U.S.-Russia Relations in the Aftermath of the Georgia Crisis

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 10, 2008
Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried

Yesterday, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried testified on U.S.-Russia relations in the aftermath of the Georgia crisis. We know DipNote's readers are interested in the subject and thought you would want to read what Assistant Secretary Fried said:

"Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss with you today the implications of Russia’s attack on Georgia.

On June 18, in testimony before this Committee, I outlined a series of examples of increasing Russian pressure on Georgia and expressed concern that these activities risked igniting a wider conflict.

Today, with regret, I must report to you that these concerns have been realized. Russia's intensified pressure and provocations against Georgia -- combined with a serious Georgian miscalculation -- have resulted not only in armed conflict, but in an ongoing Russian attempt to dismember that country.

The causes of this conflict -- particularly the dispute between Georgia and its breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- are complex, and all sides made mistakes and miscalculations. But key facts are clear: Russia sent its army across an internationally recognized boundary, to attempt to change by force the borders of a country with a democratically-elected government and, if possible, overthrow that government -- not to relieve humanitarian pressures on Russian citizens, as it claimed.

This is the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union that Moscow has sent its military across an international frontier in such circumstances, and this is Moscow's first attempt to change the borders that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union. This is a troubling and dangerous act.

Today I will seek to explain how we got here, how we're responding, and the implications for our relationship with Russia."

Read the continuation of Assistant Secretary Fried's statement.

Comments

Comments

Zharkov
|
United States
September 10, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Did the US intentionally arm Georgia for the purpose of using those weapons on Russian citizens?

Why would the US warn Saakashvili against military action unless the US knew in advance what his plans were?

Edelman's Congressional testimony reveals the prior deception by US officials who claimed they had no knowledge of what Georgia was going to do to South Ossetia.

If US officials supplied weapons to Georgian officials with the knowledge the weapons were going to be used to commit murder, merely warning against killing others does not bar criminal liability.

For example - if a gang of criminals decided to kill someone and one guy in the gang, named "Uncle Sam" said, "No, let's not do that just now, it would be a bad idea", but hands out guns while the other criminals proceed with the job, distributing weapons constitutes the overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Would "Uncle Sam" be guilty of the crime, conspiracy to commit murder? I think so.

In American law, unless a conspirator completely withdraws from the plan and all association with the other conspirators after announcing his intent not to participate, they are as guilty as the ones who commited the murder.

In order to avoid criminal liability, US officials connected with the Georgia military arms deal would have had to withdraw from Georgia and take their military goods with them, BEFORE the government of Georgia began shooting people.

There could be no criminal liability for US officials for merely "not stopping" a crime, but if our government officials supplied the weapons needed to commit the crime with knowledge a crime was being planned by the recipient, there would be a basis for prosecuting US officials connected with arms transfers even if the crime was committed outside the US.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
September 10, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

QUOTE: We seek to stabilize the situation on the ground; help the country recover and thrive economically; preserve Georgia's sovereignty; maintain our support for its territorial integrity, and democracy; in the early stages of the conflict, Foreign Minister Lavrov asserted that Russia sought the removal of President Saakashvili, a democratically-elected leader. Russia has not succeeded. END QUOTE.

I think Russia found out all it wanted to in this first military move. Russia did succeed quite well. They gained all the information they needed if nothing else.

Omitted were the American Military Advisors in the area who just happened to be there prior to the event, etc, three ships sent in latter with the good old chest pounding back up...

This was a simple and elegant move on the Russians part. Why do we have to always turn things around as it proves only to support our arrogance, which put us here in the first place?

We lost round one, face it and not even a stalemate. They took more than a pawn out of this one.

How can you win a war against a Capitalist Power? Cost them money, lots and lots of money. It is not that complicated.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
September 10, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Next move:

Kremlin leader Dmitry Medvedev asked on Saturday how Washington would feel "if we now dispatched humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean...using our navy."

Later that day, a Venezuelan naval official said four Russian warships would visit the Caribbean in November.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said on Monday that the naval mission to Venezuela would include the nuclear-powered battle cruiser "Peter the Great," one of the world's largest combat battleships.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME RUSSIA SENT ITS LARGEST SHIP TO OUR HEMISPHERE?

Bryn Y.
September 10, 2008

Bryn writes:

I am glad to see something being done though. Thanks for the update and I will stay tuned.

Jason
|
United States
September 12, 2008

Jason in U.S.A. writes:

Is he smoking crack?

All evidence, everything points to Georgia starting this incident. I know for a fact the US gov knows it but for some reason they want to take some arrogant stance against Russia.

I guarentee if the US was in the same situation, we would have sent troops in there and would have had troops remained there for years after.

Giving the number of countries the US has invaded in the last 50 years for every reason under the sun, I do not see how the US gov can even take its own comments seriously.

Georgia attacked, Russian peacekeepers were killed, civilians were murdered, Russia sent troops in to stop the conflict.

Lets see, Serbia attacked, America bombed them, then after they destroyed the Serbian army, Albanian squads went in and murdered Serbian civilians all the while NATO watched because the conflict area was "out of their zone".

Speaking of crossing international boundaries, I guess the US forgot they just did that with Iraq and Afganistan, after all, niether one of those governments have attacked the US.

I can't beleive they call Georgia a "democracy", what a joke. Came to power after an overthrow then rigged elections. Last November demonstrated the brutality of the current Georgian regime as they brutally suppressed opponents of the regime. The Georgian government routinely suppresses all non-Georgians in the country, my opinion is that the Armenian minority gets the worst of it.

How about this America, keep your nose out of it for once. You, America, have a bad habit of making bad friends that comes back to bite you in the rear. You America will praise Saudi Arabia but then criticize Russia on its human rights. America will go and defend a monarchy (Kuwait) but then allow it to resume power and still deny basic human rights to women and children.

America speaks of hypocrisy every time it opens its mouth.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 10, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I don't know how one goes about convincing the long term milataristic expantionalists within the Russian gov. that such a mindset will have just the opposite effect on the desired strong and repected mother Russia except for one thing.

And that is the comfortability the Russian gov. has with its UN secerity Council veto.

Cold war politics are still fresh in memory to many a small nation globally, as evidenced by the concern over Russian actions voiced by many.

Enough concern I think to take the political risk and test the international system by overiding a Russian veto with 2/3 of the UN general assembly voting to make it null and void.

In other words, if the EU puts it "in blue", calls a vote on Russian actions in Georgia, Russia's veto should be put to the test.

If it's overridden, then Russia will have to do a heavey rethink on its strategy of aqiring "spheres of influence".

If the general assembly fails to deliver, then the system has failed all of us.

I think it is most wise to find out if it works in the first place before before going too much further down this road on other global security issues.

Now I'm not saying it will solve the problem, but it will give the Russian people something to think about how their gov is conducting themselves in the world, and it will give the rest of us a real good idea if there's any hope for the UN or not.

There's a lot of folks trying to make this out as some US/Russia "last tango" of the cold war proxi pawns in a five dimentional chess game.

When it's looking more like Russia vs. the world, or at least most.

If the UN can't hold its own charter member states to account, what good is the values that its charter was founded upon and ratified by nations over 60 years ago?

The way I look at it, this goes for all states rights to partcipate, just like dues....if you don't pay them, you don't get a vote. If a nation is violating the UN charter or its other founding documents and resolutions....then you don't get a vote.

If fact I'd be inclined to encorage any nation that feels it can't in good conciousness meet the letter of international law and its responsibilities of membership to simply get up and walk away, and not to be slamming the door on the way out.

Might get rid of a lot of dead wood in the UN if Mr. Moon were so motivated to suggest the same.

Otherwise if folks are going to surrender to the notion of a multipolar dysfunctional world where the law of gun rules the neighborhood and nuclear terrorism is the perferred political methodology.....because political gridlock in the UN can't resolve to resolve to remain siezed of the matter because of one "Nyet"! ....

Let me be the first to buy a one way ticket to Mars, maybe then I'll get some peace.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 11, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Russia now wants a demilitarized zone (DMZ) around its borders and is seeking a UN resolution to demilitarize Georgia. Considering what Saakashvili did with our military aid, it might be a good idea for us to support the Russian plan.

Militarization of all the little neighbors of Russia would lead to trouble eventually.

There are some countries that should opt out of "the game" and, like Switzerland, remain neutral because they are too small to win wars and giving them military arms merely guarantees that more of them will get killed.

If we want a better relationship with Russia, we ought to consider their ideas and agree with the ideas that make sense for the people of that region.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 11, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Russia still must comply with its stated and signed peace agreement wich states it will withdraw troops to pre Aud 7 lines and numbers , including inside S. Ossetia and Abkazia.

Since every nation has soverign right to self defense, the demilitarization of Georgia is a non-starter, but the demilitarization of the disputed territories that are within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia is a distinct possibility, and of course this would mean the total withdraw of all armed forces including Russian.

Replaced with a UN peacekeeping force and/or international monitors.

You still seem to be in denial of some very basic facts Zharkov. If we had armed Georgia to the teeth as has been suggested, Russian losses would have been very severe, and they would not now be occuping Georgian territory in Poti and elsewhere in Georgia proper.

Have you even bothered to read the full statement in the link above?

I think you'll find that the basis for your argument has gone "poof" , like so much smoke.

They never had any substance to begin with, but when have you ever let facts interfere with your rhetoric?

John
|
Greece
September 11, 2008

John in Greece writes:

According to "Zharkov school of Utopia", if we want a better relation with Russia we ought to abandon every American democratic value, help them build a false dictatorial Empire as they had in the past and leave Moscow, Putin and the ex-KGB gang with their psychopathic "Hugos-allies" command the U.S.A..

Fortunately, your school is not accredited Z!

According to my views, America must strengthen (even more) relations with its allies, no matter where they (geographically) are or no matter what they used to be (ex. Libya), help them in any way and make the "bear" understand that the winter will be in a full season format.

All these areas you are referring to have democratically decided what they want for their future. It's not Kremlin's work to affect these decisions, threaten them or criticize their will.

And, America has every right to have good relations with all the ex-Soviet democracies even without Kremlin's "permission".

Concerning Switzerland, you should understand that the States cannot copy such an administrative or political model. Don't be an utopian. Switzerland does not have weapons on the ground that they have the most powerful defense mechanism: money! So, they do not need weapons. It?s another role that the chocolate country plays and a different one the role that the United States and the majority of the ex-Soviet democracies MUST play in order to secure Freedom.

P.S. Some hours ago, your fat buddy Hugo welcomed two Russian war-planes in Venezuela, threatened USA and some days ago bought Russian weapons and planes. Don't you understand that they are trying to build a communistic continent? Would you like to comment on my P.S. Zharkov or you prefer boosting the Russian foreign policy?

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 11, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

There's a lot of folks trying to make this out as some US/Russia "last tango" of the cold war proxi pawns in a five dimentional chess game. END QUOTE

This game existed in the past to the benifit of the world to be honest and is it not best to have SIDES of sorts given the pattern of emerging technologies and nations? At lest until we can all be co-dependent without losing our National Identies...if you have a better method, please by all means give an example....

Given the premiss there is no Waldens Pond and War will exist, what is a better alternative?

Thank you for the insight of the diplomatic end. A lot of good information on the subject as it stands in that manner.

I only ask that you look ahead...look at the monitary moves which came first, the political and economic aliances and now the probe of the first military moves. Diplomacy cannot fire back unfortunitly when your economic leverage has been dismantled....

On a light note: perhaps the Fannie May personal leadership worked for Putin...LOL! They certainly didn't work for Americans...they should be jailed for economically damaging this country.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 12, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Fat Hugo isn't our problem, John, nor Greece's either, and if he wants to keep his people dirt poor with communism, they can rise up and overthrow him if they wish -- I don't really care.

What I do care about is our foreign policy that is like a runaway train out of control, headed for war, and nobody here has a clue about where they are going with it.

Does Georgia's farmers and elderly folks require modern weapons to defend them from Luxembourg? I don't think so.

Can Georgia defeat Russia's army in battle? Obviously not, no matter how well they are armed.

If Georgia wants to join NATO, arm them with wheelchairs and crutches in case of war. Give them golf clubs to prepare them for NATO meetings. Send over plenty of bandages in case they hurt themselves on the golf course, but don't get them killed.

John
|
Greece
September 12, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee

When I wrote my last opinion, concerning this debate, I did not know the huge diplomatic typhoon that Hugo-fat and his Bolivia "mistress" (with the help of Russians) would start.

I watched it on TV news a couple of hours ago. (I mean the new version of their attempt to create a "communistic continent" next to the absolute HOME of Democracy and Freedom: U.S.A.

(in his "speech", psychopathic-rude dictator Hugo, once again was like an old-fashioned cartoon who created laugh. Now goes the LOL)

Would you like to reconsider your phrase: "There's a lot of folks trying to make this out as some US/Russia "last tango" of the cold war proxi pawns in a five dimensional chess game. END QUOTE"?

I know some folks trying to persuade us that Russians, their colleagues and ex-communism are not dangerous anymore, but -- thank God -- we see the facts and hopefully we are prepared for many many rounds.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 12, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"Would you like to reconsider your phrase: "There's a lot of folks trying to make this out as some US/Russia "last tango" of the cold war proxi pawns in a five dimensional chess game. END QUOTE"?"

@ John in Greece,

No I actually don't need to reconsider this little gem of truth when I see biblical passages posted that try and interpret these events as phrophesy leading to armaggedon by a couple posters on similar topic threads here concerning Georgia.

Place the quote in context with what came after when I said it is really Russia vs. the World.

It's no game either. Joe neglects that the comfortability of cold war politics cost many, many lives, for several decades running.

I am not going there, and neither should the rest of the world for want of a rational alternative.

Russia has much bigger problems than political ramifications of it's actions.

This has the potential to case the fall of the Russian government if they are indeed complicit in S. Ossetian war crimes. ( burning of Georgian villages, looting, rape and murder, targeting ethnic Georgians).

No wonder they are opposing the EU's international monitors, the Russians have a lot to hide.

I know a little about nuclear chess...I invented it.

Take a regular chess board, set up as usual, but each player marks the base of any three -- four pieces with an N, secretly. Pawns and pieces move as usual, with the following exception. When a piece marked N is attacked and taken, the N is deactivated but the piece remains playable. Whan a piece marked N attacks, all surounding ajacent squares are cleared, of all pieces, including the piece marked N.

One will find the game has an variety of openings, a very short "midgame" and quickly arrives at a end game. One will take note that pawns (like people) don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of surviving long.

I did it as table top excercise to convince a friend that nuclear war was not winnable.

Most of the games ended in stalemate.

I remember one end game where he had only his king left, and so did I, + a knight and a rook. I checkmated him, but there was an N under his king , so he survived with a stalemate, not able to move. And another where he wiped me out taking his own king and mine. Another "draw"

Folks gotta realize there are going to be no winners from this. And I sure hope DoS is doing its best to ripp the blinders off folks that think there will be.

Zharkov wrote:
"What I do care about is our foreign policy that is like a runaway train out of control, headed for war, and nobody here has a clue about where they are going with it."

Nothing could be further from the truth, Zharkov.

Substitute "our" for the word "Russian" and then it will read correctly.

Face facts. Or be laughed at. Your choice.

John
|
Greece
September 12, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

If I am not wrong, you also believe, like me, that "Russian foreign policy is like a runaway train out of control, headed for war".
That's exactly what I said.

I don't know why you are referring to my post concerning the nuclear weapons. I never suggested that we should use them and I never thought that humanity can survive such a nuclear chess. Besides, I totally agree with your comment.

Please note that when I use the term "Cold War" I don't necessarily mean the fear of nuclear weapons, but a general fear concerning a possible war even with conventional weapons and a generally extremely hot political and diplomatic atmosphere.

So, according to my opinion we already live a phase of a new "Cold War".

P.S. Your nuclear chess is an extremely intelligent idea that all should know about it. This really can make them think the real dimensions of the nuclear danger. I will try to play it your way for sure. Congratulations Eric! Great idea!

Zharkov
|
United States
September 12, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

What kind of foreign policy do you call it that arms little countries only enough to get them killed in a real war?

What kind of public officials first deny any knowledge of Georgia's planned attack, then later admit they had tried for months to dissuade the attack?

The fact is that our foreign policy in Georgia has been lethal, perhaps deliberately so. If killing innocent people is the desired outcome, then Eric is correct and he may expect more to die when Georgia has been re-armed. If not, then Zharkov is correct that our policy is out of control and headed in the wrong direction, and we are lucky there will be new people coming in to change things soon.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 12, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov , the answer to both is Russian to call it fairly, premeditated by Russia, instigated by Russia, and intended to create the desired Georgian response that would give their spinmiesters like you something to babble on about.

Get a grip man, my sides are starting to hurt from laughter at your posing as an informed commenter on this blog.

One thing is for certain...if Russia doesn't fully withdraw....Georgia's people will respond violently, so far it has been fairly peaceful protest hundreds of thousands strong.

Then there might be future comparisons with Russian involvement in Afghanistan.

You still don't get it, do you. The Georgian people don't answer to the US, and not much we can do to prevent them from dong what they think is right.

Even if it kills them.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 12, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece,

I was wondering why anyone would ask Joe to reconsider a phrase that I originally wrote, but since you asked him, I offered a thought to you as to why it stands as self evident.

In any case...forgettaboutit! (chuckle).

No worries. Russia is acting like a two year old with a diaper rash, but they'll get over their tantrum, or be made to sulk in a corner in isolation, one of the two.

Meanwile the world has some pretty severe crisis that needs attending to, with or without Russia involved in any positive capacity.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 12, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Pravda joke:

Why is U.S.A the most stable country in the world?

-------------------------------------------------

Because, there is no American embassy there.

John
|
Greece
September 13, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A.

You are a born talent joker.

I wonder why don't you post your jokes in your native language: Russian!

-----------------------------

@ Eric in NM

You are right Eric. My mistake due to the quote. I thought it was Joe's text. Anyway, sorry!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 13, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov, Old American cold war joke: How many members of the Kremlin does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

----

answer: One to hold the light bulb, while the rest drink until the room spins.

That's Russian foreign policy for ya!

And to think with all those riches as a nation, they can do nothing positive to help millions of hungry people globally. And seem to have directed their focus towards creating an enemy that neither desires nor deserves to be called one.

I don't know that folks are getting this, but I keep giving Russia the solution to becoming a strong and globally respected nation that has achieved lasting influence among nations.

Not with arms sales, propping up pigs feeding on the hopes of people by creating false hope of socialist dominion. Which simply translates to dictatorship.

We've seen the results of the "chavistas" of the world, and it's not something the people once they realize the scam, would wish upon themselves by allowing their constitution being changed at the whim of the "elected".

And that's why there's protest in the streets of Bolivia or Venezuala, not because there's a US embassy there.

Besides, it should be noted that if the US were indeed plotting overthrow, we wouldn't be having this discussion, because they'd already be history.

So now it appears that there is a nexus of cooperative ill intent between Russia, Iran, Venezuala, Belarus, Bolivia, Honduras, Syria to a certain extent (but changing attitude), and focused on limiting the effectiveness of the US, the UN, and the spread of democracy in general.

Here is the real kick, US foreign policy has its basis in an inherant trust that people will choose what works best for them. Based upon our own domestic traditions that a man's home is his castle, the soverign right of the individual to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness, and the right to live in peace and to defend that peace.

Thus traditionally, America has neither been expantionist, or willing to engage in war for personal or national gain.

History shows that we go to war as a last resort, either to defend ourselves after having been attacked, or to come to the aid of a friendly government who has been subjected to armed invasion or externally influenced insurgency.

War itself is an atrocity, an affront to the human spirit.

Thus it is not a goal worthy to seek of its own right, nor would we. To gain material wealth, nor influence over resource, nor for ideological conquest.

Regarding the last, we conquer with better ideas.

I keep saying that Russia and the US fly in space together, why not feed the world together?

That's a much better goal than multipolar dysfuntionality among nations.

I can only hope that if this makes too much sense for DoS to ignore, that the good US Ambassador to Russia will suggest this to his counterpart.

A 30% fall in the Russian stock market, along with a 20 billion loss in revenue and the devaluation of the Ruble to the point where the central bank stepped in....all in the last month according to the BBC.

Well, instant Karma is certainly a train wreck insn't it?

Invade your neighbor and create an instantaneous recession for a long time to come.

So what that Russia takes in a billion per day, it's going down the toilet through loss in investor confidence.

Joe wonders if I appreciate Russian economic strategy as it has affected the US economy. I wonder if he appreciates how Russian strategy seems to perpetually shoot itself in the foot?

In more ways than one.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 13, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

There is NO AFTERMATH: is it only the begining...

1. Russia is moving Peter the Great, the largest Navy Carrier in the world to South America and..

2. (AGI) - Moscow, 11 Sept. - Russia assured that the two strategic bombers Tupolev TU-160 'Black Jack' that arrived yesterday in Libertador, in the north-west of Venezuela, don't carry nuclear warheads. "There are not nuclear weapons on those planes", declared Vladimir Drik, a spokesman for the Russian Air Force. In his turn, a high level official of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Nesterenko, underlined that the landing took place with the full consent of local authorities. "Russia does not have military bases in South America", he reminded, "and the bombers landed in Venezuela respecting a bilateral agreement concluded some time ago.

Yeah, they are realy upset and scared of the USA...our move is to put a spook ship in the anartic and move into where they are pulling out from.

We are behind 2 moves already....

France? They blow like the wind, they are dependent more on Russia now then the USA, which is the real reason for the Popes Visit.....

and Z is not Russian...he may be a jokester--great 3 year old joke---; but, he doesn't use the proper spelling of his namesake...he is not Russian at all. Presentation is off as well as speach pattern for a Russian, either native American born or first generation...he would have to be third generation American, not Russian. Even that is doubtful to be honest. Not Russian Hewbrew either....

and yes: 1984...that was a very busy year.

Georgian
|
United States
September 13, 2008

Georgian in U.S.A. writes:

CNN interview with V. Putin - > COMMENTS

PUTIN:The responsibility for the loss of life rests squarely with the present Georgian leadership.

COMMENT: Let's explode the myth disseminated by the Russian government (and accepted by many in the Western media) that Georgia started this fight by "invading" so-called South Ossetia. Setting aside the fact that South Ossetia is legally a part of Georgia, this fight began with a set-up worthy of Hitler's machinations in Czechoslovakia and Poland.

From what I understand, the people of so-called S Ossetia are a mixture of pro-Georgian and pro-Russian supporters. So both country have legitimate claim to protecting their citizens.

Having created, funded and fully backed the South Ossetian separatist movement since the Soviet crack-up, in late JULY the Kremlin ordered Kokoiti regime they own to provoke the Georgians. In the WEEK prior to the invasion, South Ossetians, aided by Russian "peacekeepers," had shelled and raided Georgian villages beyond so-called South Ossetia.

Was Separatist violence against Georgians not provocation enough for Saakashvilli to act on? Who do you think encouraged the pro-Russian separatists within Georgia in the first place? Russian influence has been destabilizing the region.

Oh, and as for those Russian claims that it "had to protect its citizens," well, the Russians simply handed out passports to South Ossetians over the years in a de facto annexation the world ignored. Those "Russian citizens" are about as Russian as the citizens of Dulles, Virginia.

Georgia remembers Soviet invasion and occupation in 1921 and the reason stated by Bolshevik Russia -- Protection of local Communists. Today, Russians are protecting ethnic Osetian "Russian Citizens" in historic region of the central Georgia. We also remember early 1990's when invaded two Georgian provinces and was bombing Georgia from sky and black see, enforced 450.000 people (80% of total population -- mostly ethnic Georgian refugees) to leave their homes. In addition, at inactivity of the Russian "peacemakers" in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region were killed more than 2000 civilians of the Georgian nationality in 1994-2007 -- the world (UN, EU, OSCE) ignored & never provided international peacekeepers.

Vladimir PUTIN: I strongly object to the way this question is formulated. It is not for us to guarantee that we will not attack someone.

PUTIN: It is we who are demanding guarantees from others, to make sure that no one attacks us anymore and that no one kills our citizens. We are being portrayed as the aggressor.

COMMENT: Anyone seeking proof of who orchestrated this war has only to consider how swiftly Russian ground, air and naval forces "responded" to Georgia's attempt to protect its citizens. Even the U.S. military -- which is vastly better prepared, better trained and better organized than Russia's -- could not have launched so broad a coordinated assault from a standing start. Not only was this invasion planned in detail, but elements of Russia's 58th Army, headquartered in Vladikavkaz, just across the Caucasus Mountains from Georgia, had task-organized an initial armored brigade for the invasion's spearhead -- soon followed by the equivalent of a full division, augmented by paratroopers from Russia's strategic reserve.

Need still more proof of Moscow's premeditation? For months, Russian railway troops had been rebuilding the rail line from Russia into Abkhazia. In support of the invasion of Georgia, Russia deployed additional troops and ammunition along those tracks -- while paratroopers landed in Abkhazia to support the local Moscow-backed separatists. And there's more: As soon as the invasion began, the Russian air force launched waves of attacks on pre-planned targets. Anyone who knows how airpower works realizes that the target selection and pilot briefings had to have taken place well before the Georgians fired a shot. The first wave of SU-27 attack fighters, followed by strategic bombers and more ground-attack aircraft, was en route to key targets almost instantly.

John
|
Greece
September 13, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

THIS IS AMERICA!

Some 3-4 years ago, I had to answer an unexpected -- and malicious -- question of an old "poor in mind" lady, who was attempting to prove me that I did not have a clue what America is. Her attempt was about hurting the image of U.S. I knew it from the beginning, when she dared to begin with the first words of her "question". I knew it when she attempted and made it happen to be there -- using "terror" to affect "decision makers" -- and to become involved in a show she never runned, she never loved from the beginning, and for sure, it was not her "child", as long as it was mine. She was doing it FOR THE MONEY!

And she attempted to do so, during "prime time". (They always know where to hit)

Her tricky, cunning crafty question was (out of a sudden):
What means for you the "American Dream"?, she asked me in the "kitchen" Eric (chuckle).

I was perfect in my reply, although trapped of the place and time and the question I was asked!

You know, this is a tough question, because the answer is even more important than the question!

I gave her back an extremely good answer!, though. She had a "blackout" (for weeks) as happened to this show of her "friendship".

I WISH, I HAD READ YOUR POST FIRST. IT'S EXTREMELY BETTER THAN THE ONE I GAVE HER BACK!

Hear is the American Dream "madam":

"Here is the real kick, US foreign policy has its basis in an inherant trust that people will choose what works best for them. Based upon our own domestic traditions that a man's home is his castle, the soverign right of the individual to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness, and the right to live in peace and to defend that peace".

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 14, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well Joe, indeed things are going to get interesting....but remember this...

Generally America gives a fellow enough rope to hang himself with before letting him do so.

It's kind of traditional....(chuckle)....to let folks think they are two steps ahead....while they are in reality planting the seeds of their own demise.

I think we've been there, done that to the old Soviet Union. And we know what it takes to nip this in the bud now.

Patience without compromise, and all the tools in the toolbox....diplomatic, ecomomic, political, and military.

Russia may claim as its president has to "Not want this."

But his stated national foreign policy described just after taking office is much different from the reality of confrontation.

It is possible this is a reflection of aborted idealism, by those of the old guard who felt a more confrontational Russia was in their best interests.

The duality seen in his statements over time is I think a reflection of certain internal political struggles for control of policy.

They say the didn't want a war, but someone obviously did and it wasn't Georgia. My concern is the Russian Military Establishmet sought to pre-empt any further political integration with the international system or NATO.

Once the fighting started, the leadership had really no other option but to try and justify it, or risk exposing a serious rift in Russian government, and potential loss of confidence by the people in their government.

It's not easy to sift through all the chaff in their statements, to get to the reasoning behind the words.

Referring to this as "Russia's 9/11" as a wake up call for them.....seems to me Putin called the Beslan school massacre "Russia's 9/11" and in that context it certainly fit. But not in this one.

My point to this young president would be that if one is going to conduct policy from fear based thinking, one can only create fear in response to implementation. And see a response in kind.

"Action for action"...or enough is enough???

Their choice Joe....

At this point in time I think it would be wise of both the US and Russian governments to have the president of both nations speak to the national legistlative bodies of the other, and clear misunderstandings that have arrisen over intent.

There is always the UNGA, but I think it would serve bilateral relations for the leaders of both nations to put their case in their own words before those that represent the people of the other nation, and be prepared to answer doubts forthcoming from such an audience.

I say cut out the press as "middleman" and get down with some real diplomacy on a personal level.

Because that's what it will take, to avoid serious consequences.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 14, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

To answer Joe's question, the name "Zharkov" is derived from the Flash Gordon T.V. series that was popular in the 1950's (when America was still free), and in that series there was a "Dr. Zarkov" who assisted "Flash" (actor Buster Crabbe) in his battle against evil interplanetary aliens, a Tom Tancredo of the space era. The name choice had nothing to do with Russia and it is obvious that "Zharkov" is not Russian. In my avatar on Pravda, the man you see is Buster Crabbe playing a scene from one of the episodes.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 15, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

In response to Eric, let's consider advice from Ben Stein, another American who, like myself, still has some common sense.

Ben Stein On Russia:

Contributor Ben Stein says that the U.S. is provoking Russia by unnecessarily getting involved with Georgia and Poland. Stein says the U.S. should realize its plate is full and "butt out.""Here's a cool idea:

While we're in a difficult war in Iraq, while the war in Afghanistan is turning distinctly ugly, while we have major economic and energy problems, let's get into a war with Russia, too.

What? You don't think that's a good idea?

Neither do I, but that seems to be exactly where we're heading.

We already made the bonehead move of getting the nation of Georgia to think we would back them when they confronted Russia over issues that have zero to do with us.

Russia warned us over and over to back off. We didn't back off.

Then when Russia called our bluff and invaded Georgia and thumbed their noses at us, we did nothing.

This was a nearly fatal blow to Georgia as a sovereign state and made us look like liars and punks.

Now we've made an agreement to place interceptor missiles in Poland, even as Russia has told us over and over again not to do it.

We've promised the Poles we'll defend them if Russia attacks.

This is dangerous foolishness. We're not going to fight the Russians over Poland, which is right next to Russia and about 5,000 miles from us.

One, we don't have the means to do it. And two, the nation doesn't want to do it.

So if Russia invades, which they've strongly hinted they may do, we'll do nothing -- and look weak again.

Why are we getting into all these messes so far from home? Why are we provoking the Russians needlessly? They are obviously ready to fight on their borders and we're not ready to fight on their borders.

Neither is anyone in western Europe, all of whom are totally dependent on Russia for natural gas at this point. Plus the western Europeans have almost no armies at this point.

Look, we have enough on our plate. Let's not get other people killed and ourselves humiliated in Russia's backyard.

If we're not going to fight -- and we're not -- let's just butt out and stay out."
---------------------------------------------------------

John
|
Greece
September 15, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov

What I am going to tell you, is called marketing-psychology & Logo-CO ID evaluation.

When among many many cartoons, you choose to use a "Russian cartoon name", without an American pronunciation, instead of let's say a CLEAR American cartoon name, you do it on purpose.

It's a subconsciously procedure that your "brain-selector" uses in order to identify and satisfy your deeper-ID and secret Ego, or simple: what you would really initially would like to be in "another world". All of which is an: Utopia.

If I had to choose a "nickname", I would choose, for example, something like "JohnPacificoJr". This is because I love Pacific, and the U.S.A. is a Pacific nation. (An Atlantic too, though!)

So, when you choose a nickname, a company name or a logo, you always mean something.

No matter what the other bloggers say, "Zharkov", is CERTAINLY a Russian name, especially, when you analyze the word ZARKOVICHA? (I do not know how you write it in English, but you, as a "whatever" generation U.S. born will better know).

Of course, the most important is, what do you really feel?

We asked you plenty of times: Please Z, tell us two things that the U.S.A. is good at, and you always came up with NOTHING!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 15, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov, perhaps you will consider the fact that Ben Stein doesn't make the decisions for a reason...because when it comes down to it, it requires more than an op-ed to get results.

And I really think Ben has rocks in his head anyway so I'm not impressed by your comparitive analysis to any similarities in your common thought processes on this issue.

Here's your reality check of the day:

http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/109468.htm

Russia, Georgia, and the Return of Power Politics

Matthew J. Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Testimony before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission)
Washington, DC
September 10, 2008

----

I will take the word of one who has dealt with this issue for years over uninformed speculative reasoning any day of the week.

And you would do well to note the historical facts outlined in his remarks, Zharkov.

For it seems appropriate that you choose a cartoon charicture for a user name.

Aye well each to his own, eh?.......(chuckle).

Zharkov
|
United States
September 15, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

@ John in Greece, the average US citizen is good at EVERYTHING they wish to do, which is the reason US-made products are the best in the world. Only Germany and Japan came close to US auto quality standards.

Unfortunately, our government has made it more profitable to move our industry offshore, so dozens of towns in our midwest lack jobs and factories. Small business is taking up the slack caused by our own government but they are literally taxed to death.

So what are we good at NOW? Destroying ourselves and others? Have you read the news lately about Lehman Bros. bankruptcy? Did you know our federal government is technically bankrupt?

If you want to know what our government is good at today, just Google search "Cheney's False Flag Attack Plan". If you don't know about this, you are missing all the fun. If you are not curious about real conspiracies, you are not worthy to worship our federal officials.

I suppose that if you live a time capsule, you probably still believe we have the same America we had in 1950. Very few people ever see past government propaganda about why we do things, but the internal changes in America speak for themselves regardless of how anyone tries to "spin" it.

When you are treated like a suspected terrorist at the airport, when you see cameras watching you at every street corner, when your government becomes psychotically obsessed with collecting information about every citizen, including our medical and financial records, that tells a person of normal intellect everything we need to know. If you can't see what America has become, you must be comatose.

As an American citizen, you have no communications privacy, no financial privacy, no right to international travel without prior government permission in the form of a tax clearance and passport, no right to bear arms without police arrest (in most states), no right against double jeopardy (redefined to exclude repeated hearings by different government agencies), no right to gold and silver backing to our "federal reserve notes", and so much more, despite all such rights being specifically listed in our federal constitution. The federal government is killing our constitution by incremental rejection of its provisions, or by redefining its meaning, as the lap dogs and toadies celebrate this as "the American dream".

It is the anti-American dream -- it's what Osama bin Laden would wish for us. It's something even Hitler couldn't pull off. We have accepted federal domination and control and are joyful our liberties have been taken from us. Some of you even want more; you can't wait to hand over your lives to federal employees. Would licking their boots be too much to ask? One would not think so after reading some of the posts on this blog. Oh please, Mr. Bureaucrat, can't we have just one more war before our dollars drop to zero?

As long as you are dreaming about America, check out the news reports about the former KGB and East German Stasi officers who helped create "Homeland Security" for us. If you've read that, then the Patriot Act makes sense; atrocities at Abu Ghraib will be no mystery; torture at Guantanamo becomes understandable. If you go where your curiosity leads you, you cannot help but wonder why this administration, and others, are not sitting in prison.

The Russians really are afraid of US military power or they would have done in Georgia what we did in Iraq, then hold elections, put their guys in office, and NATO could expect Georgian membership maybe after the year 3000. Like Iraq after 1990, what we have in Georgia is a half-baked peace. Like Saddam Hussein in Gulf War 1, Mr. Saakashvili remains in office to cause more trouble later. Despite Russian bravado, they are not about to challenge America that has two occupations going and is working hard to start another war, and we know it so we cheer while NATO surrounds Russia with militarized states.

Our foreign policy in Georgia is better described as the World Trade Center the day after 9/11 -- a total disaster.

It's obvious that Russian military leaders knew something was up in Georgia and they prepared for an attack, so why criticize them for having more foresight than our own leaders have? Russia did not order Georgia to shoot people. The question is, who did? Us or the Israeli government? The Georgian government is riddled with double agents for Russia so their foreknowledge of Saakashvili's plans was no big surprise to anyone.

There is a way to have permanent peace and far better relations between Russia, NATO, and former Soviet states, but that requires Russian cooperation and we are not going to get much of that until we begin acting responsibly and stop sending arms into the middle of an international dispute and punishing the very countries which could help us.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 16, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Zharkov's M.O. (a brief analysis )

When confronted with the truth and the reality check of the day, in notably consistant form he tries desperately to change the subject, every time.

His method of debate is getting pretty boring if you ask me, and so I thought I'd mention it.

Earth to Zharkov.....when your tactics no longer work, better find ones that do.....

You are becoming way too predictable.

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