CNN’s Global Public Square is featuring the crisis in Georgia, where Russian troops continue to occupy parts of Georgia despite international concerns about the situation.
President Shaakashvili is a very appealing figure who took over leadership of Georgian in the non-violent “rose rebellion” which was spawned by the corruption during the Shevardnadzi Presidency, the first after Georgia’s independence from Russia. He speaks five languages and attended US universities. These western sensibilities make Shaakasvilli a powerful advocate for western intervention to stop Russia’s aggression even as Russia continues to maintain that they are responding to the desires of oppressed peopel in South Ossetia.
Russia’s justification for their invasion and desire to annex the Georgia provinces known as “South Ossetia” appears to be ongoing conflict there between Georgia loyalists and those who want South Ossetia to break away from Georgia (not clear if those insurgents want to be part of Russia or just want Russian help to break away).
I’ve not studied this issue enough but it appears to me that Russia is doing a complicated dance here, trying to take over these provinces before Georgia becomes part of NATO next year (which would make the Russian invasion almost equivalent to an act of war against the west) and testing Western resolve to intercede on behalf of Georgia early in the process and while the US remains entangled in other interventions around the globe. It’s a high stakes game that Russia appears to be “winning” so far.
Here in America our attention seems to be focused mostly on the Presidential Election and the Iraq War, even as many other parts of the world fall into greater instability than we’ve seen in some time. Georgia is reviving the cold war tensions many thought were behind us while Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of very unstable and hostile forces. Even Afghanistan is reeling under renewed violence from a Taliban insurgency strengthened over the past few years as international attention has focused elsewhere.
Obama? McCain? Are you sure you want the big job?
Interesting set of blog posts by Nadja1, a contractor on the oil pipeline