The Eclectic One

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Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

Georgia: Both candidates get it wrong

Posted by Bill Nance on October 1, 2008

As I’ve written in this blog repeatedly, the recent Russian invasion of Georgia is a lot more complicated than most Americans seem to grasp.

But here’s something that’s not complicated to grasp:

Russia invaded in response to a well-telegraphed and poorly carried out attempt by Georgia to wrest back separatist South Ossetia, which was at the time, occupied by Russian “peacekeepers.”

I’m not excusing the Russian response, but let there be no mistake, that response was not unprovoked aggression. To pretend anything else is willful ignorance. The Georgians took military action against what the Russians consider a client state (regardless of the rightness or wrongness of it) and the Russians pounded them in reply.

Now both Presidential Candidates are making noises about making Georgia into a NATO ally.

Are they BOTH fucking insane?

Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty calls for mutual military assistance. Specifically:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

The Georgian president, Mikheil Saakhashvili rolled the dice and lost badly. Had he rolled those dice as a NATO ally, the United States would have been obligated to go to war with a country with thousands of nuclear warheads.

I’m all for expanding NATO. It provides mutual security and helps to bring Eastern European countries into the family of free-market democracies. But potential NATO allies need to first demonstrate that they aren’t likely to start world war three in a fit of pique. To even consider Georgia for membership after the predictably stupid move it made a month ago is beyond foolish and naive. It’s criminally irresponsible.

And for what it’s worth, our NATO allies will politely tell us to get stuffed if we try to railroad them into it. -Thank God.


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Lebanon in the Caucasus

Posted by Bill Nance on August 28, 2008

Russia’s recent decision to establish “security zones” in Georgian territory and its unilateral recognition of an independent South Ossetia and Abkhazia is not without historical precedent, and no, I’m not talking about Nazi manipulations of “sudeten” Czechoslovakia.

The most recent and cogent example is the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, which lasted from 1983-2000.

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, resulting in between 10,000 and 15,00 Lebanese and Palestinian casualties (depending on who you rely upon as a source), the deaths of over 600 Israeli soldiers and massive, long-lasting damage to the polity and infrastructure of the Lebanon. Additionally, the invasion led to American and French intervention, and the subsequent attacks on the U.S. Marine and French Paratroop barracks in Beirut, in which over 241 Americans and 58 Frenchmen lost their lives.

In 1983, after negotiating a withdrawal from the Beirut area, Israel established what it called a “security zone” in south Lebanon, ostensibly to prevent attacks on northern Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian militants. The “security zone” did not provide much security for Israel. It did however, further incense Arabs across the world, inspire Islamic radicalization, empower Hezbollah, and further isolate Israel from European support. When it finally withdrew in 2000 under intense domestic political pressure, Israelis widely viewed the occupation as a failed experiment. Many Israeli’s  termed it  “Israel’s Vietnam.”

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