Georgians in American uniforms...but these are not from Atlanta,GA
First of all, we all knew that something like this was destined to happen some time. Even after Putin’s sovietique outburst in Munich in 2007, the curtain call for the dissident post-Soviet republics (especially the ones with colour coded and Soros funded rave-olutions) was almost due. Putin, backed with tremendous income from ever rising price of energy (of which Russia is enjoying a critical percentage) and increasing military spending (that replaced rusting Cold War era Sukhoi jets and clumsy APCs of Afghan War issue).
The point that Putin underlined in that speech was the impossibility and insensibility of a monopolar World in which USA (the monopole itself) would singlehandedly shape the economic and political shape through its willing. He added that “Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished...and no less people perish in these conflicts – even more are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!”. So it is perfectly clear that Russia doesn’t want any more trans-atlantic bullying in its homeground and is ready to retaliate...even by force when and where necessary.
Saakashvili and EU flag...
A photo from the good old days of the alliance
Given Russia’s (including Soviet Union’s) inscalability of response to any domestic or near domestic disturbances (every time they interfere a country they leave ashes and corpses behind. For example: East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary...etc) and over sensitivity over its international reputation, any leader of a neighboring country with a smallest hint of sense and international relations would back down or try to find a moderate approach to this “ravaging Bear” (aka Finlandization). And now enter Saakashvili, hero of Georgian “Rose Revolution” and a staunch ally of EU and US (even to display their flags during the televised speeches with local flags although Georgia is not a member of either –and never will be) started to show the world and especially the troublemaking and separatistbacking evil Russians that the world is on their side and they have spent enough Soros money on buying the tanks (that would otherwise feed that half of the population that is now living under poverty lines of Zimbabwe)and armaments that the US has long disposed as scrap. But poking the bear with a stick that a virtual ally has given you is not what it seems to be from the marbleclad offices in Tblisi.
Saakashvili testing the new Georgian firepower
So what is South Ossetia and what does this conflict arise from? Simple...Georgia has not been a place that you would want to live in your retirement for almost 20 years (roughly all the time they have been “independent” from Soviet Union) because the government forces has been constantly fighting, pillaging and massacring the ethnic people and de-facto regions within the country and always beaten by those ethnic militiamen and driven back with the local Georgian deads they could carry from those lands. Georgia (Sakartvelo in Georgian, so do not think it is your Coke flavoured Georgia State) is a country in West Caucasia and has been a gateway to the Caucasus Region with its rich farmlands and an accumulated christian orthodox culture. Those two has made it a simple battleground between Turkey (Ottomans then), Russians and other thousand mountain tribes living in that region. It has prospered well but was foolish enough to ask for Russian Empire’s help against Persian threat which at the end made it a Russian province and eventually a Soviet Republic. This small and industrially insignificiant republic not only supplied the soviet dinner tables with Borjomi soda and wines but also many top-brass communist leaders such as Stalin, Beria and Odzhonikidze.
A typical Caucasian landscape: Mountains and Russian troops
As with all Caucasian republics, Georgia also has a very deep diversity of nations living inside its borders and some has been granted autonomy (= made an Autonomous Soviet Republic) just a couple of years before the dissolution of Soviet Union, maybe then just to ease the ethnic tensions. As the flame of independence set in Georgia in 1990, like all other republics, it claimed the existing interior soviet borders as its own international ones and ultimately erasing the existing autonomous borders and aggreements that would give some extra rights to big ethnic groups like Ossets, Abhazs and Adjars. This erupted into a full-fledged civil war that would last for more than a decade with sporadic battles (most of which the Georgians lost since the separatists were better armed by and even fought with their Russian comrades –including the then-Russian conscripted Chechen roughriders that would later insurge against Russia under Shamil Basayev) Then nobody except Russia cared for that ill-fated country because it was a country that was led by a bunch of ex-Soviet and ex-KGB mofioso and impoverished to Tadjikistan levels.
The locals suffer as their Khruschovka houses are hit by missiles
Another Georgian military tradition: Leaving destroyed tanks for souvenirs
The civil war ended with all sides acknowledging the de-facto autonomity of the ethnic groups and relative peace resided (because nobody has enough will and firepower) until a bloodless-coup led by a young, handsome (!) and English speaking lawyer, Saakashvili, stormed the parliament building and declared a new dawn in Georgian history. Now the US president would be the guest of honour in the birthplace of Stalin and the EU flags would be state sponsored decoration for the Tblisi avenues. The reason was so simple: The World (meaning= World minus Russia) was becoming increasingly dependent on energy and it was disastrous to be dependent on a semi-predictable dictatorship of soviet style (aka Russia) for the sole ingredient of modernity: petrol and gas to power the pistons of capitalism alive. So alternative routes were to be designed and Caucasia, the strip of mountaneous land between Caspian Sea (the aquous conjugate of Arabia) and the Free World, would be the new transit ground for the energy that is not Russian dominated. Sadly, Nearly all of Caucasia is Russia itself or Russian dominated (Armenia needs Russia for its neverending crusade against Armenian populated Nagorno-Karabagh region in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan needs Russia to protect this land from Armenia, ironically) and only Georgia with its relatively foreign dependent leadership would present a good passageway. So was the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline was created to safely transfer the Baku oil by BP through Georgian plains to Turkey, right under the nosetip of Russia. I wouldn’t believe that Russia was too happy with this.
So what would “Realpolitik” do in such case? Look for a soft belly? Right. Georgia is a soft belly itself with a lot of ethnic de-facto republics which keep Russia as a caring savior and Russia doesn’t need to look further for a reason to salve threats to the BTC line that is passing just some kilometers away from the Osset lands. Nearly half of the Osset nation lives in Russia (ingeniously dubbed North Ossetia) and it is so easy to claim that the Southern brothers would yearn to live with their Northern cousins under the tri-color banner of the glorious federated nation of Russia. So I would stay away from the Southern Ossets if I wanted to stay away from Russia.
For a couple of years, Georgia has been pumped by a lot of Soros money and funding (a lot of which ended in the corrupt politiicans pockets) and the military spending was flashing for an upcoming conflict. The conflict came with a friebrand Saakashvili, stating that the unity of Georgia was at stake (because the Ossets have joined their Abhaz brothers to already declare independence in accordance to the Kosovo model but kindly rejected by the two-faced politic reality of the UN...another fact that infuriated Russia) and stormed their capital Tshinvali.
Nobody expected a quick victory (except Saakashvili himself) and Russia sent its crack troops already stationed on the border in case (which have been infiltrating and seldom arrested while spying in Gerogian territory). As their military tradition the Georgians fought, pillaged and killed some local pensioners and then had a hard beating by the furious local militiamen and Russian troops to fly back to Georgia itself. The funny thing is that the Georgians played the heroic defenders of the Motherland as the ravaged troops (in American uniforms) ran amock the streets like wounded Viet-Cong. The Bear was poked and it hit back with a vengeance.
This is the story of the war so far as it seems today. As a summary, Saakashvili, backed with a bunch of blank promises by the West, wanted to end the insurgency and separation inside Georgia with a quick blitzkrieg against the illprepared Osset militiamen and thought that Russia would back down against Western diplomatic and economic pressure and keep its might behing the Kazbet mountains. Just the opposite, his army beaten, main cities bombared and the promises broken, Saakashvili now faces rising opposition inside Georgia as the death toll increases. Let’s see if the “playing the not guilty” will work...