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and i think it is correct

Listening to the declarations of Russian politicians concerning the attack on Georgia, I realized that Russia had never attacked anybody in the service of its own interests. No, Russia only takes up arms to serve others.

Most point to Afghanistan as Soviet aggression but I remember studying this and the situation was the the Afghan Socialist PM screwed up internal politics, by having his equivalent of the KGB harass and arrest local Imams.

I also seem to remember, in the SSR stans, the Soviets let Islam be, as long as it was not official and much like Orthodoxy, almost a lesson learned from the rulers of the 240 years of Mongol rule.

Then the PM messed up and begged the Politburo for intervention, which took three months to decide.

If that is actually the case and has merit, then I cannot think of an act of aggression since Peter the Great.  Although, I am very hazy on my mid-18th century Caucaus history at the moment, that may prove me wrong.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:15:04 PM EST
Then the PM messed up and begged the Politburo for intervention, which took three months to decide.

While I think this is technically speaking correct, I would point out the long-standing Russian ambition to obtain reliable access to blue-water ports. In this case in the Indian Ocean. India was neutral-in-Soviet-favour during much of the Cold War, while revolutionary Iran was anti-US (or the US was anti-revolutionary Iran, take your pick) and therefore by the binary logic of the Cold War more or less pro-Soviet

If that is actually the case and has merit, then I cannot think of an act of aggression since Peter the Great.

Finland 1940/41. Baltics 1940. Arguably Hungary 1956. I don't remember off the top of my head who started the Crimean War, but IIRC Russia didn't come out of that looking particularly saintly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, forgot the actual point in the geostrategic analysis in the first paragraph: With Iran and India neutral-in-Soviet-favour and Afghanistan in their possession or at least firmly in their sphere of influence, the USSR would have effectively boxed in Pakistan, which has a blue-water port in the Indian Ocean.

The overall picture would not be dissimilar to the encirclement of China by US client states (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) during the Cold War, except that Pakistan would be in a much less favourable position than China on account of not being a great power in their own right.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:42:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Double oops. Forgot Poland 1939 on my list of Soviet aggressions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:43:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland 1939, various Caucasus and Central Asian takeovers in the wake of the Revolution and Civil War, take over of Poland in the eighteenth century, various wars against the Turks, suppression of various uprisings by colonial peoples...
by MarekNYC on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:45:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And their role in the first world war wasn't exactly something to look up to either, was it?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:50:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I turned my attentions to literature in grad school.

Russian and Eastern European Studies was my undergrad degree but that was a looong time ago (although exciting in the mid-90s).  So I am racking my brian for facts and beating my forehead with the palm of my hand knowing that I remember something but that it is on the tip of my tongue.

goes for your posts below, too

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Winter war?  Of course!  The Finns here have every right to berate me for that one.

Sorry guys, brain fart

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 03:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The entire Caucasus history is one of aggression. Technically, there was the brief attack on Japan at the end of WWII, too. A hundred years ago, there was also the failed naval invasion of Japan.

But you missed that the article refers to a speciality of Soviet invasions: they always used the invitation of some local communists as excuse for moves with wider motivations. (Well, all Western imperiums since Rome needed excuses: there was bringing civilisation to the barbarians, then bringing Christianity to the pagans, then civilisation again, then Enlightement, then liberty and democracy.) In 1956, it was Kádár's 'invitation', in 1968, it was an anonymous reference to a confidential letter sent by some (in truth lower-ranked) Czechoslovak party members.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 03:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference today is that I don't see any convincing motivation for Russian expansion. Black Sea ports would be useful strategically, but after that - what? What would the point of annexing the Ukraine and threatening Poland?

Imperial cultures are inherently aggressive because territorial gains are needed to prop up the self image of the emperor. (Unless that emperor is George Bush, in which case nothing at all can prop up his self image.)

The Soviets were aggressive because Stalin was a paranoid drunken psychopath and there was always shreds of a nominal ideology explicitly interested in bringing the workers' paradise to the rest of the world.

Maybe I'm being staggeringly naive, but I can't see Putin in the same mould. He looks to me more like a spook-trained CEO and mafioso and a wannabe Tsar. Georgia is about making the point that Russia is back in the game again - but it's a single sentence statement, not a threat to invade Europe.

Threatening Russia with exclusion from the G8 is - of course - the worst possible course of action, because it undermines that sense of Russian participation, and will only increase Russian paranoia.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:50:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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