Tag Archives: Georgia

UN Role Urged In Black Sea Region

In the aftermath of the Georgia situation, enior officials in Romania and Bulgaria urged the United Nations to assume a more prominent role in dealing with conflict in the Black Sea area. Bulgarian Prime Minister Segei Stanshev expressed concern about efforts to create the elements of democracy and peace in the region due to the influence of outside forces. “Should plans for a regional centre for UN mediation in the Western Balkan/Black Sea area meet approval by member states, Bulgaria stands ready to host it in Sofia and to facilitate it in every possible way.” Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu emphasized the importance of dealing with a region which contains important energy resources that are needed by many nations in Europe.

The fact smaller nations in the region are concerned about events in Georgia once again highlights mistakes of the Bush administration which so often makes any conflict one that the United States must resolve.

German Leader Warns Against Georgia In NATO

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder warned NATO against allowing Georgia to enter the body because it might result in growing disputes with Russia that eventually could lead to war. He also expressed concern over President Saakashvili who he believes is an “unpredictable” leader if events concluded in tense relations with NATO and Russia. Schroder expressed shock at the one sided approach to the Georgia situation by NATO and President Bush indicating there was scant consideration for the interests or concerns of Russia. The German political leader was concerned that at some point failure to conduct foreign policy which took into account the Russian perspective could result in German soldiers becoming involved in the wrong war at the wrong time.

Schroder expressed the view of anyone who has followed the Georgia situation and been cognizant of Russian fears and concerns. The Bush approach of threats and constructing missile bases on the border of Russia reflects a provocative approach.

Foreign Policy Expert Warns Of US Russia Blunders

Andrew Kuchina, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently attended the Vaidai Discussion Club meeting in Moscow and was saddened by the American attitude toward Russia which he regards as misguided and could result in a worse attitude than was present in the Cold War. Russian presenters at the discussion all sang the same song, “we don’t want a new era of confrontation, but the choice is yours.” But, Secretary of Rice at the same time was insisting “the decision is Russia’s and Russia’s alone.” Kuchina found most Russian experts believed there nation was correct in responding to the Georgia invasion of South Ossetia. President Medvedev said he talked with George Bush during the crisis and was told by the president, “what do you need this for?” and he responded, “George, I had no choice, and if you were in my shoes, you would have done exactly the same, only more brutally.”

Kuchina believes the United States simply does not grasp that constructing missile bases in Poland is interpreted in Moscow as a provocative action that is bent on showing America can do as it wishes and Russia must accept Bush actions without protest. Medvedev said at Valdai, “We will not tolerate any more humiliation, and we are not joking.” From a Russian perspective, the defeat of Serbia, the independence of Kosovo, the expansion of NATO eastward, and building missile bases on its border are examples of America pushing its interests at the expense of Russia.

Kuchina hopes future American administrations will treat “Russia more like a real partner to achieve long-term objectives in the interests of all parties.” Perhaps, a President Obama can fulfill these goals.

War Of Words Between West And Russia

Dueling words have replaced dialogue as the conflict between Western nations and Russia over the Georgia incident continues to escalate. Fortunately, at this time both sides are using words in their conflict rather than armed force. US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, warned Russia its actions would result in being isolated from the world while President Medvedev asserted his nation is not retreating into a war like stance but will continue working with other nations. Secretary of State Rice charged the Russian government has no friends other than leftist nations such as Venezuela and Cuba even as Medvedev made clear Russia was not returning to a Soviet Union sense of isolation from the world. He mocked NATO for being unable to provide support for Georgia during the crisis and sarcastically noted “NATO only provoked the conflict and nothing more than that.”

Charge and counter charges make headlines in the morning press but have nothing to do with resolving issues between nations. It is time for NATO to abandon Bush policies of deliberately provoking Russia and engage in comprehensive negotiations which would reduce Russian fears of being threatened by the West. In return there must be Russian evacuation of Georgia. It would help if Western leaders acknowledged the role played by Georgia in precipitating the entire conflict.

Secretary Gates Blasts Russia

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates continued blaming Russia as the culprit in recent events in Georgia while conveniently ignoring the role played by Bush actions which helped to precipitate the violence. He accused Russia of “mauling and menacing small democracies” but did acknowledge contemporary Russia was not the same threat to world peace as the former Soviet Union. He also warned Russian leaders they may have achieved a Pyrrhic victory which will cost their nation in the long run. In his view, Medvedev and Putin were trying to “recapture past glory along with past territory” but it will be a costly venture into returning to olden days and tactics. “In reality, Russia’s policies are born of a grievance-based desire to dominate its near abroad, not an ideology based effort to dominate the globe.”

At no point did Gates acknowledge that Bush plans to construct missile bases on the border of Russia might have been interpreted as an act of aggression. At not point did the Republican leader admit it was Georgia’s rash actions which created the problem.

Russia Rethinks Hostility Towards Georgia

President Medvedev has begun reconsidering his nation’s attitude toward Georgia. The Russian stock market was seriously impacted by recent events in Georgia which resulted in armed clashes between Russian and Georgian forces. Medvedev said his nation would do all in its power to restore friendly relations and pointed out over a million Georgians presently live in Russia. “We will do everything possible to restore friendly relations.” He accused NATO and the United States of attempting to create tension between his nation and Georgia. “What did NATO ensure? It only provoked the conflict, nothing else.” Medvedev is dealing with the reality of modern global economics which make it virtually impossible for a single industralized nation to stand apart from the world.

The president of Russia let the world know “there is no use returning to the past. We have made our choice” and it is toward restoring relations and working with other nations on the path to peace. Now, if one could only convince President Bush, working for peace ensures better results than fostering war.

EU Must Avoid Acting Like America In Georgia Crisis

The German newspaper, Der Spiegel, called upon members of the European Union to strike a balance between expressing concern for issues surrounding recent events in Georgia while avoiding the Bush confrontational style to problem solving which inevitably winds up creating problems rather than solving them. It makes clear President Saakashvili assumed “the EU would support and defend Georgia. Recent events now confirm ho wrong he was. Yet there is no question that Russia’s invasion, for which it was surprisingly well prepared, was clearly disproportionate.” The paper believes the EU should more quickly have intervened in the role of mediator,”but now must distance itself from the confrontational position that the united States has adopted toward Russia.”

Der Spiegel urges EU leaders to move away from Bush style rhetoric and action that seeks to “deepen polarities in an unstable power balance. Instead, the EU must develop a foreign policy that equilibrates its own economic concerns with the special needs and considerations of the countries and people of the region.” The paper warns against joining in American rhetoric which almost appears to be urging a crusade against Russia for its alleged evil behavior because at this point, there is sufficient blame to cast on all participants in recent events.

The central issue is the reality of an emerging more powerful Russia which will no longer be treated in threatening and humiliating ways by Western powers. Der Spiegel argues for the following actions:
1. Recognition of the autonomy of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
2. Guarantee the right of return of refugees to those regions.
3. A peace treaty that is hammered out with the assistance of the EU.
4. A peace treaty must apply to all three regions.
5. Strengthening of human rights.
6. Provide economic and humanitarian aid.
7. Develop energy independence so the EU no longer depends exclusively on Russia.

Medvedev Discusses Perils And Dangers Of Georgia

Once upon a time, a few months ago, Western experts looked to newly elected President Medvedev as an individual who would be less aggressive than Prime Minister Putin, but those days now belong to a fairy tale rather than to reality. President Medvedev in a meeting with a group of Western political and academic specialists laid out a strong line defending his nation’s recent actions in Georgia that were pure Putinesque. he denounced American support for Saakashvili and warned the world might encounter further consequences from a Saakashvili who would “go nuts” and once again make decisions endangering world peace. The Russian leader urged a return to 20th century standards of careful attention to one another’s security issues. He described NATO’s decision to extend membership to Georgia as “unjust,” “humiliating,” and “intolerable” to Moscow.

Medvedev urged the West to think about what might have happened if Georgia was a member of NATO and called upon its membership to come to its aid when confronting Russia. He raised questions as to whether Saakashvili had been used by the United States to create tension with Russia. The Russian president said Saakashvili had wanted to meet with him, but after a Rice visit, changed his mind. He also completely rejected the Bush claim missile bases in Poland were aimed at rogue nations, they are “directed at us. No other variant is possible.”

It is rather interesting that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama has raised the Georgia conflict as an example of Bush incompetence.

Putin: It’s US, Not Us, That Created Crisis!

A tragedy of the contemporary American media is its failure to provide honest, critical analysis of events in the world. The end of “Bureaus” around the globe which were staffed by reporters who spent years learning about other nations is replaced by getting news off the wires. Few American newspapers will report Prime Minister Putin’s remarks at the Vaidai Discussion Club in which he argued Georgia provoked the conflict by moving troops in South Ossetia and firing heavy weapons on its capital. “When tank, multiple rocket launchers and heavy artillery are used against us, are we supposed to fire with sling shout? What is an adequate use of force?” Fair question. Governor Palin in a display of ignorance, told her interviewer that Russia conducted an “unprovoked” invasion of Georgia. Who fired the initial shots–Georgia or Russia?

Few US newspapers will report his promise, “we have no desire and no grounds to encroach on he sovereignty of former Soviet republics” no his assurance there was no desire to restore a Cold War. The Russian prime minister justifiably blasted the Western media for its “total silence” about Georgian troops entering South Ossetia during the early days of the conflict. Their actions were reported as though it was the normal approach to problem solving, use force to get across your ideas.

Who Agreed To What About Georgia?

The acrimonious environment surrounding events in Georgia continue to confuse attempts to reach agreements. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused European Union leaders of distorting the issue regarding what was to occur about deployment of international cease-fire monitors in Geogia. Lavrov says the agreement said monitors would only be deployed outside the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, not inside those areas. The EU document says it “sands ready to deploy monitors in the whole Georgia territory.” Naturally, both sides disagree as to what constitutes the “whole Georgia territory.”

The Georgia incident began when President Saakashvili sent Georgian troops into South Ossetia but even before that event, the establishment of missile bases on the border of Russia was bound to create tension and distrust. Perhaps, it is time to rethink those missile bases and restore trust between Russia and the West.