Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dealski or no dealski?

So we learn that Russia has offered to take Abkhazia and South Ossetia off Georgia's hands, should those areas (happily denuded of Georgians by Russian-funded militias and elements of the Russian military) vote for it (or not, given that Russia will be counting the votes), and has volunteered to further damage Georgia's army and infrastructure if Georgia doesn't like the deal.

Well, I don't suppose attacking South Ossetia was all that smart in retrospect, but Saakashvili was in an impossible spot and of course he's not alone in sending the troops into part of his own country and severely damaging it (the UK didn't shell Belfast but South Ossetia is not entirely different from Northern Ireland). I think you can understand the strategic calculus from his point of view: go in hard, reassert Georgian power in South Ossetia, present Russians with fait accompli, call for American help (at least in terms of diplomatic pressure) if it all goes pearshaped.

The clear winners are Russia. I'm pretty sure they don't have all that much use for South Ossetia or Abkhazia, but the message is clear for those who don't enjoy their meddling or who want to align themselves closely with the West: when push comes to shove, Russia will be doing the shoving hard. And the US has been shown, in a few breathtaking days of violence, that Russia knows it's a paper tiger and can go about its business without caring what the Americans think about it.


At 1:08 am, Anonymous theminotaur said...

Can anyone care what the Americans think? I mean, when Bush stands there and blabs meekly about "integrity of a sovereign nation", and "civilian casualties", the only logical response is : you didn't care much for shit like that when you invaded Iraq.


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