Monday, August 11, 2008

'It's A Big World Afterall': Mismanagement Of NATO/HATO Expansion Leading To Major U.S. Foreign Policy Setback On Georgia, Ossetia, Russia Borderland

A dead Georgian soldier covered by an Ossetian fabric is shown on Russian Federation television.

Ill-considered NATO [HATO in Cyrillic script] expansion policy leads to thousands of civilian deaths on Georgian, Ossetian, Russian Federation mountainous borderland, and tens of thousands of relatively poor and insecure refugee families fleeing their homes. The U.S. has now airlifted "nearly all" of the 2,000 Georgian soldiers serving in Iraq back to Georgia. At this time of warfare, the Georgian military is receiving training and weaponry from the U.S. and Israel.

Another decade-long, high-tech war for oil?

Approximately one half of last week's population of South Ossetia, 70,000, now displaced. While the Russian Federation is now pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of its oil wealth into development of its Southern-tier region, the U.S.,to date, has preferred military expansion to its own matching "Marshall Plan" for the non-Russian Federation Black Sea, Caucasus, and West Central Asian regions.


Update: Mikhail Gorbachev "A Path to Peace in the Caucasus" Washington Post August 12, 2008


Photo credit: (c) Agence France Presse.


Blogger JW said...

How is it a setback? Georgia is a staunch US ally, and it's difficult to believe a small nation like Georgia would attack a giant like Russia. An ally is an ally, and Georgia's is the 3rd largest coalition force with us in Iraq. That's loyalty. So, we'll have to wait and see how it develops. Putin seems bent upon reassembling the old Soviet Union. I don't think this will happen without resistance from its former republics and generous assistance from us. Setback? Time will tell, but as of now I don't think so.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

While I have no idea what signals the Bush Administration or the CIA gave to Georgia before it sought militarily to "retake" the South Ossetian capital last week, I know for a fact that the U.S. non-partisan foreign policy establishment was strongly urging Georgia not to launch military operations to try to secure the capital of South Ossetia, but rather to relie on diplomacy and mediation. Such advice was apparently ignored and Georgia shelled the small South Ossetian capital overnight killing and endangering thousands of non-Georgian, Ossetian civilians, and bringing back memories of the Russian Federation seige of Grozney (but from a Georgian standpoint).

I do not believe that an Obama administration would have given the go-ahead to the widespread destruction of the provincial capital city of South Ossetia in lieu of diplomacy and international mediation.


9:51 AM  
Blogger JW said...

Whatever the impetus, the Russian's response is way out of proportion, and an indication of intent to reestablish hegemony over a former vassal nation. However, do you really think the present administration said it's ok to give provocation to a larger neighbor still in thrall to old ideas of territorial domination? What's to be gained by that?

I sincerely hope we never find out what an Obama administration might do.

BTW, did you note that Ukraine has denied use of its ports to Russia? These ports are crucial to implementation of further hostilities.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

Again, I do not know what the current U.S. administration (including CIA) indicated to the Georgian government on the eve of the Beijing Olympic games. I did refer you to a very recent report of the non-partisan Atlantic Council, which cautioned Georgia not to attempt to retake the two autonomous regions by force, but to seek a negotiated settlement of territorial issues with the Russian Federation.

I agree that the Russian Federation response has been out of proportion, and is an attempt to terrorize the population of the Republic of Georgia and to degrade its military capability. I hope that the Russian Federation will immediately withdraw from historically uncontested territory within the Republic of Georgia.

I have not seen the reports concerning Ukraine's actions in response to the terrible hostilities in South Ossetia and Georgia, but I will attempt to read them very soon.

Thank you for commenting. I will continue to align myself politically with those who advocate talk, talk, talk, over bomb, bomb, bomb any day.

7:40 AM  
Blogger JW said...

These are interesting times. US defense shield in Poland, coincidence or no? I am watching this closely. What does Russia hope to gain from this? It's not a superpower but it has nuclear capability. Why now and why make specific nuclear threats against Poland. Is it just for nationalist feel-good moment or am I missing something?

8:14 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

The new U.S. missile radar systems in Poland and the Czech Republic are expressedly designed to ward off missile attacks from "rogue states" -- a new code word for Iran, if not still North Korea.
The Russian Federation disagrees with the placement of these new systems under its interpretation of older arms control agreements.

At the security debate at Brookings last Thursday, Brookings Institute President Strobe Talbott said that he disappoved of the placement of these new U.S. systems so close to the Russian border, and that the scientists and strategists with whom he consults do not see the military need for this out-dated radar technology.

While the Russian Federation might not be a military superpower, it is now (and for at least the next generation, if not beyond) an energy superpower upon which Western (and Central and Eastern Europe) is dependent for one-third of its oil (and more of its natural gas, I believe).

(Western Europe is neither a military superpower nor an energy superpower, but certainly a cultural superpower.)

JW, do you happen to recall reading about the time that the U.S. almost fought a global nuclear war with the Former Soviet Union over the issue of military installations on the island of Cuba? Does the name Krasnador and the hughly heated cold war debate about over whether radar systems there were internationally legal under arms control agreements ring a bell?

9:10 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

CORRECTION: Immediately above, I had meant to write 'missile defense systems' rather than 'missile radar systems' in the first two paragraphs of the comment. I apologize for the error.

5:55 AM  

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