August 9, 2008

How is South Ossetia not like Kosovo?

Nine years ago, the U.S. and its NATO allies bombed heck out of Yugoslavia (i.e., Serbia) in order to liberate Kosovo, an ethnically distinct breakaway province universally recognized as legitimately part of Yugoslavia-Serbia. After a couple of months, Milosevic gave up, and Kosovo recently declared its independence.

Russia has been squabbling for years with Georgia over a bit just over the Russian border within Georgia called South Ossetia, that, like Kosovo, is ethnically different on the whole from the rest of Georgia. Yesterday, Russia and Georgia went at it hammer and tongs.

How, exactly is this different from our Kosovo War, other than that Kosovo was thousands of miles away from America, while South Ossetia adjoins Russia?

Wikipedia writes:

"The Republic of South Ossetia consists of a checkerboard of Georgian-inhabited and Ossetian-inhabited towns and villages. The largely Ossetian capital city of Tskhinvali and most of the other Ossetian-inhabited communities are governed by the separatist government, while the Georgian-inhabited villages and towns are administered by the Georgian government. This close proximity and the intermixing of the two communities has made the conflict in South Ossetia particularly dangerous, since any attempt to create an ethnically pure territory would involve population transfers on a large scale."

Back in 2000, on the first anniversary of the Kosovo war, I offered an explanation of a costly but peaceful way to resolve these kind of inevitable disputes.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, your solution for these problems (partition and forced relocation along tribal lines) will never be implemented by the elite because their eventual goal is a world in which all ethnecities live intermixed. That's what is behind the multi-culty policy of mass movement of third-worlders into the West. Their eventual goal? One race/one culture/one language/one religion (if any) from the intermixing of all these different peoples living side-by-side and therefore an eventual end to tribal strife:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/011146.html

RKU said...

The obvious difference between Kosovo and South Ossetia is that Kosovo is many hundreds of miles away from the Russian border, hence within America's natural sphere of influence.

By contrast, South Ossetia---which use to be part of Russia---is directly on the Russia border, hence also within America's natural sphere of influence.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe there's really no difference at all...

Edward said...

In our different expectations of the behaviour of the actors.

In the Balkans it was logical to believe Milosevic, and his henchmen, could employ a policy of genocide in Kosovo. It had been done in Bosnia before. Milosevic wasn't a democrat, we could believe he could do it again.

In the Causcasus, it is logical to believe Saakashvili and his pro-Western government could cause death and destruction, like we do, but not genocide, given that is frowned upon in the West.

Saakashvili surely would think he could not get away with genocide, either, just as Milosevic thought he could do with his Big Man mindset, since he must have known Milosevic ended up at The Hague.

It is instructive to compare South Ossetia to Kosovo just because the Steve Sailer Solution™ is better in both cases, but still, you cannot draw a moral equivalence between the two cases either.

TCO said...

Clearly there are many similarities to the situation with Kosovo. (And surely getting into detail some differences). And it's not just Kosovo, similar situations have occurred in Bosnia, etc. You can go all the way back to the Sudetanland or even the Sud Tirol for 20th century examples of self-determination versus legal boundaries. The de facto, de jure debate is not old. Methods to influence it include in the short term force of arms and in the long term movement of peoples (by displacement or being immigrating in) to influence future plebscites.

headache said...

Steve,
This is the kind of question you need Testing99 on. The point is what you suggest makes sense and would be considered fair and rational under normal circumstances. But Realpolitik does not work that way. And in spite of all the talk about moral politics as far as I am concerned we are still dealing with a form of Realpolitik. Us normal guys keep running into this and come to the wrong conclusions. I think Testing99, when he's not on a Neocon/Israel tangent, understands this reality.

anony-mouse said...

1/ Helping the Kosovars was doable (geography, European help).

Helping the Georgians is not.

This is why when people accuse the US of hypocrisy for helping XYZ when the US does nothing about China they are being disengenous to say the least.

2/ If (When) Russia succeeds will people start calling South Ossetia or Georgia 'captive nations'?

Peter said...

This war has put the kibosh on the old adage that there's never been a war between two countries that both have McDonald's.

testing99 said...

Yes we are on a Realpolitik issue.

I don't think policy in Kosovo was wise, nor was it smart realpolitik for Clinton to take advantage of temporary Russian weakness to dismember Russia's traditional client state in the Balkans. But a lot of the three-cornered fight in the Balkans has been the same since the rise of the Turks in 1200 and the battle of Manzikert. Westerners abhor the Orthodox and will ally with "the Turk" in whatever form to suppress him. Unless the "Turk" in whatever form is too strong and a threat to the Catholic powers, in which case temporary alliances against the "Turk" form. It has been, IMHO, stupid.

What the Russian-Georgian war is about is oil. Putin needs high oil prices and bombing/cutting off Georgia's pipeline outside Russian control is one way to make that happen. It's a big gamble for Putin though because unless he crushes Georgia and makes it a client state or reabsorbed, his enemies in the Kremlin will use "weakness" to bring out the knives.

If however Putin wins, he can intimidate states like the Ukraine and the Baltics and Poland and much of Eastern Europe, and even the West. Most of Europe is essentially disarmed and without the ability to re-arm in any meaningful way.

That presents a power vacuum and even a weak Russia can dictate to the Europeans and extort things (money mostly) through armed power.

A whole bunch of people bet the farm on the "changes" to human nature and the "obsolete" nature of warfare. Gary Brecher has been pretty steadfast in saying that war is obsolete among industrialized countries and we'll now see a test of that theory in action.

Anonymous said...

If Testing99 is the answer........

Anonymous said...

Here is one blogger's take on the curreng Georgian situation:



"Here's the short and sweet summary of the situation: After the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, many ethnic Russians were stranded in the newly independent countries. Many of the new countries passed draconian, clearly racist laws designed to kick the Russians out or at least to give them as little say in a country's politics as possible. Because of the economic situation, many Russians stayed in enclaves in the various republics - after all, they have been there for generations, and all their belongings and valuables were there - things like their house, their farm land, etc. Fleeing to Russia - to what? - is simply not an option to many of them.

Various coflicts took place between the ethnic Russians and the newly independent ethnic majorities - and by conflict I do not necessarily mean shooting war.

But that is exactly what is happening now in Georgia, unfortunately...

The small enclave of South Ossetia is Russian, and successfully broke away from Georgia in 1992. The current Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili decided to gamble and during the opening of the Olympics, when he figured the attention of the world was focused on Beijing and the celebration of China's ruling geritocracy, he ordered an offensive.

Georgian artillery and airplanes bombed ethnic Russian civilian targets in a massive offensive with tanks, airplanes, artillery, commandos - the works.

South Ossetia put up resistance but they were outclassed - until Putin decided that enough humiliation for Russians is enough and ordered Russian forces into South Ossetia.

We are talking modern (very modern) jets in air to air combat, with massive Russian tank forces pushing the Georgians out of South Ossetia territory.

Here's what you might not know - there are about 1500 American military advisors in Georgia, and the official line is that they (goodness me!) did not have any idea that Georgia would launch a surpise "Tet" offensive to ethnically cleanse South Ossetia and that they (goodness me!) are NOT involved in any way.

By golly, gosh darn, this is literally see no evil, hear no evil etc...

Unless (not quite conspiracy alert here as this is very plausible) the pro West, soon to be NATO members (possibly) Georgians coordinated this with Washington's very own neocons (perhaps not Bush, but the real shadow players behind the throne).

And guess what?

Apart from the American advisors, there are (possibly - need conformation on this) Israeli "advisors" also in Georgia.

Quite a witches brew, eh?

So what Russia (and Putin and whoever is in charge supposedly now in Russia - lets not kid ourselves, it is Putin still) saw was a US-Israeli move to again grab some oil, this time really close to the Russian border.

Simply put, when the Soviet Union fell, America saw an opportunity to expand its influence into hitherto unavailable territories (ex of Soviet Union) and took it.

And America is STILL aggressively expanding everywhere in the world, a la the neocon doctrine of one world superpower and damn the rest of the globe (and also do not allow a competing superpower to be created).

Russia has had enough and so struck back - hard.

I wonder if any American or Israeli "advisors" died in this (by proxy) Russia - USA (and Israel) war."

Proofreader said...

In the Balkans it was logical to believe Milosevic, and his henchmen, could employ a policy of genocide in Kosovo.

Except The Hague tribunal could never prove those allegations. That's why he had to be "suicided" in his cell.

J. said...

About Israeli advisors in Georgia: We are not going to war against Russia. No way. Forget it. We always follow American leadership and shall abandon Georgia exactly as Americans will do.

michael farris said...

I would think that chechnya would be a better analogy, small ethnically mixed caucasian area that's unhappy with it's borders.

Of course Chechens wanted out of Russia while Abkhazians and Ossetians want in, which makes all the difference in the world to the Russian government (like all governments, a firm believer in double standards).

Kosovo hasn't had a serbian majority since the 19th century and the great majority of Serbians who moved away did so on their own accord. So while serbs wanted political control of Kosovo for sentimental reasons, they really didn't want to live there in numbers that would make said political control feasible while Albanians did and do want to.
This is not to deny that Albanians are, in general, not popular or desired neighbors, but that's not the question.

Ross said...

The population of South Ossetia is about 1/30th of the size of Kosovo and is plainly not a viable state. Furthermore Georgia doesn't have a recent record of employing ethnic cleansing and genocide against national minorities in the way that Serbia has. Furthermore it is legally different as South Ossetia was not a constituent member of a federation in the way that Kosovo was.

Edward said...

Proofreader said...

Except The Hague tribunal could never prove those allegations. That's why he had to be "suicided" in his cell..

Bosnia was at the least proof Milosevic was unable to stop a serious crisis descending into genocide. Reputation alone is often enough on which to base a decent forecast.

Before the latest events, Saakashvili didn't have a reputation for genocide. The likelihood is Putin's claim Georgia was committing a genocide in South Ossetia, rather than fighting Russian-armed rebels as the Georgians claim, is false.

Also note Georgians have been fighting South Ossetian rebels for years without accidentally, or not, committing genocide. So one might go as far as saying the Georgian regime has a reputation for avoiding genocide, for whatever reason.

Given South Ossetia's tiny population of 70,000 a Srebrenica scale genocide would be the second quickest solution to the problem, short of letting the Russians have it.

Anonymous said...

"Putin needs high oil prices and bombing/cutting off Georgia's pipeline outside Russian control is one way to make that happen. It's a big gamble for Putin though because unless he crushes Georgia and makes it a client state or reabsorbed, his enemies in the Kremlin will use "weakness" to bring out the knives."

Putin has already won this game against the US and the EU. Putin isn't fighting over gas, he's fighting because the eeediot Booosh misadministration didn't do enough to reign in their foolhardy, dictatorial, client "leader" Saakashvili.

Even without this war, the Georgian gas (not oil) pipeline was never going to go active because the pipeline has to be built across Caspian waters.

Fortunately for Putin, no company will actually build a pipeline there because the Caspian waters are still disputed under international law.

Until an agreement re the nature of the Caspian's borders is made, no company will risk building a pipeline because the costs are too high in the short term and the payoff would be very questionable in the longterm.

The two greatest Central Asian energy superpowers, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, are pretty much resigned to the fact that their pipelines for many years into the future will have to go through Russia, and not through the alternative route via Georgia:

Russia takes control of Turkmen (world?) gas

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JG30Ag01.html

From the details coming out of Ashgabat in Turkmenistan and Moscow over the weekend, it is apparent that the great game over Caspian energy has taken a dramatic turn. In the geopolitics of energy security, nothing like this has happened before. The United States has suffered a huge defeat in the race for Caspian gas. The question now is how much longer Washington could afford to keep Iran out of the energy market.

Gazprom, Russia's energy leviathan, signed two major agreements in Ashgabat on Friday outlining a new scheme for purchase of Turkmen gas. The first one elaborates the price formation principles that will be guiding the Russian gas purchase from Turkmenistan during the next 20-year period. The second agreement is a unique one, making Gazprom the donor for local Turkmen energy projects. In essence, the two agreements ensure that Russia will keep control over Turkmen gas exports.

snip

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Georgia attempted to recapture the South Ossetia in the way Croatia did with its beakaway region, Krajina, in 1995 (*August 5*) in "Operation Storm":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Storm

Heavy involvement of American military advisors and State Department in the Croatian Operation Storm was alleged. So, it may very well be that the attack on South Ossetia, including its timing, was cooked up in Washington. I imagine George Bush was looking forward to seeing Putin's bewildered face at the openning ceremony.

Anonymous said...

ross: "Furthermore Georgia doesn't have a recent record of employing ethnic cleansing and genocide against national minorities in the way that Serbia has."

Had Georgia's attack on South Ossetia been victorious, it would have most certainly included ethnic cleansing of disloyal population. The way Croatia expelled ~200,000 Serbs when it successfully recaptured its breakaway region Krajina.
In the age of democracy, there is no easy way for governments to deal with rebellious ethnic minorities.

airtommy said...

I'm stunned by the abuse of the term "realpolitik" in this thread. Literally, you people are using exactly opposite of its meaning. From Wiki:

"The policy of realpolitik meant dealing with other powerful nations in a practical manner rather than on the basis of political doctrine or ethics."

That's a PERFECT description of Steve Sailer's argument vis a vis the Clinton/Bush doctrines. Steve is talking Realpolitik, and he's making a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

The global network of fixed media portrays Russia as the bogeyman because Russia's sham democracy isn't controlled by _.

On the other hand, America's fraudulent democracy is 'legitimate' because it's controlled by _.

Other fraudulent democracies currently legitimized by a global network of fixed media:

UK
Germany
France
Holland
Hungary
Sweden
Canada
Australia

Borders sabotaged? Mass demographic invasion by hostile aliens in full effect? Majority culture under relentless hostile attack from a fixed media?

Welcome to 21st century fraudulent democracy. The most sophisticated form of dictatorship yet devised.

airtommy said...

your solution for these problems (partition and forced relocation along tribal lines) will never be implemented by the elite because their eventual goal is a world in which all ethnecities live intermixed.

Do you realize you posted this message immediately after reading a Steve Sailer blog entry describing massive, violent, forced ethnic relocation along tribal lines sponsored by the "elite"? LOL!

Svigor said...

The population of South Ossetia is about 1/30th of the size of Kosovo and is plainly not a viable state.

If that's plainly true, can you explain how?

Furthermore Georgia doesn't have a recent record of employing ethnic cleansing and genocide against national minorities in the way that Serbia has.

Ah, so a ginned up "record" is the key. If we accuse Georgia of genocide, we'll have to intervene. Better not do that then!

Furthermore it is legally different as South Ossetia was not a constituent member of a federation in the way that Kosovo was.

Ehehehe.

Bosnia was at the least proof Milosevic was unable to stop a serious crisis descending into genocide.

Er, what genocide?

neil craig said...

I think a closer comparison is with Krajina, the Serb majority area that used to exist, claimed by Croatia. In that instance US officers suppled by MPRI organised the Croatian army & almost certainly planned the war. The launched a surprise attack, sheeld Knin the capital & ethnicly cleansed/killed the 250,000 population.

For 2 weeks at the end of July 1,000 US soldiers were training with the Georgian forces. In the hours between the attack & Russian intervention they are said to have killed 1,400 Ossetians which is a lot out of 70,000 & fits with the Krajina example. It is clear the attack was timed for when the Russian leadership was abroad, hoping to have cleansed the place before they could react.

They failed. Russia reacted instantly & its armed forces have proven competent.

This has been compared with August 1914. I think that is wrong. It is much more like the preceding Morrocco crisis of 1911. At least I hope it is.

In all these cases & in Kosovo, what happened is that the "Powers", naving dispensed with international law & diplomatic concert were forming alliances, siezing valueless colonies & drawing lines in the sand to prove who had the biggest.

We had no interest in Kosovo (or Bosnia or Croatia & little in Iraq) exsept to prove that we could crush a slavic, Orthodox, ex-communist people. The same applies in Georgia. To justify bombing for Kosovo on the grounds that there was a perception that Milosevic had committed genocide there or in Bosnia is perverse if the perception was produced by western media propaganda rather than the truth. The failure to produce any evidence against Milosevic shows it was.

We are sowing the wind, while China, India & Russia grow.

Roger Chaillet said...

anonymous is wrong about the mass movement of Third-Worlders into the West.

Bush, Calderon, Blair, et al, want the free movement of the peoples of the Third World into the West, just not into their neighborhoods.

Bush is moving to Dallas, but he's not going to live in a brown neighborhood. He will probably live in Preston Hollow or the Park Cities. Both of these areas have the highest per capita incomes and some of the greatest balance sheets in the country.

Bush wants to reprise the Mexican model: Impossibly corrupt European - read: white - oligarchs ruling over a permanent underclass and very small middle class.

And he's already grooming his mestizo nephew to play a role in this New World Order.

scope said...

your first sentence is laughable...

"Nine years ago, the U.S. and its NATO allies bombed heck out of Yugoslavia (i.e., Serbia) in order to liberate Kosovo, an ethnically distinct breakaway province universally recognized as legitimately part of Yugoslavia-Serbia. After a couple of months, Milosevic gave up, and Kosovo recently declared its independence."

that (i.e., Serbia) is laughable. Serbia NEVER "equated" to Yugoslavia. NEVER.

even more laughableis this line... universally recognized as legitimately part of Yugoslavia-Serbia

"Yugoslvia-Serbia"? Honestly, what are you smoking?

Serbs were one of MANY in what was yugoslavia... It was Under the leadership of slobodan milosovic That serbs took it upon themselves to try and Dominate Yugoslavia... to in fact CREATE an as you put it "Yugoslavia-serbia"... i always preferred the term "serbo-slavia" for that dream state they wanted.

so sorry, but They Failed.

the ONLY thing that was universally recognized was that Milosovic and serbia WAS NOT the successor state of the Former Yugoslavia that they destroyed...even russia agreed on that point.

with Milosovic's re-authored constituion...serbs REAPPLIED for UN membership in 2000. a year AFTER they lost control of kosovo...and later still after even montenegro left. they changed names officially to the Republic of Serbia.

yes, that country never had control over kosovo..and it is in fact Younger than the paper UN resolution 1244 is written on.

the UN...and rightly so, did not allow the fact that serbia was new and re-applied for UN membership... to be an excuse for either party to ignore 1244 and seek a solution.

The ultimate irony is that at the end..when there was no else left for milosovic to wield power over except serbs themselves...serbs "suddenly" discovered democracy and realized he was a dictator and rose up against him (a laughable description, considering they gave him his powers in the first place)


For Nearly a Decade..as the International community sought to get the 2 sides to come to a resolution.. the ONLY thing serbs offered...the ONLY thing. was an offer of apartheid. Literally.
If you cannot vote in the legislative branch of your country...that is the very definition of apartheid. And Kosovo, that once held EQUAL representation in the yugoslav federal government as serbia...had that equal representation forcefully removed in the first place by milosovic of serbs WITHIN yugolsavia.

The number one reason the Recognition of Independence of Kosovo was made possible, where the serbs themselves... See, even though Milosovic was bad, a dictator, and they were now free and democratic, and all that violence was "his doing", why they will go ahead and keep apartheid going in there new state.

why insult your own intelligence?... Kosovo is Nothing like south ossetia and Georgia sure as hell isnt serbia.

dearieme said...

Just as the British system of freeing the slaves (compensation paid to the owners) was far better than the American (bloody civil war).

lumpenscholar said...

One big difference is that the US did not significantly promote Kosovar resistance, while the Russians have promoted S.O. separatism by, for example, offering Russian citizenship to S.O. citizens so they could then intervene to protect them.

Peter Frost said...

"Of course Chechens wanted out of Russia while Abkhazians and Ossetians want in, which makes all the difference in the world to the Russian government (like all governments, a firm believer in double standards)."

I don't see the parallel. Russia invaded Chechnya because Islamist groups were conducting raids on neighboring Dagestan. The Chechen government itself had fallen under the influence of Islamist factions

The Ossetians were simply ethnic separatists. They were not a threat to anyone outside Ossetia and just wanted to determine their own future.

Martins said...

"Russia promised to help Israel with Iran and Israel promised NOT to help Georgia. End of free Georgia.
Americans will save the Georgians as much as they saved the Hungarians in 1956."
Copy-Past :)
Yup Baltic states,Ukraine and Armenia next.......

AS said...

Anonymous 8/09

The blogger you quote doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. He says "The Small enclave of South Ossetia is Russian." No it isn't. According to Wikipedia "before the Georgian-Ossetian conflict roughly two-thirds of the population of South Ossetia was Ossetian and 25-30% was Georgian." According to the Census data going back to 1926 Russians were never more than 2.5% of the population.

Like the Georgians the Ossetians are a non-Slavic Christian Orthodox people, though the Ossetians have a Muslim minority of “no more than 30%”. But the Ossetians do seem to be have been more pro-Russian historically and those in South Ossetia have been given Russian citizenship "By August 2008 more than 70% of the South Ossetia citizens had Russian citizenship."

Until the 1991-1992 conflict relations weren’t too terrible by local standards. “Generally speaking, Georgians and Ossetians have been living in peace with each other except for the episodes in 1918–1920. Both ethnicities have had a high level of interaction and a high rate of intermarriages.” “Relations between Georgians and Ossetians remained peaceful throughout the Soviet period in contrast to Georgia’s other ethnic troublespot, Abkhazia, where ethnic discord was much more profound and potentially inflammable.”

Also there’s this “US-Israeli move to again grab some oil, this time really close to the Russian border.” Really? I haven’t seen anything to suggest that there’s oil in South Ossetia and Georgia is a net importer of oil. (According to the CIA world factbook Georgia has proven reserves of 35 million barrels compared to 7 billion in Azerbaijan)
There is however an oil pipeline running through Georgia carrying Azeri and central Asian oil but that oil is drilled and transported by/through Western oil companies and pro-American governments there is no need for the US to “grab some oil” as it is already controls it. So who benefits from this sudden escalation of the South Ossetian conflict?
A month ago Steve asked $140 Oil -- Cui Bono? On Friday oil closed at around $115 per barrel.
On August 5th the PKK successfully
attacked the Turkish section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
Washington Post-
“Oil prices jumped back above $120 a barrel Thursday, halting a steep three-day slide after Kurdish rebels claimed responsibility for a fire at key Turkish pipeline that supplies Western countries.”
“The fire raised the possibility of a prolonged closure of the U.S.-backed 1,100-mile pipeline, which allows the West to tap oil from Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea fields, estimated to hold the world's third-largest reserves, and bypass Russia and Iran. The pipeline can pump slightly more than 1 million barrels of crude oil per day, or more than 1 percent of the world's daily crude output.”
The PKK attack failed to halt the slide in oil prices for long as it fell back to $115 by Friday.
Now we have news reports of Russia bombing the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
Like the bombing in Turkey this war will probably have only a temporary effect on oil prices. (Which are sliding because of a realization that a worldwide economic slowdown is already underway and a short/medium term dollar rebound.)
But who benefits from trying to prop prices up? Russia (and its ex-KGB and oil tycoon ruling class) and other oil producers. Certainly not the U.S., Europe, Turkey or Israel.

-AS

testing99 said...

Putin has had this in mind for some time. The general quality of Russian troops is poor, but note how quickly Russian troops in the area responded -- quite clearly this operation had been planned and the highest quality troops were put in place, ready to respond.

Georgia will have a number of lessons to everyone:

1. Alliances and the "international community" are no substitute for being able to defend yourself from a neighbor who is strong militarily.

2. War by industrialized countries is not obsolete, quite the reverse.

3. The "violence gap" i.e. the willingness of various autocracies to use violence with impunity and the inability of Western countries to respond hands the initiative and control to the autocracies.

4. Some form of widespread war in and around the West is inevitable -- because the price of oil where Western economic activity supports the Welfare State and various handouts (corporate, racial/ethnic, etc.) is much, much lower than autocracies.

One of the reasons Putin HAD to launch this war was to kill the pipeline (partially financed btw by BP which also explains the BP exec being expelled by thugs from the joint venture in Russia a month or so ago). The pipeline from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey bypassed Russia and allowed cheaper oil/gas to be delivered to Europe outside Russian control.

Russia, Iran, and Saddam's Iraq could not survive low oil prices for very long because the patronage networks that keeps thugs with guns paid by the Big Man demands high oil prices. They can't develop their own oil to operate profitably and efficiently at low(er) prices because it would require suppression of the thug network which keeps the Big Man in power. [Same problem for Africa.]

Unlike though, Nigeria, men like Putin or Ahmadinejad have various means at their disposal to constantly yank oil north of $140 a barrel. While the West (including China) MUST have cheap(er) oil.

This pretty much to my mind guarantees some sort of conflict.

simon newman said...

South Ossetia is like Kosovo in that a US-backed tribe (Georgians, Albanians) seeks to expand its territory at the expense of a Russian-backed tribe (Ossetians, Serbs).

They're different in that Russia has nukes and Serbia didn't, so NATO will not be bombing Russia to drive Russians & Ossetians out of Ossetia.

They're alike in that the US has no good reason to be meddling in either case.

airtommy said...

testing99 said...

One of the reasons Putin HAD to launch this war


Ahem, Georgia started this war. And thus the rest of your post can be dismissed.

Your claims that Putin had militarily prepared for this war are most likely false. But even if they are true, they simply show that Putin is smart. He knew that America and Israel were plotting the Georgian attack on Russia, and he was ready. And so we have yet another Neocon military operation going down in flames. When will You People learn that you aren't good at war?

Anonymous said...

It is not that simple: Serbians lived in Kosovo for 1000 years. They were expelled by Nazi Albania and Germany in WW2, decimated. Then with NATO help Kosovo is now completely ethnically cleansed from Serbians. Not something that makes me proud at all. 1000 years old cultural heritage was being destroyed by Albanian Muslim mobs in the same way as Afghan's Buddha's by Talibans, and we did nothing to protect Serbian people:
http://www.spc.yu/Vesti-2004/pogrom.html. In fact, we finished them off.

South Ossetian people are most likely going to avoid the fate of Serbs in Kosovo: Georgia tried to expelled them but failed. In Kosovo, Albanians wanted to expel Serbians and were backed up by NATO and succeeded. The only difference is that Serbia was not our ally and Georgia is. We get upset when our ethnic cleansing plans don't work here as in Croatia and Kosovo, as Russia stepped in. Interesting part is that west is actively supporting ethnic cleansing done by its allies and legitimizing land steal from Serbia other countries can become subject to the same treatment we established and therefore have no right to complain. We planted the seed for more problems ahead.

georgesdelatour said...

Some population figures: Andorra 72,000; Liechtenstein 35,000; San Marino 30,000. There's no intrinsic reason why a tiny state of 70,000 people can't be "viable". An independent South Ossetia could, if it wanted, set itself up as a Caucasian tax haven, an inland Cayman Islands. What makes a small nation "unviable" isn't its smallness. It's its inability to resist the predation of its larger, stronger neighbours.

Anonymous said...

The NYT is now reporting that Russian troops are preparing to assualt the town of Gori. I don't know if this is true - the NYT isn't exactly an objective source here. The thing about Gori though is that it's the birthplace of one Joseph Djugashvili (i.e. Stalin). He was half Ossetian (on his father's side) and half Georgian and is considered a national hero by most people on both sides of this conflict. I wonder if Saakashvili has ever had to explain this to his neocon puppet-masters. There are statues of Stalin in public places in Georgia. There is a museum to him there:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin_Museum,_Gori

Im sure that Corsicans and Mongolians are still proud of the only world figures they've ever produced as well, so I'm not saying that this is somehow strange or wrong, just that it's funny in light of who's behind Georgia's current government. Noticing the hypocricies involved is the only thing that can make a war entertaining to those who aren't winning it.
Let's hope that the neocons lose this war.

anony-mouse said...

'... America and Israel were plotting the Georgia attack on Russia'

Excuse me but I see an ant on the floor. Obviously this ant is plotting an attack on me (aided by my enemies, of course). What shall I do to prevent my doom since I am obviously in great danger from this vicious ant?

Big Bill said...

Genocide ... "it had been done in Bosnia before."

Gotta love the passive voice. It had been done in America. It had been done in Germany. It had been done most everywhere.

The question is "who done it?" And the answer is, The Nazis and their Evil Henchmen the Genocidal Serbians.

I fear our friends are not going to purge their race guilt for generations, if ever.

The sad reality is that the Croatians have pretty much ethnically cleansed Bosnia of all Serbians. No multiculti diversity worshippers they.

The only ones who really wanted a multicultural Yugoslavia were the Serbs, it seems.

But Georgian hands are not clean either. According to some South Ossetian web sites the Georgians have a history of attacking the Russians in South Ossetia.

And speaking of Georgians, wasn't there some Georgian boss who made quite a genocidal name for himself by slaughtering Russians and Ukrainians? "Djugashvili", I think?

Eric said...

Pournelle has, for years, been pointing to this as the likely result of our little adventure in Kosovo.

I seriously, seriously doubt the Bush administration was behind the Georgian attack. It's hard to imagine how it wouldn't provoke this kind of response from the Russians. I'm half a mind to think that ultimately the Russians must be behind it somehow.

On the other hand, people talking about the Georgian "power grab" should remember this is all happening within the territorial boundaries of Georgia, so they have every right to establish the primacy of the Georgian state. doesn't really matter what the local ethnic mix is.

Testing99 does have a point about the Russian military. They did seem to be suspiciously well prepared, though as strategypage has been pointing out lately, the Russians have been using their oil wealth to create a smaller, well equipped, western-style volunteer army. The days when you could assume Russian troops to be poorly trained conscripts using crappy equipment are over.

Anonymous said...

"your solution for these problems (partition and forced relocation along tribal lines) will never be implemented by the elite because their eventual goal is a world in which all ethnicities live intermixed."

"Do you realize you posted this message immediately after reading a Steve Sailer blog entry describing massive, violent, forced ethnic relocation along tribal lines sponsored by the "elite"? LOL!"

I don't see it that way. Sure, in the short term there may be cases of the Elite sponsoring a break-away ethnic province, but only when the nation from which they're breaking away isn't viewed as Liberal.

Putin and the Russian leadership isn't seen as part of the Elite, BTW. He's not sufficiently Liberal

ben tillman said...

Their eventual goal? One race/one culture/one language/one religion (if any) from the intermixing of all these different peoples living side-by-side....

That is precisely the opposite of what they want.

The goal is 6 billion races.

Truth said...

The Serb-Croat conflict was as manufactured and phony as Al-Queda. The real reason for the 'liberation' bombings were that Milosevic was started feeling his oats and began to usurp upon the US/Western European controlled heroin trade/prostitution domination. This is of course, one of the major reasons for the war in Afghanistan as well.

Wars are not started, nor are they joined for humanitarian reasons, if they were we'd have US troops in half of Africa now.

airtommy said...

'... America and Israel were plotting the Georgia attack on Russia'

Excuse me but I see an ant on the floor. Obviously this ant is plotting an attack on me (aided by my enemies, of course). What shall I do to prevent my doom since I am obviously in great danger from this vicious ant?


Russia is not Israel in 1967, when Israel attacked Egypt in supposed "self-defense". Quite simply - RUSSIA DID NOT STRIKE FIRST.

Georgia is not an ant. It is one of a series of American military bases that are getting ever closer to Moscow.

neil craig said...

Despite Scope's weird sense of humour Kosvo was part of Serbia. One can argue that we should not have supported the break up of Yugoslavia (indeed we had promised on the Helsinki Treaty to "take no action against the territorial integrity or unity" of Yugoslavia. We can say that promise doesn't count & that substates of Yugoslavia become sovereign in very much the way the US states aren't - which is what we did & used this as an excuse to prevent the Serbs of Krajina & Republika Srpska choosing their own indepednce. But one cannot then, with any show of honesty, claim that Kosovo has the right to secede from Serbia (let alone doing another about face & say that the Serb majority & pre-cleansing Serb majority areas of Kosvo have no such right).

Lumpenscholar shows some reversal of reality with "One big difference is that the US did not significantly promote Kosovar resistance, while the Russians have promoted S.O. separatism..."

Come on. The KLA was recruited by western intelligence & our friend bin Laden from drug lords, pimps, gangsters, ex-Nazis, ex-members of Albania's secter police & organleggers from around the world (including New York). The were aremed with the best NATO weapons (although there was a blockade the NATO fleet was unable to intercept a single gun runner "because they used speed boats" & was even, officially, unable to identify the counrty on the west coast of the Adriatic, where they came from.

You just don't create a real "liberation army" from non-existence to 26,000 under arms in 2 years (1997-9) without an extremely rich uncle.

Fortunately Russia is clearly not trying to engage inn genocide & is willing to make peace whan they are sure it will not be broken again. It is reasonable for them to expect something more trustworthy than the "ceasefire" Georgia announced t 2 hours before starting this.

ben tillman said...

How is South Ossetia not like Kosovo?

War in Georgia: The Israeli connection

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3580136,00.html

Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businesspeople.

"They contacted defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons," says a source involved in arms exports.

The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation.

***

Among the Israelis who took advantage of the opportunity and began doing business in Georgia were former Minister Roni Milo and his brother Shlomo, former director-general of the Military Industries, Brigadier-General (Res.) Gal Hirsch and Major-General (Res.) Yisrael Ziv.


Yes, Smedley Butler, war is a racket.

John of London said...

Anonymous:
"Joseph Djugashvili (i.e. Stalin). He was half Ossetian (on his father's side) and half Georgian"
Actually this is not certain. According to "Young Stalin" by Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Stalin's mother was a bit of a goer before Joseph was born, and there are 3 candidates for his biological father. Incidentally, Steve, what do you think of the fact that ,as well as his mother's husband, both the other possible fathers gave young Joe a helping hand?
"Im sure that Corsicans and Mongolians are still proud of the only world figures they've ever produced"
Actually Corsicans claim Christopher Columbus as one of their own.

lumpenscholar said...

Hmmm, let's see. So Georgia is a US and Israeli military base, where no significant US or Israeli troops are stationed, nor is Georgia armed by the US or Israel, nor is it being defended by the US or Israel. That's a funny kind of base.

The S. Ossetian government is run by Russia (the defense minister is Russian, for example) and the majority of S. Ossetians have been given Russian citizenship specifically so that Russia can claim it's protecting its citizens when it intervenes, and this is comparable to vague claims that someone (wink-wink) must have armed the Kosovars. Evidence, please.

lumpenscholar said...

Here's a specialist's opinion:

"This brings us to the question of whether Kosovo really is fundamentally different from those secessionist countries that we have already recognised - Slovenia, Croatia, Latvia, Georgia, Montenegro, etc. - and fundamentally similar to those we have not - South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nagorno Karabakh, etc. The answer on both counts is, simply, no. Kosovo is different from the latter territories in terms of its status in the former federation to which it belonged: it was - like Croatia, Slovenia and the other former Yugoslav republics - a constituent member of the Yugoslav federation in its own right. By contrast, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh were not constituent members of the former Soviet Union. ... If one applies consistently the principle that all the members of the former federations of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia should have the right to self-determination, then this right belongs to Kosovo.

"Furthermore, when Kosovo joined Serbia in 1945, it did so formally of its own free will, by a vote of its provincial assembly. Kosovo was, before Slobodan Milosevic’s abrogation of its autonomy in the late 1980s, already effectively independent of Serbia, which was a composite republic consisting of the two autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina and so-called ‘Serbia proper’ - each of which was a member of the Yugoslav federation in its own right, independently of the other two. There is absolutely no reason why the international community should, given the collapse of this federation, automatically assign Kosovo to the possession of an independent Serbia. Since Kosovo joined Serbia in 1945 on the understanding that it was simultaneously part of Yugoslavia, the only reasonable course of action would be to permit Kosovo’s assembly to decide what its status should be in the new circumstances. These new circumstances were, let us not forget, created by the leadership of Serbia’s deliberate and successful campaign to break up Yugoslavia and deprive all Yugoslavs - including the Kosovars - of their common homeland."

Truth said...

"Georgia is not an ant. It is one of a series of American military bases that are getting ever closer to Moscow."

The annual Georgian military budget is listed a 930 million dollars which is slightly less than one day of US military operations in Iraq.

airtommy said...

Georgia is like an Israeli settlement outpost. They haven't built it up yet, they're just in the early stages. Right now, we have shipped them tons of great weapons, sent them military advisors (fortunately, stupid ones), and had our Secretary of State (who's also stupid) personally green-light their invasion of Ossetia. Simultaneously, we are trying to get Georgia into NATO, which then means American tanks, fighter jets, etc. The nuclear missiles come next. You may not care when Russians put nuclear missiles just offshore the American coast, but Americans cared. Similarly, Russians care when America surrounds Russia with nuclear missiles.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but America has not yet apologized for invading Russia, have they?

Truth said...

"Hmmm, let's see. So Georgia is a US and Israeli military base, where no significant US or Israeli troops are stationed, nor is Georgia armed by the US or Israel,..."

http://rense.com/general82/truth.htm

ben tillman said...

Here's a specialist's opinion....

No, that guy is not a "specialist" in the relevant field. He is a "specialist" in obfuscation and bloviation.

A specialist in the relevant field would tell you that EVERY person or group of people has a right to self-determination.

"If one applies consistently the principle that all the members of the former federations of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia should have the right to self-determination...."

That's a principle? Some peoples have rights, and others don't? That's as blatant as particularism can get!

ben tillman said...

Hmmm, let's see. So Georgia is a US and Israeli military base, where no significant US or Israeli troops are stationed, nor is Georgia armed by the US or Israel, nor is it being defended by the US or Israel. That's a funny kind of base.

The S. Ossetian government is run by Russia (the defense minister is Russian, for example)....


Priceless.

Georgia's defense minister is an Israeli, and Israel is arming the Georgian government.

RKU said...

Georgia's defense minister is an Israeli, and Israel is arming the Georgian government

Shame, shame. Picking on poor little Georgia.

When future histories of this era are written, absolutely no one will know or care the nationality of Georgia's leaders.

On the other hand, the actual "nationality" of America's top DC decision-makers will have people rolling in the aisles with laughter...

Anonymous said...

Kosovo is similar to Georgia but, North Mitrovica is similar to South Ossetia.
As the United States Institute for Peace says, "No solution for Kosovo can last without a solution for Mitrovica."
http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2006/0724_mitrovica.html
Serbs number only 130,000 of Kosovo's nearly two million population. Half of Kosovo's Serbs live in North Mitrovica and its hinterland up to the border of Serbia proper.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/08/mil-070810-voa06.htm