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 A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?

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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:39 am

The situation is very disheartning. There will be a nuclear war for certain if McCain gets in. Obama is the same and it is more obvious to his fans every day. Anything he says is just waffle. He voted for the FISA Act and now he picks Biden who was gung-ho on the war. He says he wants change and he picks a guy who is in the senate for 35 years. Unless McCain picks Liberman he looks like a winner.

The neocon/cfr/nwo whatever you want to call them need a war to escape the economic collapse that can not be avoided. The Russians are not going to retreat and they hold the port town of Poti and Condi Rice has her piss if she thinks Putin is scared. Elsewhere Malaki is telling the Americans to leave by 2011. This is phoney because if the American exit his trottle will be cut. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are in bad shape and the Taliban have the upper hand

I really think Georgia is the powderkeg as somebody will have to back down to avoid war

Some time ago I was talking to a big fan of Bill Clinton. He refused to believe or accept that he had bombed civilians for 78 days. That is how a lot of people are, they are totalled fooled by the reps bad/ dems good shell game and don't realise that there is no difference.

Same thing in Ireland. They know Charlie and Bertie are giving them the shaft but it dosn't matter
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:02 pm

Anarchy is afoot and the big powers don't like it ...

US anger at Russian Georgia vote:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7581486.stm
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:51 pm

Is this bad?

Russia recognises independence of rebel regions..
http://www.breakingnews.ie/World/mhqleysnqlgb/
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:26 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Is this bad?

Russia recognises independence of rebel regions..
http://www.breakingnews.ie/World/mhqleysnqlgb/[/quote[/url" class="postlink" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">]

[url=http://se2.isn.ch/serviceengine/FileContent?serviceID=10&fileid=51FD5012-EEFA-D5ED-11D2-6EDB3CE459E2&lng=en]http://se2.isn.ch/serviceengine/FileContent?serviceID=10&fileid=51FD5012-EEFA-D5ED-11D2-6EDB3CE459E2&lng=en

North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation. Russia up to now has refused all requests from South Ossetia to be accepted in the Russian Federation or recognised as a separate State. This situation has been definitively changed since the Georgian attempt earlier this month to end South Ossetia's semi-autonomous position and to incorporate South Ossetia forcibly into Georgia.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:16 pm

This is extremely serious. But I can't help thinking that the Russians are over-reaching. After all, if South Ossetia can secede from Georgia unilaterally in contravention to international law then precisely the same situation is true of Chechnya. And that's not just my view on it, but also that of the Guardian in todays editorial: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/26/russia.georgia

Quote :
Whatever precedent the west may have set by recognising Kosovo, Georgia's breakaway states are only a mountain range away from Russia's own separatist troublespots. What's good for South Caucasus surely has to be good for them too. If Abkhazia or South Ossetia are nation states, then why not Chechnya? Yet Russia fought two wars to keep Chechnya within the federation.

Most interestingly the Guardian when that editorial was written thought that:

Quote :
Mr Medvedev is unlikely to rush to recognise the provinces owing to the implications closer to home.

Hmmm...

What I find disheartening is that we in Ireland have a similar if not quite analogous situation vis a vis Northern Ireland. We depend upon the British to stand over the agreements between our two sovereign nations as the basis of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement despite the power relationship between our two states being rather lopsided. The RoI can only stand or fall by a web of international law. Break that web and anything is possible. I'm not trying to suggest that is likely, merely that these sort of actions by the Russians further destabilise an already precarious situation, and clearly not to the benefit of small nations.

And alternatively any nation with ethnic populations across international borders in another country enjoying (or not) autonomy can simply roll in and take them back as it sees fit.

I think most disturbing are the images today on Channel 4 News (hardly a cheerleader for Washington or NATO) of Russian troops occupying parts of Poti. Note what the Guardian thinks of this development.

Quote :
Under Russia's "peacekeeping" plan, it would create a network of checkpoints around Georgia's main Black Sea port and its strategic road links.

The checkpoints are a noose around Georgia's neck, which Russia can tighten at will. Its troops may have swapped combat helmets for blue ones, but that should fool no one. Only sustained international pressure might persuade Russia to pull back to the positions it occupied pre-August 7, when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia. That can only now come from France and Germany, the countries that resisted US pressure to offer Georgia Nato membership. The omens yesterday were not good. By digging into positions around Georgia, Russia has only escalated this conflict.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:37 am

cactus flower wrote:


North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation.

I don't think sovereign and indepedent are useful or accurate terms in describing the status of Russian republics within the Federation.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:41 am

riadach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation.

I don't think sovereign and indepedent are useful or accurate terms in describing the status of Russian republics within the Federation.

Would agree with that - about as independent as Northern Cyprus is from Turkey and all those other states that have been "liberated" by one nation and only recognised by that one nation.

Sorry Cactus - while there have been no angels in this whole affair - I think your latent anti-americanism is seriously clouding your judgement on this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:11 am

Edo wrote:
riadach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation.

I don't think sovereign and indepedent are useful or accurate terms in describing the status of Russian republics within the Federation.

Would agree with that - about as independent as Northern Cyprus is from Turkey and all those other states that have been "liberated" by one nation and only recognised by that one nation.

Sorry Cactus - while there have been no angels in this whole affair - I think your latent anti-americanism is seriously clouding your judgement on this thread.

There are no angels in this whole affair, that much is true. But up to now, Russia had a very good case . The US has been meddling in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus (to no great effect) and elsewhere to try to effectively ring-fence Russia with, from a Russian viewpoint, hostile states. Putin had enough and drew the line at Georgia. The recognition of the "independence" of SO and Abkhazia is the first serious Russian mistake in this. However, I don't think Putin is losing sleep over it. From a Russian viewpoint, this is an overdue response to American meddling in its backyard.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:40 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
Edo wrote:
riadach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation.

I don't think sovereign and indepedent are useful or accurate terms in describing the status of Russian republics within the Federation.

Would agree with that - about as independent as Northern Cyprus is from Turkey and all those other states that have been "liberated" by one nation and only recognised by that one nation.

Sorry Cactus - while there have been no angels in this whole affair - I think your latent anti-americanism is seriously clouding your judgement on this thread.

There are no angels in this whole affair, that much is true. But up to now, Russia had a very good case . The US has been meddling in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus (to no great effect) and elsewhere to try to effectively ring-fence Russia with, from a Russian viewpoint, hostile states. Putin had enough and drew the line at Georgia. The recognition of the "independence" of SO and Abkhazia is the first serious Russian mistake in this. However, I don't think Putin is losing sleep over it. From a Russian viewpoint, this is an overdue response to American meddling in its backyard.

so the whole "genocide" thing was a sham and the russian strategy was to crush american influence in the region? pity the sovereignity of an independent state got in its way.

i think the ukraine and other countries bordering russia will clamour to get western support asap before the T72s roll like they did in hungary in 57, prague in 69 and georgia in 08!
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:41 pm

zakalwe wrote:
Slim Buddha wrote:
Edo wrote:
riadach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation.

I don't think sovereign and indepedent are useful or accurate terms in describing the status of Russian republics within the Federation.

Would agree with that - about as independent as Northern Cyprus is from Turkey and all those other states that have been "liberated" by one nation and only recognised by that one nation.

Sorry Cactus - while there have been no angels in this whole affair - I think your latent anti-americanism is seriously clouding your judgement on this thread.

There are no angels in this whole affair, that much is true. But up to now, Russia had a very good case . The US has been meddling in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus (to no great effect) and elsewhere to try to effectively ring-fence Russia with, from a Russian viewpoint, hostile states. Putin had enough and drew the line at Georgia. The recognition of the "independence" of SO and Abkhazia is the first serious Russian mistake in this. However, I don't think Putin is losing sleep over it. From a Russian viewpoint, this is an overdue response to American meddling in its backyard.

so the whole "genocide" thing was a sham and the russian strategy was to crush american influence in the region? pity the sovereignity of an independent state got in its way.

i think the ukraine and other countries bordering russia will clamour to get western support asap before the T72s roll like they did in hungary in 57, prague in 69 and georgia in 08!
The fact that Nato is in Russia's backyard the way it is looks like a failure of international peaceful diplomacy after the end of the Cold War and and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Shouldn't Nato have been trying to build peaceful solutions to the end game (perhaps via the EU) rather than risking another Cold War by doing what it's doing?

I can't help thinking the EU should be playing a more active peace-making role now too rather than making the sounds they are.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:01 pm

zakalwe wrote:
Slim Buddha wrote:
Edo wrote:
riadach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:


North Ossetia is a sovereign independent Republic within the Russian federation.

I don't think sovereign and indepedent are useful or accurate terms in describing the status of Russian republics within the Federation.

Would agree with that - about as independent as Northern Cyprus is from Turkey and all those other states that have been "liberated" by one nation and only recognised by that one nation.

Sorry Cactus - while there have been no angels in this whole affair - I think your latent anti-americanism is seriously clouding your judgement on this thread.

There are no angels in this whole affair, that much is true. But up to now, Russia had a very good case . The US has been meddling in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus (to no great effect) and elsewhere to try to effectively ring-fence Russia with, from a Russian viewpoint, hostile states. Putin had enough and drew the line at Georgia. The recognition of the "independence" of SO and Abkhazia is the first serious Russian mistake in this. However, I don't think Putin is losing sleep over it. From a Russian viewpoint, this is an overdue response to American meddling in its backyard.

so the whole "genocide" thing was a sham and the russian strategy was to crush american influence in the region? pity the sovereignity of an independent state got in its way.

i think the ukraine and other countries bordering russia will clamour to get western support asap before the T72s roll like they did in hungary in 57, prague in 69 and georgia in 08!

I don't think that the story of ethnic Russians in SO being attacked was a sham. But it was exactly the pretext Putin needed to send in the tanks. Saakashvili gambled and failed. He was counting on the US to stand shoulder to shoulder with him and it just didn't happen. For very good reason. I can't help but feel that the US kept upping the ante to see where Putin would draw the line. Now we all know.

As for the Ukraine wanting to desperately join NATO, I can't see it happening. The ethnic make-up of eastern Ukraine makes this kind of undertaking extremely hazardous. It is a pity for the poor Georgians but they have only to look at their President for the reason the Russians cam across the border.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:30 pm

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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:36 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

Link to Medvedev's Financial Times Article 27 Aug 2008

The President of Russia wrote:
A heavy decision weighed on my shoulders. Taking into account the freely expressed views of the Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples, and based on the principles of the United Nations charter and other documents of international law, I signed a decree on the Russian Federation’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. I sincerely hope that the Georgian people, to whom we feel historic friendship and sympathy, will one day have leaders they deserve, who care about their country and who develop mutually respectful relations with all the peoples in the Caucasus. Russia is ready to support the achievement of such a goal.

Is there evidence that Sakashvili is a shit-stirrer? Are his own people unanimously happy with him?
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:38 pm

A joint US / NATO naval exercise started in the Black Sea on 21st August. The humanitarian aid has been delivered in a cruiser fitted to carry Tomahawk nuclear missiles. If this was a Russian Federation exercise off the Gulf of Mexico you can imagine the reaction.

The US government just recognised Kosovo. The US just signed up for the ABM missile shield with Poland and the Czech Republic. The US has a policy to treat the Caucusus as a "sphere of US interest". Their form in relation to areas they need for oil and gas pipelines is well demonstrated in Afghanistan.

It really would be naive or deliberately obtuse to pretend that there was a situation here in which out of the blue Imperialist Russia had decided to gobble up a weaker neighbour.

Gorbachev, for long a darling of the neoconservatives, had this to say: http://www.mnweekly.ru/national/20080814/55342076.html

The hand of the Russian government was forced. Now the cat is out of the bag and hasn't been killed, it will want to prowl about a bit. I have the sense since the falure of the WTO agreement that US world dominance has passed its zenith and will increasingly be challenged both in the military, economic and political spheres.

The end of the USSR has left all kinds as disclocated populations and unsettled territorial issues, just as the end of French, Belgian and British colonialism has in Africa. The energy grabbling issues are complicating this enormously. People have a right to try and resolve these issues by diplomacy and take as much time as they need to settle these things peacefully without outside interference. Imo it was clearly the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali, with express intention of ending S. Ossetia's (semi) autonomy, that was the critical step.

The Russian government is in a mess over this. It is facing intensifying pressure from the US military, both direct and in their back yard, and while they have money from gas and oil, their population is declining, life expectancy has much shortened since the end of the USSR, and their population is increasingly disaffected. Rolling tanks in to Georgia has reminded the populations of former USSR states just what was not good about that deal, just when they were beginning to recognise the serious down sides of the free market option. The temporary Russian euphoria over having made a move and got away with it is not likely to last long.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:51 pm

PART TWO of post

There are a lot of very clumsy and partisan posts and blogs out there at the moment, but this one I think accurately describes the sequence of events.

http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/08/08/georgi19577.htm#3

Quote :
As i said in one thread yesterday, it pains me to think Russia is right in this mess, specially considering history on my country (Croatia).

MLRS is low precision weapon and i have no doubts some went into civilian areas. As for Ossetian claims of 1400 dead, i don't think it's possible. During our war city of Vukovar was bombed on daily basis with even more weapons and total casaulties in three months are close to that number (not including people slaughtered by serbs after the fall). Good indication is number of wounded people in Thsinvali hospital ... which is in few hundered. Ratio of wounded and killed is about 1 to 10 in these kinds of engagements.

Truth is, on Thursday Georgia accepted ceasefire (there were just sporadic clashes in last two weeks) and then three hours later they attacked in full might. If you followed this conflict since begining, you could notice wording of statements coming from georgian officials.

Also, on Friday morning it was Russia who called emergency session of UN security council, to be rejected by georgians (russians wanted end of fighting) who were backed by US and UK.


Last edited by cactus flower on Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:00 pm

cactus flower wrote:
A joint US / NATO naval exercise started in the Black Sea on 21st August. The humanitarian aid has been delivered in a cruiser fitted to carry Tomahawk nuclear missiles. If this was a Russian Federation exercise off the Gulf of Mexico you can imagine the reaction.

The US government just recognised Kosovo. The US just signed up for the ABM missile shield with Poland and the Czech Republic. The US has a policy to treat the Caucusus as a "sphere of US interest". Their form in relation to areas they need for oil and gas pipelines is well demonstrated in Afghanistan.

It really would be naive or deliberately obtuse to pretend that there was a situation here in which out of the blue Imperialist Russia had decided to gobble up a weaker neighbour.

Gorbachev, for long a darling of the neoconservatives, had this to say:http://www.mnweekly.ru/national/20080814/55342076.html

The hand of the Russian government was forced. Now the cat is out of the bag and hasn't been killed, it will want to prowl about a bit. I have the sense since the falure of the WTO agreement that US world dominance has passed its zenith and will increasingly be challenged both in the military, economic and political spheres.

The end of the USSR has left all kinds as disclocated populations and unsettled territorial issues, just as the end of French, Belgian and British colonialism has in Africa. The energy grabbling issues are complicating this enormously. People have a right to try and resolve these issues by diplomacy and take as much time as they need to settle these things peacefully without outside interference. Imo it was clearly the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali, with express intention of ending S. Ossetia's (semi) autonomy, that was the critical step.

The Russian government is in a mess over this. It is facing intensifying pressure from the US military, both direct and in their back yard, and while they have money from gas and oil, their population is declining, life expectancy has much shortened since the end of the USSR, and their population is increasingly disaffected. Rolling tanks in to Georgia has reminded the populations of former USSR states just what was not good about that deal, just when they were beginning to recognise the serious down sides of the free market option. The temporary Russian euphoria over having made a move and got away with it is not likely to last long.

I agree with much of what you said, cf, especially with regard to the meddling in the affairs of Russia's neighbours by the US. Russia's hand was forced but they may have overreached themselves with the recognition of SO and Abkhazia. Doubtless, the gamble of Saakashvili's played into their hands and nobody is in any doubt about how Russia feels about this US meddling. The line has been drawn.

The point about US influence being affected by the failure of Doha is one which is a bit more complex. But that is a debate for a WTO thread, not this one. While I believe the WTO is in serious decline, the same cannot be said for the USA, only for the economic dogma espoused by the Bush/Cheney government. If Obama gets in, I would be surprised if I saw a total move away from neo-liberalism very quickly. However, he must be seen to start to bury it if the US is to get out of the mess it's in. And then there is the question of what replaces it.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:12 pm

Quote :
The point about US influence being affected by the failure of Doha is one which is a bit more complex. But that is a debate for a WTO thread, not this one. While I believe the WTO is in serious decline, the same cannot be said for the USA, only for the economic dogma espoused by the Bush/Cheney government. If Obama gets in, I would be surprised if I saw a total move away from neo-liberalism very quickly. However, he must be seen to start to bury it if the US is to get out of the mess it's in. And then there is the question of what replaces it.

Are you not convinced that US indebtedness is a big problem? Do you think they can get out of it by letting the dollar fall far enough?
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:20 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Quote :
The point about US influence being affected by the failure of Doha is one which is a bit more complex. But that is a debate for a WTO thread, not this one. While I believe the WTO is in serious decline, the same cannot be said for the USA, only for the economic dogma espoused by the Bush/Cheney government. If Obama gets in, I would be surprised if I saw a total move away from neo-liberalism very quickly. However, he must be seen to start to bury it if the US is to get out of the mess it's in. And then there is the question of what replaces it.

Are you not convinced that US indebtedness is a big problem? Do you think they can get out of it by letting the dollar fall far enough?

It is an absolutely huge problem, but I do not expect a radical departure in foreign affairs. I expect to hear a lot of talk of a radical departure if Obama gets in, but an actual radical departure, well........no , not really. As for the dollar, it is up 10% in the last 10 days v the CHF and the €uro, so it is still very volatile. Current political developments don't make it any less volatile. What I would like to see is a detailed outline of Obama's economic agenda to see if a sea change away from the cul-de-sac of neo-liberalism can be traced. Another interesting dimension to this would be to find out how much US government debt is in Russian hands. We keep hearing about the Chinese and Japanese but nothing about Russia. I said Russian hands deliberately because I don't simply mean the Russian government.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:51 pm

cactus flower, a small point in relation to the NATO exercise. Look at a map of the Black Sea, it has three current members of NATO and two prospective ones there (worth pointing out that two of those countries only have sea access to the Black Sea). It really is a bit much to argue that this is in some way horribly provocative when the Russian have troops occupying part of a Georgian port.

And as for the cruiser carrying Tomahawk missiles, been there done that already, it is entirely legitimate for aid to be carried by it. And note that they didn't dock at Poti in the end, but went further down the coast so as not to raise the tension.

Actually, I also have to take issue with the idea that Gorbachev was the 'darling of the neoconservatives'. What evidence is there of that? Gorbachev wanted to maintain the integrity of the USSR but was pushed aside by Yeltsin and the leaders of the larger SSRs after the coup.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:57 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Quote :
The point about US influence being affected by the failure of Doha is one which is a bit more complex. But that is a debate for a WTO thread, not this one. While I believe the WTO is in serious decline, the same cannot be said for the USA, only for the economic dogma espoused by the Bush/Cheney government. If Obama gets in, I would be surprised if I saw a total move away from neo-liberalism very quickly. However, he must be seen to start to bury it if the US is to get out of the mess it's in. And then there is the question of what replaces it.

Are you not convinced that US indebtedness is a big problem? Do you think they can get out of it by letting the dollar fall far enough?

It is an absolutely huge problem, but I do not expect a radical departure in foreign affairs. I expect to hear a lot of talk of a radical departure if Obama gets in, but an actual radical departure, well........no , not really. As for the dollar, it is up 10% in the last 10 days v the CHF and the €uro, so it is still very volatile. Current political developments don't make it any less volatile. What I would like to see is a detailed outline of Obama's economic agenda to see if a sea change away from the cul-de-sac of neo-liberalism can be traced. Another interesting dimension to this would be to find out how much US government debt is in Russian hands. We keep hearing about the Chinese and Japanese but nothing about Russia. I said Russian hands deliberately because I don't simply mean the Russian government.

A link you posted on the WTO thread also pointed to this excellent short article written in 2005 predicting and analysing the situation that the dollar is in and how it is sustained by the expanding economies who trade with the US. http://www.studien-von-zeitfragen.de/Zeitfragen/Collapse_in_2005_/collapse_in_2005_.html

This whole thing really does not appear sustainable. There must be massive defaults coming down the line one way or another. How can they wring much more out of anyone - people are pushed to the wall with energy and food price rises already?
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:40 am

WorldbyStorm wrote:
I think you're right, we agree on a lot. And fair enough, I take your point re the noddy car...

But where we do diverge is that I don't think we can play out the politics of nationalism and geopolitics through proxies who are very tainted. I don't see much progressive potential in Russia - but up until this in recent years it was a small satisfaction that it acted more rationally than the US.

Its not ourselves engaged in proxy politics, I don't think you're saying that. The USA and Russia are not equal powers, or anything like it. I posted elsewhere on the relative economic and military strength of the two and there is no comparison. I would see a lot of progressive potential within Russia, but also a lot of danger of a slide to the right. Putin as you rightly say plays a strange game in relation to the oligarchy. The impacts of the Washington Consensus treatment, on the tail of the bankrupting of the USSR through fuelling a nuclear arms race, have been so severe that Putin has been pressured to make shapes of rowing back. At the moment nothing is definitively settled.

Quote :
In relation to the rest, that's most interesting. My only observation would be that although Putin rolled back some elements of the privatisation process through the expanions of the 'strategic sectors' of the economy, much of that wasn't a straight nationalisation but a hybrid with private enterprise (indigenous). The dangers of that in a state which has strong links to oligarchs (and really, Putin only rid himself of those who wouldn't play ball. Those willing to align with the Kremlin have been largely untouched) are obvious. A tainted economic structure is the same whether in the US or Russia - and arguably the much weaker corporate and commercial governance in Russia make it even more open to further negative impacts than the US. So the ownership of the hands that are in control are pretty irresponsible in either instance and entirely limited to elite groups which in the Russian instance are - I'd suggest - going to be much more difficult to shift than in the US.

You can't compare a state that is a massive global power with a weakened and unstable entity like Russia. The Russian economy was in the process of being hog-tied by the US, if Stiglitz and Klein can be relied on at all. Its a pretty meaningless abstraction to make moral comparisons between the two economies. The elite groups in Russia, as I said already, the creatures of the US. The US has strong links to the oligarchs and created them to break up the state owned assets of the Soviet Union.

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In a study done by Joseph Stiglitz when he was at the World Bank, between 1989 and 1997 the GDP of every country in the former Soviet Union had fallen to levels of 30% to 80% of that before the collapse of state controls, with the sole exception of Poland. The level in Russia was only 60% that in 1989. GDP had collapsed 40%, and unemployment went from 2 million to 60 million. The rapid privatization without adequate legal and institutional safeguards such as unemployment insurance or health insurance, led to social catastrophe comparable to wartime. IMF demands to free capital movement allowed new Russian dollar oligarchs such as Berezovsky to plunder billions of dollars and put it into secret bank accounts in Cyprus or Liechtenstein, while they bought luxury villas in Monte Carlo. [1]

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I've heard the argument re how Russia went in the 20th century under the Soviets, usually from the SWP and likeminded groups. It's fair enough, but I think - and this is in no sense an apologia for Stalinism, which is loathsome - that it ignores the realities of attempting to consolidate state power and underestimates the difficulty of exporting revolution. The obvious counter argument is that even when two major countries went communist, Russia and later China there was simply no critical mass for further communist countries to develop and those that did were almost overwhelmingly at the instigation of the Red Army, as with Eastern Europe, or rather faux-communist essentially nationalist revolutions as with Cuba and to a lesser extent many of the African states and Asian states which took on elements of Marxist ideology as a sort of sheen. [b]Indeed I've never seen a clear analysis as to how many revolutions would have to occur internationally to consolidate that model. My guess is that it would require too many...

I've never bought into the idea that there was something uniquely bureaucratic about the Soviets, or rather that there was a 'better' Platonic form feasible for a Marxist-Leninist state since time and again we see more or less the same structures evolve in various supposedly M-L states (and more tellingly in self-described M-L parties - look at the actual structure of the WP and the SP which in organisational terms are near identical with democratic centralist cores, yet loathe each other for their ideological deviations).

But I guess that's a different discussion... Smile
I don't know much about the Workers Party and Democratic Left, but I presume from the fact that you've "never bought into the idea that there was something uniquely bureacratic about the Soviets or that there was a better Platonic form feasible for a Marxist-Leninist state"... that neither was/is a Marxist party. I'm not sure what your point is about the disagreements between the SP and WP and I'm not sure where Plato comes in.

I took a bit of time to follow up what you pointed to in terms of the development of bureacracy in Russia and also what would amount to a critical mass in terms of states that together would make a viable and sustainable communist system. I'm certainly becoming very interested in these issues, but don't have ready answers to either question. The only reference material I've had to hand is Moshe Lewin's "Lenin's Last Struggle" - interestingly the "last struggle" turned out to be against bureaucratisation and specifically in relation to Georgia, in favour of self-determination. There was a fierce internal battle, according to this book, with Lenin on one side and a group including Stalin on the other over Georgia.

Georgia, which had been part of Imperial Russia from 1800, been invaded by the Red Army during the civil war. The form of government and relationship between Georgia, Russia and other states was the issue from which the USSR emerged as a solution. Lenin's own view evolved, but his attitude consistently was opposed to "dominant-nation (i.e. Russian) chauvinism and in favour of a Federation of Independent Republics. In a document referred to as Lenin's "testament" he reflected on the national question (involving Georgia). He heavily criticised his own and others conduct - "that really Russian man, the Great Russian chauvinist, in substance a rascal and a tyrant, such as the typical Russian bureaucrat is". Lenin pushed for a restoration of independence of the Georgian commisariat. He died at this time.

On the question of viability of a socialist system, the same book says that Lenin had no expectation that the Soviet Union could last on its own, and did not think that Russia could be socialist on its own because of its economic and social backwardness - it was only just coming out of feudalism. To some extent though some residual form of Soviet system with state owned industry and agriculture survived with a bureacratic and undemocratic group running it.

But as you say, that question would be better discussed in another thread.

Tonight's BBC news is reporting that the UK, the US and the World Bank are threatening Russia with withdrawal of investment and talking about dealing with Russia collectively as an oil supplier - next stop sanctions ? The G7 and Condaleeza Rice and Bush are meeting at the moment and discussing sanctions against Russia. The US is talking about having a presence in Georgia because of homelessness of Georgians. New Orleans ??? Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:55 pm

South Ossetia shot down a Georgian drone today and Medvedev is in Tajikistan about all this. Isn't it more of case for the locals around there to sort out - the neighbouring countries - rather than NATO?? At least the UN but Nato and the G7 making noises about this isn't great diplomacy I don't think (is it?)

David Cameron I saw on Sky News yesterday saying he'd contemplate asking Russia to leave the G8 - sounds like he's not someone I'd like to see in power now. Though maybe he's either talking through his arse or making a good point.

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The Kremlin leader flew to Tajikistan for a summit of a regional security forum with China and four Central Asian states at which the crisis in Georgia was likely to be discussed.

Moscow's allies in the former Soviet Union, Asia and elsewhere usually side with the Kremlin against the West on contentious issues, but have been notable for their silence since Russia fought a brief war with Georgia this month.
Reuters
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:30 pm

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSLR1435520080828

Saakashvili has consolidated his position (as predicted) as the Opposition have declared a "truce" for the duration.

Russia is isolated. As I said, between a rock and a hard place.
http://www.breakingnews.ie/World/mhqlojcwqlsn/

Imo things are very dangerous at the moment. I think the US election is part of the significant background to this. A war would be good for McCain and bad for Obama.
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:53 pm

Speaking of talking through his arse, is not Golden Orifice himself in Europe now pretending that Putin would be worried about him. A 20 megaton hit to Clara should spot the singing icon_smile
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:43 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
South Ossetia shot down a Georgian drone today and Medvedev is in Tajikistan about all this. Isn't it more of case for the locals around there to sort out - the neighbouring countries - rather than NATO?? At least the UN but Nato and the G7 making noises about this isn't great diplomacy I don't think (is it?)

David Cameron I saw on Sky News yesterday saying he'd contemplate asking Russia to leave the G8 - sounds like he's not someone I'd like to see in power now. Though maybe he's either talking through his arse or making a good point.

Quote :
The Kremlin leader flew to Tajikistan for a summit of a regional security forum with China and four Central Asian states at which the crisis in Georgia was likely to be discussed.

Moscow's allies in the former Soviet Union, Asia and elsewhere usually side with the Kremlin against the West on contentious issues, but have been notable for their silence since Russia fought a brief war with Georgia this month.
Reuters

NATO is the surrounding countries, and those that aren't in it are those like the Ukraine which wish to join. And these last two weeks, as with Poland signing the treaty with the US last week, are the best possible recruitment drive for those nations which were slow about signing up. Incidentally, if the Russians aren't willing to accede to any UN security council resolutions, and block them, and won't abide by the terms of agreements it has already signed with the EU it's hard to see them bowing to regional pressure from nations which they already are meddling in themselves (such as the Ukraine).
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PostSubject: Re: A Shot Across Nato's Bows - Russian tanks enter Georgia - Georgians enter South Ossetia - all out war?   

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