Friday, August 08, 2008
SOUTH OSSETIA - SHOTS HEARD ROUND THE WORLD?
South Ossetia is a very small place. Population 70,000, 2/3rd Ossetians (Noeth Ossetia is part of Russia) & 1/3rd Georgians. There seems no doubt that this current round was started by the Georgian government, nor that some Russian peacekeepers have been killed
There is no readily apparent just solution here. Let it secede & then have a democratic majority vote for union with Russia & the 1/3rd of Georgians will be annoyed. On the other hand the Georgian government is clearly killing civilians which is not to be supported. On the 3rd hand, looking at the map it is clear the Georgia's boundaries would be less manageable after secession - as Russia's are after the departure of Estonia. Does Russia actually wish to be expanded by expanding a new minority group, however pro-Russian they may be?
Legally it is part of Georgia but then the same applies to Kosovo.
And that is the real problem. Georgia is a NATO satellite though, thankfully, not a NATO member or we would be committed to a war.
Damn sure the western press will be siding with the Georgians. Before the 2 elections in the orange revolution in the Ukraine there were a similar 2 elections in the rose revolution in Georgia, with exactly the same tactics, a party with exactly the same name & equally obvious western funding of one side. The only difference was that in Georgia, the opposition, having narrowly lost the first election, with western observers crying fraud, they won the second with over 90 of the vote, with western observers happy.
Georgia is thus now a NATO satellite. Our media, which managed to report Yugoslavia for 18 years without mentioning that the "moderate multiculturalists" we were helping were actually (ex-)Nazis publicly committed to genocide. I think they will again know which side they are supposed to report from.
The Russians cannot be expected to be neutral on this for 2 reasons. Firstly precisely because Georgia has become a western satellite in an area of the world where Russia has always been the only regional power. If they let semi-Russians be defeated, killed & possibly ethnically cleansed everybody will think they can push them around. Secondly because Kosovo has established a precedent. If NATO can grab Kosovo then what Russian government can accept that NATO has a right to tell them the same cannot happen here? This was warned at the time of Kosovo's "independence". In fact up till now the Russians have been opposed to legal secession, partly because they have stood for the rule of international law, when we have not.
Because Georgia is a NATO satellite & wishing to be a NATO member it seems unlikely that this war was started without NATO approval. If so it is an extremely stupid piece of adventurism. There is no genuine NATO interest here, unless starting a fight is in our interest. We should stand clear.
As to Georgia's borders, sure, if S. Ossi secedes, its northern border is a bit more wiggly but overall no dafter than (say) Chile.