The War Oh Georgia!
posted by August 14 at 12:00 PMon
Wondering if World War III is about to start?
As usual, the War Nerd can help:
There are three basic facts to keep in mind about the smokin’ little war in Ossetia:
1. The Georgians started it.
2. They lost.
3. What a beautiful little war!
The American military’s response so far has been all talk, and pretty damn stupid talk at that. A Pentagon spokes-thingy called Russia’s response “disproportionate.” …
If you want a translation, luckily I speak fluent Pentagon. So what “disproportionate” means is—well, imagine that you’re watching some little hanger-on who tags along with you get his ass whipped by a bully, and you say, “That’s inappropriate!” I mean, instead of actually helping him. That’s what “disproportionate” means from the Pentagon: “We’re not going to lift a finger to help you, but hey, we’re with you in spirit, little buddy!”
The quickest way to see who’s winning in any war is to see who asks first for a ceasefire. And this time it was the Georgians. Once it was clear the Russians were going to back the South Ossetians, the war was over. Even Georgians were saying, “To fight Russia by ourselves is insane.” Which means they thought Russia wouldn’t back its allies. Not a bad bet; Russia has a long, unpredictable history of screwing its allies—but not all the time. The Georgians should know better than anybody that once in a while, the Russians actually come through, because it was Russian troops who saved Georgia from a Persian invasion in 1805, at the battle of Zagam. Of course the Russians had let the Persians sack Tbilisi just ten years earlier without helping. That’s the thing: the bastards are unpredictable. You can’t even count on them to betray their friends (though it’s the safer bet, most of the time, sort of like 6:5 odds).
This time, the Russians came through. For lots of reasons, starting with the fact that Bush is weak and they know it; that the US is all tied up in that crap Iraq war and can’t do shit; and most of all, because Kosovo just declared independence from Serbia, an old Russian ally. It’s tit for tat time, with Kosovo as the tit and South Ossetia as the tat. The way Putin sees it, if we can mess with his allies and let little ethnic enclaves like Kosovo declare independence, then the Russians can do the same with our allies, especially naïve idiotic allies like Georgia.
One cannot think of Russia today as being the same as the Russia of the Soviet Union or Cold War. Russia is little more than an oil company—a belligerent, preening and despotic oil company with thousands of nuclear warheads. A company driven almost entirely by greed and insecurity.
The neo-Liberal economic reforms foisted upon the country (thought up by the same DLC assholes who came up with welfare reform and the financial industry deregulation that directly lead to our own financial collapse, for those of you keeping track) in the 1990s have left the Russian population constantly bristling at any sense that they are being denigrated.
Georgia’s agitation to join NATO, and the growing sense that the US might also strongly encourage this, proved intolerable. Georgia is strategically located, near to some of the Russian oil deposits and pipelines. We didn’t like those nuclear missiles in Cuba. Why would Russia tolerate NATO right next door?
As Dan noted, subsequently we’re started sending some troops and humanitarian aid. I wouldn’t start digging your fallout shelters right now, but who knows. Just like during the blockade of Cuba—the biggest risk is of an “accident” occurring, in which American and Russian troops start shooting at one another without really intending to.
On that cheerful note, do you know the four primary nuclear warhead targets for the city of Seattle proper?
The University of Washington main campus, Boeing Field, Seattle Center and Seatac Airport.
Estimated casualties? 341,000. Neat.
Because Matthew Broderick knows all.