Tuesday, December 02, 2008

NATO & Business as usual

Today the forreign ministers in the NATO have discussed Ukraine and Georgias possibilities for entering NATO with MAP. NATO also discussed their relations with Russia after the Russian assault on Georgia. So what did this bright men and women decide?: Well. First: NATO want business as ususal with Russia, unlike what they said in Spetember. And no MAP for Georgia and Ukraine in forseable future. No nothing, just the empty words from Bucurest.
I guess this is no surprice, because France and Germany have all the time tried to downplay the importance of simple democratic principles, UN Charter and Russian breaches of several other international laws. This is a new invitation for Russia to further invade and destroy Caucasus. Both EU and NATO say they don't care as long as they can conduct business as usual. An the ceasefire agreement is still not honored by Russia. The ethnic cleansing of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is completed by Russian troops and the rebel forces within the enclaves.
It's time to understand that there will be no help from the west. According to Aftenposten.no Norway and Germany were pressing for reentry of NATO - Russia talks, and no MAP for Georgia and Ukraine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since Russia invaded Georgia last August, the international community seems stuck on one question about how the war started: Did the Georgian military act irresponsibly to take control of Tskhinvali in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?

This question has been pushed to the center in large degree by a fierce, multimillion-dollar Russian PR campaign that hinges on leaked, very partial, and misleading reports from a military observer from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that claimed Georgia responded militarily in South Ossetia without sufficient provocation by Russia. Judging from recent media coverage, this campaign has been successful.
Focusing on this question distracts from Russia's intense, blatant policy of regime change that has long aimed to destabilize Georgia through ethnic manipulation, and thus thwart our democracy while stopping NATO's expansion. Furthermore, it has never been in dispute whether our forces entered South Ossetia. I have always openly acknowledged that I ordered military action in South Ossetia -- as any responsible democratic leader would have done, and as the Georgian Constitution required me to do in defense of the country.
I made this decision after being confronted by two facts. First, Russia had massed hundreds of tanks and thousands of soldiers on the border between Russian and Georgia in the area of South Ossetia. We had firm intelligence that they were crossing into Georgia, a fact later confirmed by telephone intercepts verified by the New York Times and others -- and a fact never substantially denied by Russia. (We had alerted the international community both about the military deployment and an inflow of mercenaries early on Aug. 7.)
Second, for a week Russian forces and their proxies engaged in a series of deadly provocations, shelling Georgian villages that were under my government's control -- with much of the artillery located in Tskhinvali, often within sites controlled by Russian peacekeepers. Then, on Aug. 7, Russia and its proxies killed several Georgian peacekeepers. Russian peacekeepers and OSCE observers admitted that they were incapable of preventing the lethal attacks. In fact, the OSCE had proven impotent in preventing the Russians from building two illegal military bases inside South Ossetia during the preceding year.
So the question is not whether Georgia ordered military action -- including targeting of the artillery sites that were shelling villages controlled by our government. We did.
The question is, rather: What democratic polity would have acted any differently while its citizens were being slaughtered as its sovereign territory was being invaded? South Ossetia and Abkhazia are internationally recognized as part of Georgia, and even some areas within these conflict zones were under Georgian government control before the Russian invasion. We fought to repel a foreign invasion. Georgians never stepped beyond Georgian territory.
My government has urged the international community to open an independent, unbiased investigation into the origins of the war. I first proposed this on Aug. 17, standing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Tbilisi. I offered to make every shred of evidence and every witness available. Russia has yet to accede to such terms of inquiry.
Also, last Friday I stood for several hours before a commission established by the Georgian Parliament, chaired by a leader of an opposition party, to investigate the conduct of the war. This is the first time that any leader from this part of the world has been scrutinized live on national television for his or her wartime decisions by a legislative investigation. I have also required every member of my administration and military to make themselves available to the committee.
The real test of the legitimacy of Russia's actions should be based not on whether Georgia's democratically elected leadership came to the defense of its own people on its own land, but on an assessment of the following questions. Was it Georgia or Russia (and its proxies) that:
- Pursued the de facto annexation of the sovereign territory of a neighboring state?
- Illegally issued passports to residents of a neighboring democracy in order to create a pretext for invasion (to "protect its citizens")?
- Sent hundreds of tanks and thousands of soldiers across the internationally recognized borders of a neighboring democracy?
- Instigated a series of deadly provocations and open attacks over the course of many months, resulting in civilian casualties?
- Refused to engage in meaningful, bilateral dialogue on peace proposals?
- Constantly blocked all international peacekeeping efforts?
- Refused to attend urgent peace talks on South Ossetia organized by the European Union and the OSCE in late July?
- When the crisis began to escalate, refused to have any meaningful contact (I tried to reach President Dmitry Medvedev on both Aug. 6 and 7, but he refused my calls)?
- Tried to cover up a long-planned invasion by claiming, on Aug. 8, that Georgia had killed 1,400 civilians and engaged in ethnic cleansing -- "facts" quickly disproved by international and Russian human-rights groups?
In today's Opinion Journal

Travels With HillaryMumbai and ObamaMore Immigration Losers
Global View: Media Narratives Feed Terrorist Fantasies
– Bret StephensMain Street: What's Good for GM Could Be Good for America
– William McGurn
Georgia Acted in Self-Defense
– Mikheil SaakashviliAIG Needs a New Deal
– Maurice R. GreenbergGovernors Against State Bailouts
– Rick Perry and Mark Sanford- Refused to permit EU monitors unrestricted access to these conflict areas after the fighting ended, while engaging in the brutal ethnic cleansing of Georgians?
These are the questions that need to be answered. The fact that none can be answered in Russia's favor underscores the grave risks of returning to business as usual. Russia sees Georgia as a test. If the international response is not firm, Moscow will make other moves to redraw the region's map by intimidation or force.
Responding firmly to the Putin-Medvedev government implies neither the isolation nor the abandonment of Russia; it can be achieved in tandem with continuing engagement of, and trade with, Russia. But it does require holding Russia to account. Moscow must honor its sovereign commitments and fully withdraw its troops to pre-August positions. It must allow unrestricted EU monitoring, and accede to the international consensus that these territories are Georgia. Such steps are not bellicose; they are simply the necessary course to contain an imperial regime.
We all hope that Russia soon decides to join the international community as a full, cooperative partner. This would be the greatest contribution to Georgia's stability. In the interim, we should make sure that we do not sacrifice democracies like Georgia that are trying to make this critical part of the world more stable, secure and free.

Mr. Saakashvili is president of Georgia.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008 12:52:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The United States of America is headed for a “crisis of its existence.” These were the words of a Soviet diplomat, speaking anonymously to Pravda in late July. A few days prior to this statement, at a meeting of Russian ambassadors convened by President Dmitry Medvedev, Moscow launched a new diplomatic offensive to push the United States out of Europe. A war between Russia and Georgia would provide the catalyst. Europe’s attention would be galvanized. Special negotiations between Moscow and Berlin, Moscow and Paris, Moscow and Rome, could move forward, and new security arrangements announced for the whole of Europe. The United States would be depicted as an irritant in otherwise good relations between Russia and Berlin. In the process, Washington would be gradually isolated.

In his November 5 address to the Federal Assembly, President Medvedev spoke of “long-term economic” plans, including the modernization of Russia’s armed forces. “Events of great significance for each one of us in this country, I am sure, have taken place,” he underscored, “events that have also been a serious test for all of Russia.” He was referring to Russia’s military incursion into Georgia, prepared over a period of many months. Russia’s disinformation campaign has now succeeded in obscuring the fact that Russia planned to invade Georgia for many months. Russian agents in South Ossetia goaded a Georgian over-reaction that would justify a Russian “counter-reaction.”

The purpose of the Russian incursion, in grand strategic terms, was not to overrun Georgia. The purpose was to shake loose the rotten European timbers. The fighting in Georgia would form the backdrop to a new chapter in Russian diplomacy as well as naval deployments to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. The Russian strategy seeks to justify a return to Cold War military moves. Aggressive maneuvers must be portrayed as defensive reactions. Consider the words of the Russian president: “The conflict in the Caucasus was used as a pretext for NATO vessels to enter the Black Sea and then to speed up the imposition of an American missile defense system in Europe,” He said. “This situation forces Russia to take measures in response (which I will talk about today). Tbilisi’s adventure in its own backyard has had repercussions that go far beyond the region, have increased tension across Europe and throughout the whole world, cast doubts on the effectiveness of the international security institutions and destabilized the foundations of the world order.”

This last sentence is the key phrase in Medvedev’s Address to the Russian Federal Assembly. The destabilization of the foundations of the world order is Moscow’s objective. It is not the result of the war in Georgia, but the reason for initiating it. Since the Kremlin planned the war months in advance, since it was not a spontaneous reaction to Tbilisi’s “aggression,” since the South Ossetians were the ones who provoked the Georgians into action for the sake of justifying a Russian “reaction,” the destabilization of the world order was in view from the outset. Such is the Russian strategic plan. Destabilization opens a pathway to a Russian-dominated world, where American power is neutralized once and for all. Listen carefully to the words of the Russian president: “The global financial crisis also began as a ‘local crisis’ on the U.S. domestic market. As the biggest developed economy, tightly linked to the markets in all the developed countries, when the U.S. economy began to slide it pulled financial markets all around the globe with it in its fall. This crisis has now become global in scale.”

The crisis of capitalism brings about a global revolution. In this revolution America will fall and Russia will rise. According to the Russian president, “we need to put in place mechanisms that can block the mistaken, selfish and at times simply dangerous decisions made by some members of the international community [i.e., the U.S.]. It makes no sense to hide the fact that the tragedy of Tskhinvali [South Ossetia] was made possible in part by the conceit of an America administration that closed it ears to criticism and preferred the road of unilateral decisions.” President Medvedev does not describe the Russian invasion of Georgia as a “unilateral decision,” but blames the Americans. Medvedev also says that U.S. domestic policies were “unilateral.” American domestic policy, he alleges, should be decided in consultation with Moscow and other U.S. “partners.”

How could the domestic policy of a democratic country, where a system of checks and balances prevents the president from having a final decision, accommodate the policy preferences of foreign governments? President Medvedev would have us believe that such a mitigation of U.S. sovereignty is perfectly reasonable. In fact, U.S. sovereignty is what he laments. The Americans have the largest economy in the world. When America sneezes, the world catches cold. This situation is intolerable and must be changed. Fortuitously, the destabilization of the foundations of global order makes change possible. Hinting at this, Medvedev noted that “every cloud has a silver lining. The mistakes and crises of 2008 are a lesson to all responsible nations that it is time for action. We need to radically reform the political and economic systems. Russia, at any event, will insist on this.”

The most intriguing element in Medvedev’s speech was his elaboration of unique Russian “values,” which supposedly include “honest courts” and regard for “freedom.” Seeming to criticize the secret police dictatorship fronted by Vladimir Putin, President Medvedev advocates liberty and justice as the keys to national success. An open return to Marxism-Leninism isn’t going work in Russia, Medvedev is saying. The bureaucracy created in Soviet times was stultifying. The country’s long-term prospects were damaged, and people became too passive. But how does Mevedev hope to revitalize a sick nation after decades of socialism? Surely, he cannot stand up to Putin. Or does he have powerful backing from the General Staff?

Note Medvedev’s words: “The bureaucracy from time to time casts fear over the business world, pressuring it to keep in line and not take what they consider wrong action, [it] takes control of this or that media outlet, trying to stop it from saying what they consider the wrong thing, meddles in the electoral process, preventing the election of what they consider the wrong person, and puts pressure on the courts, stopping them from handing down what they consider the wrong verdict.” The significance of this statement should not be misunderstood. Criticism of the previous ruler has long been normalized in Russian politics. One must remember that Khrushchev criticized Stalin, Brezhnev criticized Khrushchev, and Gorbachev outdid them all. But Vladimir Putin is not dead. He is prime minister and is supposedly more powerful than his president. What are we to make of this?

In Russia, national strategy trumps everything. Even Stalin was compelled to reverse himself at times. There is every reason to believe that the Kremlin, ambitious to fulfill its declared international mission, recognizes its own mistakes, and seeks to improve the efficiency of the country. “The result [of our policy],” admitted Medvedev, “is that the state bureaucracy is the biggest employer, the most active publisher, best producer, and is its own court, own political party, and ultimately its own people. This is a completely ineffective system and leads only to corruption. It gives rise to legal nihilism on a mass scale, goes counter to the Constitution, and hinders the development of innovative economic and democratic institutions.”

These are true words, and a breath of fresh air. But we cannot take them at face value. The analyst must look back to Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin. What do such denunciations signify in the end? They give the Kremlin a breathing space. They give a deceptive government a lease on credibility. The exorcism pronounced against Stalinism or against Soviet style bureaucracy is more style than substance. Medvedev’s words are meant to draw Western Europe into closer collaboration with Moscow. Perhaps he would make an honest attempt at reform, though it makes no difference. The system follows its own logic, and no man can change what has long been established. The Russian president is groping toward two objectives. A new partnership with Europe calls for another round of reforms inside Russia. The Europeans will never join with Russia while corruption and non-transparency remains an affliction so pronounced, and Russia will never become a great power if it fails to liberate the energies of the Russian people. This can be done, for a short while, with the semblance of reform – if it is announced with apparent conviction by the Russian president. Russia must take another stab at “democratization.” It is one more Potemkin village among many, to be sure, but Medvedev is obligated to say the right words. He must try something, however contradictory it appears, for the sake of Russia’s relationship with Germany, for the sake of the Russian voter, for the sake of Russia’s economy, and for the sake of military renewal.

We have seen all this before, with Boris Yeltsin. And Boris Yeltsin proved faithful to the KGB in the end. The Yeltsin years were deceptive, and Yeltsin himself was deceptive. The Russian politician who talks of democracy and liberty gains tremendous advantages at home and abroad. But what is the outcome, ever and always? The “state within the state,” the KGB and its secret structures, always remain on top. And so, inevitably, Medvedev’s Address to the Federal Assembly reverts to international strategic objectives: “In practice,” he explained, “a qualitatively new geopolitical situation has been created. The August crisis simply forced a so-called moment of truth upon us.”

And what is that truth? According to Medvedev, “Our Armed Forces have been restored to combat potential to a considerable degree.” Furthermore, Russia faces “the construction of a global missile defense system, the installation of military bases around Russia, the unbridled expansion of NATO and other similar ‘presents’ for Russia….” The strength of Russia, he explained, is being tested. Therefore, Russia must take specific measures in response: Three Russians missile regiments will not be disbanded, as previously decided; the Iskander missile system will be deployed to Kaliningrad in order to “neutralize” NATO’s ABM deployment in Poland; electronic jamming of the ABM bases will be undertaken. In explaining these moves the Russian president said: “I would stress that we have no issue with the American people, we do not have inherent anti-Americanism. And we hope that our partners, the new administration of the United States of America, will make a choice in favor of full-fledged relations with Russia.”

What the Kremlin wants is a “new global security regime.” What does this mean, in essence? It means that America will be detached from Europe, and Russia will supply America’s place – as Europe’s protector and dedicated energy supplier. According to Medvedev, “the creation of a polycentric international system is more relevant than ever.” American global leadership is over. The economic crisis and the Russian incursion into Georgia suggest nothing less. The foundations of the global order have been called into question, and the questioning has only just begun. “The world cannot be run from one capital,” says Medvedev. “Those who refuse to understand this will only create new problems for themselves and others.” The Russian policy is, first and last, to isolate the United States and weaken its position as the defender of Europe. In addition, Medvedev wants “a new economic architecture” for the world.

The Russian strategists are feeling their way. They are groping toward their objectives, inch by inch. On Saturday, Nov. 15, we will hear more about Medvedev’s new “architecture” as the G-20 summit unfolds. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Often enough you hear the sycophantic Russophile set complaining that Russian “president” Vladimir Putin is being mis-translated, quoted out of context or misquoted. Covering up Putin’s litany of outrageous, thug-like remarks is a demanding full time job, especially when Putin insists on making it so very difficult.
Case in point: One might have thought that after Russia was humiliated by French revelations that Putin had told their government he wanted to not only invade Tbilisi and affect regime change but hang the president of Georgia “up by the balls,” Putin would have taken the next opportunity to distance himself somewhat from the comment, perhaps even to blame evil foreigners for mischaracterizing his statement.
But he didn’t.
When asked on his national interview sham by a Russian citizen who called in by telephone whether he really said that about Georgia’s democratically elected leader, Putin grinned malignantly and declared: “Why by just one body part?” His face, it should be noted, was being broadcast live on national television.
As we have said many times before, Russia is ruled by a KGB madman, a thug who is totally unqualified to hold “elective” office much less run a complicated economic system. Totally cut off from criticism and wielding unchecked power, like the infamous Emperor with his New Clothes Putin struts about naked, oblivious to the jeers of the world. He has as much as admitted, twice now, that it was his goal to oust Georgia’s president from power when he invaded Ossetia, and admitted that he has been prevented from fulfilling that goal by the NATO alliance. And he has betrayed himself to be a proud, shameless barbarian, capable not only of any crude thought or utterance but any such deed as well.
The world should be paying him closer heed, even if it needs to send the children out of the room to do so.

Saturday, December 06, 2008 12:15:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you hiding in Ossetia, Mr. Putin?
“There is, unfortunately, a silence and darkness with respect to the international monitors that has descended on South Ossetia. The solution is hardly to keep monitors out of South Ossetia. Russia has an obligation, since it controls this territory, to let in international observers.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried to reporters at a security conference in Helsinki, December 5th


Why is Vladimir Putin’s government refusing to allow international observers to view conditions in Ossetia? Is it afraid that observers would see horrific violation of human rights, pogroms being carried out against innocent ethnic Georgians to drive them from their homes and “cleanse” Ossetia of their presence?
And why, may we ask, is President-Elect Barack Obama silent about this outrage? Where is his professed concern about social justice and international law? As we reported earlier this week, Obama finally broke his silence on Georgia with an interview on Meet the Press, but his remarks were devoid of commentary on Russia’s current obstruction of inspectors and its attempt to annex Georgian territory. He merely condemned Russia’s military attack on Georgia proper, labeling the G-8 member a “bully.”
The Putin regime is attempting to blackmail the West by refusing to permit the defense of human rights in Ossetia until it is recognized by the West as a new country — something it knows full well the West will never do. Even if there were no cleansing going on on Ossetia, it would be quite telling that the Kremlin feels the only way it can win international recognition is through insidious blackmail and intimidation — the Kremlin knows it doesn’t have a policy leg to stand on.
Russia obstruction is not only occurring on the ground in Ossetia, but also in the corridors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe where Reuters reports that “diplomats said differences with Russia were mainly to blame for derailing attempts to agree on a joint declaration setting out the organization’s mission.” Even though Russia attempted to claim that leaks from the OSCE’s investigation of the war in Georgia favored Russia’s version of events, Russia is stubbornly refusing to cooperate in authorizing the OSCE’s charter.
What are you afraid of, Mr. Putin?
What are you hiding?
Why are you silent, Mr. Obama?
Is this an indication of the leadership we can expect from you when you take power?
Are you, too, planning to look deeply into the eyes of Vladimir Putin?
If so, we are in for a long cold war.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 11:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read carefully, what Alasania has to say:


Wednesday, December 24, 2008 11:59:00 pm  

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