Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to be the smooth operator, dominator in the state of Georgia

Matter of fact
Just shake when you get to Georgia, *****!

The Russo-Georgia conflict has come and gone, and a few key things stand out:

1. The Georgians made a monstrous mistake. The shelling of S. Ossetians forces and the subsequent mini-invasion was an invitation for an ass whupping. Saakashvili is the little kid on the outskirts of a big gang who thought he had more backup. I don't know how he thought he had the guns to take on one of the world's greatest fighting forces - Yes, the Russians really do have good soldiers, believe it or not. Maybe he thought Russia would just fight by Proxy with S. Ossetian forces. Or maybe he really thought the US would step up.

My own feeling is that the 1000 advisors the US had in Georgia might have been what he considered a trip wire - that is, if one American or more was KIA, the US would be drawn in to the conflict. This is the theory of the S. Korean peninsula, where the 30K US soldiers will be the token force that gets anihilated when/if N. Korea attacks and the US is compelled to destroy NoKo.

Fortunately, that never happened.

The US advisors stayed the hell out of the way, and Russians have avoided Tblisi, where the US has probably stationed all of its forces in Georgia. Cheers to Russia for keeping this regional.

2. S. Ossetia is only a part of Georgia by the arbitrary border set up by an empire, and more accurately by Stalin, who divided Ossetia, north and south, in order to set up an adminstrative zone. This is not unlike Palestine - Israel, Pakistan - India - Bangladesh, or any other haphazard line drawn in the sand by a distracted empire. The result, as usual, is ethnic conflict and confused loyalties.

3. Nato needs to check itself before it wrecks itself. It has surrounded the Great Bear with Nato members like Estonia (Estonia?!) and other former soviet republics that are of little strategic importance, but could spell war if Russia decided to make a ruckus in the former Eastern Bloc.

Do we forget the lessons of WW1 so easily? An archduke killed in S. Europe means tens of millions of deaths between N. European nations, compelled to fight because of unwieldly alliances. Let's hope all the Archdukes stay out of Estonia for all our sakes. Just saying.

4. Kosovo matters. The Russians begged, pleaded and pulled out all the stops to keep Kosovo an autonomous region, as opposed to an independent state. Now, what was the result? The Treaty of Westphalia is in tatters, as the sovereignty of nations is out the window, and international mettling is situation normal.

So the unspoken deal to keep borders intact and static since WW2 is looking suspect. The precedent set by Kosovo was that the big powers could rearrange borders if it suited them politically.

The international diplomatic blinders that saw the only conflict of the 21st century was that of Islamic Fascism vs. the West, meant that Kosovo was a valuable PR move for the west as the example of how the west could go to bat for Muslims. Was it worth upsetting a far more threatening competitor? <-- We'll call Russia a competitor for now - it's not an ally and its certainly not an enemy again. Yet.

5. Russia is back. For now. After the Yeltsin years, the economic meltdown, the compulsion to sell Siberia for money as the Russian Federation was bankrupt, and the rapidly declining birthrates and population, Russia is Petro-king. For now.

They have their tentacles all over Europe, with the control of the gas and oil pipelines throughout. They have a re-energized and aggressive military stance with the cash to afford crazy air patrols of the Artic combined with deep sea exploration of the valuable artic oil and gas fields.

But this is temporary. As Venezuela, Iran and Russia are strong now because of petrol prices, this will change as the move to alternative fuels strengthens and the west moves away from oil as primary energy source. That day isn't close, but even incremental moves in the oil prices hurt these Petrol states. If Russia is going to ramp up its military spending during the current good times, is it going to be able to shut off the taps during the down periods? This was the lesson of the Cold War, that spending like the West without the economic dynamism of the West means disaster.

Key Links:
Stratfor goes through the geo-political ramifications here.
Coyne and Wells go toe to toe.
Sullivan gets his two cents in here.
Al-Jazeera gets down with the conflict here:

The latest from NY Times is here.

Outkast show you what GhettoMusick is here:

Yes, that looks like Lil' Wayne in the welfare line.
As my grandmama ettamay here and she show me
How to be the smooth operator, dominator in the state of Georgia
Hip hops there to destroy ya
Leave a mother fucker open like a foyer
He from the dirt now here come the paranoia
Although you couldn’t have jacked the disrespect
The technique, sweat meet, wipe off the sweat
Fight off the shit and flush the waste down
The pipes of my life flow deep into the ground
Why my purpose on the surface of this earth is
Plan it, standards, trust and the purpose
Campaign in vein for the same lame fame, people obtain, you ought to be detained

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