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Georgia Offered the Chance, the World Refused It
As you should be well aware, there’s a war in Georgia. But it’s more than that, it’s the best chance the EU and NATO will have to resolve the “Russian problem”. Or at least it was, since they have already wasted it with meaningless talks and the moment is now lost.
Of course the Georgian president just wanted to regain control of South Ossetia and relied on international support to do so. It’s also true that his actions gave Russia the excuse it had been waiting for to launch this offensive. However, this offensive is also the excuse the EU and NATO should have been waiting for to make Russia pay for their controlling habits and therefore a chance they couldn’t afford to lose, especially considering the timing.
It’s not only about Georgia. The real issue here is allowing Russia to regain their influence in the area, essentially becoming the Soviet Union once again. Once you allow it once, there’s no going back. But fear can work both ways, so a united response could send them running back, especially now since their most powerful potential allies, China, are rather busy. But that response had to come swiftly and clearly.
We are looking at two regions which have not been conquered or colonized by force by Georgia, but which desire to break away from it. However, their desire to break away isn’t necessarily a desire for independence, as they seem quite happy to attach themselves to Russia. Seeing as Russia supports this, it can certainly be accused of attempting to conquer parts of Georgia. A cultural conquest has the same result as a military one, but may actually be worse since it’s harder to prove and therefore less likely to be stopped by international intervention. And, knowing the way they responded to the Chechnya situation, the hypocrisy is obvious. And they also didn’t seem bothered by the measures taken by China to beat down the Tibetans’ desire for independence, despite the fact that they had been conquered by force to begin with.
Saying that, it’s obvious that Russia can’t accuse Georgia of invading South Ossetia. It’s true that it had a degree of autonomy, but it was part of Georgia and a country can’t invade itself! And the military aid sent to Abkhazia can’t even be explained by that, not to mention the continued offensive into previously undisputed Georgian territory. So it can be argued that Georgia gave Russia the excuse for this attack, but this attack should have given the EU and NATO the excuse to target Russia. They are conquering an independent and democratic state and this is no longer allowed in today’s world. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
Now you have to keep in mind that Russia is a very powerful country and they also have powerful allies, China coming first to mind. Thinking about that, a World War III seems extremely likely and it’s not going to be Muslims against Christians but instead have Russia and China on one side and NATO and the EU on the other. Therefore, an actual war is undesirable. But Georgia provoked this attack at the best possible moment. China is too busy with the Olympics to help Russia right now, they have their pants down and shoelaces tied together! Medvedev is also rather “green” and at the start of the conflict Putin, who obviously holds the reins, was in China. It was the only moment when Russia stood alone and it could have been scared away. Then the world’s eyes could be on China before the end of the Olympics so they would find themselves alone as well and unable to react.
The right thing to do would have been to take the UN completely out of it, since Russia can block any of its decisions that it doesn’t like, and have NATO, the EU and any other like-minded countries immediately respond in force. The time for talking is over the moment somebody takes a shot and all these threats of “cooling relations” have no relevance. Russia holds the world’s supply of natural gas and knows the EU relies on it for 40% of its energy needs, it doesn’t care whether the relations are heated or cooled or anything in between! They see that they can scare everybody else into submission, so the only right thing to do would have been to prove that’s not the case with an immediate military response.
I’m not advocating attacking Russia directly, at least not unless needed. But the proper response would have been immediately sending troops to support Georgia in defending its territory and national integrity, therefore facing Russia with a very clear choice: Either they stop the fight in Georgia and accept the sanctions the international community would impose upon them for this action or, according to their own view of things, they start a war with everyone else. I mean, if they considered that Georgia attacked them by attacking South Ossetia where they had stationed troops, it makes perfect sense to say they’d attack the EU and NATO by continuing the offensive on Georgia once EU and NATO troops would be stationed there. Either way, with China unable to help at the moment, they would have been forced to withdraw. They’re not crazy enough to start World War III alone!
Such a withdrawal would have been similar to a surrender, allowing the others to impose terms. Not that they couldn’t impose sanctions for invading an independent and democratic state anyway. And this is a chance the EU should have jumped at. They could have forced Russia to accept their terms on energy matters, therefore solving this extremely pressing problem! There is no other way to solve this issue on the EU’s terms; any diplomatic solution will have to be on Russia’s terms or it won’t work. And they could also work on Russia’s military capabilities, therefore delaying the moment they’ll be fully prepared for World War III and giving the rest of the world a better chance to prepare for it, or perhaps even prevent it.
The facts are very simple: Georgia gave the world the best, and possibly the only, chance to stop Russia, and perhaps also China, without actually starting World War III. But instead of seeing it for what it is and grasping it with both hands, the EU and NATO crapped their pants and apparently didn’t have any to spare, so they hid in the bathroom and are just yelling through the door while trying to figure out how not to shame themselves when they’ll eventually have to come back out. This only serves to make Russia feel even more at ease when they try to make things go their way. It shows them that they have already scared everyone else away, that they can expand their influence over the area of the former Soviet Union and also pressure the rest of the world into accepting their terms.
There is no way to get things back to the way they were after this. Somebody wins and somebody loses. And I’m not talking about Georgia. Georgia is irrelevant in this conflict. It’s either Russia or the EU and NATO, nothing in between. We’re talking about one country, forced to act alone, who seems to be winning against two large international alliances! What leverage would those alliances have over anything anymore if they concede defeat here without even fighting?
In short, world leaders continue to act when they should talk and talk when they should act… And one terribly bold action is allowed to go to waste instead of becoming the turning point of a new world order, or at least pivotal in pushing back Russia’s influence and also somewhat deterring China’s potential plans. The world will live to regret this lack of action, and what’s worse is that it won’t be those who made the decision not to act who’ll suffer the most as a result of it.
Your comments and world view outlook are positively terrifying. The fact that views and outlooks such as this exist dooms humanity to an inevitable WW3.
September 17, 2008 @ 10:14 PM
Oh, don’t you worry, people with far worse views are in positions of authority, and WW3 IS inevitable, the way things are going. Peace is the result of victory over those who desire war… Once you remove those, you can start negotiating, but until then negotiations just give them time to become an even bigger threat. Of course, you have to be absolutely certain somebody desires war (or simply power over others, by any means) before you start thinking of “removing” them, otherwise you’re the one who needs to be taken care of.
September 18, 2008 @ 12:09 AM