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AUGUST 11, 2008 10:53AM

Russia's crime of aggression

Rate: 3 Flag

georgiaI've been trying to figure out what to say about this Russian invasion of sovereign Georgia, but nothing really original comes to mind. Needless to say, this is deplorable aggression, and the massive civilian casualties smack of war crime to me.

Some observations:

  • Russian supports South Ossetia, a region of sovereign Georgia that wants to break away from Georgia. Ossetia borders Russia. Russia supports the breakaway republic. Of course, when Russia had its own breakway republic, Chechnya, near-genocide was justifiable to protect Russia's territorial integrity and to prevent Checnnya from seceding. So the hypocrisy of Russia is bald.
  • Russia has been bombing outside of Ossetia: the Georgian capital Tbilisi, and around the region of Abkhazia, which is also bordering Russia. I've actually been to Abkhazia, when I was 4, and it was really beautiful (see photos). Very Mediterranean.
  • georgiadadThanks to the US' Iraq War, we have no moral authority to object to Russia's actions. The Kosovo intervention doesn't help our case either. Russian diplomats are using the exact language: humanitarian intervention, ethnic cleansing of Ossetians, etc. And similar tactics: bombing Tbilisi (capital of Georgia, not Ossetia) is akin to bombing Belgrade (capital of Serbia, not Kosovo) during the Kosovo intervention.
  • This may very well be a reemergence of cold war dynamics between the US and Russia: just like the Afghanistan war was a proxy for a war between Russia and the US, so too this war may become a proxy war between Russia and the US, since the US supports sovereign Georgia.

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Doesn't shock me one bit. The whole pipeline aspect is probably the underlying cause. In Afghanstan, the underlying was also the strategic importance of Afghanstian in terms of location and pipeline dreams.

It all comes back to oil and gas... that is so terribly depressing.
This looks like the beginning of Putin's grand plan to reconstitute the Soviet Union. If no one stops him from taking South Ossetia and intimidating Georgia into compliance, then Ukraine and the Baltic States had better start worrying.
Now I dont agree with Russia's actions one bit, they are excessive. But Georgia is not without blame here, which is why the situation is so difficult. Remember this conflict started when Georgia called a truce with South Ossetia under the pretention that it wanted to negotiate a lasting peace. Instead they invaded when the South Ossetians let their guard down, killing many civilians and Russian peacekeepers. It was a disgraceful tactic.
Georgians are not without guilt, sure. Neither were Iraqis (Saddam, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, etc). But having some fault does not give the other side a carte blanche.