Saturday, August 9, 2008

Russia, Georgia and South Ossetia

I'll try to keep some up-to-date highlights of the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia. Again, why we care revolves around oil (via the BTC Pipeline), seeing if the U.S. will come to the aid of a tiny ally, and a more general picture of the ability of states to use war as a means to solve problems and not just create a morass of further conflict - basically, will we go back to an old WWIIish mindframe of total war that actually resolves issues or a 4GW world of low-intensity conflict permeated by a variety of loyalties and issues, with primary loyalties driving "criminal" activity, ethnic cleansing and other non-standard warfighting mechanisms.

Geopolitical Diary: Decision Time in South Ossetia
from Stratfor
...But this conflict is about much more than simply which flag flies over a tiny chunk of territory in the Caucasus. Georgia is an extremely pro-American and pro-Western state and represents the easternmost foothold of American/Western power. It has also been in the Russian orbit for the bulk of the past 300 years. As such, it is the hottest flashpoint in Western-Russian relations. Which way the territory falls ultimately decides whether Russia can determine security concerns that literally fall right on the border of its heartland. To put it another way, what is being decided here is whether bordering Russia and simultaneously being a U.S. ally is a suicidal combination. Whichever way this works out, the dynamics of the entire region are about to be turned on their head...

And here is a link to an economic/socionomic take from EWI on the conflict. This is the kind of unique perspective from EWI that I like. Now, there work won't be published in the Small Wars Journal any time soon, but it does help frame these kinds of events and how they relate back to your pocketbook:

"Skirmish," "Invasion," and/or "War" Between Russia and GeorgiaHow the Conflict is "Unscheduled, But Not Unpredicted"
by Robert Folsom, EWI
The erupting conflict between Russia and the Republic of Georgia in South Ossetia can safely be described as an unscheduled news event: Initial news reports of the fighting ranged from "armed skirmish" to "invasion" to "war..."

May you live in interesting times...

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