Monday, August 11, 2008

The Russian Aggression

So now that the Soviet Union is again rearing it's ugly head, what are we going to do about it?

Russia is invading Georgia, it's former province, with the obvious intent to subjugate it. This is not without provocation, as Georgia struck first into Russian territory, invading South Ossetia, a pro-Russian province that threw off Georgian rule in the 1990s.

Due to this violent outbreak, Russian Prime Minister Putin left the Olympics immediately to return to his country. And although war has broken out between Russian and Georgia (a USA ally), President Bush continues to cavort about the Olympics, playing volleyball and posing for photo ops.

I grant you that this war is not major, and initially it didn't directly involve the USA. It does now, however, since the USA military has ferried out 2,000 Georgian troops from Iraq to deliver them to a war torn Georgia.

Putin is complaining, and I cannot entirely disagree with him, even though everyone knows that 2,000 troops are a drop in the bucket compared to the tidal wave of troops that Russia can utilize.

The UK and the European Union are also getting involved, calling Russia's putsch deplorable.

The same people that are saying Russia is overreacting and using too much force are the people who feel that Israel is justified in using the same force against its Muslim aggressors.

As much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Russia in this. If Mexico invaded Texas with the intent to win it back after all these years, would the USA stand idly by in negotiations or would we hit them with as strong a show of force as we possibly could?

Never the less, such Russian strong-arm tactics should alarm the rest of the world. We are seeing a rebirth of a very aggressive militaristic state, and I suspect that this is merely the beginning of the second Cold War.

We also need to realize that oil is fueling Russia's militaristic growth, just as it is fueling the growth of our other enemies. The only way to stop this monster is to starve it in its cradle. It's time for us to strive toward independency, and start drilling for oil here. Even if we begin the process now, we will still have 10 years of struggle and compromise. It's best to start the clock ticking now, rather than prolonging that agony.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It's a complicated one, certainly Georgia started this mess and gave Russia a great excuse to flex it's muscle but the problem is this part of Europe is full of small mini-states that are officially in one country but have large Russian populations and are all watching intently to see what happens here.

What you could see is a Russian land grab by 'defending' their citizen's interests.

Worrying business.

Ed Abbey said...

Seeing that Georgia has very little value to us, I say lets just keep our noses out of this one.

I never understood how tapping oil in ANWR or offshore is going to get us to "energy independence". If anything, it is just going to cause us to relax for another ten or 20 years until we end up back in the same place except this time without any reserve to bail us out. I think we would be stupid to tap our reserves offshore and ANWR when others still have cheap oil for us to buy and yes we still have some of the cheapest gas in the world. By not tapping the oil, we focus on true energy independence away from oil and if we can't get there before the oil become devestatingly expensive, then we start talking about tapping.

My $0.02 worth.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ed on pretty much every point. The US does not have the money or resources to do anything with Georgia. Iraq and Afghanistan are exhausting our resources enough.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

This isn't about the US getting involved, their is no chance of that, it is more of the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Georgia.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ange, Daniel is correct - the US won't get directly involved in this. It's every Georgian for him/herself. And he's right about it being a humanitarian crisis also, but there's nothing that can prevent that. The Russians argue that the Georgians brought it on themselves. The pictures of their wounded in hospitals makes you realize what a third world country it is, though...

Ed, You're right about the involvement w/ the Russia-Georgia war. But drilling our own territory will help. Let's face it, we'll HAVE to find alternatives because we can't wait for 10 years. So alternatives will happen, and I doubt we'll see as much oil/gas usage in 10 years as we do now.

However, we definately want to be assured of SOME access to such fuel. After all, it's highly important for us to rely upon our own resources, as we can't trust anyone else in the world to look out after our best interests.

Daniel, good analysis and comments. Thanks.

Ed Abbey said...

Remember the Chinese proverb that said, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime." I think by tapping our oil reserves now, we are giving the American people and industry a fish instead of teaching us how to fish. It's hard to believe change (i.e. becoming energy independent) will happen with cheap gas (due to additional drilling) when we've had almost a century of cheap gas and we are more reliant on it today than we've ever been. Change needs incentive and in this case, it is probably going to be an economic incentive before we truly achieve energy independence.

Excellent subtopic to the main gist of your post Saur.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, You're right about it being a true subtopic. ;o) And I understand your point of view entirely. Americans are often too lazy to do anything that requires foresight.

For example, 9/11 could've been prevented easily enough: Everyone who was educated or well-read knew it was coming. After all, planes were frequently hijacked, there was no airport security, and the World Trade Center had been routinely targeted (who said terrorists were original?)

But each adminstration kept putting off prevention (which is unpleasant, causes inconveniences and discomfort) and kept hoping that the following administration would have to deal with it. This was true with all administrations from George Bush Sr. onward (and perhaps was even true as far back as the 70s during the Carter administration and in the 80s during the Reagan years).

Anyway, my point is that there's no doubt that Americans don't like sacrifice and aren't easily persuaded to plan for their future. That's why savings accounts are virtually unheard of.

However, we're not likely to change that mindset at this point. All this will do is make it agonizing, as we continue to pay higher prices at the fuel pump. Fuel use will decline, but no one will feel any incentives to use or discover alternatives unless they're pushed to do so. And frankly the increasing prices at the pump aren't inspirational enough, IMHO.

So, if we're to be mature adults and look ahead (for those who can't or don't), then we must move forward with or without a crisis. But causing intentional pain with the hope that it will create alternatives is not going to work. The American people don't think that way (if they think at all) and meantime we are stuck with high prices and unnecessary suffering.

The real answer is to do both, and make it stick.

exMI said...

Your Texas analogy is totally off base. South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) are not part of Russia and are legally recognized by the international community and by international law as part of Georgia. Parts that have been in armed rebellion for several years. South Ossetia, with Russian support) has been staging attacks on Georgia forces (and Georgia has been retaliating) for quite some time as a build up to this.
I suspect the Georgians hoped to seize South Ossetia in their initial strike and that Russia would accept it (with serious grumbling and some minor strikes) as a fait accompli. They obviously misjudged. The big question now is will the Russians actually stop or will they conquer all of Georgia. And DFG is right (there's something I don't say often :)) This has major implications for states such as Estonia, and to a lesser extent Latvia and Lithuania which have large Russian populations. they have to be very nervous right now. I have further analysis at my site if you care to read it.

Deb said...

And the timing of it all is so interesting....

Saur♥Kraut said...

Exmi, Thank you! I'll go over and check that out.

Deb, very true!

Bryan said...

This is purely a normal reaction to American Imperialism on the part of Russia. The neocons see this Georgian crisis as a threat to their future plans of American hegemony on the Eurasian Continent, and are deliberately escalating tensions there in the hope that Russia will eventually be reduced to a semi-colonial state of western powers.

What incredible hypocrisy on the part of the Bush Administration and the rest of the neocon establishment! Where was the outcry when Georgian forces last Thursday night attacked South Ossetia, indiscriminately targeting apartment blocs in the capital of Tskhinvali with tank cannon and mortars. It is estimated that the Georgian invaders killed 2,000 civilians, a bloodletting that accounts for the vast bulk of civilian deaths to date.

I'm no fan of Putin, or any other dictator for that matter. But our corrupt State Department and U.S foreign policy are dangerously and unnecessarily destabilizing our world, and I am concerned that this administration is dragging us into the next world war.

For those who would like proof of America's imperialistic agenda, research the PNAC documents (Product for the New American Century) and you will see quite clearly--and in their own words--that the agenda of the neocons is nothing more than total global domination.

I also find it quite disturbing that one of the signatories of the PNAC documents was William Benet, a self-professing Christian who has written some best-selling books with some wonderful Christian themes. I believe he was also the Secretary of Education under Reagan, if I'm not mistaken.

So, in effect, we have Benet who claims to be a born-again Christian, giving his blessings to a One World Government headed up by the United States.

Hmm. Who needs fiction when real life political and religious intrigues are far more intresting?

I don't know what anyone else's Bible says, but mine says that "we would know them by their fruits".

Ed Abbey said...

Saur - I accidently discovered this speech this weekend and immediately thought of this conversation we had here in your comments section. It shows that we've been there done that and still our dependence on foreign oil continued. This speech is as relevant today as it was when it was made 30 years ago. Check it out when you get some time.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, so very true. Thanks for sharing.

Bryan, amen, brother! ;o)