Article Archive: Current 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Why Geography
 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics
Russia: Another Rhineland
   Next Article → MORALE: Nuclear Bureaucrats Stifle Sailors In South Africa

September 1, 2008: Russia has announced that it will, in effect, annex the Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. No one is willing to face down the Russians on this issue, which many of Russias neighbors see as the first of many such annexations. There is a precedent for this sort of thing, and it all began on the French-German border in 1936.

Some historians see the German reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936 as the real beginning of World War II. As part of the treaty that ended World War I, Germany agreed to keep troops out of the Rhineland (a German region on the French border). Going back in was a huge gamble for the Germans, who were in the midst of rebuilding their military, and, in 1936, much weaker than France or Britain. But neither of these countries were willing to risk the violence that might occur if they went after the 32,000 troops and police Germany sent into the Rhineland. This convinced Hitler that he could bully the Western allies, and grab neighboring countries with impunity. This worked for Austria and Czechoslovakia, but triggered World War II when Germany and Russia (by prior agreement) carved up Poland in 1939.

Russia may not have its sights on Poland this time around, but Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic States and a few of the Central Asian "stans" would be nice. Would, or could, anyone stop them? Hitler didn't have nuclear weapons, nor was Germany the supplier of a quarter of Europe's energy needs. Hitler also didn't have the support of the German people for such military adventures, the current Russian government does. Russia also still has its secret police apparatus. Perhaps not as large as when the Soviet Union was still around, but it's still there. Credit Cards, the Internet  and cell phones make it easier to keep track of people. There are still KGB old timers around who remember how to run a prison camps. Absorbing the nations of the "near abroad" (as Russia calls its neighbors), would mean having to deal with a lot of dissidents. That's what the Gulag (the Russian acronym for the prison camp system, or "The Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies") was created for. It gets the troublemakers off the streets, permanently, as needed. Puts the fear of Moscow into the newly acquired citizens of the Russian State. It worked before, it can work again. So did taking over the Rhineland.

August 31, 2008: In Chechnya, two suicide bomb attacks left two Russian soldiers dead, in addition to the two bombers.

In Ingushetia (adjacent to Chechnya), an opponent of the pro-Russian provincial government, Magomed Yevloyev, was killed by police, after being arrested after he flew back into a local airport. Yevloyev was "accidentally" shot in the head while in a police car. Yevloyev ran a website (www.ingushetia.ru/ that reported on similar incidents.

August 29, 2008: China refused to back the Russian annexations in Georgia, as did the Central Asian nations and Iran.

August 27, 2008: Most major Western nations denounce Russias annexation of parts of Georgia. Russia threatens to retaliate against any Western sanctions. Everyone, especially the Russians,  now expects the Western nations to make a lot of noise, but do nothing.

August 26, 2008: Russia says it will recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia has already issued Russian passports to the citizens of these two areas, and basically incorporated them into Russia. The latest action means that Russia no longer recognizes these two areas as belonging to Georgia.

August 24, 2008: U.S. warships arrived at the port of Batumi, carrying relief supplies for Georgia. The port of Poti is still occupied by Russian troops, who sank three Georgian troops they found there. U.S. aid is also arriving by air.

August 21, 2008: In Georgia, Russia began moving most of its troops out of the country and into South Ossetia. These troops had already destroyed most Georgian military bases, and equipment, in the northern part of the country. Civilians could hear explosions coming from the bases over the last few days, apparently the result of Russian engineers destroying buildings and weapons. While most of the Russian troops are leaving, enough are remaining to man road check points and the port of Poti. The Russians have a loophole in the August 11 ceasefire agreement, that, by their interpretation, allows them to keep "peacekeepers" inside Georgia.

Russia has halted all military cooperation with NATO. Since a 2002 agreement was signed, Russia and NATO have been working together on several projects, including tracking heroin shipments from Afghanistan and coordinating air-sea rescue efforts.

Next Article → MORALE: Nuclear Bureaucrats Stifle Sailors In South Africa
  
Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5   NEXT
CJH       9/1/2008 11:40:50 AM
There is the other option for the West. We could simply accede to Russia's apparent intent and let Russia have its way with Central Europe. That way there would be no near term threat of war.
 
The problem with the EU's type of current outward passivity is that it leaves open the possibility that its constituent countries will later become alarmed, shift to the other extreme and then prosecute an ill timed and disastrously costly campaign against Russia.
 
What is needed now is to see into the future and commit to a choice that the West will and can stand by through to a conclusion. The most credible choice of course would be to discredit Putin as early as possible through the use of all the means necessary.
 
 
Quote    Reply

David.R    strange comparisson   9/1/2008 12:08:34 PM
Strange that you compare Russia with Nazi Germany, one could say the same about the US, invadeing nations for oil, torturing and bombing civilians, weapons trading with dictators, attacking dmocratic countries... the list is very long and not so pretty, you are in a bad position to judge someone else, there is a biblical saying that is about this situation, something in someone's eye and you're own.
 
Quote    Reply

afrc       9/1/2008 3:46:07 PM
Strange that you compare Russia with Nazi Germany, one could say the same about the US, invadeing nations for oil, torturing and bombing civilians, weapons trading with dictators, attacking dmocratic countries... the list is very long and not so pretty, you are in a bad position to judge someone else, there is a biblical saying that is about this situation, something in someone's eye and you're own.
 
Well, US claims that it does not attack countries for no reason... and it leaves when asked. Think Philippines... the government asked US to leave in 1992 and it left. Now Iraqi government asks for a withdrawal timetable and US negotiates instead of dictating and ordering. The idea that USA invades countries for oil is pure speculation at best. War destroyed what little oil infrastructure Iraq had and only now Iraq got back to pre-war level. Saddam had country under control and it was easier to play nice with him and invest into oil production safely and cheaply. Oil still belongs to Iraqi government and it keeps all the profits. Iraqi government has chosen Chinese company (over US) for oil contracts. Does it look like war for oil to you? Also I think that there is a difference between selling weapons to dictators and building reactors for them, and protecting them from sanctions in UN.
 
Now I have no problem with Russia showing Saakashvili his place, but the way it was done and the way they spin it tells me that there is more to the story than simple defeating aggression. Giving Russian passports to Ossetians is an interesting move that shows that Russians had no intention to recognize S Ossetia as an independent nation from the start. Yes, USA is not perfect, but at least I know that people will kick administration all over the floor if we annex some country, while I suspect that most Russians will cheer Russian government on if this happens in Russia. Many people believe that some Near Abroad countries (at least Slavic ones) rightfully belong to Russia.
 
Quote    Reply

LC       9/1/2008 4:31:34 PM

Strange that you compare Russia with Nazi Germany, one could say the same about the US, invadeing nations for oil, torturing and bombing civilians, weapons trading with dictators, attacking dmocratic countries... the list is very long and not so pretty, you are in a bad position to judge someone else, there is a biblical saying that is about this situation, something in someone's eye and you're own.

Dude, what are you talking about? Iraq? Then let's do a little fact checking, shall we? The United States stole no oil wells, punished the few American soldiers engaged in torture, did not deliberately target civilians, and Saddam was no democrat. (If by "weapons trading with dictators," you are referring to countries such as Saudi Arabia, then I'll admit that even a blind squirrel such as yourself finds the occasional acorn.)
While the Russian government is clearly not threatening a Holocaust, its thirst for empire is as strong as ever. "Self-determination" for Ossetia and Abkhazia is code for absorption. (Otherwise, Chechnya and Dagestan would be independent countries by now.) So who's next? The rest of Georgia? Azerbaijan? Moldova? The Baltic States? This is only the beginning.


 
Quote    Reply

oOOOo    Putin knows his history...   9/2/2008 10:19:23 AM
Vlad the Annexer has learned from history. Not only do we have the example of Nazi Germany taking advantage of western Europe's general limpness prior to WW2, we have the example of the armed, aroused and capable Allies losing interest and allowing the USSR to swallow eastern europe after WW2. How many millions had their lives ruined because our leadership lacked backbone then - much as it does now.
 
While a few do know the slogans ("The price of freedom is eternal vigilance") after 5 or 7 years of anti-islamoloon war, depending on when you start your count, we seem to be war-weary and dominated by latter day Neville Chamberlains: Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John "Semper I" Murtha. Putin understands us possibly better than we understand ourselves and is cynically willing to use that understanding.
 
Does Vlad regard any part of Nazi Germany's anshluss as a bridge too far? Has Vlad learned any lessons about the crumbling of the Soviet empire? Do either of those lessons involve good governance? Or merely more violent and ruthless practices by the soviet police state? Is it possible to be more cynical than observing the forms of democracy and term limits whilst blatently continuing to rule with the current russian president serving as a farce?
 
How much of the "near abroad" will the craven leadership of western civilization tolerate being absorbed? Does their "peace in our time" mindset have any limits at all? Has our leadership learned nothing from history?
 
Quote    Reply

DragonReborn       9/2/2008 3:21:46 PM



Strange that you compare Russia with Nazi Germany, one could say the same about the US, invadeing nations for oil, torturing and bombing civilians, weapons trading with dictators, attacking dmocratic countries... the list is very long and not so pretty, you are in a bad position to judge someone else, there is a biblical saying that is about this situation, something in someone's eye and you're own.




Dude, what are you talking about? Iraq? Then let's do a little fact checking, shall we? The United States stole no oil wells
 
punished the few American soldiers engaged in torture, did not deliberately target civilians, and Saddam was no democrat. (If by "weapons trading with dictators," you are referring to countries such as Saudi Arabia, then I'll admit that even a blind squirrel such as yourself finds the occasional acorn.)

While the Russian government is clearly not threatening a Holocaust, its thirst for empire is as strong as ever. "Self-determination" for Ossetia and Abkhazia is code for absorption. (Otherwise, Chechnya and Dagestan would be independent countries by now.) So who's next? The rest of Georgia? Azerbaijan? Moldova? The Baltic States? This is only the beginning.







 
Quote    Reply

DragonReborn       9/2/2008 3:24:03 PM

 
h!!p://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3904382605215032226
 
h!!p://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/mar/20/post4
 
Quote    Reply

LC       9/2/2008 3:28:17 PM

Strange that you compare Russia with Nazi Germany, one could say the same about the US, invadeing nations for oil, torturing and bombing civilians, weapons trading with dictators, attacking dmocratic countries... the list is very long and not so pretty, you are in a bad position to judge someone else, there is a biblical saying that is about this situation, something in someone's eye and you're own.

Dude, what are you talking about? Iraq? Then let's do a little fact checking, shall we? The United States stole no oil wells, punished the few American soldiers engaged in torture, did not deliberately target civilians, and Saddam was no democrat. (If by "weapons trading with dictators," you are referring to countries such as Saudi Arabia, then I'll admit that even a blind squirrel such as yourself finds the occasional acorn.)
While the Russian government is clearly not threatening a Holocaust, its thirst for empire is as strong as ever. "Self-determination" for Ossetia and Abkhazia is code for absorption. (Otherwise, Chechnya and Dagestan would be independent countries by now.) So who's next? The rest of Georgia? Azerbaijan? Moldova? The Baltic States? This is only the beginning.


 
Quote    Reply

warpig       9/2/2008 4:06:49 PM


h!!p://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3904382605215032226

h!!p://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/mar/20/post4

 
Which part was the part about America stealing Iraqi oil wells? <yawn!>
 
 
Quote    Reply

jak267       9/2/2008 7:08:27 PM
The main point is that if the Russians hadn't see the world turn its back on Iraq - if they hadn't seen the Liberals and the News Media in the US undermine "The War" THE LIBERATION OF IRAQ from the very beginning - and if they didn't think a Democrat would be the new President - they never would have done this.
 
This is the world that hypocritical Liberalism has worked for all along - and now has created.
 
Until we get rid of the enemies here, we can't get rid of the enemies there.

 
Quote    Reply
1 2 3 4 5   NEXT