Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgia Fight Spreads, Moscow Issues Ultimatum

The Times has this mostly right...
Georgia Fight Spreads, Moscow Issues Ultimatum - "The fighting raised tensions between Russia and its former cold war foes to their highest level in decades. President Bush has promoted Georgia as a bastion of democracy, helped strengthen its military and urged that NATO grant the country to membership. Georgia serves as a major conduit for oil flowing from Russia and Central Asia to the West.

But Russia, emboldened by windfall profits from oil exports, is showing a resolve to reassert its dominance in a region it has always considered its “near abroad.”

The military action, which has involved air, naval and missile attacks, is the largest engagement by Russian forces outside its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union."
What's missing is the obvious elephant in the corner: Iraq and Afghanistan (but mostly Iraq). Russia's petro-wealth has emboldened it, but even more enabling has been the deep rifts in traditional alliances caused by our misadventures in the Middle East, not to mention the fact that Russia can act with complete impunity, knowing that the United States cannot possibly engage militarily on another front. In fact, do not doubt for one moment that Russia's misbehaving spree (North Korea, Iran, Ukraine, now Georgia) can be directly tied to our own spree in Iraq.

Although I don't see what Russia has to gain from it--nowadays, who wants to support a puppet government, especially one in a nation that loathes Russia?--given the "incommensurately aggressive" response to Georgia's gambit in South Ossetia, it's entirely possible that Russia will march on to Tbilisi.

Really, why stop now?

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