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Archive for the tag “Georgia”

Peace prize, anyone?

I don’t have much to say right now, and what little I do have to say has been said for me by Notes from a Common-place Book: That is what I am saying:

Recognizing Kosovo was madness, and Georgia paid the price for it. Trashing international law and ignoring state sovereignty when it suited us paved the way for other major powers to do the same to their weaker neighbors. The aggressive and confrontational foreign policy of at least the last ten years, including both Clinton and Bush administrations, brought about this state of affairs, and it will probably take decades to undo the damage that “humanitarian” and “well-intentioned” hawks have done to the international order.

Independent report blames Georgia for South Ossetia war

A year after the war in South Ossetia the politicians are still bickering, while church leaders are trying to promote peace (Hat-tip to ROCOR UNITED: Independent report blames Georgia for South Ossetia war.

Independent report blames Georgia for South Ossetia war | Deutsche Welle:

A new report commissioned by the EU said that Georgia started the South Ossetia conflict last summer, but also found Russia’s response illegal. Both Georgia and Russia have claimed the report supports their version.

According to the report, carried out by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini and presented to the European Union on Wednesday, there is no evidence to support Georgia’s claim that Russia had already sent troops to annex South Ossetia before Georgia began its attack on the region’s capital Tskhinvali on the night of August 7/8 2008.

‘There was no ongoing armed attack by Russia before the start of the Georgian operation,’ the report said. ‘There is the question of whether the use of force by Georgia in South Ossetia … was justifiable under international law. It was not.’

And while the politicians are still trying to score points off each other, church leaders have been trying to bring peace. Directions to Orthodoxy – Russian, Georgian patriarchs plea for peace year after Ossetia war:

Orthodox church leaders from Russia and Georgia called for peace while their political counterparts lobbed charges of aggression in marking the one year anniversary of the South Ossetia war.

The Russian and Georgian patriarchs also commemorated the victims of the short, brutal war over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Ilia II of the Georgian Orthodox Church stressed the common spiritual heritage of the warring sides, continuing the line taken last year by Ilia and the late Patriarch Aleksei II of the Russian Orthodox Church, who had sought reconciliation as the conflict raged.

At a panikhida, or memorial service, at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 8 August, a year after Georgia is said to have begun shelling the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, Patriarch Kirill said that the war, which he called the result of ‘aggression set off by evil political will’, was ‘a tragedy of three fraternal Orthodox peoples’.

Western re-think on Caucasian war?

Are Western countries beginning to doubt the wisdom of their rush to support Georgia in last months Caucasian conflict?

Did Saakashvili Lie?: The West Begins to Doubt Georgian Leader – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International:

But now the volume is being turned down on the anti-Moscow rhetoric. Last week German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier publicly called for clarification on the question of who is to blame for the Caucasus war. ‘We do need to know more about who bears what portion of the responsibility for the military escalation and to what extent,’ Steinmeier told a meeting of Germany’s more than 200 ambassadors in Berlin. The European Union, he said, must now ‘define our relations with the parties to the conflict for the medium and long term,’ and that the time has come to have concrete information.

If there is a re-think going on, however, the signs are very faint — “nuanced” as they like to say in academia.

Der Spiegel reports

But now, five weeks after the end of the war in the Caucasus, the winds have shifted in America. Even Washington is beginning to suspect that Saakashvili, a friend and ally, could in fact be a gambler — someone who triggered the bloody five-day war and then told the West bold-faced lies. “The concerns about Russia have remained,” says Paul Sanders, an expert on Russia and the director of the conservative Nixon Center in Washington. His words reflect the continuing Western assessment that Russia’s military act of revenge against the tiny Caucasus nation Georgia was disproportionate, that Moscow violated international law by recognizing the separatist republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and, finally, that it used Georgia as a vehicle to showcase its imperial renaissance.

But there’s no sign of any acknowledgement that Russia’s response was no more “disproportionate” that Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2006, the US attacks on Iraq in 2003 and Yugoslavia in 1999, or the British attack on Argentina in 1982.

If Western hypocrisy is cracking, the cracks are still painted over.

Memoirs of a Neophyte: The 2008 South Ossetia War: A Guide

Memoirs of a Neophyte: The 2008 South Ossetia War: A Guide: “There are two basic facts to keep in mind about the smokin’ little war in Ossetia:

1. The Georgians started it.

2. They lost.


They were doing something they learned from Bush and Cheney: sticking to best-case scenarios, positive thinking. The Georgian plan was classic shock’n’awe with no hard, grown-up thinking about the long term. Their shiny new army would go in, zap the South Ossetians while they were on a peace hangover (the worst kind), and then…uh, they’d be welcomed as liberators? Sure, just like we were in Iraq. Man, you pay a price for believing in Bush.”

War and hegemony

Alan Greenspan, the former head of the US Federal Reserve, has been in the news lately with the publication of his memoirs, in which he claimed that that Bush’s invasion of Iraq was about oil, not weapons of mass destruction.

Counterpunch disagrees, however,

It is certainly the case that Iraq was not invaded because of WMD, which the Bush administration knew did not exist. But the oil pretext is also phony. The US could have purchased a lot of oil for the trillion [billion] dollars that the Iraq invasion has already cost in out-of-pocket expenses and already incurred future expenses.

and goes on to say that

Bush’s wars are about American hegemony, not oil. The oil companies did not write the neoconservatives’ “Project for a New American Century,” which calls for US/Israeli hegemony over the entire Middle East, a hegemony that would conveniently remove obstacles to Israeli territorial expansion.”

And it is on that point that the policies of the two major American parties are almost exactly the same. Americans seem to get hugely antagonistic about their politics, tossing puerile insults at the other side (one gets tired of seeing “DemocRATS” and “Repugs” all over the Internet), and yet to people outside the USA, they are as alike as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, fighting over the claim the one had spoiled the other’s nice new rattle. American politicians do indeed seem to be like children fighting over toys, the toys, in this case, being America’s military hardware.

Bush bombed Baghdad, but Clinton bombed Belgrade, and Blair joined in the bombing of both. And Madeleine Albright thought the death of half a million Iraqi children was a price worth paying to ensure American hegemony in the Middle East. And it was her Democratic Party administration that bombed a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan using the false pretext that it was being used for the manufacture of WMD.

The Caucasian Church is flourishing

When I think of Caucasians I think first of Stalin, who was probably the most famous Caucasian of the last century or two, the former seminarian who tried to destroy the Church and propagate atheism. Under his rule more than 200000 clergy and monastics were killed, and many more were sent to concentration camps.

But what is happening in his homeland, Georgia, today?

What is happening to the Christian faith he once tried to destroy?

The Church is flourishing, that’s what.

Read all about it in Notes from a CommonplaceBook, travellers tales, with beautiful pictures, of a recent visit to Georgia.

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