Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Russian defeat - media crushes Russias “truth”

What appeared to be a perfect timing for the attack, media being occupied with the Olympics in Beijing, ended up as a fatal mistake for the Russians. They had prepared the story about genocide and aggression well, but miscalculated some basic news criteria. The Norwegian professor Sigurd Allern mentions polarization, conflict, relevance, possibility to identify culturally with the matter, and how important and powerful the countries involved are. And as such this conflict fulfils all criteria’s for news coverage.

The old rhetoric from the cold war was revitalized, and it was very easy for the readers / viewers to get a hold of the story and identify with the old conflict lines. It was after some time evident that there was good-guys and the traditional Russian bad-guys. The US president spoke clearly about all traditional western values, and was supported by European leaders. There was drama! BBC and CNN was our eyes on the ground and told the story about David being crushed by Goliath, and the US marshal on his way to rescue. Beijing Olympics were completely abandoned in this context. It just could not compete, so the media ran Georgia vs Russia as top story for now 10 days with analysis, background, live coverage, victim reports and interviews. All parties, the Georgian president with his emotional messages tailor-made for media on English, Pres Bush’s threats, Merkels visit to Medvedev in Sochi, and Sarkozy’s negotiations with the Russians all contributed to create the biggest LIVE drama in Media possibly on line with the Invasion in Iraq. (Or maybe even bigger). We had constant and very fast development through the entire conflict. Words like "cyber war" increased the tension and the feeling of something entirely ”new” in warfare. It also helped that Russian soldiers uploaded videos from their cell-phones to Youtube showing them looting baracks and shops in Gori.

The Russian propaganda machine had no chance withstanding this massive coverage where action on ground contradicted all the Russians was saying. The ”humanitarian” rescue operation was contradicted by the excessive damage the Russians inflicted on Georgia ”LIVE”. ”The Genocide” was effectively revealed as a lie by Human Rights Watch after 6 days, when they entered South Ossetia. That being the only thing giving legitimacy for the Russian attack, the whole charade fell apart. The last message from Churkin was that he accused media of being wrong. Something usually regarded as a major mistake. Another important point is that Russian media does not reach outside Russia to the western world, and is known to be limited in trustworthiness due to governmental control. An example of the Russian media coverage is the internet newspaper Echo Moskvy, which today reports from their defence sources that...

“Georgians, Ukrainian nationalists and Chechen bandits have set up an armed group outside of Gori. This group plans to enter Gori in Russian uniforms to shoot and humiliate the local population. This is going to be videotaped and distributed to the world to show the world what kind of barbarians Russians are”.
(Echo Moskvy http://www.echo.msk.ru/news/534641-echo.html)

Now why would they write something hillarious like that? Simple. The videos showing Russian soldiers looting Gori has already been showed to the western world..the soldiers have uploaded them to You tube and tapes from surveillance cameras have been showed on TV ( TV2 among others), so when the videos finally show up in Russia, the explanation is already clear: This is Georgians and Ukrainian nationalist trying to make the Russians look bad.
At this moment it seems like the big looser in the conflict, despite the obvious military victory, is Russia. Through it’s savage attack and persistant destruction of Georgian infrastructure even after the ceasefire deal was signed they probably scared Poland to make a quick decision to host the US missile shield, contributed to unite the ex-soviet republics even more (which the manifestation I Tbilisi by the Baltics, Ukraine and Polands presidents showed). It also has pushed Ukrain to seek cooperation with US on their missile defence, worry the whole of Europe, and deteriorated relations with EU. They face possible eviction from G8, and there is serious questions about the SOCHI 2014 Olympics. Another leverage from US is economical sanctions, which can be catastrophal for Russia according to commentators on CNN. This leads up to isolation and of course no WTO deal. The Russians got an international attention around Abkhazia and S-Ossetia, with EU and US clearly stating that Georgian integrity is not up for debate.
The Georgians has lost many troops and civilians, but managed to get a long sought attention around Abkhazia and S-Ossetia. Get international support for their territorial integrity. They have a destroyed infrastructure which EU and US have committed to rebuild very fast. Georgia also today got a rather sensational reassurances from Angela Merkel ( CNN / BBC) that Georgia WILL be a NATO member. Sensational because Angela Merkel was the one that brought Russias protests to the NATO countries (NRK)

The Russians have been revealed by the media as the real aggressor, and has lost the legitimacy they though they had given the operation - much thanks to the media coverage from particulary CNN and BBC World. One can argue that this are western media, but the Russian actions on the ground verified by independent organizations has contradicted their statements, and as such contributed to further undermine their credibility. In this conflict media has played a very active and important role reporting from a very tough, unpredictable and dangerous situation on the ground. Many have been killed, and we have seen journalists being shot at in cars (Turkish TV reporters), targeted actively by Russian fighter planes ( BBC Worlds reporters), and shot during reporting ( Georgian reporter). All documented on video, and shown in news reports. And as we all know: The politicians listens to what the media says – they create the opinion. As victim the Georgian President Saakashvili has played an important role. In spite of emotional and erratic behaviour, ha has in a strange way managed to communicate the essence of the conflict in a clear and understandable manner. It’s easy to be sympathetic to this man fighting for freedom, democracy and his small country against the destructive aggressor. He manage to hold the wolrd leaders responsible for his own mistakes; a too direct interpretations of diffuse political intentions and support. And he has been a master in this game. Saakashvili might be finished as president after this, but one should admire his efforts and success in communicating and maneuvering in this extreme situation.

How this conflict will evolve from here is difficult to predict. The Russians have accomplished little else but damaging their reputation and another country severely. And the damage increases for every day Russian forces stay in Georgia with news coverage showing looting and destruction of infrastructure. It doesn't seem to be perceived that way by the Russian leaders, and I would be surpriced if they pull out their forces tomorrow, as promised by Medvedev.


16 Comments:

Blogger TSWorld said...

Hi there!!! Yet another great article that you put together! Regarding Putin's childhood, his mother is supposed to live in Georgia. She is Russian by nationality but lives in Georgia, and as some sources indicate (I don't know how reliable sources are, but why would they lie? What is the point?) and his stepfather was Georgian and was not very fond of Putin when he was little. And I believe his mom gave him to adoption agency. WOW for everyone to see that he has something personal against ethnic Georgians. Sounds like he is mentally sick.

Monday, August 18, 2008 5:08:00 am  
Anonymous Ekaterine said...

Hello tsworld,
There is no doubt that Putin hates Saakashvili, and this is personal. He hates Georgians as well.
I can hardly imageine that Putin is capable of having any positive emotions/feelings at all.
THis man will continue to make the world a worse place to live in.
There is no way he retreats.
But finally he will be defeated, as all other wrongdoers have been defeated.

Monday, August 18, 2008 8:51:00 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

We people in Russia, who can see on our TV stories from both sides of the conflict (CNN, Euronews are broadcasting freely in Russia) - are simply shocked by the scale of lies coming from "free press" in Western countries. It has shown an excellent ability to turn black into white and white into black indeed.
You mention excellent timing of Russian "invasion", but do not mention the fact that Georgian American-trained troops have pounded Tshinvali (S.Ossetian capital) and neighbouring villages with artillery and Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems for 16 hours before Russians started their first move into Ossetian territory to stop this massacre.
Those 16 hours were spent by Russia to organize an emergency UN meeting to discuss situation and stop Georgian slaughter of Ossetian civilian population. USA and UK blocked any efforts to make a resolution while bombardment and destruction of whole civilian areas mixed with Georgian ground forces attacks on Tshinvali proceeded.
Only after realizing that so-called "democratic" community does not care about this war crime - first Russian troops entered S.Ossetia to counter Georgian invasion.
So whose "perfect timing" was it in this warcrime? Time was definitely not chosen by Russian government, but by Georgian who started this attack.

Monday, August 18, 2008 12:07:00 pm  
Blogger Eistein G. said...

Hello, Michael. I think you will see that the whole "genocide" story have fallen apart because 1)Russian Human Rights Watch have been inside S-Ossetia and estimates casualties to tens rather than thousands. Russian leaders have been caucht in numerous lies, and their activities show sign of attack long before the actual incident. I myself wrote WAR at my blog already the 11. july. It shopuld also be noted that western democracies have a large threshold to stap over in order to confront rRussia. If they choose to do so, they regqard the Russian agression as extremely serious. Also note that Russian soldiers have uploaded videos from their cellphones to Youtube actually showing their conduct in Gori. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta have published a number of critical articles supporting the western view of the conflict. As you know this is the newspaper Anna Politkovskaya worked before she was killed.

Monday, August 18, 2008 12:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Michael said...

Human Rights Watch is a Western-founded organization with Western-oriented agenda. They obviously will not cut the branch they are sitting on and give away reports or information which does coinside with their owners' politics. Human Rights Watch - are the same people who call Chechen insurgents "freedom fighters" and Ossetian insurgents - "separatists" at best. Those people are strangely not concerned by rights of Iraq people, and do not pay attention to apartheid regimes in Baltic states - where Russian minority cannot receive state passport until they pass exams on being a suitable citizen, and where military marches of former Deutche SS Waffen take place.
But enough of my ranting - I was just trying to show you a simple fact that current Western institutions have no credible weight at all, due to an obviuos double standard attitude - where Kosovo has rights for independence, and Abhasia and Ossetia in the same situation - do not, where month-long bombing of independent state of Serbia in the middle of Europe is called a "humanitarian bombing", and much lesser in scale bombing of Georgian military infrastructure is called "continuous bombardment of Georgian civilian targets", where they condemn Russian occupation of outskirts of Georgian towns (before the peace is concluded) but close eyes on several-year occupation of Iraq.

World needs some independent Human Rights mechanism, where will be evenly represented people from all over the Globe - inluding China, Africa, South America - and with NO veto right for any of the sides. Watching your TV, reading your newspapers - proves that there is much more democracy in Russia today then in USA - because people have much more sources of information and can judge what is happening not only by viewing official propaganda - but reading foreign press and non-government media too.
But not all of Western media shocks me - for examople, www.independent.co.uk tries to bring a balanced view of what is happening in Georgia now. I respect their civilian position to giving a say to both sides of this conflict and trying to see it without blaming any of the sides.
As for real videos from the conflict - I can also bring some links which can give you a glimpse on the other side of the truth:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONICYAHcTcc

Watch comments for that video - there are a lot of links from both sides in discussion there. I am sure that if you consider youself to be a reasonable man - you can make your own oppinion on the mess which happened there several days ago.
Brainwashing is especially successful when brainwashed even does not see that he is being brainwashed. I hope discussion and links there can help to judge events independently. Excuse me for not giving any more links - but it is 3 pm in Russia now and I am at work - gotta go.

Monday, August 18, 2008 12:58:00 pm  
Blogger Eistein G. said...

Hello again, michael. I appreciate your views on the matter. Just for a second let us turn it around: What evidence have you seen for the alledged genocide?

One of the problems the Russian officials have had is being caught in lies by the media. They have lost all credibility that way. The big tactical mistake was to go outside South Ossetia and destroy so much infrastructure as they did. Bombing civilians in front of the TV cameras, using clusterbombs, and generally behaving uncivilized. This doesnt fit the image of a "humanitarian" operation. If they had stayed in S-Ossetia and produced some evidence of genocide the whole thing would have been different. They would hav had som credibility and a negotiating position. In stead the savage behaviour, the lies and the threts towars other nations undermined the legitimacy, and Russia now stands isolated in the international community. As far as I have seen only Cuba has expressed support for Russia. I think you must adress this matters in free elections. That obviously means debating wheather Putin is a leader for the 21. century.

As for the matter of free republics. The Kosovo example is a really poor one. in S-Ossetia and Abkhazia separatists and Russian have ethnically clensed most of the population. In Abkhazia Russian SPETZNAS forces together with Shamil Basajev committed massacres and drove 80% of the population out of the country in the early nineties ( 500 000 refugees are living in Georgia). How can any one speak about a valid referendum when the majority of the population is expelled? This is an absurdity the Russians have tried to argue, with little luck I might add.

Monday, August 18, 2008 8:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Caucasian said...

After all what Russians have been doing in Georgia and against Georgians for the last 20 years, I repeat - for the last 20 years - Michael and all Russians should just shut up! Shame on you liars!
Watch your tv-channels, listen to your brain damaged Rogozyn's, Zirinosvky's and of course Putin's.

In te name og the whole Caucasus!

Monday, August 18, 2008 8:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Yuri Pavlenko, Ukraine said...

Pyrrhic victory in Russia

Now and forever, Russia has joined the club of the rogue nations at its own will. The only opportunity it is left with is to develop and strengthen its multilateral relationship with the ones of its kind: with Iran, Belarus, Venezuela and North Korea. That is, to go against the flow, in accordance with its time-honored tradition; to build its special world of its own in another dimension, in accordance with the rules that are totally different from the ones commonly accepted in the civilized society

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:49:00 am  
Blogger TSWorld said...

Dear Michael from Russia!!! Did you read about cyber attacks? Well think twice before you watch the news even on CNN in Russia.

AND PLEASE: DO THE WORLD a BIG FAVOR Do NOT write these words anymore:"Those 16 hours were spent by Russia to organize an emergency UN meeting to discuss situation and stop Georgian slaughter of Ossetian civilian population" especially when you were NOT present at that meeting.

Read also the article from New York Times dated August 18, which states that Russian authorities are not allowing journalists around the world to enter conflict zone so the whole world could see the truth, they are NOT allowing them to enter villages and houses. And you know what their excuse is? Russian authorities all of a sudden are concerned about (1) safety of journalists and (2) apparently S. Ossetian separatists that they have been assisting financially and militarily (which they admitted openly in one of the newspapers) are mad at Western journalists and might kill them.
THINK: is NOT it supposed to be the opposite that S. Ossetian separatists should do? If a person has any working cells in his brain (if any brain) , would not he do the opposite? You would let the world come and see what Georgians have done. BUt that is NOT the truth!

And also if you would be from Chechnya (what Russian gov has done to those poor people, innocent families) I think you would be singing a different song. This situation just did not effect you much, you are just talking.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:08:00 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

First my reply to Eistein.

"What evidence have you seen for the alledged genocide?"

Ok, let us not play worlds and just rename genocide into shelling of civilian city by MLRS launchers. Do the facts change from changing of names?


"One of the problems the Russian officials have had is being caught in lies by the media. They have lost all credibility that way."

Please send some examples, so that I can address them.

"The big tactical mistake was to go outside South Ossetia and destroy so much infrastructure as they did."

I can give non-emotional and practical explanation for this. Georgian army and even police fled Gori and other Western Georgian towns in panic. South Ossetian militiamen who were enraged of recent killing of their families and relatives started infiltrating Georgian teeritories without Russian army approval or control. There was a strong concern from Russian side (which is still consider itself peacekeeping force there) that they will start revenge and trouble in nearby Georgian towns. So Russian Army sent their units on outskirts of Georgian towns and established checkpoints on roads to stop and turn back any Ossetian (or other)militiamen trying to reach Georgian towns.

"Bombing civilians in front of the TV cameras, using clusterbombs, and generally behaving uncivilized. This doesnt fit the image of a "humanitarian" operation."

Concerning bombing of civilians with cluster bombs - your turn to bring evidence, please. I am sure that Russian Army and government greatly concerned about outlook of their actions and do not allow themselves committing the same acts as Americans did in Iraq.


"If they had stayed in S-Ossetia and produced some evidence of genocide the whole thing would have been different. They would hav had som credibility and a negotiating position."

Investigations on that matter are held currently, but first priority is to prevent spreading diseases, repair water supply, evacuate all refugees and wounded first.

"In stead the savage behaviour, the lies and the threts towars other nations undermined the legitimacy, and Russia now stands isolated in the international community."

AFAIR those things you mentioned above are distinct elements of American diplomacy and not Russian.
Please give some examples, once more.

"As far as I have seen only Cuba has expressed support for Russia. I think you must adress this matters in free elections. That obviously means debating wheather Putin is a leader for the 21. century."

Of course you do not see any support for Russia on your TV channels. Reasons are obvious. If you read comments on non-US-controlled media sources - you'll see that there is a lot of support for Russian actions from all over the globe - even Australia, Brazil or South Africa.

"As for the matter of free republics. The Kosovo example is a really poor one. in S-Ossetia and Abkhazia separatists and Russian have ethnically clensed most of the population."

Concerning Russian direct involvement - please give some proof as well. In defiance for their legal right of self-determination after the split-up of Soviet Union (1992), Georgia did not grant independence to autonomous regions within its borders - Abhasia and S.Ossetia.
After that Georgia started war on Abkhasia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abkhasia#The_Abkhazian_War

Of course there were displaced Georgians after Abhazians won that war. Strangely, there were displaced Russians too. But it is not a reason to start shelling of civilians, it a reason to conduct negotiations and pay attention to reasons and interests of all sides.

By the way - almost the same situation - with almost all Serbian population forced out- happened in Kosovo. The difference is that Abhasia managed to fight off its independence and Kosovars had to rely on USA bombing out Serbia (NATO acknowledged killing 1500 Yugoslavian civilians in those raids, btw).
So, your sentence on:
"How can any one speak about a valid referendum when the majority of the population is expelled?"

can be applied to NATO actions as well... It is acknowledged by Red Cross that around 250000 Serbians are displaced from Kosovo. You can check this figure at Wiki too.

The main idea is - Georgia has not only started shelling Ossetian civilian targets, but attacked Russian peacekeeping forces as well, and Russia had all legal rights to take retaliatory measures. Nobody pulled Saakashvili in this bloody affair except his own ambitions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:49:00 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

"After all what Russians have been doing in Georgia and against Georgians for the last 20 years, I repeat - for the last 20 years - Michael and all Russians should just shut up! Shame on you liars!
Watch your tv-channels, listen to your brain damaged Rogozyn's, Zirinosvky's and of course Putin's.

In te name og the whole Caucasus!"

Even Chechenians are shocked by what they have seen in Tshinvali when their battalion came there to fight off Georgians. I am sure that all Caucausian people, to say it calm, are not fond of Georgians on this matter. The politics of your government made your country enemies with almost all of Caucasian people - and you still blame Russia.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:56:00 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

TSWorld said...
"Dear Michael from Russia!!! Did you read about cyber attacks? Well think twice before you watch the news even on CNN in Russia."

There always will be some young stupid "coolhackers" trying to show what they can and prove themselves their worth - and these guys will be on both sides. Cyber attacks are really not a difficult thing to organize - takes only a bit of computer knowledge. I consider it a kind of unlegal way to express personal oppinion on events in the world.

"AND PLEASE: DO THE WORLD a BIG FAVOR Do NOT write these words anymore:"Those 16 hours were spent by Russia to organize an emergency UN meeting to discuss situation and stop Georgian slaughter of Ossetian civilian population" especially when you were NOT present at that meeting."

I have seen reports on positions of US representative and our representative on TV - why should not I express my view of situation?

"Read also the article from New York Times dated August 18, which states that Russian authorities are not allowing journalists around the world to enter conflict zone so the whole world could see the truth, they are NOT allowing them to enter villages and houses. And you know what their excuse is? Russian authorities all of a sudden are concerned about (1) safety of journalists and (2) apparently S. Ossetian separatists that they have been assisting financially and militarily (which they admitted openly in one of the newspapers) are mad at Western journalists and might kill them."

Just imagine for a while that this is a truth. AFAIR it is very hard to get into American Army battlezone without American Army authorities' approval as well. Another obvious and simple reasons: some of journalists can be NOT journalists at all.

"And also if you would be from Chechnya (what Russian gov has done to those poor people, innocent families) I think you would be singing a different song. This situation just did not effect you much, you are just talking."

Glad you mentioned Chechnya. Russia gave Chechnya de-facto independence the same way Georgia left Abkhasia and S.Ossetia on their own before US-backed Saakashvili was elected. But unfortunately independent Chechen state was not enough for Chechen rulers at that time and they started invasion of neighbouring Russian Dagestan republic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagestan_conflict

Another reasons of starting second Chechen war were continuous kidnappings of people in regions neighbouring in Chechnya and legal slave-trade there (there was a slave market in Grozny all the time of Chechen "independence"). And of course their plans to establish a vakhabbit "Islamic Khalifat" all over Northern Caucausus.

I am glad to know that now peace is restored in Chechnya - it is rebuilt anew and old rivalries are slowly forgotten. I am more then sure that Chechen people live much better now then they were under Vakhabit government.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 10:17:00 am  
Anonymous Caucasian said...

Mixael,
YOu are repeating Lavrov and co.
We've heared this rhetoric. Try to understand it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Great Moscow circus said...

Great Moscow circus

WHILE it is almost certainly true that Moscow's action in the Ossetian and (for good measure) the Abkhazian enclave of Georgia has been, in a real sense, revenge for the independence of Kosovo (on February 14, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said publicly that Western recognition of Kosovar independence would be met by intensified Russian support for irredentism in South Ossetia), it is extremely important to bear in mind that this observation does not permit us the moral sloth of allowing any equivalence between the two dramas.

Perhaps one could mention just some of the more salient differences.

* Russia had never expressed any interest in Ossetian or Abkhazian micro-nationalisms while Georgia was an integral part of the Soviet Union. It is thus impossible to avoid the suspicion that these small peoples are being used as strategic minorities to negate the independence of the larger Georgian republic and to warn all those with pro-Russian populations on their soil of what may, in turn, befall them. This is like nothing so much as Turkish imperialism in Cyprus and Thrace and Iraq, where local minorities can be turned on and off like a faucet, according to the needs of the local superpower.

* Kosovo, which was legally part of Yugoslavia, but not of Serbia, was never manipulated as part of the partition or intervention plan of another country - the US, in fact, spent far too long on the pretence that the Yugoslav federation could be saved - and, for a lengthy period, pursued its majority-rule claims by passive resistance and other non-violent means. NATO intervention occurred only when Serbian forces had resorted to mass deportation and full-dress ethnic cleansing.

Whatever may be said of Georgia's incautious policy towards secessionism within its own internationally recognised borders, it does not deserve comparison with the lawless and criminal behaviour of the Slobodan Milosevic regime.

In any case, it is unwise for Moscow to be making the analogy since it supported Milosevic at the time and has excused him since on the less-than-adorable grounds (barely even disguised in Russian propaganda) of Christian Orthodox solidarity.

It also armed and incited the most extreme and least pacifist forces in Ossetia and Abkhazia.

* Does anybody remember the speeches in which the Russian ambassador to the UN asked the General Assembly or Security Council to endorse his country's plan to send land, air and sea forces deep into the territory and waters of a former colony that is now a UN member state? I thought not. I look at the newspaper editorials every day, waiting to see which will be the first to use the word "unilateral" in the same sentence as "Russia". Nothing so far.

Yet UN Resolution 1441, warning Saddam Hussein of serious consequences, was the fruit of years of thwarted diplomacy and was passed without a dissenting vote.

* The six former constituent republics of Yugoslavia, which all exercised their pre-existing constitutional right to secede from rule by Belgrade, are seated as members of the UN, as, indeed, is Georgia. Twenty of 27 states in the European Union have also recognised the government of Kosovo as an entity de jure as well as de facto.

The Kosovar population is estimated at 2.1 million, which makes it larger than that of some existing EU member states. Does anyone seriously imagine that Russia even remotely intends to sponsor any statehood claims for the tiny local populations of Ossetia and Abkhazia? On the contrary, these peoples will be re-assimilated into the Russian empire.

So any comparison with Kosovo would have to be not to its breaking away but to its potential absorption and annexation by Albania. And nobody has even proposed this, let alone countenanced the unilateral stationing of Albanian armed forces on Kosovar soil.

* Heartbreakingly difficult though the task has been, and remains, the emphasis of Western policy in the Balkans has been on de-emphasising ethnic divisions; subsidising cities and communities that practise reconciliation; and encouraging, for example, Serbs and Albanians to co-operate in Kosovo. One need not romanticise this policy, but it would nonetheless stand up to any comparison with Russian behaviour in the Caucasus (and indeed the Balkans), which is explicitly based on an outright appeal to sectarianism, nationalism and - even worse - confessionalism.

* The fans of moral equivalence may or may not have noticed this, but the obviously long-meditated and co-ordinated Russian military intervention in Georgia comes in the same month as explicit threats to the sovereignty of Poland and Ukraine, and hard on the heels of a Russian obstruction of any UN action in the case of Zimbabwe.

Those who like to describe Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev as reacting to an encirclement of Russia may wish to spill some geopolitical ink on explaining how Kosovo forms part of this menacing ring of steel or how the repression of the people of Zimbabwe can assist in Moscow's breakout strategy from it.

If it matters, I agree with the critics who say that the Bush administration garnered the worst of both worlds by giving the Georgians the impression of US support, then defaulting at the push-comes-to-shove moment.

The Clintonoids made exactly that mistake with Serbian aggression a decade and more ago, giving the Bosnians hope, then letting them be slaughtered until the position became untenable, and then astoundingly, and even after the Dayton accords, repeating the same series of dithering errors in the case of Kosovo.

The longer the moment of truth was postponed, the worse things became. But this in itself argues quite convincingly that there was no deliberate imperial design involved. Will anyone say the same about Putin's undisguised plan for the forcible restoration of Russian hegemony all around his empire's periphery? It would be nice to think there was a consistent response to this from Washington, but I would not even bet someone else's house on the idea, which is what George W. Bush has given the strong impression of doing in the low farce and frivolity of the past two weeks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 3:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Saakashvili might be finished as president after this"

I've seen many articles that have that opinion.
Why is that? They just state it, but don't explain exactly why.

Is there some law or rule that says that if a President of a country has ended up in a situation similar to this that they can no longer be President?

Monday, September 07, 2009 11:01:00 pm  
Blogger Writer'n said...

Yes, a defeat is sufficient. The case here is that one can ask questions about Saakashvilis judgement when he decided to enter South Ossetia. Right or wrong, this makes him loose credibility

Wednesday, September 09, 2009 10:45:00 pm  

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