US and the Russia/Georgia Conflict

This incident has turned into a real mess. Against recommendations from the West, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili took military action in South Ossetia, leading to a quick and powerful response from Russia. As usual, the United States immediately got involved and began telling Russia what to do, threatening sanctions and other actions if Moscow did not comply.

This post may ruffle a few feathers, so before I say anything else, I do not believe that Russia was right in making the response they did. At the very least, it was too heavy-handed and seemed to go too far.

My issue however, is with the United States, not Russia. Why does it seem that the US has to get involved in almost every conflict around the world? At times, it seems as if the US government believes they own the planet and can tell other governments how to behave.

The US has to stop being the world’s dominant bully. Sometimes it seems like their behavior is very similar to the old Soviet Union, with the exception that the US is willing to let countries remain independent, where the Soviet Union wanted to incorporate them into a single, larger entity.

In this particular case, you can draw parallels to the current Russia/Georgia conflict and the Gulf War of the 1990s. In the current conflict, Georgia, without provocation, took military steps in South Ossetia. Russia did not like the move and took military action to push Georgia out of South Ossetia and create a buffer zone. In the 1990s, Iraq took military steps into Kuwait. America did not like what happened and took military action to push Iraq out of Kuwait and create a buffer zone.

So, why was it okay for the US to militarily push Iraq out of Kuwait, but it is not okay for Russia to militarily push Georgia out of South Ossetia? The politics of the situations may be different, but the events are basically the same.

There are many other examples of the US doing whatever they want, including the current war in Iraq, where President Bush conveniently changed the reason for US involvement to justify the military action. Russia was not in favor of invading Iraq, but never threatened the US over it. In general, it seems as if the US is constantly asking other countries to do as they say, not as they do.

The US better be careful with Russia. The Russian Federation is not some little child that can be kicked around. Most likely, Russia’s involvement in the current situation was in part an opportunity to show the world that they are, once again, a force to be reckoned with.

This is not a game. In today’s global economy, the US has no idea how knee-jerk actions taken against Russia could come right back and cause major economic problems at home. Things just aren’t as simple as they used to be.

If a peaceful, global society is ever going to occur, the US needs to stop telling other countries what to do. It is time for the American government to accept the fact that not every country and government is going to conform to their view of the world. Maybe, if the Americans stopped butting in all the time and started accepting cultural and political differences, they would be less hated around the world.


Edit: I guess I am not the only one that feels this way.  Check out this opinion piece on Salon.com, "Putin's war enablers: Bush and Cheney."  The author, Juan Cole, puts it more in a more detailed and elegant way.

2 Comments

Your analysis is superficial.

Kuwait is a sovereign emirate. Iraq settled its shared border with Kuwait in 1963. In 1990, deploying 120,000 Iraqi troops with 850 tanks, Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait, deposed its ruler and installed an Iraqi governor. The United States led a UN-mandated (UNSCR 678) coalition of 34 nations to remove Iraq from Kuwait. Not one nation state aligned itself with Iraq. Only the PLO, not a nation state, supported the Iraqi invasion.

South Ossetia is not an independent state. It is recognized by both treaty and UN resolutions to which Russian has been a party as being part of the sovereign territory of Georgia. The government of Georgia alone is responsible for the governance and protection of its territory. In the run-up of its invasion, Russia seeded passports among the South Ossetians so as to later claim the rescue of Russian citizens. Russia led no coalition, had no UN mandate, attacked unilaterally, ginned up sensationalized reports of genocide (uncorroborated), then proceeded to wantonly destroy the infrastructure and kill Georgian civilians, with Russia now accused of ethnic cleansing (reported by several news services).

In further contravention of international law Russia than invented the nation states of Ossetia and Abkhazia, and alone recognizes and stands guarantor of their sovereignties. Russia has been condemned by a host of nations, the UN through its ministers, and humanitarian organizations. So far Russia has garnered international support only from Belarus and Venezuela.

Although it is fashionable to start every international polemic with a nod to the United States as a bully, neither your notional "dark America" nor your defective equivalency hide or attenuate the thuggish and brutal actions of Mr. Putin and his lap-dummy, Mr. Medvedev.

As for Juan Cole, the start-point for all his thoughtful articles is that Messrs. Bush and Cheney are responsible for whatever misery or catastrophe is current. Mr. Cole also shills for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr. Cole is a recognized crank. You might want to vet your sources before promoting them.

Regards,
DGB

There's not a lot to say, except that I agree. So, no, you are not alone.

Although it feels that way.