Monday, August 18, 2008

Merkel Promotes NATO Membership for Georgia

There’s been a lot of talk recently, both in this space and elsewhere, about the hegemonic overreaching of the United States in its support for Georgian membership in NATO, as well of its backing of Georgia in the conflict with Russia over South Ossetia.

Here’s a reminder that there are other interested parties who, for their own pragmatic reasons, are just as keen to pull Georgia into NATO. According to Al Arabiya:

Georgia to Become NATO Member: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday in the Georgian capital that the ex-Soviet republic, currently mired in conflict with Russia, will join NATO.

“Georgia will become a member of NATO if it wants to — and it does want to,” she said before talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi.

It was one of the strongest statements yet of support for Georgia’s NATO membership bid, which is fiercely opposed by Russia.
- - - - - - - - -
Merkel was in Tbilisi to support Saakashvili and press for the withdrawal of Russian troops who attacked Georgia on April 8 to repulse an offensive by Georgian troops against a Moscow-backed separatist region.

Moscow is furious at Georgia’s attempt to join NATO. The Western military alliance is divided over how fast to accept Georgia, but has indicated that membership is a matter of when, not if.

Why would the Chancellor of Germany want Georgia to join NATO? Why help those foolish Americans poke at the bear?

Russia, as you may recall, has a strong double-handed grip on the manly generative organs of the EU through its control of the gas pipeline into Europe. This little maneuver has given the Russians a lot of leverage over European policy. When the EU displeases the Kremlin, it’s only necessary for the bear to reach a paw towards the handle of the energy spigot, and the Europeans can be expected to fall into the line.

One assumes that Ms. Merkel doesn’t like to have her options limited in this manner, so she’s ready to bring the Georgians and their pipeline under the NATO umbrella, knowing full well that the United States will bear the brunt of any subsequent enforcement.

It’s a game that various European countries have played very effectively over the last few decades, with the most recent examples being Bosnia and Kosovo.

Bring the Americans in to do your dirty work. No European blood has to be shed. You get to be a continent of “peace”, and thus retain the moral high ground, but you still get a big slice of the pie.

Besides, American help is so much cheaper than any other available option.


Hat tip: TB.

61 comments:

supercargo said...

Support for Saakashvili is pure knee-jerk. Last January, with members of the opposition - Justice Party/"Anti-Soros Movement" - in jail, Saint Saak was re-elected with 53% of the vote. Even there Euro observers reported seeing people vote 3 times. In the US, CNN and FOX refuse all comment on Saint Saak's 8 hour artillery and rocket attacks on Tskhinvali. The attack began from the Georgian villiage of Avnevi, and when the aggressors learned that ethnic cleansing had commenced, Georgian troops entered South Ossetia. Video evidence of both the devastation of the slaughter (lightly armed peace keepers were unable to responde or protect themselves) is subject to systemic censorship by the US media. Only Youtube allows posts of Russian newsreels. See this chronology:
http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080813/116006455.html

Saakashvili is a follower of V Gamsakhurdia, a leader who was elected in 1990 on a "Georgia for Georgians" slogan. When his mentor was murdered, Saint Saak was recruited by E Shevardnadze (last foreign minister of the USSR) to serve as Justice Minister. Billionaire George Soros paid Saint Saak to agitate for his version of his "Open Society" blueprint, and he quit his post and organized the "Rose Revolution." Soros' agitators were paid to form Saint Saak's youth wing. He is the most despised man in Georgia; last week's huge rally - with Balkan first ministers present - was attended to support international efforts against suspected - falsely - Russian takeover moves. Saint Saak is a lame duck; he is a figurehead leader and nothing more. History will judge him as a wild animal who attempted to turn NATO into an instrument of ethnic cleansing.

Do you trust Saint Saak? Three hours before he ordered the genocidal barrage, he told Georgians that he would negotiate for Ossetian "autonomy." His game was to use Putin's presence in China, as a pretext to use murder as a means to coerce the ethnic cleansing of South Ossetians. In a Washington Post interview, Shevardnadze said that he opposed construction of the Roki Tunnel, when he was with the Soviet government. Saint Saak chose - with Bush's recent visit in mind - to force a reverse Anschluss, which would have terminated with the destruction of the tunnel. He gambled and he lost in reality. However, he is winning the propaganda war. Read this garbage from a US Neo-Con website:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/a_warsaw_pact_for_america.html

Let's reverse accusations. See the following map series on the dog's breakfast of minorities within the Caucasus. The borders do not reflect demographic nations; they are residue of Soviet concepts of post-nationalism. With the Soviets gone, nationalists seek Greater Nations to be built out of former Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous regions. THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT that with the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the de jure status of international frontiers was not established; rather, it was a de facto structure of sovereignty arrangements, whose existence depended on the existence of the Federation. It is correct for the Russian Federation to treat Georgian administration over South Ossetia as a revocable trust. It is also correct to claim that Saint Saak put that trust in breach. Clearly, Georgian nationalists - who maintain statues to Stalin and Gamsakhurdia - are unfit to rule minorities. They are ethnic cleansers.

Anyone who is unconvinced of my statements above needs to look at the maps and tell me exactly what would happen if a single entity suddenly had its territorial integrity protected by NATO. You know what happened when the Turks invoked same, when Armenians sought autonomy. Think of Saint Saak as a Turk murderer reborn of Soros' social engineering, European myopia and Bush stupidity.
http://www.djavakhk.com/cartes.php?l=en

Anyone who wants to invoke "patria or muerte" nobility for the Georgian nationalists, should remember that they abandoned weapons, arms, uniforms and flags to the Russian rescuers.

Vasarahammer said...

Supercargo looks like a Kremlin internet trooper so I will ignore his posting and just state that Saakashvili is no saint but he is no Milosevic either.

The German issue is more complex than that. Currently, Russians and Germans, more specifically a company called Nordstream, are in the process of building a pipeline under the Baltic sea increasing the availaibility of Russian natural gas in German market.

The guy running this project is none other than former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. This pipeline explains partly why Germans were previously reluctant to allow Georgia to join NATO.

Schröder, called as a 'political prostitute' by US Congressman Tom Lantos, has also recruited former Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen to act as a consultant in order to speed up to processing of environmental permits required by the pipeline.

The pipeline would bring serious security issues and increase Russian military presence in the Baltic sea.

In that light Merkel's statement seems like a change of heart and an attempt to put some pressure to Russia, because the pipeline project is economically significant to Russia as well.

CzC said...

Would Angela actually be willing to go to Georgias defense? Is it worth it defending a country so far away from any other NATO member?

Politicians are just hot air these days. They don't think about consequences.

pasta said...

This analysis is weird. Of course, it is absolutely true that in case of conflict with Russia the United States would have to bear the brunt. But it was the United States who pushed for admitting Georgia into NATO all along, and it was Germany and France who vetoed the Membership Action Plan during the NATO Bucharest Summit in april. You can read up about it here, and here.

Furthermore, it is an interesting assessment that the American involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo was actually due to a ploy of various European countries to make the Americans do their dirty work. I have to read up on the history of these regrettable military interventions.

supercargo said...

Vasarahammer:

Typical ad hominem deflection. Pure cowardice. Each and every member of NATO can veto the application of new members. It all comes out in the wash, and you can be assured that the coverup of the following will soon end:

Saint Saak bodyguards protect him from GEORGIANS:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=h0bNmkUJJOg&feature=related

Eyewitness reports of ethnic cleansing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
wsH3n4BNktU


Only the elderly remain after Georgian ethnic cleansing barrage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=Mm0zt4e74Bc

Georgian tanks stopped on the way to destroy Rokia Tunnel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=8GnucuIxt6g


CNN uses Tskhinvali devastation to falsify report of Russian action against Gori barracks:
http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=NVNblG9PJMk


US media censored images of Tskhinvali barrage and tank attacks:
http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=FGAUhEFvbfo


FOX censors 12 year old American victim of Georgian slaughter:
http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=JCqzD66Db50

Georgians v Saakashvili:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=07JQTUiCX0o&feature=related

US media assault on the truth allows Bush to send Condi to appear with the lame-duck
member of Bush's "Coalition of the Stupid (Or willing)" in the Iraq quagmire:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=SJoh16XMscw


Soros compares Bush to Hitler and Stalin:
http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=_DuafAqAHrc

So why did Saakashvili ally with both "Hitler" and his accuser? He is a pathological opportunist, who will stab any partner in the back. He betrayed Shevardnadze, then the opposition, then Putin, then the Georgian people.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com
/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080816
.wsaakashvili0816
/BNStory/International/?
pageRequested=all&print=true

Henrik R Clausen said...

Each and every member of NATO can veto the application of new members.

In principle only. In practice, such 'resisting' members will be bullied into submission.

That happens in EU all the time.

We'll all be 'energy prostitutes' until we fix the problems ourselves.

Going to war over Caucasian oil does not fix the problem...

Vasarahammer said...

What Henrik said is true but the Germans are doing it to themselves, since they are currently in the process of dismantling nuclear power (just like Sweden), which is one of the things why Russian gas is attractive in the first place.

Of course, nuclear power is not the perfect cure for energy addiction, but it will buy time to develop better alternatives.

supercargo said...

Mr Clausen:

The root problem is our indulgence of the mortal enemy: Muslims. Russia disaffection began with NATO's intervention in Serbia. How short-sighted. The Organization of the Islamic Conference supports self-determination for Moro Muslims (Philipines) and territorial integrality for Egypt, notwithstanding its large regional population of Christian Copts.

NATO has been a tool of the OIC. It is hardly exporting the civilization of its Treaty pre-amble - "based on democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law" - to Muslim countries. When Iraq was taken, the first thing the Coalition Provisional Authority did was outlaw "Baathism" which effectively murdered Secularism, and handed the country to competing religious groups, of which the leading one is owned by Iran. The Muslim countries are not going democratic; they are using sham one time elections as a cover to advance constitutional sharia.

Our failures rest on the misuse of power by the US President. Frankly, Pashto sections of Afghanistan should have looked like the Moon, after 9-11. None Taliban uses their $200,000,000 share from the Helmand Heroin trade to buy the weapons that murder the American troops that protect the trade.

Screw the public consensus on why Bush chose to work with Saakashvili. After the Rose Revolution (read: nationalist counter-revolution) of 2004, Georgia joined Bush's Coalition of the Willing in Iraq. Georgian ethnic cleansing politics gave him an opportunity to re-assert the ersatz moral leadership that he has peddled to gullible Americans for 8 years.

The US, China and Russia all have a common enemy: aggressive Islam. Maybe a joint fight would yield cultural unity among the Big Powers.

Henrik R Clausen said...

dismantling nuclear power

Another breathtakingly suicidal move by the West...

Politicians are just hot air these days.

Something like that. Caucasian gas probably contributes.

If it wasn't for the EU, I guess some of the European countries would forge ahead building new nuclear plants (well, some do already. Others wait (in vain) for Brussel to direct them), while those with too many Green voters would abstain.

Then, in a few years time, it would be obvious who did the right thing in time and who did not, when people in the 'Green' countries freeze to death due to lack of energy.

As for Islam: Without the huge stocks of oil in those countries, that religion would be laughed out of existence. Now they have money to pay preachers, print books and all, and the reward is power.

Kick the oil habit, for good, and Islam will fall flat as well. It's just too dumb to be a viable religion without massive economical subsidies.

Bela said...

Let's put a damper on raw emotions and select a different approach to unravel this thorny issue.
It seem to me that all roads lead to the common origin, that is the dismemberment of Serbia, the detachment of Kosovo.

1. Which country or party was the instigator and why? Which was against it? (If!?)
2. Cui bono?
3. What was the indisputable benefit for the US to get involved at all. The war was over so no military intervention was scheduled. Bondsteel, may be?
4. The break up of Yugoslavia was complete, the new configuration was accepted by all, Serbia was contiguous, then the Kosovo idea entered from nowhere and here we are now.
5. Who are the protagonists?

pasta said...

@Henrik

"As for Islam: Without the huge stocks of oil in those countries, that religion would be laughed out of existence. Now they have money to pay preachers, print books and all, and the reward is power.

Kick the oil habit, for good, and Islam will fall flat as well. It's just too dumb to be a viable religion without massive economical subsidies."

This is just wishful thinking. Islam thrived over the course of 1400 years and until not long ago their oil was worthless. You don't need oil for breeding. Many Islamic countries don't have oil and nevertheless export terrorists and emigrants. Pakistan even acquired nukes without a substantial amount of oil.

Furthermore, it was already established in a former discussion with you, that even if the West hypothetically weaned itself from oil, this doesn't mean that in today's world oil would become worthless. Other countries would replace us as their customers, so the Arabs would still earn lots of money. The only way to stop that would be by seizing the oil fields and confiscate the revenue.

Because oil is the best transportable source of energy, those other countries still buying oil would gain an economic advantage over us, too. In spite of decades of research there is no alternative for powering airplanes and cars which comes close to oil in usability. And no, even if we found an unlimited and cheap source of electrical energy - such as your electrostatic fusion, about which nobody knows if it can be made economically viable - we'd still have no alternative for powering airplanes and cars, which is as cheap and efficient as oil.

Henrik Ræder said...

We're working on new ways to produce oil.

While this project is not commercially viable yet, it is one of several ways to go.

The EU (which I've bashed enough for now) is projecting a huge distribution cable that will level out the differences in windmill production throughout Europe. Denmark has one of the largest windmill producers on the planet (Vestas). Dealing with the uneven electricity production would be a large step forward.

Large parks of solar cells are expected to be commercially viable within some 7 years - Germany is at the front of that research.

The projects are out there.

Henrik Ræder said...

This is just wishful thinking. Islam thrived over the course of 1400 years.

Only under the sword. Under the clear light of rationality, it has little merit. It's easy to find out, and a main reason the Islamists are so aggressive. Their very foundation is being fired at, and they want that to stop.

Afonso Henriques said...

Merkel's problem is had living under Communism.

Apearently, all those wjo have lvived under Communism got URAB.

Unreasonable Anti Russian Bias.

RUSSIA is not the USSR!!!
The cold war is over!

--------------------------

I hope Georgia not to join NATO. What could the Georgians bring to us? Georgia and Albania in NATO? I never thought saying this but NATO is being infiltrated by third world Nations!

I doubt Georgia will ever be acepted. You know why? Turkey is supporting the Russian action. And I think the U.S.A. will have to pay for countries in Western Europe to support that... Why Georgia in NATO? It does not make any sense...

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

The south ossetia issue is a suideshow, an excuse rather nicely dropped in the lap of the Russians. Their real goal is controlling the flow of oil. Georgia has several pipelines bringing oil and gas to Europe, reducing the control Russia has on European energy supplies. The project that created them was due for a large expansion.

So Russia looks for an excuse to take over Georgia and turn it into a puppet state, simply to prevent us from finding independent oil and - primarily - gas supplies.

You peopel defending the russians have fallen for the scam. This was never about south ossetia or its people, it was about controlling energy. Controlling energy means they can control policy, as they have already been attempting in several former soviet republics. Controlling energy means they can prevent us from acting independently... and their alliance with the muslims in so many areas makes me more than a little nervous about the aims of that control.

Henrik Ræder said...

I've not fallen for any scam. Of course it's about oil, or the US government would not declare the Caucaus to be part of the *US* sphere of influence.

We desperately need to kick the oil habit. Doing so will free us of stupid wars like this one. And much suffering with that.

pasta said...

@Henrik

First of all, I'd like to ask you: Has the fact, that hypothetically weaning ourselves from oil will not make the Arabs go out of business, finally sunk in?

To me you sound like one of those peace activists during the cold war, who advocated worldwide disarmament and wanted us to do the first step and disarm unilaterally.

"We're working on new ways to produce oil."

I am aware of projects like this, I am also aware of their problems and limitations.

"The EU (which I've bashed enough for now) is projecting a huge distribution cable that will level out the differences in windmill production throughout Europe. Denmark has one of the largest windmill producers on the planet (Vestas). Dealing with the uneven electricity production would be a large step forward.

Large parks of solar cells are expected to be commercially viable within some 7 years - Germany is at the front of that research."

Windmills, solar cells, it's hilarious. The only thing Denmark (and Germany, too) has achieved with its windmills is now having some of the highest prices for electricity in Europe. That's why houses in Denmark are not heated by wind energy, but primarily by oil or gas instead.

Can't you understand that you can't simply substitute electrical energy for oil? Windmills and solar cells are completely irrelevant, because we already have a cheap and reliable source of electrical energy available, we just need to apply it: nuclear energy, conventional nuclear fission reactors. But then we still can't propel our airplanes and cars with electricity, that's another fact you seem to be in denial over.

Henrik Ræder said...

Pasta, please feel free to bash away at me for being in denial about this, or that, or whatever.

I never claimed battery-powered airplanes were viable, for one thing. OK?

Please feel free to blame me for being a naïve peace activist, just because I don't have ready answers for every bit of our energy supply problem. I'm contradicting the doom-saying a bit by pointing out various projects where our great engineers are hard at work to find permanent solutions.

Please also feel free to ignore that I've talked about using more nuclear energy over and over.

Our need for cheap, convenient energy is driving us to whoredom against Russia and the Islamic countries. We need to kick that habit before the stranglehold gets too tight.

pasta said...

@Henrik

"Only under the sword. Under the clear light of rationality, it has little merit."

How pompous that sounds... Islam thrives on the threat of violence indeed, but muslims manage to maintain this threat even in the free and secular societies in the West, and therefore Islam thrives even there. Funding from oil-rich Arab countries helps but the growth of Islam does not depend on it.

"I've not fallen for any scam. Of course it's about oil, or the US government would not declare the Caucaus to be part of the *US* sphere of influence."

What makes you so certain about that? There is no oil on the Balkan, yet we went to war there. And I haven't yet heard anyone demanding to secure Georgia because of oil. People talk about the principle of self-determination, democracy, freedom and the bullying Russians instead.

"Pasta, please feel free to bash away at me for being in denial about this, or that, or whatever."

Yes, I do, because you are indeed in denial about some facts, which you better face.

"I never claimed battery-powered airplanes were viable, for one thing. OK?"

Yet you keep going on and on about windmills, solar cells and electrostatic fusion.

"Please feel free to blame me for being a naïve peace activist, just because I don't have ready answers for every bit of our energy supply problem. I'm contradicting the doom-saying a bit by pointing out various projects where our great engineers are hard at work to find permanent solutions."

It's you who keeps doom-saying that we have an energy supply problem, so if you contradict that, you are contradicting yourself.

"Our need for cheap, convenient energy is driving us to whoredom against Russia and the Islamic countries. We need to kick that habit before the stranglehold gets too tight."

Rubbish. Towards Russia the West is very assertive, even hawkish. The proposition that the Islamic countries are strangling us, is preposterous. Never did an Islamic country force us to let in millions of muslim immigrants at the threat of withholding oil from us. We invaded two rather large Islamic countries recently and keep occupying them in order to bring them democracy. Militarily, they are no match for us, our problem is a mental problem.

pasta said...

My take on the future development of the Georgia conflict:

Russian troops are in Georgia proper right now. Either they will remain there, as a safeguard for Russia that Georgia will not join the NATO. Then the West has established in world opinion the fact that Russia is clearly the aggressor in this conflict, as it doesn't permit Georgia to determine its own fate by joining NATO.

Or Russian troops will be pulled out of Georgia proper (but not out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, of course). Then NATO will move in and Russian and NATO troops will really stand eyeball to eyeball there. In any conflict the credibility of the whole NATO will be at stake, so the NATO is forced to back up its engagement with full military power, even to go nuclear, if necessary, or the NATO will go up in smoke. However, due to the inherent conflicts in this large and overexpanded alliance this credibility is already dubious, so Russia might not be completely deterred from an attack in case. It's quite a risky situation we are heading to.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Never did an Islamic country force us to let in millions of muslim immigrants at the threat of withholding oil from us.

While I didn't check all the details, I believe they did exactly that, back in 1973 at the oil embargo. 'Removing negative stereotypes about Islam' was also part of that deal.

Bat Ye'or has a few things to say about this.

Bela said...

pasta & henrik r clausen

Off topic: your debate is very interesting, sophisticated exchange, well worth of following.
pasta's argument is sound and rather convincing.

babs said...

Henrik - I thought the same thing when I read that statement about allowing Muslim immigration. Bat Ye'or presented a rather compelling case that it is exactly what happened during the oil shock of the 70's.
I recall (having read her book several years ago) that a deal was cut between oil producing middle east and Europe to accept their "excess population," as I think she termed it, in return for a stable flow of energy.
I think one could reasonably make a case that the immigration flood from oil producing Islamic countries really started in the 70's. Actually, Bat Ye'or already did that. It is just that no one wants to hear it...
Compounding this immigration flood was the pull out of European colonial power from various countries. The U.K. especially allowed citizens of former colonies to immigrate to the U.K. proper. Hence, the huge population of Indian and Pakistani's in the U.K. I think France was a bit more cynical and wanted uneducated Algerians to immigrate to perform menial jobs in France. That worked out O.K. for the first generation. Now, they have car-b-que's...

pasta said...

@Henrik

"While I didn't check all the details, I believe they did exactly that, back in 1973 at the oil embargo. 'Removing negative stereotypes about Islam' was also part of that deal.

Bat Ye'or has a few things to say about this."

I must admit that I haven't read her book. But in the case of Germany, 1973 was the year when we stopped allowing immigration of guest workers, which had begun in 1957. Those who were let in afterwards, were let in because of our constitutionally enshrined and legally enforceable right on political asylum, as spouses of residents or in compliance with the Geneva convention on refugees.

The pattern in Europe is not entirely different from the pattern in the United States, which did not prevent millions of Hispanics from crossing the border. Should we assume that Mexico has a stranglehold over the United States? I reckon that it's rather the rule of the Politically Correct Multi-culturalist ideology, our false belief of invulnerability and our humanitarian sentiments which are to blame.

@Bela

Thanks. Your question about the real reasons for the independence of Kosovo is a good one, I am at a loss for an answer, too.

Diamed said...

Why not a healthy belief in the right to self-determination and the ownership of the land by those who actually live on the land, not an old imaginary line on a piece of paper?

Kosovo was 90% albanian and so of course should not belong to serbia. What could be simpler?

The same with abhkhazia and ossetia. Why should georgia own the land when the people living there wish to be free and not owned by Georgia? The same right to self-determination that created all the countries in Europe and allowed Canada, the USA, and Australia to break off from mother England should apply to all people everywhere on earth. No one shoudl be forced to live in a country they don't want to live in. Every ethnicity should have a homeland of their own. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

This war wasn't about oil, it was about the right to self-determination vs. a tyrannous claim of the state to control people against their will and form a multi-ethnic empire instead of a consensual nation. There could not be a more clear cut right and wrong. When you add in Georgia simply rolled in and started slaughtering thousands of civilians, I can't imagine what would be a more appropriate response than Russia's. Btw, news reports say the Russian army is already pulling out of Georgia, so yet another anti-russian conspiracy theory/smear busted.

pasta said...

There might be another plausible explanation for the complicity of our governments with mass immigration which I didn't mention: the set-up of our so-called "democracies". Maybe the fact, that political responsibility is often distributed and blurred and the political mandate temporary, makes politicians particularly susceptible to accept bribes? I could imagine Islamic countries exerting a lot of influence over our politicians by bribing them.

Concerning the United States, I read that Bush has particularly tight personal relations with Mexicans, so much that some people even him "Jorge Busheron". Could that explain his opposition to a proper border fence?

Bela said...

diamed

Your argument is a very weak one: why don't you think before you hit the keyboard?
1. What about Vlaams Belang drive for Flemish independence from the Wallons?
2. 2/3 of Hungary's population was detached and given to neighboring countries after WWI, called Transylvania.
3. The "Aztlan" project in the USA: ethnic Mexicans want to carve out their independent country from the US South-West called Aztlan.
The sacrosanct hot air a.k.a. as self-determination is not applicable in the real world unless one side is backed by mighty military force.
4. Chechnya self-determination was crushed by your friendly Russians.

But don't hold you back, let all the froth to come up from your inside instead of festering there making you sick.

Diamed said...

Ignoring all your insults, what about them?

If people want to be free, let them be. Let Flanders be free, let Chechnya be free, let Atzlan be free, let transylvania be free, let anywhere be free that wants to be. What is so hard about this concept? Why do you have the right to keep people in your country, to control land, that don't wish to be a part of your country and really do live on the land? That's imperialism.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Ok then, Diamed, right now there are several cities within the UK that are predicted to be majority "asian", muslim, within the next 50 years. This drive to majority is already accelerating tko the point where I reckon they'll be the vast majority in those cities within that period. Certainly Bradford will be almost exclusively pakistanit muslim within that time.

By your argument, at that point they would have the right to carve out a little city state for themselves... is that what you mean? Should they have that right?

Bela said...

graham dawson:

Why not?
Après nous le déluge.

Madame De Pompadour (1721–1764), French mistress of Louis XV of France.

Felicie said...

Diamed: "Why not a healthy belief in the right to self-determination and the ownership of the land by those who actually live on the land, not an old imaginary line on a piece of paper?

Kosovo was 90% albanian and so of course should not belong to serbia. What could be simpler?

The same with abhkhazia and ossetia. Why should georgia own the land when the people living there wish to be free and not owned by Georgia? The same right to self-determination that created all the countries in Europe and allowed Canada, the USA, and Australia to break off from mother England should apply to all people everywhere on earth. No one shoudl be forced to live in a country they don't want to live in. Every ethnicity should have a homeland of their own... "

I would say this should depend on the history of how a certain territory acquired a majority of certain population and the overall hostorical and political context. Albanians moved into the Serbia territory. This was the heartland of the Serbian territory. I don't think they should be entitled to it. Especialy considering the history of the criminal methods and violence they used to squeeze out ethnic Serbs from Kosovo.

Let's take two extreme cases. 1) Nation A conquered Nation B and annexed its territories. 2) Part of the population of Nation A infiltrated the native territory of Nation C and drove out the indigenous population from some parts of it, becoming the majority that calls itself Nation B. In the first case, Nation B has the moral right to self-determination. In the second case, it doesn't. Real cases fall somewhere in the middle of this scenario.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Self-determination is very dangerous when applied to religious minorities. Should Kreuzberg declare itself independent? The idea sounds great, but in reality it is being used to dismember nations in preference over giving minorities proper protection.

The principle will cause further decay in Europe over the next decades.

Heh. We stopped immigration *in principle* in the 1970's, except 'asylum seekers' (95 % of whom have no evidence of being in personal danger), and these terrible 'family reunions', which usually was a cover-up for forced marriages.

Immigration continued unhindered. In Denmark, it was expanded along these line by a law in 1983, which is now widely considered a disaster. It was tightened several times, and finally abolished in 2001.

I insist that we have an energy crisis. Oil at > $100 a barrel constitutes a crisis, as so much cash drains from our coffers to those of Russia and the Arabs. That empowers countries with autocratic regimes, and in the case of the Arabs, with a religious ideology that challenges democracy itself.

The debt will become a nightmare.

Anyway, I agree with Pasta's analysis of NATO credibility problem. It's a "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, where backing down will be perceived as weakness, and the NATO leaders are scrambling to avoid that. Unfortunately it's very tricky when we are overextended. The Russians are not.

I think the frantic Western reaction to the events is a dual cover-up: Partly of the fact that we more or less encouraged the Georgian aggression (which is why our politicians scream about 'Russian aggression'), and partly that we are not really strong enough to guarantee the security of that small Caucasian nation. Except by the nuclear option, which we really should only use for defending our core countries.

Poland will have many more nukes pointing towards their cities soon. A bit of a gamble.

I have little doubt that Russia will pull out of Georgia proper. It's a demonstration of power, not a permanent occupation. And a bargaining chip, in that they can 'grant' a concession by doing what they should have done already.

Just following the details of this complex conflict is quite educational.

Armance said...

Applying indiscriminately the right of self-determination would throw the whole world into chaos (as if we don't have an enough chaotic world today). It's the equivalent of a crowded street without traffic rules.
Practically, there's no end to the demands for self-determination: in most of the countries, we have regions with ethnic/religious minorities and other minorities living as small enclaves in the midst of these minorities which actually form the majority of those regions. Where should we stop, then? Self-determination at the level of villages? Streets? Alleys? Blocks of flats?

The independence of Kosovo was dangerous not only because it created a country with a majority of Muslims in the heart of Europe, but it also constitutes the precedent of a madness. What Russians are doing today is simply a deserved mockery at the US/EU much invoked "right of self-determination". There are a lot of Russian minorities outside the Russian borders, some of them the result of the Stalinist ethnic cleansing, and I am sure the Russians will use them often in their interests from now on. They did the same in the past, but then it was easier to condemn Russia on moral grounds. Who can do the same after Kosovo? Because Kosovo is the epitome of how one can create a new nation through violence and ethnic cleansing.

Conservative Swede said...

Armance,

Read this about Solzhenitsyn if you haven't yet.

Solzhenitsyn wrote:
"The trouble is not that the USSR broke up – that was inevitable. The real trouble, and a tangle for a long time to come, is that the breakup occurred along false Leninist borders, usurping from us entire Russian provinces. In several days, we lost 25 million ethnic Russians – 18 percent of our entire nation – and the government could not scrape up the courage even to take note of this dreadful event, a colossal historic defeat for Russia, and to declare its political disagreement with it."

This is also part of the picture.

Quite as in Yugoslavia when it broke up according to false borders from the Tito days. As usually to the disadvantage to the Cyrillic guys, the hated ones.

Armance said...

Thanks for the link, Conservative Swede.

I should add that I admire Solzhenitsyn, he was like a ray of light for someone living in a Communist country, but, as a Russian nationalist, he tells just one side of the story. Other countries were at least as much deprived by their provinces and population in the benefit of the Russians. The best examples are the Baltic states and the so-called Republic of Moldavia (actually a former Romanian province), which suffered a real national martyrdom: thousands of people exterminated and replaced by Russian population.
Actually Stalin led a conscious and very precise policy of mixing the component nations of the USSR for having a better control of them. Now, Russia has the opportunity to use the results of this policy.

In a normal world, I would condemn Russia and I am aware it is not formed by angels. In a normal world, I would be against China for its obvious violations of human rights. But we don't live in a normal world and the most difficult aspect regarding the moral standards is not to choose between good and bad (because then the choice is simple), but to reject from two bad things the one which is worse.

I used to hate the Russians for historical reasons, to the point that I blamed them for everything that was wrong in the world. What made me think more balanced about them was Beslan and those images of tortured Russian children. I realized that there is something much, much worse in the world than Russian imperialism. Of course, I still don't want the Russians to have much influence in this part of the world, but I support them entirely when they oppose those Western leaders who helped the creation of the independent Kosova, ignoring the history of the Balkans and siding with the traditional enemies of the Eastern Christians.

Natalie said...

This has been an intense discussion... too bad I've been missing it. I am currently travelling to university right now.

brianakira said...

I wonder if any one else here finds this kind of comment tedious and specious:

"Supercargo looks like a Kremlin internet trooper so I will ignore his posting"


First of all, you didn't ignore Supercargo.

And secondly, even if supercargo is Putin himself, so what?

Facts and arguments, please. I'm sick of your stupid ad hominem "arguments".

- Don't respond to so and so, he's a troll.

- Mr X is a troll

- blah blah

+ + +

A for the post, since the Germans are afraid to even fight the Taliban, and try to avoid combat in Afghanistan, I think it's hilarious that they seem so keen on fighting Russia. I guess Stalingrad taught them nothing.

Could somebody tell me any of any army that has ever defeated the Russia on their own territory? Post Kievan Rus please.

And the Caucasus is Russian territory.

The Kazakhs, Azeri, Abkhazi, Armenians, Caucasian Macedonians, Alani, and many Georgians will side with Russia over anyone allied with Turkey. Are Germans now going to help Georgia invade Ossetia?

NATO, Rest in Peace.

brianakira said...

Afonso,

Merkel is more of a communist than Putin.

If communists tried to get power in Russia, Putin would have them shot.

Merkel would be like, "Vell, Marx hat many gut ideas, ja!"

brianakira said...

Dawson,

I guess you are using absurdist satire here:

"their alliance with the muslims in so many areas makes me more than a little nervous"

You are referring to US + UK + Iraq + PLO + Turkey + Albania + "Kosovo" + Bosnia + Afghanistan etc etc?

At least, unlike the US, the Russian ambassador to the UN is not a Muslim with Afghan citizenship.

brianakira said...

diamed,

I agree with your comments about the Caucasus, but not this:

"Kosovo was 90% albanian and so of course should not belong to serbia. What could be simpler?"

By that logic, Bradford is not England.

Abkh & SO have MORE right to self-determination than Kosovo ever did, because, unlike Serbian Kosovo, neither region has ever been the centre of the Georgian state.

Armance said...

Actually "the right of self-determination" is already applied de facto in the no-go areas of the Paris outskirts. The next step is to be applied de jure and to find a name for the new national entity, possibly The Independent Sultanate of Clichy-sous-Bois (it sounds great, doesn't it?). I imagine that if the French have something against it, they will be bombed by NATO.

Conservative Swede said...

Armance,

The best examples are the Baltic states and the so-called Republic of Moldavia (actually a former Romanian province), which suffered a real national martyrdom: thousands of people exterminated and replaced by Russian population

This was the pattern in the Western part of the Soviet Union--which people as you and I know well--in the previously historically existing nations. And this pattern (which goes further back in history) is brought up, as well as criticized, by Solzhenitsyn himself (same link above): "The attempt to greater-Russify all of Russia proved damaging not only to the living national traits of all the other ethnicities in the Empire but was foremost detrimental to the greater-Russian nationality itself. This leaves the impression of Solzhenitsyn as being balanced.

But how was it in the south and the east? The quote by Solzhenitsyn and the ensuing comment by John Laughland left me thinking. John Laughland wrote:

"One of the most lasting legacies of Leninism, which remains after everything else has been swept away or collapsed, was the decision to create bogus federal entities on the territory of what had been the unitary Russian state. These entities, called Soviet republics, contributed only to the creation of bogus nationalisms and of course to the dilution of Russian nationhood. They were bogus because the republics in question did not, in fact, correspond to ethnic reality: Kazakhs, for instance, are and remain a numerical minority in Kazakhstan, while 'Ukraine' is in fact a collection of ancient Russian provinces (especially Kiev) and some Ukrainian ones. This bogus nationalism allowed the Soviet Union to present itself as an international federation of peoples, rather like the European Union today, but it was exploited by Russia’s enemies when the time came to destroy the geopolitical existence of the historic Russian state."

There seems to be two patterns on top of each other here. One is the age old pattern of, what Solzhenitsyn calls, the greater-Russification of the country, which hit e.g. your Moldavia. The other the Communist ideal to create (an illusion of) an EUSSR, which created artificial "ethnic" republics, even in places where half or so of the population was Russian. But whoever is an expert on Kazakhstan, Ukraine, etc., will have to account for the history here.

Actually Stalin led a conscious and very precise policy of mixing the component nations of the USSR for having a better control of them.

Sure, but I'm left wondering if he had Georgians exterminated to replace them with Russians?

In a normal world, I would condemn Russia and I am aware it is not formed by angels. In a normal world, I would be against China for its obvious violations of human rights.

I completely agree, of course.

But we don't live in a normal world and the most difficult aspect regarding the moral standards is not to choose between good and bad (because then the choice is simple), but to reject from two bad things the one which is worse.

Well, the choice is rather between between the bad that survives and the bad that dies out. The parents who let their children die is the immoral one -- this is the West! Parents who hit their children but care for their survival are infinitively more moral -- this is Russia and China. And then we have the psychopathic and perverted Islam that is beyond any comparison. So among the greater powers its only Russia and China that have any morality.

Diamed said...

Ok, I see around three objections to the right to self-determination:

1. The countries would be too small. Obviously there would have to be a lower limit to the size of a country, for it to be able to police itself and fund itself and thus not be a burden on any of its neighbors. Many small countries of under 100,000 people already exist so I don't know what the precise number should be, but certainly ossetia and kosovo weren't too small. This should be a 'wait and see' approach where if the country behaves then it wins its freedom otherwise no.

2. Recent immigrants or invaders should not be allowed to form a country even when they're the majority. Of course this would apply to Israel if you had that standard. If those immigrants were invited in by your country, I don't see how you can fault them for coming. Their presence is just as legitimate as yours. The children of the immigrants, at least, have lived there just as long as you have. The immigrants are largely self-segregated already, why not give them a nation of their own? Lesotho was carved out from the middle of south africa, something of the sort could be done in Europe too. What's some land compared to being free of foreigners? Europe invited these people in, let their lost land be a perpetual reproach to their stupidity. Same for America. Live and learn. As to invaders I agree force must not be awarded and therefore you should be able to push out those who just pushed in. However, the children of the invaders are no different from everyone else on earth, who are all descended from invaders who unfairly conquered other people's land too. If invading land means you can never actually own it, than the US, Canada, and Australia are illegitimate. I refuse to live under a moral standard like that. The descendants of invaders have made their stamp on the land and it by rights belongs to them.

3. I don't want a universal moral standard, I just want nations to form, or not form, based on what suits me and my favoritism. For instance I just don't feel like letting Kosovo be free, or the southwest united states, though I supported East Timor and Slovakia, on no coherent basis at all.

I can sympathize with this argument, it basically boils down to tribalism and might makes right. People have as much a right to self-determination as they can make me give to them, otherwise the land is mine, etc. I would say that a world that respects the right to self-determination is safer, freer, and more peaceful for everyone, including you. You benefit your tribe and your feelings more by having your right to self-determination assured, than any amount of international bullying. As a tiny minority in the world dwindling fast, we must remember we are the bullied not the bullying, and the right to self-determination will be our best friend soon, when we seek even a tiny enclave of land for ourselves against the coming tide. Rest assured ruling over a bunch of minorities with a tiny minority actually living on the land is not a good thing, it's a nightmare, it's south african apartheid. It will never lead to good.

Cobra said...

I am astonished how stupid and/or blinded by Anti-American hatred some of you are.
Yes, the USA made some really bad calls, like bombing of Serbia and supporting the so called Kosovo independence.
Yet, the USA can and usually does good while Russia not.

Case in point, the following article by Ralph Peters in the NY Post which clearly shows that Russia s employing chechen muslim mercenaries to perpetrate crimes against christian georgians.
How can some of you claim that Russia is protecting the christian world, while russia does only what suits herself, wo. any remorse or consideration of people in general?
By the way, that's the way how russia behaved for CENTURIES.
read, folks read! And take your blinders off...

Furthermore, to claim that some of us, who lived under communism are blinded by anti-russian bias is crazy.
Wouldn't living under and close to the russians make us know them better as people?

And now, the article I was talking about:


DEVIL SENT DOWN TO GEORGIA
RUSSIA UNLEASHES CHECHEN THUGS
THE DOGS OF WAR: A ragtag group of mercenaries from this Vostok Battalion has made its ominous presence known in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.
THE DOGS OF WAR: A ragtag group of mercenaries from this Vostok Battalion has made its ominous presence known in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

By RALPH PETERS
http://www.nypost.com/seven/08182008/news/columnists/devil_sent_down_to_georgia_124993.htm
Posted: 3:54 am
August 18, 2008

OVER the weekend, photographic proof emerged that the Russians used mur derous Chechen mercenaries to do their dirtiest dirty work in Georgia: The ragtag unit in question is so vicious that, last April, Chechnya's Russian-installed "president" demanded it be disbanded.

War snaps taken by Russian photojournalist Arkady Babchenko have been circulating among intelligence personnel. The shots reveal far more to the West than Babchenko realized.

Amid photos of the horrors of war, grateful South Ossetians and triumphant Russian troops, one series leapt out at me as a former intel officer: Bearded irregulars riding atop Russian-built armored vehicles (old BMPs, for the military-hardware buffs). The vehicles had been splashed with white lettering.

What did the scrawls announce to the world? These thugs proudly proclaimed that they're Chechens serving in the Vostok ("East") Battalion commanded by Badrudin Yamadaev - who shares a reputation for gangland violence with his brother, Ruslan.

Last spring, mercenaries from the Vostok Battalion indulged in a bloody gangland shoot-'em-up in the city of Gudermes, near their home turf. The mafia-on-steroids brutality was too much even for the Chechens (which is quite a standard). The province's puppet president publicly begged the Kremlin and its generals to disband the unit.

The generals refused. At the time, their stubborn support for the outlaw Yamadaev Brothers seemed baffling - a quiet Chechnya was a longstanding Russian goal. But last week, it all made sense: Putin's military, which had been planning the invasion of Georgia for many months, intended to unleash the worst criminals in uniform it had on the Georgian people.

Why?

Two reasons: First, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wants the Georgians to suffer - to really suffer. And Chechens are the world's subject-matter experts in atrocities.

Second, this gives the Russian army itself a veil of deniability: When Putin's spokesmen insist that the Russian military isn't involved in the worst savagery in Georgia, they're technically telling the truth (if we don't count air attacks and artillery bombardments), since the Chechen thugs on their payroll are on the job.

But why would those Chechens paint up their armored vehicles to tell the world they'd arrived in Georgia? First, they're proud of their fearsome reputation. Second, they didn't want Russian regulars to mistake them for the enemy and pull the trigger.

The result?

Contrary to Russian claims that "volunteers" from the North Caucasus rushed in to aid their South Ossetian brethren, we now have proof that the Kremlin sent in hired guns. It's no accident that Putin's code-name for this operation is "Scorched Earth."

And there's plenty else to be outraged about - not all of it Russia's fault. Images of dead and disfigured Georgian soldiers show them wearing US-surplus canteens, boots and helmets, or equipped with antique US anti-tank weapons. After the Georgians did all their tiny country could to support us in Iraq, all we gave them was cast-off junk - thanks to Congress and the State Department.

Our military was only allowed to train the Georgians for peacekeeping, anti-terrorism and small-unit tactics. The Georgians gave us all they had, and we gave them crap. The Bush administration should hang its wobbly head in shame.

Meanwhile, Chechen rapists and butchers are celebrating - and picking over the US gear the Russians captured and didn't even want.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army intelligence officer and the author of the new book "Looking for Trouble."

Cobra said...

I have to add that the USA should have had very good relations with Russia, for strategic reasons.
Clinton and Bush made grave errors in this relationship and the USA should have stayed out of Georgia and Ukraine.
But having said all this, there is no excuse for what Russia did in Georgia and elsewhere since the fifteen century.

Maybe cooler and smarter heads will prevail.

I post a great article from Asia Times, who summarizes all this really well:

Americans play Monopoly, Russians chess
By Spengler

On the night of November 22, 2004, then-Russian president - now premier - Vladimir Putin watched the television news in his dacha near Moscow. People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding "Orange" revolution in Ukraine. "They lied to me," Putin said bitterly of the United States. "I'll never trust them again." The Russians still can't fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine. They underestimate the stupidity of the West.

American hardliners are the first to say that they feel stupid next to Putin. Victor Davis Hanson wrote on August 12 [1] of Moscow's "sheer diabolic brilliance" in Georgia, while Colonel Ralph Peters, a columnist and television commentator, marveled on August 14 [2], "The Russians are alcohol-sodden barbarians, but now and



then they vomit up a genius ... the empire of the czars hasn't produced such a frightening genius since [Joseph] Stalin." The superlatives recall an old observation about why the plots of American comic books need clever super-villains and stupid super-heroes to even the playing field. Evidently the same thing applies to superpowers.

The fact is that all Russian politicians are clever. The stupid ones are all dead. By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards. A deadly miscommunication arises from this asymmetry. The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look, and conclude that Washington wants to destroy them. That is what the informed Russian public believes, judging from last week's postings on web forums, including this writer's own.

These perceptions are dangerous because they do not stem from propaganda, but from a difference in existential vantage point. Russia is fighting for its survival, against a catastrophic decline in population and the likelihood of a Muslim majority by mid-century. The Russian Federation's scarcest resource is people. It cannot ignore the 22 million Russians stranded outside its borders after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, nor, for that matter, small but loyal ethnicities such as the Ossetians. Strategic encirclement, in Russian eyes, prefigures the ethnic disintegration of Russia, which was a political and cultural entity, not an ethnic state, from its first origins.

The Russians know (as every newspaper reader does) that Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili is not a model democrat, but a nasty piece of work who deployed riot police against protesters and shut down opposition media when it suited him - in short, a politician in Putin's mold. America's interest in Georgia, the Russians believe, has nothing more to do with promoting democracy than its support for the gangsters to whom it handed the Serbian province of Kosovo in February.

Again, the Russians misjudge American stupidity. Former president Ronald Reagan used to say that if there was a pile of manure, it must mean there was a pony around somewhere. His epigones have trouble distinguishing the pony from the manure pile. The ideological reflex for promoting democracy dominates the George W Bush administration to the point that some of its senior people hold their noses and pretend that Kosovo, Ukraine and Georgia are the genuine article.

Think of it this way: Russia is playing chess, while the Americans are playing Monopoly. What Americans understand by "war games" is exactly what occurs on the board of the Parker Brothers' pastime. The board game Monopoly is won by placing as many hotels as possible on squares of the playing board. Substitute military bases, and you have the sum of American strategic thinking.

America's idea of winning a strategic game is to accumulate the most chips on the board: bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, a pipeline in Georgia, a "moderate Muslim" government with a big North Atlantic Treaty Organization base in Kosovo, missile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, and so forth. But this is not a strategy; it is only a game score.

Chess players think in terms of interaction of pieces: everything on the periphery combines to control the center of the board and prepare an eventual attack against the opponent's king. The Russians simply cannot absorb the fact that America has no strategic intentions: it simply adds up the value of the individual pieces on the board. It is as stupid as that. But there is another difference: the Americans are playing chess for career and perceived advantage. Russia is playing for its life, like Ingmar Bergman's crusader in The Seventh Seal.

Dull people know that clever people are cleverer than they are, but they do not know why. The nekulturny Colonel Ralph Peters, a former US military intelligence analyst, is impressed by the tactical success of Russian arms in Georgia, but cannot fathom the end-game to which these tactics contribute. He writes, "The new reality is that a nuclear, cash-rich and energy-blessed Russia doesn't really worry too much whether its long-term future is bleak, given problems with Muslim minorities, poor life-expectancy rates, and a declining population. Instead, in the here and now, it has a window of opportunity to reclaim prestige and weaken its adversaries."

Precisely the opposite is true: like a good chess player, Putin has the end-game in mind as he fights for control of the board in the early stages of the game. Demographics stand at the center of Putin's calculation, and Russians are the principal interest that the Russian Federation has in its so-called near abroad. The desire of a few hundred thousand Abkhazians and South Ossetians to remain in the Russian Federation rather than Georgia may seem trivial, but Moscow is setting a precedent that will apply to tens of millions of prospective citizens of the Federation - most controversially in Ukraine.

Before turning to the demographics of the near abroad, a few observations about Russia's demographic predicament are pertinent. The United Nations publishes population projections for Russia up to 2050, and I have extended these to 2100. If the UN demographers are correct, Russia's adult population will fall from about 90 million today to only 20 million by the end of the century. Russia is the only country where abortions are more numerous than live births, a devastating gauge of national despair.

Under Putin, the Russian government introduced an ambitious natalist program to encourage Russian women to have children. As he warned in his 2006 state of the union address, "You know that our country's population is declining by an average of almost 700,000 people a year. We have raised this issue on many occasions but have for the most part done very little to address it ... First, we need to lower the death rate. Second, we need an effective migration policy. And third, we need to increase the birth rate."

Russia's birth rate has risen slightly during the past several years, perhaps in response to Putin's natalism, but demographers observe that the number of Russian women of childbearing age is about to fall off a cliff. No matter how much the birth rate improves, the sharp fall in the number of prospective mothers will depress the number of births. UN forecasts show the number of Russians aged 20-29 falling from 25 million today to only 10 million by 2040.

Russia, in other words, has passed the point of no return in terms of fertility. Although roughly four-fifths of the population of the Russian Federation is considered ethnic Russians, fertility is much higher among the Muslim minorities in Central Asia. Some demographers predict a Muslim majority in Russia by 2040, and by mid-century at the latest.

Part of Russia's response is to encourage migration of Russians left outside the borders of the federation after the collapse of communism in 1991. An estimated 6.5 million Russians from the former Soviet Union now work in Russia as undocumented aliens, and a new law will regularize their status. Only 20,000 Russian "compatriots" living abroad, however, have applied for immigration to the federation under a new law designed to draw Russians back.

That leaves the 9.5 million citizens of Belarus, a relic of the Soviet era that persists in a semi-formal union with the Russian Federation, as well as the Russians of the Western Ukraine and Kazakhstan. More than 15 million ethnic Russians reside in those three countries, and they represent a critical strategic resource. Paul Goble in his Window on Eurasia website reported on August 16:

Moscow retreated after encountering fierce opposition from other countries, but semi-legal practices of obtaining Russian citizenship that began in former Soviet republics in the early 1990s continue unabated. There is plenty of evidence that there are one to two million people living in the territory of the former Soviet Union who have de facto dual citizenship and are reluctant to report it to the authorities. Russia did little to stop the process. Moreover, starting in 1997, it encouraged de facto dual citizenship.

Russia has an existential interest in absorbing Belarus and the Western Ukraine. No one cares about Byelorus. It has never had an independent national existence or a national culture; the first
grammar in the Belorussian language was not printed until 1918, and little over a third of the population of Belarus speaks the language at home. Never has a territory with 10 million people had a sillier case for independence. Given that summary, it seems natural to ask why anyone should care about Ukraine. That question is controversial; for the moment, I will offer the assertion that partition is the destiny of Ukraine.

Even with migration and annexation of former Russian territory that was lost in the fracture of the USSR, however, Russia will not win its end-game against demographic decline and the relative growth of Muslim populations. The key to Russian survival is Russification, that is, the imposition of Russian culture and

Russian law on ethnicities at the periphery of the federation. That might sound harsh, but that has been Russian nature from its origins.

Russia is not an ethnicity but an empire, the outcome of hundreds of years of Russification. That Russification has been brutal is an understatement, but it is what created Russia out of the ethnic morass around the Volga river basin. One of the best accounts of Russia's character comes from Eugene Rosenstock-Huessey (Franz Rosenzweig's cousin and sometime collaborator) in his 1938 book Out of Revolution. Russia's territory tripled between the 16th and 18th centuries, he observes, and the agency of its expansion was a unique Russian type. The Russian peasant, Rosenstock-Huessey observed, "was no stable freeholder of the Western type but much more a nomad, a pedlar, a craftsman and a soldier. His capacity for expansion was tremendous."

In 1581 Asiatic Russia was opened. Russian expansion, extending even in the eighteenth century as far as the Russian River in Northern California, was by no means Czaristic only. The "Moujik", the Russian peasant, because he is not a "Bauer" or a "farmer", or a "laborer", but a "Moujik", wanders and stays, ready to migrate again eventually year after year.

Russia was never a multi-ethnic state, but rather what I call a supra-ethnic state, that is, a state whose national principle transcends ethnicity. A reader has called my attention to an account of the most Russian of all writers, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, of his own Russo-Lithuanian-Ukrainian background:

I suppose that one of my Lithuanian ancestors, having emigrated to the Ukraine, changed his religion in order to marry an Orthodox Ukrainian, and became a priest. When his wife died he probably entered a monastery, and later, rose to be an archbishop. This would explain how the Archbishop Stepan may have founded our Orthodox family, in spite of his being a monk. It is somewhat surprising to see the Dostoyevsky, who had been warriors in Lithuania, become priests in Ukraine. But this is quite in accordance with Lithuanian custom. I may quote the learned Lithuanian W St Vidunas in this connection: "Formerly many well-to-do Lithuanians had but one desire: to see one or more of their sons enter upon an ecclesiastical career."

Dostoyevsky's mixed background was typically Russian, as was the Georgian origin of Joseph Stalin.

Russia intervened in Georgia to uphold the principle that anyone who holds a Russian passport - Ossetian, Akhbaz, Belorussian or Ukrainian - is a Russian. Russia's survival depends not so much on its birth rate, nor on immigration, nor even on prospective annexation, but on the survival of the principle by which Russia was built in the first place. That is why Putin could not abandon the pockets of Russian passport holders in the Caucusus. That Russia history has been tragic, and its nation-building principle brutal and sometimes inhuman, is a different matter. Russia is sufficiently important that its tragedy will be our tragedy, unless averted.

The place to avert tragedy is in Ukraine. Russia will not permit Ukraine to drift to the West. Whether a country that never had an independent national existence prior to the collapse of communism should become the poster-child for national self-determination is a different question. The West has two choices: draw a line in the sand around Ukraine, or trade it to the Russians for something more important.

My proposal is simple: Russia's help in containing nuclear proliferation and terrorism in the Middle East is of infinitely greater import to the West than the dubious self-determination of Ukraine. The West should do its best to pretend that the "Orange" revolution of 2004 and 2005 never happened, and secure Russia's assistance in the Iranian nuclear issue as well as energy security in return for an understanding of Russia's existential requirements in the near abroad. Anyone who thinks this sounds cynical should spend a week in Kiev.

Russia has more to fear from a nuclear-armed Iran than the United States, for an aggressive Muslim state on its borders could ruin its attempt to Russify Central Asia. Russia's strategic interests do not conflict with those of the United States, China or India in this matter. There is a certain degree of rivalry over energy resources, but commercial rivalry does not have to turn into strategic enmity.

If Washington chooses to demonize Russia, the likelihood is that Russia will become a spoiler with respect to American strategic interests in general, and use the Iranian problem to twist America's tail. That is a serious risk indeed, for nuclear proliferation is the one means by which outlaw regimes can pose a serious threat to great powers. Russia confronts questions not of expediency, but of existence, and it will do whatever it can to gain maneuvering room should the West seek to "punish" it for its actions in Georgia.

One irony of the present crisis is that Washington's neo-conservatives, by demanding a tough stance against Russia, may have harmed Israel's security interests more profoundly than any of Israel's detractors in American politics. The neo-conservatives are not as a rule Jewish, but many of them are Jews who have a deep concern for Israel's security - as does this writer. If America turns Russia into a strategic adversary, the probability of Israel's survival will drop by a big notch.

Notes
1. See National Review OnlineMoscow's Sinister Brilliance.
2. See New York Post, A czar is born: Bad Vlad wins war, dupes West & proves he's genius


(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Felicie said...

Diamed,

OK, well, this thread is getting old. And maybe we can debate this issue in more detail some other time, because it's an important issue, but I'll just mention some things I disagree with in your argument.

1) You mention the children of immigrants who should have as much rights as the children of the indiginous population since they were born around the same time at the same place. I don't see these things on the level of individuals ("children of immigrants") - and this is the main difference between us. To me, a national identity is not a sum total of individual identities, but a collective thing, meaning that it needs a different level of abstraction in order to conceptualize it. And this collective thing includes a common sense of history and destiny (that are both tied to a particular territory). When you've lived somewhere long enough, this new hostorical/prodivendial identity might be born. But not necessarily.

2)You reject the idea of "tribalists" who deny the "universal moral standard" - and to support this, you bring up "children of immigrants" who have lived in their adopted land as long as the native children. I understand that the moral standard you are advocating is that it is, on the one hand, legitimate to take over a territory either by force or stealth (because you cite such examples of status quo with approval). You write: "People have as much a right to self-determination as they can make me give to them, otherwise the land is mine," which is very much a "might makes right" and not a moral argument. On the other hand, it is not OK to kick out the children of immigrants, if one can, on humanitarian grounds. I.e. it's OK to act opportunistically in step 1 but not in step 2, which strikes me as an inconsistent moral standard.

3) In addition, you say that such a "universal moral standard" will be the whites' "best friend," which is another opportuinistic and not morally principled argument. But the important thing is who do you think will enforce this right to self-determination by whites? For the right to exist, someone should have the power or inclination to support it. I believe that the right to self-determination is already recognized by the UN in pretty absolutist terms (am I wrong?). But do you really think that when the Third World nations rule the world, they will allow the whites to have their requested political autonomy and thus uphold their UN recognized right to self-determination? I am skeptical, let me tell you.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

At least, unlike the US, the Russian ambassador to the UN is not a Muslim with Afghan citizenship.

Yes, but remember who is still selling the middle east almost all of their weapons. In fact I believe a good part of Iran's nuclear equipment is based on Russian designs...

I won't deny the irony. All our countries are in this mess but the fact is, the Russians and the Arabs together have a stranglehold on our energy supplies, and they are working in concert - not necessarily alliance, but certainly in the same direction.

It seems we're screwed no matter which side we say we're on...

Henrik R Clausen said...

Most interesting article:

By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards.

True. Something wicked is happening in the political system.

The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look.

This goes for EU politicians as well. I've seen it before, but the fall of Anders Fogh Rasmussen from a beacon of integrity to just another case of purchased loyalty has been very distressing to watch. Similar cases abound in the history of the European Union, and I'm at loss as to how we reverse that development.

In the meantime, the Russians are having a field day with opponents who didn't exactly grow up surrounded by chess boards.

The next generation grows up with PlayStation. I wonder if that grows any useful competences?

Diamed said...

"People have as much a right to self-determination as they can make me give to them, otherwise the land is mine,"

That was me paraphrasing the arguments of my opponents. I do not agree with their argument, and instead preferred a universalist moral standard that didn't depend on might makes right.

Will the UN respect our right to self-determination? I think they will if we have nukes. I'm more interested in establishing the right to self-determination, to fight not outsiders but our own traitor class which will insist we stay part of a rainbow nation of diverse bliss. Moral arguments DO work on liberal whites, if you can show that we're treating others exactly like how we wish to be treated, we can convince other whites to not stop us from seceding, which is what matters. I do not think non-whites can stop us from doing anything, since in any war we'd win easily, no matter how numerous they are. ((think battle of blood river, or England's battle against India (at plessy?) )) But a war with liberal whites is a very tough war and they are still extremely dangerous and effective. It is these people I seek to convince to leave secessionists alone by establishing the right to self-determination for everyone. The right to be free ourselves is worth more than the right to control others against their wishes, it's an easy bargain.

And the problem with ethnic cleansing children of immigrants is we're all children of immigrants. If people have the moral right to ethnic cleanse peaceful descendants of immigrants who were born there and invited there by the state, then who can't be ethnic cleansed? Or if these immigrants can be genocided, then who can't be genocided? We're all descendants of immigrants.

A simple moral principle that people have a right to the land they physically live on, and if they form the majority of the people there, can get together and form a cohesive independent nation if they feel it would be better for them to do so, would create so much peace, freedom, homogeneity, cohesiveness, and good will that I can't imagine why people stand in its way.

latté island said...

It is these people I seek to convince to leave secessionists alone by establishing the right to self-determination for everyone.

Diamed, good luck with that. This reminds me of an exchange I had last year with an LGF'er, regarding Flemish nationalism. The blogger was against Vlaams Belaang but approved of Tibetan nationalism and a few other ethnic nationalist movements. I asked what the difference was, and he fudged something, it was a long time ago, and so unconvincing it's not worth looking up, but of course the real reason is that white people can't secede and everyone else can, just because.

You will never convince these people by appeals to morality and fairness.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Now, my opinion of Woodrow Wilson isn't particular high - I mean, he intervened in the European Great War with disasterous consequences - but I think the principle of 'self-determination' is widely misunderstood.

It was not really meant to cover minuscle ethnic minorities here and there, but to be an assertion of countries to discard meaningless rulers, as in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire ruling over lots of other people in the Balkans and the like. It was relevant at the time, though applied with irregularity, even by Wilson himself.

Today the principle, in its literal form, would lead to states failing.

Here's a thought on what we need instead:

We need states that interfere less in the daily lives of its citizens. If the state interferes less, the urge to change the state should become less as well.

Afonso Henriques said...

Brian Akira,

Yes I know about Merkel. I do not equate Putin or Medvedev or Russia or even Eastern Europe with Communism or its soft variant, Socialism. You should have known that already from my posts right?

Also, I think the Azeri will not side with Russia. Those Turks are:
1) Turks
2) 30% of Iran
3) Not Russians and don't want nothing to have to due with Russians.
4) They like American dollars too much.

The Natural allies of Azeris are 1) Turkey 2)The United States 3)Iran.

You should also look to other more "profound" factors in the Caucasus.
Concerning the Kazakhs, are Khazakhistan rulled by Russians? Will it be? I hope so...

Also, you have to be carefull! Many people here still live in the Cold War and as so facts such as this: "You are referring to US + UK + Iraq + PLO + Turkey + Albania + "Kosovo" + Bosnia + Afghanistan etc etc?" are difficult to aknowledge.

Glad to having you here at Gates of Vienna you mysterious carachter...

serbialives admin said...

I was rather dissapointed by some articles posted on GoV and the BJ that seemed to accept at face value the MSM view of this unfortunate conflict. But I am heartened by this article and many of the comments.

Perhaps some would be interested in reading the 3 articles at the bottom of this
blog entry.

Afonso Henriques said...

Cobra,

"Case in point, the following article by Ralph Peters in the NY Post which clearly shows that Russia s employing chechen muslim mercenaries to perpetrate crimes against christian georgians."

"Contrary to Russian claims that "volunteers" from the North Caucasus rushed in to aid their South Ossetian brethren, we now have proof that the Kremlin sent in hired guns."

Cobra, that article you presented its pure American pro-Georgia militarist Cold War-minded PROPAGANDA.

Are you sure you're not biased?
You're seeing what you want to see (through the lents of American media who have bravely CENSORED an Ossetian Girl and Russian questions to Congoliza Rice). What proofs did the journalist presented? N-O-N-E

Actually, Russia Today (Batalantly pro-Russian but much less biased than the Western Media. Russia today has presented five sides of the war: The Russians, Ossetians, Abkhaz, pro-Saakashvili Georgians pro-Russian Gerorgians and others such as the intreview to Mr. Shevardnadze) had shown similar events, but with a bit more of reality, you know, it wasn't written in New York...

What the Russians said that NORTH CAUCASIAN volunteers, from North Ossetia, many of whom South Ossetian refugees had gone to Gori and have destroyed and looting and since 80% of Gori's population is in Tiblissi, there's only old people there. So, it's Ossetian revange from the Georgian massive attacks.

According to the Russians, Russian soldiers do not ordered the Ossetians to behave like this but are trying to stop them.
An intreviewd Russian soldier said: "We are here to stop them but they are everywhere, they are so angry that we are almost powerless to stop them."

So, of course they are not Chechens. That would not make any sense...

Defiant Lion said...

The excellent Julia Gorin shines her perceptive spotlight on the nauseating lies and hypocrisy of the US:

All The Confused Imposters Weigh In On South Ossetia

Just as she has been doing since the USA and NATO committed their shameful war crimes in Serbia.

The crying of the Americans really is pathetic. They've been playing a double-crossing game, stitching up the Russians, bombing civilians in Iraq and Serbia, aiding Croats to commit ethnic cleansing, working with Al Qaeda and the KLA to create Kosova and recruiting Baltic states to join NATO and the EU (another vile organisation)and now agitating in Georgia.

Russia has bitch-slapped them hard, shown them up for the coniving, lying, murdering scum they are and the USA "force for good" screams foul like a little girl and lies and twists the truth to justify their crimes.

The Russians aren't sweet little angels but by God how anyone can believe the US is a force for good after what it has done beggars belief.

The role of the EU - icluding Great Britain - in all of this is equally reprehensible. That our leaders can act in the most criminal of ways and outright lie to their own people and still receive the support of their people I believe shows how morally bankrupt western society has become.

It all goes back to what happened in Yugoslavia. Here is the truth, in the words of the very people who were makor players in the conflict:

Yugoslavia The Avoidable War 1

Yugoslavia The Avoidable War 2

Some force for good the US and NATO now are. What they have done - and continue to do - is indefensible.

Felicie said...

Diamed: "Will the UN respect our right to self-determination? I think they will if we have nukes."

Who are "we" that have nukes? Our rainbow government headed by Obama? When I think of white secessionism, I'm thinking of white enclaves in Wyoming or Maine. How well are they going to be armed in order to fight against the treasonous government and the hostile rainbow army and demand the enforcement of their "right"?

"I do not think non-whites can stop us from doing anything, since in any war we'd win easily, no matter how numerous they are. "

Only if the whites are still in charge of their countries. And even under this condition the victory is not certain. Don't you think that among the billion and a half of Indians there are enough smart and educated people to put up a good fight purely statistically, even if their average IQ is somewhat lower?

"A simple moral principle that people have a right to the land they physically live on, and if they form the majority of the people there, can get together and form a cohesive independent nation if they feel it would be better for them to do so, would create so much peace, freedom, homogeneity, cohesiveness, and good will that I can't imagine why people stand in its way."

This will not work for the reason I wrote before - because a group identity comprises more than a people's current situation. It is their territorially anchored history and destiny. I think the reason we disagree here is because we see groups differently - you, as a collection of individuals, and I - as a special type of emergent entity that obeys laws no longer valid for individuals (just as traffic jams are more than collections of individual cars). I don't see how your scenarion will cause "peace, freedom, homogeneity, cohesiveness, and good will," because there will always be aggrieved parties, whether they are in the minority or majority. The scenarion you propose is static. It's like a snapshot. The Other is "already there." But it will never be static because there will always be demographic movements, population groups will always continue expanding and encroaching on neighboring territories. And once they are there, they are "already there," and so they have a right to stay there, according to you. The host populations will likely refuse to take this lying down, and a war will ensue. This is how things have always happened, and there have always been wars. What will prevent them now? A perception that this "simple moral principle" is fair because it is universally enforced by some international body? First of all, it will never be perceived as fair, because there are always some grudges about the territorial status quo. And secondly, I don't believe it will ever be equitably enforced because all such international bodies serve somebody against somebody.

Cobra said...

@afonso.
So, you want to see prof that Ralph Peters was correct in pointing out the chechen mercs, and not doing "propaganda"...
Ralph is a genuine mil-intel guy and he is always speaking his mind, so you slandered him.
As prof, please the following RUSSIAN blog (http://lsd-25.ru/2008/08/14/voyna-v-yuzhnoy-osetii-89-fotografiy-arkadiya-babchenko/).
If you scroll down you will see the inscription Ralph was talking about.
Any more questions?

Conservative Swede said...

Afonso,

Cobra, that article you presented its pure American pro-Georgia militarist Cold War-minded PROPAGANDA.

You are absolutely right about Ralph Peters. He's the worst sort of Europe hater, on par with Bela. Read this e.g. THE 'EURABIA' MYTH

Quotes:
"The notion that continental Europeans, who are world-champion haters, will let the impoverished Muslim immigrants they confine to ghettos take over their societies and extend the caliphate from the Amalfi Coast to Amsterdam has it exactly wrong."

"I have no difficulty imagining a scenario in which U.S. Navy ships are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims."

And he's also said:
"Let’s eat popcorn while the Muslims kick the Europeans’ teeth in"

Compare this to Bela's "let's buy popcorn and watch Europe to submerge into the sewer of her own making" and several other Bela quotes.

This is the mindset of the people that Cobra sides with. Blinded by hate doesn't quite cover it...

Bela said...

Cons.swede:
I don't intend to enter a formal discussion with you because we have no shared premises for such an argument.
Cobra and I represent the land of the enslaved and oppressed Eastern Europeans who received asylum in the US and we reject the "Old Europe" virulent Anti-Americanism.
I assure you that your dubious stand is not shared by very many people at East of the Rhine river nor in the US. Once upon a time we were Europeans, well versed in your mentality and mindset, thus our stand is the result of the conclusions we drew from our erstwhile experiences.

pasta said...

To those who fear that our oil-supplying countries could blackmail us:

(I acknowledge that Russia has this power, as it is a military heavyweight. I deny that Arab countries have this power.)

I just looked up what it costs to keep a strategic oil reserve. It is very cheap. Germany has a strategic oil reserve which covers her entire oil supply for 90 days, and it is paid for by a charge on fuel of merely 0.5 cent per liter. Current consumer price level for gasoline is at more than 1.50 euro per liter here, so the charge for maintaining the strategic oil reserve amounts to almost nothing.

If we greatly increased the strategic oil reserve to cover not a mere 90 days, but 10 years of our entire oil supply - or 20 years, if only half of our oil supply fails - then maintaining it would still cost no more than 20 cent per liter, which seems bearable, particularly at current price levels. This would buy us plenty of time to defeat even a strong oil-supplying enemy or for building up a sufficient coal liquefaction industry in time.

Anyway, "kicking the oil habit", as Henrik put it, is simply not a viable political option. Not the greenest of all countries has ever come remotely close to wean itself from oil.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

The United States apparently has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale, and now at least one oil company have a means to extract it with relatively little cost. If the US government would allow drilling for this oil they wouldn't need a strategic oil reserve for the next 200 years.