Well it will be darned embarrassing for Russia if they don't get this cleaned up soon. After all the 2014 Winter Olympics were awarded to Sochi, literally a few miles north of the Russian artillery in Abkhazia firing on civilians in interior Georgia. What with the flames, noise, atrocities, I mean, righteous liberation of freedom loving peoples, I doubt it will make the venue very popular.
Georgia are pulling half their 2000 soldiers which are guarding the Iraq/Iran border for us. Grrrrrreat.
Georgia is not a beacon of progress in the region, just before the elections Saakashvili arrested the main opposition leaders and declared the state of emergency, do you call that a beacon of western progress? Also economically Georgia a disaster. When I was there a few years ago the electricity supply was interrupted every hour or so, even in the capital Tbilissi. Georgia is also very corrupted.
Russia AND georgia are playing nationalism, also Israel and the US are playing nationalism, nothing wrong with that. Do you think the US or Israel wouldn't intervene in similar circumstances?
Georgia returning the favor? A lot of their army infrastructure has already been destroyed.
I returned from Russia just last week, after a trip to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Most Russians love Putin because the economic circumstances improved a lot under his rule, Yeltsin was an absolute disaster. I agree that Russia is not a real democracy, but still Putin's rule is popular. Most Russians believe the US is behind tensions with Georgia, and the US is very unpopular as in much of the rest of the world. Most Russians also support his efforts to restore some of the international standing and contacts of the Soviet-Union. And he's succesful, in Tajikistan when I was registering with OVIR a giant portrait of Putin covered the hall. In Dushanbe half of the youngsters (many of whom in mini-skirt, another legacy of the Soviets in this country which neighbours Afghanistan, where alcoholism is much more an issue than Islamism) were t-shirts with "Russia" or "CCCP".
The conflict is more similar to the war between Israel and Lebanon, Hesbollah started to attack Israel, and Israel in reaction destroyed whole quarters of Beirout and whole villages. During that war I didn't hear you condemning Israel for bombing civilians.
Russia is just defending its own interests and its own citizens in a neighbouring country. It did never bomb or invade faraway countries rich in mineral resources as the US did.
About the cold war, the planet was almost to the brink of nuclear destruction because the Soviets installed missiles in Cuba. Today the US installed missiles in Poland and Czech republic. Who's pushing for confrontation, the US or Russia?
Large countries are wise to take buffer states, and considering the MANY times Russia has been invaded it makes more sense to rely on territory as opposed to the kindness of other nations whose leadership can change overnight.
Solidification of the new "Iron Curtain" is an exploitable opportunity. Russia imposes a boundary on the Eastern expansion of NATO, but those already members can see the results. Those not members can be reabsorbed by Russia and forgotten.
The peoples of the East were always doomed to Tsarist/Soviet/Putinist mastery. That's how that bit of the world works, and we should be delighted to have gotten as far as we have in rescuing the pieces of Europe that matter and regaining OUR buffer states!
Now the goal should be stability so all concerned can get on with other affairs like bolstering their economies and dealing with the Muslim problem we share.
Tako's comparisons of Russian nationalism and chauvinism with American culture is simply absurd. Russia is built on conquests, inequality, and hatred of all things different. This recent Russian assault on Georgian territory, and the excuses for it, are really reminiscent of the German invasion of Chechoslovakia in WWII. The Russian MO is to claim that a certain territory has a large number of ethnic Russians (not Russian citizens), which usually isn't even true, then they give anyone from that territory Russian citizenship/passport, and claim that they need to be in there to protect their citizens.
"Russia has been invaded twice in the past 200 years or so."
Let's not forget WW1, where Russia was beaten and signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
"Meanwhile it invaded and expanded by conquest. As it done so, it used aggressive, often inhumane, means to Russify conquered lands by population exchanges, minor genocides, ethnic cleansing and replacement, and directed elimination of local cultures which is going on full speed up to this day."
Conquest is perfectly normal and works well. Ditto removal of opposing cultures. Groups who renounce this will be consumed by those that do not, just as weakness has no reward in nature. If one does not want to be a victim, then it is wise to be warlike and too dangerous to mess with.
The "rightness" or "wrongness" of Russian actions is academic. Their relationship to us is what is of concern in terms of developing useful policy, which must be shaped by cold calculation. The emotional stuff is useful for managing the mob.
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