Russia-Georgia at war

Well, not really. The excuse of Usama bin Laden is flimsy enough as it is; first, fighting an entire country to get one guy is silly; second, in the only interview that was actually verified to be him since 9/11, he denied doing it. The excuse of him being in Russia, which is also full of infidels he wants to kill (we helped him do it, back in the eighties), is even shakier, and wouldn’t lead to much conflict with Russia, since I don’t think they really want him alive either. Russia fighting an American ally in one of the supposedly strategic positions for American military omnipresence, however, regardless of any of the specifics on the matter, could probably convince a lot of people.

Apparently Russia has halted its march (for now?):

That is an excellent parallel, SK. Now, what would happen if Northern Kosovars imitate South Osetia in the desire to join their brethren?

I would comment more on the whole SO affair, but most of my observation would be tilted towards the Russian side due to my origins. Russia won the Five Day War – South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be under Russia control; I think that Saakashvili won the propaganda war though – Russia is the bad guy (again) in the eyes of the West’s leaders.
It is interesting to compare how this conflict is treated by media sources from Russia (and her allies/sympathizers) vs. Western media. Watching CNN and its clones, I cringe every time I hear or read the statement “Russia says: Georgia attacked first.” Russia says? And did you (CNN &co.) miss almost one day of Saakashvili’s war games?

You can dig out most of the information by browsing through Wiki’s footnotes, but just to simplify the task, here are a few snippets of the news that were received in Russia during the South Ossetian conflict.
August 8, from the State committee of information and press of the Republic of South Ossetia:

In these minutes Georgian SU-25 planes dropped bombs on the peaceful citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia. SU-25 also strikes at ossetian village Kvernet, and bypass road,Zar, the only road, which links South Ossetia with the North. Perfidious massive bombardment of Tskhinval by the morning became more intense.
The people of South Ossetia requests assistance from the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and the Government of Russian Federation to take urgent measures to protect the residents of South Ossetia, which are citizens of the Russian Federation and to do everything to stop the genocide of the Ossetian people.
August 8, from RIA Novosti:

Over 1,000 civilians have been killed as the result of an attack by Georgia on the capital of its breakaway republic of South Ossetia, the North Ossetian nationalities minister said Friday.
Georgia launched a major offensive early Friday morning using tanks, combat aircraft, heavy artillery and infantry.

So, now McCaine and Obama are jumping on the “bash Russia” bandwagon.
McCaine: “I told him (Saakashvili) that I know I speak for every American when I said to him, today, we are all Georgians.” This sounds almost like Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech spin-off.

I just LOVE the statistics the georgians were claiming. They say they knocked out 40+ tanks, but considering that russia has only lost 21 soldiers and the T-72 has a crew of 3, then they were either shooting at parked tanks or russian crews have finally mastered the art of bullet-time.

Considering what I’ve read in this thread, and have confirmed by looking through old newstories the manner in which the Western governments and Western media is acting is really sickeningly propoganda filled. I guess I shouldn’t have expected much else, but goddamn does this just drive the cynicism deeper.

What the West’s leaders say publically is rarely what they privately think. From the sources I’ve read, the U.S. may have been involved in brokering the cease-fire. In other words, we’re cutting our losses. And believe it or not, its quite likely after this that America stops meddling in that area of the world. This isn’t because of a moral outlook - rather, this whole war has demonstrated to U.S. policymakers the sheer inability of the U.S. plan to encircle Russia. But I doubt the broader perception of Russia being a threat to U.S. interests will change any time soon.

Russia has won the international propaganda war insofar as they’ve demonstrated America’s inability to do anything in the Caucasus or Central Asia. This will stop countries in those regions from allying themselves with us/being coerced by us. They’ll be coerced by Russia instead :stuck_out_tongue: America’s won the propaganda war insofar as the American population is convinced that Russia is completely the bad guy.

I’ve also heard a theory floated that Bush may have intentionally provoked this war to give McCain an issue for the election, heh. I doubt its true though…

SK’s actually pretty on the ball in regards to all this. I’ve been keeping track of this in the news for the past few years and this is pretty much what has been happening.

The only thing that isn’t clear to date is the whole thing about artillery being fired by Ossentian “irregulars” from behind the lines at Georgia in the week preceding the assault.

Its incredible to see the way the US set this up and they’re trying to support Georgia while not supporting it at the same time. I wouldn’t absolve Russia of responsibility entirely. It is in their strategic interests to assert as much control over the area as they can

It should be noted that this victory is sort of like beating a guy with no arms in a boxing match. As an American, it seems to me we put ourselves against Russia before this even started and just awaited an occasion for it. There has been anti-Putin news propaganda here for a long time, even comparing him to Hitler.

Fighting Russia would be suicide to any nation, all of Europe can tell you that. They haven’t ever lost a war on their own mainland, and every time an “empire” has attacked them, it has lead to the utter downfall of the attacker. It happened to Sweden’s (YES, we actually were a big war nation once upon a time. Can you believe it?) Charles XII, Napoleon and Hitler. Attacking Russia was not the complete end of any of those, but it bled their troops and reserves dry to weaken them for the fall. None of them won, either, so the attacks were only huge wastes of lives, equipment, time and money.

Ugh. I can’t believe what I just clumped a Swedish king in with…

Anyway. I’m not a tactician or political analyst by any stretch, but considering how things are going in Iraq that should be an indication of how well a war with Russia, a huge country with a whole lot more man- and firepower than Iraq and Afgahnistan could bring out together, would turn out.

While Russia did lose to Mongolia way back in the day, they subsequently took a huge, fatal, chunk out of the Mongol empire within a generation. So, you know.

Godwin :wink: The two greatest nuclear powers wouldn’t fight each other, anyway, especially after the U.S. won the cold war. Russia is nowadays no longer a pushover -it’s funny that rising oil/gas prises helped- but they are still in a league below the U.S. and even though the U.S. are trying to fight the dominance of the Russian energy supplies to Europe, I doubt they’d go to war for that. Must be fun times for the U.S. diplomats.

I don’t expect Georgia will get back either of the provinces -I immediately see parallels to Cyprus, a situation that’s been going on for 35 years, and Georgia’s position is comparatively even worse. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Americans get a few contracts and leave the Russians alone. Waiting for saviors in geopolitics rarely works, as history shows.

In the end the ones who paid the price are the dead, the ones who had people die on them and saw their homes destroyed. Fallout had it right*.

*War. War never changes.

In reference to Weiila’s post, global warming ironically will bring Russia’s downfall then because Russia will lose its most powerful weapon.

Russia has no business in Georgia.

The South Ossetians, Abkhazians, and Russia are the only people in the world who seem to believe that Georgia is the one that is invading anything. This was not Russian territory. Russia is barely even hanging on to the implausible claim that they only wish to stop supposed war crimes by the President of Georgia. They keep going father and farther. Russia has occupied the city of Gori which is just 40 miles of the capital Tblisi. All this has happened after French President Nicolas Sarkozy stepped up and formulated a ceasefire with Russia and Georgia. Russia has by responded by occupying Poti and only further cementing it’s presence; then again, the ceasefire plan was so vague with it’s requirements that maybe Russia’s further involvement would be allowed under it.

Human Rights Watch, in the same article, stated that there were fewer than 100 deaths, not the 2,000 that Moscow stated during the fighting between South Ossetia and Georgia. There’s also more allegations about South Ossetian militias committing atrocities. Russia’s reasoning is beginning to be, and will be unsubstantiated and a whole country will be fully occupied if we don’t help Georgia. I for one am glad that the Bush Administration is pledging humanitarian aid to Georgia.

Vitaly Churkin stated the reasons behind Russia’s invasionin the U.N. Security Council and I find their reasoning to be insufficient. Russia did not have to invade a country in order to quell the violence and their invasion has only escalated tensions in the region to an alarming degree. We’ve all seen videos of the Georgian President running from what appeared to be a Russian jet flying overhead. This is not the way you maintain peace and calling the Russian invasion a peace-keeping force doesn’t hold water.

This is not a good thing for the world at large whether you agree with Russia or Georgia. Russia just went into a country and demanded in their ceasefire plans leave South Ossetia. This is not a stable foreign policy precedent in the 21st century when a country can go invade another nation and sock them out of their own land. Russia will may feel vindicated after all this, but in the years to come, the foolish of Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev will mostly certain come to light.

I don’t believe for a second the Russians are acting out of morality or altruism. But neither are we. Both us and the Russians are fighting for dominance over the former Soviet states. And both of us have our bullshit excuses: ours being that we want ‘democracy’ to flourish; the Russians being that they need to protect their neighbors from the imperialistic U.S.(which is half-true, I guess, but the other half of the truth is that Russia wants to rule them just as much as we do).

Also, what I said earlier about the U.S. backing out now may not be true, unfortunately. Our government is flooding Georgia with aid, airlifting out Georgians, and generally acting like we have no intention of backing down from this. I guess the developing situation is really complicated and fast-changing.

I agree, this certainly is unstabling the region and the world. But consider this: maybe this war has much more to do with the innate nature of the region than it does any individual decision made by Putin. Maybe it was just inevitable. There are historical and geographic reasons why a conflict between Georgia and Russia would be inevitable. Heck, until 1991 Russia felt itself compelled to rule Georgia, and Georgia compelled to expand its own borders. You really think either country has changed significantly since then?

And in fact Russia has good reason to want to rule Georgia, since if they don’t rule Georgia, Russia’s enemies would use Georgia as a proxy to attack/encircle Russia. For decades American scholars said Russia’s fear of being encircled by enemies, and subsequent compulsion to expand to prevent this encirclement, was historical paranoia(Russia was invaded repeatedly in its history). Turns out it was just common sense.

Yeah, I wonder why, considering that the Abhaz and Osetin are the ones who actually live there. What you personally do or don’t “believe” is irrelevant, it is an indisputable fact that Georgia attacked first, and the assault went on for <i>at least</i> 12 hours before Russia even appeared on the scene.

The cease-fire already favours Saakashvili by saying that, “Georgian troops will return to their usual points of dislocation.” (Which means what, that they get to return to Osetia?) But even then, Saakashvili refused to sign it. Georgian troops are still in South Osetia, Saakashvili started his blitzkrieg by violating one cease-fire, and violated a second cease-fire during the war. Why should Russia honour the cease-fire if Saakashvili won’t?

No, they said that was what they were able to confirm so far. Since neither Georgian nor Russian troops are allowing journalists to enter, that is unsurprising. By the way, Human Rights Watch have also stated that the Western media were engaged in “propaganda and disinformation” regarding the conflict. Are you sure you want to use them as a moral authority?

Of course you do. You are a neoconservative American nationalist, and you believe that no country has any right to have any national interests of its own, unless it’s an American puppet state like Georgia. However, if the situation were reversed – if, say, China was pouring $5 billion into Mexico’s military, encouraging anti-American Mexican nationalism, and promoting the killing of American citizens on Mexican soil – then you’d have a very different opinion. And Russia has a much stronger historical argument than even that.

Abhazia and Osetia are not Georgian and never were, they have always belonged to the Abhaz and Osetin. Osetia joined Russia 25 years before Georgia did (1774 as opposed to 1801), under a completely separate agreement that has never been abrogated by the Osetin. In 1991, Georgia unilaterally seceded from the Soviet Union, but the Abhaz and Osetin never sanctioned this policy. Every popular referendum since then has been in favour of joining Russia. You, as usual, have no idea about any of this history. You often talk about the importance of doing what “the people” want, but you dismiss the grievances of Abhazia and Osetia against Georgia out of hand. If you don’t know about it, that means it’s not important or reasonable, right?

The <i>only reason</i> why these territories are currently <i>de jure</i> inside Georgia is because of the lobbying of Georgian Communists and the whims of the Georgian-born Joseph Stalin, who created the current Georgian borders. This is very simple. If Communist-created borders were not valid in 1991 when Georgia wanted to secede from the USSR, then they are also not valid now when Osetia wants to secede from Georgia. But, if Communist-created borders are valid now, then they were also valid in 1991, so Georgia’s entire existence is illegitimate. Your interpretation is essentially, “Communist-created borders are valid when we say so, and invalid when we say so.” There is no reason why Russia, or anyone, should accept this.

Osetia is a <i>disputed territory</i>, the roots of that dispute are centuries old and Russia’s claim to that territory is at least as good as Georgia’s. On the other hand, the US and Europe have no claim on Georgia whatsoever. Georgians have a reason to fight because the conquest of Abhazia and Osetia is part of their national mythology, gives them a national cause, and would allow them to have more resources and a better position on the Black Sea. The Abhaz and Osetin have a reason to fight because they want to keep their land and prevent a repeat of the ethnic cleansing of the early 90s. The Russians have a reason to fight because the Osetin are legally Russian citizens, and because the US wants to use Georgia as a base for destabilizing Russia’s southern regions. At least these three sides all have good reasons for fighting. But the US has no reason at all.

If you care so strongly about Georgia, then send them your own money, or even better, go there and fight for their cause yourself. At a time when people in the United States are losing their homes, there is no valid reason why the government should give any American tax money to petty militarist thugs in Georgia who interpreted their alliance with America as a <i>carte blanche</i> for their nationalist ambitions. The US government’s involvement in the Caucasus is insane – that whole region is full of petty local disputes, and by giving money to factions just for being anti-Russian, we are embroiling ourselves in every one of them.

Wow, all of a sudden we’ve remembered the concept of <i>precedents</i>! Man, it’s too bad you weren’t there when the US and Europe invaded Serbia, stole Serbia’s land and gave it away to a gang of Islamic terrorists and drug dealers. What about that <i>precedent</i>?

But the US has no reason at all.

The U.S. does have a reason, which is to limit Russian power. I would say this is at least as legitimate as the Georgians wanting the areas for resources, or Russia wanting the area as a buffer. Also, I wouldn’t say Russia’s desire for Ossetin self-determination is really a motivating factor for them in any way. In this one instance, Russia gets to be the good guy, since the Ossetins are generally content being part of Russia, but that doesn’t mean that Russians are being motivated to protect the Ossetins. Russia has plenty of minorities who would like their own country, but whom the Russian government has no intention of letting secede. As you admit, the U.S. is backing Georgia’s power play to encourage some of these minorities in southern Russia to start political uprisings. That’s what you meant by ‘destabilizing Russia’s southern regions’, right?

No. Georgia is on the other side of the planet from the US. Regardless of which military strongman rules Georgia, there is no danger or threat to American citizens of any kind. On the other hand, American military bases in Georgia are clearly hostile to Russia. The analogy would be if Russia or China opened a new base in Mexico right on the Texas border, installed an anti-American Mexican nationalist government and encouraged it to kill American citizens. But unlike the US, Russia and Georgia are both actually located in that region, and both have historical claims to the land, so at least the two of them have reasons to fight.

Russia has no intention of conquering all of Georgia, that is, unless Bush is dumb enough to provoke them further by giving Saakashvili even more weapons. Putin did everything he could to avoid the war over the past few years. He unilaterally withdrew all Russian military bases from Georgia, even though the binding treaties allowed them to stay there for a few more years. Russia repeatedly urged Osetia and Abhazia to restraint, Russia allowed Saakashvili to enter Abhaz territory and seize part of the Kodor mountain range, and the Russian parliament repeatedly refused to consider Osetia’s request for membership in the Russian Federation. Even now, Russia vacillated for 12 hours before responding to Georgia, and the Russian parliament still vacillates about recognizing Osetia’s independence. Russia’s diplomats support returning to the status quo. They had no desire to fight.

‘Historical claims’ isn’t a legitimate reason. By legitimate, I mean a logical reason why the country would be looking out for its own interests. I would say Georgia’s reasons aren’t any stronger than the U.S’s. And I’m not using legitimate and moral interchangeably. The desire for the U.S. to limit Russian power - and in the process increase its(the U.S.'s) ability to look out for its own economic interests - is logical. As is Georgia’s desire to seize the resources and access to the Black Sea.

But if by legitimate you mean moral, than neither the U.S. nor Georgia have any good moral reasons to fight. Only the Russians and Ossetins do. Also, I reedited my above post.

ALSO: A good reason why Russia would want this war is to demonstrate that it is the real power in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and that the U.S., while causing lots of noise, will not go to war to defend its allies(and Russia’s enemies) in those regions. Sort of like setting an example. So your statement that Russia totally didn’t want this war is arguable(neither of us could say exactly what goes on in Russian Cabinet meetings). Plus, it sends a message to restive minorities in Russia.

That may have been a Russian objective after the war already started, but Russia clearly did not want to start the war, and vacillated for a long time (12 hours is a long time for a territory as small as Osetia) after it had already started. Their behaviour since 2003 has been consistent with that of someone who wants to avoid war with Georgia at all costs. They closed their military bases before deadline, ignored Saakashvili’s dislocation of troops inside Abhaz territory, and denied the Osetin and Abhaz requests for a heavier military presence. The reason why Saakashvili rolled over Tskhinval so quickly is because the Russian mission there actually adhered to its limits under the treaty, and could only respond with small-arms fire. Russia has been consistently retreating for all this time, they lashed out at Saakashvili because he backed them into a corner by killing Russian citizens.