Monday, August 11, 2008

Russian Republics No Simple Matter

Ossetia has been operating as a somewhat autonomous region in both Georgia and Russia -- North Ossetia in Russia and South Ossetia in Georgia. Some Ossetians would welcome an independent nation, others autonomy within Russia, others autonomy within Georgia and still other pretty much as it is.

Another province, Abkhazia, has similar, albeit unique, aspirations as South Ossetia.

No sides are without blood in these conflict. Georgia's weekend military moves have caused great harm to those in South Osentia, while the Russians, in retaliation, have inflicted damage on the Georgians.

Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990s. Both separatist provinces have close ties with Moscow. Georgia has deeply angered Russia by wanting to join NATO.

What makes this intriguing is in the context of renewed cold war-style tensions and an East-West struggle for regional influence.

The maneuver — along with bombing of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi — seemed to suggest that Russia’s aims in the conflict had gone beyond securing the pro-Russian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to weakening the armed forces of Georgia.
Georgia said Sunday that it had withdrawn its army from South Ossetia and offered a cease-fire after two days of all-out war over the breakaway region, claiming overwhelming Russian military might and warning that Moscow was opening up a second front in Abkhazia.
Russia is emboldened. They have energy and growing wealth as a result. They are not pleased with America's and NATO's objective of a missile defense shield. They also know that America will not do anything but provide rhetoric.

Bottom line is that adding new countries to NATO that were once part of the Soviet Union bring with it some serious baggage. I doubt America is going to come to the rescue of Georgia, despite their support for coalition military actions.

America is not going to defend Georgia just like Russia, if push comes to shove, is not going to defend Cuba.

Putin, Medvedev and all of the other ex-KGB cronies cannot and should not be trusted.

Russia is quick to defend pro-Russian republics but is quick to squash the DOZENS of other internal enclave and provincial nationalistic uprisings.

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