Russia 'Dying' to Be What it Hates Most: A
"… an America which goes to war in Iraq without U.N.
backing; An America that punishes Serbia; and an America that is godfather of
the new state - Kosovo. … Russia has begun to imagine itself as a rising
superpower confronting a declining America."
"We won't behave like monkeys, we won't imitate,
we have our own house recipe!," said Vladimir Putin at a press conference
last February, shortly before the Western countries recognized the independence
of Kosovo. This enigmatic statement has continued to haunt policy makers and
analysts in Europe, who sensed that the reply would come in the Caucuses. In
searching for culprits, Georgia had all the traits of an ideal sinner. For a
long time, it had been accumulating negative points: fiercely pro-Western;
stubbornly seeking greater Euro-Atlantic integration; and it had opened more
and more of its territory to create an energy corridor that deprived Gazpromand its political offshoot - the Kremlin - of
monopoly control over European supplies.
There were other candidates - the Baltic states and
Ukraine - but the former had already been sheltered under the NATO umbrella,
and the latter is too beg to be swallowed and digested with impunity at this
The current war is not one between Georgians and their
Ossetian minority, or even between Russia and Georgia
for the control of South Ossetia. Between the figure of 2,000 civilian
casualties in Ossetia brandished by Russian authorities and the fifty counted
by investigators of Human Rights Watch, guess which is the most credible
report? South Ossetia, governed for years by Russian officers, became a Russian
enclave planted in the heart of an independent Georgia. Economically
insignificant, demographically battered, Ossetia has become the most
militarized area of the entire Soviet space: 2,500 armed men for every 35,000 residents.
On top of the money, weapons and political staff,
Russia has, in record time, granted Russian citizenship to residents of the
breakaway regions of Georgia, and with the wave of a magic wand, Ossetians and Abkhazians have become Russians. Swedish
Foreign Minister Carl Bildt compared this rampant
expansionist policy to the Nazi German policy toward the German-speaking
populations of Czechoslovakia and Poland, and to that of Slobodan Milosevic
toward the Serbian minorities of Bosnia and Croatia. The war was declared at
this very moment, and not on August 7th.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Europe and the West as a whole allowed this to happen.
Today, the same Westerners criticize MikheilSaakachvli for taking his reckless first shot. A colder
analysis will help untangle the fog that still surrounds the commencement of
his operations. Was it a trap set by the Russians, who had hinted that the
secessionists were beginning to grate on their nerves, a military blunder or
simply the last straw after thousands of "volunteers" and Cossacks
began to cross the Georgian border?
A serious and impartial investigation will tell. What
is clear is that Russia was ready for war. The reason for the offensive against
Georgia was aimed not only to humiliate the latter and its "too
arrogant" president, but also and especially the West, particularly the
United States. To hit where it hurts while limiting the risks: that was the
purpose of Russian strategists.
Russia is dying with desire to be what it hates most -
a new America. An America which goes to war in Iraq without U.N. backing; An
America that punishes Serbia; and an America that is godfather of the new state
- Kosovo. "Europe is part of the periphery" said a Russian MP. Russia
has begun to imagine itself as a rising superpower confronting a declining
America. The Russian media, entirely controlled by the Kremlin, has been
feeding its readers with propaganda about new Russian grandeur.
Russian MP Serguei Markov, a
political scientist attached to the Kremlin, said that the signal to begin
military operations had been given personally by Dick Cheney, and that
Russia was at war against America - the only rival worthy of the new rival
Russian power. Nonetheless, as unilateral as its policies might be, the United
States today retains more allies than Russia. In Iraq, the Americans have
managed to assemble a coalition of more than thirty countries, while Moscow has
trouble attracting the support of even its partners in the Commonwealth of
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT RECOGNIZES THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GEORGIA'S
BREAKAWAY REPUBLICS OF S. OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA, AUGUST 26
The Belarusian president [Alexander Lukashenko], outlawed by the international community,
remained stoically silent for ten days and finally let approval escape his lips
after receiving a summons to Sochi [there's a presidential guest house there],
while Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been promised the sale of Iskander missiles as a price for his denunciation of U.S.
policy against Russia. The later doesn't yet have the makings of America, and
it never will not as long as its regular army loots Georgian military bases of
clothing, radiators and sinks. It won't as long as its political leaders and
diplomats change their views several times a day despite having put their
signatures all over cease-fire agreements.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Russia's international isolation can only grow
because, despite the more moderate tone of the Old Europe against him, the
latter will slowly but surely revise its policies toward Moscow. The
credibility of Russia as a powerful vector peace has been damaged. Despite the
parallels between Saddam Hussein and MikheilSaakachvili mentioned by Putin, Saakachvili
will not soon appear before an international criminal court. The accusations of
genocide raised by the Russians won't hold because of Chechnya. The military
intervention in Georgia will always be a very bad remake of the intervention in
Iraq; and Gori, although the hometown of one of the
biggest dictators of the 20th century, will remain a poor Baghdad.
*ThornikéGordadzé is head of the Caucuses Observatory at the French
Institute of Anatolian Studies.
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