U.S. Strategic Interest in Georgia and a New Cold War

The supposition that the US more or less provoked Georgia into war with Russia is the likely truth, given Dick Cheney’s recent statements blaming Russia entirely, and swearing that Georgia will enter NATO no matter what.

Tony Wood, who wrote a very good recent book on Chechnya, has this to say in part in the September 11, 2008 issue of the London Review of Books.

So why would the US approve a military adventure it had no intention of materially supporting? Not every development is part of an infernal neocon conspiracy, but it is nonetheless clear that the White House would make palpable gains from the Georgian crisis, whatever the outcome. If Saakashvili succeeded in retaking South Ossetia, he would have faced down Russia and demonstrated Georgia’s increasing readiness for Nato membership. If, on the other hand, Russia defeated Georgia, it would re-emphasise to Eastern Europe the need for US security guarantees. Sure enough, within two days of the start of fighting in Tskhinvali, Poland and the US finally reached agreement on the missile shield. Georgia itself appears all the more in need of US backing, and several politicians and commentators have suggested that the crisis is grounds for the country’s immediate admission to Nato. It could also justify the US increasing its military presence in Georgia, from a mere 100 Special Forces troops to, say, a long-term base. Moreover, the war has created ample opportunity for ramping up the discourse of a New Cold War – considerably improving the electoral prospects of John McCain, whose foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann worked for Saakashvili until May this year. All this, in exchange for a short war the US didn’t have to fight.

–>Read the Rest: “What Condoleezza Said”, September 11, 2008.  London Review of Books. Tony Wood.

The US leadership now finds a return to cold war type tensions something of a relief, because it at last makes explicable the adversarial approach to Russia that the US has always pursued and with which the leadership is most comfortable.

If the rhetoric about encouraging freedom in the post-Soviet states were to be taken at face value, then the US would have permitted the democratic upsurge of the 1990s to take its course and restrained itself from directing the meltdown of the Russian economy (a long process lasting throughout the Clinton presidency).

Instead, the US has dogmatically pursued free-market solutions within Russia and encouraged the growth of autocracy to that end.  Putin was viewed favorably so long as he did not overly oppress the oligarchs.

Putin would never have come into power in the first place without the continued US support for his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.  Who knows where we’d be now if Yeltsin hadn’t suppressed the Duma?  Its impossible to say, but its easy to see that the US and Russia have had their first proxy war since 1991 and that is a disastrous development.

Links:

Putin and the Oligarchs, Marshall I. Goldman, From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004

Billionaires boom as Putin puts oligarchs at No 2 in global rich list: Super-wealthy Russians enjoy golden age – as long as they stay well clear of politics,  Tom Parfitt in Moscow,  The Guardian, Tuesday February 19 2008

The Mutation of The Russian Secret Service. Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. In Russian published by “Index on Censorship”. 2006. Argentura.ru.

Wikipedia: Russian_financial_crisis

Wikipedia: History_of_post-Soviet_Russia#Shock_therapy

Wikipedia: Economy_of_Russia

Wikipedia: South Ossetian War

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Posted on September 5, 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Just to let you know, we profiled this blog post over at sparklecityblogs.com. We’re also thinking of having a blog meet-up next week, and if you’re interested, please drop a line at publisher@spartanburgspark.com.

  2. ~ Over a year ago, like presumably a lot of Americans that didn’t pursue an active interest in the geography of that corner of the world, (but I can find the US on a map, hehe) -when I heard that a group of senators and congressmen were flying over Georgia in a helicopter and had a near miss with a ground-to-air bazooka, or grenade launcher rather, I thought, “damn crazy Atlanta gangsters must have upgraded their ghetto blasters.”

    ~ It seemed with all the double standards in the initial reports that came out with this latest conflict, the demonizing of Russia and the typical media scare tactics, (and considering the confirmation of suspicions that Fox news is taking orders from the white house on how they present certain stories) I knew there was a lot more to this situation then what it seemed at face value.

    ~ Luckily I’m not dependent on the US media for my news, as I’m an internet news junkie that threw out his TV years ago.

    ~ Georgia getting into NATO, the finalization of the defense shield, the close proximity to Iran, and oil pipelines, it’s obvious the US and those involved in the attempted empirical globalization scheme are closing in for a checkmate in a big game of chess spanning the region.

    ~ These people are actively pursuing a world war three conflict to create a justification for empirical world domination. I can sympathize with Russia and Iran and all the other nations that are against having a central bank, because that’s what it seems to boil down to, economic enslavement through usury and fractional reserve banking methods to deprive nations and their citizens of wealth through a fiat, debt based economy.

    ~ It’s a devastating cycle that the US and its citizenry are seeing the ill effects of currently, and I can’t blame anyone that opposes it, as I hold the same sentiment.

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