9/11. Take two

Now we can make first conclusions of this swift-flowing military campaign in the Caucasus and a diplomatic war- between Russia and Georgia and between the Euro-Atlantic West and Russia.

The number of armed groups (including military hardware) was approximately the same on each side. Russia had the only serious advantage thanks to its air forces. The opposite side possessed a greater variety of 'instruments'- such as more advanced communication systems, perfect knowledge of the territory and fortifications prepared in advance. Still, there is hardly anyone who could doubt Russia`s military victory.

It would be incorrect to compare Russian and Georgian military potential (the thing some liberal journalists are fond of doing). Weak transportation capacity of the Roksky tunnel and tough deadlines prevented Russia from increasing its troops. But it did not turn out to be as necessary as it seemed at the very beginning. Military experts say the Russian peacekeeping forces had had chances to seize control over the territory without additional support. Now it will take the Georgian army much time to recover from that psychological stress they got during this 5-day war. Georgia has lost many soldiers. Four thousand men- these figures are provided by the Russian officials but still the statistics may be different. To lose 14% of the overall quantity of troops in 5 days-is really a great blow.

Yet we have not received exact data concerning Georgia`s loses in air forces but they are certainly as big as those among the ground troops. For the Republic of Georgia this is a catastrophe. According to preliminary estimations, they lost 80 out of 230 tanks.

It will take much time to restore Georgia's broken military machine, which appears to be possible only under the following circumstances (and still there are no guarantees): a) US and NATO allocate new funds to train the aggressor b) they unblock the routes for delivering military equipment. Moscow will hardly turn a blind eye on how the upgrade of the Georgian army. The nearest channel is in Ukraine but it is almost exhausted. Mikhail Saakashvili now may hope for deliveries by air or by sea, if Turkey agrees to open the Straits and air corridors. But to spend new huge sums on this would be unwise. It appears to be more effective to found US and NATO bases in Georgia. It is just a matter of time to learn whether the Pentagon has made such a decision or not.

To avoid one-sided approach to the outcomes of the military operation in South Ossetia, let us emphasize that the aggressor`s machine was not destroyed completely. It means that Georgia will be determined to have a revenge. We should be ready for the increasing terror threats from Georgia. Moscow will be pressed over the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since they failed to boycott the Games in Beijing, they will try to use this scenario in Russia. The blast on the Loo beach in Sochi on August,7, came as the first warning to Russia. Moscow has only two ways to follow: to defeat Georgia or (alas) to forget about the Olympics. However, there is also a third way-to improve relations with the West at the cost of new and very meaningful concessions...

Now let us look at the situation from a political angle...

The major thing is that Moscow has demonstrated its will and decisiveness. The image of the Putin-Medvedev tandem worldwide is quite positive. According to Dmitry Medvedev, the modern Russia has used force for repelling the attack from within and, being morally strong, did the right thing. Moscow`s direct participation helped to prevent Saakashvili from implementing his other cruel plans. The authorities and the nation stood close together these days. All the differences were forgotten for a while. Now it is clear that Russians can be patriots not only during the World Football Cup.

Against all attempts of some western political analysts and journalists to persuade the rest of the world that Moscow invaded the "peace loving" Georgia (which looks more like a piranha), Russia proved that it began a peacekeeping operation since it is interested in maintaining stability on its southern borders. In Moscow they understand it quite well that it is not Georgia they are dealing with but the United States. One of the main aims of the Saakashvili regime was to provoke Russia for the use of force in the conflict zone and show the world this "Russian aggressor". If succeeded, Tbilisi (and Kiev as well) would have received their long-expected NATO membership by the end of 2008. Their plot worked only half-way. Georgian army was the first to lose its soldiers, and that was Saakashvili`s first mistake. His other misfortune was the failure of the blitzkrieg. The courage of the Ossetians, their nerve saved Russia`s territorial integrity in the Caucasus.

A fragile alliance between Russia and two NATO members, France and Germany, was shattered. Although it was evident for everyone that Russia did not invade Georgia but carried out its peacekeeping mission there, Paris and Berlin expressed their dissatisfaction with the Russian reaction. They simply pretended not to be aware that Moscow`s interference took place after Tbilisi attempted to start genocide of South Ossetians as nation and then do the same thing in Abkhazia. Being aware of its historical mission, Russia certainly had nothing to do but interfere. But Russians should better expectano signs of gratitude from the West as democracy is the most cynical and the least moral form of political order the humankind invented over the past 2000 years.

So, the main aim of joint Georgian-American-Israeli authorities was to cast doubt on Moscow`s non-aggressive foreign policy and justify the aspirations of Tbilisi and Kiev for NATO membership. They also wanted to make the old Europe believe that the deployment of US missile shield there would do them only good. Today we are witnessing a new wave of unanimity between Berlin and Washington on the issue of Euro-Atlantic integration, and an immediate solution of a missile issue in Poland. The US shoot a few rabbits at one shot: covered the war in South Ossetia in a way necessary to blacken Russia, tamed the old Europe and now are preparing to set new military bases in Georgia- former sovereign state...

Although the massacre in South Ossetia came as a direct blow meant for Russia and Europe, Georgia happened to be in the worst situation. Washington has no plans to restore its territorial integrity. Americans have begun active work with the leaders of Abkhazia. A vague status of "unrecognized" will be used by the US not for the sake of Georgia but for imposing a vassal system of rule and further separation of the North Caucasus from Russia.

A global geopolitical shift which occurred on the first day of the conflict in South Ossetia will probably have very serious consequences. As serious as those after the 9/11 attacks. A global system of international relations is shattered. Old alliances cease to exist while the new ones appear each day. Despite the US "global leadership", the situation is too unpredictable to say that this American hegemony will last for ever.

[Source: By Eduard Popov, Strategic Culture Foundation, Moscow, 19Aug08]

Tienda de Libros Radio Nizkor On-Line Donations

The Question of South Ossetia
small logoThis document has been published on 20Aug08 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.