EDITORIAL: The New Cold War with Russia

EDITORIAL

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.

Ever since April 2006 this blog has been tirelessly warning the world of the dangers posed by the neo-Soviet state forming in Russia.  We warned the West that, whether it wanted to fight or not, a new cold war was already underway between those who cherish freedom and the proud KGB spy Russians had chosen to govern them as dictator for life.

Two books by journalists, Edward Lucas and Mark MacKinnon, have already been written about this subject. Undoubtedly, there will be many more to come. But they are all very much late.  Just as was the case in regard to the Bolshevik revolution and the Stalin dictatorship, much valuable time was wasted as the world dithered and mumbled about the need to give Russia a chance.

The time for action was the moment Putin was reelected, when it became clear thath the people of Russia had ratified his bloddy crackdown in Chechnya and his abrogation of civil society throughout Russia.

Some criticized us for adopting a chicken little attitude towards Russia, but now as the tables turn it becomes clear that, if we erred, we did so by not being nearly tough enough on the Putin “government” and the people of Russia who spawned it.

Their hypocrisy is truly breathtaking. Do you dare imagine, dear reader — do you dare — how Russia would react if Condi Rice were to declare, in the context of Chechnya, that “one can forget about any talk about Georgia’s territorial integrity”?   How is it possible that Russians can allow themselves to speak in this crazed manner, so wholly detached from reality?  How is it possible that they can insist on keeping Chechnya as a slave state while simultaneously demanding that Georgia set Abkahazia and Ossetia free?

We saw this same exact type of jaw-dropping hypocrisy from the USSR, a state that destroyed itself in less than a century.  And now Russians have chosen to be governed by a proud KGB spy, a relic of the USSR, and to adopt exactly the same approach to foriegn relations, directly antagonizing and provoking the world’s most powerful country into yet another struggle for existence.

Russia’s ability to destroy itself is the stuff of legend.  Just hours after Russia violate its cease-fire agreement with Georgia, a formerly recalcitrant Poland signed on to the U.S. missile defense plan for Eastern Europe.  Russia’s action is polarizing the whole of Europe against Russia for a protracted renewal of the Cold War that destroyed the mighty USSR. What chance does Russia have?  And what does it gain? Is Ossetia and Abkhazia really worth all this?

Russia replaced the USSR. What will replace Russia when this latest suicidal action is complete?

17 responses to “EDITORIAL: The New Cold War with Russia

  1. It’s time to clear the fog coming from Lavrov and the Kremlin.

    As this article, and as others have pointed out, one does not launch an invasion as an impromptu reaction. The whole thing was PRE-PLANNED by roosha.

    Including the repair of a railroad in Abkhazia (no doubt, more “humanitarian” work on the part of the ever=so-kind rooshan troops).

    http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2373314

    THE RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN WAR WAS PREPLANNED IN MOSCOW

    By Pavel Felgenhauer

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Russian troops repair and improve a railroad in Abkhazia in June 2008 (AP) Last week military tension in Georgia’s separatist region of South Ossetia escalated into all-out war. The Ossetian separatists were provoking a conflict to give the Russian military a pretext for direct intervention. Late in the evening of August 7, a heavy mortar bombardment of Georgian villages near the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali provoked Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to order a major assault. The night attack by Georgian troops outfitted with Western-made night-vision equipment flushed the Ossetian fighters out and Tskhinvali was overrun in the morning. To stop the Georgian offensive thousands of Russian troops with hundreds of pieces of armor invaded through the Roki tunnel and rushed forward. Russian jets began bombing Georgian military installations and cities (see EDM, August 7).

    From August 8 to 10, the Georgian army was engaged in ferocious battles with the Russian invaders in and around Tskhinvali. On August 10, the Georgian authorities announced that they were withdrawing all their forces from South Ossetia and asked for a ceasefire and peace talks (Interfax, August 10). On August 12, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted a French-brokered peace plan, and a shaky truce was established. The Georgian army concentrated its forces on defending the capital of Tbilisi. Tens of thousands of Russian troops and over a thousand pieces of armor were relocated to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian troops moved out of the breakaway regions to occupy other Georgian provinces in the West (Zugdidi, Senaki, and Poti), disarming local police forces and destroying Georgian military bases (Interfax, August 13). Marauding Ossetian paramilitaries and Russian servicemen went pillaging and terrorizing the local population in and around Gori south of Tskhinvali (AP, August 13).

    Moscow declared that it was forced to go to battle by the initial Georgian attack in South Ossetia (RIA-Novosti, August 8). But there is sufficient evidence that this massive invasion was preplanned beforehand for August (see EDM, June 12). The swiftness with which large Russian contingents were moved into Georgia, the rapid deployment of a Black Sea naval task force, the fact that large contingents of troops were sent to Abkhazia where there was no Georgian attack all seem to indicate a rigidly prepared battle plan. This war was not an improvised reaction to a sudden Georgian military offensive in South Ossetia, since masses of troops cannot be held for long in 24-hour battle readiness. The invasion was inevitable, no matter what the Georgians did.

    It seems the main drive of the Russian invasion was Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO, while the separatist problem was only a pretext. Georgia occupies a key geopolitical position, and Moscow is afraid that if George joins NATO, Russia will be flushed out of Transcaucasia. The NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, last April, where Ukraine and Georgia did not get the so-called Membership Action Plan or MAP to join the Alliance but were promised eventual membership, seems to have prompted a decision to go to war (Interfax, April 3).

    Before using arms, Moscow issued ominous threats. Russia unilaterally rebuked CIS sanctions against Abkhazia (RIA-Novosti, March 6). The Kremlin-controlled State Duma passed a resolution calling for recognition of Abkhaz and South Ossetian sovereignty (RIA-Novosti, March 21). Vladimir Putin promised Abkhazia and South Ossetia “not declarative, but material support” and announced that Georgian aspirations for “speedy Atlantic integration” endangered security (www.mid.ru, April 3). Russia’s top military commander Yuri Baluyevsky threatened “military action to defend our interests near our borders,” if Georgia and Ukraine joined NATO (RIA-Novosti, April 11). In apparently the last warning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Georgia of failing to pass a law forbidding foreign military bases after Russia moved its bases out last November. Lavrov linked Georgian intransigence with “Western plans to pull it into NATO” (ITAR-TASS, May 5).

    Material military preparations were made. On May 31, Railroad troops were moved to repair the tracks south of Sokhumi to prepare the infrastructure for the invasion. On July 30, they completed their work and all was set for major combat in August, since later bad weather would impede an invasion (see EDM, June 12, July 30). The West seems to have dismissed the Russian warnings and preparations as bluff until it was too late. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza stated in Tbilisi, “Now we know” the true mission of the Railroad troops in Abkhazia (Interfax, August 11). He would have done better to subscribe to EDM.

    The main task of the Russian invasion–to cause a total state failure and fully destroy the reformed Georgian army, making NATO membership impossible–has not yet been achieved, despite all the havoc. More attacks and devastation may be planned. Ballistic Tochka-U missiles with a range of 110 km have been deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from which they could reach Tbilisi. Two seem to have already been fired at Western Georgia, according to statements from Abkhaz separatists (Novaya Gazeta, August 14). A missile attack, officially attributed to separatists, could kill hundreds, creating a devastating panic and possible regime collapse.

  2. i’m an american and in general i support georgia in this conflict.
    however, i have one unanswered question.
    why did the georgian military perform so poorly??? are georgian’s willing to fight for their land, and fight for their government?? and if they’re NOT, why should a young american soldier with a family from a small town in arizona be asked to fight for georgia???

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS: The answer is pretty simple, John. Georgia is a country with less than 5 million people and can’t possibly hope to withstand a Russian assault without military assistance. The west didn’t promise to give that assistance (not troops, weapons and naval support and humanitarian aid) and this meant that fighting would be futile and would give Putin the excuse he wants to go to Tbilisi and oust the government. The Western response has been strong enough that Putin has not been willing yet to move on Tbilisi without massive fighting as a pretext, so the approach is working thus far. If Russian troops march on Tbilisi, we believe the Georgians will fight house-to-house. But they’ll lose eventually and be reduced to a guerilla campaign as in Chechnya unless the West is going to support them we weaponry. So you need to ask why we haven’t made that pledge, and indeed why we didn’t bring Georgia into NATO when we had the chance and arm them sufficiently so that Russia would fear invasion. More important, you need to ask why we aren’t doing that now with Ukraine.

  3. yet america has been providing military help and training for years.
    and yet the georgians have done nothing but run and retreat in a chaotic manner. can’t they at least demonstrate they’re willing to fight for their own land and gvt??? one wonders if our military support and training has been wasted on a nation unwilling to defend itself.
    the chechens in fact defeated the russians and drove them out of their land in 1996.
    my point remains the same—georgia should not expect an american to shed blood or die for georgia until georgia demonstrates they’re willing to do the same.
    in the meantime i support georgia, and i hope my government supports them with as much aid and help as possible.
    bush has kissed putin’s ass for 8 years, and he’s got nothing to show for it. maybe johnny mac from az will know how to deal with this little bully.

  4. This is all well and good, LR, but when do you propose that we invade?

    LA RUSSOPOBE RESPONDS: We needn’t invade. We need only take the necessary steps so that neo-Soviet Russia destroys itself the way the USSR did. Never underestimate the irresistible power of Russian incompetence!

  5. LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS: Nice one Elmer! Those plucky Georgians!

  6. I wish I could agree with you on your rather optimistic view of things, but I’ve read many editorials before say that the consequences are not worth the benefits for Russia and it seems that they were all wrong. Putin continues to jail or kill his opposition, intimidate Russia’s neighbors and keep himself in power on a technicality. I wish I could say that this last episode of actual territorial aggression was different. However, after the world recovers from the shock, Russia only has to stay out of the news for a couple of months and we’ll be ready again to absorb the news of another barbaric act and hate Putin a little more. It was the same with the Nazi empire. I’ve heard it said before that as horrible as 20th century has in terms of wars and catastrophe the most horrible thing about it has been people’s inability to learn from their mistakes and I believe it.

  7. In response to John:
    You know, actually we don’t want the war…we never wanted it…we had enough with 3 wars we had to overcome in past 16 years….the most of the georgian people do not expect the occidental countries to help us, because to tell the truth, the west only involves when they are going to have some profit from it and there’s nothing left in this county to get the profit from… the only thing we asked you is to accept us in NATO because the russian atack was expected to come next…so, don’t worry, nobody will ask you to leave you lovely arizona to come to fight to Georgia…BTW, the military service in USA is nos mandatory, so if you enroll in US Army shouldn’t you accept any destination?

  8. Here is a fairly comprehensive BBC report.

    Turns out that not only did rasha launch cyberattacks just prior to the Georgian was, and bomb the pipeline, but there was a systematic sale of US bonds by rashan state-owned companies – at a loss.

    It’s called cutting off your nose to spite your face. I hope the rashans do more of that.

    In the interview, the rashan commentator states that if you think Georgia was something – wait until Ukraine. He further states that rasha’s not afraid of anything.

    Plus, at the end – a Sun headline based on a rashan threat – “We’ll NUKE Poland.”

    What on earth are they eating in the Kremlin? They need to get some sunlight.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_4670000/newsid_4679900/4679986.stm

  9. Russia has declared that Russian law applies to foreign countries and their non-Russian leaders, and that it can protect the “rights” and the “dignity” of “its” citizens anywhere.

    That includes use of military force, if, based on Russian Federal law, Russia sees a threat to the “dignity” of Russian citizens – anywhere in the world.

    Plus the article provides some additional insight into the answer provided above by LR about the type of military assistance that has been provided to date to Georgia and others.

    I don’t know what those vampires in the Kremlin are smoking, but it must be a mixture of weed and hallucinogens.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/424zxlxt.asp?pg=1

    What Is To Be Done?
    The conflict in Georgia.
    by Frederick W. Kagan
    08/25/2008, Volume 013, Issue 46

    The Cold War isn’t back. The Russian attacks on Georgia don’t mean American soldiers will soon be staring at Red Army soldiers in the middle of Germany or that U.S. defense spending must triple to match a global Russian military juggernaut. But Vladimir Putin’s aggression, and the justifications offered for it by Russian leaders, could nevertheless mark a historic turning point. They are a deliberate assault on the structure of international norms and on Western credibility.

    {CLICK THE LINK TO READ THE REST}

  10. So LR, when should we invade Russia?

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS: We already answered that question. Try to keep up, can’t you?

  11. la russophobe, If anybody asks why they should be fighting, they are not a true believer. Take Heed.

  12. This really isn’t that hard to figure out. Supply humanitarian aid by air, military aid by truck via the border with turkey, and cut the soviet/russian supply lines by means of air power, since Georgia is a sovereign country. We only need the presidents permission.

    If Georgia had Stingers, and Javelins, the russians would have to funnel out on the roads that we have already destroyed. Forcing them to flee on foot.

    We need to act quickly

  13. Cut off their escape route. If you want to see panick… Seriosly.

  14. Here’s a report that says the Russian Black Sea Fleet was hit by Georgian shore artillery, and that the return to their base in Crimea is – delayed.

    http://www.segodnya.ua/news/12055323.html

  15. Tower Bolshevik

    “How is it possible that they can insist on keeping Chechnya as a slave state while simultaneously demanding that Georgia set Abkahazia and Ossetia free?”

    Scary, because I actually agree with that. Its rare that I agree with anything posted here. This is very hypocritical of Russia’s capitalist rulers, and is one of many examples I’ve found that resembles the NATO rape of Yugoslavia 1999. NATO illegally broke off land from Yugoslavia and slaughtered over 5,000 Serbs to do it through 3 months of terror bombing to secure its dominance of the region. This was done under the cloak of “human rights” by Clinton who starved over 2 million Iraqis. Russia’s oppression of Chechnya, shows it cares nothing for the self determination of Abkhazians and Ossetians, but is only there for its interests, just like NATO in Yugoslavia. Because it was a semi-colony, I defended Yugoslavia from NATO terror without supp0rting Milosevic. I take no sides in this conflict which is interimperialist. Georgia’s rulers are gangsters of the USA, so I’ll not defend Georgia.

  16. TB or BF, doesn’t matter really. When the US caved to humanitarian aid, it was after Saddam pulled children out of the freezer to show how terrible american foreign policy was.

    Truth be told those children had been stockpiled, against muslim creed, if that even exists. Which is where the Oil-For-Food scandal came from. Your country was a beneficiary of it.

    I am not suprised that you still believe in it.

  17. Just for the sake of reference. Bill Clinton was what Joseph Stalin called, “Usefull Idiot.”

    You can say anything you want about Bosnia, I will not only agree with you, but in some cases I will one up you.

    Same goes for John Kennedy.

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