Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Terrible Pictures from Georgia

The pictures from Georgia on the BBC News and Newsnight tonight, together with eyewitness accounts shoud lay to rest any suspicion that the Russians are the good guys in the South Ossetian conflict. The accounts of the refugees are heartbreaking. The whole area is being cleansed of Georgians. Houses are being burned now, innocent bystanders are being beaten up - and worse. Russian troops, far from withdrawing from Georgian territory are moving further into it. They are not confining their operations within the borders of South Ossetia. Gavin Hewitt's pictures do not lie.

I was heartened by George W Bush's remarks this evening - not something I often say. He has rightly made a stand and I hope our government will follow suit with equally unequivocal language. He has told Russia exactly what the West expects of it - to respect international borders and to allow in humanitarian aid to the displaced Georgians.

The long term consequences of this conflict are enormous and I don't think anyone can yet contemplate exactly what they may be.

65 comments:

Luis said...

What you do not mention is the fact that the Georgian started this by sending in artillery and rockets against civilians. Hardly civilised either.

This was a Russian 9/11 and they responded in line with the US benchmark.

James Barlow said...

Would that it were so easy that the world could be divided into "good guys" and "bad guys".

Retired Cold Warrior said...

To be entirely objective, this is one of those miserable little conflicts in which, frankly, there aren't any good guys. Saakashvili made an earth-shakingly stupid decision to attempt to pull the (90% Russian) enclave of South Ossetia back under Georgian suzerainty, his forces trashed Tskhinvali and were promptly routed by the far more competent Russian Army, which was present in the region in a "peacekeeping" role.

I don't see a fag paper of difference between the two sides and we, with the Kosovo and Iraq experiences so fresh in everyone's memory, have no occasion to take the high ground on armed interventions by foreign powers into other national entities' territories.

It's a terrible thing for the poor sods caught up in it, it always is - it's never the Saakashvilis and Putins who end up paying the butcher's bill, it's the unfortunate civilians stuck in the middle.

The Russians, with a certain amount of justification, are now intent on dismantling the Georgian military establishment and establishing a cordon sanitaire around South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

That said, the *do* need to catch a grip of the South Ossetian gangsters who, it would appear, are currently running amok in Gori.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I am a bit surprised you have swallowed the BBC line without caveat.

Whatever the complexities of this, the "Russians are bad, the Georgians are good" scenario is bollocks. Gavin Hewitt's pictures may not lie, but they are necessarily selective. (I havn't seen them) I think everybody needs to get a grip of this situation and realise that President Saakashvili is no angel.

If you then turn this around and place America in the role that Russia is currently starring in, you can see that we are operating a dual standard of massive proportions. As Michael Binyon points out in the Times:

"Big powers do not like other big powers poaching. This may not be moral or fair but it is reality, and one that underpins the Security Council veto. The Monroe Doctrine - “hands off the Americas” - has been policy in Washington for 200 years. The US is ready to risk war to keep out not only other powers but hostile ideologies - in Cuba and Nicaragua."

America spends a lot of time and money propping up rather dubious regimes to serve its own ends. I don't apologise for Russia, but if you look at it from their perspective they have been cornered, to a much, much greater extent than the United States would ever allow.

And let's not go down the road of accusing Russia of invading a sovereign state on a flimsy pretext, shall we?

Anonymous said...

The us republicans will be hoping this escalates.

Ian Deans said...

"...I hope our government will follow suit with equally unequivocal language."

Ahhh yes, strong language from the US and the UK. That will stop the Russians from ever considering this kind of action again.

teacher.paris said...

Curious information from aJewish news service.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3580136,00.html

Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew.

Georgia's Minister tasked with the conflict zones is Temuri Yakobashvili. Yakobashvili is a Jew and is fluent in Hebrew.

Neither is reported to be homosexual.

Ken Adams said...

Hey guys,


I am half-american/half-georgian and my family lives there.
I honestly don't really care who are the bad and the good guys in this conflit, I just care about the fact that innocents get killed and that a country, in this case my country, might get devastated and take years to get back on track like it's happening in Lebanon since the 2006 war.


I just started a blog to collect information about friends and relatives living in Georgia and keep track of the conflict.

I'll try to relate information from as many sources as I can.

I anyone wants editorial access to the blog to help me post stuff, just let me know!

http://sakartvelo-war.blogspot.com/

canvas said...

Did George Bush respect Iraq's border when the rest of the world condemned the USA/UKs aggressive and disproportionate actions?

Oil Oil Oil

George Bush didn't react to the situation in Darfur or Zimbabwe in such a manner - no oil - no help?

Most politicians are so hypocritical. Georgia started this entire mess of a war. Shame on Georgia, Shame on Russia too.

John McCain and David Cameron have both responded in a poor manner to this situation. Barack Obama has taken the most measured approach.

It's all about the oil - again. Don't fall for the 'freedom' crap.

The neo-cons need to realise their language is outdated.

I can't believe Iain talks about the 'bad guys'. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

McCain and the Republicans are warmongers and McCain has serious anger management issues. The world doesn't need McCain opening his mouth right now.

David said...

Contrary to the propaganda from our political and media elite, this is not a black and white story. The Russian governement, unlike ours, primarily looks after its national interest. As long as that does not directly affect us (and Georgia emphatically does not), how Russia deals with its troublesome periphery is none of our business. And one final thing, my son will not fight for Georgia. I will make sure of that. But I am sure that all of you laptop warmongers will be volunteering the front line.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the main thrust of the comments so far...why just report on the heavily anti-Russia coverage on the BBC. Newsnight dedicated so much more air time to selling the conflict as Russian initiated, with a few minutes of pictures on equally injured and traumatised civilians following the initial cause of this, the Georgians promising not to attack in South Ossetia and then breaking their word and doing exactly that.

I must admit though, the gall of that man Bush is absolutely astounding...the fact that he is pronouncing without any concept of the destruction and manipulation of his years in Government makes me hope that Russia does rub his nose in it.

Sabretache said...

I'm surprised that one so well versed in the ways of domestic politics can be quite so naive when it comes to Geo-politics. Goodies and baddies? - well, winckled weazel has already said it.

Apart from natural humanitarian concern for all victims of war - and God knows we've produced more than our fair share of those these past 10 years or so - there's just one thing in your post that is indisputable - the gravity of the situation.

Of one thing we can be certain: Saakashvili did not launch his attack on Tschinvali without the foreknowledge and agreement of his US mentors - Just think about that because, if you do, it becomes pretty self-evident. Which begs some very grave questions indeed. For some suggested answers I recommend this and this (among many other that look right through the orthodox NATO/US 'Bully-Boy Russia garbage being incessantly cranked out by the Western MSM). They don't make comfortable reading for those of us that like to dwell in the cocoon of trust in the West as the self-evident, well-meaning Good-Guys, but their perspective is sorely needed among all the self-righteous outrage on display by all UK political parties right now.

With George Bush promising the involvement of both the US Navy and Air Force (for purely humanitarian purposes naturally) the prospect of open hostilities between the worlds two most massively nuclear armed states looms large. I fear the world has just become more dangerous than at any time in history.

Shaun said...

This is a much more complex situation than the simple narrative of 'plucky little Georgia v Evil brutal Russia' suggests. Yes, the Georgians resorted to force first, firing indiscriminate MLRS at the South Ossetian capital. That, however, is a function of the strange mania of their leader who is reported to have been pulled back from attacking the breakaway regions on numerous prior occasions by European and American diplomats and government officials.

If self-determination is right for Kosovo, why is it wrong for Ossetia? This double standard irritates any fair-minded person, let alone the Russians!

That Georgia is part of an overt strategy that the US/NATO expounds to 'encircle' Russia shows that far from the cold war ushering in a period of peace, we used it as an opportunity to continue treating Russia as an enemy: Something to be schemed against and surrounded. With that overt strategy, is it really a surprise that Russia would baulk?

Anonymous said...

"Gavin Hewitt's pictures do not lie."

Everything broadcast by Al-beeb is always the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Ha ha ha.

Anonymous said...

What a load of hypocritical codswallop. We, repeat we, invaded Iraq on the basis of a pack of lies. At least the Americans were “honest”. Regime change was their specific, stated reason. Ours was the same but we didn’t have the guts to admit it. When Blair resigned his clone Call Me Dave led a standing ovation. I know you would like to be a Tory MP but please be a little more objective. Pots and kettles anyone?

Anonymous said...

Newsnight also carried a report from Sarah Rainsford about the devastation in Tskhinvali. But I guess that that can be ignored because it does not fit the narrative.

Anonymous said...

Didn't take you long to fall into line Iain, from I'm not sure, to its all the Russians fault.

Strange isn't that what Surfer Dude Dave is now saying.

The Yanks encouraged Georgia to poke the Bear with a stick, they are now reaping the rewards. Lets hope we in this country don't have to pay a price for the stupidity of Bush and Rice.

Georgia isn't worth the bones of a single British Grenadier

n3ntropy said...

Iain, please stop your absurdly over simplistic views on international politics and stick with what you know! Its frankly embarassing to read such a simplistic view on a conflict you clearly have no knowledge of (save the bbc report to mention). No contextualisation at all. You just diminish any integrity rendered by your usually insightful posts about domestic politics.

JessTheDog said...

War generates terrible pictures. This isn’t even a war. I am in despair at the continuing coverage by the BBC and Channel 4 in particular, which focuses on the “effects” of this limited conflict: burnt-out houses, corpses, injured civilians and soldiers and ignores the wider context, underlying issues and unfolding events. Nick Paton Walsh on C4 News two nights ago was pathetic – he seemed to be quivering with outrage that the Russians had apparently not implemented a ceasefire announced by their President (with Putin’s permission?) on TV a few hours beforehand. Military operations follow a chain of command with authorisation and authentication required, and also a transition period to defensible positions. This does not mean that helicopters will stop flying, or that troops will suddenly start hugging their enemies and playing football. I am also in despair at the cack-handed “diplomacy” that tipped this containable situation over the edge last week by emboldening the Georgians in S Ossetia, and at the idiotic brinkmanship of EU and NATO expansionists and Republican neocons (invading or attacking sovereign states – ha ha!). Georgia is in the Russian sphere of influence, NATO expansion to the “near abroad” is a disastrous idea – we will either end up fighting an Article 5 war or walking away from one – and much of the post-Soviet territorial settlement is a mess, Georgia in particular. Don’t wish for a speedy Russian withdrawal – that would be worse as it would leave the rather angry Russo-Georgians unchecked.

Chekov said...

This is quite simply bollocks. Russia has been withdrawing its troops in an orderly fashion trying to ensure that no repeat is possible in the short term. Georgian police are being allowed to enter the areas which they are then leaving. To make accusations of ethnic cleansing when Georgia has attempted to cleanse Ossetia first in the 90s and then at the end of last week is jaw droppingly ignorant. You're seeing exactly what you want to see in this conflict. There's an excellent article here

http://burkescorner.blogspot.com/2008/08/august-and-drums-of-war.html

examining how an ACTUAL conservative, as opposed to the rabble that is in your party at the moment, should respond to this crisis. The west's response gets ever more hypocritical.

Stand alone Russia. You played a blinder, you did what you had to do and not one of these country's can do eff all about it.

Sabretache said...

Another recommendation: Dmitry Orlov on The Trouble With Georgia

Here is man uniquely qualified to comment and his slightly tongue-in-cheek piece is a welcome antidote to the crescendo of jingoistic outrage on display in much of the Western MSM.

SNIP
Shevardnadze slowly sank into a morass of corruption and national decay, until finally even the West decided that he smelled bad and unceremoniously replaced him with a shiny new face: the American-educated Mikhail Saakashvili. And this brings us to the current conflict, which he started. It is unclear why he decided to start it, but then his American education might offer a clue: the US doesn't seem to need good reasons to start wars either.
ENDSNIP

Quite so.

theBlueGuerilla. said...

Both administrations are at fault. tBg is now showing the Russian view on his blog. http://theblueguerilla.blogspot.com

David said...

Lew Rockwell has suggested that we form a Neo-Con Expeditionary Force to be parachuted into Georgia to take on Russia (see http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/022347.html). I am sure that all of our media laptop warmongers would be happy to be part of the British contingent.

Unsworth said...

Never mind all this nonsense about Russia feeling threatened by NATO/EU encirclement.

This is limited military action arising from continuing all-out economic warfare. The pipeline is the real issue for America, its proxies and allies, and for Russia, too.

In the meantime the civilians suffer 'collateral damage'.

Anonymous said...

Poor Iain. Like plucky Georgia, he opportunistically stepped into the foreign affairs arena, only to be shot down by the Russian big guns.

I wonder if there will turn out to have been an April Glaspie moment. She was the US Ambassador to Iraq in 1990 who seems to have accidentally given the impression to Saddam that America would not intervene if he invaded Kuwait. As other commentators have noted, Saakashvili's actions seem so rash that you wonder if he misunderstood the position of his NATO "allies".

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Excellent piece. I note it was late last evening you placed it on your blog.

It is now turned 10am and NOWT absolutely nothing from our man of courage. the man making all the right decisions for the country. The man who can and will make the BIG decisions!

What a coward!

How this mighty nation has been made to look like a fourth world country by this incompetent shower.

In other countries there would be a revolution. What is it about the English/Welsh and Scots that we just accept mediocre politicioans?

Anonymous said...

I found this post by Iain unbelievably cringeworthy and embarrassing. 'Bad guys'? oh my god, Iain, what the hell are you talking about??

Georgia are responsible for the sorry situation they are in today. The USA, the neo cons and George W Bush helped Georgia get there. Yes, Russia is behaving badly - but so is Georgia.

Screw Georgia, screw George Bush, Condi Rice , the Republicans, David Cameron and John McCain. They have all behaved like war mongers and hypocrites. Shame on them.

Maybe it's a good thing that Gordon Brown is still in his bunker. He has enough problems of his own at the moment.

ed thomas said...

Don't worry Iain-

I've been talking about this over drinks with professors and CEOs in Prague who know a hell of a lot more about Russia than the vast majority of the jokers commenting on this thread- perhaps less than the shills of course. "Luis" at the top of this thread could have been a spambot, for all I can tell.

The summary of their views is that Russia has fallen back to her old ways. No one has much appetite for action, but no one has any illusions about Russia the way these commenters do. Russia needs facing down; the bottle to do so is another thing.

Come to think of it, the thread appears to divide between idiots and cowards.

balanced said...

Washington Post>>>:

"McCain, Georgia and Lobbying

John McCain's strong anti-Russia comments on the Georgia situation and the fact that his top foreign policy adviser is part owner of a lobbying firm that provides strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington have produced a surge of anti-McCain comments.

A few commenters have whacked "WaPo" for keeping the lobbying information out of the story on McCain's remarks. The lobbying connection was reported in a separate article, which our Internet readers wouldn't necessarily have seen. Both articles were packaged on page A3 or the The Washington Post's print edition. But the way articles get found on the Internet has little to do with newspaper design. Another lesson for how we in the MSM still have much to learn about the difference between internet and broadsheet presentation.

There are few defenders of McCain in the comments on these articles; many readers cite his statement on Fox News that "We've seen this movie before in Prague and Budapest" as evidence that his well-documented quick temper makes him a significant gamble for president."

Anonymous said...

Washington Post>>>:

"McCain, Georgia and Lobbying

John McCain's strong anti-Russia comments on the Georgia situation and the fact that his top foreign policy adviser is part owner of a lobbying firm that provides strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington have produced a surge of anti-McCain comments.

A few commenters have whacked "WaPo" for keeping the lobbying information out of the story on McCain's remarks. The lobbying connection was reported in a separate article, which our Internet readers wouldn't necessarily have seen. Both articles were packaged on page A3 or the The Washington Post's print edition. But the way articles get found on the Internet has little to do with newspaper design. Another lesson for how we in the MSM still have much to learn about the difference between internet and broadsheet presentation.

There are few defenders of McCain in the comments on these articles; many readers cite his statement on Fox News that "We've seen this movie before in Prague and Budapest" as evidence that his well-documented quick temper makes him a significant gamble for president."

Dick the Prick said...

Personally I thought the pictures did lie - we had shots of a police blockade and a traffic jam and some idiot reporter saying 'it appears the Russians are heading towards Tblisi' - err... no it doesn't sweetie - it appears you're stood next to a roadblock and have taken a coppers info instead of getting a motorbike and swerving round the block but perhaps no cajones eh??

Oh and the ITN dude who had his sweeties stolen and Millibland raising it with the Chinese - God save me from these children.

Dick the Prick said...

Dear Iain

If i'm very good at school do you think that perhaps one day I can be as sanctimonious as Ed Thomas?

Yours ignorantly

Richard

PS. He's a teacher - quelle surprise!

neil craig said...

Pictures make emotive TV. They are not part of the analysis - they are often, even usually, part of the propaganda.

Thoughout the Yugolsav wars all the pictures came from the side we supported & truly horrible pictures of our KLA (subsequently NATO "police") &, in Bosnia, al Quaeda friends displaying severed human heads weren't even alluded to. We are seeing the same in Georgia & will doubtless see more.

There is also evidence, as happened in the Lebanese war, of fabrication such as this example of a mother weeping over her dead son's body, before he moved to a different pose for another shot.

http://byzantinesacredart.com/blog/2008/08/deceiving_the_world_with_pictu.html

I am heartened that, despite the spinning by the MSM, discusiion online, which is perhaps the only unmoderated public voice, has been overwhelmingly unconvinced, even here where one might reasonably expect right wing enemies of Russia to be common. Having, at the time, swallowed the lies on Yugoslavia & nearly chocked on the lies about Iraq I think the public are not in the mood for more.

Penguinissimo said...

This is my first comment here, and it's a controversial one.

I think George Bush, and all his flaws, is the ideal person to deal with Russia in this mood.

Russia, from what I have read and watched on this conflict, needs to be faced down by someone who might actually take action to back up his words.

Anyone who doubts that, for whatever reason, Dubya has it in him to take military action in Georgia is wrong. For that reason, the Russians have to take his big words and tough posturing more seriously than anyone else's.

This is a rare instance where we want the US to see itself as the world's policeman.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Saakashvili's actions seem so rash that you wonder if he misunderstood the position of his NATO "allies"."

Given the precent of Yugoslavia the correct position for the NATO war criminals would be to invade Georgia to enforce the break-up of the country and independence of South Ossetia.

tapestry said...

Putin will press on with his brutality, expecting Ukraine and the Baltics, and others to fall into line.

He will finally arrive at Kosovo, where the West will have to decide whether to fight to save this new Albanian mini-state against the Russians, or settle.

The EU will be split asunder with bankrupt countries like Spain and Italy crashing out of the eurozone, and between countries that will stand up to Russia and those who won't.

Buy gold. Emigrate.

But in any event get rid of the EU.

Only a Europe of nations will survive the twin forces of Russian brutality and the credit crunch.

The hopelessness of bureaucratic centralisation will be exposed.

Casual Observer said...

The Georgians who live in that part of Georgia will not have felt the need to restrain themselves as soon as Saakashvili's cat got out of its bag. They would have had a field day or two doing things to Ossetians that you would not wish to contemplate too deeply. However terrible the pictures on TV are, I doubt anyone would have the stomach to view the results of what the Russians would have seen when they turned up.

Tribal wars in those gorges have been going on for centuries. Now they have Kalashnikovs and RPG launchers and well as large and sharp knives to settle old scores. They know how to do the Warlord bit in Northern Georgia...

ed thomas said...

Tricky Dicky-

Normally I avoid all the stuff where you say who you've been talking to (as, frankly, it's just a bit of luck really, and I've no desire for any attention), but as it's around 40 years since the Ruskies were sitting around 60 metres (less, I think) from where I'm typing, and since I was yesterday talking to a Prof who was a boy of ten watching them sitting in their tanks at the end of his road, and since there is such a bunch of idiots and, yes, shills, infesting this thread, I thought it'd be unsporting not to comment.

Russia has the same imperial mentality it's had for centuries. Get used to the old Russia.

ian boys said...

Iain,

1. The Georgians opened the conflict with massive artillery rocket fire against a civilian built up area, something we would regard as tantamount to a war crime.

2. The revenge attacks/looting etc seem to be the work of South Ossetian armed civilians/militia and other irregular North Caucasian elements and **not** the Russian regular army. That is like saying NATO should be blamed for revenge attacks by Kosovars. They bear a small responsibility maybe but that doesn't mean they are doing it themselves.

3. Fully agree on Rwanda btw.

ian

Norfolk Blogger said...

I am amazed at the number of anonymous people on here who criticise the BBC for supposedly shlowing only one side of the conflict (pro Georgian) and then more anonymous posters make reference to BBC reports from South Ossetia on Newsnight, but fail to mention that this shows the other side of the debate. Some people (anonymous people are always so brave) seem unable to see that Newsnight IS a BBC programme !

Ross said...

I'm amazed that some people are still parroting the Kremlin propaganda that Georgia started the war, Russian backed militias have been attacking Georgia for months in order to provoke a response.

Putin's Russia is a terrorist state as we can from its actions in Georgia or indeed from its nuclear terrorism in London.

Anonymous said...

iain, don't believe the hype.
there are no winners or losers in this conflict.
yet again innocent people die because of oil and corrupt politicians.
the georgian president should resign.

retired cold warrior said...

Here's one for Ed Thomas.

While I wouldn't claim to be a Czech professor (wrong nationality and profession), I am a former Soviet affairs specialist in a Western military and fluent Russian speaker. I don't think I'm either a fool or a coward, nor do I think of myself as a Russian shill. Quite the contrary, actually.

My point is that this was a self-inflicted wound. The Russians may well have become aware of Saakashvili's intent and done nothing to prevent the initial Georgian attack on Tskhinvali, that's entirely possible, but their actions in turning the Georgians back, trashing their capability to repeat their action and probably in engineering a regime change in Georgia equate in just about every way to the new Western interventionist doctrine.

If you were happy about Kosovo and Iraq, you need to be happy about Georgia, if not, not.

Dick the Prick said...

Retired (although sceptical about that one) Cold Warrior - yup, fully agree. How can we possibly lambast Putin when the US & UK (shame) have been taking absolute liberties? What he's gonna say "oh no lads, go right ahead?". Have a good un.

ed thomas said...

retired cold warrior-

Naturally I should doff my cap to your experience and especially to your Russian, but then I would take issue with your argument.

You claim that Kosovo and Ossetia are analogous. Surely the analogy is better between Russia and Serbia.

Serbia was at the head of a difficult-to-manage amalgam of nationalities. To prevent the breakdown of a status quo which favoured them they went to war against nationalities which wished to break it down.

Similarly Russia is at the centre of an unwieldy amalgam of nationalities. Russia has used Ossetia for over a decade as a cause through which to undermine Georgian independence and insinuate itself into their politics, thus to slow down and now to reverse its own disintegration. This latest action, with Russians at the ready in both northern and eastern disputed territories, was clearly part of a strategy.

The analogy you highlight is precisely that which Russia has propagandised and which it intends to be accepted. I don't think it's a good one. Kosovo was breaking away from a weak and decrepit power (Serbia) which bore no threat to Europe as it had no substantial backers after the fall of the USSR. Europe gained nothing from Kosovo's rebellion. On the other hand, by Ossetia's rebellion Russia gains immense rewards- endorsement of itself (which is a tremendous reversal of the modern norm), the right to intervene in one of its rebel former vassals, impact on the oil/gas supplies of Europe, prestige at home, a "pour encourager les autres effect" in Russia's interior and more respect among the former satellites. In addition to which NATO is put in the spotlight and possibly cowed. Unlike Europe in relation to Serbia, Russia is (in terms of its historic character) actually threatened by Georgian alliances, as well as that of the Baltic states and Eastern-Central Europe. Not threatened in the sense that you and I probably recognise, but in the mind of an ultra-nationalist, threatened.

Europe merely was ashamed of conflict on its borders- and needed Uncle Sam to do most of the dirty work after years and years of shilly-shallying. Could there be a greater contrast?

Truly people are deluded if they think Kosovo = Ossetia, notwithstanding any purported career paths.

neil craig said...

Ross to say that Russia started it discredits anything you say.

You could say Russia overreacted (I don't but at least that is a possible line of argument) but the fact is that the Georgians launched the attack; that it was done after American training & arming & almost certainly prior approval); and that it can reasonably be described as genocidal in nature.

Tapestry I almost wish you were right & that they were going to come & take NATO's ethnicly cleansed Kosovo with its drug lords, slave brothel keepers & organleggers.

Unlike Uan Boys I believe that if Russia is not doing its best to prevent South Ossetians killing they should be held just as responsible as NATO should for the atrocities we undoubtedly were responsible for Kosovo. 2 caveats - it is quite possible that some looting is being done by Georgians - there are widespread reports of Georgian soldiers stealing cars & removing their uniforms & scared & hungry soldiers do not behave like gentlemen. Secondly such repots are coming from our media. On a previous thread Kate Adie's handler expressed his shame about how she had distorted reports in Kosovo about atrocities to fit the agenda & we know they censored & are still censoring any mention of the Dragodan massacre, where 210 were murdered in cold blodd hear British HQ or the hundreds of Serbs to sell their organs. Such reporters are not to be trusted.

Yak40 said...

many readers cite his statement on Fox News that "We've seen this movie before in Prague and Budapest" ...

Exactly, shout it from the rooftops.

One might have expected The Annointed Obama to have made a useful contribution seeing that he is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on European Affairs. How many meetings has he held held since this appointment ?
NONE.

Anonymous said...

Putin might be nasty but he is sane. He is giving the Russians some of their self-respect back. We should welcome that, because a country that size without self-respect is a lot more dangerous than a dozen Putins. Innocent people have died, and if someone close to me had been a victim of his 'project' then how do I know that I wouldn't want to take him on? But I couldn't expect a nation to act on that hurt. What should we do? Break ties with Russia? Refuse their oil and gas? It's thanks to decades of incompetence in energy policy under both Labour and the Conservatives that we are in such a weak position. So, the only option we have is to show a bit of common sense. That is not appeasement. It's cold reality. Saakashvilli is the nutcase here. Putin may be a murderer, or complicit in murder but he is not Hitler. He is very rational.

AfricanMum said...

I'm sure if we saw pictures of South Ossetians being attacked by Georgia in the 2 weeks before the western media picked up this story, they'd be just as pitiful.
The Georgian president seems too close to the Republicans in America for my liking. The republican right are Christianity's answer to al-Quaeda. McCain is saying the crisis shows he's more fit to lead the 'free world'. Perhaps their lackey in Georgia thought he could play a few games to help the neo-cons in November. Perhaps he's trying to obtain a pipeline to help his soon to be unemployed friend in the white house should he go back to oil trading. Either way the Georgian president has misfired. He has recklessly endangered stability in Europe. And us saying there are good and bad guys in this equates to Bush's axis of evil statement.

davod said...

It seem the Fellow Travellers and the simpletons never left. They were just waiting for a reason to rush to the Soviets aid (Yes I said Soviet). These coupled with the US is always wrong (Especially, but not alway Republicans) crowd tend to fill most of any blog.

davod said...

PS:

Now that I have got that out of the way I will say that the Russians conducted denial of service attacks on the Georgian government starting on July 20.

Logistics is everything, even in todays fast paced electronic environment.

The Russians attacked on three fronts, the two separatist areas and from the sea.

They attacked with infantry, armor
aircraft and ships and probably marines.

Given that the Russian military is still more rubbish than effective, one can only assume the Russians have been preparing for this for a long time.

retired cold warrior said...

Ed -

I think there's a precise correspondence between Kosovo and South Ossetia in terms of the status quo immediately ante. The West intervened in Kosovo in order that the overwhelmingly Albanian population could break free from Serbian hegemony, even though Kosovo, historically, was considered part of the Serbian homeland. The Russians intervened in South Ossetia and have fought this bijou war in order that the overwhelmingly Russian-by-chosen-nationality could break free from Georgian hegemony, even though South Ossetia was defined as part of the Georgian SSR in the early 20s and detached from North Ossetia, which remained inside the RSFSR.

I'm not taking any moral stance myself, here, you understand - the Russians have played a particularly robust game of Realpolitik, but the argument that we showed them the way is compelling.

I was in Moscow immediately after the recognition of Kosovan independence and it was striking just how upset the Russians were at having their interests and opinions ignored out of hand by the West.

The perception in Russia is that ever since the fall of the USSR the West has been taking the piss and exploiting the Russian people and there's a strong element of payback in much of the rhetoric emerging from the Russian press and government. Interesting that, unusually, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Izvestiya are producing much the same line...

Defend Georgia said...

I find a lot of the comments here staggering - I think some people have mistaken this for the Pravda blog.
Georgia laboured under Russian imperialism under the Tsars and under Soviet rule from Lenin to Gorbachev inclusive. Moscow created the phony South Ossetia 'question' just like Hitler blew under the Sudeten issue.

For all you naive moral equivalencers out there (I'm looking at you Obama), YOU may not see Western inaction as rewarding Russian aggression but Putin/Medvedev will and it will be downhill from here.

For all our sakes, the message should be, as McCain said, "We are all Georgians now".

Anonymous said...

No, we are not all Georgians today. We are who we are. The Georgian President has a lot to answer for. He foolishly started this war and he should be held accountable for his actions and poor judgment.

Yes, Russia is OTT but we all know that anyway.

John McCain is a warmonger and he is using this war for his own political agenda. Shame on McCain.

Anonymous said...

davod said...

"(Yes I said Soviet)."

And there we have it. Russia must have no national interests because it was once something else. So let's pretend it's the same and have a war. Long live the Georgian empire. Down with self-determination for the Ossies. All entirely different from Yugoslavia, natch.

davod said...

Annon - August 15, 2008 6:22 AM:

You do not understand my earlier point. Or maybe it is not on your list of things to say.

Yours and the Russian argument fails for one simple reason. Logistics.

The Russian military is stretched to do anything meaningfull. Denial of service attacks starting in mid-July, navy and air force support.

This was planned well in advance.

neil craig said...

Davod builds his theory that the war was started by a Russian conspiracy, which presumably makes the Georgian President a russian agent all along, on the foundation that

"Given that the Russian military is still more rubbish than effective,..."

If there is one thing that, after a 4 day war that completley annihilated Georgia's military, that can not be a "given now that is it.

Does anybody disputec that Georgia did launch an attack, like Criatia'sattack on Krajina, genocidal in nature by the legal definition, on South Ossetia? If so then what exactly should Russia have done?

neil craig said...

Davod builds his theory that the war was started by a Russian conspiracy, which presumably makes the Georgian President a russian agent all along, on the foundation that

"Given that the Russian military is still more rubbish than effective,..."

If there is one thing that, after a 4 day war that completley annihilated Georgia's military, that can not be a "given now that is it.

Does anybody disputec that Georgia did launch an attack, like Criatia'sattack on Krajina, genocidal in nature by the legal definition, on South Ossetia? If so then what exactly should Russia have done?

Man in a Shed said...

Russia is now a real developing threat. There rush for living room and the use of ethnic enclaves is a reflection of 1930's Germany. The sooner Putin is stood up to the less people will die. Its time to face us to the fact that Russia has chosen insanity over peace.

Anonymous said...

How would we have felt if Russia had been enticing France to join the old Warsaw Pact?

And yeah, better buy an extra jumper when they turn the gas off in response to the bleatings about morality - as if we have the moral high ground!

Darrell G said...

Neither side are the 'good guys'...as your very first poster said the Georgians were rocketing civilians....in response to 'defend georgia' it's not as if Putin invented that...there was no need for a aggressive military action which could easily have turned into a genocide....

I agree with the vast majority of the posters here; there are no bad guys in this one....

davod said...

"And yeah, better buy an extra jumper when they turn the gas off in response to the bleatings about morality - as if we have the moral high ground!"

Yes. The Soviets are back. Agree with me or else.

neil craig said...

Dacod clearly most of don't agree with you.

Tell me - it russia was wrong to send in troops what should they have done when Georgia statred this genocide against russian citizens. What, in your opinion would have been the moral action?

OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

That's funny, I didn't see Russia unleash a torrent of Grad missiles on civilian areas for a whole day while the UK and US gave the big thumbs up.

You mess with the bull, you get the horns.