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Pizza from Scratch, 150

8 September, 2008

Involvement with Georgia: impelled by the US?

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Listening to NPR, the quote I heard was of Vladimir Putin saying of the U.S. "If they want to restart the Cold War, only Russia will benefit." Thinking about that, it only true, and only makes sense, if the U.S. is starting it. That would mean Russia is reacting, unable to do otherwise. And that in turn means Putin is saying Russia was pushed into Georgia by the U.S. He's implying that Russia is not fully in charge of its own foreign affairs. That suggests a weakness I don't think is there, but the statement still puts Russia in a bad light, if we think about it.

Of course the other part of the statement, "only Russia will benefit," calls the first part into question. Neither country is new at this. So is anyone to believe that the U.S. would wittingly start something that would benefit Russia at their expense?

I recall a politicalcartoon showing a huge Stalin grabbing Finland (portrayed by a slightly-built young blonde woman) by the forearm and accusing her of trying to sneak an attack on him. Just look at the real size and power of the two countries in 1939. Finland lacked the means, and thus also the motive, to threaten Russia.

Now turn again to fall 2008, and does anyone believe Russia had to send troops into Georgia in order to get the factions to separate their forces and stop threatening civilians?

If the Utah Latter-Day Saints population decided to take Utah out of the U.S., I hope we wouldn't start another Civil War. I hope our reaction would only be "Congratulations: now you're a land-locked COUNTRY. Have fun importing just about everything."

The only things that I can imagine that could explain the Russian reaction to Chechnya and Georgia are that there are yet more ethnic groups within Russia that might agitate for autonomy, and there's a large, scattered ethnic Russian population, both inside and outside Russia's present borders, and not even the most authoritarian Russian government, with the best network of cronies and thugs, can stay in power if ethnic Russians feel threatened.

And of course there's basic nationalist pride.

None of that suggests a reason for the U.S. to foment unrest. Just about anything would be used as an excuse for Russian action. So even if Putin isn't confessing to what was really going on, I think he laid bare who had the motive, and I don't think he cared who knew.