Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgia - Russia - Geopolitics

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Georgia like many other ex soviet satellites found itself forced into a world of change. Some of the change positive and promising some of it difficult and painful. One of the greatest challenges being the ethnic hostilities that abound across eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

Some of us felt that it was likely only a matter of time until the Russians would get their feet back under them and begin to repeat the behaviour of the post WWII state and it seems that under Vladimir Putin this is exactly what is taking place. Having learned a lesson from the Serbo-Croate conflagrations the Russians could see exactly what would play to their benefit in the Caucasus. Since the Georgian political revolution 0f 2003 - 2004 which placed a very hard line nationalist in power.

Under the authority of the popular Mikheil Saakashvili with his National Movement party market reforms and democratization have been advanced, but this progress has been complicated by two ethnic conflicts in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two territories remained outside the control of the central government and have been ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Russia. Russian-led peacekeeping operations continued in both regions. These "separatist" groups have been nurtured and given encouragement and support by the Russian government.

Although many residents of the northern regions of Georgia are not Native Russian those that are are a significant number and to add fuel to the fire Russia granted blanket citizenship to anyone in the region who wished it. A move that can have no other reason behind it than to take advantage of the insecurity of those people living in the border states and subsequently provide an excuse for direct Russian intervention in the area.

Now it seems that there is more than enough evidence to conclude that Saakashvili with his National Movement have been engaged in criminal attacks on ethnic Russians and possibly other groups over recent months. And this certainly does demand action from the international community. Even to the extent that the Russians should take action to enforce civil order and curtail the activities of the Georgian military or para-military groups that are engaged in such crimes.

What appears to be happening though is that the Russian Military are engaged in larger efforts to incapacitate Georgia's military and civil infrastructure in a manner that is akin to the dismantling of Iraq by the US. For this there can be only ONE reason and that is the ultimate goal of removing the Georgian military and Government.

And then what?

I suspect the worst as there are a number of strategic and tactical reasons for Russia to reassert itself in these breakaway states. The Russians and especially the Putin ex KGB statist kind have NO qualms about their inherent right to rule or in playing high stakes games. Plainly the situation in the Caucasus offers much greater potential reward than it does risk. This is especially true when you consider that Georgia under Russian control will cease to be an agitator for NATO membership, will no longer be viable as a US ally, will be unable to lend support to other key independent states in the region, will certainly not become a base for US anti-missle systems and will be a very obvious example to OTHER former SSR states seeking to maintain and develop their own independence.

It also sets the stage nicely for continued escalation of the antagonistic reprise of Cold War politics with the west and of course that means primarily the USA.

Other thoughts on the situation:

Wars and Rumors Gates of Vienna ....
A Case for Georgia also from GoV ....

Bumped from Monday :

Apparently All Roads ...

View Larger Map

All cities, all details of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia NO LONGER Exist......
The alternate reality of the world as expressed by Google tm ........

Apparently having ready access to maps of the world is somehow dangerous or undesireable.

Perhaps Google tm has inadvertently telegraphed the Russian End Game planned for the region ?


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Blogger marginalizedactiondinosaur said...

I heard on the way home that the russians have fired up the tank engines again to err drive over the blank map.

8/15/2008 9:12 a.m.  

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