Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Foreign Endeavors

Last week was a busy week, but I'd like to pick up on an unrelated comment in regards to Georgia, Russia, and American foreign policy. First, that comment, from Mr. Rose,

What is your interpretation of what is happening in Georgia? Why did this happen in the first place? Ummm its pretty obvious. Russia wants to take the breakaway provinces of Georgia back and has been interfering there for some time according to most reports. Also Russia wants to let the former bloc know that they are not to be fucked with. Georgia had every right to impose its own will on its own sovereign land when an aggressive neighbor is interfering there. It's mind boggling that you think that we need a measured response here. Georgia is a pro-west, democratic ally and in that part of the world, we need to protect them.

Here's my problem. As I recall, the hostilities began after Georgia launched a military offensive in an attempt to impose order on it's own province of South Ossetia, which just so happens to have a large Russian population. Russia's military entry in to Georgia was in response to claims that thousands of ethnic Russians had been killed in the Georgian military shellings.

Put simply, this just isn't a black and white case of right and wrong. It seems to me that we have two nations that have used an excessive amount of force in a debate over political influence in which ethnicity plays no small part. Does Russia do plenty of sneaky, underhanded things in their dealings with former Soviet States? Certainly. But a line in the sand response to Russian action literally serves no point whatsoever. We're not going to go to war with Russia over South Ossetia and the Russians full well know this. And more importantly, a strong response by the United States in support of Georgia does nothing to diffuse the underlying situation, which, as I said, at it's heart is a political and ethnic dispute over borders and territories.

You can't whole heartedly support Georgia without at least condoning their initial use of force, which I just can't do. Unless your literally in a state of civil war, military force can not be used justifiably on your own people. Many commentators have made the point that we should have compassion for Georgia because they are a sovereign democracy who's territory has been invaded. That's all good and fine, but it's not as though this is no different than if the Canadians had invaded Buffalo. This is more like the Canadians invaded Buffalo after Buffalo had been shelled by the American government and occupied by the military.

Again, this isn't to say Russia is correct, only to point out the complexity of the situation. A full Russian withdrawal doesn't solve the underlying problems and the American response should at least recognize those problems. This isn't Iraq, and hell, it's not even Iran.


Anonymous rose said...

Russia had their forces on Georgia's border ready to rock and roll which is inexplicable by any other rationale than Russia knowingly provoked Georgia. Russia had been interfering in South Ossettia for a long time, escalated the interference and aligned their military in a position to respond, knowing Georgia would have to at some point.

What do you think Georgia is trying to gain before this? They just want to maintain control over their own territory. Russia is and always has been an agressive imperialist. We don't know all the facts, but know this, I again ask, how do you think the initial problem arose? How did tension between the two countries arise in the first place. It's quite obvious.

I respect your open-mindedness and I give you credit for it and would argue that Obama taking 3 or 4 tries to get his message across...escalating his verbage each time...is not an example of open-mindedness. Rather its refining your rhetoric as you gain a elementary understanding of basic historical concepts that we expect our commander in chiefs to already know.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

"...a strong response by the United States in support of Georgia does nothing to diffuse the underlying situation, which, as I said, at it's heart is a political and ethnic dispute over borders and territories."

Beyond Georgia, you don't think it is in our interests to protect Russia's democratic, pro-west neighbors? If so, then we have to come out strongly in support of Georgia so that these neighbors can trust that we have their back. If Russia decides to resume its domination of the region in the coming years, the only leverage we will have is our alliances with allies in the region. I'm quite ignorant on many of the issues you talk about, but I feel like there's quite a bit of ignorance required to believe that our support of Georgia and countries like it isn't imperitive.

4:23 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

I simply don't know enough about Georgia to really say how democratic or how pro-Western they really are. Maybe 10 years ago or so we would have called Russia pro-Western and democratic.

The real question is, what does American support of Georgia mean? Noncommittal words? Or promises of action? Just think, if Georgia had become a NATO member, we would have obligated to respond against Russia with military force.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous rose said...

That's a helluva deterrant for Russia not to attack. We've got a pact in place with Poland now saying exactly that; you attack Poland, we're at war.

We need to protect democracies and allies across the globe. That's my main point.

12:22 PM  

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