Friday, August 08, 2008

War With Georgia - Russia Sends In The Tanks


Open war has broken out between Russia and US ally Georgia in the Caucasus. The point of conflict is the Russian backed separatists in the South Ossetia enclave:



Our old friend Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin has already stated that dec that “war has started” and President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia accused Russia of a “well-planned invasion," saying he had mobilized Georgia’s military reserves.

The situation is extremely fluid, with the Georgians saying that they have taken the main South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali and claiming to have shot down several Russian planes, while the screen shot above from Russia’s Channel 1 television shows Russian tanks entering South Ossetia. The Russians have reportedly sent two battalions reinforced by tanks and APC's to Tskhinvali, which tells me that even if the Georgians haven't taken the city, they've made some pretty substantial inroads.

So, what's this all about? To hear the Russians talk, it is about them 'defending Russian citizens from foreign aggression',which will ring a familiar bell to anyone who remembers what the Germans had to say about the Sudentenland back in 1938.

This has been coming for awhile. Georgia used to be part of the Soviet Empire
(Stalin hailed from there) and Ossetia was part of a very typical pattern in that empire, which involved taking over parts of the conquered territory and settling groups of ethnic Russians there.

When Georgia achieved its independence from the Soviets, Ossetia stayed as a restive seperatist region under Russain control, and Moscow moved so-called peace keepers into place to keep the region at least nominally autonomous in the late 1990's...
basically a sort of informal truce with Georgia.

This tenuous peace started to collapse when President Saakashvili was elected in 2004on a campaign of national unity and a pro-western stance and proceeded to ally himself with the US and pursue membership in NATO.

This angered the Russians, along with US plans for a missile defense shild in the Soviet's old fiefdom in Eastern Europe, and the Russians have been increasingly restive and aggressive.

Russia was always an imperialist nation even in the days of the Tzars. They have never gotten used to the idea of losing their empire and regard it as their national destiny to retake it.They may very well be seeking to make an example of Georgia, showing the West that the Bear is back.

The White House, the EU and NATO are reportedly talking to both sides to try and end the fighting and come to a peaceful resolution. We'll see what develops.


4 comments:

B.Poster said...

Georgia will probably get no help from the US. I don't expect Georgia to last very long here. Russian troops are generally better trained, better lead, and more motivated than US and Western troops are. The only reason the US and the free world survived the cold war as free countries was because of the nuclear deterrent. Without this the Eastern Bloc would have prevailed quite easily

Of course I hope I'm wrong about this. I hope the US can somehow bring some meaningful assistance to Georgia and I hope the Georgians can some how prevail here.

The fighting hsa only been going about a day or so. The claim that the Georgians have shot dwon several Russians planes seems unlikely to me. Who are they getting assistance from? The US has no doubt moved any assets it may had there away from the fighting. Its unlikely the US will get involved either directly or indirectly. The US is in no position to fight Russia right now. As for the missle defense system, the US thinks it can negotiate with Russia here.

The US has lost some helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don't recall any of our planes being shot down. Islamists are well trained in guerilla war fare. It seems unlikely that the Georgians are going to be as good at this as the Islamists are. The US has faced far superior fighters in the Islamists than the Russians are facing in Georgia and the US has lost no planes, to my knowledge. Russian pilots are better trained, better led, and have superior equipment than their US, NATO, and Western European counterparts do. As such, I find the claims that Georgian fighters shot down Russian planes problematic at best.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Poster,
If by help you mean sending in the Marines, no, I don't think that will happen.

But I'd be very surprised if the US let the Russkis absorb a US ally like Georgia..if nothing else, because of it's strategic location.

Also, I'll say it one more time..you give the Russian military a lot more credit than you should. They are inferior to the US military in both personnel and equipment, in spite of what they keep touting and people keep believing. Look how easily the Israelis were able to shut out the supposedly state-of-the-art pantsyr missile defense system when they took out that Syrian reactor!

Anyway, Russia is a dying nation..at least the non-islamic part is..they're getting a temporary respite because of the oil and gas money.

There will be a quiet sit-down and and things will go back to the status quop fairly soon in Georgia.

Regards,
ff

B.Poster said...

Freedom Fighter

Thanks for the reply to my post. As I think I pointed out before, the Israeli air force has better flying skills and probably better technical expertise than the US air force does. The Russian anti-air craft system was designed to confront the Americans, not the superior Israeli forces. Had the Americans or Western Europeans gone agianst this system the Russian system probably would have prevailed.

As for the notion that Russia is dying, I recall reading somewhere that Putin has offered Russian families the equivelant of $20,000 per child they have. I susepct this will go a long way toward addressing this problem.

Oil prices will remain at their current level for the next hundred years or so. As such, I think the notion that Russia has only been granted a temporary reprieve is inaccurate. Russia is in a positon to dominate the world like it has never been dominated before for at least the next hundred years.

The US and the free world can stop them, however, first the threat has to be acknowledged. So far, no one of any importance within the free world is doing this. At least they are not doing it publically. The threat must be acknowledged publically. This way we can moblize our people to meet this threat head on.

AT this time, no military in the free world is in a position to be able to take them on. After we acknowledge the threat, I would begin to drill for all of the oil and gas in the US and off of its coasts. A massive builing of refineries should take place. Teh borders would be secured. I would suggest significantly upgrading the nuclear arsenal, mainly significant improvements tot he ICBMs should be undertaken.

Finaly, perhaps most important of all, military cooperation with Israel should be upgraded. Right now the Israeli military is the only military in the free world that can take on Russia with a reasonable chance of winning. The problem is the Israelis are severly outnumbered. US and Western European forces can learn much from the IDF. If all the countries of the free world were to bring their military forces up to the level of the IDF we might just prevail. I pray that we do prevail.

B.Poster said...

Freedom Fighter

You could wel be right about Russia. It does seem that Russia could simply use their intellegence operatives to take out the Georgian government and replace it with someone friendly to the Kremlin and hostile to the US. Why bother with an invasion when it is unnecassary to changing the behavior of Georgia? I don;t know for certain but I suspect it could be a rehersal for a bigger mukutary operation elsehwere.