Georgia-Russia Clash: American Culpability and the Kosovo Connection

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russia south ossetia.jpg
Dimitri Simes, President of the Nixon Center, was one of the leading foreign policy experts in Washington to predict some kind of hot clash between the former Soviet state of Georgia and Russia involving the autonomous provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia at the time Kosovo declared its independence. My colleague Anatol Lieven was another.
In coordination with The National Interest, I have asked Simes to offer guest commentary here at The Washington Note on what many Georgians and Russians are calling a “war”. I expect to post his thoughts on Monday.
My own view is that the U.S. has displayed a reckless disregard for Russian interests for some time. I don’t like Russia’s swing to greater domestic authoritarianism and worry about its stiffened posture on a number of international fronts — but Simes convinces me in his important Foreign Affairs essay, “Losing Russia,” that much of what we are seeing unfold between Russia and Georgia involves a high quotient of American culpability.
When Kosovo declared independence and the US and other European states recognized it — thus sidestepping Russia’s veto in the United Nations Security Council — many of us believed that the price for Russian cooperation in other major global problems just went much higher and that the chance of a clash over Georgia’s breakaway border provinces increased dramatically.
By pushing Kosovo the way the US did and aggravating nationalist sensitivities, Russia could in reaction be rationally expected to further integrate and cultivate South Ossetia and Abkhazia under de facto Russian control and pull these provinces that border Russia away from the state of Georgia.
At the time, there was word from senior level sources that Russia had asked the US to stretch an independence process for Kosovo over a longer stretch of time — and tie to it some process of independence for the two autonomous Georgia provinces. In exchange, Russia would not veto the creation of a new state of Kosovo at the Security Council. The U.S. rejected Russia’s secret entreaties and instead rushed recognition of Kosovo and said damn the consequences.
Now thousands are dead. The fact is that a combination of American recklessness, serious miscalculation and over-reach by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, as well as Russia’s forceful reassertion of its regional national interests and status as an oil and gas rich, tough international player means America and Europe have yet again helped generate a crisis that tests US global credibility.
I think that Saakashvili who has been agitating for Georgia’s membership in NATO just lost his chance with his own reckless behavior. Saakashvili’s decision to send tanks into South Ossetia gave Russia the trigger that it may have wanted to send in more of its own troops and weapon systems. Russia was ready. Putin, now prime minister of Russia but still the center of power, was relaxing and chatting with George W. Bush in the bird’s nest Olympic stadium in Beijing looking quite in control and confident.
It is possible that Condoleezza Rice’s July 10th visit to Tbilisi and joint press conference with Saakashvili was interpreted by him that American power and resolve were firmly behind Georgia and its intention to reassert control over the autonomous provinces. The Georgian president miscalculated about American power in the world today and our resolve to take on Russia directly — no matter how much the Washington Post‘s Fred Hiatt and Anne Applebaum would like to see the situation differently.
While the seeds of this conflict between Georgia and Russia had been planted long ago, the U.S. helped engineer events that are now undermining its own interests and the global perception of American power.
When the media report on what drove this “war”, commentators should look to Kosovo as well as Saakashvili’s own recklessness and overconfidence to further understand the reasons why tanks from both sides rolled into South Ossetia.
— Steve Clemons
Update: Richard Byrne has more informed thinking on the parameters of this clash.

Comments

87 comments on “Georgia-Russia Clash: American Culpability and the Kosovo Connection

  1. Clement_W says:

    I don’t claim to be a foreign policy expert but I do have common sense and an ability to put myself in various shoes and think about what I would do in a particular circumstance. When the time for Kosovo independence came up, reading the news reports about all the reactions of the parties involved, I did come to the conclusion that Russia, which, even to this plain old country boy is really back to being the USSR, would react in the way they did.
    I have heard a lot of pontificating in the US and European press and of course the politicians about tolerance and expanding our ideals of democracy, freedom of religion, respect for human rights etc.. I also remember vividly the situation in Bosnia. When Bill Clinton went to bat for the muslims in Bosnia and George W. Bush recognized Kosovo, (remember, these were not unilateral actions. NATO and the UN were involved primarily.) it was inevitable that the USSR (politely Russia) would be offended. Avoiding war even when all that we hold dear is threatened is moral cowardice and hypocritical, especially when it is some poor little country or a different religious group. Yes, the moslems in the Middle East do not recognize the efforts made on behalf of their co-religionists in Europe by the US They are hypocrites like us too. Do not forget Rwanda, Darfur or any number of these invisible or quickly forgotten debacles.
    I do have faith that doing what is right will eventually result in a much better world, especially if we are willing to put our money where or mouth is. Sometimes it is worth giving our lives for what we believe in.

    Reply

  2. Henry says:

    Steve,
    I am truly impressed. So there are a few people in the US who really know the truth about this conflict and are willing to speak-up. Unfortunately no one in the mainstream US media can or will tell the truth. I am also impressed with the caliber of the responders here. Usually you get mostly the right wing/redneck/warmonger view on every international subject. Bravo

    Reply

  3. Tanya says:

    Witless US and the West, their dumb wannabe „exception“ Kosovo, foreign policy of „you know, I am going to slap you on the face, but it doesn’t mean that slapping is allowed, on the contrary, slapping is most strictly forbidden, always and for everybody, except now and for us“ type.
    This whole issue is ridiculous; there is an enormous amount of hypocrisy from both sides. The West cannot prevent this recognition because of Kosovo, and it cannot prevent the inevitable Russian annexation of these two regions, while Russia, on the other hand, can no longer defend its position regarding Kosovo independence. In the end, it’s the small countries, like Georgia and Serbia, which suffer the consequences.
    What was the international law again? I think that countries which recognized Kosovo have no right to talk about the international law. Now, everyone can recognize anyone. The international law is dead, and Russia clearly demonstrated that fact. USA and EU are the ones who destroyed it. It won’t end up with Kosovo, Aphasia and South Ossetia, I am sure.
    This is a huge tragedy for the people of Georgia. Horrors of war. However, the newly introduced rule (with Kosovo) is that there is no rule, i.e. any powerful country can do whatever it wants as long as it is stronger.
    If the nations that consider themselves as pillars of democracy and the new world violate their own rules, why would anyone expect one cruel, rude and undemocratic Russia to respect them?
    Do not look for principles and rules; they are dead, burried by Americans. The time of great bullies has come.

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  4. Yuriy says:

    I know two things:
    1) Georgians troops killed about 2100 citizens in South Osetia
    2) After Russian troops came in South Osetia, killing of citizens was stopped.
    So, who is right?
    And I know another thing: Georgian “democratic” government blocked Russian Internet sites in Georgia… Because Georgian government don’t want its citizens know the truth. The truth about Georgians troops killed childes and destroying hospitals.
    How many georgians was killed by russian troops? But Georgians troops killed about 2100 citizens in South Osetia.
    It is a fact.
    If you believe mass media, that tell you about peace of Saakashvilli – go in South Ossetia. I have friends there. Some of them was killed by Georgians aviation and tanks. They was just a civilians. One of them was found without his head, because it was cut by Georgians troops

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  5. Dino says:

    You guys need to really study the real history… the information that you guys get( false information) is written by the Slavs because that’s how it works for them. Don’t go far back look what the fake Macedonians are trying to do in the 21st century with mother Theresa.. They declared her as a Macedonian not as Albanian. The place where Mother Theresa ( Gonxhe Bojaxhiu)was born there is history which connects with the Illyrian tribes. Today the Macedonians want to built a church on the land o f Bojaxhiu Family.
    ( how lame is it) so they can destroy the reality. The only reason they are doing this is because Macedonians as Macedonians don’t exist. If you look at her nephew’s name which is Dimitri Bojaxhiuvski( not sure about hes first name but i know the last name for sure)that tells you that they have assimilated the Albanians. I’am from Macedonia but I’m considered more as a Macedonian then the Slavs that live there. If Albanians are powerful they could get information from the city SHKUP, but the Slavs are rebuilding the city so no history can be found there because the Slavs know the real history. But its OK “HISTORY REPEATS It’s SELF” Everything is going to be alright, the time is coming, the truth is always on the right page!! I might be wrong but prove me wrong. and sorry about the language, i never doubled checked for errors or anything because I’m at work and I’m not suppose to do this!

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  6. regdhd says:

    In Russia many people can know that happen from Ossetins!
    But you know that from CNN etc. And of course nobody as Americans and others don’t think that 100% trust to journalists is pool shit. The true must say to you are Ossetians, but not the political games.

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  7. reg5t5 says:

    “The freedom of the word” in America is a myth. Many journalists says that good for Government, political, and regime. It is disappointment for me.

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  8. Francesco Femia says:

    I posted the following on August 15th on another site, which somewhat parallels the most recent Brooking’s recommendations from Pascale and Pifer.
    What should be done now:
    1.Monitor implementation of the Franco-Finnish (OSCE)-Rissia-Georgian ceasefire agreement.
    2. Continue U.S.-European calls for Russia to withdraw its troops into Russia proper, which means withdrawing its peace-keeping mission from S. Ossetia and Abkhazia, and removing all troops from Georgian-controlled Georgia.
    3. U.S.-European call for Russia and Georgia to allow a neutral OSCE mission into the areas where the fighting has occurred, to monitor and assess the situation on the ground, and fact find for violations of the Geneva Conventions.
    4. Get Russia and Georgia to agree to an OSCE international peacekeeping mission that is [i]CIS-Plus[/i]. That means, a Commonwealth of Independent States-heavy mission (with Kazakhs and Abkazhes, etc), with E.U. member states contributing troops as well. No Russian, Georgian or U.S. troops should be involved in that mission.
    My guess of what the reactions will be:
    1. Georgia will agree to all such terms
    2. Russia might eventually agree to these terms, though it is not highly likely
    What to do if Russia does not agree to these terms:
    Continue to insist on them until they do agree. If they do not, signal that the international community is prepared to block WTO-entry, OECD entry, and possibly, pursue Russia’s ejection from the G8. Comprehensive economic and political sanctions, unilateral if necessary, would also need to be considered in that event, however unlikely it would be to secure Transatlantic support for that.

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  9. Marton Zsenei says:

    Can Legalist Ross say me, how can the USA occupy the Cuban territory (Guantanamo)?
    Of course I know, the USA something different. The USA has a “destiny”. HA HA

    Reply

  10. Marton Zsenei says:

    to raphael cohen: “the instant reaction of the russian troops prooves that the georgians fell into the russian trap'”
    This proves not much, only that Saakashvili mindless and does not make the Georgian military aggression a “humanitarian” action.
    “puttin was very cunning when he came to power to use the immense help of the west to stabilize the chaos which was in russia when he took power”
    I think the Russian politician´s name is Putin. Try to see me what was that “immense help of the west”, because from Budapest, Hungary I cannot see any help. You mean help by west to take over the Russian resources.
    “….crushing their will for a better life-western style.” I have a feel this “better life-western style” in Hungary. It wiped out all of the Hungarian industry. It created misery for 3 million of a country of 10 million etc. etc.
    As far as soldiers behaviour you should see around in Palestine first of all.
    Iran has the right to develop their atomic industry. Blame Israel which has unlawfull 20 atomic bomb.

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  11. raphael cohen says:

    under the umbrella of russian “peace keepers” south osethians were giving hard time to georgian inhabitants of the district,also assembling arms from russia,
    the instant reaction of the russian troops prooves that the georgians fell into the russian trap’, maybe it was a revenge for kossovo,i do not believe so-in my opinion puttin was very cunning when he came to power to use the immense help of the west to stabilize the chaos which was in russia when he took power, now he feels very strong to replay the soviet game -terrorizing all its neighbours and crushing their will for a better life-western style,
    one can see from the russian soldiers behviour that they have no respect for other nations,and i am afraid it is not going to stop in georgia
    russia inflamed the iranian problem and refused any constructive solution
    the US and Great Britain(i do not think the others will do something) must deal with matter before it become huge

    Reply

  12. raphael cohen says:

    under the umbrella of russian “peace keepers” south osethians were giving hard time to georgian inhabitants of the district,also assembling arms from russia,
    the instant reaction of the russian troops prooves that the georgians fell into the russian trap’, maybe it was a revenge for kossovo,i do not believe so-in my opinion puttin was very cunning when he came to power to use the immense help of the west to stabilize the chaos which was in russia when he took power, now he feels very strong to replay the soviet game -terrorizing all its neighbours and crushing their will for a better life-western style,
    one can see from the russian soldiers behviour that they have no respect for other nations,and i am afraid it is not going to stop in georgia
    russia inflamed the iranian problem and refused any constructive solution
    the US and Great Britain(i do not think the others will do something) must deal with matter before it become huge

    Reply

  13. Kent says:

    BarryO:
    I normally wouldn’t post anything in response to such disillusioned article, it seems sir you need a lesson in history.
    It would help for you to go back and read about San Stefano treaty, the Congress of Berlin and Treaty of London and you will see how Albanian lands were chewed up piece by piece. Kosovo was given to Serbia because Russia desired influence in the Balkans and what better way than to have their “loyal slavic cousins” become a strong dominant force there; also see how Serbia benefited from World War I and how Yugoslavia was formed.
    Kent’s answer:
    In pursuit of his ambition to recreate the ancient Roman Empire, Mussolini occupied Albania in 1939. . Here, it should be pointed out that ancient Illyria (which modern Albanians claim as their ancestral land), was defeated by the Roman legions in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC and became a province of the Roman and later Byzantine Empires. Therefore, quite apart from the open question of the modern Albanians’ relationship to ancient Illyrians, the Serbs did not conquer any part of Albania nor did they seize Kosovo from an Albanian or any other existing state. When they(Serbs) came to the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries AD, Kosovo was a “devastated” border province of Byzantium, depopulated by several Barbarian invasions in earlier epochs. Ethnographically speaking, written documents demonstrate that it was overwhelmingly Serbian between the 12th and 17th centuries. As an inducement to collaboration with the Axis powers, Mussolini promised the Albanian Quisling leaders a Greater Albania and gave them all of Kosovo. Tens of thousands of Serbian families were brutalized, killed or ethnically cleansed by expulsion to occupied Serbia and Montenegro.
    BarryO:
    These facts are undeniable. Are you prepared to say that South Ossetia (similarly) was taken from Russia? By the mighty Georgia? When? You can’t make these type of idiotic comparisons without any proof to back them up.
    Kent’s Answer:
    The conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia has been waging for nearly 100 years. South Ossetia was independent and a soverign nation 100 years ago. they were incorporated into Georgia with the formation of Soviet Union. Once the Soviet Union collapse, they wanted their independance back. A just wish.
    BarryO:
    Kosovo is some 95% Albanian with a population of 2 million, was an autonomous region in Yugoslavia (until Milosevic decided to take it away).
    Kent’s answer:
    Milosevic tried to suppress a seperatist movement, his means at that was very poor, noone is supporting what he did, his own people took him out of office, not the Albanians or the Westerners.
    BarryO:
    South Ossetia, no offense, is small about 70k and recognized as part of Georgia (even by Russia) hardly a country on its own. It’s more like Russia is using Kosovo as an excuse here but the comparison is laughable at best.
    Kent’s answer:
    As small as South Ossetia is, they had their independence before the soviet era and as small as they are, they deserve it back.
    (what you are missing BarryO is the principle of the matters)
    BarryO:
    This is a response to Kent.
    I am not sure where you get your info from but you need to present some facts to back up your claims.
    You are correct that Kosovo was part of an Illyrian tribe (there were many of them) I believe the closest is Dardania and Illyrians were there before the Serbs (who are slavs) and got there beginning of 6-th century. There are many similarities between the Albanian language and Illyrian language; like ulq is close to ujk which means wolf (see town of Ulqin). Teuta, Genti all common Albanian names were Illyrian (queen and king).
    There are many similarities in terms of culture, language (check your sources make sure they’re not serbian) too many for me to list here. It is in fact the serbs that have infinite claims and they’re often insulting and stubborn when confronted with the facts. The claim of religion is also bogus, many Albanians are christians though the Turks applied the divide and conquer strategy and converted many to islam (regrettably). In fact our national hero Gjergj (common Albanian name) Kastrioti (c. 1400) was christian and our flag has the Orthodox “logo” in it (the double headed eagle). His father’s name Gjon also common in northern Albania. Pyrrhus of Epirus also a common name (Piro) in southern Albania. So from BC to 1300,1400 and 1500AD there are undeniable links in terms of culture, language, rituals (again too many to list here) to today’s Albania and Albanians.
    Did Albania’s population change over the years? Was there cross-breeding, “cross-culturisation”? The answers are obviously yes. Everything changes on this Earth and an Illyrian is not exactly an Albanian nowdays, but I for one (and many like me) have undeniable strong historic roots to the land where I was born and no idiotic propaganda is going to change that. I would also submit there are other nations in the Balkans that have similar claims and Albanians (of today) are not the only descendants of the Illyrians (as I said many tribes consequently many descedants). So no I don’t have infinite (I wonder if you know the meaning of the word) claims just my claim that I am one of the descedants of some Illyrian tribe with maybe some mixing with other tribes in the region (I seem to be half-greek from my mother’s side).
    So yes Kosovo was given to Serbia to establish a strong slavic state. Normally I wouldn’t yell at my orthodox brothers but by lumping all Albanians as “islamic” territorial grabbing extremists they have insulted all of us. They make us look as if we want to occupy all of Balkans (greater Albania and all) which is ridiculous; Albania has never occupied a foreign country ever.
    So go read a book and educate yourself.
    I would be happy to hear if not from the Balkans where are the Albanians from? Please do tell wise-man! I need facts no regurgitation of idiotic propaganda.
    Oh by the way check wikipedia, it seems to agree with my claims.
    Kent’s answer:
    Everyone knows that the Illyrians didn’t have a written language, their language perished with them. The Illyrians never wrote their language down. You just qouted me a few words that are similiar, how is it the Illyrians didn’t write their language but the Albanians, who claim to be decendants, can write the language that is soo close to the Illyrian language?
    By the way, kent never said Albanians weren’t christians and I do notice you were the first to mention greater albania in passing when I had not. (check above in parenthesis)
    referenced from wikepedia:
    Albanians are the descendants of a Paleo-Balkans people, perhaps the ancient Illyrians or Thracians/Dacians or a mixture of these, but scholarly opinion is divided on specifics.
    perhaps, perhaps mean nothing to you in this context. (there is no comformation of this)
    Posted by BarryO Aug 13, 4:22PM – Link
    Hey Kent,
    here’s some more background about Illyrians and Albanians:
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/12472/Albania/42643/The-Byzantine-Empire
    Do you by the way have anything, like a link or something that backs up your claim or do you like to just throw stuff out there? You know what they say about spitting in the wind.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Illyrians
    Claiming that Albanians are descendants of Illyrians with no academic proof is nonesense, it is nothing but a folktale. Yes, I’m sure there is some Illyrian blood in Albanians, just as in all other Slavs in the Balkans. Making an assumption like that is like Serbians saying that they are direct descendants of Byzantines. That theory might actually stand up to some argument, since they did live in the Byzantine Empire, and a few Emperors were born in Serbian lands, and the flags and other Byzantine symbols are very similar and some identical to Serbian ones. But they don’t make that assumption, there is much historical proof to show that Albanians were living between the Caspian and Black sea, while the Illyrian tribes existed on the Balkans
    referenced:
    http://www.thomaslessman.com/History/images/East-Hem_625bc.jpg
    This map clearly shows Illyrians on the Balkans side and an Albania along the Caspian sea. I don’t want to hear the arguement of two Albanias either. Why would a country adopt the name of a country which had a similiar name? Tell me.
    I don’t have proof but I believe that the people of modern day Albania are decendents of a nomadic tribe that originated far from the Balkan coast, they had very good skills at assimulating into other cultures, learning new languages while preserving their own.
    BarryO:
    Kent,
    Albanians are not the only descedants of Illyrians and we don’t beat our collective chests hey we are Illyrians because that is history and it is accepted as such. We have to address it when appropriate.
    Kent’s answer:
    I’m sorry BarryO but 95% of Albanians do believe that they are the direct decendents of the Illyrians. Go look online and search Illyrians, go to youtube and search the same. The problem is, the Albanians use this notion as leverage to lay claims. We both know how long the Illyrians inhabited the balkan region.
    BarryO:
    And yes we do consider ourselves descendants I don’t know where you heard that we don’t. Did you read the link I sent you? I think other nationalities like Croatians, Slovenians to mention a few are at least in part descendants of other Illyrian tribes but there was also inter-mixing with other tribes that came to the Balkans in the early 4, 5, 6-th or whatever century.
    I gave a few examples of language similarities because you said there are no similarities between Illyrian and Albanian languages which is incorrect. Albanian language is not the same as Illyrian but it is believed (some experts believe this) to have originated from it.
    Being mainly herdsmen and plant-croppers the Illyrians didn’t leave much in terms of written literature. This compounds the difficulty of proving what I said above. There are enough similarities for some to believe this but I guess it doesn’t pass the threshold for some again for reasons that I mentioned. Certainly it’s not the same as the cases of greek or roman because of the abundance of written literature.
    There are artifacts, very old artifacts found in the towns of Durres, Shkoder, Fier, Butrint (though this seems to have greek influence), and Maliq; the latter is one of the latest archeological finds and I can’t remember exactly but something like 2000 BC old. All these are in proper Albania and I am sure there have been discoveries in Kosovo and throughout Balkans as well, I am just not familiar with them. The finds range from burrial traditions, amphitheaters, bronze items (you’d have to visit a museum to see these), helmets etc. I could give you a lecture on the topic but you need to do some research first yourself.
    But there is no point to beat one’s chest about one’s origins, i came here from Illyrians you came here from Russians and so what? I don’t question your heritage why should you question mine, is there something sinister when someone starts questioning where one came from? Why would I want to misrepresent my own origins? Do you lie about who your father is even if he has done nothing wrong? I don’t get your logic. Serbian ultranationalists do this so that they could say you have no business being here; they do that to Slovenians, Croatians, Bosnians and they have really screwed Serbia over. Did we drop here from the sky on a dark night? Where do you think we came from? How, when in what numbers? What proof do you have?
    Kent’s answer:
    Dear BarryO:
    Just because I found old relics in my backyard that doesn’t mean I am the rightful owner. Its ignorant to think that after the fall of the Illyrian civilization, which was a direct cause of Roman intervention, that the area would not be repopulated by anyone. “Hey, look what I found, I must be a decendent” If many cultures intermingled with the Illyrians, Thracians, and other cultures, then this land we speak of is for all to enjoy, in peace.
    BarryO:
    I see some of your earlier statements and must reply to some things you said.
    “Thank you for admiting that the ethnic group that we speak of does want a greater albania.”
    I never admitted this. Are you twisting my words? Are there 10 people in Albania that want this? maybe. But the majority of Albanians and its government have no such goals. You’d be hard-pressed to give some proof.
    Kent’s answer:
    I never said you or Albanians want a greater Albania, I merely stated that you mentioned a greater Albania in passing and I did not. See your original post.
    Here is a reference on the greater albania theme which you say doesn’t exist:
    http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/21950
    BarryO:
    And why would I care about his lineage unless he’s a unicorn or an orc. I go by what he does. Why are you obsessed with other people’s lineage?
    Ken’t answer:
    After reading the text on his family background, one would deduce that he is a beast.
    In order to know ones future, one must know and understand their past and why they have come to being. The reason why there is so much instability in the world today is because alot of our leaders are unstable. I guess you didn’t get that from reading the article, I think you are the one needing to get better educated.
    reference:
    http://www.balkan-archive.org.yu/politics/kosovo/html/tomasevic.html
    Kent.

    Reply

  14. Alexei says:

    Fragging russophiles.
    If US is guilty of anything, it is of the refusal to offer any meaningful help to Georgia in the face of Russian invasion. Now Russians are in Georgia (south of Ossetian border, mind you), stealing armaments of the Georgian army (having shelled the town of Gori and killed one foreign journalist and wounded another) – now they at least admit they’ve effectively invaded Georgia, one day ago they refused that .
    Don’t you know that both Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Russia’s creations? Don’t you know that Russia creates such separatist enclaves on purpose all over the former USSR? We in Moldova also have such a knife wound inflicted by Russia – the so-called “Transnistrian republic”
    And what do russophiles like Anatol Lieven suggest? Suck it up, go kiss Putin’s behind.
    I’m disgusted. You deserve a good dose of life in Russia, its not that bad, right?

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  15. BarryO says:

    Well Roger everything you said is either a lie or irrelevant. Go back and reread my post (two above yours) and you will see I state that Albanians are not the only descedants …
    In the meanwhile I have concluded that you either don’t understand english, don’t understand irony, you can read english but simply don’t get the point, are too stubborn to want to understand my point(s), or misconstrue what I said on purpose. I was going to debunk everything you said issue by issue but if you’re going to be so intellectually dishonest/stupid what’s the point and it’s not like I have all the time in the world. By throwing some facts around to show you have seen some maps without any link to what I was discussing yeah I guess that makes your point (which was?)
    Here I thought that these posts can be used to enhance our undestanding about each other cultures. By being argumentative (I don’t expect anything more or less) your ilk seem to be interested in bullying others to believe what you want them to without any sense of objectivity. Do you really expect people to be that stupid? It’s sad. You are sad. Good luck debating yourself!

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  16. Roger says:

    This is to BarryO.
    It seems that you do care very much about people’s lineage because if you did not you would not be constantly stating that Albanians are the one and only direct descendants of Illyrians and are thus the one and only inhabitants of Kosovo and Albania and therefore are the only culture that have and can claim rights to Kosovo You are the one who is actually obsessed. By making the statement: “And why would I care about his lineage unless he’s a unicorn or an orc. I go by what he does. Why are you obsessed with other people’s lineage?” This only goes to prove and show to every individual writing on this blog that you are ultimately a hypocrite.
    If you want to go back as far as the Illyrian tribe, that you claim Albanians are the descendants of then why don’t you look at Ancient maps and actually look at were Albania was situated and it was not situated any where near it currrently is today. Also why do you fail to mention that the Thracian tribe lived in the same region as the Illyrians? Is it because then the Albanians and Albanian Kosovo inhabitants will have to share a piece of the pie with another race? What about the Scordisci, an ancient Celtic tribe who actually derive their name from the Sar Mountain? Also why do you constantly say the Serbs stole your land they were not the first to conquer Kosovo and you know it. The Romans did!
    But I presume you will not mention any of this because as it does not justify or assist your arguement at all.
    I think it is you who actually needs to go read a documented evidence based historial book and educate your self.
    You can not accept any one else’s point of view if it does not support your own interests or the interests of Albania or an Albanian Kosovo. How is it that Albania does not want a greater Albania when the inhabitants of an illegal state of Kosovo go waving Albanian flags around?! If Albania does not want a greater Albania why does it not then demand the inhabitants of Kosovo to stop waving around the Albanian flag?!
    At the end of the day what is happening to South Ossetia and Georgia is exactly what has happened to Serbia and Kosovo. But I guess you do not want to accept that both of these annexations fly in the face of international law. Kosovo set a precedent for other countries to do the same! But you will choose to ignore this like you have to other peoples posts.

    Reply

  17. BarryO says:

    I see some of your earlier statements and must reply to some things you said.
    “Thank you for admiting that the ethnic group that we speak of does want a greater albania.”
    I never admitted this. Are you twisting my words? Are there 10 people in Albania that want this? maybe. But the majority of Albanians and its government have no such goals. You’d be hard-pressed to give some proof.
    “The Illiyrians came to being before the Albanians not the other way around.”
    Yes and do you understand the english word descendant? Albanians came later in life, like you came after your father. I am getting the feeling you are someone that reads some article somewhere but really have no historical concept of what the article is saying. You don’t seem to understand it.
    “Please, be curious and read my referenced article about the current president lineage.”
    And why would I care about his lineage unless he’s a unicorn or an orc. I go by what he does. Why are you obsessed with other people’s lineage?

    Reply

  18. BarryO says:

    Kent,
    Albanians are not the only descedants of Illyrians and we don’t beat our collective chests hey we are Illyrians because that is history and it is accepted as such. We have to address it when appropriate. And yes we do consider ourselves descendants I don’t know where you heard that we don’t. Did you read the link I sent you? I think other nationalities like Croatians, Slovenians to mention a few are at least in part descendants of other Illyrian tribes but there was also inter-mixing with other tribes that came to the Balkans in the early 4, 5, 6-th or whatever century.
    I gave a few examples of language similarities because you said there are no similarities between Illyrian and Albanian languages which is incorrect. Albanian language is not the same as Illyrian but it is believed (some experts believe this) to have originated from it.
    Being mainly herdsmen and plant-croppers the Illyrians didn’t leave much in terms of written literature. This compounds the difficulty of proving what I said above. There are enough similarities for some to believe this but I guess it doesn’t pass the threshold for some again for reasons that I mentioned. Certainly it’s not the same as the cases of greek or roman because of the abundance of written literature.
    There are artifacts, very old artifacts found in the towns of Durres, Shkoder, Fier, Butrint (though this seems to have greek influence), and Maliq; the latter is one of the latest archeological finds and I can’t remember exactly but something like 2000 BC old. All these are in proper Albania and I am sure there have been discoveries in Kosovo and throughout Balkans as well, I am just not familiar with them. The finds range from burrial traditions, amphitheaters, bronze items (you’d have to visit a museum to see these), helmets etc. I could give you a lecture on the topic but you need to do some research first yourself.
    But there is no point to beat one’s chest about one’s origins, i came here from Illyrians you came here from Russians and so what? I don’t question your heritage why should you question mine, is there something sinister when someone starts questioning where one came from? Why would I want to misrepresent my own origins? Do you lie about who your father is even if he has done nothing wrong? I don’t get your logic. Serbian ultranationalists do this so that they could say you have no business being here; they do that to Slovenians, Croatians, Bosnians and they have really screwed Serbia over. Did we drop here from the sky on a dark night? Where do you think we came from? How, when in what numbers? What proof do you have?

    Reply

  19. Kent says:

    Dear BarryO
    I never hear any Albanian speak of being Illyrian, they always stress Albania, Albania, are they not proud of their Illyrian roots? Why don’t we ever hear of it? If the Illyrians are the forefathers then it should be represented in their flag, and all forms of ethnic identity. where is it?
    show us, since albanians are the decendants, don’t just quote words that are similiar, that just indicate that they lived amongst each other. where are the physical facts, relics, papers, artifacts?
    Kent

    Reply

  20. Kent says:

    Hi Barry here is some background from the same site you referenced.
    However, I searched for Illiyrians “proper”
    and not Albanians.
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/283105/Illyria#tab=active~checked%2Citems~checked&title=Illyria%20–%20Britannica%20Online%20Encyclopedia
    You are putting the cart before the horse so to speak.
    The Illiyrians came to being before the Albanians not the other way around.
    It only mentions that “The last and best-known Illyrian kingdom had its capital at Scodra (modern Shkodër, Albania)” That does not mean the Illiyrian civilization started and ended in modern day Albania. Do you understand?
    The Illiyrian civilization stretched from Danube River southward to the Adriatic Sea and from there eastward to the Å ar Mountains.
    Can you not see this civilization was independant of any other and some how perished, or was conquered. I don’t deny that they intermingled with many other groups. My relationship with my partner is an intermingle of two etnic group. My point is that they were as seperate and distinct much as the Egyptians are distinct from the Romans but we do know the Romans intermingled with the Egyptians.
    Britannica is a good source of information, it depends on how you search for that information.
    Probably the best source of Information on the Illirians is Greek History.
    Kent

    Reply

  21. Kent says:

    This is to BarryO
    we both got the information from the same reference my friend.
    Thank you for admiting that the ethnic group that we speak of does want a greater albania.
    I never mentioned a word of that idea in my text.
    Barry does the world really know who this current president is?
    Please, be curious and read my referenced article about the current president lineage.
    “American History and the Current President lineage”
    dated:Aug 13, 4:25AM
    Also good reading my friend:
    how U.S. funds Georgian arms
    Aug 13, 3:02AM

    Reply

  22. BarryO says:

    Hey Kent,
    here’s some more background about Illyrians and Albanians:
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/12472/Albania/42643/The-Byzantine-Empire
    Do you by the way have anything, like a link or something that backs up your claim or do you like to just throw stuff out there? You know what they say about spitting in the wind.

    Reply

  23. BarryO says:

    This is a response to Kent.
    I am not sure where you get your info from but you need to present some facts to back up your claims.
    You are correct that Kosovo was part of an Illyrian tribe (there were many of them) I believe the closest is Dardania and Illyrians were there before the Serbs (who are slavs) and got there beginning of 6-th century. There are many similarities between the Albanian language and Illyrian language; like ulq is close to ujk which means wolf (see town of Ulqin). Teuta, Genti all common Albanian names were Illyrian (queen and king).
    There are many similarities in terms of culture, language (check your sources make sure they’re not serbian) too many for me to list here. It is in fact the serbs that have infinite claims and they’re often insulting and stubborn when confronted with the facts. The claim of religion is also bogus, many Albanians are christians though the Turks applied the divide and conquer strategy and converted many to islam (regrettably). In fact our national hero Gjergj (common Albanian name) Kastrioti (c. 1400) was christian and our flag has the Orthodox “logo” in it (the double headed eagle). His father’s name Gjon also common in northern Albania. Pyrrhus of Epirus also a common name (Piro) in southern Albania. So from BC to 1300,1400 and 1500AD there are undeniable links in terms of culture, language, rituals (again too many to list here) to today’s Albania and Albanians.
    Did Albania’s population change over the years? Was there cross-breeding, “cross-culturisation”? The answers are obviously yes. Everything changes on this Earth and an Illyrian is not exactly an Albanian nowdays, but I for one (and many like me) have undeniable strong historic roots to the land where I was born and no idiotic propaganda is going to change that. I would also submit there are other nations in the Balkans that have similar claims and Albanians (of today) are not the only descendants of the Illyrians (as I said many tribes consequently many descedants). So no I don’t have infinite (I wonder if you know the meaning of the word) claims just my claim that I am one of the descedants of some Illyrian tribe with maybe some mixing with other tribes in the region (I seem to be half-greek from my mother’s side).
    So yes Kosovo was given to Serbia to establish a strong slavic state. Normally I wouldn’t yell at my orthodox brothers but by lumping all Albanians as “islamic” territorial grabbing extremists they have insulted all of us. They make us look as if we want to occupy all of Balkans (greater Albania and all) which is ridiculous; Albania has never occupied a foreign country ever.
    So go read a book and educate yourself.
    I would be happy to hear if not from the Balkans where are the Albanians from? Please do tell wise-man! I need facts no regurgitation of idiotic propaganda.
    Oh by the way check wikipedia, it seems to agree with my claims.

    Reply

  24. Peter paul says:

    US policy was reckless. US sided completely with a leader that had a quarrel with Russia.
    The Georgian leader had announced he want to take back Abkazia and South Ossetia , regions where a nuclear power troops were stationed.
    US sided and backed this fellow.
    After the Georgian attack ( and Russian counter attack ) Bush lectured the Russians .
    Now the US intervention did escalate.
    US is going to send humanitarian supplies.
    Big powers are face to face.
    Thanks to the reckless policies of america and the georgian leader that took the initiative to attack troops of a nuclear power, Russia.
    Instead of supporting and getting involved the reckless georgian leader US should have made clear to Saakavili that he should solve peacefully the crisis with russia.

    Reply

  25. Saratov says:

    Kosovo is similar to Georgia but, North Mitrovica is similar to South Ossetia.
    As the United States Institute for Peace says, “No solution for Kosovo can last without a solution for Mitrovica.”
    http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2006/0724_mitrovica.html
    Serbs number only 130,000 of Kosovo’s nearly two million population. Half of Kosovo’s Serbs live in North Mitrovica and its hinterland up to the border of Serbia proper.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/08/mil-070810-voa06.htm

    Reply

  26. Kent says:

    This is in regards to BarryO post on Aug 09
    For your information no one chopped up albanian territory, the territory kosovo was a part of the Illyrian territory, they existed way before the Albanians. How far back do you wish to go? The Albanians were offered save passage into this area and were allowed as guests. Albanians claim to be decendants of this ancient tribe. However, they have no relics to validate this.
    Furthermore, the Illyrians were a distinctly different people from the Albanians. The albanians only coexisted with them as long as they behaved.
    The greeks further complicated things when they grouped the Illyrians and Albanians, and to a lesser extent all peoples living in the general area as Illyrians, due to geographical proximity to one another. Hence most Albanians suggest they are the direct decendants of the Illyrians. (The Albanians have infinite claims)
    If so, why don’t any Albanian speak Illyrian?
    Answer:
    Its a lost language, lost when the Illyrian civilization perished.
    Kent

    Reply

  27. Kent says:

    American History and the Current President lineage
    Few people understand that one of the most notorious individuals in British history may have contributed to the lineage of our current president. Aleister Crowley, a.k.a., “The Great Beast 666” — the infamous practitioner of “sex magick” whose motto was “Do What Thou Wilt” — came to know a great many remarkable people, including the maternal grandmother of George W. Bush. “Know,” in this case, may be taken in the Biblical sense. Evidence points to the disturbing possibility that he was the true father of Barbara Bush, the former First Lady and mother to George W. Bush.
    The story may seem difficult to believe at first, until one learns more about the social inter-relations that tied together these unlikely parties. Specifically, we must focus on a fascinating woman named Pauline Pierce, born Pauline Robinson — whose third child was named Barbara.
    Most sources divulge little about this woman. We learn more about her husband Marvin Pierce, the president of the McCall Corporation, which published McCall’s magazine and Redbook. He married Pauline, a beautiful young socialite, in 1919. Their first child, Martha, was born the next year; the second, James, was born in 1921. At this time, Aleister Crowley inhabited what must have seemed a very different world, as he embarked upon the great communal experiment of the Abbey of Thelema in Italy.
    Pauline, however, had a hidden side — what we might call (without intending any judgment or insult) a wild side. We get a whiff of it from this
    I have not yet been able to acquire independent confirmation of the Eisenhower liaison, although I personally see no reason to doubt that it existed. However, we may well have reason to believe that she began her “experimental” period before the 1940s.
    A sixth-level initiate within the OTO (the Ordo Templi Orientis, the mystical society that Crowely came to head in the 1920s) first set me down this research path by revealing that Pauline Robinson had befriended an woman named Nellie O’Hara, an American adventuress who, at some point during her European travels, met the famed writer Frank Harris. Despite his advancing years, Harris still maintained a reputation for sexual excess that rivaled Crowley’s. During this period (1919-1927), Nellie and Frank Harris lived as man and wife, although they could not actually wed because Harris’ second wife was still alive and would not grant a divorce.
    Harris and Crowley were good friends. Not only that: At this time, and not for the last time, Crowley was very much the proverbial “friend in need.”
    During the Abbey period, a Crowley follower had accidentally died during a magickal ceremony. The incident created a firestorm of unwanted publicity (the sensationalist British press labeled Crowley “The Wickedest Man in the World”), which prompted Mussolini’s government to expel Crowley and his followers from Italian soil. By 1924, he lived in poverty in France, where Frank Harris kindly took him under his roof. This arrangement inevitably brought Crowley into contact with Nellie.
    Crowley’s diaries, to which I have been given access, clearly indicate that he depended on Harris for financial assistance:
    The money soon ran out, and AC (as his associates called him) soon had to ask his friend for further assistance. At this time, Harris was writing his multi-volume “erotic autobiography,” My Life and Loves; he also purchased a newspaper, The Evening Telegram. But he lacked the resources and management skills to make the enterprise a success, and soon found himself in a financial position no better than Crowley’s.
    Despite his parlous economic circumstances, Crowley focused his attention on sex magick. Not many years previously, he and a follower named Jeanne Foster (a.k.a. Soror Hilarion) had conducted a sex-magickal rite designed to give birth to a child destined to carry on Crowley’s work. I have not been able to determine whether he conducted similar experiments with Nellie, although given the polyamorous proclivities of all the parties involved, one should not discount the possibility.
    Nellie’s friend Pauline no doubt scandalized her social circle by traveling to France on her own and leaving two very young children in the care of nursemaids. However, her correspondence with her friend — whose life in France with a famous literary figure must have seemed quite glamorous — can only have inspired a sense of wanderlust. Her husband, increasingly bound to his duties with the McCall Corporation, did not share this spirit of adventure.
    Thus it was that four individuals came together: Frank Harris, Nellie O’Hara, Pauline Pierce, and Aleister Crowley. Anyone who has studied Crowley’s life will understand that what happened next was, in a sense, inevitable.
    Crowley’s diaries for this period record the initials “PVN,” a cryptic reference to his favorite sexual position, which some of his partners found distasteful. (The letters derive from the Latin for “By way of the Infernal Entrance.”) This is a common annotation in the records of Crowley’s magical practices. We also find the strange initials “ECL.” After researching the matter for some time, I have come to the conclusion that this is a reference to the practice known as “Eroto-Comotose Lucidity.”
    The money soon ran out, and AC (as his associates called him) soon had to ask his friend for further assistance. At this time, Harris was writing his multi-volume “erotic autobiography,” My Life and Loves; he also purchased a newspaper, The Evening Telegram. But he lacked the resources and management skills to make the enterprise a success, and soon found himself in a financial position no better than Crowley’s.
    Despite his parlous economic circumstances, Crowley focused his attention on sex magick. Not many years previously, he and a follower named Jeanne Foster (a.k.a. Soror Hilarion) had conducted a sex-magickal rite designed to give birth to a child destined to carry on Crowley’s work. I have not been able to determine whether he conducted similar experiments with Nellie, although given the polyamorous proclivities of all the parties involved, one should not discount the possibility.
    Nellie’s friend Pauline no doubt scandalized her social circle by traveling to France on her own and leaving two very young children in the care of nursemaids. However, her correspondence with her friend — whose life in France with a famous literary figure must have seemed quite glamorous — can only have inspired a sense of wanderlust. Her husband, increasingly bound to his duties with the McCall Corporation, did not share this spirit of adventure.
    Thus it was that four individuals came together: Frank Harris, Nellie O’Hara, Pauline Pierce, and Aleister Crowley. Anyone who has studied Crowley’s life will understand that what happened next was, in a sense, inevitable.
    Crowley’s diaries for this period record the initials “PVN,” a cryptic reference to his favorite sexual position, which some of his partners found distasteful. (The letters derive from the Latin for “By way of the Infernal Entrance.”) This is a common annotation in the records of Crowley’s magical practices. We also find the strange initials “ECL.” After researching the matter for some time, I have come to the conclusion that this is a reference to the practice known as “Eroto-Comotose Lucidity.”
    Before proceeding, I should emphasize that the year 1924 has a special significance in the Crowley chrnology. At this time, he is said to have undergone the “supreme ordeal” connected with his attainment of the Grade of Ipsissimus, the highest magickal achievement within his order. The exact nature of this ordeal remains mysterious. I believe that an important clue can be found in his description of the rite of Eroto-Comotose Lucidity:
    If he did undergo this “ordeal” in 1924, then we must presume that his key associates of that time — including Nellie and Pauline — functioned as his assistants.
    Pauline returned to America in early October of 1924. On June 8, 1925, she gave birth to a girl named Barbara. Barbara Pierce married George H.W. Bush, who eventually became the 41st President of the United States.
    But who was Barbara’s father? The chronology indicates that it could have been Crowley, but it could just as easily have been Marvin Pierce. The truth regarding Crowlean sexual rituals is disclosed only to the highest initiates of the OTO, in a document misleadingly titled “Emblems and Modes of Use.”
    Is Aleister Crowley the father of Barbara Bush? Even she may not know for certain; indeed, I have no way of knowing whether she has ever been told that this possibility exists. However, more than one person has noted the resemblance — and this resemblance is not just physical. Many will recall the former First Lady’s haughty and thoughtless remarks in the aftermath of the Katrina disaster. Those “in the know” were reminded of Aleister Crowley’s similar reaction to the loss of life which occurred during the ascent of Kangchanjunga, an expedition he commanded: “This is precisely the sort of thing with which I have no sympathy whatsoever.”

    Reply

  28. Kent says:

    Reality check:
    America IS to blame for what happened in regards to Russia reaction to Georgia.
    Can you bring back the lives of the 1600 people who died in South Ossetia? Who is speaking for them? Have a conversation with their families in regards to their views of the west. Can you bring back the life of 1 of the 1600 people? Who ordered the advancement of Georgian troops into South Ossetia?
    Georgia accepted military funding from the United States to a wistling tune of “30 billion dollars over a ten year period? YES! For what purpose do you build your military and at the same time deny your people opportunity for progress (jobs, proper housing, education, infrastucture) Not a cent of the $30 billion given to the Georgian government from MY taxes was used for the people, it was used for weapons that so happened to kill alot of South Ossetians.
    So tell me, really! Where is YOUR tax dollars going?
    America needs to stay out of Europe, Africa, Asia affairs and handle problems in their own back yard, like the katrina victims. (who are still living in cancer causing trailers)
    Let the regional countries handle their own affairs. United States want to take credit for what the French President accomplished in terms of a cease fire. Don’t go yelling territorial integrity when you break territorial integrity with unilateral force in Iraq and Serbia. You look hypocritical, people do remember.
    you want numbers for verification ok?
    Revealed:
    how U.S. funds Georgian arms
    The United States has been providing military and technical support to independent Georgia for almost 15 years. During this period, the overall amount of annual aid from Washington has increased by more than several hundred times, and reached its peak in the financial year till 2006.
    It has meant that Georgia’s army was well prepared for an attack on South Ossetia. RT offers a brief history of the preparation by the Georgian armed forces for the war.
    1994: Georgia received $63,000 under the programme of the International Military Education and Training (IMET).
    1995: Georgia received $85,000 under IMET.
    1996: Georgia received $302,000 under IMET. It purchased American military equipment for $66.000. Total: $368,000.
    1997: Georgia received $312,000 under IMET. It purchased American military equipment for $66,000. It received $700,000 under the programme of the Foreign Military Financing (FMF). Total: $1,068,000.
    1998: Georgia received $416,000 under IMET. It received $5,350,000 under EMF. Total: $5,766,000.
    1999: Georgia received $394,000 under IMET. It received $7,950,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $19,000. It received $9,227,040 under the programme of Additional Defense Expenses (ADE). Total: $17,590,040.
    2000: Georgia received $409,000 under IMET. It received $3,000,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $3,949,000. It received $575,000 under ADE. Total: $7,933,000.
    2001: Georgia received $481,000 under IMET. It received $4,490,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $5,171,000. It received $575,000 under ADE. Total: $10,717,000.
    2002: Georgia received $889,000 under IMET. It received $55,500,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $3,647,000. Total: $60,036,000.
    29th April 2002: Pentagon announced the beginning of the Programme of Preparation and Equipment for Georgia (PPEG). The programme was implemented upon Georgia’s request for assistance in order to enhance its abilities to fight against terrorism, in the Pankisi Gorge in particular. The program was planned for 18-20 months. It included special seminars and training as well as supplies of light armaments and other military equipment for the Georgian army. Total budget of the programme was $64,000,000. Also, at least 150 American military experts were sent to Georgia. The Programme of Border Security and Law enforcement, with a budget of $3,200,000, was implemented at the same time.
    2003: Georgia received $1,184,000 under IMET. It received $6,900,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $9,825,000. It received $4,525,054 under ADE. Total: $22,434,054.
    2004: Georgia received $1,040,000 under IMET. It received $12,000,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $7,405,000. It received $2,786,257 under ADE. Total: $23,231,257.
    April 2004: Programme of Preparation and Equipment for Georgia was formally completed. The programme of operation for stabilisation and reinforcement began. It was formally intended for the preparation of Georgian armed forces to be sent to Iraq. The first stage of the program was planned for 18-20 months with a budget of approximately $60,000,000.
    2005: Georgia received $1,413,000 under IMET. It received $11,904,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $32,044,000. Total: $45,361,000.
    2006: Georgia received $1,275,000 under IMET. It received $11,880,000 under FMF. It purchased American for $106,714,000. Total: $119,869,000.
    2007: Georgia received $1,235,000 under IMET. It received $10,000,000 under FMF. It purchased American arms for $10,876,000. Total: $22,102,000.
    September 2007: Beginning of the second stage of the programme of operation for stabilisation and reinforcement.
    2008: $800,000 was allocated to Georgia under IMET. $10,000,000 was allocated under FMF. $9,319,000 was allocated for purchase of American arms. Total: $20,119,000.
    Referenced://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/28892
    The Truth always hurt.
    Kent

    Reply

  29. craig says:

    Americans are told they are being discriminated against if they do not have good health insurance, housing, employment/good minimum wage,cheap gas, 800 channels and a college education. You know the list is much longer. In other words there is always someone in the media pointing out how we Americans should be pissed about how bad things are at home particularly under President Bush.
    NOW, we are to be blamed for Russia’s actions against Georgia. This is like saying to a woman, “What did you do to make your husband beat the hell out of you?” I am tired of media know- it-alls and people who write here blaming America for the primitive actions of the rest of the world. I have no patientence for this nonsense.
    We need leaders in the government that will allow us to be self sufficient, embrace capitalism to the fullest, arm us to the hilt (star wars and all), and let the rest of the world beware. If you threaten our interests, we will take you out one way or the other. This is the dirty little secret of global politics. The nation that achieves this status will dominate. It better be US…United States.

    Reply

  30. Russian says:

    I hope that this bit of the last interview of Solzhenitsyn who was highly regarded by the West will help some people to understand a bit more about Russia.
    SPIEGEL: But Russia often finds itself alone. Recently relations between Russia and the West have gotten somewhat colder and this includes Russian-European relations. What is the reason? What are the West’s difficulties in understanding modern Russia?
    Solzhenitsyn: I can name many reasons, but the most interesting ones are psychological, i.e. the clash of illusory hopes against reality. This happened both in Russia and in West. When I returned to Russia in 1994, the Western world and its states were practically being worshipped. Admittedly, this was caused not so much by real knowledge or a conscious choice, but by the natural disgust with the Bolshevik regime and its anti-Western propaganda.
    This mood started changing with the cruel NATO bombings of Serbia. It’s fair to say that all layers of Russian society were deeply and indelibly shocked by those bombings. The situation then became worse when NATO started to spread its influence and draw the ex-Soviet republics into its structure. This was especially painful in the case of Ukraine, a country whose closeness to Russia is defined by literally millions of family ties among our peoples, relatives living on different sides of the national border. At one fell stroke, these families could be torn apart by a new dividing line, the border of a military bloc.
    So, the perception of the West as mostly a “knight of democracy” has been replaced with the disappointed belief that pragmatism, often cynical and selfish, lies at the core of Western policies. For many Russians it was a grave disillusion, a crushing of ideals.
    At the same time the West was enjoying its victory after the exhausting Cold War, and observing the 15-year-long anarchy under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. In this context it was easy to get accustomed to the idea that Russia had become almost a Third World country and would remain so forever. When Russia started to regain some of its strength as an economy and as a state, the West’s reaction — perhaps a subconscious one, based on erstwhile fears — was panic.
    SPIEGEL: The West associated it with the ex-superpower, the Soviet Union.
    Solzhenitsyn: Which is too bad. But even before that, the West deluded itself — or maybe conveniently ignored the reality — by regarding Russia as a young democracy, whereas in fact there was no democracy at all. Of course Russia is not a democratic country yet; it is just starting to build democracy. It is all too easy to take Russia to task with a long list of omissions, violations and mistakes.
    But did not Russia clearly and unambiguously stretch its helping hand to the West after 9/11? Only a psychological shortcoming, or else a disastrous shortsightedness, can explain the West’s irrational refusal of this hand. No sooner did the USA accept Russia’s critically important aid in Afghanistan than it immediately started making newer and newer demands. As for Europe, its claims towards Russia are fairly transparently based on fears about energy, unjustified fears at that.
    Isn’t it a luxury for the West to be pushing Russia aside now, especially in the face of new threats? In my last Western interview before I returned to Russia (for Forbes magazine in April 1994) I said: “If we look far into the future, one can see a time in the 21st century when both Europe and the USA will be in dire need of Russia as an ally.”
    On a personal note: I’m not a huge fan of Putin. My best friend is Georgian. But what Saakashvili did in S. Ossetia is not better than what Eltsin and then Putin did in Chechnja. Why there was no swift response from the West condemning Georgia’s attack with assault troops, multiple-rocket launchers and artillery on Tskhinvali that resulted in heavy civilian casualties?
    This is hypocrisy and cynicism of the West in action again. Of course, Saakashvili is such a darling of the West. How can he do wrong? He just did. Realize it and action accordingly.

    Reply

  31. Kent says:

    This post is in response to “ross” dated 9th aug 2008
    what do the people of south ossetia want they hold russian passports and citizenship, the currency in south ossetia is the russian ruble. where does their allegiance lay “a right to self determination”. thats actually an american term, isn’t it. sound familiar. people just don’t like it when the same methods are used to establish independence for one particular country being used to establish independence for other countries.
    how is the conflict in kosovo a special case and the conflicts in abkazia, south Ossetia, trans diester, just to name a few,conflicts that have been frozen longer than kosovo more important
    can’t quite answer that right
    here is the answer: oil
    Some countries love oil
    Love the smell of it, the look of it, the feel of it, the power it. they have an addiction to it. their entire infrastructure is dependant on oil.
    If you look at nato propigation throughout the world, their geograpgical sphere of existance is along major oil transit routes.
    shame on nato and the west
    bring on green energy and stop the wars over oil
    stop the hypocracy usa
    brain teaser of the day
    why is it called patriotism when america is proud of its country but it is considered nationalism for others
    I ask this. Is it fair, balanced or even ethical for a great power to invade afganistan, iraq, and serbia, breaking their territorial integrity, not respecting international law, and then occupying those countries, which by the way iraq serbia was based on lies but when a non western country russia does the same its totally wrong, even when it is warranted.
    kent

    Reply

  32. David T says:

    I am not sure who or what this site is, but it is interesting. I will look further.
    What occurs to me is that the newsprint available in Western Australia (perhaps with the exception of the national Australian)is absolute rubbish on this issue. It seems to be paraphrasing the US approach on these issues.
    It further occurs that issues such as Kosovo may be only the edge of the issue. Is this the Sudetenland again? Is this another step in the re-instatement of the cold war in another form?

    Reply

  33. Brian L says:

    Apparently everyone has madethe irresponsible and reckless decision except Russia who in fact did wage war on civilian populations;;;; ah! but that’s all right (better red than dead)
    what cowardice@!

    Reply

  34. Warren says:

    Lets look at this article for what it is: unthinking liberal knee-jerk blame-monkey rambling that lightley skips over genuine Georgian concerns (and cusualties,) while seeking links between a hated US president and convaluted foreign affairs. For one minute could you slow down enough in your America bashing to seriuosly consider the choices and consequnces that other people make independant of the All Powerful Amerian Empire.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    Steve Clemons is running John McCain for President Ads on his site. Wow!
    There’s one at the top of this thread right now. McCain must like the Washington Note demographic.

    Reply

  36. Sweetness says:

    “But if you supported Obama over the other Democratic
    candidates during the nominating process, I think you made a
    very bad choice that we will all come to regret.”
    Well, there really was only ever one other choice, as far as I can
    remember. Had Biden or Dodd shown any life, I would have
    been sorely tempted to support them. Perhaps Kucinich, too,
    but he was always way out of the running.
    As I think I’ve said before, Hillary tempted me, but I felt that
    Obama’s message of bridging the divides and charting a new
    course was more compelling at this time in our politics.
    Whether he can really pull it off, of course, is another matter.
    Either way, I walk forward humbly without illusion about the
    potential results of any of our choices at this point.

    Reply

  37. BarryO says:

    I normally wouldn’t post anything in response to such disillusioned article, it seems sir you need a lesson in history.
    It would help for you to go back and read about San Stefano treaty, the Congress of Berlin and Treaty of London and you will see how Albanian lands were chewed up piece by piece. Kosovo was given to Serbia because Russia desired influence in the Balkans and what better way than to have their “loyal slavic cousins” become a strong dominant force there; also see how Serbia benefited from World War I and how Yugoslavia was formed.
    These facts are undeniable. Are you prepared to say that South Ossetia (similarly) was taken from Russia? By the mighty Georgia? When? You can’t make these type of idiotic comparisons without any proof to back them up. Kosovo is some 95% Albanian with a population of 2 million, was an autonomous region in Yugoslavia (until Milosevic decided to take it away). South Ossetia, no offense, is small about 70k and recognized as part of Georgia (even by Russia) hardly a country on its own. It’s more like Russia is using Kosovo as an excuse here but the comparison is laughable at best.

    Reply

  38. WigWag says:

    Sweetness, I agree with one point that you made in your comment.
    I agree that when it comes to the Balkans and Russian-U.S. relations: Bush=McCain=Obama=Clinton (Hillary and Bill). The only two candidates who might have taken a different approach were Kucinich on the Democratic side and Paul on the Republican side.
    I disagree with your analysis of the difference between liberal internationalists and neocons. The only differences that I can discern are these: Republican neocons are more likely to be interventionists when the “liberal” issues at stake are freedom of religion, freedom of speech and free enterprise. Democratic, liberal internationalists are more likely to intervene when the liberal values that they hold dearer are threatened. Values like freedom from poverty, freedom from violence and freedom from hunger.
    I don’t disagree that the causes the Democrats champion are more fundamental and important; but the causes that both sides champion, matter. It’s not the causes that are bad, it’s the arrogant interventions.
    I also acknowledge that the neocons have greater faith in the use of force and liberal internationalists have greater faith in the utility of transnational institutions, but to me, it looks like these are mostly differences around the edges. After all when Bush ignored the preeminent transnational institution, the UN, to recognize Kosovo, the entire liberal internationalist elite applauded his approach.
    I also acknowledge that when it comes to interventions, Democrats seem marginally more competent in managing them than the Republicans do.
    By the way, I haven’t read Matt Yglesias’ book. He’s not an expert, he’s a hack.
    You’re right that we have a binary choice in the election. But the best outcome is not clear (at least to me). After all, if Obama loses, there is a chance that in four years the Democrats might actually nominate a person with the competence, skills and experience to do the job reasonably well.
    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to conclude that an Obama foreign policy and a McCain foreign policy will be much more similar than people think. On the domestic policy front, if Obama loses, we will suffer through McCain’s domestic policies (which will be much more objectionable than the reasonably good domestic policies we can anticipate from an Obama administration). But at least the sexism at the heart of Obama’s success in getting the nomination will have failed. And at least a candidate who gives new meaning to the term demigod, I mean demagogue, would have lost.
    I understand that you disagree with this analysis. And as I have said before, I think people who decide to vote for Obama instead of McCain are making a perfectly reasonable choice. But if you supported Obama over the other Democratic candidates during the nominating process, I think you made a very bad choice that we will all come to regret.

    Reply

  39. Sweetness says:

    Wig,
    I’m having trouble discerning your point.
    If I were to simply take as granted the elements you posit here,
    isn’t it also pretty much a forgone conclusion that McCain would
    have done the same…and, for that matter, Hillary, too? After all,
    it was the Clinton administration (with Hillary cheerleading for it)
    that decided to intervene in the Balkans against Serbia.
    So, on Kosovo, McCain=Bush…and Hillary=Bush.
    So where does your analysis leave a voter?
    Since, as you’ve said elsewhere, Obama’s positions (let’s say, his
    other positions) are superior to Bush’s and McCain’s…the only
    thing to do is to vote for Obama.
    We have a binary choice here, Wig. There is no opportunity to
    custom-tailor our own bespoke candidate. As a Democrat, you
    either vote for Obama, or you ARE voting for McCain. Period.
    All that said, it is very difficult to predict the future actions of a
    candidate once elected as you attempt to do here, regardless of
    who is advising him, and Kupchan is only one of his advisors.
    LBJ is probably the best example of this: He was the “peace
    candidate.”
    Broadening the lens a bit, your attempt to equate liberal
    internationalism with the neocon philosophy is offbase, IMO.
    Offbase because it only goes so far. Read Matt Yglias’s recent
    book for a good analysis of what liberal internationalism COULD
    be. One of the points you leave out is what one might call
    cooperative engagement. As Steve points out, there were ways
    of pursuing Kosovo’s independence WITHOUT antagonizing–or
    needlessly antagonizing–Russia.
    To wit:
    “At the time, there was word from senior level sources that
    Russia had asked the US to stretch an independence process for
    Kosovo over a longer stretch of time — and tie to it some
    process of independence for the two autonomous Georgia
    provinces. In exchange, Russia would not veto the creation of a
    new state of Kosovo at the Security Council. The U.S. rejected
    Russia’s secret entreaties and instead rushed recognition of
    Kosovo and said damn the consequences.”

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    Charles Kupchan of Georgetown University has been a leading proponent of recognizing Kosovo.
    This is what he said in a 2005 Foreign Affairs article:
    “…denying or delaying independence risks a return to disorder and bloodshed — and is therefore the greater of two evils. The formal separation of Kosovo from Serbia instead offers the best hope for rebuilding moderation and tolerance among ethnic Albanians, making it far more likely that they will eventually live in peace with Serbs, Roma, and the other minority groups among them.”
    This is what he said in a December 5, 2007 conference call sponsored by the Council of Foreign Relations:
    “My sense is that the clock is running out on this issue from two different perspectives. One is that the Kosovar-Albanians who have been, I think, quite patient and done a reasonably good job of adverting outbreaks of violence in Kosovo are hard pressed to move toward independence and fearful that if they don’t move, they will have great difficulty sustaining the relatively peaceful situation in Kosovo…And secondly, there’s a sense in Washington and I think major EU capitals that it’s enough. And I do not expect a new round of negotiations to be launched because I think all the major diplomatic envoys have reached the conclusion that there’s not much more to talk about…”
    Steve invited Dr. Kupchan at the New America Foundation a few months ago and was kind enough to provide a web broadcast of his remarks. At the end of the talk, Steve asked Kupchan if he was advising Obama and Kupchan reluctantly admitted the he was.
    So there you have it, a leading academic expert on the Balkans, enthusiastically supporting Kosovo independence and acting as an advisor to Senator Obama.
    On Kosovo, Obama=Bush.

    Reply

  41. WigWag says:

    It is all very well and good for Steve Clemons and other critics of the Bush Administration who have commented on this thread, to point out the bad mistakes the Administration made that facilitated the Russian invasion of South Ossetia and now Georgia.
    But they are being disingenuous if they don’t admit that Barack Obama (and John McCain) would have behaved in precisely the same way that the Bush team did.
    While Obama would not have made the mistake of antagonizing the Russians by placing missile defense apparatus (that won’t work anyway) in former Warsaw Pact countries, he would have done everything else that Bush did.
    Does anyone think that a President Obama would not have recognized Kosovo? Great Britain, France and Germany recognized Kosovo virtually instantly after it declared independence. In fact the timing of that declaration was carefully worked out with those nations ahead of time. Is there any doubt at all, that Obama would have followed their lead as enthusiastically as or more enthusiastically than Bush? I don’t think there’s any doubt at all.
    And what about Georgia? Does anyone think that the liberal internationalists running an Obama foreign policy would have been able to resist enthusiastically supporting a freedom movement in Georgia lovingly called the Rose Revolution? The name alone would have had their heads spinning.
    After all, aren’t the assumptions behind liberal internationalism simply that the United States should promote, wherever possible, an international system characterized by democratic governments, human right, the rule of law, open markets and free enterprise?
    It seems to me that Bush was following the liberal internationalist credo to a tee when he recognized Kosovo and encouraged Georgia’s NATO membership.
    Barack Obama would have done precisely the same thing; perhaps with even more gusto.

    Reply

  42. Stella L. Jatras says:

    There is no way that the Georgian president would initiate an attack on Ossetia withou the approval from Washington.
    We told the Russians that if they pulled out of Eastern Europe, we would not move NATO up to their borders.
    Well, they did and we did.

    Reply

  43. Ivan_Russian says:

    People! If you are really aiming to THINK – try to do it by yourself!
    1) Figure it out – Georgia ATTACKED South Osetia with HEAVY ARTILLERY and TANKS 07/08/2008 and (in one night) KILLED about 2000 citizens, DESTROYED Tshinvaly (the capital of S.Osetia) and several smaller towns.
    2) Mere than 2/3 of osetians are RUSSIANS! And S Osetia is NOT a part of Georgia from 1991 yr. (and its never been a part of Georgia before 1920)!!! NOBODY in Russia wants to gain Georgia “back to the USSR” (I meant in borders of Russia). Georgians wanted to be separated and NOBODY tried to keep them in 1991!
    3) EVERY georgian neighbour is ready to declare WAR to Georgian criminal state if it`ll try to repeat S.Osetian scenario. Enough to eat every false your newspaper prints! Just ASK any caucasian about this problem if you are REALLY trying to understand whats happening there! Osetia and Abkhasia don`t want to come back to Georgian borders (ind they will NEVER back).
    4) About “Georgian” agression… DO YOU know that “georian” troops consist of international mercenaries? (of cource not I guess…) So ASK GEORGIANS about it – theirs Saakashvilly tried to moboloze, arm and throw to WAR last night`s CIVILIANS! (they even DIDN`t KNOW about theirs destination and aim) So when thew loocked at this foul “turn” against theirs neighbours – they DESERt by themselves! Most of georgians doesnt want this war! Because it concerns all caucasian brothers nations!
    5) All this act of Saakashvily is only a cause to fire up situation in Caucasus! This way USA can realize its politics of “struggle against russian treat”… A bullshit that helps to spend your money! :)) And MOST OF YOU ARE STILL EATING THIS!!!
    —-
    If you are really trying to THINK – look at USA economics!
    a) at USDollar EMISSION value (all the data from 2005 classified as secret) – they just filled up all the world with $USDollars = uncovered paper money!
    b) at USA trade balance from 1985 (EXPORT-IMPORT)
    c) at USA DEBT (including not only external government debt but also “future obligations” (social for example) – and you will see – EXPANCES of US government always needs a “COVER” (overconsumption is take a place).
    So EVERY action, every politics is aiming to GAIN A MONEY! Yours or smb. else’s!
    If you are still not interesting in TRUTH – so keep your eyes “WIDE SHUT”… and I pity you…
    Ivan (from North Caucasus).

    Reply

  44. arthurdecco says:

    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose:
    “Israel has a hand in S. Ossetia war”
    ”Israel has provided Georgia with military assistance amid an ongoing armed conflict in the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
    The Israeli web site Debkafiles which is believed to have close links with the regime’s intelligence and military sources, reported that last year, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had commissioned from Israeli security firms up to 1,000 military advisers to train the country’s armed forces.
    According to the report, the Israeli advisors also helped Tbilisi with military intelligence and security operations. Georgia also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.
    The report added the Israeli advisers were deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to attack and capture the capital of South Ossetia on Friday.
    The web site quoted “its military experts” as saying a project to pump Caspian oil and gas to the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan instead of the Russian pipeline network is in the interest of Tel Aviv…”
    I forgot to grab the link but here’s links to two closely related stories:
    Jewish Georgian minister: Thanks to Israeli training, we’re fending off Russia : http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1010187.html
    (This particular piece of yellow journalism is a carbon-copy re-write of every piece of one-sided propaganda ever written – I would have been rolling in the aisles, helplessly laughing at its grotesque obviousness, if the outcome of this mindless violence wasn’t such a tragedy for all of its participants, unwilling and willing both.)
    Georgian fighting drives out Israeli security consultants:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1009940.html
    It becomes more obvious with each new revelation that Israel is a scourge – a barb-tipped whip on the backs of all who desire peaceful coexistence without submission in the region and elsewhere. How many countries are they and their intermediaries interfering in these days, exactly?
    I’ve lost count.

    Reply

  45. syvanen says:

    Kosovo is clearly the proximate cause of this war. But we have to put this in the larger context of US and Nato provocation of Russia. It bagan when Nato expanded into Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. Then with the incorporation of former Soviet Republics — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuanian — into Nato. Then continuing with Western backed political “revolutions” in the Ukrain and Geogia. Next, most provocatively, entertaining these last two nations as Nato members. The Nato missile defenses going up in Poland and CzechLand. On top of this, as noted above, joint US and Georgian military exercises. Rice going to Tbilsi and giving verbal support for this as if it is ongoing US policy. Saasikivilli may have misread the US’s real level of support given all these provocations and probably thought Nato would come to his support.
    Russia has thrown down the gauntlet. They are asking the West: are we really willing to go to war to further the humiliation and encirclement of Russia? This war is all about the US.

    Reply

  46. Step says:

    Here’s some facts that CNN will never show:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRl3qArJO-o
    American says U.S. and Georgia to answer for violence in South
    Ossetia
    ==========================
    Joe Mestas, American citizen living in South Ossetia, who
    witnessed everything that happening in the region, talked to RT
    and blamed U.S. and Georgian leaders for the outbreak of
    violence.
    “I thought that since U.S. is supporting Georgia there would be
    some control over the situation in South Ossetia and that there
    would be a peaceful solution to the conflict. But what is
    happening there now it’s not just war, but war crimes. George
    Bush and [Georgian president] Mikhail Saakashvili should
    answere to the crimes that are being committed – the killing of
    innocent people, running over by tanks of children and women,
    throwing grenades into cellars where people are hiding,” Joe
    Mestas said.
    “The war is when military fight against military. But the Georgina
    army is killing innocent civilians. This is genocide,” he added.

    Reply

  47. Buush A. Mohamed says:

    For years, the Russians have claimed that Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has been preparing to retake the disputed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and have warned that they would use force to block such a bid. Mr. Saakashvili, for his part, describes today’s Russia as a belligerent power ruthlessly pressing at its borders, implacably hostile to democratic neighbors like Georgia and Ukraine. He has thrown in his lot with the West, and has campaigned ardently for membership in NATO. Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s former president and current prime minister, has said Russia could never accept a NATO presence in the Caucasus.

    Reply

  48. PEDE_POENA_CLAUDO says:

    Posted by Kim Aug 09:
    “Doesn’t the excuse of protecting Russian Citizens living in Georgia bear a striking resemblance to Hitler’s protection of German Citizens living in Chek. at the beginning of WWII?”
    REPLY:
    Doesnt the excuse of waging a never-ending ‘war on terror’ because of the WTC hit on 9-11, bear a striking resemblance to Hitler’s destruction of the Reichstag and his uncontitional rise to power?
    Replace WTC with Reichstag and Communist threat with terrorist threat and you have the US Reich.
    -What about the Patriot Act?
    -Isn’t Blackwater the new SS?
    Please do not speak of matters you cannot understand. If you want to find a NAZI regime today you need not look further than the US.
    The US invaded Iraq (where are the WMD’s???) and Afghanistan (where is Osama BL???) – countries that lie thousands of miles away from the US – to allegedly protect its national security and citizens. Why can’t Russians send troops to Georgia which is a neighbour country, for the same reasons??? The US caused a precedence when it ignored the Security Counsil rulling that characterized the war in Iraq as illegal. You can bet that Russia will do exactly the same thing. The US has broken every international law, and mocked every iternational organization in existence. Why shouldn’t Russia do the same thing? At least Russia was clever enough to issue Russian passports to Georgian (Ossetian) citizens. How many Iraqi citizens hold US passports as of today??? Russia has always been the big player in international affairs, whether you like it or not. The US is overly-hyped when it comes to foreign policy. Russia just takes things one at a time.
    There is one solution to this conflict: The US must recognise Russian dominance in the region – which as we have witnessed is unquestionable – and the US should stop approaching countries of the former Soviet Union to lure them into joining NATO. NATO was and as the US has proven still is a fundamentally anti-Russian organization. How can anyone expect Russia to stand idle while it is being surrounded by NATO missiles and bases?
    The US should humbly back down and recognise Russia as the true superpower that it is.
    To Ross:
    “…Russian hypocrisy just as surely as their brutal policies of systematic human rights abuses”
    If you are from the US you have no right to speak of HYPOCRISY and Human Rights Abuses. The US has become a rogue country…who knows where it will strike next to kill innocent people? And under what false pretenses?
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060710/cohen

    Reply

  49. Don Bacon says:

    In addition to recent US military exercises on Russia’s borders, the US has had a long-term military training program in Georgia.
    Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” was planned and centrally coordinated by the US government. The 24 November 2003 Wall Street Journal credited the fall of Eduard Shevardnadze’s regime to the operations of “a raft of non-governmental organizations . . . supported by American and other Western foundations.”
    WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2002 – U.S. military officials are making plans to help the former Soviet republic of Georgia train and equip its armed forces to improve internal security, senior Pentagon officials said today. Such assistance would ultimately help the war on global terrorism, they said.
    On 29 April 2002 the US Department of Defense announced the beginning of the Georgia Train and Equip program (GTEP). This program implements President Bush’s decision to respond to Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and address the situation in the Pankisi Gorge. The 20-month, $64-million plan, involving a maximum of 150 US soldiers, is expected to be duplicated in 20 other countries.
    The initial program will consist of command center staff training for members of the Georgian Ministry of Defense as well as staff training for units of the Land Forces Command. The curriculum will consist of performance-oriented training and practical exercises similar to those taught at the National Defense University, Joint Forces Command, and U.S. Army War College. In addition to staff training, tactical training will be provided sequentially and will consist of approximately 100 days per unit. The goal of the tactical program is to instruct Georgian battalions in light infantry tactics, to include platoon-level offensive and defensive operations and basic airmobile tactics. During GTEP, military equipment is slated for transfer to Georgia. Equipment includes uniform items, small arms and ammunition, communications gear, training gear, medical gear, fuel, and construction materiel.
    On 23 February 2005, the U.S. in conjunction with the Georgian government conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for an extensive renovation of the Krtsanisi National Training Center (KNTC). The renovation is a 6.5 million dollar project as part of larger 60 million dollar Stability and Security Operations Program (SSOP). SSOP is similar in scope to the previous Georgian Train and Equip Program (GTEP) that ran from 2002-2004. While GTEP trained and equipped 4 infantry battalions, SSOP will train and equip a further 2 infantry battalions, 2 logistic battalions and combat support elements from an infantry brigade from April 2005 to April 2006.

    Reply

  50. Kathleen says:

    A view from the other side…
    War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA
    By Pravda
    09/08/08 “Pravda” — The US administration urged for an immediate cease-fire in the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia.
    In the meantime, Russian officials believe that it was the USA that orchestrated the current conflict. The chairman of the State Duma Committee for Security, Vladimir Vasilyev, believes that the current conflict is South Ossetia is very reminiscent to the wars in Iraq and Kosovo.
    “The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path. The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America. South Ossetian defense officials used to make statements about imminent aggression from Georgia, but the latter denied everything, whereas the US Department of State released no comments on the matter. In essence, they have prepared the force, which destroys everything in South Ossetia, attacks civilians and hospitals. They are responsible for this. The world community will learn about it,” the official said.
    In the meantime, it became known that the Georgian troops conducted volley-fire cleansings of several South Ossetian settlements, where people’s houses were simply leveled.
    “The number of victims with women, children and elderly people among them, can be counted in hundreds and even thousands,” a source from South Ossetian government in the capital of Tskhinvali said.
    The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov, told reporters that Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia question its consistency as a state and as a responsible member of the international community, Interfax reports.
    “Civilians, including women, children and elderly people, are dying in South Ossetia. In addition to that, Georgia conducts ethnic scouring in South Ossetian villages. The situation in South Ossetia continues to worsen every hour. Georgia uses military hardware and heavy arms against people. They shell residential quarters of Tskhinvali [the capital] and other settlements. They bomb the humanitarian convoys. The number of refugees continues to rise – the people try to save their lives, the lives of their children and relatives. A humanitarian catastrophe is gathering pace,” Russia’s Foreign Minister said.
    The minister added that the Georgian administration ignored the appeal from the UN General Assembly to observe the Olympic truce during the Beijing Olympics.
    The Georgian administration has found the use to its arms, which they have been purchasing during the recent several years,” Lavrov said. “The fact that Georgian peacemakers in the structure of joint peacemaking forces opened fire on their Russian comrades from one and the same contingent speaks for itself, I think,” the minister added.
    “Now it is clear to us why Georgia never accepted Russia’s offer to sign a legally binding document not to use force for the regulation of the South Ossetian conflict,” Lavrov said. “Not so long ago, before the military actions in South Ossetia, Georgia’s President Saakashvili said that there was no point in such a document because Georgia would not use force against its people, as he said. It just so happens that it is using it,” Sergei Lavrov said.
    Sergei Lavrov believes that the international community should stop turning a blind eye on Georgia’s active deals to purchase arms.
    “We have repeatedly warned that the international community should not turn a blind eye on massive purchases of offensive arms, in which the Georgian administration has been involved during the recent two years,” Lavrov said.

    Reply

  51. Kathllen says:

    shunha..I’m not equating what happened in Chicago in 1968 with what happened in Czechoslovakia.. I simply said the photo reminded me of seeing the tanks on the street in Chicago….more than two for sure…and that it was surrealistic to see it in America…. at the same time that the Russian tanks were rolling into Czechoslovakia… we were supposedly in Vietnam to fight “communism’ afterall and were acting in a way that seemed to be too much like that which we were fighting.
    I disagree that protest leaders provoked the violence… I saw policemen forming a phalange that pushed people through plate glass windows… and then went inside and arrested them ….I saw in Grant Park that if two people stood up together, tear gas was lobbed at them, me on one occasion….in any case, if you were a delegate and rode the special busses to the convention, you would have seen the National Guard all along the highway….it was eerie..

    Reply

  52. bob h says:

    McCain’s hot-headed, confrontational, shoot-from-the-hip response to this, where he puts all the blame on Russia and demands NATO involvement, is an indication just how dangerous his Presidency could be.

    Reply

  53. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    I see this ongoing developement as the Russian strategic backlash against the American design of Nato’s eastward expansion and on the side, the Moscow’ resentment over the postively taken initiative of the European Union regarding the independence of Kosovo.

    Reply

  54. David says:

    TWN – when CNN just isn’t cutting it.
    TWN – where one can find people who actually know and think honestly about things.

    Reply

  55. shunha7878 says:

    I don’t remember any tanks in Chicago in ’68. Maybe APC or two, but no tanks and I know they did not shoot anyone. The leader of the protest also said they started the trouble.
    Also, how can you equate what happened in Chicago and what happened in Czechoslovakia.
    You said your arm was bruised, people died in Czechoslovakia.
    not the same.

    Reply

  56. Don Bacon says:

    I have no idea about the effect of Kosovo, but I do know that the military exercises (noted above) that the US military — army, Marines and navy — has been involved in close to Russia’s border within the last month have been extreme provocations, and the US airlift of Georgian forces into battle may be another. This could be the start of a big one, for which the US military is ill-prepared and poorly situated.

    Reply

  57. WigWag says:

    By the way, for anyone interested in learning what is going on in this conflict in real time, Wikipedia is doing an amazing job of chronicling whats happening with detailed updates almost hourly. Just search on “2008 South Ossetia War.” There are also several bloggers (in English) blogging continuously from Tbilisi and Tskhinvali.

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Georgian government has requested the U.S. government airlift roughly 2,000 Georgian soldiers out of Iraq and back to defend their homeland, an intelligence officer tells ABC News”
    Now theres a grand idea, lets send a wing of US transport aircraft into Georgian airspace while a war is going on. This idiot Bush is just insane enough to attempt it. If there is anyway Bush can fuck this up, make it worse, and put us in the middle of it, you can bet he’ll find it.

    Reply

  59. Don Bacon says:

    Additional military news regarding US involvement:
    Navy (July):
    The United States European command said Monday it had wrapped up multinational military exercises in ex-Soviet Ukraine, which had faced protests and complaints from Moscow. Exercise Sea Breeze 2008 involved more than 2,000 service members from 16 countries and was held in the Black Sea and at land-based Ukrainian training facilities, according to EUCOM [US European Command].
    “Everyone participating in this exercise should be very proud of the level of interoperability and cooperation that was achieved among the sea, air and land components as well as among nations,” US Navy Captain John Moore, the Sea Breeze deputy commander, said in a statement.
    Russia’s foreign ministry had said at the start of the exercise however that it saw it as a threat. “The nature of the exercises, the attempts to present them as anti-Russian and the participation of states from outside the region inevitably raise questions and some degree of concern,” it said.
    Air Force (current):
    The Georgian government has requested the U.S. government airlift roughly 2,000 Georgian soldiers out of Iraq and back to defend their homeland, an intelligence officer tells ABC News.
    The immediacy of the situation for the Georgians is this: They are significantly overpowered by the Russian military and there is fear the Georgians can be defeated as soon as this weekend.

    Reply

  60. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I have just another couple of thoughts about this”
    Those would be the thoughts belonging to Sweetness and Questions, undoubtedly.

    Reply

  61. WigWag says:

    Paul, you may have missed the nuance in my language. I was being ironic. What I was trying to express is that they were feigning shock

    Reply

  62. Mr.Murder says:

    We sided with Turkey for Kosovo recognition in hopes of fast tracking the the Turkish state into the EU.
    Turkey sided with Kosovo, we sided with Kosovo, therefore we sided with Turkey.
    We have joint trained with Georgia, US Marines trained at the air field that Russians bombed two targets of. That was symbolic. Many of the same states friendly to the fast track of certain EU members supported the Georgia republic’s introduction as well.
    Russia was aware of Georgia’s importance, agreeing with Turkey on several caucus coalition meetings that Georgia was important.
    Georgia also worked with Russia in extraditing Chechens whilst still harboring thousands of refugees.
    These are some pretty strong examples of outright hubris.
    The Russian expert? Was there a shoe sale?
    We were aligning things against this with the Hastert trail of lobbyists. WTF went haywire?

    Reply

  63. Paul Norheim says:

    I`m not sure that they specifically are “shocked that
    the ethnic Russians in South Ossetia and Azbakia don’t want to
    be part of Georgia”. However, I agree that the “European”
    approach to former Soviet Republics since the early 90`s is one
    of the main factors behind the problems and tensions we`re
    currently seeing.

    Reply

  64. WigWag says:

    Paul, I am talking about the leaders that you mentioned in your comment as well as Javier Solana and the rest of the foreign policy intelligentsia in Europe. I would add anyone who even entertained the propostion that offering NATO membership to former Soviet Repbulics might be a good idea.
    I would also include anyone in Europe who thinks that they can entice the Serbs to forget about Kosovo (esecially Northern Kosovo) by offering them membership in the EU. This may look like it’s working right now, but, in my opinion, in the long-term it’s doomed to failure.

    Reply

  65. Paul Norheim says:

    I would guess that “the Europeans” in general don`t have very
    strong opinions on this yet (but I haven`t read many European
    newspapers since Thursday). However, I read some statements
    today from a Norwegian “expert” on the region that were quite in
    line with Steve`s post.

    Reply

  66. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–I think you over-emphasize ethnic division and fail to recognize the economic interests that exploit the ethnic divisions. Would NATO give a hoot about Georgia but for Caspian oil? Would Russia be concerned about Georgia if it were not a transit route for BTC, a route specifically designed to circumnavigate Russia?
    When control of geography becomes an issue, outside economic interests need local proxies to control the territory they covet but cannot readily occupy themselves. We got the Georgians and Kosovars, Russia has the Ossetians and the Serbs. In Georgia, Russian economic interests are much better positioned to support their proxy than the US–the opposite of what happened in Serbia.
    Israel and Palestine fall into a different category, because US involvement is driven mostly by domestic politics, not economic self interest, which seems to be pretty non-existent at that corner of the Mediterranean.

    Reply

  67. Paul Norheim says:

    “After all of this, the Europeans are shocked, just shocked that
    the ethnic Russians in South Ossetia and Azbakia don’t want to
    be part of Georgia.”
    Could you be more specific here, WigWag? Who are shocked? The
    average “European” probably knew as little as the average
    American about these problems until today or yesterday, despite
    earlier conflicts and wars in the region.
    Talking about Sarkozy? Merkel? Brown? Certain journalists?

    Reply

  68. WigWag says:

    I have just another couple of thoughts about this.
    I think Steve is right to criticize how badly the Bush Administration bungled U.S.-Russian relations. This is especially surprising given the fact that Secretary of State Rice was supposed to be a Russian scholar. How she did not foresee that the recognition of Kosovo would give license to Russian adventurism in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is mind boggling. But I do think Steve is being a little too hard on the Americans and not nearly hard enough on the Europeans. After all, it was the Europeans who took the lead on the recognition of Kosovo; the U.S. merely followed, even if they did so with some enthusiasm.
    The arrogance of the Europeans in this situation rivals the arrogance of the Bush Administration in any of its many foreign policy blunders. I think this is because of a complete blindness on the part of Europeans to their own recent history.
    From the middle of the 19th Century to the end of World War II the dominant theme in European history was ethnic cleansing. At precisely the time that Americans were conducting the most successful experiment of ethnic integration in world history, Europeans were obsessed with sorting themselves along lines of ethnicity, religion and language. The trend began in earnest with the unification of Italy (1860s) and then Germany (1870s) and then reached the height of barbarity with the extermination of European Jewry and the forced displacement of millions based on ethnicity following World War I and World War II.
    In 1900 most European states lacked a single overwhelmingly dominant nationality. By 2007 only there were only two, Belgium and Switzerland. And of course Belgium may not last the rest of the year. During the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, almost half a million people left their traditional homelands, either voluntarily or by force. To end the conflict between Greece and Turkey in 1923, Turkey expelled almost 1.5 million Christians to Greece, and Greece expelled almost 400,000 Muslims to Turkey.
    During World War II, The Nazis used ethnic German minorities in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and elsewhere to enforce Nazi domination, and many of the regimes allied with Germany engaged in their own campaigns against internal ethnic enemies. The Romanian regime, for example, murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews on its own, without orders from Germany, and the government of Croatia murdered not only its Jews but hundreds of thousands of Serbs and Romany as well.
    Of course, the British conveniently forget that the biggest cheer leader for ethnic cleansing in history may have been Winston Churchill who famously said “Expulsion is the method which, so far as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble. . . . A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed at the prospect of the disentanglement of populations, nor am I alarmed by these large transferences.”
    True to his word (and Stalin’s), between 1944 and 1945, five million ethnic Germans from the eastern parts of the German Reich fled westward and then, between 1945 and 1947, the new regimes in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia expelled another seven million Germans. Together, these measures constituted one of the largest forced population movements in world history, with hundreds of thousands of people dying along the way. And of course, this doesn’t count the 1.5 million ethnic Poles living in the Ukraine who were expelled to Poland, the 500 thousand ethnic Ukrainians living in Poland who were expelled to the Ukraine or the million ethnic Germans living in Russia who were expelled to Germany. The Scandinavians only escaped this barbarity because they had been an island of ethnic homogeneity for a thousand years.
    (Jerry Z. Muller wrote a really interesting article about all of this called “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism” in the March/April, 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs.)
    After all of this, the Europeans are shocked, just shocked that the ethnic Russians in South Ossetia and Azbakia don’t want to be part of Georgia. Or that the Serbs in Bosnia prefer Republika Srpska to a multiethnic Bosnia Herzegovina or that the Serbian minority in Northern Kosovo would rather be part of Serbia or that the Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo don’t want to be part of Serbia.
    The European Union holds itself out as the model that could solve all these problems if only the parties to those conflicts were broad minded enough to see the light. How convenient for the Western Europeans to forget that their civilized union of European states only became possible after their enterprise of ethnic cleansing and genocide was largely complete.
    Tom Freedman had exactly right when he said before you get your Lexus; you need your olive tree. The Georgians and the South Ossetians are both desperately searching for their olive trees.
    Considering their history, the British, French, Germans and Italians are in no position to criticize the Russians for protecting the South Ossetians or the South Ossestians for wanting to align with Russia. After all, as terrible as the violence in that part of the world is, the passions motivating it are the same passions that the rest of Europe fell victim to for more than a century.
    They are also the same passions to be found between Hindus and Muslims on the subcontinent, Jews and Arabs in the Middle East and Huttus and Tutsis in Africa. For all the criticism of the United States at the Washington Note, it seems to me, the US model is one of the few that has actually worked. But then again we have our genocides (Native Americans)and near genocides (slavery) too.

    Reply

  69. Kim says:

    WOW. So this is the fault of US + NATO? Thank goodness someone recognized US after the Revolutionary War. Doesn’t the excuse of protecting Russian Citizens living in Georgia bear a striking resemblance to Hitler’s protection of German Citizens living in Chek. at the beginning of WWII?

    Reply

  70. Steve Clemons says:

    WigWag — You pose a great question, and I am prepared to answer in a way that deals with Kosovo, Palestine, and South Ossetia….but I’m at a party on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay and can’t weigh in given my current circumstances….but don’t worry. I will! Thanks for the good question – you are right that this needs to be reconciled.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  71. WigWag says:

    I agree with almost everything Steve said here and I am really looking forward to the post by Dimitri Simes. I do think some of the comments are ironic though. Given the tremendous similarities between the Albanian Kosovars and the Palestinians I would have expected some of the reliable defenders of the Palestinians to be more sympathetic with the Kosovars than they appear to be. The similarities between Kosovo and Palestine are truly striking.
    Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1516-1917 and Kosovo was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1455 to 1912. The populations in both Kosovo and the West Bank are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim and both populations are growing quickly. Ethnic Albanian Kosovars have the fastest population growth rate in Europe and Palestinian Arabs have the fastest population growth rate in the Middle East. Palestinians feel outraged that they are occupied and oppressed by a Jewish State and Albanian Kosovars were outraged that they were occupied and oppressed by an Orthodox State (Serbia). Jewish holy sites are found throughout the West Bank; Serbian Orthodox Holy sites are scattered throughout Kosovo.
    1998 marked the 50th Anniversary of what the Palestinians call the Nakba. A catastrophe that they believe resulted in the expulsion of 1 million Palestinians from their homes in the new State of Israel. At the end of 1998 the so called The Raga massacre occurred in Kosovo followed in early 1999 by a war in which Milosevic expelled close to 1 million Kosovo Albanians from their homes.
    The population of Kosovo is about 2.2 million and the population of the West Bank is approximately 2.5 million. Approximately 11 percent of the population in the West Bank is Jewish; approximately 8 percent of Kosovo is non-Albanian (primarily Serb). The vast majority of Jews in the West Bank are clustered in a few large settlement blocks with smaller communities scattered throughout the region. The vast majority of Serbians in Kosovo (about 80 percent) are concentrated in the Northern part of the country (if it can be called that) with smaller communities scattered throughout the rest of Kosovo, primarily in the south and west.
    The per capita GDP of the West Bank is estimated by the World Bank to be about $2,050. The per capita GDP of Kosovo is estimated to be $2,000. Both Kosovo and the West Bank are wretchedly poor.
    Given these similarities, it is hard to understand why Steve Clemons and others who have commented on this thread are so much more sympathetic to the national aspirations of the Palestinians than they are to the national aspirations of the Kosovars. Why do they find the Palestinian cause to be so compelling while the cause of the Kosovars is just another geopolitical conundrum?

    Reply

  72. Don Bacon says:

    regarding oil,
    TBILISI (Reuters) – Russian fighter jets targeted the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline which carries oil to the West from Asia but missed, Georgia’s Economic Development Minister Ekaterina Sharashidze said on Saturday.

    Reply

  73. Mr.Murder says:

    By definition Russia is the one acting in geoncide, as the country acting outside its own sovereignty.
    Should the Georginans take such a vote to the UN it would of course fall victim to the Security Council’s internal dynamics.
    Persons wanting to look the way of Kosovo should look at the predecessor to the Iron Curtain’s fall.
    The Red Brigade. Our decision to support right wing elements, from Italy, into central and southeast Europe, helped arm the extremists that were much of the triggers that caused escalation.
    Well what do you know, we’re back to the same names that touched bases on the Niger forgery and the Atta/Prague rumors. Hello Ledeen and Rumsfeld, the former Italian Navy minister, AEI and the former EU energy minister from Spain.
    One happy goose stepping family.

    Reply

  74. Don Bacon says:

    Paul,
    Thank you so much for that poorly-formatted quote from Sharansky which is totally irrelevant to the ongoing war in Georgia. Regarding formatting, Paul, what you should do is put your blurb on notepad and uncheck “word wrap” before copying and pasting. You’ll be amazed!

    Reply

  75. Paul Norheim says:

    On October 23. 2005 Steve wrote a post where he quoted from
    a New Yorker article by Jeffrey Goldberg re the realist Scowcroft
    and the idealistic views of George W. Bush.
    Allow me to re-quote a passage from Goldbergs article that may
    be relevant here:
    “In September, Sharansky was in Washington at the invitation of
    Condoleeza Rice; he gave the closing speech at a State
    Department conference on democratization. “Can you believe it?
    ” he said to me just before the session. “Rice gave the opening
    speech and I give the closing?” Of his complicated relations with
    the Bush family, he said, “A few days after my book comes out,
    I get a call from the White House. ‘The President wants to see
    you.’ So I go to the White House and I see my book on his desk.
    It is open to page 210. He is really reading it. And we talk about
    democracy.
    This President is very great on democracy. At the end of the
    conversation, I say, ‘Say hello to your mother and father.’ And
    he said, ‘My father?’ He looked very surprised I would say this.â
    € Sharansky went on, “So I say to the President, ‘I like your
    father. He is very good to my wife when I am in prison.’ And
    President Bush says, ‘But what about Chicken Kiev?'”
    Sharansky smiled as he recounted this story. “The President
    looked around the room and said, ‘Who is responsible for that
    Chicken Kiev speech? Find out who wrote it. Who is responsible?
    ‘ Everyone laughed.” Sharansky paused, and looked at me
    intently. He had a broad grin. “I know who wrote Chicken Kiev
    speech,” he said. “It was Scowcroft!”
    Scowcroft may have had a hand in the speech, but when I asked
    George H.W. Bush about it he answered as if it had been his own
    idea. “I got hammered on the Kiev speech by the right wing
    and some in the press, but in retrospect I think the Baltic
    countries understood that we were being cautious vis-a-vis the
    Soviet Union,” Bush said. “And their freedoms were established
    without a shot being fired.””
    Rice was once a “realist” herself, but converted, as we know, to
    W`s “idealism”.
    I wonder how those to, as well as geopolitical hard liner Cheney,
    interpret the current Georgian/Russian crisis. Hopefully Gates
    will give some sound advices here…

    Reply

  76. Mikhail says:

    Please stop genocide of Ocetian nation!
    Starting 1989 nationalistic fascist Georgian government tries to annihilate and expel Ocetian nation from its territory. As the result of Georgian warfare against small nations, tens thousands of Ocetian, Abhasian, Armenian and Russian people died since 1991. The scale of genocide is concealed by Georgian mass media. Brutality of Georgian fascists and freaksville torture of the local population overrode the torture of fascists during the Second World War.
    Georgian mass media stir up the sickness of Georgian nation – they believe they are only people deserving life on Georgian territory, they are exclusive, elitist; other nations should move out or be killed.
    At the moment the tragedy is happening – Georgians systematically shooting dead the Ocetian people in their own houses or burying under the falling homes.
    Georgian fascists destroyed Ocetian settlements and town Tskhinvally – they lay even with the ground.
    The number of victims buried by Georgian fire under the ruins cannot be calculated – it is amounted to thousands.
    Georgians destroyed all hospitals. Medics cannot work under the fire of Georgians. People saved in underground stores do not have food, water, electricity, gas for 3 days – they cannot go out because of Georgian fire and cannot move out of town because Georgians are trying to take hold with tanks and armored vehicles of the only road from the town to tunnel controlled by Russians.
    At that Georgian president insincerely is saying that he tries to make constitutional order and peace, and suggesting lefthandedly to cease fire. All his actions are aimed towards USA and NATO (he even speaks with his nation in English so that you understand him).
    USA has strategic interest in region – pipeline going through Georgia. So official government of USA will never realize that Georgian president is criminal politician betrayed its nation (in fact people in Georgia do not want war), instead government of USA will support him (several hours ago a train with NATO armored machines came to Georgia).
    The next victim of Georgian fascists will be Abhasian nation.
    People in USA and Europe please force your politicians to stop Georgians.

    Reply

  77. Don Bacon says:

    Some recent (July) military news from various sources:
    July 12: Marines from 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, left Cleveland July 10, for the Country of Georgia to continue training and assist in Operation Immediate Response in which American forces will help train the Georgian Armed Forces.
    “Our primary hope,” said Lt. Col. Minter Ralston IV, Inspector-Instructor, 3/25, “is to establish a strong bond with the Georgian army, train them proficiently and work in a safe training environment all while having a good cultural exchange.”
    July 15 (AP) — Georgian and U.S. troops started a joint military exercise Tuesday amid growing tensions between the ex-Soviet republic and Russia, a Georgian defense ministry official said.
    About 1,200 U.S. servicemen and 800 Georgians will train for three weeks at the Vaziani military base near the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, ministry spokesman Mindiya Arabuli said. He said the drills were planned months ago and are not related to recent tensions over two separatist Georgian regions that are backed by Moscow.
    Also Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry started a military exercise in the nearby North Caucasus region. Ministry spokesman Yuri Ivanov said the drill had “nothing to do” with the Georgian-U.S. maneuvers.
    The U.S. European Command Office of Defense Cooperation, Tbilisi, Georgia provides the Georgian Ministry of Defense with events that familiarize, train, educate, equip and modernize the Georgian Armed Forces so to create military units, staffs and command organizations that are more capable to work with U.S. and NATO forces.
    Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and the Republic of Georgia have developed a solid partnership dedicated to the promotion of peace and stability in the Caucasus Region. In 2002, to help Georgia provide better internal security and to promote a more secure region, U.S. European Command developed and ran the Georgia Training and Equip Program. The program enhanced the capability of select Georgian military units to provide security and stability to the citizens of Georgia and the region.
    Operation Immediate Response 08 has been planned since 2006 and is training troops in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace. Operation Immediate Response is an annual, bilateral security cooperation exercise conducted between U.S. and NATO and coalition partners. It is a longstanding Joint Chiefs of Staff directed exercise focused on interoperability training and theater security cooperation, and is designed to promote understanding and cooperation between military forces of the United States and our allies.
    From the USA, 1,000 military servicemen took part in the exercise including the United States Army Europe, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Battalion 121 Infantry Regiment Georgian National Guard (Atlanta, Georgia) and 5045th General Support Unit.
    On July 28, a demonstration day for media representatives was held in the framework of the international training “Immediate Response”. The event was attended by the Chief of Joint Staff of GAF Brigadier General Zaza Gogava, his deputies LTC Grigol Tatishvili and LTC Alexander Osepaishvili and Head of the US South European Forces Brigadier General William B. Garrett.
    The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA H.E. John Tefft also attended the exercise. After the demonstrative training he outlined the importance of the training, saying: “It is in a spirit of Partnership for Peace, part of the NATO program.
    The SETAF Brigadier General William B. Garrett commanded the exercise from American side: “We are conducting this exercise to enhance interoperability with a key coalition partner. Georgia has provided consistent support to ongoing operations in Iraq. Georgia is the third largest force contributor to Operation Iraqi Freedom and that means a lot to the United States.”

    Reply

  78. JohnH says:

    Gotta love comments like Ross’. Yes, Georgia is a sovereign nation, free to join NATO. Just as Venezuela is a sovereign nation, free to enter into a defense agreement with Russia. And Cuba is free to open Cuban waters to Chinese natural gas drilling. Or not? Where did Ross stand when tanks rumbled through the “sovereign” nations of Panama and Grenada not so long ago?
    If the US can claim a “do not tread” sphere of influence far beyond its borders, can’t Russia legitimately claim the same? If not, why not?

    Reply

  79. Linda says:

    Kathleen,
    Not off topic at all as strategies for invasions and management of bad news cycles haven’t changed in the past 40 years. It’s no coincidence that both Georgia-Russia confrontation and Edwards announcement happened on a Friday afternoon–that just happened to be opening day of the Olympics and while Congress was kinda not in session (Republicans keeping energy bill alive in the House and Democrats keeping Senate in session to prevent recess appointments.

    Reply

  80. Kathleen says:

    Slightly OT, but this picture reminds me of the Dem convention in Chicago in 1968… as the evening t.v. news showed the Russian tanks rolling down the streets of Czechoslovakia… just outside the hotel windows, US tanks were rumbling down Chicago streets…followed by many people running with blood streaming down their faces… when we tried to leave the hotel to see what was happening, police grabbed us, and locked us in the hotel lobby… I came home with bruises on my arms….delegates rode special busses to the Convention Center on highways that were cleared of all other vehicles while the National Guard lined the roads and overpasses, rifles at the ready…. very surrealiastic experience…wonder what will happen in Denver.

    Reply

  81. MobyP says:

    Perhaps the point of this IS Nato – Saakashvili’s foolish response aside – Russia has been objecting to the forthcoming entry of Georgia. This could be just the opportunity they’ve needed to show the West that a military-political connection to Georgia could reveal itself as the chain tied to a sinking ship. Scare tactics, perhaps, and psychopathic ones at that. Still, Putin’s posturing and military action has long been fairly blood soaked.

    Reply

  82. Ross says:

    I really enjoy reading this blog, but this post on the conflict in S. Ossetia has completely missed the point. The single most important thing to remember in this situation is that Georgia is asserting its rights within international law as a sovereign nation in responding to seperatism with force (although it is regrettable and probably counter productive that they did). Russia’s presence in Georgia is in no way legitimate, and their actions are at their base a violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and illegal.
    Furthermore, this conflict in its current manifestation is related to the Kosovar declaration of independence in so far as affects the complex way in which Georgia fits into Russia’s relationship with NATO (in fact it set a dangerous precedent for Russia considering their persistent troubles with separatism in the N. Caucuses, which is the central reason for their objection to Kosovo’s declaration of independence, not simply opposition to a “Western” initiative). But to say that the US is in any way culpable for this tragedy is absurd. The fact is, there would be no separatist region in S. Ossetia without Russian arms, money and support. Russia has dragged out the frozen conflict for over a decades, using the S. Ossetians as a cat’s paw in Georgia in order to stir up conflict whenever they hope to coerce Georgia into changing their foreign policy objectives. The Russians are absolutely blunt and honest in asserting that if Georgia were to withdraw its application to NATO they would “let” the situation in S. Ossetia be resolved (I have had Russian diplomats say this to me personally). The Russian “peacekeepers” and their successful distribution of Russian passports to Ossetians have both simply served to reinforce Russia’s attempts to inject itself into Georgia’s internal affairs, and should be viewed as what they are: not legitimate efforts to constructively move towards conflict resolution in Georgia or an attempt to protect the rights of Ossetians, but as central to a strategy to coerce Georgia into abandoning its legitimate aspirations as a sovereign nation to join NATO. The laughable nature of this whole tragedy is that almost all of the principles that prove damning for Russia’s actions are in fact central to Russia’s attitude towards sovereignty as absolute and opaque. Far from providing an excuse for this behavior, Kosovo is a proof of Russian hypocrisy just as surely as their brutal policies of systematic human rights abuses in the N. Caucuses over the last fifteen years in order to maintain THEIR sovereignty in the face of just such ethnic separatism.

    Reply

  83. JohnH says:

    Yes, I expect the Russian incursion to stop just across the BTC pipeline, essentially giving Russia a crucial role in any oil shipped from Central Asia to the West. And if the West chooses to fight back, well then honey, there goes the BTC. And then look out for them oil prices.
    As we’ve seen for years on this site, oil is the elephant in the middle of the room that no “serious” foreign policy analyst ever talks about in public. But to understand what’s going on in the world, it’s one thing you really have to understand thoroughly.

    Reply

  84. Ckrantz says:

    I suspect the reason for what happend in kosovo and georgia is called The Trans-Balkan pipeline.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JB29Ak02.html

    Reply

  85. Bill R. says:

    Thanks, Steve. This is the best analysis of the current war in Georgia I have read. I was struck immediately at what a reckless miscalculation this was on the part of Georgia with a predictable response on the part of Russia. How could this have happened, unless the Bush admin had given undue assurances to Saakashvili. What stupidity! And what waste of life. And the deal that was offered by Russia on Kosovo could have made such a difference in averting bloodshed and bringing resolution in both Kosovo and Georgia. This whole idea about pushing NATO eastward is dangerous and reckless. But that’s what we’ve had for eight years, isn’t it, dangerous and reckless!

    Reply

  86. JohnH says:

    It would be nice to know what US goals and ambitions are for Kosovo. It is hard to see any benefit in splitting Kosovo off, except to have a rump state with no economic base besides the gigantic US military base, Camp Bondsteel. In other words, Kosovo looks like a compliant banana republic, an extension of the Empire accomplished without genuine public discussion or Congressional approval.
    Clinton did much to lay the groundwork for Bush’s unilateralism and imperial Presidency.

    Reply

  87. Linda says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for this very enlightening post for me and probably others who read TWN and are not foreign policy experts. I believe the issue with Kosovo also involves the War Powers Act.
    The public was generally in favor of our committing military troops to Kosovo in 1999; at least I was because of our ignoring the genocide in Rwanda, i.e., this time we were going to use our military strength to help people in need. I also have to admit that it was easier to persuade most Americans that Kosovo was important because it was in Europe and not Africa–with all the racial implications of that. Indeed I immediately went over to International Medical Corps headquarters in LA and volunteered there
    3/4 time for the next year being proud of U.S. in my ignorance of the complexities of foreign policy issues.
    Later around 2000, I learned about Campbell v. Clinton that was filed in U.S. District Court in DC and questioned Clinton’s authority under the War Powers Act to commit U.S. military in Kosovo without a vote by Congress. Tom Campbell, a moderate Republican though fiscally conservative who then represented California’s 15th District (Palo Alto area)tried and failed in 1998 and 1999 to get Congress to do a War Powers Resolution regarding our military commitment in Bosnia. Campbell v. Clinton was filed by 25 members of Congress and bears Campbell’s name because he headed that bipartisan group. The lawsuit alleged that Clinton acted illegally in using military force in Yugoslavia without congressional approval. It was dismissed by the court in favor of Clinton. Anybody who is interested in learning more about this can just google “Campbell v. Clinton.”
    I raise this small footnote on the War Powers Act because bad foreign policy decisions that can haunt us for years are difficult for most citizens to understand as well as sending our military to fight “wars” under the War Powers Act–as we have painfully learned in Iraq.
    I strongly believe that Congress needs to take a hard look at the War Powers Act and revise it.
    BTW, Campbell was one of the few members of Congress who is a constitutional scholar, Harvard Law Review, clerked for Whizzer White at SCOTUS, and was on faculty of Stanford Law School even while serving in Congress, returned to Stanford Law faculty when he lost against Feinstein in Senate race in 2000, returned to Stanford Law faculty in 2001 and then was asked to serve as Dean of Has School of Business at UC Berkeley in 2002 after the Enron mess specifically to bring more ethics content into the school. He just last month left that position to form a committee to consider running for Governor of California in 2000. He’s a very serious public servant and not some wild-eyed maverick. Quite frankly if I still lived in CA as a lifelong Democrat, I’d vote for him over any of the Democrats considering running in 2010.
    Both in foreign policy and commitment of U.S. military, this country needs to think a lot more about long-term consequences of policies and actions than we have in the past 40-50 years. And if not now, when?

    Reply

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