Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The Ruskies are back. Praise the Lord!

by Colman Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 05:47:11 AM EST

Did you hear that loud collective sigh from capitals across Europe and the US? From newsrooms and journalists, academics and pundits? It was a sigh of relief: the Cold War is back, and it's better than ever.

No more cognitive dissonance when we have to call the Russians friends or allies. No more having to learn new narratives, no more grey areas, no more goddamn nuance.

We can show the old Cold War movies again in good conscience, safe in the knowledge that the Russians - apart from their beautiful ice-maidens, who can easily be seduced by our manly Western™ hero - are again the enemy of all freedom and democracy. Them and us. NATO vs the Ruskies. Good vs evil.

We've finally finished squandering the opportunities that arose after the collapse of the USSR. Aren't we clever?


Display:
entitled "what should (and what can) we do about Russia?"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:01:56 AM EST
As opposed to "what will we do?", which is different again.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking forward to reading it. Meanwhile, the entire Canadian Press Corps (which is essentially two companies plus the Toronto Star plus the CBC) seems to be as one with the Wall Street J: Brave Little Georgia. Bad Wicked Russia, too bad it has all that oil and gas.
by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Invite Russia to join NATO.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a distant future Russia could collaborate with NATO but not in its present situation. It would prefer to negotiate from a position of force as a strong partner rather than a federation of over 260 entities under constant pressure from NATO along its borders.

The present show of force is just one of the instruments Russia has to tell America that laying their bets on small middle-European states as some sort of Rumsfeldian "New Europe" is a a major strategic error.

Russia will continue to foster unrest in border states.

Europe's power is still France, Germany, Spain, Italy- the "old Europe." Russia talks with them and has the best relations in decades with them. These states by and large have the clout and the sovereignty to deal as partners with Russia- and they are not about to kneel to the USA's empirial wishes. If the US wants to bank on its new protectorates along Russia's borders rather than listen to European nations, they'll end up out in the cold.

I am in no way endorsing Russia's present strategy no more than the Chechyen wars. It's a question of looking at matters from a geopolitical view. It's a question of Realpolitik. Russia intends to reassert its position on the international stage. And one cannot dismiss the fact that it may actually please some of the "old" European states.

At this point of the crisis the biggest losers are a foolish and reckless Georgia and the Ukraine. As for the Baltic states, Poland and the Czech Republic, they would be better off building good relations with the Russian Federation rather than counting on a distant America who may well be unwilling to go all the way is a clinch. Russia is a very big and hard reality. But depicting it as an enemy once again is foolhardy.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First, good analysis. I don't see why Russia would necessarily continue to foment unrest along its border, however. There's a trade-off involved in that it is risky for Russia, too, to fuel seperatist passions.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:05:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are four wannabe "states" who have coalisced as of 1994 in a mutual defense organization under the auspices of the Russian Minister of the Interior: Transnistria, South Ossetsia, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. All of these enclaves represent a political and military problem for their "hosts"- Moldavia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaigian. (Sorry about the English spelling transcriptions.)

Their existence and active support by Russia will continue to complicate the scenario for the next few years. Their destiny will certainly be part of a trade-off- but that may not come about in our lifetimes.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Until Aug 8, 2008, the most likely scenario for Transnistria was coming back to Moldova in exchange for Moldova NEVER entering NATO - and, therefore, the EU. This might have changed now, but Russia has worked very hard on resolving this one and hammering on the compromise I described. And Nagorno-Karabakh is an entirely separate issue, it's a very democratic country which actually doesn't want to be associated with Russia. The issue is, really, just SO and Abkhasia.
by Sargon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What has Nato membership got to do with EU membership? One is not a precondition for the other.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:36:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moldova NEVER entering NATO - and, therefore, the EU.

As far as I know, NATO membership is not a precondition for EU accession. Given the fact that a great number of Moldovan citizens detain a Romanian passport (and many more asked for one), it will be hard to prevent Moldova to join the Union.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was talking about the existing reality. NATO is and would be a pre-condition for EU until and unless the "old Europe" gets its act together and shakes off too intimate US embrace. Don't see this happening before my Altsheimer strikes and I fade into bliss of being uninformed and not caring any longer.
by Sargon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:54:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Finland and Malta?
Left Cyprus out because the British still have a base there?
by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:08:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about the former Soviet block. Empirically, for it the NATO membership was a necessary condition for the EU entry. Whatever you can say about Finland, it wasn't in the Soviet block.

Of course, former Soviet block countries usually wanted to be in NATO to get protection against the Russian threat they perceived. Still, we really don't have a case of a former Soviet block country willing to get into the EU but not NATO and getting its wish granted.

by Sargon on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 05:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that NATO membership was the price for US support for EU membership ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 05:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we have a case of a former Soviet bloc country wanting to get into the EU but not NATO?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 05:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've certainly seen it reported that the general understanding was that NATO was first and the EU second, but I've never worked out why that was.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 05:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because security always comes first. Something NATO but not the EU delivers.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 07:57:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Ukraine, popular support for EU membership is much stronger than for NATO - or at least used to be. Ukrainian mass-media was almost indistinguishable from CNN/BBC during the Ossetian crisis, who knows how that will play out.
by Sargon on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Invite Russia to join the EU and stop this attempt to re-start the Cold War in its tracks. Europe has to stop playing this by US rules and start playing by its own.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin does not have an interest in the EU as is. It has no sovereignty. Far better to have bilateral relations with each European state.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bad idea. The EU can't get its political act together already right now, with fairly weak new members. Adding a strong Russia to the lot would bring the death knell to the union.



--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Not The Onion Department.  McCain in the WSJ this morning:

[I]n the 21st Century nations don't invade other nations.

Powerful stupid.  Just kill me, please.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:34:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You obviously don't understand. There's a huge difference between the U.S. liberating Iraq and Russia invading Georgia. Two completely different situations, that can be extrapolated:

U.S. liberates Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan: Good.
Russia invades Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania: Bad.

by asdf on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The major difference I can see is that one invasion bankrupted the invader financially, while the other will not.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:32:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cover of the latest Private Eye has a photo of Bush and Rice under the headline "U.S. CONDEMNS RUSSIA":

Rice: How dare the Russians invade a sovereign state...

Bush: That's what we do.

by Gag Halfrunt on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 07:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the midst of the collective sighs of relief, traitors can be heard to mutter.

Seumas Milne: This is a tale of US expansion not Russian aggression | Comment is free | The Guardian

But underlying the conflict of the past week has also been the Bush administration's wider, explicit determination to enforce US global hegemony and prevent any regional challenge, particularly from a resurgent Russia. That aim was first spelled out when Cheney was defence secretary under Bush's father, but its full impact has only been felt as Russia has begun to recover from the disintegration of the 1990s.

Over the past decade, Nato's relentless eastward expansion has brought the western military alliance hard up against Russia's borders and deep into former Soviet territory. American military bases have spread across eastern Europe and central Asia, as the US has helped install one anti-Russian client government after another through a series of colour-coded revolutions. Now the Bush administration is preparing to site a missile defence system in eastern Europe transparently targeted at Russia.

By any sensible reckoning, this is not a story of Russian aggression, but of US imperial expansion and ever tighter encirclement of Russia by a potentially hostile power.

We need a witch-hunt.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:17:00 AM EST
Milne is essentially the Guardian's token "Tankie".

It doesn't make him wrong on this occasion though, Comrade.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
cross-posting on Green and Orange?  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:36:53 AM EST
Is it worth it? They must have hundreds of diaries saying the same thing.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Come on afew.

Of course it's worth it to get involved.  I mean after all I tried to provide information that countered the claims being made there about Kosovo, and I got labeled a genocide denier.

This is the state of the Left in America today.  Character assassination from libertarians who like to bitch about their maids.  And this guy topped the rec list yesterday.

Remember it's not that these people think that war is wrong, it's that they think that the Iraq War is wrong.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:54:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... <snark> tag missing. I thought the "hundreds" of like-minded diaries was enough of a giveaway.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:46:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was being snarky too, of course I'm a little aggravated that the Cold War squad is so willing to deny the truth.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:47:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These are the people that are supposedly on the "Left" in the US.  Ugh....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mwuhahaha!

evil EU is in ur iPod
messing with ur ear destruction.

Too much fun.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 04:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I might be wrong, but I think the South Ossetia conflict could mark the beginning of the end for NATO. There at least two reasons why I think so:
  • notwithstanding the current posturing, the US will not be able to do much and the peace agreement will take place on Russian terms. This conflict will thus prove NATO's inability to fulfil its promises, and the centre and eastern European countries that joined recently, as well as the countries that want to join NATO (like Ukraine) will probably have second thoughts and understand that, paradoxically, EU membership provides a better protection than NATO membership.
  • there is a growing division between NATO members, especially between western European countries and former members of the Warsaw pact, but Turkey has also been very discreet about a conflict taking place in its direct neighbourhood and threatening its ambition as a major energy hub. Many NATO countries seem less and less willing to follow the US aggressive foreign policy and be instrumentalized by them. This divide is likely to widen - unless the US foreign policy shows a radical change (which, IMHO is unlikely) - and will probably lead to the end of NATO as it is today.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:11:48 AM EST
Depends on how this plays out in the US election.  This issue could well be the life saver that McCain has been waiting for.  However the bigger issue - which you raise - is whether Europe will play along with a repolarisation of the Cold war.  My guess is no.

Invite Russia to join the EU!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:21:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don"t think inviting Russia to join the EU is a good idea!

It would change the whole dimension of the EU project, as the biggest part of the EU would then be in Asia. This would change the European project into an Eurasian project, with a different scope.

Also, Russia would have to accept to abandon part of its sovereignty, which I don't think it is ready to do.

Anyway, Russia would first have to meet the Copenhagen criteria, which is unlikely to happen soon...

However I am all for a very strong cooperation treaty between the EU and Russia to favour the progressive opening of our countries to each other and the development of cultural and economic exchanges.

 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to agree with you, and the suggestion wasn't entirely serious.  However we need to send a very strong signal to the US that we are not going to go along with a repolarisation of the cold war.  Your suggestion of a friendship and cooperation treaty between the EU and Russia is probably the best option.

Both sides have a lot to gain from this.  Russia doesn't want to be isolated again as it was during the Cold War, and Western Europe needs Russia Oil and gas.  A mutual determination not to be divided and conquered would suit both parties.

We can't let the neo-cons (or the Russian hardliners?) win this one.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:03:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your suggestion of a friendship and cooperation treaty between the EU and Russia is probably the best option

That's what I proposed in my half-drunk speech in Nizhny-Novgorod...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:16:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a friendship and cooperation treaty would be purely token, and rather meaningless.

More formal trade links and - perhaps more usefully - sharing of technology and innovation could have more of an influence.

What makes Russia strong at the moment is that it has already fallen apart - and it didn't. The vassal states split off, but there was no internal East/West split. So today's Russia has a strong and coherent political identity which would swamp that of the EU.

Russia will calm down, at least for a generation or so, if the US stops being aggressive and confrontational. The problem isn't on this side of the Atlantic and can't be solved here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I meant was not a token treaty, but a comprehensive program of trade, industrial, scientific, cultural and educational links as well as exchange at local level (i.e. between regions and municipalities from both sides). Also I think holding regular political meetings at government and parliament level about common issues would help to improve relations a lot.  

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It would change the whole dimension of the EU project, as the biggest part of the EU would then be in Asia."

How about if only the European part of Russia joins? That would include most of the Russian people and economic activity. The Asian part could be kept on as a Russian satellite country, or maybe a province, perhaps called "Siberia."

by asdf on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about if only the European part of Russia joins?

Surprisingly, that's what some of the high-level Russians I met in Nizhny-Novgorod were claiming. They were sounding very contemptuous towards the "Asians" (including those belonging the the Russian Federation), saying "for centuries, we have protected Europe from these barbarians"...

IMHO, it not at all desirable and, anyway, it wouldn't be possible: I don't see how the secession could take place. And the European Union as it is doesn't foresee the possibility of such a thing as a "satellite state" (with what statute?). In fact, in case a secession would happen, your "Siberia" would most probably become a satellite of China...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 10:02:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the European Union as it is doesn't foresee the possibility of such a thing as a "satellite state" (with what statute?).

Greenland, anyone?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greenland is NOT an example we want to follow. Danish treatment of Greenland has been shameful at the best of times and outright colonialist at the worst.

And at any rate, Greenland is an integral part of Denmark in a constitutional sense. It's a Danish municipality that has been granted quasi-independence through various and sundry lex Greenlands.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:26:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, there are many 'oversees territories' that are not officially in the EU. There also many that are. But Siberia is a lot bigger (42 milion people).

Either way, by the time we get around to Russian entry we'll be in 2040, or something. It's all very hypothetical.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:31:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, no one really counts Moscovites among Russians - and there were probably many of them among your counterparts in Nizhny. Russian as spoken in Siberia is pretty close to the literature norm too - if there's a linguistic center of the country, it's there.

The people who would be happy to live within 17th century borders - mostly no Asia - are "professional Russkie", or fundamentalist, nationalist, and cave Orthodox types. I doubt very much EU would be happy with this country as a member.

by Sargon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:41:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those who told me that were probably from Moscow, but they didn't seem to be ultra-nationalists or fundamentalists. I was shocked by their discourse and, indeed, I wouldn't like Russia to join the EU on such basis.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
russia will buy the EU, they don't need to join it, unless we pull our finger out!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, no one really counts Moscovites among Russians - and there were probably many of them among your counterparts in Nizhny.

Also, they were drunk.

...

And don't even get me started on the "Moscow is not really Russia" and "Where is the true soul of Russia located?" debates.  uhg.

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:55:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MHO, it not at all desirable and, anyway, it wouldn't be possible: I don't see how the secession could take place. And the European Union as it is doesn't foresee the possibility of such a thing as a "satellite state" (with what statute?). In fact, in case a secession would happen, your "Siberia" would most probably become a satellite of China...

Oh, oh, oh. I have to tell this story.

I work as a teaching assistant at a state university.  

Last year I was in the class that I was a TA for and the professor goes off on a tangent about how sections of the Russian military are worried about Asiatic hordes invading Siberia.  

So a hand goes up on the left side of the room.  Blonde girl looking a bit confused.......

So she asks the professor, "Dr. ***, why is the Russian military so concerned about Chinese prostitutes?"

This was a running joke between us for the next month....


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, oh, oh. I have to tell  

you sexism is not funny, even if sexists are easily amused creating their own reality.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It could have as easily have been a male student, the joke is that the thought that they thought he said whores instead of hordes.  It has nothing to do with the sex of the student.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 04:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Blonde girl..."

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 04:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a description of the person in question.

If I told the same story, and replaced "blond girl" with "guy in a football jersey" would that be sexist as well?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 09:30:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
additional blind spots
like dominant arrogance, that are not the least bit attractive,
that prove the power of misused terms for lack of questioning...,
that further prove educational titles do not imply personal, human development,
that show insecurity within the ´intelligentia´ still precludes social progress through irrelevant arguments,
that explain why the ERA has not been ratified in the US,
.....  
Thanks to ´the DK left´ <snark>

Define for yourself, boy, guy, man....


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 07:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 07:40:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia would also have to figure out how to convince Poland and the Baltics to approve membership. In fact, any agreement requiring unanimous member state approval is DOA right now.
by MarekNYC on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 10:55:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkhozy's peace plan, ostensibly made in the name of the EU, is a Russian victory. It's what Russia and "Old Europe" want. "New Europe" simply had no say worth mentioning.

I agree with you, NATO is presently divided between "Old Europe" with a subtle Turkey and the fledging ex-Warsawites backed by a distant America. But the possibility of NATO falling apart in the near future appears highly improbable to me. It would be better to fall back on its original partners' experience and accept that Russia has drawn a line in the dirt.

America under Bush has over-extended itself. The NATO did not rush into the Iraq debacle. It was the "Coalition of the Willing," a muddle of satrapies along for the ride hoping to cash in on the way out. Like Georgia.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't mean NATO will fall apart in the near future. I rather see it becoming more and more irrelevant in the international relations.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO will fall apart the day after the Russians explain to Europe where their gas comes from...
by asdf on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not the way it's playing in Poland. The other way around in fact.
by MarekNYC on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 10:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I beg to differ!

No matter who really started this conflict, the reactions in Europe and especially Central Europe are crystal clear: close the ranks, the Russians are back. Except this time the line isn't drawn along the Oder but rather the Dnepr (which is a Bad Thing as said river goes straight through a rather divided nation).

This has been quite a clarion call to those who think that having the US as a pal is just as good as being a NATO member, and it has also beaten the idea that the EU will lift a finger to help anyone into the ground. This will reignite the NATO debate in Finland and Sweden. It might well lead to the rearmament of Sweden.

It will give NATO a raison d'etre once again, no matter how much certain people have been gloating over the weakening of the Alliance.

The winner of this conflict is not Russia which has gotten its image completely destroyed in return for some worthless parcels of land, it's not Georgia which has had its soldiers killed and its government humiliated, and it's certainly not the USA which has been shown in all its current feebleness and insane choice of allies.

The winner is spelled with four letters.

N. A. T. O.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:42:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO was set up to threaten Russia. After existing for a while as only a means of filling certain companies coffers with tax payers money for products of littel use we again find it being used to threaten Russia. The problem these days is that time has moved on. Europe including even the UK now relies on Russia to provide it with increasing amounts of energy. At some point surely Europe has to chose between NATO or Russia. You cant expect Russia to supply the energy if your nice little (non) defensive alliance is attacking every one of Russia's interests.

Slightly off topic. Apart from the somewhat questionable advantage of being able to buy nice looking fighter planes to impress all and sundry with why would any country want the dubious honor of supplying auxilliary troops to support the legions of empire America not to mention allowing us to occupy your country with our troops who remain pretty much above local laws?

by observer393 on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh come off it.

NATO was set up to stop the Soviet Union from enslaving the remaining free half of Europe. Or rather to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down."

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 07:49:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I'd like to add that:

  1. Russia was a reliable supplier of energy when it was called the Soviet Union too. They wanted to sell gas, we wanted to buy it.

  2. NATO is a defensive alliance. NATO has not been involved in the mad little Georgia adventure.

  3. NATO is not about supplying troops to mad American endevours. Many NATO-countries doesn't do that, and many non-NATO countries do. There just isn't any strong correlation.

  4. The European nations have a world class arms industry and have no need to rely on American arms imports. Of course we still buy their stuff when it is better, and there's no secret that the Americans nudged certain new NATO members against US companies when they began replacing obsolete Soviet arms.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 07:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
seems to have more troops occupying other people's countries than any other allaince we can mention. Then again guess someone had to drink the coolaid. I could question a few of the other assumptions but there isnt really much point if you view an alliance that occupies others countries as defensive.
by observer393 on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 05:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO, as far as I am aware off, is not occupying any other nation. There are troops from several NATO nations in Afghanistan under a UN mandate, for example German troops. There are also troops from non-NATO nations, like Sweden.

If you look at Iraq which is indeed under occupation there are troops there from NATO nations, like the UK, the US and Poland (at least there used to be Poles, I'm not sure if they're still there). But there are also major NATO nations, like Germany who haven't deployed troops there while there are troops there from non-NATO nations. Remember the third(!) largest contingent was from the non-NATO nation of Georgia.  

So it's really hard to find a correlation between NATO membership and deployment of troops in foreign nations. NATO nations and non-NATO nations alike do it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 10:46:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The real war is the information war, and it has been won by the Western (TM) side, clean and proper.

Just about everyone I talk to has swallowed the official line, hook and sinker : the Russians are back with their brutal ways, etc.

Only after a lenghty exchange, complete with chronology and historical background, will some people admit that things are slightly more complicated than what is served on the MSM. But by and large, just about everyone has bought into the easy Cold War Is Back rhetoric.

So, Russia has lost the information war, and the consequences will be felt, in terms of the kind of posturing our politicians will feel compelled to adopt.

Whether Russia could have averted this and how, I don't know.

by balbuz on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:35:25 AM EST
The western media distortion of the facts is a sign of western weakness rather than strength. Putin doesn't have to play by western MSM rules - which in fact make a coherent Western response impossible.  Indeed this is one defeat that Western MSM almost created of their own accord - by convincing Mikheil Saakashvili that he could re-tale S. Ossetia with Western support.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:41:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you think that the information war/game is over already? Did people stop criticizing the Iraq war once Bush declared mission accomplished?

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Europe, the view before and after the Iraq invasion hasn't much moved from "very negative".

But I sure hope you may turn out to be right in the end, people starting being more picky with the information they use, and discerning more complicated patterns in the present situation...

by balbuz on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 08:16:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the information war matters, except in the sense that it might improve McCain's chances.

This kind of event is a bigger, better dog whistle for the low information types.

Up in the sunnier parts of the tree the policy view was already set, and I don't think anything much has changed here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think I was necessarily concluding anything about the future, other than pointing out that there's no time limit on forming public opinion. There's no rule that says 24 hours after the end of open hostilities, whichever opinion has the most number of adherents has won.

Public debates exist for as long as people are willing to raise an issue by publishing pieces about the topic. So the real question would be have 99% of bloggers, editorialists and talking heads on radio and TV grown tired of the issue? As long as they keep arguing about whether Russia was right or wrong there is no winner and the issue isn't settled. It's a matter of attrition, not logic.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The CNN Effect: Georgia Schools Russia in Information Warfare
By Yasha Levine

The Georgians didn't just take this message to heart, they took whole sections out of DoD's handbook on Information Operations and followed them to the letter. Even the most cursory look at this conflict shows that Georgia's attack was an almost perfect textbook example of how modern warfare should be fought on the information front. The Georgians showed an amazing grasp of Info Ops concepts, pulling off counterpropaganda, launching disinformation campaigns and manipulating media perceptions as if they did this type of thing every day.

Oh, the Russians tried to do their part, too. But it still isn't clear if they didn't give a shit about what the world thought or just failed miserably. Either way, it was bad news for the Kremlin. Despite a military victory, they are going to have a heard time getting the world to go along with their plans for post-war Georgia. All because they failed to win over the hearts and minds of the world community. The Georgians knew the importance of a well-defined information war strategy. That's because Georgia has had ample training by the masters of this art: America and Israel. Both have provided military strategy assistance, not to mention weapons training. The Americans were just in Georgia giving them a month-long military refresher course called "Immediate Response 2008" (tab picked up by U.S. taxpayers). Israeli advisers were spotted in Georgia during the first few days of the war and had been training the country for years. In fact, Georgia's Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli himself.

So how did things go so wrong for Russia and so right for Georgia? Borrowing a few talking points from a document on Military Information Operations prepared by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, I'm going to try to evaluate their performance. What did they do wrong? How can they improve?

For anyone who thinks I'm incapable of/unwilling to say anything negative about Russia or the people running that country, let me tell you, I could not agree more with this.  Horrible PR has been Russia's number one problem impacting it's foreign relations and place in the world community for the last 8 years.  I think they just don't get it.  They overestimate the power of local journalists and underestimate the power of of those in the rest of the world.  It is incredibly myopic and a little schizophrenic.  It's also eerily sane, but therein lies the problem: they world is not sane.  It's also amazingly ignorant.  Russia seems to be blissfully unaware of this.  I mean, if you can recognize the need to have Vitaly Churkin (if we could just clone that man!...) giving an interview on Charlie Rose in the middle of the night when there is not a war, you should recognize the need to have Vitaly Churkin on Prime Time US national broadcasts when there is a war!  They also weren't letting journalists into S. Ossetia.  They had little choice but to report from Georgia, regardless their agenda.  Brilliant...

Normally, I get the "go tell it to someone who actually cares" attitude of the Russian leadership toward global popular opinion.  However, now that war seems to be on the table, having the most psychotic, ignorant and generally deranged country, lead by people who make up reasons to invade countries and start wars, like some kinda national past-time, hate loathe and despise you and your nation just seems, I don't know, UNHELPFUL.  


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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:09:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's far from clear to me what global public opinion is. That Russia lost the information war in the US and their various clients around the world is unsurprising, and I would guess that it has less to do with Russian propaganda skills than the way in which Western(TM) press operates.

But the US and assorted clients are not the world. What does China say? India? Mercosur? Asean? Iran? Africa?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's far from clear to me what global public opinion is_

Confused, indifferent?

by MarekNYC on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:38:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there such a thing?

We have trouble identifying a European public sphere, which means a European public opinion might not exist, but globally?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:46:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to clarify, when I say "global popular opinion" I'm not referring to one opinion, which is so absurd it's funny anyone would even imagine I meant that.  I am referring to the attitudes of those throughout the world, not just limited to those in Russia.  Maybe it's an "American English" thing?  Anyway, the specific number of differing opinions of Russia and what they are exactly was not my point.  My point was, they exist, and ignoring them might not be such a hot idea.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Notice too that any statement by 3rd party states condemning the conflict is taken as a statement condemning the Russians by the American newsmedia.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:57:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's far from clear to me what global public opinion is. That Russia lost the information war in the US and their various clients around the world is unsurprising, and I would guess that it has less to do with Russian propaganda skills than the way in which Western(TM) press operates.

That sentence makes absolutely no sense to me because in the case of international affairs their skills are only as good as they are effective vis-à-vis the way in which Western(TM) press operates.  These do not exists in respective vacuums when we're speaking of foreign relations (domestic affairs is of course a different matter, but we're talking about foreign relations here.)  It would be the equivalent of saying "it has less to do with Russian military defense skills than the way in which NATO operates."  In a conflict between the two, the effectiveness of one is measured by the ineffectiveness of the other.

But the US and assorted clients are not the world. What does China say? India? Mercosur? Asean? Iran? Africa?

Very good question.  But as much as I would love for Mercosur media to strongly influence the attitudes of Americans toward Russia, I don't think they do.  It's not fair, but it is true.  Let me be clear I could not agree more with the following

If I wanted to hear guidance and opinion on the Russia-Georgia debacle, I'd fish a mongrel cat out of the trash-bin and listen to its theories before I'd listen to these two. What does the President of the Republic of Burundi think about this situation? His opinion ought to matter more. -Natalia Antonova

As to "But the US and assorted clients are not the world," I've certainly never claimed it is (and am frankly peeved about how everyone has taken my comment and turned it on its head, taken it to imply things no rational person would ever think).  Russia hasn't illustrated a concern for the opinions of those in most countries, but it is the US and assorted clients which it's at odds with at the moment, so that's why we're talking about them.  If Georgia were armed by and an ally of India, we'd be talking about India's opinion of Russia.

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:34:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That sentence makes absolutely no sense to me because in the case of international affairs their skills are only as good as they are effective vis-à-vis the way in which Western(TM) press operates.

Assuming that Russia is playing to the Western(TM) crowd. Which is not at all clear. Frankly I don't know whose crowd the Russians are playing to other than their own.

Anyway, sorry if I misconstrued your comment.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming that Russia is playing to the Western(TM) crowd. Which is not at all clear. Frankly I don't know whose crowd the Russians are playing to other than their own.

That was PRECISELY the point of my original comment.  

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh. Sorry. My mistake.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's true of Russia (concerned with banging home realpolitik points and not at all with mass communications other than perhaps domestic), but I'm intrigued by Yasha Levine's assertion that Georgia has played a PR blinder.

Seen from here (though it's true it's impossible to define a "European" opinion, and views differ depending on where in Europe you are), I don't get the impression Georgia succeeded in fully persuading people of the rightness of its cause and its victim status. When you see the generally Atlanticist Spiegel print this from its correspondent in Tbilisi:

Fragile Cease-fire : Russian Army Clears Out Georgian Army Bases - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Liars don't tend to be believed. That is why news agencies and foreign correspondents reacted calmly to the announcement from the Georgian National Security Council on Wednesday morning that 50 Russian tanks had just rolled into the Georgian town of Gori.

Unfortunately, Gerorgia's security council has lost its credibility. Georgia has made official announcements before about attacks that didn't happen -- as have the Russians.

outright calling the Georgians liars, it seems clear the communications plan hasn't worked too well for Saakashvili. This is not isolated, there's been a certain breeze of scepticism blowing through a significant part of the European media (that I've seen) regarding Georgia's claims.

However, it seems the rolling fire of unverifiable-for-the-moment claims went over more successfully in the American media. Better orchestrated for those media? Planned in advance for them? The Nation piece about Randy Scheuneman, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government, ending his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser (cited in Frank's diary here), is intriguing. Even if this is not a Wag The Dog play intended to sharpen the contours of the New Cold War and bring McCain on, "Georgian" PR certainly seems to have been conceived of with the American media in mind. Or is reality more nuanced?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I was wrong.  Maybe Russia's winning the PR war.  I mean, just look at the headlines!

Russia Not Being Imperialistic!

Putin Is Not Hitler

Putin for US president - more than ever

A CZAR IS BORN: BAD VLAD WINS WAR, DUPES WEST & PROVES HE'S GENIUS

LOL.  Sorry.  How can I resist?

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how you can resist or not resist, but it's no answer to my post.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you want an answer?  I thought you were being rhetorical with your questions about Georgia's pr strategy.  I don't have the answers to that, or any insight into European (non British) journalism, either.  Sorry.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have no insight into what Yasha Levine, whom you quoted, says? No insight into American media treatment of Georgia's PR?

Sorry I wasted your time.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is this attitude coming from?  If you're looking for a fight look elsewhere.  I've not said anything to deserve this, "Sorry I wasted your time."  You mentioned Der Spiegel and were asking about the Georgian media was planned in advance for a US audience.  They're good questions even I don't have the answers.  

As to the American media treatment of Georgia's PR, there has not been much if any - everything from Georgia was taken as fact.  

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:11:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The kind of discussion I was hoping for turns out to have taken place on Martin's thread.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 10:06:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now the United States has ended up in a situation in the Caucasus where the Georgian tail is wagging the NATO dog.  

Very nice.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 10:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to Cryptogon, who highlighted this analysis from the Guardian.

They are not all following the neo-con line.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lol, you saw it first in this very thread (and you gave me a 4 for it!) :-)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 04:16:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 07:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
usually meas osmething along the lines of what CNN, BBC etc are peddling in Engklish language news which is highyly influential in the circles or world leaders etc and is also often a sourse used by all kinds of local stations. So saying the Georgians won the information war is statuing the obvious. Western corporate media was never ever going to go against the west. Georgia didnt have to do anything. They even get away with a dose of ethnic cleansing. Russia couldnt have won the "disinformation" war.

There is another side apart from the propoganda operations of western media. Take time out to sit down and chat with ordinary people and guage things for yourself. I persoanlly live, work and travel SE Asia. The perspective I get is that Putin has always been admired as a leader who sticks up for his own countries intersts and doesnt bend over for the USA. Even now many out here see the Georgia conflict very different from how the western media play it. Then again when you have repeatedly seen how the western media lie about things you know better about you become a bit more discerning of what you are presented with than the average westerner or at Least Amrerican who is far more likely to buy into the crap peddled by the free media. The intense unpopularity of America even in SE Asia (it is worse in many other places) should also not be underestimated in forming a global opinion that is not the one that western media, PR companies, analysts, pollsters and other such propoganda outlets will have you believe is actually reality.
In this day and age the propoganda war is of such importance that you really dont know who you can trust in terms or sources.
In short what is described as global opinion is just another creation of a propoganda machine. True global opinion is not something that is ever reallyu measured and is somethign I would hazard a guess that nobody in Washington would actually want anyone knowing.

by observer393 on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:14:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.  The Russians should adopt the American practice of "imbed" reporters to write up the action from the Army's point of view.  

However:  The "Western" media always will slag Russia no matter what Russia does, when it quits co-operating with neo-con policy goals.  And lying outrageously is no problem, as we have again seen.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:27:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about a "cup is half filled" view?  This time it's the US which will go bust economically.  End of the North American empire; South America will have the freedom to get its act together without US military interference.  And we finally get to invade CANADA!  Those dirty fuckers with their hockey pucks!  

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:09:52 AM EST
Forget the hockey sticks, they're invading us with cyanide!

If Saleman Abdirahman Dirie intended to do harm with the sodium cyanide found in his Denver hotel room, he could have done a lot of it. Firefighters said Wednesday that Dirie, whose body was found Monday, had a pound of the substance in Room 408 at the Burnsley All Suite Hotel in Capitol Hill, and an expert said that if it were mixed with acid, that would be plenty enough to function as a weapon.

Denver police spokesman John White said Dirie's death appears to be an isolated incident and is not related to the upcoming Democratic convention. [yeah, sure]

The 29-year-old was a Canadian citizen from Ottawa who arrived there as a Somali refugee in the 1990s, The Ottawa Sun reported Wednesday. Dirie left town three weeks ago in a rental car to drive relatives to Toronto. A week or so ago, he told family members he was going on to Denver for a vacation, the paper reported. Family members did not know whether he drove or flew, but Dirie did not have a passport, which is a requirement to fly internationally from Canada to the United States.

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_10194730

by asdf on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting.  Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a VERY weak acid; mix the sodium cyanide with a slightly stronger available acid, say acetic acid (read: vinegar) and you got yourself some poison gas.  Should I do a calculation for volume at STP?  Love this shit.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it's much ado about nothing, but Denverites like to feel important and the Burnsley certainly has never seen so much ´action´ in its long life.  (;

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 04:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Project for the New American Century Decade Amusing Few Years of Mayhem might not approve.

Then again you said Canada. So - yeah.

Also, some of them speak French.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 09:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was probably getting real hard to justify F-22 replacement, new subs, etc.  For the big time defense bucks, you need a big time enemy.
by tjbuff (timhess@adelphia.net) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:14:44 AM EST
What did you say there's a new Cold War?  Whoa, I have this creepy feeling I've just been talking to myself for the past 2-3 years...

 And if that's the case, I can't imagine how people like Stephen Cohen feel.  There must be a word to describe that level of frustration.  

We're going to need a support group.

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:16:32 AM EST
Yes, we saw it coming but now the process seems complete.

We should all be happy at how smart we are, no?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 11:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We should all be happy at how smart we are, no?

Quite the contrary.  We should all be unhappy at how impotent & ineffective we are.  

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

by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili key paid adviser and friend isEuropean Tribune - Wikipedia rules the waves or is it a neo-con conspiracy?
Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government, ending his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser

Cui bono from the Georgian invasion of S. Ossetia?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:38:00 PM EST
Nice article in the Times today:

Vladimir Putin's mastery checkmates the West

From the day that the Russian tank brigade raced through the tunnel into South Ossetia, Russia has not made one wrong move. Mr Bush's remarks yesterday notwithstanding, In five days it turned an overreaching blunder by a Western-backed opponent into a devastating exposure of Western impotence, dithering and double standards on respecting national sovereignty (viz Iraq).

The attack was short, sharp and deadly - enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic, their rout captured by global television. The destruction was enough to hurt, but not so much that the world would be roused in fury. The timing of the ceasefire was precise: just hours before President Sarkozy could voice Western anger. Moscow made clear that it retained the initiative. And despite sporadic breaches - on both sides - Russia has blunted Georgian charges that this is a war of annihilation.

Moscow can also counter Georgian PR, the last weapon left to Tbilisi. Human rights? Look at what Georgia has done in South Ossetia (and also in Abkhazia). National sovereignty? Look at the detachment of Kosovo from Serbia. False pretexts? Look at Ronald Reagan's invasion of Grenada to "rescue" US medical students. Western outrage? Look at the confused cacophony.

There are lessons everywhere. To the former Soviet republics - remember your geography. To Nato - do you still want to incorporate Caucasian vendettas into your alliance? To Tbilisi - do you want to keep a President who brought this on you? To Washington - does Russia's voice still count for nothing? Like it or not, it counts for a lot.




"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:45:54 PM EST
See my signature line!

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 12:52:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
:)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most Soviet leaders during the cold war were not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Today it is US leadership that is functionally retarded - having the power to do things (the "deciders") is all the satisfaction they want.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 04:02:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly, I see no one in "Da West" capable of going toe to toe with Putin and not being eaten for lunch. Bush, McCain, Sarko? Gimme a break! McCain's envoys, Lieberman and Graham are lucky to not wind up on Putin's barbeque.
The only possibility I see is Obama but that's just a wild guess.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:22:05 PM EST
I like Obama more than most people here, but he's been really lame on this. My hopes for a sane Russia policy rest with zee Germans.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with you this particular policy. I was speaking generally of his negotiating and diplomatic skills.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But worse, his policy advisers are cold-warriors from way back.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 10:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Randy Scheunemann, Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, is a friend of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and was for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government, ending his official lobbying connection only last March, months after he starting to work for McCain.   He also worked on McCain's 2000 presidential campaign after which he headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the US Iraq invasion.
In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia's membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his hard-line views toward Russia's Vladimir Putin

Now, at a time when McCain's Presidential election campaign is floundering,  Saakashvili launches an attack on South Ossetia killing hundreds if not thousands of civilians and drawing the inevitable Russian military action in response.  McCain has now re-cast his entire campaign around "Russian Aggression" and the need to return to Cold War vigilance and values. - drawing attention to Obama's lack of experience and grounding in those values in the process.

It is not necessary to be a conspiracy theorist to ask the question: Cui Bono from the invasion of South Ossetia and the many who died?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 01:49:39 PM EST
If the Russians were in Atlanta, Georgia this might be a crisis  to some Americans. Sure, this is a crisis for politicians and newspapers; that's their jobs and if there were no crises why would we need them. I am not in America now but I would guess that that other Georgia, the one in Europe is not nearly as much a crisis to most Americans as is $4 gasoline, and that this little outburst will have no effect on the American election which is almost three months from now.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 02:59:54 PM EST
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I'd like to think this is true.  However Obama's poll numbers have already taken a down turn to 1 and 3% leads in Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls.  Georgia sure isn't going to help him.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:46:09 PM EST
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I think the national poll numbers have been steady for the month of August. Obama's been on average 3 points ahead on the Gallup and one or two points ahead on Rasmussen. But I know you realize that national poll numbers mean nothing. We really need to study the the state by state leads. Kos has a front page piece today on the estimated electoral vote situation.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:55:05 PM EST
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The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:30:17 PM EST
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Glad to you you share in my frustration Frank. :)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:33:30 PM EST
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A frustration shared is a frustration halved....

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 06:52:12 PM EST
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It is not necessary to be a conspiracy theorist to ask the question:

whew, that's ok then...i was getting a mite concerned there!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:28:30 PM EST
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