Sunday, August 10, 2008

The defeat of Georgia: A Western response to the disaster

Despite the withdrawal of Georgian troops from South Ossetia, the Russians are continuing their attack. It is now quite clear that Russia intends nothing less than the seizure of both South Ossetia and Abhazia, the total military defeat of Georgia and the overthrow of the democratically elected Georgian President, Mikheil Saakhashvili.

The folly of the Bucharest summit, which failed to invite either Georgia or Ukraine into NATO is now revealed. The objections of France might have been expected, those of Germany are simply reprehensible. The fact that Georgia, like Germany in 1949, faced partial occupation by Russian military forces and a Russian sponsored puppet government in its occupied territory was the reason to bring Georgia into the alliance and not to exclude it. Had the allied powers said to Germany then, "We would like to have you in NATO, eventually, but first please sort out your "internal affairs" with "East" Germany, then the Western powers may well have been defeated by the Soviet Union- to the ruin of us all.

If we were in doubt before, there can be no doubt now: Russia intends to crush all its opponents. They are not a strategic partner, they are a strategic opponent.

The first result of this curiously old fashioned invasion is that Russia must be expelled from The Council of Europe: the organisation that was founded to promote human rights and democracy in Europe. She should not receive an invitation to the group of industrialised countries - no more "G-8" summits.

It is time to return to the Cold war policy of containment. NATO bases should be moved to places like Romania and the Baltic to make it quite clear that the North Atlantic Treaty holds good for these former Warsaw Pact territories. Ukraine should be brought under the Western nuclear umbrella, and any Russian attempt against that country should be resisted fiercely.

Although the world is more interdependent than 20 years ago, the fact is that Russian gas is only one part of the equation: and they have no on else they can sell it to, since their pipes do not go to China, and it will be many years before they do so. In fact Russia is far more dependent on the large Western economies then we are on the much smaller and narrow Russian economy. If Russia chooses to try to use their large holdings of US securities as a political weapon, the US Treasury, or Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae should temporally void those securities held by Russian state and quasi-state actors (the precedent, ironically enough might be the 1998 Russian Partial default) and pay what is due to a trust account only paying out upon the restoration of Russian good behaviour.

Pressure should be put on the large number of Russians who come to the West: in particular the spies should now be expelled en masse. Those who support the Putin regime should find visas for shopping trips to the West much harder to come by.

Russia has crossed the line back to the Cold War, but this Hot War, planned and initiated by the Russian government, if not stopped immediately, should have serious consequences - for Russia.

For the West- it is a deafening alarm bell: we are as much under threat as the citizens of Tbilisi.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cicero

Did they have plans for such events sure. Did they initiate it, doubtful. There'd been skirmishes for years. Even Sak's best friends say he's a hothead. He took a reckless gamble and gave the Kremlin their wish sadly.


Lepidus

So? said...

Georgian... a hothead? Who would've thunk it? I doubt the Russians will want to depose Mad Michael. He's his own worst enemy anyway. And no-one likes a loser in charge. They will teach him a lesson, however, lest the Azeris get funny ideas.

Anonymous said...

So?So?So? If it weren't for Saakashvili, all would be well, and the West would behave honorably, as ever, nicht wahr?

I think I'll go back to my reading:

"In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, again provoking little response from other European powers. Encouraged, Hitler began making claims on the Sudetenland; France and Britain conceded these for a promise of no further territorial demands. Germany soon reneged. In March 1939 Germany and Hungary fully occupied Czechoslovakia..."

GoodLiberal said...

I agree with you, by and large, but the energy situation re. Russia could be seriously improved. Nordstream will allow Russia to bully their near-neighbours while still being able to sell to Central and Western European customers. This improves their energy leverage considerable. And, we need a common European approach in order to get Nabucco built.

Cicero said...

goodliberal- I agree, but unfortunately Nabucco has been pretty effectively finessed by Russias own proposal, which naturally enough goes through Russia. Nordstream is a white elephant, except from the point of view of providing a great survelliance and military platform for Russia.

Catalinus said...

Unfortunately the disaster of "appeasement" as in 1939 was used as a justification for the invasion of Iraq and is trotted out to justify all sorts of aggressive foreign policy stances.

Ciceros's argument is that Russia is becoming dangerously expansionist. Fine - if Russia threatens a NATO country then NATO must demonstrate backbone. We'll have another Cuban missile crisis on our hands - terrifying but justifiable.

But Georgia is not yet a NATO country and its behaviour in Ossetia suggests a reason for this. Both NATO and the EU have done wonders in stimulating reform and democracy in their applicant countries. They also need to hold the line and possibly need to define more clearly what the purpose of NATO is.

Cicero said...

Catalinus.. my old enemy... Gergia is not a NATO ally, but is is certainly an American ally- will the US do nothing? If so, NATO counts for very little

Michael said...

I am sorry to dissapoint you all but .... this little conflict which left 200 dead on the georgian side and hundreds of dead on the russian-seperatist side is a major defeat of the Russian Federation the KrmL will bleed for. Their plan was to reintegrate Georgia into Russia( which consists of territories with signs of rebellion against the Putin Regime ) amd to take over the Baku-Jehan Pipeline, which is connected with western Europe. They failed. Now this failure will follow painfull consequences for the economy and politics of the aggressive imperialist Russian government. The west financed Russia and let it rise again in 2000. 8 years long they didn't changed. America and Europe gave them a chance. They even allowed them to be the peacekeeping operator in the brakeaway regions "Abkhazia" and "South-Ossethia". At the moment, Russia plays russian roulette with itself and only Russia will be the looser.

kiki said...
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