Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Another lesson from Kosovo. This plays into Russia's hands not because Russia has a free reign for a retaliation, but now Russia will more aggressively arm the separatists.

Russia overrunning Georgian positions and seizing land accomplishes nothing for Russia, because unless they occupy, they just have to give it back.

On the other hand, if you arm citizens and trigger a bloody guerrilla war, you can have a nasty ethnic fight and wash your hands of the whole affair at the same time. Once you turn two peoples against one another, you'll have a devil of a time putting the genie back in the bottle. That's what the Russians are counting on. Russian military force cannot achieve separation, in this instance. Only a bloody civil war can do that.

So, Russia renounces force, and the Georgian military does as well, and what's left? Guerrillas.

by Upstate NY on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 03:21:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
99% of South Ossetia voted for independence from Georgia in a recent referendum.  Mostly, they already see themselves as separate.  This is not exactly organized by Russia.  You can make an argument that it was provoked by Russia meddling about.  But you can't simply choose to ignore the fact that Saakashvili is on a very clear mission here.  This has the potential to be good for Russia, but it also has the potential to be bad for it too.  The Russian stock market has already plunged.  A fierce propaganda was has begun.  Which they certainly did not need.  I'm not sure getting themselves bogged down in another ethnic conflict in the Caucasus, esp/ so close to the site of the Sochi Olympics, is beneficial.  ...

Which makes me wonder what those who are now calling for respect for Georgian territorial integrity, despite the desires of the South Ossetians, thought of the war in Chechnia.  Is it a set of values which guides us, or do we simply decide what to condone and condemn based upon which side the Kremlin happens to be on?  

So, Russia renounces force, and the Georgian military does as well, and what's left?

Or Georgia could do what it did today and begin attacks less than 24 hours after agreeing to cease the use of force...

"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 03:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm only answering the question posed...

Renouncing violence from both parties does not mean that violence ends or that tensions cease.

As in Kosovo, you always have other actors in the field ready to rile things up.

Russia doesn't gain from a full-fledged war. They gain much more by supporting rebels.

by Upstate NY on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My first impression went back to Reagan's 1983 invasion of Grenada, Urgent Fury as it was called. It was a quick operation that had an enormous psychological impact on public opinion after the Vietnam debacle. Russia needs to show the world, especially the US, NATO and border states that they mean to react- with urgent fury- to safeguard their interests.

Russia will continue to foster rebels throughout the ex-Soviet states but will at times feel it necessary to demonstrate their might. Ukraine has no doubt got the message today.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 05:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Top Diaries

Occasional Series