The Fighting in Georgia

I’ve just spent a while reading the media reports on the fighting occurring between Georgia and Russia and the disputed nature of the facts make it hard to come to a comfortable conclusion. There are claims and counter-claims between the two nations over the disputed territory called South Ossetia that is the focus of the military activity and also that of Abkhazia on the western border of Georgia. It seems undisputed that Russian ground forces are moving into South Ossetia in significant numbers and that Russian air forces have attacked targets in Georgia itself.

My conclusion is that we are watching the execution of a strategy that Russia has implemented in order to increase its power in the region and against the West, including both Europe and the U.S. The Georgians haven’t been without blame in their assertion of sovereignty over the disputed regions and the fact that most in those regions desire to associate with Russia rather than Georgia only makes the water murkier. Despite that, based on what I understand so far, Russia bears the greater fault.

Unfortunately, unless diplomatic pressure can bring to bear some heretofore undiscovered power, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of interrupting Russia’s plan. The possibility that Georgia may cease to exist as an independent nation seems real, although Russia may stop short of that for now. With the war in Iraq and Afghanistan still in doubt it’s doubtful that America will commit any troops (the question of whether we should is a separate one). The general inability and unwillingness of Europe to commit to any direct military intervention means that there is no effective check on Russia’s desire to establish vassal nations on its border and further strengthen its grip on the energy resources flowing into Europe.

NY Times Map of Georgia

NY Times Map of Georgia

Here’s what I read:

Georgia and Russia Nearing All-Out War

Editorial in the Guardian: Prisoner of the Caucasus

How Georgia fell into its enemies’ trap

Russia’s Invasion of South Ossetia: The Kosovo Precedent In Play?

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