A couple of days ago I received the email below from a trusted friend. He says that it is authentic and that is good enough for me. Forgive me for removing the names; I’m sure you understand the reason.
Begin forwarded email.
Capt _____ provides input from someone inside Georgia. If he emailsit, it’s reliable. FYI
—–Original Message—–From: Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 12:42 PMTo:
Subject: FW: Georgia
Word from Inside Georgia. Sad news.
Counter-Terrorism & Defense Operations
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:38 PM
By all accounts, the Georgian Coast Guard was essentially destroyedyesterday by Russian regular army troops in Poti. No people killed orinjured, as there was no resistance. Three ships seized and destroyed.Buildings on the base damaged and/or destroyed, including the commandcenter. Other GCG vessels had left Poti before this and were not taken. Theradar station at Anaklia was destroyed. Not yet at Supsa, the Russians wereexpected to destroy that station as well.
It has chilled me to hear of all of this, as so much of that infrastructurewas built or improved as a part of my work these past years. It can be rebuilt if the money is found but i t pains me nonetheless.
It is the destruction and looting in the villages near Abkhazia, and aroundSouth Ossetia that is so horrific. There is no foreign aid to help familiesrebuild their lives. The Georgia, Osset and Abkhaz youth who are a part of it are thugs and criminals easily brought to the Russian fold in return for free reign. There is no reasonable explanation on earth for what theRussians are now doing in Georgia. It does not equal the genocide of Darfur,but it is all here in my backyard.
My family is terrified, and the patriotic rhetoric is maxed out in volume.Thankfully it appears that the Russians will not press on to Tbilisi. Amazingly we still have electricity and phone service. And water.
Gracefully yesterday provided a moment of peaceful irony – at the Olympicsin Beijing Georgian athletes won 2 gold medals. The first was in judo. The second was in wrestling. The Georgian defeated – a Russian! And in Olympicappropriateness the two combatants threw their arms around each other inexhaustion and respect. I think all of Georgia was standing for their anthemduring the medals ceremony.
End of forwarded email
As I pointed out in my last Political Discourse, Putin wants to put the old Soviet Union back together. It seems that Georgia’s crime was being friendly with the West and specifically their desire to join NATO. When the rebelling region of South Ossetia tried to break away and rejoin with Russia, Georgia went in for the purpose of putting down the rebellion. That was the excuse that Russia needed/wanted to attack Georgia.
North Ossetia has long been aligned with Russia. In the map insert above, North Ossetia is the area marked as Alania. While South Ossetia has strong ties to Russia, has long been considered a part of Georgia.
Russian forces have been in South Ossetia, theoretically as a peacekeeping force, but their wonton actions against the Georgians as noted in the above email goes beyond merely protecting allies and preventing further violence. Georgia has also had peacekeeping forces in the area.
As of this morning, 16 August 2008, the Russians and the Georgians have signed a cease-fire agreement, stipulating that Russian forces are to return to their previous positions in South Ossetia with the ability to patrol the Georgian border. General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of the Russian military staff has stated that a return of Georgian forces to South Ossetia would not be acceptable.
To slightly shift gears, the Associated Press reported today that Poland and the United States have concluded an agreement to place anti-ballistic missiles in Poland. The negotiations have been going on for 18 months with the stated goal to place missiles in Poland to protect from any current or projected IRBM/ICBM capability within Iran or other potentially unfriendly Middle Eastern country. Russia believes that the anti-ballistic missiles are a direct slap in the fact to them and has threatened retaliation in the form of its own nuclear arsenal.
Two days ago, Russia also made the statement that Georgian borders are no longer sacred, the same with any rebellious region within any of the former Soviet states that ask for Russia’s assistance.
Given the bellicose stance Russia has taken in the recent past, it would be reasonable to expect all of the former Soviet states to be in danger of re-absorbs ion. Russia is already looking with laser focus on the Baltic States.
After my last posting, a number of commentators as well as several of my friends have commented on the similarity between the current Russian actions and the incursion of German troops into the Sudetenland on 01 October, 1938. This incursion was due to the appeasement mentality of the Europeans at that time. The current actions of the Russians and the world’s desire for peace today make it feel like it must have in the late ‘30s. How many more of the former Soviet satellite states are going to be given to Putin?
Since the pull-out of US forces from Viet Nam, and the Marines from Lebanon, the United States has come to be viewed as a country that does not go the extra mile to back its friends. I believe that it is time to reverse that trend and show the world that we do back our friends. In the past, the Russians have typically responded only to adversaries that come to them from a position of strength. Giving in to their bullying in Georgia and Poland removes any semblance of strength. If we do not stand up for our friends now we could see a resurgence of Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe and a renewal of the Cold War.
As always, I welcome your comments/discussion.