Justin Raimondo's greatest ever article: The truth about Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia

The anti-Russian bias of the Western media is really something to behold “Russia Invades Georgia,” “Russia Attacks Georgia,” and variations thereof have been some of the choice headlines reporting events in the Caucasus, but the reality is not only quite different, but the exact opposite. Sometimes this comes out in the third or fourth paragraph of the reportage, in which it is admitted that the Georgians tried to “retake” the “breakaway province” of South Ossetia. The Georgian bombing campaign and the civilian casualties – if they are mentioned at all – are downplayed and presented as subject to dispute. The Georgians have been openly engaging in a military buildup since last year, and President Mikhail Saakashvili and his party have been proclaiming from the rooftops their aim of re-conquering South Ossetia (and rebellious Abkhazia, while they’re at it). Avid readers of Antiwar.com saw this coming. In a column entitled “Wars to Watch Out For,” I wrote:

“As President Mikheil Saakashvili deflowers his own revolution and shuts down the opposition media, he could well try to divert attention away from his political problems by ginning up a fresh conflict with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are protected by Russian troops and regional militias.” That’s what Western reporters aren’t telling their readers: the South Ossetians (and the Abkhazians) have had de facto independence since 1991, when they rose up against their “democratic” central government, which had banned regional parties from participating in elections. They beat back the Georgian army, which, nonetheless, inflicted a lot of casualties and damage. A low-level war has been in progress ever since, with Saakashvili and his ultra-nationalist party using the rebels as a foil to divert attention from their repressive domestic policies and Georgia’s sad status as an economic basket case. As I wrote way back at the beginning of this year:

“Saakashvili, the great ‘democrat,’ is busy charging anyone who opposes him with being a pawn of the Russians (and therefore guilty of treason), but the West is calling on him to restore civil liberties – and, in an apparent effort to propitiate his Western benefactors, he has lifted some restrictions and called new elections. Widespread and growing opposition to his strong-arm tactics, even among many of his former supporters, spells political trouble for Saakashvili and his corrupt cohorts, however – and an appeal to Georgian ultra-nationalism (which was always the real ideological motivation of the Rose Revolutionaries) would bolster him in the polls and provide a much-needed distraction, at least from the ruling party’s point of view.” What’s particularly disgusting is the spectacle of the fraudulent Saakashvili’s smug mug all over Western television – the BBC and Bloomberg, for starters – invoking his great love of “democracy” and “freedom” and calling on the U.S. to intervene in the name of supposedly shared “values.” What drivel! Up until very recently, Saakashvili has been busy rounding up his political opponents and charging them with espionage, as his police beat demonstrators in the streets. When this happened, even our somnolent media sat up and took notice, but they seem to have forgotten.

Saakashvili uses the Western media as a platform to broadcast his great love for “freedom” and make the case against the Russian “aggressors,” comparing the present conflict with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s – and even the bloody 1956 repression of the Hungarians! This is nonsense. Russia is not the Soviet Union, the Iron Curtain has long since been melted down for scrap metal, and, if anything, Saakashvili resembles the Hungarian satraps of the Kremlin rather than the heroic freedom-fighters, given his absolute fealty to his foreign masters in Washington, to whom he appeals for help in putting down an internal rebellion. In any case, it wasn’t too hard to have seen this coming a mile away, or to predict the American government’s response. As I wrote in “Wars To Watch Out For”: “In the event of an outbreak of hostilities, expect the U.S. to do what they have done for the duration of Georgia’s political crisis: proffer unconditional support to Saakashvili. With Russia aiding and giving political and diplomatic support to the Abkhazians and the Ossetians, and the Americans letting loose a flood of military aid to Tbilisi, this could be the first theater of actual conflict in the new cold war.”

Which is precisely what has occurred. The United States is denouncing the Russians as aggressors in the UN Security Council and accusing the Kremlin of engaging in a policy of “regime change,” in Ambassador Khalilzad’s phrase. The Russian response: “regime change” is “an American invention,” but, hey, in Saakashvili’s case, it might not be such a bad idea. They have a point. The Georgian strongman is a thug and an opportunist who does an excellent imitation of George W. Bush-times-10: whereas GWB merely implies his political opponents are traitors to the nation, Saakashvili comes right out and says it – then drags them into court on trumped up charges of high treason. GWB has presided over a regime that has legalized torture, but only for foreign “terrorists” (José Padilla excepted). Saakashvili, on the other hand, throws his domestic political opponents – whom he labels “terrorists” – in jail and tortures his own countrymen. Georgia’s notorious prisons are chock full of political dissidents. GWB justifies his aggression by invoking “democracy” and the doctrine of “preemption,” while Saakashvili doesn’t bother with such theoretical niceties, denying his aggression against South Ossetia in defiance of the plain facts.

In short: if you love GWB, you’ll love President Saakashvili. Therefore it’s no surprise John McCain is portraying the Georgians as the good guys and demanding that Russian troops leave “sovereign Georgian territory” without preconditions or delay. After all, when your chief foreign policy adviser has up until very recently been a paid shill for the Georgian government, what else could we expect? As I’ve pointed out on a few occasions in this space, Mad John has been spoiling for a fight with the Russians – in the Caucasus and elsewhere – for years, going so far as to travel to Georgia to proclaim his sympathy for Saakashvili’s cause. What’s really interesting, however, is how Barack Obama has taken up this same cause, albeit with less vehemence than the GOP nominee. As Politico.com reported:

“When violence broke out in the Caucasus on Friday morning, John McCain quickly issued a statement that was far more strident toward the Russians than that of President Bush, Barack Obama, and much of the West. But, as Russian warplanes pounded Georgian targets far beyond South Ossetia this weekend, Bush, Obama, and others have moved closer to McCain’s initial position.” While calling for mediation and international peacekeepers, Obama went with the War Party’s line that Russia, not Georgia, is the aggressor, as the Times of London reports: “Obama accused Russia of escalating the crisis ‘through it’s clear and continued violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.'” While his first statement on the outbreak of hostilities was more along the lines of “Can’t we all get along?”, the New York Times notes: “Mr. Obama did harden his rhetoric later on Friday, shortly before getting on a plane for a vacation in Hawaii. His initial statement, an adviser said, was released before there were confirmed reports of the Russian invasion. In his later statement, Mr. Obama said, ‘What is clear is that Russia has invaded Georgia’s sovereign – has encroached on Georgia’s sovereignty, and it is very important for us to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.'”

This nonsense about Georgia’s alleged “sovereignty” rides roughshod over the reality of the Ossetians’ apparent determination to free themselves from Saakashvili’s grip, and it’s the buzzword that identifies a shill for the Georgians. “I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions,” said Obama, “and reiterate my call for an immediate cease-fire.” This cease-fire business is meant to feed directly into the Georgians’ contention that they have offered to stop the conflict, even as they continue military operations in South Ossetia, which have already cost the lives of over a thousand of that country’s inhabitants. That didn’t stop the McCainiacs from attacking Obama as a tool of the Kremlin. Sunday the news talk shows were abuzz with rumors of Democratic discontent over Obama’s seeming inability to hit back at McCain’s viciously negative campaign, yet it’s much worse than that – it’s not an unwillingness, but an inherent inability to do so. I hate to cite Andrew Sullivan favorably, but he was one of the first to note the convergence of the Obama camp and the McCain campaign on such central issues as Iran, and the process continues with this confluence of opinion on the Russian question. While the Obama people have dutifully pointed out that Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s foreign policy guru, earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his public relations firm as a paid lobbyist for the Georgians, their own candidate’s position on the matter differs little from McCain’s, except, as the New York Times notes, in terms of “style.”

GWB recently assured Saakashvili that he would do his best to get the Georgians into NATO, but the Europeans – particularly the Germans – are balking, and this foray by the Georgian Napoleon into a direct conflict with the Russians seems to confirm their initial reluctance. The Euros are no dummies: they know Saakashvili’s recklessness could plunge the entire region into an armed conflict that would resemble World War I in its utter stupidity. I’ve written at length about the economic and political interests that stand to profit from a war in the Caucasus, and I won’t repeat myself here except to note that the timing of this – with attacking Iran on the War Party’s agenda – should alert us to the importance of what is happening. Russia has not only been opposed to Iran’s victimization at the hands of the West, but Putin and his successor have taken up Tehran’s cause, selling arms and technology to the Iranians and running diplomatic interference on their behalf. This is Washington’s counterattack by proxy.

Please don’t tell me Saakashvili just woke up one day and decided to attack Ossetia, and that the Americans weren’t notified well in advance. Georgia depends on U.S. military and economic aid, and Saakashvili is a savvy operator: he is pulling a Lebanon, having learned from the Israeli example, and the Bush administration is more than glad to oblige him. Georgian tanks would never have rolled into South Ossetia without being given a green light by Washington. Georgia has embarked on a very dangerous course, and it’s important to realize it hasn’t done so alone. Saakashvili has the implicit backing of Washington in his quest to re-conquer the “lost” provinces of Ossetia and Abkhazia (and don’t forget Adjaria!) – or else what are 1,000 U.S. troops doing engaged in “joint military exercises” with the Georgian military, just as the crisis reaches a crescendo of violence? (The Brits, to their credit, have thought better of getting dragged into this one…) It’s too bad Obama is going along with the game plan, but then again, he was never good on the Russian question to begin with, so I can’t say I’m disappointed. South Ossetia is not now a part of “sovereign Georgian territory,” and it hasn’t been for nearly two decades, no matter what McCain and Obama would have us believe. If they, along with GWB, are going to stand by Saakashvili’s side as he mows down civilians and imposes martial law on a war-torn, dirt-poor, and much-abused people, then may they all be damned to hell – that is, if we can find a rung low enough for them.

It’s funny – if you like your humor black – but when Slobodan Milosevic was supposedly doing to Kosovo what Saakashvili is now doing to South Ossetia, the U.S. launched bombing raids and “liberated” the Kosovars from what we were told was to be a gruesome fate. There are many reasons to doubt that this attempted “genocide” ever took place, but given that something very bad was going on in the former Yugoslavia, one has to ask: why don’t the same standards apply to South Ossetia? I’ll tell you why: because the victims, this time, are Russians, Slavs who haven’t achieved official victim status in the lexicon of Western “humanitarians.” Imagine if, say, Colombia invaded Panama, and rained bombs down on the many U.S. citizens currently living there. Would the U.S. act to ensure their safety? You betcha! So somebody please tell me why Russia hasn’t the right to defend its own citizens, and even to deter and punish Georgian aggression. The War Party has been running on some pretty low energy lately, and this revival of the Cold War will no doubt recharge its batteries. The warmongers need a new enemy, a fresh face in their rogues’ gallery, to get the masses excited again, and Putin’s Russia fits the bill. I’ve been warning of this possibility for what seems like years, and now the moment is upon us. What’s interesting is how many left-liberal “peaceniks” are falling for the War Party’s guff and lining up behind McCain, their hero Obama, and the neocons in the march to confrontation with the Kremlin.

~ Justin Raimondo

In a single, concise, citation laden article, Justin Raimondo proves that he is a Blogger Without Peer™.

This is the sort of writing that I like to read, and is the sort of writing that everyone needs to read.

Absolutely brilliant.

And while you are at it, take a look at this tirbal map of Georgia and the surrounding region.

When you look at a map of the disputed area and then see a map like this, you start to get a real picture of what is actually going on there.

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One comment on “Justin Raimondo's greatest ever article: The truth about Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia
  1. irdial says:

    Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

    Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili’s army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.

    Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.

    Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America’s lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

    Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.

    American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight – Russia finished it. People who start wars don’t get to decide how and when they end.

    Russia’s response was “disproportionate” and “brutal,” wailed Bush.

    True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more “disproportionate”?

    Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

    Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?

    When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?

    Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of whom viscerally detest Russia?

    That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili’s provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia’s nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.

    When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?

    American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia’s doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.

    Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin’s birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

    When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?

    The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.

    We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic “revolutions” in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.

    Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.

    Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.

    How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

    For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia’s space and getting into Russia’s face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost – in Tbilisi.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/buchanan/buchanan93.html

    Compare and contrast these two pieces with this lie soaked drivel from that bird cage liner The Spectator.

    Written by ‘Philip Bobbitt’, it reeks of neoconism. Just do a search for Philip Bobbitt neocon and you get a piece of the picture.

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