Saturday, August 23, 2008

Georgian Endgame

Ramzy Baroud gives a great synopsis in his article The Saakashvili Experiment;
It's rather interesting how a controversial and unpopular plan that has raised the ire of the Polish people -- 70 per cent of the country is against it -- was overcome within days of war and is now embraced as a necessary deterrent. One cannot help but question the relationship between the decision to invade South Ossetia, which was certain to compel some Russian response, and the rush to embrace Bush's military designs in that region. The plan to place missiles in Poland seemed like a resounding failure as late as last month when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "tried and failed just before leaving for Europe on Monday [7 July] to seal a deal to place missiles in Poland, the State Department said," according to CNN. Now Poland is all for it. It return, Poland would receive US assistance in overhauling its military, reminiscent of the Israeli-US efforts in aiding Georgia's military, which emboldened the latter to pursue war with Russia.

While Russia's decisive response to Saakashvili's war may have temporarily reaffirmed Russia's military readiness, it has already provided the needed justification for greater US-NATO intervention in Georgia, Poland, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. That US presence might be welcomed by the unnerved "democratic" leaders of these states but it will pique the fury of Russia, whose political radars are intercepting the Bush administration's every move in the region with great alarm.

The ceasefire between Russia and Georgia, achieved through French mediation, will hardly be the end of the new Cold War underway in an area too accustomed to cold wars. The fact is that Russia will fight to break away from the pro- US ring of former Soviet states that promise to undermine its influence in a Eurasia, and the US will do its utmost to maintain a level of tension, if not hostilities in the region, for without it neither a missile shield nor the 270 billion barrels of oil in the Caspian basin can be brought within Washington's reach.
I think it's important to understand and carefully reflect on the fact that the U.S. ventured nothing and lost nothing in this experiment. As a matter of fact, it can easily be argued, as Baroud has done, that western oligarchs gained strategic ground in the wake of this little experiment.