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Right.  No one will notice if we try to provoke the Russians into a war if we do it during the Olympics.  It won't be on the front page of the BBC, NYT, WSJ, or anything.  ... I don't doubt that was their thinking.  Doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

FWIW, 1) I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole right to self determination / territorial integrity debate.  I think there are valid positions on both sides of that debate.  But at the end of the day, regardless if you are your own country or under the auspices of another, you simply have to learn to live with your neighbors.  2) I'd also be pissed if Russia decided to start a war on the eve of the Olympics, which are supposed to celebrate peace.  That's just the height of rude and arrogant.  It's kinda sick.  I think.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 11:35:09 AM EST
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It looks as if Georgia started rolling the tanks in.

The Russians could have sat it out, but that would have had implications at home and abroad. So they've rolled their tanks in too.

Saak is looking more and more like another Balkan nutter. How insane do you have to be to send in your tiny military force against a rogue province with Russian protection?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:47:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're absolutely assuming that this hasn't been planned with advice from the US and UK.
by Upstate NY on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 03:24:14 PM EST
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You don't have to assume that to conclude that Saak acts like "another Balkan nutter." Quite a few of the Balkan nutters were probably involved with the UK and US... Doesn't make it any less nuts, though. If they keep up like this, the Russians are going to kick the Georgians all the way out of South Ossetia, and there's damn all anybody can or will do about it.

As for what happens after that... I wouldn't care to place any expensive bets. But I'm pretty sure it's going to be less pleasant for Georgia than the status quo ante.

Unless somebody has decided that Georgia's entry into NATO would be expedited by a declaration of autonomy and/or Russian occupation of South Ossetia and that a few hundred Russian and Georgian soldiers and a couple of thousand Ossetians is an acceptable price to pay for bringing Georgia into the fold. But that idea comes a bit too close to tin-foil-hat territory for my taste. And it also assumes that Georgia believes that they do not have a long-term future in Ossetia anyway, which I'm not sure is a realistic assumption...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 03:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's talk specifics, what Balkan nutters?

With Vance-Owen, those nutters agreed to a peace deal in 1991.

4 years later, after 100k dead, they ended up with the same deal they wanted originally.

So, nothing really backfired on them. They wanted Republika Srpska, they got it. nThere were two choices, apparently. Srpska with 100k people alive, or Srpska with 100k people dead.

Their decisions were no more nutty than the recent decisions of Americans and Brits.

by Upstate NY on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:20:31 PM EST
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Their decisions were no more nutty than the recent decisions of Americans and Brits.

You're really setting the bar quite low there...  


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:28:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it has been set low already.

The Balkans are reviled for their murderous ways, and meanwhile, others in the so-called civilized countries of Europe and N. America conduct 30 year wars, mass genocides, and complete annihilations of ethnic groups. As someone born in the Balkans, it does get me that my local murderers are somehow considered less civilized than the murderers further afield.

by Upstate NY on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 07:52:41 PM EST
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How about the guys who pushed for Kosovar independence behind the back of the UN? That qualifies as nutty in my book. And they certainly had more than tacit support from certain Great Powers...

Although I must say that I did put "Balkan nutter" in scare quotes precisely because they aren't quite as much nuts as they are sometimes made out to be.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:28:21 AM EST
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The problem in Kosovo as in Bosnia was creating the conditions for wars that inevitably required separation.

I'm not of the illusion that the Kosovo Albanians could ever live under the Serbs again. But when you prop up the KLA and diminish the importance of Rugova, then a separation WILL HAPPEN.

by Upstate NY on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:27:53 PM EST
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