, they did not view the invasion as risky. Militarily, there was no counter. Economically, Russia is an energy exporter doing quite well — indeed, the Europeans need Russian energy even more than the Russians need to sell it to them. Politically, as we shall see, the Americans needed the Russians more than the Russians needed the Americans. Moscow’s calculus was that this was the moment to strike. The Russians had been building up to it for months, as we have discussed, and they struck.
    The Western Encirclement of Russia
    To understand Russian thinking, we need to look at two events. The first is the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. From the U.S. and European point of view, the Orange Revolution represented a triumph of democracy and Western influence. From the Russian point of view, as Moscow made clear, the Orange Revolution was a CIA-funded intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, designed to draw Ukraine into NATO and add to the encirclement of Russia. U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire.
    That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO’s expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union.

    The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia’s national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion — publicly stated — was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia.
    The second and lesser event was the decision by Europe and the United States to back Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. The Russians were friendly with Serbia, but the deeper issue for Russia was this: The principle of Europe since World War II was that, to prevent conflict, national borders would not be changed. If that principle were violated in Kosovo, other border shifts — including demands by various regions for independence from Russia — might follow. The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia’s requests were ignored.
    From the Ukrainian experience, the Russians became convinced that the United States was engaged in a plan of strategic encirclement and strangulation of Russia. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia.
    Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo. If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship. Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy. This was important for internal Russian political reasons, but the second motive was far more important.
    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster. This didn’t mean that he wanted to retain the Soviet state; rather, it meant that the disintegration of the Soviet Union had created a situation in which Russian national security was threatened by Western interests. As an example, consider that during the Cold War, St. Petersburg was about 1,200 miles away from a NATO country. Today it is about 60 miles away from Estonia, a NATO member. The disintegration of the Soviet Union had left Russia surrounded by a group of countries hostile to Russian interests in various degrees and heavily influenced by the United States, Europe and, in some cases, China.
    Resurrecting the Russian Sphere
    Putin did not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do two things. First, he had to re-establish the credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in the context of its region. Second, he had to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meant nothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confront and defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S. support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under American protection. Georgia was the perfect choice.
    By invading Georgia as Russia did (competently if not brilliantly), Putin re-established the credibility of the Russian army. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value. This lesson is not for American consumption. It is something that, from the Russian point of view, the Ukrainians, the Balts and the Central Asians need to digest. Indeed, it is a lesson Putin wants to transmit to Poland and the Czech Republic as well. The United States wants to place ballistic missile defense installations in those countries, and the Russians want them to understand that allowing this to happen increases their risk, not their security.
    The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack. This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk.
    The Russians also know something else that is of vital importance: For the United States, the Middle East is far more important than the Caucasus, and Iran is particularly important. The United States wants the Russians to participate in sanctions against Iran. Even more importantly, they do not want the Russians to sell weapons to Iran, particularly the highly effective S-300 air defense system. Georgia is a marginal issue to the United States; Iran is a central issue. The Russians are in a position to pose serious problems for the United States not only in Iran, but also with weapons sales to other countries, like Syria.
    Therefore, the United States has a problem — it either must reorient its strategy away from the Middle East and toward the Caucasus, or it has to seriously limit its response to Georgia to avoid a Russian counter in Iran. Even if the United States had an appetite for another war in Georgia at this time, it would have to calculate the Russian response in Iran — and possibly in Afghanistan (even though Moscow’s interests there are currently aligned with those of Washington).
    In other words, the Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn’t all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow. As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it.
    The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened — it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.
    Tell Stratfor What You Think
    This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to http://www.stratfor.com

    Like

  • Please remember what’s left of Russia is still a bully..

    Like

  • It really makes for great comedy that the USA is reprimanding Russia for taking military action against Georgia, the same USA that thumbed its nose at the world in its eagerness to invade Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein. Do Bush and Rice think that onlookers, far less the Russians are taking them seriously? The hypocrisy is tangible and poignant.

    Putin’s response as I suspect it will be should be to totally ignore the USA’s protestations or better yet, tell it to kiss its asshole, located without doubt in Crawford, Texas.

    Consider also the irony that the buoyancy of the Russian economy derives substantially from the surge in oil revenues resulting from Bush’s attack on Iraq. Serves them right.

    Now, stretched thin militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and already rattling sabres at Iran, The US finds itself in a state of total frustration and embarasment that it can only brandish a limp dick (Cheney) and stale rice at Russia.

    Like

  • The bear prodded by the US dupe, Saakashvili, was far from sleeping.

    Sat comfortably at his breakfast table, being vaguely annoyed by a persistent bee hovering around his honeypot.

    Biding his time, and waiting for the right opportunity, the over confident bee came a little too close, and the giant paw slammed down and squashed the pest.

    The humiliation suffered by a weakened Russian Federation over the forced annexation of Kosovo, expunged by one masterful chess move.

    The Georgians, reneging on a treaty signed only a week previously, attacked South Ossetia and its Russian peacekeeping contingent, killing thousands of civilians and peacekeepers.

    Their hare-brained scheme, played right into the hands of a newly confident Russia.

    Giving them the moral, legal and ethnic authority to alter the Caucasian map once again.

    The impotence of the EU and US was highlighted, and the future of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and probably the Crimea with the Malorussian half of Ukraine looks Russian.

    More important to us is the stranglehold Russia is developing on the Caspian oil supply.

    Western Europe is already dependent on Russia for its Natural Gas, which makes this de facto control of the Azerbaijan- Tiblisi-Turkey pipelines strategically significant in these ever developing resource based power-plays.

    Like

  • Good points made by all. It always amazes the BU household how Barbadians anchored to the little dot try to keep a grasp on world affairs. The US is currently impotent in foreign affairs as far credibility gors and the confidence which a Russia seems to have assumed in recent times must give concern to the US foreign policy makers in that part of the world.

    Like

  • David // August 14, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Good points made by all. It always amazes the BU household how Barbadians anchored to the little dot try to keep a grasp on world affairs. The US is currently impotent in foreign affairs as far credibility gors and the confidence which a Russia seems to have assumed in recent times must give concern to the US foreign policy makers in that part of the world.
    =================================
    The US is not impotent. This current whitehouse has overplayed it’s hand on Georgia. Georgia should never have been seen or given the impression that it is a close ally of the US. In spite of the oil pipeline that goes through Georgia, there is no US vital interest there, which i should remind all is the birth place of Josef Stalin, who was born in the city of Gori. Russia had no choice than reassert it self on it’s border. The US would not have allowed a similar situation so close to it’s own border. Think of the Cuban missile crisis. The whitehouse needs Russia more than it needs the Georgia, and Russia absolutely needs the US. This is a failure of US and European policy and so it should be.

    Like

  • But id depends on how we define impotent Adrian. Do you think an economy on the throes of a recession, military resources depleted caused by Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran lurking. We also have to add that the will of the American people maybe broken at the moment as far as entering another war is concerned. Americans are a little tired of seeing body bags. Now if Russia, Iran and others were to collaborate …

    Like

  • Adrian and Straight Talk,
    Could not have been said any better. Excellent analysis!!!!!

    Like

  • David,

    Both Russia and China have defence agreements with Iran.

    The operation in Georgia may be seen as a shot across the bows of the US, but it may not deter the Israeli resolve to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    We live in interesting times.

    Like

  • David // August 14, 2008 at 7:14 am

    But id depends on how we define impotent Adrian. Do you think an economy on the throes of a recession, military resources depleted caused by Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran lurking. We also have to add that the will of the American people maybe broken at the moment as far as entering another war is concerned. Americans are a little tired of seeing body bags. Now if Russia, Iran and others were to collaborate …
    =================================
    The US domestic economy has little to do with this country’s military machine, and where it does, war has proven to be the best turn around approach to a depress civilian economy. Also added to this mix is the understanding of how money is created,…it is called debt. No one will say no to US government credit purchase.

    …..Inspite of what you may hear in the liberal media, conscription to the US military is up, and there is no depletion of military hardware and equipment of the magnitude that would cause the US to rethink an operation that it may otherwise deem as vital. In fact new hardware born out of the Iraq conflict is in theater with more useful technology in testing. War between two nuclear powers will always be a near miss or in the case of India and Pakistan constitute agreements of engagements that abusolute exclude nuclear attacks on each other. Nuclear armament has always been about deterrent, amongst current players. Body bags from Iraq are overplayed in our bias media and do not match anything near what this country have endured in past conflicts. Not glorifying death and war, but who else and where else did a military force subdue a country of 29 million at the cost of 5,000 of it’s members dead? Care to compare it to lets say vietnam?

    ….The US government got this wrong, and it may still encourage Russia to see things it’s way. Geopolitical events are never what they seem.

    Like

  • Putin’s Censored Press Conference:

    The transcript you weren’t supposed to see

    By Mike Whitney

    06/10/07 “ICH” — – On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an hour and a half-long press conference which was attended by many members of the world media. The contents of that meeting—in which Putin answered all questions concerning nuclear proliferation, human rights, Kosovo, democracy and the present confrontation with the United States over missile defense in Europe—have been completely censored by the press. Apart from one brief excerpt which appeared in a Washington Post editorial, (and which was used to criticize Putin) the press conference has been scrubbed from the public record. It never happened. (Read the entire press conference archived here : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17855.htm )

    Putin’s performance was a tour de force. He fielded all of the questions however misleading or insulting. He was candid and statesmanlike and demonstrated a good understanding of all the main issues.

    The meeting gave Putin a chance to give his side of the story in the growing debate over missile defense in Eastern Europe. He offered a brief account of the deteriorating state of US-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War, and particularly from 9-11 to present. Since September 11, the Bush administration has carried out an aggressive strategy to surround Russia with military bases, install missiles on its borders, topple allied regimes in Central Asia, and incite political upheaval in Moscow through US-backed “pro-democracy” groups. These openly hostile actions have convinced many Russian hard-liners that the administration is going forward with the neocon plan for “regime change” in Moscow and fragmentation of the Russian Federation. Putin’s testimony suggests that the hardliners are probably right.

    The Bush administration’s belligerent foreign policy has backed the Kremlin into a corner and forced Putin to take retaliatory measures. He has no other choice.

    If we want to understand why relations between Russia are quickly reaching the boiling-point; we only need to review the main developments since the end of the Cold War. Political analyst Pat Buchanan gives a good rundown of these in his article “Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”

    Buchanan says:

    “Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia’s front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin.

    Second, America backed a pipeline to deliver Caspian Sea oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, to bypass Russia.

    Third, though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.

    Fourth, though Bush sold missile defense as directed at rogue states like North Korea, we now learn we are going to put anti-missile systems into Eastern Europe. And against whom are they directed?

    Fifth, through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations, and “human rights” institutes such as Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA director James Woolsey, we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia herself.

    U.S.-backed revolutions have succeeded in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia, but failed in Belarus. Moscow has now legislated restrictions on the foreign agencies that it sees, not without justification, as subversive of pro-Moscow regimes.

    Sixth, America conducted 78 days of bombing of Serbia for the crime of fighting to hold on to her rebellious province, Kosovo, and for refusing to grant NATO marching rights through her territory to take over that province. Mother Russia has always had a maternal interest in the Orthodox states of the Balkans.

    These are Putin’s grievances. Does he not have a small point?”

    Continued here:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17856.htm

    Like

  • From Strafor.com

    Georgia and the U.S. Tripwire
    Stratfor Today » August 13, 2008 | 1729 GMT

    In an Aug. 13 address to his country, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said “Georgian ports and airports will be brought under control by American troops to carry out humanitarian and other missions to protect our people.” His speech was made shortly after U.S. President George W. Bush announced a brief sketch of a U.S. humanitarian assistance plan.

    Yes, U.S. forces are certainly coming as part of a humanitarian effort, and they will likely assert de facto control over a few critical transport nodes to facilitate and secure the aid program. But it is far from clear that the “control” that Saakashvili is hoping for will materialize.

    In essence, Georgia has lost its war with Russia — badly — and now is hoping that someone will intervene on its behalf. From Saakashvili’s point of view, the best thing that could happen would be for the United States to massively deploy combat units to his country and perhaps start shooting Russians. Ergo, it is in his interest to make it seem that the Americans are in control of as much of the country as possible.

    In the best case scenario for him, this would give the Russians pause at the presence of American troops that could serve as a tripwire for a larger deployment. If push came to shove, the Americans would be likely to shoot back — and reinforce themselves — if the Russians engaged them.

    Ironically, talk of cease-fire aside, Tbilisi has every interest in this war getting hotter.

    For its part, the U.S. defense establishment would rather not get involved in a shooting war with the Russians in Moscow’s backyard. Minutes after Saakahsvili’s speech, the Pentagon released a statement noting “We are not looking to, nor do we need to, take control of any air or sea ports to conduct this mission

    http://www.stratfor.com

    Like

  • THE GEOPOLITICAL DANCE CONTINUES.
    =================================
    Geopolitical Diary: From Tbilisi to Tehran, History Resumes
    August 14, 2008 | 0204 GMT
    For the past few days, history was being made in Georgia. Now it is about politics. History was made as the Russians engaged in their first significant conflict outside their borders since the end of the Cold War. Now we are down to the politics of implementing the reality the Russians have created. It is clear now that neither Europe nor the United States is prepared to challenge that reality. South Ossetia and Abkhazia will remain independent and under Russian control. The Georgians will be left with the task of accommodating themselves to two political realities. The first is that the Russians remain a powerful presence. The second is that they can expect no meaningful help from the outside. Georgian politicians are hurling defiance now, and demonstrations supporting the government are filled with passion. Passion comes and goes. Georgia’s new reality will remain for a long time.

    In many ways, this episode is over. The question now is what comes next. What is next is what was last: Iran. A little more than a week ago, a deadline set by the United States for an answer from Iran on freezing its uranium enrichment passed without a clear answer from Iran. The next step, according to the United States, is asking the U.N. Security Council to impose new sanctions on Iran. For that to happen, the Russians must not veto. Just as important, they must be prepared to participate in those sanctions. And even more important, the Russians must not, from the U.S. point of view, provide Tehran with new weapons — particularly air-defense systems more sophisticated than the Russians have provided to any Middle Eastern country. Such systems would, contrary to rumor, pose a challenge to U.S. air power should the United States wish to launch an air campaign in Iran, and would erode the value of the threat of those airstrikes as a negotiating tool.

    There are other issues. The United States relied on Russia to provide support during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The Northern Alliance, the Russian-supported coalition on which the United States based its invasion, has evolved. But Russian influence there is not insignificant. The United States does not need a hostile power undermining relations inside of Afghanistan or making it difficult for the United States to maintain its bases in Central Asia in some of the countries of the former Soviet Union.

    The Russians could not completely undermine U.S. policy in the region, but they could make it substantially more difficult. And the last thing the United States needs is any more difficulty in the region as it deals with Iran, a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and a potential crisis in Pakistan. At this historic moment, the United States needs the Russians much more than the Russians need the United States — a point that the Russians were undoubtedly aware of at the beginning of this adventure.

    The United States has adopted a careful line, from the president on down, on Georgia. The rhetoric has been tough, but threats and actions nonexistent. Apart from promising humanitarian aid delivered by the U.S. military, the United States has not suggested any countermeasures. The reason the Americans are not being tougher is that they need the Russians in whatever scenario they plan to pursue on Iran and the rest of the region. Therefore, the Americans are content to let the politics unfold without challenging the historic event. They were happy to see French President Nicolas Sarkozy negotiate the political resolution. They did not want to take the tough meeting Sarkozy had with Russian leaders.

    The Americans want to put this behind them as quickly as possible so they can get on with Iran. They cannot afford to alienate the Russians. So this will pass into history. But while the next act is Iran, the one after that is Ukraine, the Baltics and the rest of the former Soviet Union. The Ukrainians are setting new rules on Russian flights over their country. But they know, as does the rest of the region, that so long as the United States is focused on the Middle East, they are on their own, save for rhetoric. The window of opportunity that we have spoken of so many times remains open. Russia has tested it and it likes what it sees. We will now see whether Russia intends to continue its historic lesson — and whether it intends to deliver one to the Americans in Iran.

    http://www.stratfor.com

    Like

  • Saakashvili is trying to make it appear that the US is giving Georgia military support and has interpreted the aid operation as a decision by the US to defend its ports and airports. An administration official hurriedly issued a statement: “We won’t be protecting the airport or seaport, but we’ll certainly protect our assets if we need to.”

    Although talking tough, Bush is making it clear that he has no intention of engaging the Russians militarily.

    Medvedev told the US administration that it had to choose whether its relationship with Georgia was more important than that with Russia. Not so surprisingly, Rice said that the US was choosing Georgia.

    Things hotting up… Bush’s farewell gift to incoming president Obama?

    Like

  • Inkwell says:
    Things hotting up… Bush’s farewell gift to incoming president Obama?

    Indeed things hotting up, but not for an incoming President Obama but ensure that a President Obama does not occur. I always knew that foreign policy would have been used in an attempt to defeat Obama (Hillary still making waves) I honestly thought it would have been Iraq or a played up terrorist threat, and may yet be.

    ==============================

    Green Monkey: you beat me to it.

    Pat Buchanan is my go to person along with Stratfor for understanding current Geopolitics and the history behind it.

    Like

  • WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME IN BARBADOS

    Like

  • The Real News Network ( http://TheRealNews.com ) reports on the geopolitics of Geogia

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Like

  • Anonymous // August 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME IN BARBADOS
    =================================
    I will assume by your use of Cap letters that you are intending on shouting your annoyance at this discussion, and thinks your position is sound.

    I will treat to you as the intelligent person that you are and ask you if you can pick anything from the following YouTube video, if not i will come back with a current situation and it’s history to hopefully convey our interconnectedness, thereby demonstrating that it has everything to do with Barbados.

    Like

  • Anonymous // August 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME IN BARBADOS

    Wait until a nuclear war breaks out between Russia and the US, and you will find out pretty quick.

    Like

  • Geopolitics is a method for analysing International relations. Dr.George Friedman
    =================================
    Iran: Tehran’s View of the Crisis in the Caucasus
    Stratfor Today » August 11, 2008 | 1859 GMT

    With its ongoing military action in Georgia, Russia is sending a loud message to the West that it is back and capable of acting effectively in its periphery. That message is also being heard in Iran. Russia’s show of strength is making Tehran weigh its options — both in how it deals with the United States in talks over Iraq and how it handles its relationship with Russia.

    Analysis
    Through its ongoing military offensive against the former Soviet state of Georgia, Russia is sending a strong and deliberate message to the West: Russia is back, and ready to reassert its prowess in Eurasia at the expense of Western interests. That message is being heard loud and clear in Tehran, and has significant implications for U.S.-Iranian negotiations over Iraq.

    Russia’s actions in the Caucasus have exposed the current limits on the U.S. military’s capacity. Aside from U.N. Security Council meetings and public condemnations of Russian aggression, there is little to nothing the United States can do right now to intervene in Georgia. Russia is well aware that the United States has its hands full with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and did not waste the opportunity to pound the Georgians and reassert Russian influence over its periphery without having to worry about Western interference.

    Russia’s actions have set off alarms in Washington. Now more than ever, the United States is feeling an overwhelming urgency to seal up the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so it can focus on issues more vital to U.S. national security in Eurasia. Afghanistan carries its fair share of complications, but any resolution to Iraq has to come through negotiations with Iran, and for this reason, Washington has every reason to furiously push these negotiations toward some sort of final accommodation. The hardest part of these negotiations is already done; the level of violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq over the past year thanks to a U.S. military surge, political negotiations with Iraq’s Sunni faction and an Iranian strategic need to contain Iraq’s Shiite militias. While a number of sticking points remain, the matter of Washington and Iran striking a deal in Iraq is no longer a distant possibility, as long as both sides see the need to move forward on a deal.

    Related Special Topic Page
    Crisis in South Ossetia
    Iran is now considering its options. On the one hand, Iran clearly sees a Russian intent to reassert its prowess in the Caucasus as an affront to the West. The Iranians could use this Russian offensive to try to lure Moscow into selling Tehran key weapons systems (such as the S-300 air defense system) at a time when Russia is bent on showing the West that it is a major force in Eurasia with a far-reaching capability to upset U.S foreign policy.

    But the Iranians have also likely grown weary of the Russians stringing them along in these weapons sales for years. There is no guarantee that Moscow would follow through with any such arms deals, especially as Israeli defense officials have been pumping out a number of statements on restricting sales of military hardware to Georgia over the past several days. In an Aug. 10 Jerusalem Post report, an Israeli defense official even claimed that Israel saw this outbreak of hostilities between Georgia and Russia “several months ago,” and decided to “drastically minimize sales of weapons to Georgia,” leaving open the possibility that Israel had had a conversation with the Russians when making that decision. Through these statements, Israel could be implying that a strategic deal has been struck with the Russians for Moscow to restrict arms sales to Israel’s adversaries in places like Iran and Syria, while Israel in turn cuts back on military assistance to Georgia.

    The Iranians also understand that they do not have a lot of time to deal with the Russians and stall on an agreement with the United States. With the United States facing a wake-up call to get its forces out of the Middle East and back into a position to respond to a growing Russian threat, now is the time for Iran to move forward in its negotiations — when Washington is feeling extremely vulnerable and is on an election timetable. Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani even spoke to this point Aug. 10 when he announced at a seminar for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that the United States is facing a strategic deadline in the region, stressing the critical situation that Washington now finds itself in. It must also be remembered that Iran takes no comfort in a resurgent Russia bearing down on the Caucasus, potentially threatening Iran’s northern frontier. Containing a Russian comeback in the Caucasus is an issue that both Washington and Tehran can agree on.

    The geopolitical logic dictates that both Iran and the United States should now be moving closer and faster to a deal on Iraq. Signs of such progress will be revealed through a seemingly contradictory blend of heavy military posturing and positive movement on issues related to Iraq and the nuclear issue. What remains to be seen is whether the Iranians and the Americans back up this logic with action.

    http://www.stratfor.com

    Like

  • Russia lost 20 million people thanks to an unprovoked invasian from Germany in 1941 and at one time was to all intents and purposes, destroyed.

    Its history is all about invasions going back to France in 1812, Sweden in the 1700’s and again Germany, the Teutonic knights, in the 13th century.

    Each time because of its resources, and weather, it has taken the punch, staggered and then sprung to life and overcome the aggressor.

    The experience and history alone make Russia a country not to be trifled with and one which understandably wants to protect and insulate itself from future aggression.

    It has resources other people have coveted for generations and it knows its property is being coveted.

    Yes, its record with human rights has been bad, and yes it has problems I can’t even begin to understand or articulate but I can understand the very strong self defence mentality, perhaps bordering on paranoia, which I think drives what it does.

    No other country has ever been there and done that more times than Russia where war is concerned.

    Like

  • Same As the Old Boss: Both McCain and Obama’s Advisors Want War in Georgia

    Georgia is located in Eurasia, in what some call the “Eurasian Balkans”, and possesses important resources, including oil pipelines.

    For months previous to the start of hostilities in the Georgia-Russian war, American trainers have been getting the Georgians ready for war.

    As revealed in a July article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “A large contingent of Georgia Army National Guard soldiers flew to the Republic of Georgia on Sunday for joint military exercises at a time when tension is brewing in the region”.

    And you won’t hear it on the tv news, but Georgia started the war.

    It is clear that the U.S. has been behind Georgia’s military adventures.

    McCain

    McCain’s top foreign affairs advisor was until very recently a high-level Georgian lobbyist (and was long after he started advising McCain), a neocon, and a key player in pushing fake intelligence and the Iraq war. He is a hawk who is very good at starting wars.

    Former LA Times’ journalist Robert Scheer thinks the war was started to boost McCain’s election chances.

    Obama
    Obama’s top foreign policy advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote in his book The Grand Chessboard, that the top priority for the U.S. was seizing control of the Eurasian Balkans.

    Here are some sample quotes from the Grand Chessboard:

    * The Eurasian Balkans include nine countries that one way or another fit the foregoing description, with two others as potential candidates. The nine are Kazakstan … Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia … as well as Afghanistan. (p.124)

    * “Moreover, they [the Central Asian Republics] are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.” (p.124)

    * “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power.”- (p. xiii)

    * “It is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” (p. xiv)

    In short, Brzezinski argues that Eurasia is the ultimate prize, and the key to controlling Eurasia is controlling the Eurasian Balkans, of which Georgia is a part.

    It is clear that the US is following Brzezinski’s playbook for the region.

    Indeed, this is exactly what Mikhail Gorbachev was referring to when he wrote:

    “By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its ‘national interest,’ the United States made a serious blunder.”

    And given the above, it is not surprising Brzezinksi is all for U.S. backing of, and direct involvement, in Georgia’s military fight against Russia: Brzezinksi not only supporting the U.S.-Georgia alliance, but comparing Putin to Hitler.

    Bottom line: Both McCain and Obama’s top foreign policy advisors want a war. And, obviously, the other neocons and assorted hawks want one also. Indeed, the U.S. is now sending troops into Georgia under the pretense of giving “humanitarian aid”.

    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2008/08/us-following-brzezinskis-playbook-for.html

    Like

  • Here we go again, which US Presidential candidate benefits most from this war between Georgia and Russia? Which US Presidential candidate benefits when National Security is an issue? Which US candidate stands to benefit when foreign policy is a campaign theme? Given the close ties which has developed between the USA and Georgia, the USA must have known of Georgia’s plans to invade South Ossetia and the USA would have known of the Russian response.

    Straight from the 2004 US election playbook, this is “Wag the Dog” with a difference, encourage your surrogate ( Saakashvili) to start a war, have your candidate (McCain) to mount his bully pulpit and be John Wayne with “Death to Russia “ , “Kick them out of the G8” and other chants to promote his toughness and sell himself as a America’s protector.

    In 2004 National Security was an issue, the terrorists were everywhere, they were in Canada, they were in Mexico, they were under your bed and GW Bush was going to be your protector. GW wore the National Security mantle like Superman wore his cape and the US electorate preferred him over Kerry. Now we know of fake intelligence, fake documents and more recently we have heard of fake letters by order of the White House.

    Someday we may know the story behind this war but by them it will be too late for Obama as McCain will be into his second term.

    Forget the war in Georgia, the real battle is for the White House.

    Like

  • “President Bush, Will You Please Shut Up?”

    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    SNIP

    Certainly Russia now recognizes that the US is determined to exert hegemony over Russia and is Russia’s worst enemy.

    China realizes the US threat to its own energy supply and, thereby, economy.

    Even America’s European allies, chafing under their role of supplying troops for America’s Empire, must now realize that being an American ally is dangerous and has no benefits. If Georgia becomes a NATO member and renews its attack on South Ossetia, it must drag Europe into a war with Russia, a main supplier of energy to Europe.

    Moreover, if Russian troops are sent across European frontiers, there is nothing to stop them.

    What does America offer Europe, aside from the millions of dollars it pays to buy off Europe’s political leaders to insure that they betray their own peoples? Nothing whatsoever.

    The only military threat that Europe faces comes from being dragged into America’s wars for American hegemony.

    The US is financially bankrupt, with budget and trade deficits that exceed the combined deficits of the rest of the world together. The dollar has wilted. The American consumer market is dying from the offshoring of American jobs and, thereby, incomes, and from the wealth effect of the real estate and derivatives collapses. The US has nothing to offer Europe. Indeed, American economic decline is killing European exports by driving up the value of the euro.

    America long ago lost the moral high ground. Hypocrisy has become America’s best known hallmark. Bush, the invader of Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of lies and deception, thunders at Russia for coming to the defense of its peacekeepers and Russian citizens in South Ossetia. Bush who ripped Kosovo out of Serbia’s heart and handed it to the Muslims, has taken an adamant stand against other separatist movements, especially the South Ossetians who wish to be part of the Russian Federation.

    The neoconned Bush Regime is furious that the Russian bear was not intimidated by the US supported aggression of the American puppet state, Georgia. Instead of accepting the act of American hegemony that the neocon script called for, Russia sent the Americanized Georgian army fleeing in fear.

    Having failed with weapons, the Bush Regime now unleashes the rhetoric. The White House is warning Russia that failure to acquiesce to US hegemony could have a “significant, long-term impact on relations between Washington and Moscow.”

    Do the morons who comprise the Bush Regime really not understand that short of a surprise nuclear attack on Russia there is nothing whatsoever the US can do to Moscow?

    The Bush Regime owns no Russian currency that it can dump. The Russians own US dollars.

    The Bush Regime owns no Russian bonds that it can dump. The Russians own US bonds.

    The US can cut Russia off from no energy supplies. Russia can cut America’s European allies off from energy.

    President Reagan negotiated the end of the cold war with Soviet President Gorbachev.,The neoconservatives, whom Reagan fired and drove from his administration, were furious. The neocons had hoped to win the cold war, thereby establishing American hegemony.

    The Republican Establishment reestablished its hegemony under Bush 1st that it had lost to Ronald Reagan. With this feat, intelligence was driven from the Republican Party.

    SNIP

    Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

    http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts08132008.html

    Like

  • An increasingly dangerous and exploitative practice continues to occupy our party’s attention in this fast becoming building busting, land scarce country, i.e, the EXHORBITANTLY HIGH RENTS that many owners of residential, commercial and other buildings have been charging tenants on a monthly or yearly basis in Barbados. Verily, this inhuman and subhuman practice becomes more henious and sickening in esp. the Bridgetown area, more than any where else in the country, given that for many countrymen and women Bridgetown still remains the principal commercial cosmopolitan district in this country.

    Furthermore, while we in PDC have long been made aware – via information/communication from personal and media sources – of the countless instances where owners of residential, commercial and other buildings across the country are greatly assisting in the exploitation and dehumanization of hordes of tenants in Barbados, and in some cases are downright ripping off some tenants, we are nonetheless very disturbed that it is in the full glare of our capital that many of these so-called land lords of commercial buildings spaces have become extremely exploitative, obscene and unconscionable in their business dealings with prospective and actual tenants. In fact, some of them believe that they are the modern day masters and overlords of many “small”, property less, land less business people in this country. For us, in PDC, this situation is all the more grave when some of these so-called modern day masters and overlords can be seen to be rapidly accumulating more and more commercial building spaces NOT ONLY at the expense of many of these said tenants – who are finding it more difficult than previously to themselves own commercial building space in Bridgetown – BUT ALSO off the backs of the masses and middle classes of the country. How outrageous!!

    Moreover, we note, and with great exasperation, that these rabid, greedy exploiters – in exchange for providing measly building spaces for our ever aspiring but struggling counterparts – are extracting from many of them such huge amounts of lucre and obeisance that in truth and in fact it ends up that these small merchants actually become a hybrid class of working/business people in this society – and as such, in the former case – in their working roles, these “small” property less and land less traders are objectively seen as working for the owners of these properties – principally providing them with usurious rent payments which are backed up social and legal sanctions, threats, and manipulations, and in the latter case – in their business roles, our “lesser” monied and fancied investors are in spite of several financial and commercial challenges still prepared to lead the charge against bigger business entities like, Cave Sheperd, Abeds, S Y Adam.

    In such circumstances, what is far more revolting is that fairly recently there has been an ugly sub-trend involving many of these same property owners, esp. on Swan Street and Roebuck Street – and who too were once merchant traders in esp. the wholesale and retail cloth, clothing, haberdashery, shoe and trinket businesses, transforming building spaces into SHOPPING MALLS, with each mall being made up of mainly cubicle like spaces – upstairs or downstairs – and from within which these same small business people are to sell their ware and items to potential and actual customers. So dark and loathsome is this situation that the Daily Nation on the front page of its August 14 th issue and under the caption MALL MOVE provides an insightful ableit superficial story on it!!!

    Moreover, a serious social, race and class analysis ( which the Daily Nation did not provide yesterday ) of the landlord tenant relationships in Bridgetown would reveal that, whereas, the outright minority in these relationships are these exploitative, oppressive landlords and over lords who themselves are Indian and Arab, and belong to the Muslim and Hindu religious cultures, and are of the upper/middle classes, the vast majority in these relationships are those oppressed commercial trader tenants who themselves are African-Barbadian (increasing numbers of African-Guyanese), are of Christian/Westernized cultures, and are of the very suppressed masses/middle classes of people of Barbados. Certainly, these social circumstances do help to explain why there are these usurious high rents charged by these voracious land lords. Also, present economic and financial hardships in the country also help to explain why there are and will be higher and exhorbitant rents being charged by these hardcore believers in economics who will seek to further exploit the hardships of many these souls of the masses and middle classes of this country.

    Finally, by the vast majority of masses and middle classes of people lending their political and other support to us – PDC – at this stage will go so far in making sure that whenever we become at the helm of government in this country that not only will A REGIME OF RENT CONTROL FOR RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL AND OTHER PROPERTIES BE INSTITUTED ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, but also there shall be instituted far-reaching rational measures ( measures to replace Taxation, measures to replace Interest Rates, measures to stop Barbadians and other fully or majority owned Barbadian entities from repaying institutional loans) that will RE-ALTER many fundamental social imbalances in this country!!!

    PDC

    Like

  • PDC, that is just downright rude.

    Like

  • Here’s a source for information and interesting, speculation and thoughts on the scheming and plotting going on in political circles in Washington over the US elections and the twists and turns of US foreign policy re Iran, Russia/Georgia etc.

    Its the online radio show “World Crisis Radio” hosted by Webster Tarpley on the Genesis Communication Network.

    The show airs on Saturdays at 2:00pm – 4:00pm Bajan time (1:00pm central time on their schedule) and you can listen live at this link:

    http://gcnlive.com/Listen_Live.html

    You can use any of the 4 networks listed as all the networks play his show and you just select what speed and media type you would like to use eg. 16k for dialup, or 32k – and click on the appropriate icon for your setup: Real Player, Windows Media Player, Winamp etc. The Windows Media Player option doesn’t work well with Firefox but is ok with IE.

    If you miss the show, they rebroadcast each show on a continuous loop so you can listen at any time during the week at your convenience here: http://gcnlive.com/On_Demand.html

    Just page down to the bottom where “World Crisis Radio” is listed and click the “on demand” button then select stream speed and appropriate media player. The menu on the left also has a link for podcasts.

    Like

  • As some predicted it looks like the Russians are refusing to withdraw from Georgia and there is not one damn thing Bush and the USA can and will do about it. The question looking down the road is what next?

    Like

  • What next, David?

    My guess is that all the “stans” will now be cowed into pumping Western Europe’s oil and gas via Russian pipelines.

    We know from the Ukraine example that if you displease the Russians the tap is turned off until you come to heel.

    The investors in the new pipeline through Georgia must be worried that there will be no oil to pump, and no revenue.

    Smart, but very worrying, action by Putin.

    Like

  • Sweet words and the prospect of joining NATO encouraged President Mikheil Saakashvili to invade South Ossetia.
    —————————-
    Not too sure about this statement. Because South Ossetia is a province in Georgia, I think the word invade is a bit misleading. Can a country really “invade” itself?

    I can’t side with Russia on this one. personally I think the rhetoric coming out of Moscow is very disturbing (especially the threat to bomb poland).

    Like

  • In an earlier post I suggested that the Americans used Georgia as their surrogate to promote the chances of John McCain

    Guess what Putin said today

    Like

  • This is an amazing report.

    We will watch to see if the American media reports pursues this story. We also notice that the American economy is reporting a 3+% in the quarter just done instead of the foretasted 1+%.

    Like

  • David:

    You may also take into account the fall in oil futures, the strengthening of the dollar and the better performance of the Dow Jones,,,, all against normal economic parameters.

    With friend like these McCain will have an easier ride at the convention, and they may even stretch it to November’s election, but the day of reckoning cannot be postponed forever.

    Gustav and Hannah may intervene this weekend to spoil his feelgood factor.

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s