Sunday, August 10, 2008

War in Georgia

Blackfive has a bunch of posts: one, two, three, four, five, six (roundup post), so far.

More on Monday: Zbigniew Brzezinski compares the current conflict to Sudetenland (1938) and Finland (1939). And another roundup, in which Laughing Wolf says, "I expect to see Tbilisi besieged before long, for Putin is most serious about deposing the current government and president. Nor do I think his plans stop there." At StrategyPage: Why Georgia Lost the War. Putin, having re-established autocracy in Russia after their brief fling with something like democracy, is now looking to re-establish Russia as a superpower. The evil empire did not go away for long.

Robert Bidinotto describes the non-response of the West to this naked aggression as "anticipatory capitulation" (via). It looks to me just like the non-response of the West to Russian aggression in 1956, in Hungary, and 1968, in Czechoslovakia. (And no, I did not comment on that post! That's somebody else.)


blake said...

I don't know if Russia has the mojo to recreate the empire.

These places still aren't recovered from Communism. So, yeah, they'd be easy to take over--sorta, except I bet they'd fight harder and dirtier than ever, having been under that yoke for so long--but then what?

You have a not-very-economically viable USSR again?

Hector Owen said...

I said he was looking to re-establish Russia as a superpower, not that I thought that he would be able to do it. Economic viability is not important, if a pretense of strength can be maintained, for the benefit of the rest of the world. Residents of the USSR knew that they lived in a poor country; there is no fooling the locals about local conditions; but from our vantage point in the US, it did not matter if Russians had bread, what matterered was that they had missiles. IF Russia could become as freely capitalist as the USA, or for that matter Estonia, it could become a superpower. Odds on the first part are not good; without that, the second part is moot. Kleptocracy is what they have now, with Putin as gangster-in-chief. He is young (56), for a world leader, and likely to remain strong for quite some time. I worry some about the old nukes.

Think of old-fashioned personal empires, where the Maximum Leader's well-being was more important than anything else. Now picture the Maximum Leader with nuclear weapons. Now get some sleep.

Seriously—in my uninformed analysis, Putin cares more about his own personal power, and the security of that power, than anything else. Do you recall that charming old custom among royalty, of referring to rulers by the names of their countries? I think Putin would be pleased to be introduced at an international conference simply as "Russia."

blake said...

Well, you know, Russian leaders have been known to catch colds and die, so Putin's age may not be that big a factor.

The missiles still don't worry me anything like they used to.

I think your assessment is basically right, though, which is why gotta be, eh, "firmer" than we might want to be. Weakness is just going to encourage them.