Monday, June 29, 2009

A Georgian War II?

Reading the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov makes you think that the man is clearly living in another world than most of us. I long ago decided it was bad for my health to listen to the speeches of this truly haunted man, but sometimes I can’t help it, reminding my self that he after all is the mouthpiece of Putin I & II.

Mr. Lavrovs description of the “emerging new situation in trans Caucasus” is a masterpiece according to the DSM IV diagnostics. In his statement he points out Russia’s efforts to come up with a solution to keep OSCE observers in Georgia, while his soldiers are conducting the military exercise Kavkaz 2009, also INSIDE Georgian territory in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, with 8-10 000 soldiers and 200 tanks. The fact that Russia both manage to block the mandate for OSCE as well as UN observers is a clear evidence for Russia’s good will in the negotiations. Besides that means no witnesses. Russia is still in violation with the ceasefire agreement, and UN agreements signed by Russia on Georgian sovereignty. And now both Lavrov and Rogosin "fear" the Georgian agression and troop build up on the border to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Sure, Georgia is keen to take on Russia which has stationed a huge amount of missiles and tanks inside the rebel republics, inside Georgia. What a monumental lie!

At the moment we are facing the same situation as in July 2008. Then, as I was staying in Tbilisi, and I was convinced that there would be a Russian invasion based on all the garbage Lavrov poured out in the media. (I wrote it on my blog 11. july 2008.) I think the war came as a surprise only for the media and the European politicians. Will there be a second this July or August? I really find it hard to say. One the one side it would be a devastating catastrophe mainly for Russia. (That is thinking like a rational person). A war could by no means be legitimated with lies and propaganda like the first one (the “humanitarian rescue mission” would be to plain even for Russians). It would completely alienate Russia from all its bordering neighbors, and in long term perspectives mean isolation. For Georgia it will mean to be temporarily be drawn back to the middle age, where the Russian cleptocracy resides. But thinking like a true Cremlin hoodlum it might just makes sense: It’s like peing in your pants to maintain some warmth in the winter. It’s the control of Georgian pipelines, and the ability to give Europe and USA a black eye. But then winter will set in, and your pants aren’t really that warm anymore. Especially not in the Caucasus.

So now everyone awaits Obamas mission to Moscow on the 6th of july. Most analysts think that his performance would mean the difference of “invade” or “not invade” Georgia. I really hope Obama will be firm, and won't proceed with the naïve "reset" project. Russia needs US as an enemy in order to keep the current cleptocracy at the power, thus persuing the "reset" project will only serve to project US as weak, and confirm the image Putin want's to create.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Analysis: Norwegian newspaper's coverage of the war in Caucasus 2008

As a part of my master studies in “Media, Communication and ICT” at NTNU, I did an analysis of the Norwegian newspaper coverage of the war in Caucasus. The analysis shows how the two major Norwegian newspapers (Aftenposten and Verdens Gang) framed the war, and how loyalty to the Governments foreign policy can be found in their largely one sided pro-western coverage of the conflict. It also shows that both the opposition (conservatives) and the government (social democratic) for a large part agree about Norwegian foreign policy. The politicians didn’t seem to pay much attention to the war and the possible consequences for Norway as a result of Russia’s new aggressive modus operandi. This can be portrayed as either political indifference among Norwegian politicians, or as a consensus between the Norwegian Government, the opposition and the media, where to show restraint in critizising Russia is imperative for national security. The news media might, as a result of this, seem to under-communicate Norway’s challenges in the northern areas regarding a weak defence, NATO’s unwillingness to confront Russia in the Caucasus; signalling a division in the alliance indicating less commitment to NATO Article 5 in the case of a potential Russian threat in the race for the Arctic oil and gas.

Download and read “A Cold War in the Caucasus?” as a PDF. Language: Norwegian. Grade: A.