Monday, August 11, 2008

Land, Oil, People, Power

Man, what a mess. First Georgia tries to pull a fast one on Russia. Then the Russians take advantage of the situation by invading Georgia, former Soviet territory.

Until now, the Bush Administration has backed Georgia, which also -- until now -- had the third largest contingent of the "Coalition of the Willing" left in Iraq. 2,000 troops. And then there were none. Back to Georgia they go to help fight Russians courtesy of the USA. The US reportedly has also confirmed the presence of 130 American personnel in Georgia "for training purposes." I've seen some reports of American mercenaries caught up in the fighting, too.

Looking at maps, it seems clear that Russia, by asserting its raw power, aims to interdict the trans-Georgia oil pipeline. American land forces are bogged down in Iraq, and the Russians are having a field day marching through Georgia.

Bush's official response from Beijing on August 9: "The United States takes this very seriously."

This latest round of violence will put pressure on Obama to pick a VP with strong foreign policy credentials. McCain is probably salivating, images of bombing runs in his head.

I haven't been able to track down the exact observation, but Friedrich Engels once quipped something like, "You may not be interested in War, but War is certainly interested in you."

Today's Rune: Harvest.


Luma said...

It was not pact to respect the games? Russia never accepted the Georgia independent. Beijus

the walking man said...

It would appear as if Russia is again trying to have what they wanted during the time of the Great Soviet, a southern route to the sea. From Georgia and Chechnya they would have access to the Suez canal. From Afghanistan they would have had access to the Arabian sea.

Just as bush lost credibility by invading Iraq, Putin has shown his true colors with this war of aggression.

Now that the game is on one must try to educe the end game for the Russians.

This also is a flanking move on the Chechen's. which may be the real target here, there is a revenge and security factor involved.

No one in government ever learns. World wars have been fought for less than this.

Anonymous said...

Dont' worry. If we invade Georgia the price of peaches will not go up.--Patton

Anonymous said...

"U.S. hesitates as Russia roars"

Bush administration lacks leverage, resolve to step in, despite pledges of solidarity to Georgia.

Anne Gearan / Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The Russian Bear is back, and the United States doesn't seem to be able to do much about it.

The United States saw trouble coming between Russia and Georgia, a former Soviet republic turned nemesis, but didn't have enough leverage, focus or resolve to intervene. Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a specialist on the old Soviet Union, may have misjudged the combustible combination of Russian grievance and ambition.

The Bush administration's assurances of solidarity with a young democracy also may have given Georgia's silver-tongued, U.S.-educated, leader a little too much swagger as he picked a playground fight he never could win on his own.

Once war began, the U.S. looked hesitant and ineffective, answering tank columns with jawboning by President Bush on the sidelines of the Olympic Games in Beijing and Rice on the phone from a resort vacation.

Russia blithely ignored U.S. and European protests that Moscow sees as hypocritical and that it knows will go only so far. Despite wide condemnation of Russian action as illegitimate, no one was talking about sending forces to help Georgia.

"When one country conquers another, that is typically regarded as pretty serious, and the inability to do anything about it is something the United States is not accustomed to," said Stephen Sestanovich, an expert on Russia and Eurasia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Bush has put Moscow on notice that U.S. relations with Russia would suffer if the conflict continued, but Russian leaders know that Washington needs their cooperation on a host of world problems. They know, too, that the American public has no stomach for war in an obscure corner of the globe and that Bush will be out of a job in five months.

In talking points on the conflict obtained by The Associated Press, the Bush administration claims it had no specific warning that Georgia would try to retake control of a breakaway border region largely loyal to Russia.

That doesn't mean diplomats, intelligence analysts and others weren't worried about worsening Russian relations with Georgia over the past two years.

"There's blame to go around," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said, referring to Georgian provocation and what the U.S. considers an out-of-bounds Russian response.

Asked what lessons Georgia's neighbors might draw about the value of cozying up to the United States, Wood said the United States will keep appealing for calm.

"The United States is a reliable partner in the world," he said.

Danny Tagalog said...

Neat Engels quote there. Neat title too.

JR's Thumbprints said...

It's all about who can control the oil, the land, and the people. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and what effect it will have on our presidential election.