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12 August 2008 @ 09:08 pm
Politics  
So, everyone knows that Russia invaded Georgia, right?

Well anyone who's been paying attention to the details already knows that whoever started things, Russia A: went way over the top in response and B: was actually already prepared for just such an over the top response. There's no way they could have mobilized that much force that quickly without having planned and prepared for it already. Well it turns out that the signs that it was happening were pretty blatant and go back a fair bit in time, they were just going under the mainstream media's radar.

This post is clearly from a very biased source, however they have good references for all the points they make, and most of it is stuff that's pretty easily verified. Particularly the bit about Russia committing an act of war against Georgia back in April by shooting down a Georgian drone aircraft. Even more significantly, again in April NATO was concerned about Russian troop build up in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Now i can still imagine some scenarios that would shift the blame back in Georgia's direction, but the above definitely makes it seem like Russia was doing its best to pressure Georgia into exactly what happened. So does anyone know of any good pieces of, or better yet collections of information that supports the idea that Georgia was being irresponsibly bellicose? Obviously it doesn't matter if the source is biased in the other direction as long as the information presented is independently verifiable.

What really confuses me however, is that if Georgia knew that Russia was building up troops along/inside the border, then why did they allow themselves to get suckered into this? Even if the other side started shelling first, why didn't they pull back rather than respond with force? It seems like it would have been better PR form them if they could have forced Russia to make a blatantly aggressive move without offering the excuse of defending the breakaways.

And on a completely irreverent note, i wonder if this means that NBC will be airing the Georgia vs Russia women's volleyball match tomorrow?
 
 
 
sthaddeus on August 13th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1831857,00.html

Maybe goes a bit far with its prediction of a Russia-Iran alliance (but how would I know?), but an interesting description of Russia trying to maintain its sphere of influence.

I was on a group project with someone from Georgia during the school year. I didn't keep in touch with her; I wonder how she's doing.
Johndolohov on August 13th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Maybe I just don't read mainstream media, but I was aware of a lot of this stuff a while ago. The actual war was a surprise, but only because I had no idea Georgia's president was that dumb. Russia had pledged to protect these little mob-run mini-states, and had recently gotten a huge black eye over Kosovo (after promising the Serbs that it would prevent that). Georgia KNEW that the Russians could not lose credibility by allowing them to retake South Ossetia. Now, it's entirely possible (even likely) that Russia was goading them into taking action specifically so they can "redeem" themselves; in which case it was doubly stupid to play into their hands like that.
Steuardsteuard on August 13th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
There's also apparently an issue of how much support Georgia expected to get from the US and Europe if something like this happened. Various Western officials had made comments like "We always fight for our friends" (that was Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Tbilisi last month). Even though the US consistently warned Georgia not to get into a military fight, Saakashvili may have thought that the US would respond in force if things got out of hand.

In any case, I've seen several analysts indicating that this is Russia's answer to the West essentially declaring Kosovo independent from Serbia, as dolohov said. But most experts seem to have underestimated just how intense Russia's reaction to that would be. On the other hand, Russia has certainly suffered an enormous loss of global and regional influence over the past decade or two, probably more than was really justified by the degree of their decline in power. Having NATO and the US expand their influence so deep into Russia's former sphere of influence could easily be taken as a serious provocation. So perhaps there have been miscalculations on our part as well.
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 13th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
Sounds a little like the first Gulf War redux. "We'll support you if you get into a fight." "We'll support you if you get into a fight." "Wait, you did _what_?!" Unfortunately we seem to have flipped the polarity on the morality of the situation this time =P

Kosovo might certainly be part of it, but i think there's a better case presented by the people who say that it's a more generalized attempt to make the west sit up and take notice while simultaneously providing an object lesson to the other ex-USSR states about defying it in regards to things like NATO. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that the other eastern states are making at least some effort to stand up to the "new" Russia.