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09 August 2008

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shams

A/S,

From watching the news channel and reading about the Georgia-Russia conflict, it is a fact that Georgia attacked South Ossetia and indiscrimantely shelled the city of Tskhinvali killing hundreds of people. Most of the residents were Russian passport holders.
The Russians would not take such a brazen attack lightly and now they are out to drive the Georgians out of South Ossetia back to the point where all sides were prior to Aug. 8th. They will also probably give the Georgian president, Saakashvili a bloody nose by bombing strategic targets within Georgia to warn him not to start another adventure in Abkhazia.

Although these two regions are part of Georgia, they both fought a bloody war for independence from the Georgians in the early 90s, and they become frozen conflicts.

Its like Kosova fighting Serbia for independence and when both sides agreed to peacekeepers to enter the border areas, Serbia attacks Kosova in another attempt to take it back.How would US, Nato, EU feel about it?


haroon

wa salam,

I agree with you in that the war may have been caused by Georgia, and moreover that the US and the EU "had this coming" - Russia was quite p.o.'d over NATO expansion, over American rhetoric, over Kosova and treatment of Serbia. I grant all that, and believe there are strong points to be made: Russia had reason to feel threatened, and America and the EU don't have much of an argument, after generally granting Kosovo independence (unilaterally!) how can we have a platform to critique Russia? On what basis? After invading Iraq, what stops Russia from invading Georgia?

But that's the point to my anger. We have been led astray, obviously, by terribly naive, harsh, uninformed and shortsighted foreign policy directions and visions... we are hearing voices like, 'America needs Russia against Iran so we can't say anything,' which is, to put it plainly, rear-end backwards. We don't need Russia over Iran. Iran's a paper tiger. The real threats to American interests and to the long-term consolidation of democracy are Russia and China.

By fighting in the Middle East, over a faux nemesis - radical Islamism poses no real threat, long-term, like Russia or China could (their threat level is pathetic on a global scale) - we have lost sight of what we should have been doing: Strengthening the EU-America (and general West) partnership and building ties to countries that can become democracies (as opposed to worrying about nation-building in Iraq.) If democracy progresses slowly, it will progress; Georgia should have been a priority; strengthening Georgia by having the EU and NATO embrace it would help bring Turkey into the wider framework and would help build real democratic institutions.

And any way, considering the sheer brutality of modern Russia, I have very little sympathy for any Russian argument that it was "provoked". That would justify attacks on civilians by Chechens, since they were subjected, by Russia, to two campaigns of utter carnage in the last six decades, leading to the deaths of huge percentages of those peoples, not to mention Russia's indirect annihilation of other Caucasian peoples, like the Ubykh. I can see why Georgia is afraid.

But you are right insofar as we should also draw attention to Georgian actions, which are morally wrong. But Russia is not going to stop by drawing back to the lines prior to August 8th. They have exceeded that already. Russia is expansionist, and rules by force (how can Russia claim to support the aspirations of Ossetians and yet bomb Chechnya to bits?)

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