Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Monday, March 3, 2014

2008 Russia-Georgia War

Political consultant, author and TV personality Pat Buchanan talks about the Russia/Georgia war here.   He discusses the causes, Putin, the US involvement and more.   It certainly gives a different perspective than we Americans usually hear.  It seems to match a lot of what I read and hear coming from over there.  I also have received e-mails from Russians, Central Asians and even German and American expats who usually are pretty well-informed.  They gave their unfiltered opinions in e-mails.  See below.
Back in 2008, leading up to the US Presidential Election, and shortly after the Beijing Summer Olympics, I sent out an e-mail to friends asking their thoughts on the Russian invasion of Georgia. Now there is a major crisis in the Ukraine, of course.  Don't know if I will conduct such a "study" this time.

The responders were:
2 Germans (one living in the US and one in Thailand)
1 American (living in Thailand)
1 Swede (living in Thailand)
2 Russians (one in Moscow, one in Asheville)
1 Turk (living in Switzerland)
2 Uzbeks (one in Moscow and one in Scotland)

Of course, being that most are not-native English speakers, I left their e-mails as they were.  Wish I could interact in other languages.

My prompt:  I would like your unfiltered opinion on the Russian/Georgia crisis, including the US position and response.

Well, this is politics and we should not try to analyze with brain of simple human. Otherwise everybody would say No to War, Yes to Peace in the world. Western mass media shows only Russia's attack, without telling anything about Georgia's attack to South Ossetia, that was 1st and with no comment. The President of Georgia had shown his incompetence in leading the country and ruling between powerful countries like Russia and USA. A small country like Georgia couldn't find its role and place in the world politics, by following only to US direction.

Russia had to show its power and this was the time. Russia didn’t involve itself in Kosovo or in Iraq while US was telling to the world about so called peace making policy. So this time its turn to USA to talk and talk, but not to make any physical reaction against Russia. 

That's it. One more time I understood that Islam Karimov is good politician, besides his weakness in leading economical side of the country. He is managing so far to be on the air between 2 powerful poles of the world like Russia and USA. 

I wish I could have any clear opinion about the things going on. However there are so much lies from both sides, that I have nothing to say about it. I even still don't understand who started all this and what was the reason. 

Hello, Allen! My opinion might be little bit tilted towards Russian media information. But I gave that a lot of thoughts and read many articles, including UN discussions. Short story: Russia and Georgia sign an agreement in 1992, that Russia will keep its peacekeepers on S. Ossetia territory. Russia has always been telling Georgia, that id G. decides to solve territorial issues with force, it will be suicidal for them. AS you know, there are 127 American advisors in Georgia. Would be foolish to assume that Saakashvili would start something without their permission, advice, or hint. Georgia started bombing, killed 12 peacekeepers, and then used long-range artillery in Tshinvali. Saakashvili said that they just attempted to destroy the main bridge. With mass destruction arms?!?! And somehow media didn't cover much about Tshinvali, but reported every Russian step in Georgia. This US-Russian war, there is no way Georgia would go against Russia considering sizes of both armies.

of course it's pure politics against Russians. "We are putting it for protection against Iran"... yeah, right! American government is screwed up and based on corruption in higher degree than Russian is, I think. May be it's the same, but at least Russian government does not cover their politics by telling their people that everything that is done outside of the country by Russian initiative is for Russian people's safety.   
I've missed out on why this punch up between Georgia and Russia started.  When I got to hear about it, it was in full swing.  Neither the Russians nor the Georgians are nice guys. We should just leave them to it and...

I do not think that giving the Russians a telling off by 'stop or else' will lead to anything. This threat is useless because there cannot be an 'else'. Putin laughs his head off. It is stupid to take sides by supporting Georgia with aid flights, the people of these little separated republics suffer just the same. Only a fool would trust a Russian, whether guy in the street or politician. If Bush ever trusted Putin, Bush is a real idiot.  In the day and age of energy problems the Russians will hold the west to ransom. The first affect would be Europe.

It would have been much wiser to give Ms Merkel a call and ask her to mediate. The lady grew up with this lot, speaks their language and knows what makes them tick. There was some quiet diplomacy going behind the scenes.

My biggest fear is that Bush will keep on shouting and heat up the tension. He would be dumb enough to send soldiers to Georgia. Result would be that Europe would take the brunt while the US is a long way away.

There is enough tension over this defence shield to be built in Poland. Anybody who votes for Republicans in the next election needs his brain examined. A government who can waste money on defence and not provide health care should be executed.

We have a children's book 'Struwelpeter'. He plays with a box of matches and ignores mother's warning. He sets himself on fire. Bush plays with 'matches' and sets the world on fire. He has done enough damage; we don't want more war zones.

I think that Saskavili was way out of line. He gave the Russians a causus belli, or cause of war. He invaded the South Ossetian capital, and then the Russians reacted. I think perhaps the Russian reaction was a bit extreme. However, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia have de facto been part of Russia for about 15 years. I think the Georgian president was too provocative and the Russians overreacted.

I have no idea about Georgia and deep politics. Russia generally does have interest in that area and wants to keep the presence. Well Russia never moved too far away from Soviet style of management and Putin is a one crazy Russian who wants to stay in power. In some former states, Russia maintains its big fatherly figure. And place where its fatherhood was not welcomed Russia kept pressure. East Europe has been lucky as they were taken under the wings of EU. Kazakhstan is doing well as they did maintain some sort of friendly deal with Russia. One of the gestures was moving the capital to Astana from Almaty for example.  Astana is closer to Russian border. Anyway, back to Georgia, which has the one of main gas and oil pipelines to Black Sea which is their major delivery point to Med and EuropeGeorgia has control on major points of the pipeline.  And the leaders of Georgia has been too friendly with EU and US, further going away from the Russian agenda and would not necessarily serve to interest of the Soviet network which somewhat remains in the region. And right now US would not interfere too much: 1) it is about oil. 2) they are busy with Iraq and all (hence oil) 3) Russia is too big & rich to mess with at this point.

Georgia claims Russia has been preparing to wage a war against it for some time and initiated this conflict on purpose. Russia claims otherwise. It is difficult to know exactly how the war started and who started it. Some parts of the western media suggest that Georgia entered South Ossetia in order to regain control over this breakaway region. During the shelling of the capital city of South Ossetia many civilians were killed and injured, including, as Russia argues, Russian citizens and peacekeepers. If we look at things from this perspective, which Russians would favour, it looks certain that it is all but Georgia’s fault. However, I believe that the Russians have much more sinister motives in this war than what they claim which is just a peacekeeping operation or ‘peace enforcement’ as they call it. [NOTE: Before going further, let me be clear about one thing and emphasis it, that is, I do not think that the Georgian were right in bombing S. Ossetia which resulted in many innocent lives lost. I never support killing of innocent people, be it in S. Ossetia, in Georgia, in Iraq, or even in Russia. My thought in this respect is inspired by what is written in the Koran (5:32), the nearest meaning of which translates something like this: ‘If anyone kills an innocent person it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind’.] In my view, the present leaders of Russia were very upset the way Russia was treated immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, they want to show the world, or shall we say the West, that they are powerful and they must be respected. The main philosophy the Russian leaders are pursuing is this unfortunate and false believe that ‘if you frighten them, they will be respected you’. In fact, if you frighten someone, you will get hatred disguised as respect. I wish they could understand that. It seems that Georgia is the best place to show the West, and other former Soviet countries, their muscle because Georgia is one of the only two countries in the CIS (other being the Ukraine) who is promoting democratic values. So, it is like saying to the West, and the US especially, ‘I can kick your little brother in the teeth and there is nothing you can do about it’. In other words, taking this opportunity Russia is trying to punish Georgia for being disloyal. One American expert said on TV that Russia was Saudi Arabia with trees and therefore it must not overestimate its potential and importance. I totally disagree with this rhetoric. Russia is a powerful country; let us not forget about that. It is pity, however, for Russians themselves and all the former Soviet republics that the current Russian leadership is not capable of patience it takes to earn the respect of others for being a democratic, civilized, powerful, and just country. What a great example Russia could set, if it followed this way! 

Sorry for not replying prompt. I went for holidays to Ukraine - Krim peninsular. It's Black sea. Well my opinion ( IMHO) South Ossetia is a part of Georgia but since 1992 they want to be independent. In 1992 there was first war between Georgians and ossetians and then Russia in line with international agreement placed on the boundary between these conflicting parts its peace keeping forces. Since then past 16 years.

Historically Ossetia was an independent state. In 1745 they by own good will become a part of Russia. During USSR period Ossetia has been divided into two parts 1) South Ossetia 2) North Ossetia. However, it's one nation; they have same language (different from Georgians) and same culture. South Ossetia was a part of Socialist Republic of Georgia and North Ossetia was part of Socialist Federation of Russia. Actually about 80% of population of South Ossetia are Russian citizens by passport.

In 1992 when Soviet Union has been broken apart Georgia declare it's independence but South Ossetia decided not to be with Georgia and that is why there was first war.

In our days on 08th of August Georgian president Michael Saakashvili has started military operation aiming quickly place Georgian power at this conflicting territory. During this operation Georgians army (trained and equiped by NATO) attacked Russian peace keeping forces and peacefull citizens of South Osetian capital Tskhinval. In this situation Russia's the only one right step was to stop the aggression and protect it's citizens. On the other hand since it's has past 16 years and still people and president of South Osetia still asking independence I think they deserve it moreover they have all rights for it.


Finally, here are a couple of article that caught my eye back then:
Petropolitics at heart of Russia-Georgia clash
UPDATE 2-US says warned Georgia against Russia fight

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