28 August 2008
“In the operation the West conducted on Georgian soil against Russia – South Ossetians were the victims or hostages of it – we can see a rehearsal for an attack on Iran. There is a great deal of “new features” that today are being fine tuned in the theater of military operations.
“…[T]he likelihood of a war against Iran was growing with each passing day, “As a result, the situation in the region will become destabilized…causing chaos and instability” was becoming Washington’s official policy line. — ‘Russian analyst points to link between Georgian attack and Iran’.
All the talk by the major Western powers of a return to the days of the Cold War must surely be a wake up call to us all as to what is in reality the ultimate expression of a resurgent and I might add, desperate, imperialism, the recreation of its historical enemy for the better part of the 20th century, Russia, but is Russia the object of desire here? I think not, at least not directly, Georgia is yet another piece on the chessboard, the question is, do the Russians want to play and if they do, by whose rules?
War has been for the better part of five centuries the ‘solution’ to capitalism’s woes, indeed wars of aggression over resources and competitors is the norm for the major powers of the West. But for a brief period, less than fifty years following the end of WWII, the existence of a nuclear-armed Soviet Union curbed the inevitable drive toward a major conflagration over markets and the imperative for the accumulation of capital, without which capitalism is a dead duck.
So with the former Soviet Union out of the way all the signs pointed to a 21st century dominated by the leading imperialist power, the US; after all, where is the opposition?
But reality has a way upsetting the plans of even the most powerful nation on the planet. I am reminded (again) of a major article that appeared in the Economist following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 which amazingly lamented the passing of the Soviet Union, arguing quite forcefully that without an enemy to drive the economies of the West things could only go from bad to worse and how right they were in spite of the invention of the ‘war on terror’ as a cheap replacement for the war on communism (though an ‘enemy’ which is essentially invisible does have advantages over one which can give as good as it gets).
It’s obvious that the Georgian provocation instigated by the US, is part of a larger and even more ominous scheme of destabilization, but the issue here is more complex than ‘grand schemes of world domination’ because I contend that the real world of the collapsing capitalist economies is now dictating events (which makes the situation even more dangerous for all of us).
First of all, Russia is in the way of the US move Eastward, which is where Georgia plays a vital role, hence the need to get Georgia into NATO. However, as with many of the US’s previous ‘allies’, Saakashvili has proved to be totally unreliable (if not mentally unbalanced), and if as seems more than likely, the US ‘advised’ him to invade Ossetia, it has proved to be yet another strategic blunder, or did the US assume that the Russians would roll over and play dead?
Either way, under the circumstances the ‘Cold War’ card was all that was left to the West, but bluffing is all well and good when playing poker but not when the game is chess.
But the Western ‘allies’ are in a bit of a bind, especially the EU members who are divided over what action, if any, to take, especially France and Germany whose economic ties to Russia are at risk. The UK predictably, has been banging the war drums, under the guise of defending ‘new democracies’:
“There was a strong element of what Miliband does best: preaching democracy to new democracies – which are more than converted to the principle – while asking for little in return for his praise that would be awkward for them to give.” — ‘David Miliband at last delivers the right words in the right haircut’, The Times, August 27, 2008.
And in another Times piece, we read:
“David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, also flew to Ukraine to assemble the “widest possible coalition against Russian aggression” — ‘Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation’, The Times, August 28, 2008.
But in actuality, short of going to war, what can the US and its allies actually do? The situation is perhaps revealed by the following quote:
“A former British ambassador to Tbilisi said that Nato might have to send troops to the region. Donald McLaren, who was Ambassador to Georgia from 2004 to July last year and is now retired, told the Today programme on [BBC] Radio 4: “I think we shouldn’t be too complacent or too scared in a situation like this.”
“He suggested that a peacekeeping force made up of troops from the US, Britain, France, Germany and Russia should be sent to Georgia to replace the Russian units. If Moscow rejected such a proposal, he said, Nato had only two choices: “To give up and surrender and say to the Russians, ‘It’s your backyard, you’ve won’, or to put men on the ground to protect Georgia’s sovereignty and the east-west oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian and Central Asia.” [ibid]
The problem for the West is that has no mandate to send troops, so short of an illegal invasion there’s very little it can do:
“Nato diplomatic sources said that no one within the alliance was speaking about sending troops. “We have no mandate to act in the Caucasus” [ibid]
A mini 9/11 in a far-off land?
There’s also no doubt that the inflammatory rhetoric coming out of Washington is directly connected to the November presidential elections and what better way of boosting McCain’s chances of winning than by invoking the ‘Russian menace’ given the almost total ignorance the US public has over what really happened on August 7 and after. And this allegation is now borne out by prime minister Putin’s latest statement.
“Mr Putin told CNN US citizens were “in the area” during the conflict over South Ossetia and were “taking direct orders from their leaders”.
“He said his defence officials had told him the provocation was to benefit one of the US presidential candidates.
“The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of US president.” — ‘Putin blames US for Georgia role’, BBC Website, 28 August, 2008
And Putin’s allegations are not without substance. Only days before Georgia attacked Southern Ossetia individuals from the Republican Party were in Georgia.
“And so it was that a team from the vice president’s office, U.S. security officials and others were in Georgia several days before the war began.” — ‘Why was Cheney’s Guy in Georgia Before the War?’ By James Gerstenzang.
And given that the Georgian armed forces have been armed by the US and Israel, drawing such conclusions is not surprising.
Clearly though, provoking the Russians into taking military actions was not unexpected, even the desired outcome, as it provided the US and its capos, with the perfect propaganda weapon, one which was promoted in a very specific way from the onset of the war, namely it was Russian, not Georgian aggression that was the cause. Georgia has been consistently presented as the ‘David’, conveniently ignoring the fact that it is directly (and openly) a US/Israeli client state.
As I have indicated elsewhere, from the hour Georgia launched its blitzkreig on the capital, the Western media and the states downplayed or ignored the Georgian attack and focused instead on Russsian ‘aggression’, a theme which they have maintained to this day.
Then there is the ceasefire document drawn up by Sarkozy of France, which when the US read it objected quite strongly to some of its provisions, especially the issue of Russian troop withdrawal.
“U.S. Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the Russians ‘without a doubt have failed to live up to their obligations under the ceasefire agreement.’
“An immediate concern expressed by all sides involved buffer zones outside of two Georgian breakaway provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia insists it has the right to create these zones under the cease-fire deal, but Wood said, ‘Establishing check-points and buffer zones are definitely not part of the agreement.’
“Wood is of course wrong. Point 5 of the signed ceasefire agreement says:
“Russian forces must go back to positions they held prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Pending an international peace monitoring mechanism, Russian peacekeepers will take additional security measures.” — See also ‘The Mysterious ‘Sarkozy Letter’’ for a complete rundown on the events leading up to the ceasefire and after it had been signed and implemented on August 17.
The devil, as far as the US was concerned lay in the phrase “Russian peacekeepers will take additional security measures”, which can mean anything you want it to and under the circumstances, with the US promising to re-arm Georgia, the Russians would be fools not to take whatever “additional security measures” they felt were needed. And in any case, what right do the US or the EU have to dictate to the Russians how they should respond to an unprovoked attack on its citizens?
Wood, by the way is one of the State Department officials who was in Georgia only days before Georgia invaded.
But it is perhaps Point Six of the Ceasefire Agreement that the West has done its best to destroy:
‘Launch of international discussions on security and stability arrangements for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.’
Instead the West, led by the US and the UK have inflamed the situation by sending an armada into the Black Sea, promised to re-arm Georgia, broken off any meaningful dialog with Russia, and re-invented the Cold War. And in so doing, backed Russia into a corner by refusing to recognize its legitimate rights.