Wednesday, 13 August 2008

13th August : Georgia Thoughts

Georgia: Mikheil Saakashvili, the man who lost it all. Nick Allen, The Telegraph (en)
Russia wants map of Europe redrawn. Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph (en)
The West must hit Russia where it hurts. Simon Heffer, The Telegraph (en)
In God, not Saakashvili, they trust. Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph (en)

Where were you when they crucified Georgia? George Pitcher, The Telegraph (en)
"... If you're looking for a cock-up rather than a conspiracy, look no further than the calendar. If you're going to organise an invasion, do it in August.
Not only will politicians, such as Gordon Brown and his foreign secretary, David Miliband, not break their holidays, but the Pope won't leave his ski chalet either..."

Putin's revenge: Russia agrees ceasefire – but the war of words still rages. Shaun Walker, The Independent (en)

Moscow flexed military muscle, and left West humiliated. Anne Penketh, The Independent (en)
"...The Kremlin masters will hardly be trembling in their boots, although they have now pulled back Russian troops from Georgia proper. The war ended as quickly as it began. But Dmitry Medvedev, who has replaced Mr Putin as President, made it clear that the Russian peacekeepers who had been stationed in both breakaway regions would remain. The EU-backed plan provides for discussion of the future status of Georgia's breakaway regions – so the borders of Europe are no longer sacrosanct..."

US cancels joint exercise with Russia . The Times (en)
Georgian oil pipeline: the front line. Ben Macintyre, The Times (en)
Puppet Medvedev left dangling . Bronwen Maddox, The Times (en)
Georgia loses the fight, but win the PR war. Tony Halpin and Roger Boyes, The Times (en)
"Nato was conceived to offer the US and its European allies collective security in the face of an existential Soviet nuclear threat. With Soviet ideology dead, not even Mr Putin can rekindle that threat. In the long term Nato therefore needs to clarify its mission to reassure post-Soviet Russia. At the same time, Russia needs to modernise its foreign policy to embrace political diversity along its borders. The irony is that Nato must first do what it was originally designed for and tell Moscow: this far, and no farther."
Bush is spectator as policy unravels. Andrew Ward, The FT (en)
Russian warplanes turn Gori to rubble. Charles Clover, The FT (en)
Saakashvili’s grip on power in doubt. Roman Olearchyk and Isabel Gors, The FT (en)
"...“Historically Russia was and will remain the guarantor of security for the peoples of the Caucasus,” said Mr Medvedev last week.... It appears that Russia suddenly belongs to the elite club of countries that can write their own rules.... The true cost to Russia’s military of the Georgian campaign is not known, but it appeared to be a textbook example of modern warfare. “The Russians are clearly using the model of the US campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999,” says Mr Trenin ....
Comment: Russia’s response to Georgia was right. Sergei Lavrov, Minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, The FT (en)
"It is clear that Georgia wants this dispute to become something more than a short if bloody conflict in the region. For decision-makers in the Nato countries of the west, it would be worth considering whether in future you want the men and women of your armed services to be answerable to Mr Saakashvili’s declarations of war in the Caucasus...."
Comment: Russia has the most to lose. Joseph Biden, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The FT (en)
"The historical precedents in this case should trouble the Kremlin. The Red Army’s invasion of Hungary in 1956 succeeded in putting down an anti-Soviet rebellion but unmasked the brutality of the Soviet regime and tarnished Moscow’s reputation around the world. Similar outcomes followed Soviet interventions in Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan....Russia may face other costly consequences for the violence. Vladimir Putin’s plans to make Moscow an international financial centre may evaporate as the prospect of sanctions on the country rears its head..."
After Mixed U.S. Messages, a War Erupted in Georgia. Helene Cooper and Tom Shanker, The NYT (en)
"At the State Department in Washington, Mr. Fried, the top envoy for the region, received a phone call on Thursday from Georgia’s foreign minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, who said the country was under attack. The foreign minister said Georgia had to protect its people.
“We told them they had to keep their unilateral cease-fire,” the official said. “We said, ‘Be smart about this, don’t go in and don’t fall for the Russian provocation. Do not do this.’ ”
....“This caught us totally by surprise,” said one military officer who tracks events in the region, including the American-Georgian training effort. “It really knocked us off our chairs.”
Ms. Rice did not get on the phone with her Georgian counterpart on Thursday, but left it to Mr. Fried to deliver the “don’t go in” message, a senior administration official said. “I don’t think it would have made any difference if she had,” the official said. “They knew the message was coming from the top.”
Russia, in Accord With Georgians, Sets Withdrawal. Andrew E Kramer and Ellen Barry, The NYT (en)

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