This war could flip as fast as the Russian adventure at the other end of the asian landmass did just over 100 years ago, The Japanese eliminated the Russian Navy in 45 minutes. The Russian Black Sea fleet with troop transports could vanish just as fast. If it becomes a shooting war I expect the first shots will be the disappearance of Russian submarines followed by surface ships desperately and hopelessly running in panic. The Turkish government and their military are deciding which way to jump right now. Could they allow a Russian triumph? Yes but how could that be in their interest? Even if it came with a German promise to support EU membership it would not be worth having in Putin’s world. Better for the Turks to line up with the East Europeans and Americans and the real pro-American Sunnis of Iraq. The Iranians may be more likely to find allies among the Kurds.
Aug 11, 2008 - 8:07 pm
I’d like to say that I’m shocked and amazed of the number of posters on this forum and others who treat this as some sort of internal dispute between a bully (Saakashvili) and an ethnic minority, with the Russians in effect doing a very bad thing, but probably the only thing they could do.
It’s the FSB/KGB playbook - period. Or, it’s the pre-WWII isolationist playbook, avoid foreign entanglements, and the such. Take your pick. Neither describes the real world as it is.
Then there is the absolute fantasy (no insult intended) of perhaps giving nucs to Georgia, of rushing the 82nd Airborne in to key points (followed by what? their reduction via 500 Russian tanks and local air power?), of blowing Iran to hell just because it might make Putin feel bad, or of miracle resupply of superman SOCOM operators changing defeat to victory overnight. It’s not happening, folks.
And of course, there’s the obligatory “it’s all about oil.. oil is bad.. oil causes war..”.
Let’s get serious here, people.
1) This is well planned, naked Russian aggression. The situation on the ground in S. Ossetia was and is irrelevant, and particularly so to Putin. The Russians identified Georgia as a strategic goal on their shopping list for national expansion, and they’re just going to take it. They want the black sea naval base, they want the oil pipeline, and they want the strategic military road network (Southern terminus of the Sukhumi Military Road, the Georgian and Ossetian Military Roads).
2) Putin is a man of great ambitions. He has already set Russia on a course to restore the USSR. If Gorbachav and Yeltsin were the authors of the USSR’s demise, Putin will be the father of a new Union. The FSB is back in full force. Putin has eliminated by force every potential political opponent as well as the free press. He has set a path of confrontation against the U.S. for the past five years, and has returned to the prior Soviet strategy of working to isolate and divorce American from Europe.
3) Energy: Again, lose the left-wing Al Gore storybook fantasy. Natural resources are a strategic concern, and oil is the top concern - bar none. He who controls the world oil supply (if it can be done), controls the world. Oil is not evil. Oil is freedom for America and the West. Those who would deny America access to oil only strengthen our enemies. Those who are enemies of “oil” are also enemies of freedom.
4) We need to view the current Russian campaign and a potential Georgian capitulation in the long view. My heart goes out to the Georgians, but as Saakashvili said, it’s in their hands now. Air superiority, 500 tanks a 5:1 advantage in troops trumps anything the Georgians will put in the filed. Much as France and Eastern Europe were lost in the early days of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg, Georgia may very well be lost to Russian. It’s is vital for the future of Georgia that the nucleus of their leadership and military not share the fate of the Polish military officers and families in the Katyń Forest. They are not fighting for territory, but for survival.
The world cannot wish away tyrants. While America might be able to ignore an insignificant little dictatorship minutes from her shore (that would be Cuba, folks), we cannot ignore a reinvigorated, rearming, territory-hungry Russia, a man of continental ambitions such as Chavez, or a lunatic such as Iran’s Ahmadinejad.
The first lessons I learned and took to heart during my Navy officer training was America’s position in the world as an island nation, the importance of “free sea lanes of communication”, and the value of power projection versus playing defense from one’s own back yard. We need to recognize Putin’s game. We would tend to think “limited excursion”, because the west simply could not fathom a nation state seizing control of another nation state by force. WE would not do it, not in Iraq, not in Iran, not in post WWII Europe, so certainly, no other civilized society would do so. Banish that thought from your FSB-confused little minds, and look at the facts as we know them.
Russian is making it’s move, and Putin will not stop unless stopped. He may not have the remilitarized society he needs to fulfill his ambitions, but he’s been moving methodically to put those pieces in place. A lot of planes, tanks, and submarines can be put into service in 2-3 years, if a country has the will to do so, and the petro-rubles.
We need to think in terms of a long term, military campaign. It may be a cold war, it will certainly be a hot one at times, but it’s not our choice and yet it’s coming. Whether Obama or McCain is the next President is now a pivotal issue. I really do not have a dog in that hunt, i.e. I can support neither candidate based on their history. However, at this point, the fantasy-world-view of the Democrats may prove fatal for America’s future security.
You want change that you can believe in? Well, ask a Georgian about the relevant value of change. It’s time to get real, America.
Aug 11, 2008 - 7:54 pm
That was publishable. That was worth money. You said it better than I did.
Aug 11, 2008 - 8:30 pm
The one part of this equation that I am having the hardest time getting a handle on is Soros. If the Georgian government is a Soros funded and run operation then why would it align itself with American power projection into Iraq and Iran? We have Putin, the Chinese, Bush and Soros (he of the Invisible Empire) playing four way chess here. Clearly it is in America’s interest to see Putin lose but what else is a desired result? No physicist can model even a three body problem.
Aug 12, 2008 - 6:56 am