It has been a while since I last blogged about anything. But I have recently been stirred back to life. With Russia's invasion of Georgia last week, I find myself roused from my blog-sleep.
Late last week, Russia invaded the independent nation of Georgia. No, you need not worry about any relatives in Atlanta or Macon. It's not that Georgia. The Georgia I'm talking about was an independent nation before it was gobbled up and included in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and following the USSR's dissolution it is once again independent. As you can see from the above map, Georgia is on the eastern banks of the Black Sea.
Here is the Russian view of things. Prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union there was an ethnically-defined region known as Ossetia. After the break-up, Ossetia was divided between Russia and Georgia as North (Russian) and South (Georgian) Ossetia. Both halves of Ossetia, as well as neighboring Abkhazia, have strong separatist movements that seek to establish separate nations of Abkhazia and Ossetia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claims that Russia has a vested interest in the welfare of the Ossetian people and has Russian troops in North Ossetia to maintain order in that region. So, when Georgia moved troops into South Ossetia (which is within the territorial borders of Georgia) to quell violence and restore order, Putin used this as a pretext on which to invade Georgia and help the Ossetian people there.
There are a couple of problems with Putin's reasoning (insert a small chuckle here). First, Russia has no real interest in the Ossetian people. Ever since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Ossetian people have wanted to establish their own independent state and the Russian government has always opposed this (even before Putin). the Russians just don't like the idea of loosing terroitory regardless of how little it may effect Russia as a whole.
Second, Georgia's movement into Southern Ossetia was a relatively quick matter -- a matter of internal politics. Russia claims that it acted in the interests of the Ossetian peoples only after Georgia's actions. However, in order to move into the South Ossetian region of Georgia, Russia had to cross a major mountain range. This is no easy matter -- it requires a grea deal of advanced planning. It is very difficult to move an armored force over mountainous terrain. This was in no way an impromptu action.
The crux of the matter is that Russia's invasion is unvarnished aggression. The Russians haven't even restrained their actions to South Ossetia, but have moved within 30 miles of the Georgian capitol, Tblisi. All of Russia's excuses are transparent.
What should be the American reaction? What a question! It is generally considered that the American people have no stomach for any further military action. We're tired of war. But are we tired of justice? Are we tired to stand up for the rights of others? Last time I checked, America was the country of "the little guy."
America has a number of options available for its reactions. I would recommend the expulsion of Russia from the G8 economic forum. Dissolve the G8 and re-form it without Russia. Also, grant Georgia's request for membership in NATO. Membership should also be extended to Ukraine, which may follow Georgia as a target for Russian aggression. Military aid, as well as humantiarian assistance, should be sent to Georgia. At the very least, the U.S. should provide Georgia with intelligence support. All of these actions should accompany attempts to get European and United Nations political and economic sanctions in place.
Many people are comparing Russia's actions in Georgia to America's invasion of Iraq in 2003. Saying that America invaded Iraq on similar pretexts. But this couldn't be further from the truth. America invaded Iraq following attacks on the United States and Iraq's collaboration with the attackers.
But what do you think?