17 August 2008

Russia Takes the Path of Violence

Russia's attack on Georgia has sparked fears across the young democracies of Eastern Europe that Moscow is once again hungry for conquest — and they are scrambling to protect themselves by tightening security alliances with Western powers. _AP
The Russian invasion and occupation of Georgia continues. It is not just the Eastern Europeans who are beginning to be concerned about the loose cannon running Moscow. Western European leaders are also beginning to wonder how they leased their energy future to a reincarnation of one of the mad imperialists of Europe's past.
Anxiety in the Baltic states runs deep in part because, like Ukraine, they have large Russian minorities.

There is fear that Moscow could repeat there what it did in South Ossetia, the breakaway republic where fighting began: Hand out passports to ethnic Russians. Moscow justified its attack on Georgia as necessary to protect its citizens.
Looking at the map, one can see two vast northern hemisphere nations, rich in mineral wealth and bordering a large area of the Arctic: Canada and Russia. Both nations are sparsely populated in relation to land area and the richness of the land. One nation is deathly afraid of having its land and wealth taken away, the other is not concerned in the least. Why the difference?

Canada could not defend its territories from a determined attack by stronger militaries from Russia, China, UK, France, Germany. Even Iran could likely conquer Canada. Why is Canada so unconcerned, where mighty Russia with its huge army, navy, and nuclear arsenal is so unhinged by fear that it is willing to undo the difficult diplomatic work of almost two decades?

Think about it. Clint Eastwood always says, "a man's got to know his limitations." The same is true for a nation. Already on a one way superhighway to oblivion, Russia is in the process of destroying its bridges behind it.
Russia has now shown itself to be a bully. Russia has been trying to annex two parts of Georgia that border Russia, and this war was all about showing Georgians that Russia would rather fight than give up this land grab. The UN was created to deal with this sort of thing, but Russia is doing well, so far, intimidating the UN into inactivity.

It's not a clear win for the Russians, but, short-term, many things appear to be going their way. Long term, things are rather more murky. Europeans have been reminded that the Russian bully they have feared and despised, for so many centuries, is back in town. That could have interesting consequences down the road. _StrategyPage


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