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Russia warns the west: Military aid to Georgia will be taken as a "declaration of war"

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 10:41 am
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
The invasion is not all black and white, triggered as it was by Saakashvili's move to suppress South-Ossetia - but seriously, how can you look at that comparison and conclude that it's America who should be chided for being the bad, aggressive guy in the game?


America should be chided for it's foolish policies regardless of whether there are other foolish policies. This kind of argument smacks of the "why aren't you also criticizing X?" arguments.

So now every time you criticize something the existence of other things to criticize renders it illegitimate?

Quote:
It's a little alienating for me, and for many East-Europeans too, to see people over there basically just embrace Russia's notion that it has the right to do whatever the F it wants in those countries.


Has anyone been expressing that sentiment here on this thread though?

Quote:
And to consequently declare that any move on our part to establish a partnership with any of them, regardless of it being at their own pleading, is our "aggression".


Could you stop using weasel words and define what position you are arguing against? This ambiguous "people over there" are convenient straw men.

For the record, I am not considering the US aid to Georgia to be "aggression", I just think it's a foolish partnership given that it wasn't even strong enough to come to their defense. I do not think Russia should be able to do "what the F they see fit". I do not think that they have a sphere of influence where they get to make the rules.

And I just haven't seen "those people" you are arguing against.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:15 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

I never gave the qualifier of "in Transcaucasia" so why are you trying to make my comments fit under a qualifier I never gave? Rolling Eyes

Um, okay.

This thread is about Georgia, and what policies and strategies the US should follow regarding it. You described the state of affairs re Georgia and Russia's claims, and concluded that the US stands before a decision here.

What decision? It needs to "think long and hard about whether they want to continue the projection of power, rewriting of maps and regime change it has subscribed to for nearly a decade," because "The military aggression this administration subscribed to is not tenable."

But how does that description even apply to the situation you're talking about? It's not been America that has been rewriting maps here, or that's engaged in military aggression.

------------------------------

It sounds more like you have a general beef about American foreign policy, informed majorly by Iraq, and are now superimposing the conclusions you've learned about Iraq on a wholly other region and situation.

And you're not the only one. I see a lot of liberals talking about Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and what America should do - and all I hear is America, Bush, Iraq, Bush, Neoconservatism, Iraq. Their take on it is wholly informed by their opposition to the neocons strategies on Iraq etc, and hardly by any but the most immediate, cursory information from the region at hand itself, which seems mostly picked up just now and filtered through the a priori assumption that any US/Bush admin engagement must have been wrong.

It's very frustrating for those who have followed the issue for two decades and believe that you know, it's a different situation at hand here, and you cant just superimpose lessons from Iraq , and that for once, it's not actually the Americans that are the baddies here.

------------------------------

It reminds me of that raucous Green Left meeting, back in 1998, about Kosovo. The party leadership had decided to support a NATO intervention to save the Kosovars. Much of the party's base, many of whom had been veteran pacifists and activists, was in an uproar; how could the Greens support America? Support NATO, of all things? There was a large meeting where they could vent at the leaders on stage, and they did, pointing out America's dishonest intentions, its ulterior motives, its own guilts, past and present, NATO, Latin America, oil ...

Finally, a wonk from the Eastern Europe bureau stood up and exclaimed, what about the Kosovars? I've been here all evening, and none of you has said a thing about the Kosovars themselves - about the actual people at hand. And it was true. These people were superimposing the lessons they'd learnt about America's and NATO's treacheries, imperialisms, ulterior motives and what not, and were going on nothing but that. They didnt care about the fate of the Kosovars -- they just wanted to stop America's post Cold War neo-interventionism -- its "projection of power", you would say.

But I think America's "projection of power" can serve good causes as well as bad ones, just the way it's done before. It's installed murderous regimes in Africa and Latin America, but it's also pushed through the Marshall Plan, at major cost to the taxpayer -- and against loud Soviet protestations and threats that sounded very much like Russia's ones now. Then too, the complaints that America's support to the Marshall Plan countries constituted "aggression" and encroachment, and threats that they would not sit by without retaliation. Yet had America abandoned its projection of power then, more countries likely would have ended up in the Easten Bloc. So I see our job not as pushing for it to stop, but for it to be used for the right causes.

------------------------------

Putin's Russia is morphing into a whole new stage of its long-developing national-authoritarian restoration. The idea that America should now, right when that's happening, limit itself, abandon its projects of democracy promotion, retreat from the partnerships it has been expanding in Eastern Europe and implicitly accept Russia's claim to its proclaimed "near abroad", is scary to me. I see how it's conceived as a way of correcting Bush's warmongering excesses, but it's misguided. It's taking exactly the wrong lessons from Iraq, and applying them in a situation where, if anything, America needs to step up and be very vigilant.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:35 am
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
What decision? It needs to "think long and hard about whether they want to continue the projection of power, rewriting of maps and regime change it has subscribed to for nearly a decade," because "The military aggression this administration subscribed to is not tenable."

But how does that description even apply to the situation you're talking about? It's not been America that has been rewriting maps here, or that's engaged in military aggression.


The US and its allies have been rewriting maps (Kosovo) and have been engaged in military aggression. Russia has long objected to them and said that they would take them as precedents that undermine international law.

Quote:

Kosovo may influence Russian ties with Georgia breakaway regions
Russia has repeatedly said that granting Kosovo sovereignty could set a precedent and trigger a chain reaction for secessionist regions throughout the world, including in Greece, Spain, Georgia, Moldova and Cyprus. But Western countries supporting Kosovo's independence insist that the case is unique, and that there is no threat of the weakening of international law.


Quote:
It sounds more like you have a general beef about American foreign policy, informed majorly by Iraq, and are now superimposing the conclusions you've learned about Iraq on a wholly other region and situation.


No, it sounds like I pay attention to the Russian motivations for their aggression and note that they link their ability to flout international law to the willingness the US has had to provide examples.

Quote:
And you're not the only one. I see a lot of liberals talking about Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and what America should do - and all I hear is America, Bush, Iraq, Bush, Neoconservatism, Iraq. Their take on it is wholly informed by their opposition to the neocons strategies on Iraq etc, and hardly by any but the most immediate, cursory information from the region at hand itself, which seems mostly picked up just now and filtered through the a priori assumption that any US/Bush admin engagement must have been wrong.


Well again, I'm not sure who the weasel words represent but that isn't what I'm arguing. I'm arguing that the Bush administration's geopolitics has influenced Russia's more aggressive stance and that Russia has been angry with the Bush policies for some time now.

The US penchant for unilateral geopolitical action under Bush also undercuts the condemnations of Russia under rule of law. After all, if international law was a triviality for Kosovo and Iraq and if Israel can use such disproportionate responses in Lebanon what moral high ground can be used to criticize Russia?

Now that doesn't mean I don't have criticism for Russia, but I do see this as a direct response to American geopolitical moves. And if you pay close enough attention you would hear their objections stated exactly so.

At each stage of the US geopolitical evolution under Bush Russia warned that he was taking the genie out of the bottle and that they might take similar liberties. Now they have.

I don't think they are right, but I don't think they would be happening if Bush didn't overextend the US military and treat sovereignty as a triviality.

Quote:
It's very frustrating for those who have followed the issue for two decades and believe that you know, it's a different situation at hand here, and you cant just superimpose lessons from Iraq , and that for once, it's not actually the Americans that are the baddies here.


If you are following it so closely why don't you note the direct connections made by Russia when you claim that it's wholly unrelated. Russia has stated that this is what they would do in response to American geopolitics very clearly over and over.

Quote:
It's taking exactly the wrong lessons from Iraq, and applying them in a situation where, if anything, America needs to step up and be very vigilant.


Nonsense, it's giving credit where credit is due. The US undermined sovereignty and international rule of law and put the west in a situation where they don't have the tools to respond to the Russian attempts to play what they see as the same game.

Do you really think the situation would be the same without the unilateral delcaration of independence of Kosovo and the invasion of Iraq? I think it's ludicrous to pretend that they aren't related.

Russia warned the west very clearly that just deciding that your friends are independent nations unilaterally would cause them to take the same liberties. And if the US were not bogged down in Iraq right now the US would actually have the option of a military response. It probably wouldn't have been used anyway, but right now the US can't even bluff.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:07 pm
@Robert Gentel,
More on how Georgia is related to Kosovo.

Russia links Kosovo with Georgia

Quote:
Russia has indicated it may change its policy towards breakaway regions in Georgia if the West recognises the independence of Kosovo.

Moscow has repeatedly hinted it could recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia if Kosovo separates from Serbia.

The foreign ministry said Moscow would "take into account" developments in Kosovo, but did not say how.

"We will, without doubt, have to take into account a declaration and recognition of Kosovo independence in connection with the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Moscow.


Here Russia ties it to Palestine and then Georgia explicitly.

Russia worried over UN plans for Kosovo independence
Quote:
A European diplomat who was at the meeting and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Lavrov had compared Kosovo to Palestine. Lavrov asked the ministers why they were in such a hurry to grant independence to Kosovo while for 40 years they had failed to support independence for Palestine, the diplomat said.

.....

Lavrov said that if Kosovo achieved independence, then Ossetia and Abkhazia would have every reason to claim independence as well. Georgia's behavior toward the Ossetians and Abkhazians, he said, was much worse than Serbia's treatment of the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo.


Unless you simply weren't aware of their repeated efforts to justify their actions based on the West's I don't know how you can reasonably contend that these are not related. Russia made very clear threats about South Ossetia when the west recognized Kosovo's independence.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:18 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Here the former Georgian Foreign Minister acknowledges that the link has been made.

Russia Cashes in on Kosovo Fears

Quote:
By splitting the West and the wider international community, the U.S.-backed declaration of independence by Kosovo has given Russia an opening. Countries concerned with separatist problems of their own, from Spain or Cyprus to China, have been unable to follow the U.S. lead in recognizing Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia. And Russia has sought to exploit the gaps that have emerged as a result.

The Balkans is not the only theater in which Moscow is strongly reasserting its presence. This week, just as Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia formally appealed to Russia, the U.N., the E.U. and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) a loose association of post-Soviet countries to recognize their independence.

Leonid Slutsky, First Deputy Chair of the Russian Duma's Foreign Relations Committee, told Itar-Tass on Friday that "So far, Russia doesn't have plans of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia." However, he said, "Should Georgia try using force there, the situation will cardinally change. The same concerns Georgia's plans of joining NATO."

Even a staunchly pro-Western Georgia, furious as it is with Russia, might finally be forced back into Russia's orbit because of Kosovo. "It's indeed surrealistic," quips Japaridze darkly: "How it happens that in terms of the 'Kosovo Precedent' we, Georgians, Azerbaijani, Moldovans, have to support Russia's position and go against the West?!"


I'm stopping here, it should be very clear to you now that this is related. Russia gave as explicit a warning as comes in diplomatic speak that they would do exactly what they did if Georgia used force on the separatist regions and explicitly tied it to Kosovo as loudly and as clearly as they could.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I said I would stop but then I remembered something very relevant. The close ties with Georgia came as a reward for their support for the war in Iraq. These are related events.

Edit: and here's Ron Paul in 2002 opposing the war in Iraq and predicting that Russia would use the precedent in Georgia:

0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Mar, 2009 11:22 am
@Robert Gentel,
I was rereading....If anybody can look at Post 3380223 and tell me where NATO and US/Russia are over this issue now...I'd appreciate it. Always appreciate Robert's thoughtful opinions. With China thumping us in the water...revisiting our situation with Russia seemed appropriate. I never knew how we left this this whole thing...
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Mar, 2009 11:25 am
@Lash,
reading along...remembering with goosebumps the famous Clash of the Titans...(Robert and nimh) Loved the in depth analysis of their views...
0 Replies
 
 

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