Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

The Anti-War Left has been outspoken in their silence on this issue. Perhaps they feel that, as Americans, they have no moral legitimacy to criticize anyone but Americans. I might actually understand that, in a vague Washingtonian way (the man, not the cesspool), save that many of these same people were united in their support for American intervention in Haiti and again in Kosovo. Kudos, however, to those that protested both: at least you're consistent, if slightly wrong-headed.

It is Kosovo that has been on the minds of several "devil's advocate" websites. The argument runs that American involvement in Kosovo (which you may recall involved bombing Serbian troops and targets near civilian areas) set the precedent for Russian involvement in South Ossetia. I'm not impressed. The Serbs had a clear track record of anti-minority violence (cf. Bosnia and Croatia), and while they weren't the only ones, they were the major perps. I have yet to see documented evidence of widespread Georgian activities in the realm of "ethnic cleansing." Plus, American ground troops didn't march on Belgrade after the withdrawal of Serbian ground forces from Kosovo.

But it is Bush's very low-key response that has me most worried. A paranoid man would say there's some sort of deeper scheme here. These Georgians are US-trained, US-backed and prospective members of NATO. The damage from ignoring this aggression, in diplomatic terms, is incalculable. What must the Ukranians think? The Baltic states? Poland? The only possible scenario I see here (aside from "It's all for the oil companies! Chimpy strikes again!!!" litanies from the lunatic fringe) is that Putin and Putin Jr. (he gets to use his real name when he shows he isn't a Putin puppet) have made Georgian gains a precondition for Russian acceptance of an imminent American military action elsewhere. One might speculate as to where, but the obvious choice here is Iran. Yet there are other possible targets: North Korea (talks again at a deadlock) and Pakistan (tribal areas reverting to Emirate of Waziristan).


Joe White said...

check out this post (found via Austin Bay)...nice summation.

The Mojo Bison said...

After reading this, and remembering what Stratfor mentioned earlier about the end of the Olympics coinciding with the dark of the moon before the start of Ramadan, I'm starting to think Putin's guy jumped the gun but that the end result may be the same: Russian intervention in the Georgian breakaways is a precondition for acceptance of military action against Iran.

Of course, if Putin were to move forcibly to support Iran, he could be positioning himself as the new champion of the Middle East. Restarting the Cold War might be a gamble he's willing to take, especially if he believes Obama will be elected (another Carter, only less intelligent). Also entering the calculus: with oil being what it is, he may figure that now the Reagan Shoe is on his foot, and that it is now the U.S. who cannot afford a major arms race.