Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Russia’s view of the Georgia situation

with 4 comments

My friend from the Netherlands writes:

As you might imagine, the Russians see the Georgian situation very differently from how it is shown in the U.S. Note that State Dept.officials who are not named said that Saakashvili had been warned by the U.S. not to do anything drastic, which implies that the U.S. knew what he had in mind. The U.S. has been training the Georgian military and supplying weapons for them to use, as has Israel.

The Russians are most unhappy about the agreement wih Poland that will allow the U.S. to place an anti-missle system there, the purpose of which, according to the U.S., is for protection against missle attacks by ‘rogue states’, like Iran. That is obvious nonsense; Iran does not have that capability, but Russia does. Russia does not want to be crowded by NATO member states on its borders. The European members of NATO have resisted putting Georgia and Ukraine on track to join. They are beginning to resent U.S. pressure.

NATO was organized to counter the Warsaw Pact, which is no more. And so a new rationale had to be found to justify the exsistence of the organization. In fact, it has become a useful aid to the projection of U.S. power in the world. However, European member states are beginning to realize that there isn’t much advantage to them to be allied with the U.S., for several reasons. One is that Russia is geographically closer to Western Europe than is the U.S. Russia, after all, is a European country. Another is that Russia supplies oil and natural gas to Europe, and the countries of Western Europe need those fuels.

Also, it is becoming more and more apparent that the U.S., despite the enormous sums it spends on its military establishment, has not been able to pacify the two countries that it invaded and now occupies. America’s ambitions are not accompanied by commensurate power. There are clear signs of weakness. The U.S. has been hollowed out by debt; it functions on borrowed money, which renders it vulnerable to its creditors. While the economy of the U.S. is weakening, Russia’s is getting stronger all the time. (An observation: When V & I were in St. Petersburg last year, we visited several stores that were part of a chain of supermarkets. They are enormous; one of them had 60 checkout counters. They never close.)

The Europeans see that the economic strength of Russia is growing, as of course is China’s, and that the U.S. is getting weaker. NATO will continue to exist for a time, but some of the European member countries will be having reservations when they weigh the advantages against the disadvantages of being allied to a nation whose ambitions are not matched by its power. The U.S. needs NATO more than Europe does.

An amusing Russian take on the Georgian fiasco:

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2008 at 8:43 am

4 Responses

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  1. Is your friend of high school age? About 15 or so?

    I assume he is, and that his infantile opinions are based on what he’s seen on MTV Netherlands. What I can’t understand, however, is why you would post this sort of rubbish. It seems that to me that there is no price you will not pay to disparage the current administration. To hell with objectivity.

    An amusing Georgian take on the Russian fiasco:



    16 August 2008 at 9:14 am

  2. An ‘ad hominem’ argument seems to be the most common form of comment on threads these days. Unfortunately, it does not advance the discussion.

    Saakashvili had strong support from the U.S. and seemed to think that he could be adventurous, and so he made his move. The Russians knew what was going on and had time to anticipate Saakashvili and to prepare a response. The Russians are not saints; when provoked and aroused, they are not merciful. To call the Russian reaction a fiasco is to miss the greater scheme of things.

    It looks as if C. Rice spoke strongly to Saakashvili during their 5 hour conversation. When they appeared together before the TV cameras afterwards, we saw a severely shaken man. The U.S. most certainly does not want a war with Russia.

    On the other hand, the U.S. is trying to project power around Russia’s western and southern borders, but to what point? About half of the casualties sustained by the Allies in the European theater of WW2 were Russian. They lost more than 25 million people, military and civilian. The Russians have not forgotten that. They are much stronger now than they were a decade ago, and they do not want to be trifled with.

    It is a complicated situation, with a long history and most certainly no simple answers, which makes it very difficult for many Amercans to understand.

    A good quote from the August issue of “National Geographic”, pages 132, 133: “Americans will never understand Russia because they see things as black or white. Russians see a gray area of 80 percent.”



    16 August 2008 at 9:55 am

  3. Frank, your rudeness is noted: you provide a perfect example of an argument-free, self-refuting post.



    16 August 2008 at 10:04 am

  4. Concerning Georgia and what is going on there, I found this Pat Buchanan column interesting:



    16 August 2008 at 10:17 am

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