revel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Aug, 2008 08:12 am
I agree ; this new site is hard to figure all the little details like spell check (something I need). But...

Anyway, been interesting reading in this thread. It is bit unusual that no lines have been drawn with people taking sides and just people discussing the situation for a nice change.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 05:55 am
@Walter Hinteler,
"Walter Hinteler" wrote:
"oralloy" wrote:
Georgia may not be NATO, but the US has extensively modernized and trained their forces. I'm not sure the Russian troops are going to have an easy time defending the South Ossetians. If I had to guess, I'd guess the Georgian military is going to win unless they make a serious blunder.

Then again, such blunders do happen in wars.....


Georgia's army numbers around 18,000 soldiers, 79 tanks, 7 combat aircrafts, 3 armed helos, 7 helicopters ...


I guess so. Shocked

I'd been led to believe we had armed Georgia to a degree that would include significant numbers of modern tanks and aircraft. It's a shame we didn't have them better-armed so they could repel Russia's invasion.
revel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 06:26 am
@oralloy,
Two things strike me as ironic when hear all this concern about invading another country from people who have been justifying doing that ourselves in Iraq. (Well, really three things but the first is explained in the sentenced)

One is that it seems like they are ignoring Georgia's initial action of invading South Ossetia (spell?) and killing lots of citizens indiscriminately in the process. I think that Russia has taken advantage of that act to try and capture Georgia rather than just quell the invasion of the parts of South Ossetia that Georgia tried to capture and in the process of that killed indiscriminately loads of innocent people. I blame both countries of wrong doing.

And two is the thought that we (US) are in any kind of position to help anybody in a crises when we would be hard pressed to respond to a crises of our own because most of all our troops and resources are tied up in Iraq. Now that we helped Georgia get their troops out of there and the British will soon complete their withdrawal from Iraq, if we still plan to stay in Iraq, we will be even more bogged down in Iraq.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 10:01 am
@revel,
"revel" wrote:
Two things strike me as ironic when hear all this concern about invading another country from people who have been justifying doing that ourselves in Iraq. (Well, really three things but the first is explained in the sentenced)


While I won't argue that Iraq was a legal invasion, from the perspective of the west there is quite a difference between "a western democracy toppling a brutal dictatorship" and "a brutal dictatorship toppling a western democracy".



"revel" wrote:
One is that it seems like they are ignoring Georgia's initial action of invading South Ossetia (spell?) and killing lots of citizens indiscriminately in the process.


South Ossetia is Georgian territory. Georgia has every right to try to take it back from the rebels who currently control it.

And Georgia did not kill lots of civilians indiscriminately in their attack. That is just a lie that the KGB put out to fool people into not opposing Russia's aggression. Human rights groups and reporters have both shown it to be false. (Georgian civilians aren't faring very well though.)

(Yes, I know the KGB goes by different letters now. I prefer KGB.)
revel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 11:35 am
@oralloy,
Quote:
South Ossetia is Georgian territory. Georgia has every right to try to take it back from the rebels who currently control it.

And Georgia did not kill lots of civilians indiscriminately in their attack. That is just a lie that the KGB put out to fool people into not opposing Russia's aggression. Human rights groups and reporters have both shown it to be false
.

I was ignorant on exactly where South Ossetia was but done some reading up on it since my last post. I was under the impression South Ossetia was separate from Georgia and Russia with both sides claiming it kind of like Kasmir/Pakistan/India. Apparently after the collapse of the USSR Ossetia split in half with one side going to Russia and the other going to Georgia. I don't think a majority of them likes it though.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/3797729.stm

BBC always has good back ground information for the ignorant such as me.

It is true both sides were killing indiscriminately

Quote:
Tbilisi, August 14, 2008) " Forces on both sides in the conflict between Georgia and Russia appear to have killed and injured civilians through indiscriminate attacks, respectively, on the towns of Gori and Tskhinvali, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch expressed its deep concern over the apparently indiscriminate nature of the attacks that have taken such a toll on civilians.

http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/08/13/russia19620.htm

I would think we would learn to tone down the name calling and rhetoric, after all Russia is hardly Iraq, they really do have nuclear weapons.


Ramafuchs
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 12:49 pm
@revel,
The U.S. military, spread thin already in Iraq and Afghanistan, has no forces to spare. But even if that were not the case, did Saakashvili really think the United States and Europe would go to war against Russia? Memories of the bloody 20th century are too fresh in Europe to make that a realistic expectation. It is one thing to invade and occupy Iraq, quite another to take on Russia. It was out of the question.

The Bush administration, then, made implicit " and perhaps explicit " guarantees to the Georgian government it was in no position to back up. Thus the American imperium is revealed as a costly, provocative, but in essential ways impotent force in the world. For this the taxpayers are coughing up hundreds of billion dollars a year. And people are dying.

The message of Georgia is clear. We need a top-to-bottom rethinking of American foreign policy. The American people’s interest lies in peace and free trade. Let others work out their own problems. Most of all, let’s keep the U.S. government from making the world’s problems worse than they already are.
http://www.fff.org/comment/com0808e.asp
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 02:37 pm
@oralloy,
The weekend edition of The Georgian Times left no room for doubt. The weekly, which is published in English and edited entirely by women, enlisted in the cause with all its might: "For Georgia and victory," "Georgia alone in stand-off with Russia," and "Europe learned nothing from Hitler's crimes" screamed the paper's front-page headlines. When the cannons are roaring in this spectacular Caucasian country, as in almost every country, everything serves a melodramatic purpose and self-criticism falls silent.

But one does not have to be a propagandizing Georgian newspaper to paint this new war in stark black and white. After all, the West and Israel are doing it, too: Georgia, a tiny democracy, dear to the West and darling of the U.S., is facing off against the aggressive, conquering, bullying Russian bear, not to mention the new Nazi. Good guys versus bad guys, David versus Goliath, "Adolf Putin" versus the freedom fighters.

It has been years since we have had a war in which it is so clear to spectators in the West who constitute the Children of Light and who constitute the Children of Darkness.

It is a matter of propaganda. The U.S. president's remarks on Friday that the world would not accept bullying and intimidation could only raise a bitter smile.

George W. Bush talking about bullying? The U.S. president talking about intimidation? Who set off to two bullying wars this decade? Who tried to solve problems and replace regimes through intimidation if not our friend in the White House? Which power spilled more blood this decade? Russia or "the leader of the free world"?

For the West, everything goes, from placing missiles on Polish soil to discussing Georgia's joining NATO. But Russia is not even allowed to respond?
After a few days on the frontline in Gori, the picture that emerges is complex and far from unilateral. The first question is, as usual, who started it. Georgian minister Temur Yakobashvili, of course, has a ready and clear-cut response: the Russians. The separatists provoked, Russia invaded. But even as he expresses himself in fluent Hebrew - "either you get screwed or you screw" - one is not easily convinced that this is simply an innocent country that found itself the victim of a fire-breathing giant.

Yakobashvili, the Jewish minister of "reintegration," another white-washed term for occupation, is responsible in the name of his government for two controversial regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He ignores the fact that the inhabitants of these areas do not want to be part of his country.

The two maps of these regions hanging in his office do not change this. He also blurs the fact that about a week ago his country sent troops into South Ossetia, most of whose inhabitants are Russian citizens, a move Moscow could not help but consider a provocation.

The Cold War is back. It returned suddenly, after Russia already lost. The question remains as to whether a single-power world is more peaceful than a polarized world. In two decades of sole American hegemony we have not seen less war and bloodshed - even if the world is considered "freer."
It is unlikely that the war has ended, but meanwhile let us not fall again into a deceptive trap just because Saakashvili speaks better English than Putin.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1012186.html

0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2008 09:41 am
European observers have faulted Georgia in this month's Caucasus conflict, saying it made elaborate plans to seize South Ossetia, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday.

In a report to appear in its Monday edition, it said officials of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had said acts by the Georgian government had contributed to the outbreak of the crisis with Russia.

Spiegel said OSCE military observers in the Caucasus had described preparations by Georgia to move into South Ossetia.

spiegel-online report (in German): http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,575396,00.html
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2008 11:36 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The report in English:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,575041,00.html
Ramafuchs
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2008 01:38 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter.
The europeans are as bad as say indians or barbarians.
I live in Köln( a city in Europe)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Sep, 2008 01:35 pm
@revel,
What the Russians Left
In Their Wake in Georgia


<snip>

Quote:
The full barbarism of Russian actions in Georgia may not emerge for years; much of the evidence lies behind the lines in terrain newly annexed by Russia. But some details are now beyond dispute. Alongside the various human atrocities, such as the bombing and purging of civilian areas, the invaders looted and destroyed numerous historical sites, some of which were profoundly revered by the Georgians as sacred building blocks in their national identity. This is especially true of the region around South Ossetia that served as a kind of cradle of early Georgian culture. The Georgian Ministry of Culture lists some 500 monuments and archaeological sites now mostly under Russian occupation and out of sight.


<snip>

Quote:
In contrast, Stalin's museum in Gori, which I visited during the occupation, went unmolested except for the Georgian flag flying on the tower above -- a sniper had shot out its red St. George crosses. In fact, the museum became a center of pilgrimage for Russian soldiers who daily stood around having their pictures taken. The custodian, a sturdy elderly lady, also had refused to flee. She told me that teary-eyed Russian officers, drunk by evening as most Russian soldiers were, kept turning up and complimenting her for watching the place. They had hugged her and said: "He was a great man. He kept our country unified."

Had they mentioned that he'd done so by decimating an entire generation of Georgians and by settling Ossetians in and around Tskhinvali, the source of all the present trouble? "They were alcoholics," she sniffed. Why hadn't she fled? "Because it is a piece of history, whatever you think of Stalin," she said, "and we have a responsibility to preserve it."


not suggesting it's an unbiased view, but it's a view
0 Replies
 
SerSo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 09:29 am
@oralloy,
Oralloy wrote:
While I won't argue that Iraq was a legal invasion, from the perspective of the west there is quite a difference between "a western democracy toppling a brutal dictatorship" and "a brutal dictatorship toppling a western democracy".

Do you mean that until I fully embrace western values a western democracy has every right to try to kill me and my loved ones if I dare to resist? What is then the difference between "western democracy" and "brutal dictatorship"?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:13 pm

Excerpts:

Quote:
The gloves came off in Georgia. An olive branch came out in Armenia. And the prospect of a peace settlement beckoned in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia, which had seen its influence in the South Caucasus wane in recent years, roared back with a vengeance to stake a claim in a region that Moscow has long seen as its natural sphere of influence.

From the bitter August war between Russia and Georgia to Tbilisi's stalled bid to join NATO to Armenia's surprising overtures to archrival Turkey, 2008 was a year of geopolitical tremors, high-risk maneuvers, and great-power jockeying in the restive South Caucasus.

And analysts say this strategically vital region is on the brink of still more turbulence as Russia continues to reassert itself and the uneasy post-Soviet status quo -- with its unsettled "frozen conflicts" in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh -- comes unraveled. [..]

'Strategic Normalcy'

This was also the year that Western dreams of promoting democracy in the South Caucasus were dealt setbacks across the board.

In Armenia, Serzh Sarkisian won the presidency in February in an election that the opposition and international observers claimed was flawed. After the vote, the authorities violently suppressed opposition demonstrations. Approximately one thousand people were arrested and 10 were killed in the immediate postelection violence. Some 67 opposition figures remain in custody.

The authoritarian regime of President Ilham Aliyev in energy-rich Azerbaijan, too, tightened its vise-grip on power. Aliyev won reelection in October with 87 percent of the vote in a poll that observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said did not meet international standards. Baku has also faced international condemnation for the jailing of opposition journalists.

And Georgia, which the United States has tried to hold up as a beacon of good governance in the region, continued to backslide on the democratic promise of the 2003 Rose Revolution.

Lincoln Mitchell, a Columbia University professor and the author of the upcoming book "Uncertain Democracy: U.S. Foreign Policy and Georgia's Rose Revolution," says the domestic politics of the three countries in the region are returning to what he calls "strategic normalcy."

"Azerbaijan and Armenia are settling into [being] secular illiberal regimes that are really what we have in most of the former Soviet Union," Mitchell says. "Georgia is a Western-oriented secular illiberal regime. And that causes it some problems. But in fact, the states look more similar now than they did five years ago." [..]

Watershed Conflict

If the South Caucasus is indeed entering a new period of increased Russian influence and democratic retrenchment, the watershed event will clearly be the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August. [..]

In a recent interview with RFE/RL, Matthew Bryza, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, called the war a defining moment.

"It is a watershed because Russia demonstrated that it is willing to be a belligerent and use force against smaller neighbors," Bryza said. "In fact, against a neighbor with a military that is maybe 1/100th of its size. That act has sent some powerful signals reverberating through the Caucasus." [..]

And the war resulted in a much larger Russian footprint in the region. "There is a bigger Russian role in the region because now they [Russians] formally control South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Lincoln Mitchell says. "There's a bigger Russian role in the region because the only anti-Russian voice in the region just got its hat handed to them by the Russian military."

Russian Realpolitik

[A]lthough Moscow faced harsh international criticism for what many in the West called a "disproportionate" response, it was able to weather the storm.

The European Union suspended talks on a Partnership and Association Agreement, but decided in December to renew negotiations. The NATO-Russia Council was also suspended, although at a foreign ministers meeting in December the alliance decided to revive informal high-level meetings with Moscow.

At the same foreign ministers meeting, NATO declined to grant Georgia and Ukraine Membership Action Plans (MAPs), a key step to membership, setting back Tbilisi's goal of joining the alliance quickly. [..]

Apparently, many Western countries believe that the costs of alienating or isolating Russia are just too high, and Moscow is aware of this. "Moscow has quite skillfully weaved its way through this situation [..]," Lawrence Sheets says.

"Russia is a country of 150 million people with massive energy resources and nuclear weapons. Georgia is a developing country of 4 million people," he adds. "I think inevitably realpolitik becomes part of it and the Russians see that the price to be paid is often short-term and one of rhetoric, and doesn't boil down to much that is concrete."

Georgia's leadership also did not help its own case in its NATO bid. Saakashvili came under heavy criticism for what diplomats and analysts describe as an ill-advised move to try to resolve the South Ossetia conflict by force.

Moreover, Georgia's reputation as a beacon of democracy in the region began to wane in November 2007 when Saakashvili cracked down on opposition demonstrations in Tbilisi and temporarily closed down independent media outlets. [..]

Hopes For Karabakh Peace

If Georgia was preoccupied with war, the focus in Armenia and Azerbaijan turned to resolving the region's other frozen conflict -- Nagorno-Karabakh.

On November 2, following Russian-mediated talks in Moscow, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed the first joint statement by Yerevan and Baku since the 1994 truce that ended the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Despite the tensions in U.S.-Russian relations over Georgia, Bryza stressed that Washington welcomed Moscow's efforts on Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic-Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan that broke free from Baku's control in the early 1990s in a war that killed an estimated 30,000 people.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's "meeting on November 2 made an important contribution. So I want to be fair here. When Russia is being unhelpful, we've got to call it like we see it. But Russia is being quite helpful on Karabakh."

The Moscow Declaration mainly reiterated previous positions, committing the two sides to resolving the conflict peacefully, according to international law, and under the auspices of the OSCE's Minsk Group comprising Russia, France, and the United States.

Nevertheless, analysts took it as a sign that there could finally be movement on what has been a long-stalled peace process. [..]

Armenia also made strides this year in improving its long-strained relations with Turkey. In a move dubbed "football diplomacy," Sarkisian invited his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to Yerevan to watch an international soccer match between their national teams in September. [..]

0 Replies
 
 

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