SUNDAY AUGUST 17 — CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: The New Cold War with Russia
(2) Essel Gives Three More Cheers for Georgia
(3) Russian TV is Lying to the People of Russia
(4) Russia is Repudiated by the CIS
(5) Latynina on the Russian Bully
(6) Georgia Shows Russia’s Hypocrisy on Zimbabwe
(7) Did Georgia Sucker Russia?
(8) One Picture is Worth a Thousand Screams
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The New Cold War with Russia
“One can forget about any talk about Georgia’s territorial integrity because, I believe, it is impossible to persuade South Ossetia and Abkhazia to agree with the logic that they can be forced back into the Georgian state.”
— Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
“Our position on Georgia’s territorial integrity is not going to change no matter what anybody says. And so I would consider that to be bluster from the foreign minister of Russia. We will ignore it.”
— White House press secretary Dana Perino
The time has come for us to say: “We told you so.”
The verbal exchange between Lavrov and Perino, surrogates for Putin and Bush, makes it all quite undeniably clear. The U.S. and Russia are at war, just as they were during the Soviet era. It is a war Russia has been fighting ever since Vladimir Putin, a proud KGB spy, was made prime minister in the 1990s. It is a war America has only just realized is underway.
There is no excuse for that.
By e-mail a reader reports this image from the city of Lviv, Ukraine, where authorities are flying the Georgian colors in a sign of solidarity
Three More Cheers for Russia
by David Essel
I have just rushed ordered a half dozen T-shirts for myself, friends and family.
They look like this:
Paul Goble reports:
Russian Television, the most influential media channel in that country, has so distorted what is taking place in Georgia in the course of its “construction” of reality there that Russians who want to know what is really happening have been forced to turn to the Internet or, as during the Cold War, to Western broadcasters such as Radio Liberty.
In an analysis which was posted on Fontanka.ru, media critic Sergey Ilchenko observes that “facts, especially in our days, do not exist on the television screen ‘in a pure form,’ separate from interpretation and commentary” as Russian TV’s approach to Georgia has clearly demonstrated over the last five days. Catastrophes and conflicts, he points out, are “constructed” by television whose editors and reporters “ever more frequently appear in the role of directors of reality,” as the movie “Wagging the Dog” and Russian coverage of the war in Georgia show to the satisfaction of anyone who cares to pay attention.
In another devasatingly harsh blow for Russia, virtually all the nations of its own CIS organization have refused to support its invasion of Georgia, and many have strongly criticized the action. Paul Goble reports:
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said today that Georgia will “finally” leave the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as a way of underscoring that “the USSR will never again return.” And he called on Ukraine and other countries which are now members to do the same. Saakashvili’s statement came in an emotional address to his country’s parliament during which he also labeled Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia “occupation forces.” Given recent events, Saakashvili’s remarks come as no surprise, but they call attention to something Moscow has been reluctant to acknowledge.
Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
Late Thursday night, after destroying as much of Tskhinvali as it could with truck-mounted missiles, the Georgian military took control of the city. When giving the command to start the war, it would seem that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili assumed that Russia would never bother to interfere.
This was his major strategic blunder. Moreover, it was a moral miscalculation because any regime that bombs its own citizens — whether in Tskhinvali or Grozny — rarely wins the approval of the international community, regardless of whether or not it was provoked into doing so by an adversary.
Writing on Post Global Kenyan journalist Njoroge Wachai exposes the jaw-dropping hypocrisy of Russia’s stance on Zimbabwe when viewed from the Georia prism:
The UN Security Council should now reintroduce its draft resolution to punish Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader Robert Mugabe, and 11 of his henchmen, that Russia helped defeat on the grounds that it “infringed on Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.”
Why? Because Russia has invaded Georgia, a sovereign nation, which now renders the key foundation of its argument against the Zimbabwe resolution, moot.
Vladimir Frolov, president of LEFF Group, a government relations and PR company, writing in the Moscow Times, says that Georgia may have suckered Russia into a no-win proposition.
This week will mark the first 100 days of Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency, and foreign policy is unlikely to be counted as one of his major successes during this period. Apart from an ill-prepared initiative of an all-European security treaty that didn’t go very far, he now has a war on his hands — one that he did not choose and one that can now spin out of his control.
- One Picture is Worth a Thousand Screams