Saturday, August 09, 2008

YouTube Video: Russia Today Presents Report On Russian Action In Georgia; Is The "Evil Empire" Back?

Update August 12th: War halted, see updated post HERE.

Here's a report filed by Russia Today, which provides English-language video reports of news from Russia. Their reportage seems to be quite professional, and will probably be both more and better coverage than you'll get from the American networks except possibly CNN. This 11-minute video is mostly raw footage from the area, although there are clips of the statement by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, commentary by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Interesting order of appearance that the president is only considered third in importance behind the prime minister and the foreign minister.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4tvUrIQe0U



Since my previous post on this conflict, a just-published New York Times article reveals new information. Senior European Union officials adamantly blamed both Russia and Georgia were to blame for the recent escalation of the conflict, and that finger-pointing was counterproductive. Cristina Gallack, a spokeswoman Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said that the EU's immediate objective was to reach a cease-fire, and European envoys were reported to be en route to the region.

Other Western officials monitored the movements with alarm. “The record is crystal clear,” said a Western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Russia has launched a full-scale military operation, on air, land and sea. We have entered a totally new realm — politically, legally and diplomatically.”

Russia appeared to be opening a second front in Abkhazia, to the west of South Ossetia, and to be aiming to drive Georgian troops from the Kodori Gorge, a small mountainous area in Abkhazia that Georgia reclaimed by force in 2006.

Georgian officials said 12 Russian jets were bombing the area, shortly after a Western official said United Nations peacekeepers had withdrawn from the area at the request of Abkhazia’s de facto government. Russia also notified Western governments that it was moving ships of its Black Sea fleet to Ochamchire, a port on the Abkhaz coast. Georgian officials said they expected Russian troops to land there.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashivili said Russia’s oil riches and desire to assert economic leverage over Europe and the West had emboldened Kremlin country to attack. Georgia is a transit country for oil and natural gas exports from the former Soviet Union that threatens Russia’s near monopoly. “They need control of energy routes,” Mr. Saakashvili said. “They need seaports. They need transportation infrastructure. And primarily, they want to get rid of us.”

It's quite obvious that Russia's intent is to permanently amputate South Ossetia and Abkhazia altogether, using the large number of Russian citizens resident therein as the excuse. This has unpleasant implications for any other former Soviet satellite with a significant number of Russians. In particular, this would apply to the small Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Currently, 29 percent of Latvians are ethnic Russians, and Latvia is requiring that they become fluent in Latvia in order to acquire Latvia citizenship, according to Wikipedia. This policy has set Russia's teeth on edge.

The idea that a country can invade another country because the first country believes it's citizens are at risk sets a dangerous precedent. What happens if we decide to start deporting illegal Mexican aliens in large numbers and Mexico decides that constitutes "abusing" their citizens? Will the Mexican government use the Georgia action as a pretext to try to invade us?

Of course, the Blame America First crowd will try to compare this to our invasion of Iraq in an attempt to excuse Russian misbehavior. Yes, the operation against Iraq was wrong, but that doesn't make Russia's actions in Georgia right. Russia's actions need to be evaluated from a standpoint of absolute merit. The idea that we can never, ever condemn anyone else because we've sinned in the past is bogus. Of course, it does lead to an interesting question - would Russia had done this if we hadn't set somewhat of a precedent in Iraq?

This is just one more reason why we must rein in our robust, aggressive, interventionist foreign policy. Thanks to the Iraq intervention, we have very limited political capital to influence Russia. And Georgia will now suffer because we squandered political capital and moral authority playing kingmaker and nation-builder in Iraq.

But we now know for a certainty that the Russians cannot be trusted. The Biblical verse about a "dog returning to its vomit" has proven true once again. The "Evil Empire" is back.

3 comments:

  1. It was Georgia that attacked Russia, not the other way around. Look at the various articles from RussiaToday and see for yourself. Have a look at the timeline since last thursday too. Of course FOX, CNN, the BBC and other maistream media are trying to make Russia look bad by completely spinning the story. But that's nothing new.

    http://www.russiatoday.ru/

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  2. PUTIN THE GREAT.
    Tempori Jakobashvili JEW, Davit Kezerashvili JEW and Kingmaker George Soros JEW, crowned Saakashvili President. Georgia stinks of the filthy jew. This ramshackle Stalinesque hell, must never ever become a member of NATO! After 60 years of geographic/racial fraud; perhaps the proselytised Ashkenazi jew is going back to its legitimate Khazari roots.

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  3. Sounds like a small war may break out over there. Hope its not the beginning of the next world war.

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