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Russia's Latest War Could Impact The U.S.

Motorists this week could wake up to some sharply increased oil prices once again as war between Russia and the much smaller pro-Western Republic of Georgia worsens and impacts nearby oil supplies to Europe and the U.S. And the pro-Western government of Georgia draws the U.S. ally into a dangerous neo-Cold war type conflict with Russia, potentially drawing the U.S. into a difficult position. The U.S. needs to be a balanced player here, seen as promoting the peace and restraint on both sides and nor helping to fuel further fighting in the region.

Georgia has a military of just 37,000 soldiers, but has announced plans to withdraw 2,000 peacekeepers from Iraq to join the fight which is hardly good news to the U.S. or any nation wanting to see this conflict soon end. Georgia has just 230 tanks and 12 combat aircraft. By comparison Russia could throw it's huge weight of 1.1 million soldiers, 6,000 tanks and 1,700 combat aircraft at the conflict and quickly crush the pro-U.S. government in Georgia if it desires to do so and the U.S. could watch it's ally smashed to pieces within days.

Yet any American involvement in the situation other than urging a ceasefire and peace is absolutely dangerous. There is really little that the U.S. can do here. The U.N. will Security Council will meet for a third time and urge an end to the fighting that has already left more than 2,000 dead.

If anything, it was alarming at how quickly Russia moved in with major military force to attempt to resolve a situation that they did have a legitimate role to be peacekeepers in. But it is the extreme amount of force used so far and the amount of destruction that is so alarming to the world community.

The world community should have the full right to expect a return to peace very soon and hope that this situation does not spread in the region and involve new players or draw in the west on one side of the conflict and Russia on the other. Such a situation could spin out of control and become most dangerous to world peace.


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Comments (3)

ke_future:

paul, thankfully, it looks like there is going to be a ceasefire in Georgia. However, the damage has been done. Russia has successfully demonstrated that it can invade and intimidate it's neighbors. Who happen to be pro-Western democracies.

I am curious about something, tho. At what point would you feel that the US should do something about the fighting in Georgia?

Hello. Ke. Yes I wrote the piece a day ago and now fortunately the situation on the ground looks much improved. In many ways the Russian action reminds of a Chinese assault into Vietnam at one time to punish Vietnam because of some irresponsible military action on the part of Vietnam against Chinese border guards.

The Government in Georgia really misread the tea leaves when they started some military action in the proRussian breakaway portion of their nation even if some political problems were present in the area. Georgia thought that simply applying for membership in NATO would give them cover for military action in these disputed areas, but they were very wrong.

If Georgia were indeed a full member of NATO and attacked by Russia, then the U.S. and other NATO members would likely have been forced to enter the conflict according to signed treaties. That would have been an even worse disaster though, likely resulting in a new world war instead of this much more limited action against an irresponsible military move by a country merely applying for NATO membership.

My biggest concern at this point are Russian demands for the president of Georgia to step down. This might be acceptable if it is just limited to just this single political leader. But the U.S. should be wary of any possible Russian attempt to dominate this government in Georgia or to impose it's will on this nation.

There are some claims of incidents of ethnic cleansing in the disputed areas in which Russia invaded. But this has yet to be resolved as to what this really constitutes.

The U.S. relationship with Russia needs to be an important issue here as well. But likely the relations between Russia and the U.S. have taken a huge hit over this situation.

I also find it very disturbing that some of the same old Communist figures such as Vitaly Churkin are left over from the old Soviet Union days are part of this current government under the domination by Putin. Churkin is Russia's UN Ambassador. As a spokesman for the Soviets, I never thought that Churkin was very honest and upfront, instead only playing a "company man" role for that Communist regime. As Un Ambassador, I don't feel that he has improved all that much. I really question whether he is any legitimate democrat on any level at all.

If anything Russia was able to send a cold chill over any former Soviet sphere states that have a close relationship with NATO or the U.S. This might even be in response to Kosovo seeking Independence as well as the U.S. plans to house a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. I personally feel that Russia was looking to use any event it could to assert itself in a military manner like this in order to halt Western influence in former Soviet sphere states. And it sends a neoCold War reminder to states that Russia may still view them as a part of their old federation of states of the past Soviet era.

The bottom line still has to be that U.S. and Russian relations are deeply damaged and the states near Russia all have to have some fear that Russia might be willing to assert military power in some circumstances. Although any real assault on a full NATO member should be highly unlikely. It now will be much harder for the U.S. to get Russian cooperation with the Iranian nuclear situation and other matters. No doubt about it, this is a foreign policy setback of a major level, with more consequences likely to follow in the UN and elsewhere.

FMK:

"My biggest concern at this point are Russian demands for the president of Georgia to step down. This might be acceptable if it is just limited to just this single political leader. But the U.S. should be wary of any possible Russian attempt to dominate this government in Georgia or to impose it's will on this nation."

Paul,

Does the word 'oxymoron' ring a bell ??


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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