Caucasus Crisis

renukb
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 11:54

Memo From Tbilisi
Within a Russian-Infused Culture, a Complex Reckoning After a War

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/world/europe/08georgians.html?ref=world

TBILISI, Georgia — When a Russian-language theater troupe from Georgia went to St. Petersburg a few years ago to stage a darkly satirical play about modern Russia — featuring a mentally impaired child named Vladimir who brings the country to ruin and a Stalinist plot to create a master race through artificial insemination — much of the Russian audience hissed and booed before leaving early.

Varsimashvili, the Georgian director of the play, “Russian Blues,” said he expected it to inspire the opposite reaction when it opened in Georgia next year. But he insisted it was the caustic Georgian sense of humor, rather than an anti-Russian mania spurred by the recent war between Georgia and Russia, that would help make the play a success.

“Georgians have always had a deep affection for Russian people and Russian culture going back centuries,” said Mr. Varsimashvili, speaking in fluent Russian at his theater in a multiethnic neighborhood of Tbilisi plastered with posters showing graphic pictures of Georgians bombed in the recent war.

“We perceive a modern Russia that is big and sometimes monstrous,” he said. “But the difference between Georgians and Russians is that we have never mistaken the Russian people for the Russian government.”


The war and its aftermath have nevertheless been greeted with an anti-Russian backlash that is spilling over into politics and culture. A popular rap video, which has been run repeatedly on state television, shows an image of the head of Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian prime minister, attached to the body of a rat stomping on a map of Georgia, under the words the “evil vampire.” Also, the government of Georgia has cut off Georgians’ access to Russian television and Web sites, while both countries have officially cut off diplomatic relations.

Yet the reality here is more complex. Although the Georgian government has spent the years since the Soviet Union fell promoting Georgian identity, Georgian society remains infused with an appreciation for Russian culture that Georgian sociologists and historians say will outlive this latest round of tensions.

A monument to Alexander Pushkin, a Russian poet and icon who once visited Tbilisi for inspiration, stands in a park just off Freedom Square in the city. Georgian television channels routinely broadcast old Russian films, kiosks sell Russian-language fashion magazines and Russian pop music blares from taxi radios. While Georgians proudly cling to their distinct centuries-old language, Russian is the second language here.

Even some of those victimized by the Russian bombings said they perceived the conflict as a proxy battle between two global powers — Russia and the United States — rather than a vendetta between Georgians and Russians.

“We hate the policies of the Russian government, but we do not hate the Russian people,” said Zura Pushauvi, looking over the rubble of his bombed-out casino in Gori, a central Georgian city. A statue of Stalin, Georgia’s best-known son, peered from outside a shattered window. “This war was a spat between two global powers. It was not an ethnic war between Georgians and Russians.”

Georgia has long had an ambivalent relationship with its former colonial ruler. Georgian princes benefited from Russian protection against the Persian and Ottoman armies in the 19th century, although Russia abolished the Georgian monarchy and squashed the separate identity of its Orthodox church. In the early 20th century, a nascent independent Georgian state was quashed by the Soviet Red Army.

Some ethnic Russians living in Georgia, of which there are around 70,000, said the war had forced them to choose sides. Nadejna Diakonova-Giuashvili, an ethnic Russian whose late husband was a Georgian officer in the Russian Army, recently escaped to a refugee center in Gori after fleeing from her bombed-out Georgian village near South Ossetia. She said she was now ashamed to be Russian.

“I’m so ashamed to look in the eyes of my neighbors after what Russia has done,” she said, speaking in both Russian and Georgian. “I only learned my husband was Georgian when he signed his name on the marriage registry the day we were married,” she said. “He spoke fluent Russian, and he tricked me. But I didn’t care. We have the same blood.”

Some ethnic Russians here said bubbling anti-Russian sentiment had forced them to conceal their Russian identity, even as they insisted they had no intention of leaving Georgia, where they had lived for decades.

Vera Tsereteli, who moved from Moscow to Tbilisi more than 30 years ago, said her Georgian friends still greeted her with a kiss even as they teased her by calling her an “occupier.” She is unable to speak Georgian, and she said she was now wary of speaking Russian in public.

“During Soviet times, it was prestigious to speak Russian and a sign of being educated and refined,” she said. “Now, Russia is associated with occupation, annexation and refugees.”

Irina Minasyan, a Russian-speaking Georgian of Armenian descent, said she feared her 13-year-old son, Edgar, could face limited career prospects because he attended a Russian school in Tbilisi. “A lot of people have switched their children from Russian to Georgian schools since the war began,” she said. “The young generation is anti-Russian, and I worry about Edgar’s future.”

Sozar Subari, Georgia’s human rights ombudsman, whose job is to monitor human rights abuses in Georgia, said he had received no complaints of violence against ethnic Russians since the war began. He emphasized that the country’s Russian-language schools were an integral part of a multiethnic Georgia and would not be closed.

A generational divide in Georgian attitudes toward Russia was apparent on a recent day at Teremok, a popular Russian restaurant in Tbilisi. Dimitry Dotiashvili, 34, a hotel security guard, said the younger generation preferred speaking English to Russian and wanted to link Georgia inextricably to NATO and the European Union. He said he loved Tolstoy and pelmeni, Russian dumplings, even as he feared Russian nuclear bombs.

A survey of Georgian attitudes toward Russia in June by the Tbilisi-based Institute for Polling and Marketing showed that 76 percent of Georgians were against war with Russia.

“We want to hold on to the illusion of a Russia that loves us because Russia has for so long been part of our lives,” said Gocha Tskitishvili, the director of the institute.

Russians, meanwhile, have traditionally vacationed in Georgia, whether to soak in Tbilisi’s sulfur baths or to relax on Batumi’s Black Sea beaches. Georgian cuisine, with its spicy plum and pepper sauces and khachapuri, a cheese-filled flat bread, is among the most popular in Russia, and there is barely a major Russian city from Moscow to Vladivostok without a Georgian restaurant.

Yet the backlash against Georgians living in Russia appears to be far more pronounced than the sentiment against Russians being stirred in Georgia. “Once again they have begun to endlessly show us programs about Georgian thieves,” Grigory Chkhartishvili, a Georgian native and one of Russia’s most popular authors, who writes under the pseudonym Boris Akunin, recently told Echo of Moscow, an independent Russian radio station. “The entire country is beginning to hate Georgians.”

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 12:05

Russia and China may have similiarities in terms of getting their lost land back... they can co-operate in getting back their lost provinces. China wants taiwan and Russia perhaps wants the entire land lost in 1991. They could support and help each other each other and if they all can time it so well that west will have no choice but to sit and watch their work in bringing down USSR undone, China gets back Taiwan and perhaps India gets its lost land due to partition in 1947. India can try and get back parts of TSP and perhaps more, the land that british divided. Timing it well matters. This will be a blow to the western nations haegemony in others back yards.

China still on-side with Russia
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JI06Ad01.html

By Yu Bin

Sino-Russian relations have been under intense scrutiny lately because of the Georgian-Russian conflict over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. For many in the West, China's cautious "neutrality" is a departure from, if not a betrayal of, its strategic partnership with Russia.

Such a view, among others, misreads the state of the Sino-Russian relationship without an adequate understanding of its depth, breadth and complexity. As a result, the Western perception of Beijing-Moscow ties has swung from one of threat against the West prior to the South Ossetia crisis to the current premature celebration of its obituary.

Neither is right. Both look at the superficiality while ignoring the substance. With the looming confrontation between Washington and Moscow over South Ossetia, the West itself seems to be getting lost in its tireless effort to renew the "Western civil war", which was said to have ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.

South Ossetia and China's 'strategic ambiguity'

In the early morning of August 8, 2008, when President Dmitry Medvedev was on vacation and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in Beijing attending the Summer Olympics Games, Georgia launched a military offensive to surround and capture Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia.

Putin, who was in Beijing prior to the Olympics opening ceremony, immediately informed the Chinese side in his meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao on August 8. China's reaction to Georgia's assault, according to Putin, was that "nobody needs the war", which was also US President George W Bush's reaction.

Meanwhile, China expressed serious concern over the escalated tensions and armed conflict in South Ossetia, and urged both sides to exercise restraint, cease fire immediately and resolve their dispute peacefully through dialogue. In a way, Beijing did not publicly and explicitly support Moscow.

China's "strategic ambiguity", if not neutrality, regarding the Georgia-Russian conflict has been the focus of the media and pundits. Many tend to highlight the differences and conflicts of interest between China and Russia. China's move is seen as an effort to maximize its interests while Russia is going through difficult times with the West. China's own Taiwan problem is perhaps one major reason that China cannot publicly support Russia over this issue.

Most Central Asian states are also said to have reservations regarding Russia's policy, due to the large number of ethnic Russians living in this "near abroad" area and their "cautious neutrality" also shows the growing influence of China in this traditional sphere of influence of the Russians.

These apparent differences between Russia and its Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) partners - China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - are indications of the fragility of this regional security group, and many of its members simply dream different dreams while sleeping on the same bed with Moscow. Last if not least, Georgia lost no time in thanking China for not taking sides.

These assessments, among others, may make some sense. There is, nonetheless a discernible switch in the West from exaggerating the strength, or threat, of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership to one of overplaying their differences, deliberately or not.

Both views are rooted in a misperception of the Beijing-Moscow strategic partnership, which essentially means a normal relationship. It is the result of a long and sometimes painful learning experience in the second half of the 20th century - in which relations between Moscow and Beijing oscillated between excessive dependence (particularly China on Russia) and almost zero interactions.

What is essential for today's Russian-China relationship is the absence of the ideological factors and border disputes that constantly besieged the two nations up to the early 1990s. On the operational level, it means that the two sides attach great importance to bilateral ties and share a strong willingness to commit to their enhancement. At the operational and functional level, it is largely a pragmatic approach "to conduct strategic coordination without alliance and close relationship without excessive dependence". Moreover, there is a willingness to develop the more cooperative aspects of their relationship while managing those of disagreement and competition.

It is within this context of normal relationship, not one of alliance, that China reacts to the Georgian-Russian conflict. (In terms of trade, bilateral trade between China and Russia, which has been growing at an average 30% pace annually over the past nine years, may reach US$50 billion in 2008, according to Gao Hucheng, Chinese vice minister of commerce. Bilateral trade hit $32.3 billion, up 29% year-on-year, in the January-July period of this year.)

'West's civil war' again? Stupid
In a broader sense, China's "harmonious world" means stability of the existing international system, despite the fact that it is dominated by the West. Indeed, China would like to see, as much as the West would, the stability and continuity of the existing international system, from which China has benefited enormously.
The Georgian-Russian conflict is in essence between Russia and the US. While finger-pointing was hurled between Moscow, Washington and Tbilisi regarding who made the first move, it is inconceivable that a small Georgia would dare to take on its giant neighbor without explicit support from Washington.

Indeed, Washington was not only aware of Georgian military actions before they started, it also explicitly sided with Tbilisi for the August surprise, which may have contributed to Saakashvili's recklessness and miscalculation. Whether the world is heading back to the Cold War or pre-World War I setting, the ghost of "Western civil war", which was claimed to have come to an end with the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, is being rekindled by the Georgian/US-Russian conflict. Given this specter of a possible general instability of the international system, Beijing's cautious approach is perhaps quite natural.

Beijing's public "neutrality" toward the Georgia-Russian conflict, however, should not be a surprise in that it has been the pattern in China's diplomacy since the 1980s. In almost all cases ranging from international crises (Korean Peninsula, Iran, Kashmir, etc) to bilateral disputes (the South China Sea with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East China Sea with Japan, border settlements with Russia, Vietnam, India - in progress- etc), China has opted for dialogue and compromise, rather than confrontation or side-taking. The same operational principle has applied to difficult issues such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Aside from this predictable pattern of China's approach to conflict and disputes, the timing of the conflict was also an irritant for Beijing. China did not want any conflict at the historical moment of hosting the Olympics, whether Russia was part of the conflict or not. Given the complexities of the ethnic conflicts dating back to the 1920s, its evolving nature and the US looming large in the background, China's cautious reaction was expected, if not desirable for Moscow.

SCO sounds no SOS
During the SCO's annual regular summit on August 28, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Medvedev briefed the SCO heads of state on the Georgian-Russian conflict and Russian policies. The Dushanbe Declaration does support Moscow's six principles of settling the conflict in South Ossetia and supports Russia's "active role" in promoting peace and cooperation in the region. The wording of its call for peaceful negotiations of the conflict, however, is vague and general at best.

The reason for the SCO's "neutrality" is both complicated and simple, complicated in that all of the SCO's Central Asian states were former Soviet republics. Many, if not all, of them do not want to see any replay of the Georgian-Russian conflict in their part of the world. That concern of the Central Asian states, however, remains a distant possibility, given that the SCO provides a framework for its members to resolve disputes and to achieve common purposes of security and development.

The key to the SCO's stance, however, lies in the nature and structure of the regional security group. Far from becoming a military bloc, like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in which members are obligated to defend one another, the SCO is a huge and diverse community of nations with considerable space for individual members to pursue their own policies for their own interests.

There is simply no obligation for SCO members to automatically commit themselves the way members of typical military alliances would do. Given these reasons, Medvedev perhaps never explicitly asked or demanded public support from the SCO members.

Under these circumstances, the SCO's joint Dushanbe Declaration actually means quite a lot for the Russians, particularly in Article 3: "The SCO welcomes the approval on 12 August 2008 in Moscow of the six principles of settling the conflict in South Ossetia, and supports the active role of Russia in promoting peace and cooperation in the region." The member states of the SCO also "express their deep concern" over the tension around the issue of South Ossetia and call for peaceful means through dialogue for reconciliation and facilitation of negotiations. This can be seen as directed to both sides, particularly Georgia, which started the ball rolling on August 8.

China back to its past, for the future Last if not least, what China did was perhaps rational within the context of its strategic partnership relations with Russia. It is perhaps what Russia would do in a scenario of a China-US conflict over Taiwan. That is, Russia would more likely remain neutral though expressing sympathy for China. This was exactly what Moscow did in 2001 when a US spy plane (EP-3) collided with a Chinese jet fighter (J-8II) off China's coast, leading to a major crisis between China and the US.

Even if the Russians did not get all of what they wanted from China and the SCO summit, this is by no means the beginning of the end of their strategic partnership. Over the past 30 years, China's diplomacy, particularly its relations with Russia, has become far more sophisticated, nuanced, measured and matured.

To a large extent, China's foreign policy has gone back to its deeper philosophical underpinnings of "unity, harmony with or without uniformity" ( he er bu tong). This is also one of the psychological anchors for the Sino-Russian strategic partnership after the two extreme types of relationship of "honeymoon" (1950s) and "divorce" (1960s and 1970s) between Beijing and Moscow.

Western perceptions and expectations that Beijing and Moscow are heading toward some sort of "separation" are, therefore, an overstatement at best. It is also largely derived from the West's own experience and practice, which insists on unity because of (or by, of and for) uniformity. Hence, NATO members must be democracies and the European Union must be European, Christian and perhaps white. Applying the same "recipe" to the SCO and recent Sino-Russian relations, which have largely transcended the past practice of alliances, may lead to nowhere.

'Splendid isolation' in the 21st century
When the Georgian dust settles, the West may start to comprehend that the Sino-Russian strategic partnership is perhaps not as strong or weak as it appears. What is unclear, however, is whether the crisis between Washington and Moscow will be over, as Washington has rushed US$1 billion aid, and Vice President Dick Cheney, to Georgia and NATO is amassing warships in the Black Sea.

The US presidential candidates, too, are rushing to demonize Russia and glorify Georgia as if there is no tomorrow. If this continues, the "Western civil war" may well turn into a brave new page for the 21st century focusing on Russia as the problem.

The irony is that Russia has wanted to rejoin the West over the past 20 years and is in no mood to confront the West. Each time, however, its unrequited affection of the West has led to dismay. Soon after assuming his presidency, Medvedev unleashed in Berlin his grand blueprint for a Euro-Atlantic community from Vancouver to Vladivostok. Within this community, Russia and Europe were said to share common roots, history, values and thinking. A month later, the Russian president again tossed around the same "Medvedev doctrine" at the Group of Eight summit in Japan. On the same day, however, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Czech Republic signed a missile defense agreement, to the dismay of Moscow.

Putin, too, began his presidency with an unambiguous Westpolitik (visiting Britain for his first foreign tour as Russian president, toyed with a "hypothetical" idea of Russia joining NATO, and "confessed" to the visiting Rice his "European essence" and his Asian superficiality of practicing judo and eating Chinese food). Over time, however, Putin became increasingly Euro-Asian.

Even Boris Yeltsin, father of the Russian Federation, began with an obsession of Western-style political democratization and economic shock therapy. Prior to his sudden exit from power at the end of 1999, Yeltsin chose Beijing to remind the West of Russia's huge nuclear arsenal, in a manner more like a recidivist Soviet premier. In between, the man who brought down the Soviet empire became progressively more disillusioned with the West.

It is time for the West to reflect on its current Ostpolitik (missile defense, NATO expansion, etc), not necessarily for the West's own interests, but the human race as a whole. The alternative is to stay the course in making Russia a problem for the 21st century. A key difference between this newfound obsession of the West and past stages of the Western civil war is that the world is now in an era of weapons of mass destruction.

Already, pundits are talking about possible mushroom clouds for World War III if Russia's rusted conventional military hardware fails to deter the other side. This scenario, no matter how distant, remains a possibility, which is qualitatively different from its predecessors of the 19th century when the West dealt with the French problem (the Napoleon Wars) and of the 20th century for the German problem (World War I and II). The latter sucked the whole world into West's own senseless mutual slaughtering.

If this remains a possibility, China, together with the rest of the non-Western world, will be better off staying out.

Yu Bin is senior research fellow for the Shanghai Association of American Studies and professor of political science at Wittenberg University, Ohio, US. He can be reached at byu@wittenberg.edu.

(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby ranganathan » 08 Sep 2008 12:26

Nytimes editorial seems like a vivid imagination rather than actual reporting by the journalist. American journalism is truly laughable in its desperate attempt at propaganda.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 13:48

The EU needs Russia and NATO policies independent of the US
http://www.redress.cc/global/cking20080908

By Christopher King

8 September 2008

Christopher King argues that the EU should understand and work positively with Russia because physical survival is at stake and because peaceful relationships with other countries are in principle the only way in which we should seek to live.

The Associated Press reports that President Bush intends to punish Russia by cancelling an agreement on civilian nuclear exchanges. This is consistent with the hysterical media condemnation of Russia on both sides of the Atlantic as well as that of most of the political class who seize the photo opportunity to pose as statesmen/women, issuing threats and stern warnings to Russia. What is the effect of all this on the Russians and where will it take us? We need some predictive pointers.

As I am not a Russian expert, much of what I say is extrapolated and includes material from lectures given at the London University (LSE) in January 2008, principally by Prof. Jean Lemierre, President of the European Bank orf Reconstruction and Development, and Prof. Marie Mendras, Russian specialist at the Centre d’Études et de Recherches Internationales, Paris. These are accessable in MP3 format on the LSE link.

It is essential to recognize that the Russian view of the world is utterly different from that of the EU and particularly the US. Dr Robert Kagan of the Carnagie Endowment for International Peace, in his LSE lecture “The US – Dangerous Nation?”, describes at length the US’s aggressions but in the end, despite his apparently peaceful brief, wants us to believe that this enables the US to do great good: defeating Nazism and Japanese imperialism, helping defeat Communism, spreading democracy and opposing dictators. He believes that, until a perfect international system is invented, US dominance and power with US values are the best practical system. This is the US narrative of its role in the world. It is also the reason why the results of the current US elections are irrelevant to the rest of the world. As Kagan says, the Republicans and Democrats might debate mistakes and details of foreign policy, but both subscribe to the objective of US power, justified by its mission.

Dr Kagan’s view of US mythology is supported by Steven Ambrose, an authoritative US historian who considers that with a little help from the UK the US defeated Nazism. He describes the “turn of World War II” as the battle of Sicily in which the US engaged 65,000 Germans. Ambrose and others do not mention that at the same time the Battle of Kursk was taking place in which 1.3 million Russians engaged 900,000 Germans in a colossal clash of men, armour and aircraft. Seventy-five per cent of German forces were on the eastern (Russian) front where 75 per cent of their casualties occurred. The Russians consider that the western front was a sideshow.

The US lost about 144,000 soldiers in Europe and almost no civilians, with about the same in the Pacific war – which it ended by using two nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union lost 10.7 million soldiers plus 11.4 million civilians, or 13 per cent of its total population. For this reason, and because these enormous losses took place on devastated Russian territory, whereas US territory was untouched, we should expect the Russian perception of warfare to be very different from that of Americans. They will consider it a much more serious matter.

More recently, Western experience of the 1990s, at the time the Soviet Union collapsed, differs from that of Russia. That was a time of openness and rejoicing in the former Soviet satellites, relief in Western Europe and triumph in the US that it had defeated Communism. (In fact, the inefficient, centralized economic system, overburdened by military spending, simply collapsed.) The Russian perception was precisely the reverse of all this. It was of their country’s failure. Worse than perceptions, the general population experienced the collapse of industry, unemployment, hardship and food shortages, even involving deaths from starvation. The entire economic system had to be reconstructed. That took time and, to their credit, the US and EU assisted with loans and expert advice in working toward a market economy. Russia felt the entire experience as humiliation. The economy has still not been repaired. In a recent survey of 30,000 persons, the majority thought that before 1991 the economy was not wonderful but was not too bad. They considered that it has been terrible after that and have nothing to thank the West for.

The US failed to implant democracy in Russia, but capitalism is thriving – Russians like making money very much. The emerging middle class of about 15 per cent of the population are not worried that there is no democracy as the West knows it. They visit, have business with and know all about the West. The state leaves them alone to make money and, by tacit agreement, they do not criticize it. The government has moved from democratic beginnings toward “sovereign democracy”, an oligarchic or single party state ruled by an elite. Russians consider that this is their own business and do not take kindly to lectures from the West on democracy and human rights that they consider hypocritical, having observed Western behaviour. They see no reason why they should adopt Western models or values.

Russia does not understand the EU, take it seriously as an institution or take agreements with it very seriously. It takes large, well established nation-states with armies such as France and Germany most seriously in a rather 19th century fashion and only understands bilateral agreements with nation-states well. The European states actually encourage this by making bilateral agreements rather than reinforcing the EU.

Russia is a difficult partner for the EU. It has no experience of ever having partners and cannot understand how 27 countries can sit down and arrive at acceptable conclusions. It does not know how to behave as a partner on the basis of common values. It has rejected Western values, evidently following observation of the behaviour of the EU and the US and seeks to define its own nationalistic values and ideology. EU negotiators have realized this and are now working from the viewpoint of common interests but it appears that even this might not form a basis for partnership. To Russians, partnership = dependency = problems, which they seek to avoid.

The Russians consider that they have both a historic and security stake in certain states on their borders, particularly in Belarus and the Ukraine (as it was) where the article “the” refers to an extension of Russia. Ukraine together with other regions in which Russia considers is has legitimate interests are points of potential warfare, as we have seen in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. They expect their views to be taken into account in these areas.

It should be mentioned that ordinary Russians are very nationalistic. It could also be said that the US is also nationalistic, except that in the US it is called patriotism. The Orthodox Church is ultra-nationalistic and the nation is firmly behind Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. Television is popular in Russia and gives the government viewpoint, as in the West. The general opinion, promoted by the government, is that Russia is surrounded by enemies who wish it ill. This appears to be the genuine perception of the Russian leadership given the US’s unilaterial abrogation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty, expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe – contrary to agreement between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan – the construction of US bases in Romania and Bulgaria and missile installations aimed at Russia in Poland and the Czech Republic. Gorbachev himself has spoken of this. There is also now the South Ossetia debacle which will confirm all Russia’s worst beliefs about the US, EU and NATO.

The Russians have observed that the US cites UN resolutions when to its advantage and ignores them when it chooses to; it promoted minority ethnic independence in Kosovo when in its interests but denied independence to South Ossetia in Russia’s interests; it praises Israel’s democracy but denies democratic legitimacy to Hamas; it supports national sovereignty in Georgia and Eastern Europe but invades countries when it chooses, and so on. Dr Kagan in his lecture admits that the US behaves like this, but from the US viewpoint such freedom from constraints is necessary in order for the US to fulfil its benevolent mission in the world.

It could be said that the general difference between Russia and the US is that the Russians want to do things their way and to be left alone; the Americans wish to do whatever is to their advantage and to impose it on everyone else. It is clear from these attitudes and recent events that further violence between the US and Russia is inevitable unless firm action is taken to avoid it. We are considering here unpredictable, open-ended warfare that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons within Europe. As the Russians will view it, the US is already moving the EU down that path.

From Dr Kagan’s lecture and our knowledge of the US which it confirms, it is not difficult to identify the US’s prime objective: The retention of its place as the most powerful nation in the world.

To achieve this, two secondary objectives follow:

It must control the resources that give it power, principally energy.
It must prevent rivals to its power developing.
The first of these sub-objectives is consistent with the US’s long-standing designation of the Middle-East as an area of “vital national interest” and underlies the invasion of Iraq and general hegemony in the area. The second is more complex but the US’s missile installations and South Ossetian provocation on Russia’s border indicates that it has identified Russia as a potential rival or at least a problem. There are two obvious reasons for this:

Russia tends to back Iran, whose oilfields the US covets. It is building the Iranians’ Bushehr reactor. We will recall that President Bush spoke of World War III in connection with Iran developing nuclear weapons. That is nonsense as it stands. What Bush has in mind is Russia making nuclear, oil or military equipment deals with Iran or getting involved in a war between the US/Israel and Iran.
The relationship between Europe and Russia could develop to formation of an oil-backed superstate with economic power that would rival the US. It would threaten the dollar’s reserve currency status and the petrodollar cycle that sustains it, among other possibilities arising from great economic power.
These are immediately obvious reasons for the US’s wish to disrupt the EU’s relationship with the Russians and to provoke them, so providing an excuse for demonizing Russia. US missiles and bases on Russia’s borders are, as I have said previously, not to protect Europe but to protect the US, primarily by making Europe an initial theatre for nuclear exchanges with Russia if it should come to that.

In such an eventuality, Israel with its nuclear arsenal might become involved on the US side. In any nuclear war the US’s primary aim would be to avoid strikes on the US homeland at any cost. Although presently supported by the US, Israelis may expect to be sacrificed if they become involved. The same is true of any of the US’s European allies. No matter what mutual protection agreements might exist, the US will not fire a single missile from its own territory to protect either Europe or Israel. NATO’s purpose is to protect the US and implement US policies in the US view. Hence its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In these circumstances, the EU needs a Russia policy independent of the US. This means detaching from US policy in Europe and the Middle East as well. In particular it should restrain NATO’s further eastward expansion. Russia’s views on expanding the EU further should be seriously taken into account. In US eyes the EU and NATO are two sides of the same coin. They should not be. Europe needs an independent defence policy to bring to NATO as well as a Russia policy. If the EU is not now large enough or economically strong enough to have independent Russian and defence policies without hiding behind the US’s flimsy skirts, it never will be.


The EU has no option but to make an accommodation with Russia given Russian perceptions and beliefs and the road down which the US is taking it. Certainly, Russian perceptions of Western political behaviour as hypocritical and unreliable are entirely accurate. Russia has threatened no-one since the end of the Soviet Union. The Georgian/US/NATO provocation in South Ossetia was entirely unnecessary and the Russians consider their actions to be entirely justified. The EU might not agree with this, but if it wishes to deal constructively with Russia, Russian perceptions must be accepted as valid for them. Of course, if the EU desires Russia as an enemy it should continue as it has commenced.

The Russians will be seeking consistency and predictability in the EU’s dealings with it. Rather than criticism and problems, they want helpfulness and solutions. While US bases and installations are on EU territory, trade will still be possible, political agreement will be difficult, however, and partnership will be impossible. Doubtless the US is aware of this and finds the wedge that it is driving between EU and Russian relationships very satisfactory.

I have mentioned the Russian casualty figures during World War II. These resulted from Hitler breaking his non-agression pact with Stalin – another experience that probably causes the Russians to distrust partners. Partnership is possible over time but necessarily would commence slowly, given the situation at present. The essence of partnership is trustworthiness and predictability. The EU can only become a partner with Russia by showing these qualities over time. The Russians clearly believe in experience. They have accepted, from experience, that a market economy is preferable to a command economy. If, therefore, they are to be influenced toward Western values this will only be through the EU demonstrating that these values are worthwhile. Lectures and threats will be seen as insulting. Attempts at punishment, now mindlessly threatened by the US and our politicians, will be met by retaliation. The only course is to lead by example if a positive relationship is the objective.

In dealing with Russia, we should think in terms of simple Skinnerian behaviourist psychology with the firm parameter that negative behaviour by ourselves will not be used, since it is counter-productive. That was the method used by the Kennedy administration in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis – communicating on positive aspects of the situation and ignoring negative aspects. This made a deal possible – for the Russians to remove their missiles from Cuba and the US to remove its missiles from Turkey. It worked then and will work again now, because it is good basic psychology.

If the EU should adopt a political and defence policy toward Russia independent of the US, this would not only impress the Russians but is essential to good Russian relations. This could be done within NATO by compartmentalizing EU and US interests which now clearly do not coincide. The EU will be endangered by following the US’s defence policy which is not defence of Europe at all. It is defence of the US since in the final test of NATO involving nuclear exchanges, the EU cannot rely on the US. This is so critical to Europe’s physical survival that risks cannot be taken here. Those countries that are hosting US weapons are unbelievably naïve. The US is accustomed to having wars in and devastating other countries’ territory while insulating its own population not only from any inconvenience but also the truth of what it is doing. The 9/11 World Trade Centre attack was blowback from its Middle East policy. The dangers of hosting the US’s EU/Russian policy are now obvious following the South Ossetia debacle.

Dr Robert Kagan outlined the US’s mission to aggressively pursue power in order to spread democracy and fight tyranny in the world. US culture that has developed this mission is only about 200 years old from George Washington. It could be described as an experiment deriving from European culture. Communism was another such aggressive self-justifying social experiment derived from Marx’s Jewish background and European culture. That experiment failed after causing considerable trouble. It appears that, under Medvedev and Putin, Russia is returning to its European roots, which should not be thought of as authoritarian, but as taking up from the point where Russia left off with revolution and murder of the Czar’s family. That is a firm position for a new start and should be seen as such.

United States’ Christianity includes biblical Judaism with prominence given to apocalyptic New Testament material from the Revelation, rather than Jesus’s teachings. This Jewish/European mixture is closer to Marxism in motivation than Americans might like to think. There are also indications that the US is making similar mistakes to the Soviet Union in both economic and military excesses. It appears that, despite the differing economic systems, their underlying cultural motivators are the same and the US experiment might well be approaching failure for the same reasons that the Soviet Union failed. The US’s political leaders and advisers appear to be caught up in the myth of the US’s mission and have become detached from their rational, technical institutions in legal, economic, security and military matters. Europe should not follow them.

Europe should remain true to its own ancient roots that are close to Western Russia’s roots, despite superficial appearances. These have the experience of two and a half millenia in development. It appears that the US social experiment has become detached from its European roots. It is currently under severe stress and is showing signs of lashing out at other nations which do not accept the legitimacy of its mission that is increasingly taking on a divine character.

As I have said, the US offers nothing but trouble to Europe and Russia. The EU should urgently take the initiative in understanding and working positively with Russia, not primarily for economic benefit, welcome though that would be. The matter of simple physical survival may be at issue. Primarily, however, it should do so because peaceful relationships with other countries are in principle the only way in which we should seek to live.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 14:02

US-Russian naval rivalries heat up over Black, Caspian, Persian Gulf seas
http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5564

DEBKAfile’s military sources report Washington is testing the Turkish government’s response to the permanent anchoring of US warships at either of the two Georgian ports of Poti or Batumi. This would be quid pro quo for Moscow’s interest in bases in Iranian Azerbaijan and the Persian Gulf.

Monday, Sept. 8, a NATO delegation was due in Georgia to evaluate damage to military structure following the five-day war with Russia last month. This is a further irritant for Moscow after the highly sophisticated American command vessel USS Mount Whitney docked in Poti Saturday.

Our sources report that the US anticipates a protracted period of tension with Russia for the following reasons:

1. US and NATO vessels will need safe coastal berths when the approaching winter storms strike the Black Sea. As time goes by, Turkey, which under international conventions controls the passage of naval vessels through the Dardanelles, will be under increasing pressure from Russia to block the waterway to NATO.

Already, Turkey fears it may lose its top trading partner, Russia. Since the outbreak of the Georgian crisis a month ago, Moscow has introduced new customs regulations which have backed up at checkpoints dozens of Turkish trucks carrying export goods. The predicted loss to Turkish firms is some $1 billion so far, a figure that would treble if Moscow continued its unacknowledged sanction up to the end of the year.

2. A permanent base in a Georgian port is seen by US strategists as the quickest way to show the flag for Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili without a frontal clash with Russia.

Washington sources argue that if Russia can maintain a large fleet base at the Crimean port of Sevastopol and a second at Abkhazia, there is no reason why America cannot maintain a permanent presence on the Black Sea too.


3. Washington is well aware of the talk in Moscow and Tehran in recent days about establishing Russian naval bases in Iran: Iranian Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea and an Iranian-held island in the Persian Gulf.

The latter, if Moscow and Tehran reached agreement, would terminate US naval control of the Persian Gulf waters opposite Iran forces and drastically upset the balance of strength in the region. Washington’s response to this talk is its bid for a permanent Black Sea base.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 14:05

The Trouble With Saakashvili
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/07/AR2008090701952.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

By Jackson Diehl
Monday, September 8, 2008; Page A17

The crisis in Georgia had settled by late last week into a test of wills over the survival of Mikheil Saakashvili's pro-Western government. Russia's president called Saakashvili "a political corpse" and said Moscow will no longer deal with him, while the Bush administration rushed him a $1 billion package of aid, delivered in person by Vice President Cheney. U.S. officials portray the rescue of the 40-year-old president as the best way to punish Vladimir Putin's regime for its reckless invasion of its neighbor last month. After all, there's little doubt that Saakashvili's ouster has been a prime Kremlin objective.

The irony is that, beneath that overweening campaign to contain Russian belligerence, American officials are still seething at Saakashvili. His impulsive and militarily foolhardy attack on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 8 opened the way for Putin's aggression. True, provocations by Russian-controlled Ossetian militias preceded the Georgian move, and Russian troops' subsequent takeover of much of Georgia was clearly planned and prepared well in advance. But the mercurial Saakashvili disregarded direct American warnings that he not fall into Putin's trap. He embarrassed his staunchest defenders in Washington and plunged both his country and the United States into what has been a costly -- and so far losing -- battle.

That's why during the same State Department news conference at which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that Georgia would become one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, Saakashvili's move was again labeled "a mistake" by his principal administration handler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza. It is also why other administration officials are privately far more scathing in their assessments of a man who repeatedly has presented Washington with ugly surprises. Just nine months before the South Ossetian fighting, Saakashvili sent riot police to attack demonstrators in his own capital and closed down an opposition television station, forcing a U.S. intervention to rescue the political freedoms that justify the American alliance with Georgia.

The truth is that it would be considerably easier for the United States to defend Georgia and its democracy if it did not have to defend -- and depend on -- Saakashvili himself. Yet the media-savvy president easily won reelection earlier this year and is due to serve until 2013. And a Russian victory in forcing his departure would destroy the country's political system. The crude public attacks on him by Putin and sidekick Dmitry Medvedev, who publicly called him a "lunatic" and "********," have only served to strengthen Saakashvili both in Washington and Tblisi.

Still, if Georgian democracy needs Saakashvili to survive, it also needs, eventually, to reckon with him. If and when the Russian occupation can be ended and the imminent threat to the country overcome, the test for Georgians will become whether they can use democratic institutions to investigate and challenge their president's behavior and hold him accountable for the huge reversal he has inflicted on the country.

That point was made in Washington last week by Nino Burjanadze, the former speaker of the Georgian parliament who helped Saakashvili lead the Rose Revolution of 2003. Burjanadze broke with her old ally last spring and created the Tblisi-based Foundation for Democracy and Development to address the glaring weaknesses in Georgia's new politics. She's been advocating for a freer press, more independent judges, and a more powerful and independent parliament -- the absence of which arguably opened the way to Saakashvili's Ossetian blunder.

Like all Georgian politicians, Burjanadze feels constrained from criticizing Saakashvili while Russian troops are still blockading the country's roads and ports. Nevertheless, she says, "the way for us to resolve this crisis is to act like a real democracy. People who have questions about what has happened need to be able to raise them. The government should answer, and then the people should decide."

The Bush administration, too, needs to figure out how to separate its support for Georgia as a country and a democracy from its defense of Saakashvili. The new aid package doesn't do that -- a large part of the money will be channeled directly into the government budget. All of the funds are earmarked for economic support and reconstruction; none are aimed at strengthening democratic institutions or civil society. Perhaps that's necessary to deny Putin his victory. But it won't help solve Georgia's leadership problem.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Skanda » 08 Sep 2008 15:44

Possibly Staged Pics Fueled Georgian Propaganda Push (Updated, Corrected and Bumped)
Image
Did major international media, including wire services Reuters and The Associated Press, clumsily help spread pro-Georgian propaganda during the recent war with Russia? Perhaps so, based on possibly staged photos by Reuters photogs David Mdzinarishvili and Gleb Garanich, and George Abdaladze, an Reuters AP shooter.

Several blogs, most notably Byzantine Blog, have highlighted some, ahem, curious details in a series of photos claiming to portray civilian casualties of Russian attacks on the town of Gori.

Danger Room pal Bryan William Jones, himself a photographer, brought our attention to this. On his own he noticed details in several pics that he says "made me sit up and say WTF?" One series of photos from Gori might show bodies changing location and poses, while one photogenic Georgian man appears in several different photo series, shot by different photogs, "grieving" for the dead ... apparently without ever looking at the camera being shoved in his face.

The photos are especially suspect when compared to clearly real snapshots from the conflict, Jones points out.

Of course, Russia hasn't exactly been BS-free in this conflict; Moscow's claims of 2,000 killed in South Ossetia were later debunked by Human Rights Watch. The real number: fewer than 100.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Skanda » 08 Sep 2008 15:45


Philip
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 08 Sep 2008 19:29

More fuel to the fire!
What chance Russia will allow this to happen?Shakywilly will disappear long before this happens,will be digging his own grave.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=68 ... =351020606

US to establish naval base in Georgia
Sun, 07 Sep 2008 11:26:05 GMT

The US is negotiating with Georgia and Turkey to establish a naval base at one of the two key Georgian ports of Batumi or Poti, reports say.

Turkey, in an attempt to avoid political tension with Russia, has not officially revealed its position regarding the plan, said Gruzya Online, a Russian-language internet site.

Russia had previously announced its intention to station its own special forces at the Georgian ports.

One of the responsibilities of US Special Forces in the region is to ensure the security of an oil pipeline passing through Georgia.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 20:20

US shrinks from arming Georgia
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JI09Ag01.html

By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - As if the outgoing administration of US President George W Bush didn't already have enough on its plate, the question of whether and how to re-arm Georgia in the aftermath of its thrashing last month by Russia is moving steadily up an increasingly crowded foreign policy agenda.

Moscow has already signaled that any move to supply the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili with the advanced weapons that he has long sought - including the powerful hand-held anti-tank rockets and Stinger surface-to-air missiles which contributed heavily to Russia's defeat in Afghanistan - will significantly increase tensions with Washington, which soared to a post-Cold War high in the wake of the Russian intervention.

But besides pledging to continue its push for Georgia's admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)- something with which Washington's European allies would have to go along with - the Bush administration has so far declined to make any promises in regard to military aid.

Indeed, even Vice President Dick Cheney, who had reportedly pushed hard for sending such advanced equipment to Georgia even before last month's war, refrained from making any promises last Thursday during his high-profile visit to the Georgian capital.

"Over time, I'm sure, people will look at what happened with the military here and what the needs are," an official who accompanied Cheney on his four-hour stay in Tbilisi told US reporters on the vice president's plane. "But I think the focus for the moment is on the humanitarian and long-term economic needs."

The issue is nonetheless likely to loom large in the coming months, particularly if foreign policy plays a key role in the ongoing presidential election campaign, which moved into high gear on Friday with the end of the Republican National Convention.

In his acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday night, Senator John McCain called for "solidarity" with Georgia in a speech that was remarkably light on foreign policy issues. From the moment that hostilities between Georgia and Russia began, McCain, who considers Saakashvili a friend and who he spoke with frequently by phone during the crisis, has consistently called for stronger action against Russia than the administration has been willing to take, including expelling it from the Group of Eight (G-8) nations.

While McCain has not explicitly endorsed filling Saakashvili's wish list, some of his key neo-conservative advisers, such as Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations and Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, have pressed the administration to take such a course. Their appeal has been supported by two of McCain's closest senate colleagues.

"Specifically, the Georgian military should be given the anti-aircraft and anti-armor systems necessary to deter any renewed Russian aggression," wrote independent Democrat Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham, in the Wall Street Journal late last month. "We avoided giving the types of security aid that could have been used to blunt Russia's conventional onslaught. It is time for that to change," according to the two senators.

Their advice was published just as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev formally recognized the two breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, in defiance of a personal appeal by Bush for him not to do so.

While Bush and other top administration officials strongly denounced Medvedev's move - Cheney on September 4 called it "an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change [Georgia's] borders by force". The administration has so far moved relatively cautiously, ignoring appeals for stepped-up military aid to rebuild Georgia's battered forces and upgrade its weaponry. The emphasis instead has been on the delivery of humanitarian and economic assistance.

"The first order of business should not be some sort of punishment," Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried told the Washington Times. "Russia has to decide how much it wants to isolate itself from the world. We don't want to have a bad relationship with Russia. We've never wanted that."

So far, US actions have been largely limited to its pledge to push Georgia's and Ukraine's membership in NATO, effectively shelving Russia ascension to the World Trade Organization, and to suspend a bilateral strategic dialogue and review a number of other bilateral military cooperation agreements.

In the immediate aftermath of the five-day war, Washington also quickly sealed a long-pending bilateral accord that would permit it to build missile defense systems in Poland. That move drew particularly harsh criticism from Moscow, which has also reiterated a vow to strongly oppose any efforts to admit Georgia and Ukraine to NATO - a military alliance which it sees as aimed at encircling and containing Russia.

Aside from those moves the administration has focused on supplying humanitarian and economic assistance to Georgia - albeit via military transport aircraft and warships in the Black Sea. In conjunction with the European Union (EU) it has also helped arrange a US$750 million line of credit to help Tbilisi finance the repair of the substantial infrastructural damages it incurred in the war.

In addition, Washington has pledged $1 billion in economic and reconstruction assistance, more than half of which will be sent over the next five months. That amount would make the Caucasian nation the fourth biggest US aid recipient after Israel, Iraq, and Egypt.

The administration's relative caution, particularly with respect to military aid, appears motivated by several factors.

Increasing tensions with Moscow further could seriously jeopardize other top foreign policy interests, according to senior officials and independent analysts, including Washington's hopes for applying additional pressure, particularly through the UN Security Council, on Iran to halt its nuclear program. It could prompt Russia to suspend an agreement that lets NATO use Russian and Central Asian bases and air space to supply its troops in Afghanistan.

A more aggressive stance could also harm relations with key European allies, such as Germany, France, and Italy, which are eager to ramp down tensions, in part due to their own heavy investments in Russia's economy and dependence on gas supplies.

US officials are also reluctant to address the question of additional military aid in light of the Georgian armed forces' poor performance during the war - the army retreated in chaos at the first contact, while all of its warships were destroyed in port - and what some of them describe as the recklessness of Saakashvili himself in ordering the attack on Tskhinvali that triggered Russia's offensive.

Jim Lobe's blog on US foreign policy, and particularly the neo-conservative influence in the Bush administration, can be read at http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 20:21

How the West is losing the energy cold war
Russia's victory in Georgia is having far-reaching effects as its neighbours rethink the wisdom of selling gas and oil to Europe


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article4698316.ece

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 21:51

It seems like Putin's Russia is slowly giving up to the pressure from the west, after a month long rheotric and heorisms....

Medvedev: Russia to Pull Forces from Georgian Buffer Zone
http://voanews.com/english/2008-09-08-voa22.cfm

Russia Will Pull Back Peacekeepers After Medvedev-Sarkozy Talks
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aezjr4.YRGaI&refer=europe

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 08 Sep 2008 21:54

Azerbaijan at crosswinds of a new cold war
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JI09Ag02.html

Ukraine PM speaks against conflict over Russia's Black Sea Fleet
http://en.rian.ru/world/20080908/116616417.html

Russia courts old allies, steps up defiance of the West
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0908/p01s06-woeu.html

"We are facing the beginning of a complete review of Russian foreign policy," says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a leading Moscow foreign-policy journal. "Things have changed and, based on what Russian leaders are saying, our long effort to integrate with Western institutions, to become part of the Western system, is over. The aim now is to be an independent power in a multipolar world in which Russia is a major player."


Ukraine, a nation deeply divided between pro-Western and Russified parts that is currently sliding into a renewed political crisis, could face intense Russian pressure if it presses on with its bid for NATO membership. "In many Western countries there are already protests against this crazy idea of getting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO," says Mr. Klimov. "It's a formula for crisis inside NATO."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby kshirin » 08 Sep 2008 22:04

renukb wrote:How the West is losing the energy cold war
Russia's victory in Georgia is having far-reaching effects as its neighbours rethink the wisdom of selling gas and oil to Europe


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article4698316.ece


Wow, is the following correct? I missed this ground breaking development. Anyone who can do that to Dick Cheney deserves a bravery award.

"Now not only is that plan in tatters but much else besides. As the shock waves from Russia's dismemberment of Georgia echo across the region, Western interests are toppling like dominos. Almost unnoticed in Britain, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, paid a near-disastrous visit to Azerbaijan last week. Its President, Ilham Aliyev, inflicted a series of public snubs, including phoning the Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, the moment that a meeting with Mr Cheney finished. A disgruntled Mr Cheney apparently then failed to appear at an official banquet. Azerbaijan seems to be ruling out supplying gas to Nabucco."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Igorr » 08 Sep 2008 22:46

renukb wrote:It seems like Putin's Russia is slowly giving up to the pressure from the west, after a month long rheotric and heorisms....
Not immidiately, only after the international agreement that's giving security guarantees for SO and Abkhazia. They will be replaced with EU and UN 200 observers in Georgia first. Europe has officially guaranteed non-violence from the Georgian side. It was signed in the chart. Only 5 outposts between Poti and Senaki will be dismantled in visible future, they were 'bargain chips' from the start laying out of security zone.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 09 Sep 2008 01:19

Wow, is the following correct? I missed this ground breaking development. Anyone who can do that to Dick Cheney deserves a bravery award.

"Now not only is that plan in tatters but much else besides. As the shock waves from Russia's dismemberment of Georgia echo across the region, Western interests are toppling like dominos. Almost unnoticed in Britain, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, paid a near-disastrous visit to Azerbaijan last week. Its President, Ilham Aliyev, inflicted a series of public snubs, including phoning the Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, the moment that a meeting with Mr Cheney finished. A disgruntled Mr Cheney apparently then failed to appear at an official banquet. Azerbaijan seems to be ruling out supplying gas to Nabucco."


Yes, now people are realizing the fact that neighbours matter more than countries that are thousands of miles away.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby ramana » 09 Sep 2008 02:24

Longtime ago I said Westphalian construct is not appropriate all over the world.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby SwamyG » 09 Sep 2008 04:18

ramana wrote:Longtime ago I said Westphalian construct is not appropriate all over the world.

Can you elaborate, please? Thanks.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Suppiah » 09 Sep 2008 14:41

It has to be said that the West (US + EU) is losing in this round. Russia has the right to gloat. It can't be spun any other way.

That is because no one has the b..s to take on Putin. That is not surprising. In our context, we (NDA or UPA) are not able to do anything other than beat our breasts and issue statements every time TSP sends terrorists to kill our civilians and cause mayhem, simply because TSP has a few nukes. Multiply that by 1,000 times and you see why EU/US is being cautious. The more important thing is the energy issue. West too has nukes, more in number, so they will matter strategically only upto a point. They did not stop Cold War I and will not stop this cold war too.

However, this is only Round 1. Just as India will prevail over TSP in the long run, West is simply re-tooling its economy to reduce reliance on oil and gas and that will take time. When (it is not a question of if) that happens, we will see a different a different game being played. It is keeping rhetoric somewhat de-tuned until then.

The various thugs, despots, fanatics and terrorists that are controlling the oil market have made one mistake - they have taken over all the oil fields from western oil firms and established national control over them, over last few years. The big western oil co.s are now staring at declining production and lack of new places to drill. This may be a smart move when prices are rising and demand is strong. There is another side to this story - for the first time ever, West has not much incentives to keep oil prices high and Cheneys of the western political world become dinosaurs.

There are a variety of ways this would play out, should be interesting to watch. Round 2 and Round 3 etc. are yet to come. As an importer our interests lie in the side of the consumers, not follow the kind of advise Karat & Co give to suck up to the producers.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 09 Sep 2008 15:37

Medvedev plays it smart and cool! Russia will withdraw forces from georgian territory only if Georgia gives a written undertaking that it will not use force against S.Ossetia and Abkhazia,where Medvedev has stated that their independence is "final".This would be to Saakashvili the act of eating his own s**t!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 23492.html

Medvedev agrees deadline to pull troops out of Georgia

By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Russia has agreed to withdraw its troops from Georgia proper within a month as long as 200 European Union monitors are in place by 1 October.

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking after more than four hours of talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, said: "The retreat of Russian forces. Accepted ... The acceptance of European observers. Accepted."

Mr Medvedev said Russia would pull out of the Black Sea port of Poti and nearby areas in the next seven days, but only if Georgia signed a pledge to not use force again. He did not mention troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the breakaway regions where Russia has long deployed "peacekeepers" accused of backing separatists.

The two presidents also announced a conference to be held on 15 October that will focus on security in the region and the return of refugees. Georgia and Russia have accused each other of ethnic cleansing during the six-day war in Georgia.

In further moves illustrating the deteriorating relations between the US and Russia, the Russian government announced the dispatch of a naval squadron and long-range patrol planes to the Caribbean for joint military exercises with Venezuela. The move comes after Russia objected to Nato manoeuvres in the Black Sea, while President George Bush withdrew from Congressional consideration a civilian nuclear cooperation deal signed with Moscow last May.

PS:For thos who missed it,video footage of "Shakywilly" shaking with fright and ducking for cover during a Russian air raid!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2 ... i.security

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 09 Sep 2008 21:16

The various thugs, despots, fanatics and terrorists that are controlling the oil market have made one mistake - they have taken over all the oil fields from western oil firms and established national control over them, over last few years. The big western oil co.s are now staring at declining production and lack of new places to drill. This may be a smart move when prices are rising and demand is strong. There is another side to this story - for the first time ever, West has not much incentives to keep oil prices high and Cheneys of the western political world become dinosaurs.

They may be thugs in western viewpoint. For their respective countries, they are patriots who are getting the right price for their national wealth

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Igorr » 09 Sep 2008 21:24

Suppiah, your parallel between Russia and TSP is rediculous. How long time Russia exists, and how long - TSP? For Russia it's the tenth clash with the Western powers. It's 400 years old dinamic equilibrium between Russia and western countries in Europe. After each retreat Russia came back even deeper into the continent. Look even in Tsarist time Russia has no so western area in Western Europe something that it purchsed in 1945 - East Prussia.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby SK Mody » 09 Sep 2008 22:05

renukb wrote:It seems like Putin's Russia is slowly giving up to the pressure from the west, after a month long rheotric and heorisms....

Medvedev: Russia to Pull Forces from Georgian Buffer Zone
http://voanews.com/english/2008-09-08-voa22.cfm

Russia Will Pull Back Peacekeepers After Medvedev-Sarkozy Talks
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aezjr4.YRGaI&refer=europe


They keep saying that. I think its just a ploy to prevent people from getting too agitated. They may eventually withdraw but not before completing any required "business".

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 09 Sep 2008 22:51

US confident of NATO nod to Georgia, Ukraine: official
http://finchannel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19432&Itemid=13

The FINANCIAL -- According to AFP, the United States is confident that Georgia and Ukraine will become members of the NATO military alliance and sees growing support in Europe for that prospect, a top US administration official said pn September 8.

Russia's recognition of Georgian breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia has increased backing for expansion of the 26-member alliance, the official said as US Vice President Dick Cheney held talks with Italian leaders here.

"There may be debates about timing, conditions and so forth, but if anything what has happened in Georgia has probably broadened support within the alliance for the proposition that eventually they ought to be members of NATO ," he said on condition of anonymity.

According to AFP, Cheney last week vowed Washington's support for Baku, Tbilisi and Kiev during a whistle-stop tour of the region, and urged NATO to unite in order to ward off a return of "line-drawing" in Europe.

He held talks at the weekend with political and business leaders at a conference in Italy -- including Israeli President Shimon Peres, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, and top world oil executives.

The US vice president arrived on September 7 in Rome for talks with Italy's president and prime minister as part of a bid to garner support among Washington's European allies for a stronger stance against Russia after its five-day war with Georgia last month.

"It is not just a US problem, all of Europe has a stake in how this is handled and whether or not these sovereign independent states remain free and independently sovereign states," the official said.

"I think it will get resolved. The resolution that was adopted at the Bucharest summit that said Georgia and Ukraine will become members of NATO represents the thinking of most of our NATO allies."

At its summit in Bucharest in April, NATO refused to grant Ukraine and Georgia "Membership Action Plan" (MAP) status after French and German opposition, though leaders agreed on a statement saying "that these countries will become members of NATO ."

Russia has opposed inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine , saying that NATO expansion and its support of a planned US anti-missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland is a "strategic error."

The official reiterated the US view that an expanded NATO would pose no threat to Russia, and vowed that the United States wants a good rapport with Russia despite soaring tensions over MOSCOW 's action in Georgia.

prabir
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 09 Sep 2008 23:04

Have unstable countries into NATO
Trigger a war
Destroy infrastructure of Eastern Europe
Rebuild

Good way to go... but this won't happen. West European Countries will become smart

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 09 Sep 2008 23:07

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney deplored Russia's military action in Georgia and said Tiblisi has every right to join NATO in the future. Sabina Castelfranco reports for VOA from Rome that Cheney spoke after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

US Vice President Slams Russia, Warns About Iran



Russia could sever NATO ties

RUSSIA could end all co-operation with NATO if the alliance moved to grant Georgia membership, Moscow's NATO envoy indicated today in comments carried by state news agency RIA Novosti.

"From a moral-political point of view, accepting Georgia to MAP would look like NATO moving to the side of the aggressor," Dmitry Rogozin said, referring to proposals to grant Georgia NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP) status.

"It is one thing for the US to back their protege, and another thing entirely to provide refuge to the aggressor country. What kind of (Russia-NATO) co-operation can you talk about in this case? None!" Mr Rogozin was quoted as saying.

A top US administration official said today that Washington was confident Georgia would join NATO and that Russia's incursion into the ex-Soviet state last month had increased its chances.

"If anything, what has happened in Georgia has probably broadened support within the alliance for the proposition that eventually they ought to be members of NATO," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"The resolution that was adopted at the Bucharest summit that said Georgia and Ukraine will become members of NATO represents the thinking of most of our NATO allies," the US official said.

At the April summit, NATO leaders agreed on a statement saying that Georgia and ex-Soviet ally Ukraine would eventually join but refused to grant the countries MAP status after French and German opposition.

Russia has opposed inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine, saying that NATO expansion and its support of a planned US anti-missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland is a "strategic error".

Last month Moscow announced a suspension of cooperation with NATO in a number of areas, freezing visits to Russia by NATO officials and suspending participation in joint military exercises.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 09 Sep 2008 23:10

Instead of critisizing or expressing surprise, Russia should stop its space co-operation with US and stop co-operation with NASA on ISS (International Space Station) etc...

Russia Voices Surprise at US Move to Pull Out of Civilian Nuclear Deal

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Kati » 09 Sep 2008 23:14

Russia has successfully wedged a gap between the EU and the US:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0910/p06s01-woeu.html

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby svinayak » 09 Sep 2008 23:15

Kati wrote:Russia has successfully wedged a gap between the EU and the US:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0910/p06s01-woeu.html


EU is the football between US and RU.
Whoever said that EU is going to be a superpower is badly mistaken.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby shyamd » 10 Sep 2008 04:47

Since 2004, McCain has been receiving telephone calls from leaders in Eastern European countries, most are NATO candidates.

McCain's foreign advisor, was being paid by Tbilisi until May this year. He is said to have earned around $800,000 from them.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Suppiah » 10 Sep 2008 06:16

Igorr wrote:Suppiah, your parallel between Russia and TSP is rediculous. How long time Russia exists, and how long - TSP? For Russia it's the tenth clash with the Western powers. It's 400 years old dinamic equilibrium between Russia and western countries in Europe. After each retreat Russia came back even deeper into the continent. Look even in Tsarist time Russia has no so western area in Western Europe something that it purchsed in 1945 - East Prussia.


It was in the context of one power though powerful not being able to do much about another nations' hostile actions. Not making TSP-Russia equal-equal. The reverse of the current situation happened when US bullied and humiliated Russia over Kosovo.

BTW let not get too carried away by all this history thingy. We all have histories, you and me included, dating back to the time we evolved from monkeys. I think this whole history story is being used to muddle issues and peddle pet theories. Every decade is different from earlier one. We only use history when it suits us. Perhaps if UK and France are antagonist to each other we talk of Napoleonic wars and colonial competition, otherwise it all gets forgotten.
Last edited by Suppiah on 10 Sep 2008 06:20, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Vick » 10 Sep 2008 06:17

From DN
9/08/2008
Baltics Eye Fighters For Joint Defense Role
By GERARD O’DWYER

HELSINKI The Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are working together to strengthen their air defenses in collaboration with NATO.

By 2011, the former Soviet nations intend to send NATO a plan that includes a proposal to buy 15 to 20 multirole fighters for deployment after 2018, said Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonia’s defense minister.

We are looking at several options, and acquiring new fighters to police our airspace is one, Aaviksoo said in an Aug. 28 statement. There are major cost implications in this, so it’s also possible that we may decide to continue with the present system, and have our NATO partners provide our air defense. Today, NATO states, aided by Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, provide regular patrols and air surveillance over the Baltic nations. The air-defense study is being conducted by the three countries’ military commands under direction of their defense departments.

We agree with the NATO view that we need a more permanent airdefense arrangement for the Baltic states, Aaviksoo said. There are important issues at stake here, and if we decide to acquire new fighters, we must decide what the primary role of these aircraft will be. Will they function to police our airspace only, or will they also have a combat capability? But the cost could prove prohibitive given the modest size of the Baltic economies and national budgets, said a senior source at Latvia’s Ministry of Defense.

For either Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia to afford new fighter planes, there would need to be a very significant increase in defense budgets in all states, the ministry source said. Defense spending averages at 1.5 percent of GDP in Latvia and neighboring Baltic states, and we need to see defense’s share of GDP increase to between 2.2 to 2.5 percent before a fighter acquisition program becomes a realistic option. The ministry source said the most long-term viable air-defense solution for the Baltics is for Finland and Sweden to join NATO and create a Nordic-Baltic air-defense capability together with NATOaligned Norway and Denmark.

Sweden and Finland are discussing the possibility of joining NATO, but even if they agreed on terms to join, this process could take years, according to the min istry source.

Folkpartiet, Sweden’s liberals and part of Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt’s center-right coalition, wants the government to enter into cooperation talks with NATO to deliver a more solid air-defense for the Baltic region.

Sweden participates in NATOled international missions, and we have adopted NATO standards in terms of equipment and training in defense, said Allan Widman, Folkpartiet’s defense policy spokesman. Sweden can play a more committed role in policing Baltic airspace in collaboration with the Baltic states. Widman said the conflict in Georgia highlighted the need for Sweden to seriously consider NATO membership and assist the Baltic states in developing their capabilities.
Under the current air-defense arrangement, NATO covers some 80 percent of the total cost, while Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fund auxiliary expenses such as pilot accommodation, runway maintenance and aircraft fuel overheads.

NATO wants Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to pay a greater share, said Margus Kolga, the head of the Estonian Foreign Ministry's political department.

Lithuania is ready to invest more heavily in its land and air defenses because of the perceived heightened threat from Russia, Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said. The need for more spending to strengthen its forces will be examined at a National Defense Council meeting in Vilnius later this month. What is happening in the Caucasus concerns us all, Olekas said. We need amendments to national defense legislation and to revise and update our national defenses and Baltic defenses also. The recent events have shown that even Georgia's relatively strong military of around 40,000 was unable to effectively oppose the Russian attack. This is a lesson we must learn from. The formation of a joint Baltic Air Force could be discussed as part of an overall Baltic Defense Strategy, Latvian Defense Minister Vinets Veldre said.

The Baltic Defense Strategy is not a response to Russia's military aggression in Georgia, Veldre said. It started before the conflict began. We are discussing cooperation options with our NATO partners Lithuania and Estonia. Cooperation may involve air, land and naval defenses.

Suppiah
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Suppiah » 10 Sep 2008 06:26

Conspiracy theory: Is this whole thing stagemanaged by Uncle and Putin to boost each others arms sales?

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Vick » 10 Sep 2008 06:28

The Russian behavior can best be analagous to the death throes of a dying star. Before death, the star will get bloated and pompous and will devour its nearest planets. Eventually, it will settle down into a mostly benign white dwarf. Amidst the sound and fury, the actual heart of the star is slowly failing... just a matter of time.

The trick for the neighbors is to limit the damage during these times and wait patiently for this phase to be over.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby vsudhir » 10 Sep 2008 06:50

Vick wrote:The Russian behavior can best be analagous to the death throes of a dying star. Before death, the star will get bloated and pompous and will devour its nearest planets. Eventually, it will settle down into a mostly benign white dwarf. Amidst the sound and fury, the actual heart of the star is slowly failing... just a matter of time.

The trick for the neighbors is to limit the damage during these times and wait patiently for this phase to be over.


Wow.

Truer words were seldom spoken. Sri Vick has cut to the chase like steel through water. The sheer power, aptness and clarity of the analogy was stellar - both literally and figuratively. Would stump anyone, no doubt.

The Russian bear is indeed that most vile and loathsome of creatures that today endangers the civilized comity of nations we respectfully revere as the 'fair and honorable international community'.

/
Funny thing is, the above words could just as well be applied to yamerika or cheen with equal facility, I reckon. Depends on context, IMHO.

JMTs and all that.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby svinayak » 10 Sep 2008 07:13

vsudhir wrote:
Funny thing is, the above words could just as well be applied to yamerika or cheen with equal facility, I reckon. Depends on context, IMHO.

JMTs and all that.

Things have been going on like this for the last 400 years. This is nothing new.


http://www.hist.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/540 ... nsion.html


Russian expansion
Image


Image
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Categ ... _of_Russia

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby sudarshan » 10 Sep 2008 07:14

It's too early to be making such claims about "dying stars," IMHO, but if such claims are going to be made anyway, then one can equally well say the same about the US. Anyways, nation states evolve on a long time scale- probably something like a human year (maybe even decade?) being a day in their lives. The terminally ill (such as TSP) might have days (=human years) to live, but as far as robust nations such as Russia or the US go, such claims are probably unverifiable during our lifetimes. And if I were an Arab living in the 10th century AD, I'd probably have made the same "dying star" comments about India and China, and my successors over the next one thousand years would probably have been thoroughly impressed with my far-sightedness in predicting the "imminent decline" of both civilizations. Whereas look where India and China are, a millenium on- waiting to rebound.

Civilizational strength matters- perhaps, in the long run, this is the only thing that matters (with Greece, though not Rome, being a possible exception). The Russians have this strength, in some measure at least. Can the same be said of the US?

Off-topic anyway, so I'll desist.

Sudarshan

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby ranganathan » 10 Sep 2008 07:17

Vick wrote: death throes of a dying star. Before death, the star will get bloated and pompous and will devour its nearest planets. Eventually, it will settle down into a mostly benign white dwarf. Amidst the sound and fury, the actual heart of the star is slowly failing... just a matter of time.



:rotfl: Truer words were never spoken...except its the death throes of US as superpower. Expect the heat to get turned up in iraq and afghanistan and vietnam look like a picnic.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Vick » 10 Sep 2008 07:23

Sudarshan, excellent point about civilizational strenths. By death, I didn't mean like dead and gone. Death as in no longer its former self. The British were going through their death throes during the first part of the 20th century. Doesn't mean that Britain is gone, it means that it is no longer its past self.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby sudarshan » 10 Sep 2008 07:50

Vick,
I think it's more a question of how much of a resource base (civilizational/scientific/technological/human/whatever) a nation has to sustain its hold over territory. The British were an artificially bloated construct for two hundred years. If the people of India had been in any kind of decent shape in the 16/1700's, Britain would have been cut down to its natural (puny) size right there; failing this, it took another 200 years, but the eventual conclusion was foregone, IMO, given the players involved. Whereas I feel (again, unverifiable assumption on my part), that Russia has been artificially compressed into a smaller territory (though still a vast one) than what they can sustain their hold on. Only way to go is to expand, as far as Russia goes. I don't have an iota of proof in favor of this view- just my gut feeling, so I could be talking gobbledy-gook for all I know. This would be a fascinating (and pointless) academic exercise, trying to estimate what nations actually have the resources to sustain their hold on territory, and trying to back-predict why the Native Americans ("Indians") succumbed to the white wave, while the (real) Indians didn't, and forward-predict who will win out- Russians or Americans. Anyways, your point is well-taken, and it's just your view against mine :).

Peace (before the axe-e-admin strikes),
Sudarshan


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