Georgia Conflict - Open Thread #2

Georgia has asked for a cease-fire, but Russia continues its air raids. Bombing originally began in the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russia is now demanding that Georgian forces disarm in another breakaway province, Abkhazia, or Russian troops will move in. This would be a major escalation of the war.

A few stories below the fold:

Russian Jets Bomb Georgian Targets; Georgia Signs Cease-Fire Pledge

Georgia said a Russian general in Abkhazia, the other breakaway province, issued an ultimatum on Monday to Georgian forces nearby to disarm or face Russian troops moving into Georgian-controlled territory.

That would be a major escalation in the Russian-Georgian conflict. With most Georgian forces concentrated near South Ossetia, it could be hard for Georgia to repel the Abkhazian offensive.

International envoys flew into the region late Sunday in an effort to end the conflict before it spreads throughout the Caucasus. Mr. Kouchner, representing the EU, said he met with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and found him "determined to make peace."

Georgia: America admits it has few options for dealing with Russia-Georgia war"

American diplomats have conceded that there are few options for dealing what President George W Bush has branded a 'dangerous escalation' by Russia and ruled out military intervention on behalf of Georgia.

Jim Jeffrey, President Bush's deputy national security adviser, said that White House had told Russia: "If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues...this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations."

This is no pipeline war but an assault on Russian influence

The sudden crisis has put the United States on the spot. While supporting Georgia's Nato ambitions, the White House was leery of military action, knowing it could do little in the face of a powerful Russian response. Visiting the former Soviet republic in 2005, President Bush urged Saakashvili to keep cool. "Georgia's leaders know that the peaceful resolution of conflict is essential to your integration into the transatlantic community," he told a huge rally in Tbilisi.

In Georgia Clash, a Lesson on U.S. Need for Russia

“Strategically, the Russians have been sending signals that they really wanted to flex their muscles, and they’re upset about Kosovo,” the diplomat said. He was alluding to Russia’s anger at the West for recognizing Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. . . .

For the Bush administration, the choice now becomes whether backing Georgia — which, more than any other former Soviet republic has allied with the United States — on the South Ossetia issue is worth alienating Russia at a time when getting Russia’s help to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions is at the top of the United States’ foreign policy agenda.

Georgia Conflict Tests Candidates on Foreign Policy

The candidates' responses to the crisis were initially very different in tone. Sen. McCain forcefully blamed Russia, a country he has taken a hard stand on in the past. He has called for ejecting Russia from the Group of Eight leading nations and has mocked President George W. Bush's statement that he saw goodness in former Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sen. McCain said that when he looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, he "saw three letters: K-G-B." . . .

Sen. Obama's initial response was more measured, not blaming either side. "Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full-scale war," he said.

Oil up as Georgia conflict disrupts shipments

The conflict over South Ossetia has prompted the suspension of shipments of Azeri crude oil and refined fuel from two of Georgia's ports, Azerbaijan's state energy firm SOCAR said on Saturday.

Kazakhstan also stopped shipments of its crude from Georgia's Batumi. Neither Azerbaijan nor Kazakhstan rely on Georgian ports for their exports as both also use crude pipelines.

A major oil pipeline exporting Azeri crude passes through Georgia but was disabled last week on Turkish territory before the conflict erupted.

Georgia: Russia 'conducting cyber war'

Several Georgian state computer servers have been under external control since shortly before Russia's armed intervention into the state commenced on Friday, leaving its online presence in dissaray.
While the official website of Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian President, has become available again, the central government site, as well as the homepages for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence , remain down. Some commercial websites have also been hijacked.

Also: Previous Open Thread

August 8 Drumbeat Thread

I wonder if one of the Russian demands will be the re naming of George Bush Highway from the airport? Georgia was one of "coalition of the wiling" client states, and, when not beating the opposition in the streets, a reliable US outpost in the region.

That'll teach countries to ally with the US, eh?

If I were Putin, I would require them to keep the name as a constant reminder.


RE: This is no pipeline war but an assault on Russian Influence

Looking at the map of the area posted in the previous thread, the Caucus mountain range presents a natural boundary between states and that's where the boundary has been drawn previously. From a strategic point of view, those mountains are much like the Great Wall of China, that is, a natural fortification. It would seem to be in Russia's interest to have easy access to the southern side of those mountains and the existing tunnel between South and North Ossetia provide that ready access. However, The tunnel could easily be blocked if one had unrestrained access to either end, so I think the Russian's primary motive is to secure that tunnel. With that secured, they might maintain a base (or bases) in South Ossetia to extend their influence in the region. Of course, with Russian control near the pipeline, there is always the possibility that in some future situation, they could assert control over the flow.

The U.S. appears to be doing the same in Iraq, with the construction of several large military bases that may not be returned to Iraq control. Those Iraqi bases provide the possibility of close support to any military action in the Persian Gulf, as well as basing points should troops be sent into the area as the result of future "interesting" situations. The Russians could claim that their actions are identical to the U.S.'s actions in Iraq, with some justification, I think.

E. Swanson

It seems to me that the broader implication of this conflict is that it has hardened US/Russian relations and that cooperation within the UN Security Council is less likely.

The current US/EU track on Iran is to ratchet up sanctions through the Security Council, and that appears to be a non-starter. Just before Georgia launched their attack, there was an article reporting that the US had told Russia that blocking additional Iranian sanctions moved Israel closer to military action against.

If the UN seizes up over Georgia, then Israel seems more likely to act unilaterally.

Georgia has asked for a cease-fire

Georgia declared a unilateral cease fire a couple days ago, then attacked 12 hours later, after the South Ossetians agreed to the case fire. The only reason Georgia is calling for one now is because they're losing. I don't look for the Russians to pay it any heed whatsoever.

The big question is whether Saakashvili is another US proxy who over-estimated US support (q.v. Saddam Hussein), or whether the US put him up to the attack to distract the Russians prior to some sort of operation against Iran. If it is the latter, it would keep the Bush administrations perfect record of being behind every war of this millenium.

"The big question is whether Saakashvili is another US proxy who over-estimated US support (q.v. Saddam Hussein), or whether the US put him up to the attack to distract the Russians prior to some sort of operation against Iran."

"But Russians view the international war that broke up Yugoslavia as a practice run for breaking up the Russian Caucasus, first by arming the Chechen secessionist Dzhokar Dudayev; then by financing anti-Russian terrorism in the Russian provinces of Chechnya and Ingushetia; and now by the Georgian military thrust against South Ossetia.

Since the US and the European Union have so recently compelled Serbia to accept the Albanian takeover of Serbia's Kosovo province, the overwhelming Russian view is that this will not be allowed to happen again. "Ossetia is not Kosovo" is a widespread refrain in Moscow today.

"If [former Yugoslav president] Slobodan Milosevic should be put on trial, the opinion here is - so too should Saakashvili," says a leading Moscow analyst. "

The US/NATO/Israel must do something soon.

Israel gets 20% of it's oil from the BTC and Azerbaijan.

And now zero oil is flowing thru Georgia.

Russia will squeeze Georgia to continue this until it
get s control of the BTC.

Those with the power to destroy have the ultimate power.

Funny, but I would put S. Ossetia on the other side of the Kosovo analogy. Like Kosovo, it wants autonomy from its ethnically distinct parent (Georgia). It was specifically the example of Kosovo that encouraged the S. Ossetians to break away in the first place. But with typical two-faced US policy, splitting Kosovo off from Serbia was good (because we don't like Serbia), but splitting off S. Ossetia from Georgia is bad (because we like Georgia).

I've read that something like 90% of the South Ossetians hold Russian passports. They'd be much happier being part of Russia than Georgia. Saakashvili attacked 12 hours after suckering the South Ossetians into a cease fire, and the attack killed a bunch of Russian troops.

Given the treacherous attack, the sentiments of South Ossetia, and the way the US has been trying to use Georgia against Russia, I wouldn't expect the Russians to stop until they've secured S.O. and given the Georgian's a thorough drubbing, and they may require Saakashvili's removal before they'll stop.

Just a note about the Atimes citation, the Chechens and Dudayev armed themselves from USSR armories and declared independence long before any US or UK diplomat could find Chechnya on a map or undertsand its importance enough to provide it support. That the BTC was taken out by the PKK days before the attack, also raises questions about PKK-Russian ties.

I think you may be right about this being a cover for a possible strike against Iran

"SPECIAL REPORT: Kuwait Readying for War in Gulf?"

"The small oil-rich emirate of Kuwait – situated between Iraq, Iran and an un-enviable geographic hard place on the northern end of the Persian Gulf – has reportedly activated its "Emergency War Plan" as a massive U.S. and European armada is reported heading for the region."

I read the comments in this thread with amazement... I guess not being in the US, I was spared the US version of events in the MSM.

However the alternative press paints a different picture... the Georgia event needs to be seen as the start of the Iranian campaign proper (or, WW III as some say).

Some URLs for your reading pleasure:

08/08/08 The Beginning of the Summer Olympics and the Third World War

Massive US Naval Armada Heads For Iran

Global Research

in particular:

Bush's War in Georgia; Will it be the Flyswatter or the Blunderbuss?

Putin would not be wagging his finger in Bush's face before leaving the Olympics if this was a Russian-planned event.

His problem now is how to save the situation while dealing with the planned attack on Iran without ending up looking like Hitler II in western eyes. I've been watching Putin for a long time ... initially I didn't trust him, but over the years I've come to see just how smart he really is... and able and willing to do what is necessary for his country.

Remember there is a much bigger money/power game going on behind the scenes, we just get to see some occasional moves but are ignorant of the rest.

Jim Jeffrey, President Bush's deputy national security adviser, said that White House had told Russia: "If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues...this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations."

Quite a threat from a President that has only few months left in office.

"Joseph R. Wood" ;
Dear Joe:

Am still in Tbilisi. No dount you are totally informed on the situation. However, some observations and suggestions.

- The destruction of Georgia's military capacity will be ttoal by the time this is over and Moscow will not stop until it has achieved this. While Moscow prevaricates on ceasefires, it is changing the reality on the ground.
- It is very likely that they may then move to attack some parts of civil infrastructure.
- Very unlikely that they will withdraw from the two territories for some time and the push on Zugdidi and Gori are about creating negotiable buffer zones.
- End game is regime change - preferably now, but will live with longer term asphyxiation.

How to resist?

a. Make sure that US is united in resistance to this
b. Drag Europe by the nose
c. Kill the notion that the Georgians started this - the scale and intensity of the Russian attack bear all the hallmarks of a well planned and inevitable operation. To suggest that Georgia started is to agree that Poland caused the Nazi attack on it in 1939.

If there isn't much you can do, talking big is a popular choice.

If you can't beat up the bully that's picking on you, you could always find somebody weaker to beat up on.

So what do people think that Russia's endgame is?

IMO Russia will demand:
Georgian military expelled from all of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Explicit autonomy for these 2 regions.
Destruction of georgia's more advanced weapon sustems (air force and military radar facilities).

I wouldn't expect the Russians to grab land outside these 2 regions. Although it wouldn't surprise me if they crossed those borders to briefly occupy and destroy Georgian military installations.

So what do people think that Russia's endgame is?

Russia will regain Batumi, saahkasvili will be gone
and Georgia will join the SCO.

Armenia will be stronger.

Another lose/lose/lose for America.

Another lose/lose/lose for America

Main problem facing America is that the Bush presidency -- and arguably American administrations in general -- is ideologically driven. Not that this necessarily puts US foreign policy at a disadvantage. Ideology certainly motivates: people will die for it.

Disadvantage, however, is that it narrows perspective. The neocons who put together the Project for a New American Century are go-getters but they do not see nuance.

Where brawns is all that is needed to settle a question, the neocons will send in the guns.

Putin, on the other hand, is Russia's equivalent to a latter-day Bismarck. He sees nuance. He's no doubt read -- and understands -- The Prince by Machiavelli. He straddles the world stage like a chess board.

Where both brains & brawns is needed -- in other words, strategy & diplomacy -- Putin will play the game for all it is worth.

IMO, the long term prospects for America don't look too promising: appears that neither McCain nor Obama have the caginess of Putin. Hopefully, whoever wins the White House may have enough sense to surround himself with advisers of a similar ilk.

Putinn was compared to Cardinal Richelieu in an article
I read yesterday.

Either way, no one is comparing anyone in DC
to anything but failure.

The above observation may be correct and appears to be calmly composed. I really appreciate that.

Still, I have to ask the rhetorical question in relation to the whole discussion at hand:

Who gives a flying hoot about what America wins or loses in Georgia?

It's not their business to be there to begin with - advancing their own selfish interests.

The same goes for Russia as well, of course.

The real question is: What about the people of Georgia?

They are being played like the proverbial pawn in this grand chessboard game of geopolitical strategy. Russians and Americans couldn't care less as of what happens to them. They will be sacrificed the second it makes any strategic sense.

I find it really sad that more and more of us westerners on are succumbing to the old way of cold war style thinking of "us against them". Next thing we know, we'll be building walls in some of these places with armed guards and all (sorry, scratch that... already doing that).

Is this what people really want? More war, more confrontation, more friction in international affairs?

I tend to think that we ought to consider the real living people in the middle of this - and not just perverse geopolitical games that supposedly grown up children in the military and central governments play to amuse themselves, stroke their inflated egos - in order to try and reaffirm their distorted world view.

I really don't understand the current nostalgia for cold war, but if this is indeed the way it is going to be, then roll on Iran, roll on Syria, roll on Libya, roll on Sudan, roll on the rest of the Middle East repartitioning.

Because that is exactly what we are going to get, if we continue on this "us against them" type of simplistic game theoretical zero-sum thinking: US vs. Russia, US vs China, etc.

Do people really want war this much?

Or is this all already about the 'unavoidable' resource wars for oil, access to pipelines and geo-strategic locations for bases (read: oil production/pipeline protection forces) ?

If so, then the game for peak oil is already lost. Like James Schlesinger (ex-CIA, ex-DoE) said:

"Oil flow cannot be increased by fighting wars." [paraphrased]

I sincerely hope I'm reading the signals wrong here and all this is just standard political posturing and that it'll all blow over soon with hopefully not a single more civilian casualty added to the body count.

Is this what people really want? More war, more confrontation, more friction in international affairs?

That's pretty much what Neville Chamberlain said, and he was of course right.

But he was also wrong.

It's a difficult thing. Sometimes it's better to just not get involved, other times it's better to jump in, balls-to-the-wall, with a full-on effort and no compromise.

But you never know for sure which it was until afterwards.

The latest report from the BBC has Russian troops in Senaki, which is in Georgia proper near Abkhazia. If this is true then it appears that the Russians are going to sweep in from the Georgian side of the Kodori Gorge in order to expell the Georgian troops holding the position.

BBC report:


This is a clearly aggressive move. Russia is intent on not just expelling Georgian troops from the disputed areas, but an undisputed military victory and degradation of the Georgian armed forces.

Regardless of who started this Russia is going to be the new mentor for whoever is the next leader of Georgia.

Your already behind. Russia has invaded areas well away from those previously mentioned.

I'd guess they want a puppet regime in Georgia, doing exactly what they are told.

Turkey have to be getting a bit worried.

The Turks have been living next to a Georgia taking orders from the Kremlin for centuries. Indeed, the Turks and Georgians (muslims vs christians) have been enemies for most of their national existence (centuries). It's a return to a very longstanding status quo ante, so what do the Turks have to be worried about?

Of course, it isn't like there has never been any past precedent of Russia conquering, occupying, and annexing neighboring states.

Were Russia to take the whole of Georgia and forceably bring it back into the fold of the Russian Federation, this would place the BTC pipeline under its control. It would also send quite a message to the other former soviet republics. Not quite "checkmate", but quite a big move nevertheless.

When the electricity comes back on and gas is moving thru the pipes will be the sure sign that Russia is back
in charge.

And the women can quit breaking up their furniture to cook with.


Same for Iraq BTW

Control of all energy flows to the EU, and economic and military superiority over all the Central states. This is just the beginning.

Really I don't think they are worried about the US right now, but in building a buffer (economic, energy, and military) vs China long-term.

I think the endgame is pretty obvious. When this ends Russia will have neutralised the security threat represented by Georgia, it will leave no possibility for its return and it will de facto have control over the pipeline strengthening its control over energy exports.

Having played its hand, Russia will then have to act quickly to neutralise US influence over Europe. Any reaction against Russia by Europe will likely cause Russia to cut energy exports during the winter, which given the current trend may be colder than usual. Ukraine also will have to be neutralised as a threat to Russia and will likely be leaned on heavily.

Iran is now probably a key element in any Russian plans for the US. The overall plan will be to soften US power so as to allow the emergence of a Russia and China as global power players on a par with the US. This begs the question of what China's role is in this and what forthcoming action can be expected of from China. When the Olympics finish, will China make its own power play?

The ball is in play, everyone will now need to make their moves. I think we are seeing the start of a major shift in global power relationships.

China announces imminent takeover of Taiwan, by force if necessary.
Taiwan asks for US assistance.
US remains strangely silent, knowing China has it by the balls as a holder of massive amounts of currency and debt.
Conservatives blame Clinton.

few comments :

Multiple sources now reporting that Russian forces have advanced outside Abkhazia into the town of Senaki. This has nothing to do with "protection of russian citizens" any more.

The reports by russian media would be hilarious if the topic wasnt that serious.

Here is a video of russian jet attacking BBC news crew yesterday.

This video is not available in your country.


Dunno, its also available at BBCs own site

I guess it is in breach of BBC copyright so youtube blocked it on request.

I just viewed it on YouTube in US. 10:30 pdt

Perhaps some of you out there with a better knowledge of the oil transport infrastructure of the region than I have might be able to address the following hypothetical question:

If the US should impose a military blockade of Iran, thus denying it imports of refined petroleum products, how feasible would it be for such refined products to be supplied by Russia, either via water through the Caspian Sea or via land by pipelines going to Iran through Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Turkmenistan (assuming there are any)?

In other words, how capable is Russia of doing something analogous to a Berlin Airlift for Iran, but in this case strictly for refined petroleum products?

(This whole question, of course, is based on the presumption that Russia would want to stick its neck out to help Iran in the first place.)

I suppose that if Russia really wanted to play hardball, they could shut down the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline and not open it back up until the US blockade against Iran is lifted. They could also squeeze the gas flow to Europe to further drive the point home.

Looks to me like we're in the first inning of a very dangerous game.

About that Georgia cease fire:

Reuters North American News Service

Aug 11, 2008 09:37 EST

GORI, Georgia, Aug 11 (Reuters) - At least six Georgian attack helicopters bombed targets in the region around the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, a Reuters witness said.

And this is the first time that Russia is attacking
since WWI while US forces are in situ.

Mike Ruppert has written a couple of posts on the war.

Georgia (US) vs. Ossetia (Russia)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ruppert's take is interesting. Even though he avoided the fact that it appears the west may have initiated the fight, he sure drive home who the beneficiary was. Could it be possible the Russia manipulated that situation to look like they were retaliating when in actuality they started it? What would the west do, call foul on Russia for creating a false flag in order to advance their interest in controlling as much as the world's energy supplies as possible. People might get to thinking....

Could it be possible the Russia manipulated that situation to look like they were retaliating when in actuality they started it?

Until today I thought it was a simple case of Georgian overreach, but now I think your take may be closer to the truth. It is clear that Russia, was ready to take advantage of the situation, if offered a sufficiently viable pretext. My guess is they tried to goad Georgia into doing something foolish. Perhaps they even leaked "plans" of an imminent Russian takeover of South Ossetia, in order to get Georgia to attempt pre-emption by invading S. Ossetia. If this was the case, then Saakashvili was played like a fiddle.

So now the question is what are their intentions? It looks like a minumum objective is to detach Abkazia, and S. Ossetia, and take the Georgians (and by extension the US) down several notches. Even if they were to quit now, it is likely that Saakashvili's political future will be short. Doubtlessly Russias neighbors will pay careful attention to Russian complaints now. I hope they don't get too much satisfaction from knocking over a small country, that it becomes a habit. Clearly the rest of the world will now be less cordial, and trusting of Russia. That is the only substantial price I think they will pay.

Gee, ya think? Careful though, I got slammed for repeating that line of thought too many times yesterday. Those friendly communists would never do something like that!

8:35 p.m.: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza tells reporters in Tbilisi that Russia was preparing to invade Georgia several weeks in advance. He says that earlier reports that Russian railroad troops in Abkhazia were carrying out humanitarian work were simply a cover story for preparing infrastructure to move heavy military equipment into Georgia.

I've been reading about the Western war games, the Russian war games, and the Georgian troops massing for some time now. Of COURSE the Russians were prepared for this, and possibly wanted it, just as the West prepared for and wanted it. What - new Georgian military hardware just showed up one day? Which was the chicken, which was the egg?

When you think of this as an isolated incident and pick a point and call it the beginning, then you've already distorted it so that it cannot be understood.

I don't see any good guys here, but I'm also not going to be cheering for one set of bad guys just because they're ours.

Gee, ya think? Careful though, I got slammed for repeating that line of thought too many times yesterday.

There is just no advantage for the west in this move. Georgia is not Afghanistan and their troops have been resting since 1989 while ours are bogged down and impotent in the ME on the West's energy move. The question is what is the US's next move besides a bunch of rhetoric.

What they will do or what they should do?

I'm not sure we will do anything, except I think Israel WILL bomb Iran if they are really enriching Uranium to the extent they say. We may help out, and it is worth noting there are about 5 secessionist groups in Iran today.

I think we SHOULD extricate ourselves from Iraq ASAP. This may still mean a multi-state split, some of which would help the Iran-split potential endeavor, but some which would really upset Turkey (Kurdistan).

A tri-state split was the original Pentagon recommendation for Iraq. Of course, the Pentagon also said it would take 250,000 men to pacify the country but the neocons went with 130,000 instead.

What would be hilarious is if Bushco. accused Russia of invading a country under false pretenses to gain control of oil. HAHA

Hello, TODers! Video of georgian president Saakashvili panic:
(comment in russian, to view just click the icon on the right side)

The problems all stem from the Georgian decision of allow US nukes on their soil.

We couldn't allow the Soviet Union to put nukes in Cuba and the Russians can't allow the US to put nukes in Georgia for the SAME REASON.

Once that option gets pulled off the table, the troops will get pulled of the same geo-political table.


Georgia will become an occupied satellite possession once again.

Do you have any links? William Engdahl talks about the risk of nuclear war by miscalculation, but he tends to be quite extreme.

Does the US have nuclear weapons stationed in Georgia?

Its unlikely that they're actually in Georgia, but very likely that there are US-controlled nuclear weapons in ships along the coast.

Update: Looks like the US staged a large-scale naval exercise in the Black Sea a couple weeks ago. I'd expect at least some of the ships to still be present.

Oh, this is going to escalate very quickly. I was wondering why the Ukraine was so bold. It's not just they think they're next. No, they think they'll get US naval support in the Black Sea.

Hypothesis: The neocons knew that Russia held interest in South Ossetia and had threatened military action previously. The neocons then led Georgia by the nose with Saakashvili being led to believe that NATO would come to his aid if this escalated. Saakashvili then allowed (or caused) this to escalate, thinking he would get NATO aid. The neocons then back away, sacrificing Georgia against the backdrop of "Russian imperialism" in order to bolster the candidacy of John McCain.

Counter: The neocons thought they had meaningful strength in Georgia, but are just as surprised as Saakashvili. Georgia fell for the feint, stepped into a trap, and now under cover of "driving Georgia out" of the provinces Russia will break Georgia's back and occupy territory.

Tests: If Russia "protects the pipeline" (especially by capturing it!) then owning it long-term is their goal. Once they take the pipeline and the port you'll know it was a power play, and not some sort of limited reaction.

Prediction: Russia owns Georgia by 2010, after a couple more "defensive actions".

Current news update from Stratfor:

* 7:35 p.m.: Armed clashes erupt between the Russian and Georgian militaries in the Georgian city of Gori, Gazeta reports.
* 7:27 p.m. Commercial banks in Georgia begin suspending the issuance of loans, according to the National Bank of Georgia, Gazeta reports. The suspension will continue until Aug. 18. Similar restrictions apply to the use of credit cards.
* 7:13 p.m.: The Georgian Ministry of Interior reports that Russian serviceman have attacked the village of Khurcha in the Zugdidskovo region and that it was occupied by Abkhaz and Russian forces, Interfax reports. Despite an ultimatum given to Georgia to disarm, but the Russian forces entered and reportedly took over a police building.
* 6:30 p.m.: EU and U.S. diplomats arrive in Tbilisi, Georgia, to meet with Georgian Foreign Minister Catherine Tkeshelashvili, Interfax reports, citing the Georgian Foreign Ministry. The diplomats include President of the Council of Europe Terry Davis, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza.
* 5:49 p.m. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia,says that the Russian State Duma will not hold a special session on the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict and, at present, will not review the recognition of the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Interfax reports.

6:37 p.m.: At least six Georgian helicopters fly in from Georgia proper and bomb targets just beyond the boundary with South Ossetia around Tskhinvali, Reuters reports, citing witnesses.

6 p.m.

* 4:37 p.m.: Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia tells Georgia that if its troops do not leave the Kodori Gorge, Abkhazian forces will begin a combat operation with all of their armaments to force them out, RIA Novosti reports, citing an interview with Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh on Russian television.
* 4:00 p.m.: South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity says his province has launched a military operation called “Boomerang” with the goal of gaining control over Georgian villages located on the Georgian-South Ossetian border, Interfax reports. Georgia’s “Clear Field” has failed, Kokoity says. Unlike the Georgians, South Ossetia’s army will not harm civilians, he adds. A “humanitarian corridor” will be set up for women and children, Kokoity says, and those men who were not involved in military operations will be allowed to live peacefully.
* 4:00 p.m.: Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Yeliseyev says Ukraine is willing to talk to Russia about the return of Russian navy ships to their base in Crimea in Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian commercial television channel 5 Kanal TV reports. Yeliseyev says if the Russian ships try to return, the two sides will hold a dialogue about the conditions of their return. Ukraine does not want a confrontation, but seeks a dialogue that reflects the country’s interests, Yeliseyev adds.
* 3:58 p.m.: Georgian forces resume shelling towns in South Ossetia, a spokeswoman for South Ossetian authorities tells Interfax. The spokeswoman says the shelling begain at 3:30 p.m. local time and included the use of heavy weapons.
* 3:56 p.m.: Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained 10 Georgian intelligence officers who were planning terrorist-style attacks, including incidents within Russia, RIA Novosti reported Aug. 11, citing comments from FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov. At a meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Bortnikov said the 10 Georgian agents were spying on military facilities and preparing attacks.
* 3:33 p.m.: Russia rejects an EU proposal to end the conflict with Georgia, Deutsche-Welle reports, citing a Kremlin spokesman. Russia cannot consider a cease-fire with Georgia at the moment because Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia say Georgia is still using military force, the spokesman says.
* 3:21 p.m.: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accuses the West of trying to portray the victims as the aggressors in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, Reuters reports. Speaking on state television, Putin says some countries are “hindering” Russia’s efforts, and that the United States moved Georgian troops from Iraq “practically to the conflict zone.” Russia will see through its peacekeeping mission and aim for working relations with all sides involved in the conflict, including Georgia, Putin adds.
* 3:04 p.m.: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev suggests sending a mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to South Ossetia, according to Interfax.

My comments:

1. If the neocons thought they had meaningful strength in Georgia, either their strategic intelligence is truly far worse than really thought or their individual intelligence is really that badly lacking.

2. South Ossetia had previously voted for autonomy in a referendum.

3. Georgia had agreed to abide by the terms of that referendum, which gave South Ossetia autonomy but not complete independence.

4. Georgia is the one that entered South Ossetia first, whether goaded or not. If Georgia was goaded and its US "friends" allowed this, seeing the play forming, then its US friends are still just as much at fault. If its US "friends" failed to see this play forming, then should we trust the judgement of such idiots on any other foreign policy issues (such as Iran)?

Either Bush and his cronies are incompetent at levels so extreme as to be pathetic or they are quite competent and deliberately sacrificed Georgia for some purpose. My hypothesis is that they are not as incompetent as you seem to assume and that the purpose was to strengthen the candidacy of their man - McCain.

P.S. Your test does not falsify your hypothesis, it simply supports it. However, it supports multiple other hypotheses as well. To truly test a hypothesis, find a falsifiable test, apply it, and observe the results. I am trying to define falsifiable tests for my own hypothesis right now.

Updated test: If it's a limited reaction, the test would be that Russian forces halt at the borders of Ossetia and do not occupy the other province or add'l Georgian territory, and once Georgia backs out, they do too.

If it's a neocon job, then Russia just did what they expected and the counter will be surprising. Iran at the least, in that case?

How does an invasion of Georgia serve as political cover for bombing Iran?

My thinking was that would be the case if a prior deal was struck, or a tit-for-tat trade was envisioned. Who is going to complain now if Iran gets hammered? China? Not as long as they get an oil concession still.

Here's a question: If part of Iran were to want to secede, which part would it be?

1. You have tied down Russia forces precisely at the moment you choose to engage Iran.

2. You can play peacemaker and turn over Georgia to Russia in exchange for Russia turning its back on Iran.

Net effect is to hope to neutralize Russian forces during the early phases of an Iranian action and then to offer a "win-win" solution for all involved.

But this play by the Ukraine indicates it might get bigger yet. This is getting ugly.

This is foolish. Iran is far the bigger "prize" of the two. Georgia is not for the US/NATO to "turn over."

Very few Russian military forces were used against Georgia.

Georgia is not for the US/NATO to "turn over."

Since when have such things mattered? See Taft/Katsura for reference.


4. Georgia is the one that entered South Ossetia first, whether goaded or not.

I don't see where the certitude of your statement is supported. Conflicting reports abound. Have you a definitive source, or is this your supposition?


All of the early reports I read from European sources indicated that Georgia had surrounded Tskhinvali on August 8th. That's last Friday. And that was just the culmination of the prior week's events. This is one reason why I urge people to read non-US news sources.

Anyway, the documentation of events clearly shows that South Ossetian rebels engaged Georgian regulars as early as August 1st. On August 3rd, Russia allowed South Ossetia to begin evacuating refugees to Russia. At the same time it moved elements of the Russian 58th Army to the north side of the tunnel through the Greater Caucasus mountains that links South Ossetia to North Ossetia. Fighting continued until August 7th when Georgia called the first cease fire. However, under cover of darkness, Georgia began shelling South Ossetian villages. The shelling has been confirmed by the Red Cross in interviews with refugees.

Throughout the morning of the 8th of August, Georgia tightened the noose around Tskhinvali. Russia then retaliated with bombings by Russian Su-24 Fencers. Russia had suffered 13 dead and over 70 wounded from Georgian shelling of Russian bases in South Ossetia. Remember, the Russians were in South Ossetia as part of a brokered peace keeping force to which Georgia had agreed in the 1990s when it granted both South Ossetia and Abkhazia semi-autonomous status back in the 1990s.

Please note that I am not attempting to paint Russia as the "good guy" here but rather to demonstrate that Saakashvili is at least partly to blame here, and that if there is Russian advantage to be gained, that it was given to Russia by the actions of Saakashvili himself.

The question that I raise is whether Saakashvili did this in the belief that he had US and NATO support, and is now being left hanging out to dry for other strategic reasons, or whether the Bushco gang are simply idiots. Personally I don't find them that stupid and thus believe this is being done as part of a larger strategic action.

I trust Putin about as far as I can throw him, which is not very far at all. But given that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Ronald Reagan, and HMS Royal Ark all appear to be underway and converging on the Persian Gulf region, and given that 45% of total US Naval ships are underway while another 38% are on station (totaling 83%, an amazing number), and given that 59% of US Navy attack submarines are underway with another 38% on station (an astounding 97% of attack submarines at sea right now - just one is at home), this certainly smells like something is up.

I think that a war doesn't happen unless both sides are really keen on the idea.

I'm sure the Georgian President thought he'd have NATO support, or at least US support. When Dubya was trying to get Georgia in NATO, and when Georgian troops are in Iraq helping the US, it's reasonable for the Georgians to think that the US will help them.

It becomes less reasonable when you start thinking about the logistics of getting the troops there to fight, the countries they'd need the co-operation of to get there, and whether the US is willing to risk nuclear conflict for their sake, but... well, Saakashvilli would not be the first leader in history to not really think things through.

Russians busy with Georgia and China occupied with the Olympics. A more opportune moment isn't likely to come along.

However, under cover of darkness, Georgia began shelling South Ossetian villages. The shelling has been confirmed by the Red Cross in interviews with refugees.

This is really hard to confirm, isnt it ? Especially knowing russian traditions of bombing their own. Also there were several georgian villages around Tskhinvali which were bombed to bits, so was it rebels, georgians or russians shooting ?
You also left out months of previous russian provocations along the georgian borders, both in air and on ground.

GreyZone - Most of the info on the web regarding ship movements appears to reference one source which I'm not very confident in. Your info appears to be somewhat different. Saturn_V has yet different info elsewhere in this thread. It's obviously key data - are you pretty sure about it?


My data was gathered from on ship percentages at sea. The movements of the Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan are unknown at this time, although the sources that Saturn_V cites are accurate about recent public movements.

The existence and participation in Operation Brimstone by US, British, and French naval forces is confirmed, again directly by While Saturn_V found some of those comments unusual, there are full photographs at regarding Operation Brimstone and the aircraft in question, so whether he likes it or not, the US Navy was engaged in practice operations with those French aircraft.

You can begin by viewing All Active Navy Groups for reference.

The latest public data about the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is available, as also is the latest public data about USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - Ronald Reagan Strike Group.

This official Navy story confirms the training of French pilots flying the F-2 Rafale off of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Additional stories confirm the whereabouts of the Roosevelt during Operation Brimstone and immediately thereafter. I have been unable to find any specific official public confirmation of the continued presence of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the same location now two weeks later, thus the allegations that it is steaming for the Gulf remain possible.

Likewise, the story USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Departs Japan confirms the location of the Ronald Reagan as of July 31 but not since. Further, in the event of military action, it is common for ships to and battle groups to be rerouted on short notice. In fact, for OPSEC reasons this is standard procedure.

There is also a British Naval website, for which I do not have the link here at work, and it likewise confirms the presence of the HMS Royal Ark in Operation Brimstone in the later half of July. The location of the HMS Royal Ark in nearly mid-August does not appear to be ascertainable with certainty from official sources at this time.

There is one confirmed change from yesterday. When I view the Navy Status Page today, August 12th, I no longer see the USS Theodore Roosevelt underway.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

The US is obviously willing to provide logistics support. If Georgia had any real air support they could destroy a lot of Russian armor on the road and block the tunnel.

Per Wikipedia: The Georgian Air Force has 1,800 personnel, up to 22 aircraft (Su-25KM/UB, L-29, Yak-52,) and 11 helicopters of different type (Mi-24/35, Mi-8/17, Mi-14, UH-1H, Mi-2) and 380 air defense missiles of the "surface-to-air' class.

I wonder why they haven't used the SU-25's to any great effect?

The Russian 4th Air Army based at Rostov on Don has probably destroyed the bulk of Georgia's aircraft on the ground already.

"Prediction: Russia owns Georgia by 2010"

Why do you think they will wait until 2010?

Press coverage and popular support at home. I think they'll take enough to cripple the current regime, settle back while nibbling here and there on occasion until the Georgian people are fed up with it, and then support an "approved" candidate for the next "election". Why hurry, when they have control of the important parts already?


"Prediction: Russia owns Georgia by 2010"

Why do you think they will wait until 2010?

I think he probably means 20:10....tonight.

Gori has been taken by Russians now as well, with Georgians falling back into Mtshetha.
This cant be called anything but Russian invasion.

This cant be called anything but peace enforcement.

I am confused. In the wake of this, Oil and Gold are both falling. My simplistic understanding is that both should be spiking up. Is there something else going on in the background?

Yes, a deflationary hurricane is ripping through the global economy and countries are going down like ninepins into recession. Economic meltdown if you like.

The next few weeks are possibly going to be very rough as people realise they cannot see the bottom of the abyss into which they've slid.

Ah, but never fear. The worse the economy, the more stock prices rise. Buy stocks and bonds -- they're bullet proof -- until they're not.

The stock market was falling since November due to perceived recession or near recession in the United States. At the same time there was a popular belief that the "Eurozone" was free from this problem, despite several professional observers noting the beginnings of slowdowns in Europe, coupled with the same sort of housing bubble signs in multiple European nations. Now, 9-10 months later, the slowdown in Europe can no longer be ignored or denied, and money is fleeing from European economies into the dollar and the US economy. Partly this is due to history (flight to US assets in times of trouble was a "safe" bet) and partly because there is a belief that US assets are near their overall lows.

However, it remains to be seen if the dollar is going to be quite the safe haven it used to be or whether we are actually near the bottom or not. History would suggest that we still have lots of room to fall, with the dot-com fall being the most recent example, down to the 7000 range. Adjusted for inflation, that would suggest a bottom somewhere between 8500-9500 and that assumes no overreaction, which is common in markets.

Gold, oil and other commodities are falling because the Plunge Protection Team (Hank Paulson, Ben Bernake) are intervening in the currency market. This is the magic of the "strong dollar policy". Quite simply, they are rigging the not so free markets as long as they can get away with it. In reality, the dollar is deeply flawed because of our wars, entitlement programs, on going banking collapse and of course peak oil. In my opinion, it is very difficult to sustain a deflation of gold, oil and commodities in a fiat currency system. Commodities will correct violently upward if the US makes any overt military moves either with Iran or Georgia. Iran would be $200/barrel. Georgia would be $400/barrel.

I know what you mean. I accept the deflationary theory to a large degree, but can't help but wonder why there's such a collapse in gold prices at the same time as rising stock prices.

It almost makes me wonder if there's been some kind of deal struck between major power centres, and we're actually seeing just a small part of the picture.

Perhaps Russia gets the Caucasus, and the US gets Iran? Don't really think this is likely by-the-way, just throwing it out there.

Hello Andybts,

"...wonder why there's such a collapse in gold prices..."

IMO, in an age of Overshoot, gold will not have much value relative to the essentials of food and water. Recall those poor souls in WWII, packed onto the trains headed for the crematories, who traded jewelry or precision watches for a mere canteen of water, or a crust of bread, to live just one more day....

Recall my Ft Knox postings: I-NPK and seeds inside, gold bricks stacked outside to form machine gun bunkers.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? A farmer/gardener will exchange foodstuffs for 'future-oriented' fertilizer; he will not be interested in a big screen TV or vanity metals.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Funny you should say that, I just ordered several tonnes of compost today, and we've been saving seeds from the allotment this year.

You're probably right about gold in the medium/long term, but in what I imagine will be an inflationary short/medium term (rises in food/energy prices anyway), surely people will look for stores of value, and not everyone has the means to store food and fertility.

I agree about big screen TVs though, and a lot of cars will probably become greenhouses or accomodation.

Good for you--Big Kudos and Congrats!

African dung beetles instinctively understand that their only hope is to roll away balls of fresh elephant crap to serve as the future food and nest for their offspring. You could sprinkle a huge pile of gold flakes next to this dung--it would be soundly ignored by these beetles and all the other 'smarter' animals in the area.

The Google advertisements in the left display space have so far shown me an ad to buy a gasoline station, plus an ad to meet beautiful Russian women. Just more BAU to encourage the Thermo/Gene Collision to the bitter end.

I know from an animals perspective it doesn't seem to make sense, but gold has been a fairly good store of wealth (for humans) for centuries especially in inflationary times. Whatever caused us to value it can't have changed that much can it?

It depends upon your personal circumstance and how badly you need food and water--I think it would be interesting to know the current going price for a freshly butchered chicken, a just-laid dozen eggs, a fresh loaf of bread, or a gallon of milk in this war-torn area.

Recall that Georgia imports 85% of its grains, and the Russian Navy has probably probably foreclosed any further imports. Once Georgia burns through their current stocks-->"Make us your slaves, just feed us".

Never forget Tadeusz Borowski, #119198

Historically, amongst human societies, gold is not an "investment" at all. Modern minds seem to have trouble grasping this concept. Gold was seen as a "store of value" foremost.

An investment works inside the context of the current civilization/society. Gold is a way to pick up your wealth and wait for the next civilization (or move to a different one if available) and take your wealth with you. Throughout history, across multiple continents separated by thousands of years of development, gold has had this role over and over again. Interesting, no?

It is interesting, and I agree gold only has value within the context of civilisation. If/once we have lost that, we will revert to barter and other more temporary form of wealth storage... salt perhaps, and other goods that have served as currency in the past - or maybe things we've never used before (like fertiliser).

As our edifice of financial capital falls apart, we may still find that precious metals hold some value for a while, whilst most fiat currencies don't. But I think that depends how quickly the collapse process happens, which is why I find it disturbing when golds price falls like it has. I'm hoping it's just volatility, otherwise things might be worse (more imminent) than I was thinking.

Most big screen TV's have a large "Fresnel Lens"
which can be recycled and used for a solar still or
solar hot water heater.
The Fresnel Lens is almost always plastic and durable.
Easy to remove...light might want to keep
a couple around as future barter items.

This was true decades ago. Unfortunately, contemporary HDTV displays do not have any fresnel lens.

silver and gold are not "vanity metals." They are money. In a world where the dollar is valueless, the euro and yen the same, the yuan confined to China, etc., how do you exchange value? Barter is fine, but there is a reason that people started using silver and gold as a means of exchange.

Hello Shaman,

Thxs for responding. The original stores of value for agro-based civilization was grain, spice, and salt stockpiles [duh! makes sense] with marked stones or sticks as currency [even salt as currency--look up root of salary]. Of course, these methods were easy to counterfeit/adulterate, so the progression to generally non-counterfeitable PMs to represent these stores was the next logical step.

Don't get me wrong--owning some PMs may save/extend your and your family's life at some future point. Nothing wrong with that.

But consider that Richard Rainwater & Simmons bought farms, not PM stockpiles. Worst case: they would be '#119198 grateful' to be forced to labor at gunpoint/spearpoint in their own rich topsoil fields.

Generally, old men don't stand much of a chance against an invading young sniper group, or being eventually overthrown by their own Praetorian Guard, or younger family member. Master Gardeners/Farmers will be worth their weight in gold in an age of dire Overshoot--only a true imbecile will purposely kill someone who can grow animals and crops.

The future belongs to the young--always has, always will.

Also, I-NPK, if properly stored away from moisture infiltration, will be potent much, much longer than any stored grain. This, plus O-NPK recycling, can help us have an optimal decline if we can somehow plan ahead. My feeble two cents.

One can also make bullets out of gold or silver. Personally, antibiotics and fish hooks would be of more use.

Absolutely! Gold is the last thing you buy when setting up survival priorities. Only when all your other affairs are in order and you still have wealth you wish to protect, should you even consider precious metals.

I started another idea which is doing well,,10 each of rootstock for fruit trees apple&pear.In a couple of years..lots of graft material [I already have seed supplies,and 2 chicken houses full of fertilizer.The organic mix in the book'"gardening when it counts" is close as I can figure,its about 700$per 1000lb mixed.

I have seed for next year,and I am shooting for a winter harvest of greens....maybe

Its to give fools like me a good reason to buy a couple of rands before everything blows up....

So if the Georgian conflict with its threat to the Baku Supsa pipeline doesn't produce a spike in oil prices - -

How bad is the downdraft????

Oil dropped today (8-11) to $110 - Brent.

Excellent point. I'm guessing WTI would be at $105 down from $120 or thereabouts last Wednesday were it not for this war. 800 kbpd or 1 mbpd is nothing to joke about, especially in this market. Yet the market is shrugging it off.

I have to wonder if this wasn't a move by Moscow to shore up the price in lieu of a feckless OPEC.

"Wonder" being the key word. I certainly wouldn't want to spread any rumors or feed any theories :)

All reports and analyses seem to reference resurgent Russian confidence based on oil production and prices. Prices have dropped twenty percent in 5 weeks. Think about it. Russian power is based on price only. Their production is flat. Their consumption is rising. They have nothing else. They are a petrostate.

Probably the best article in the bunch is the 4000 word history in the NYT by James Traub. He coins the term "petroconfidence."

Russian forces have seized the Georgian city of Zugdidi. And the US are airlifting Georgian troops out of Iraq today. According to DJ News Services.

Edit: Georgian president has said that Russian forces now control most of Georgia. DJ.

But wait, NATO and USA were supposed to have nothing to do with this.

Riiiighhht :)

Another move on the grand chessboard. Somewhere in the world reading intelligence and news coming in Henry Kissinger is smiling....

It surprises me that with all this discussion, no one seems to see a Russian oil & gas play in this. Odd, considering their past behavior, inviting oil companies to help develop their fields, then once the IOCs have invested the bucks, they use trumped up charges and the courts to throw them out and expropriate their assets. Then, their extortionary use of nat gas to Europe as a stranglehold.

I see the Georgian invasion as part of a long range strategy to control Caspian oil, a goal the Bear has long nurtured.

It seems like this comes down to who gets to control the oil and gas of the Former Soviet Union. Quote from Georgia conflict stokes energy supply concerns

The United States and the EU have become increasingly alarmed at how a resurgent Russia is using its vast energy wealth as a tool for expanding its influence — and getting its way — on the world stage.

"The EU grand strategy is to develop Georgia as an alternative route for Caspian oil and gas by bypassing Russia," says Michael Klare, author of "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, the New Geopolitics of Energy."

"But if Georgia is no longer a safe passageway, then all of these schemes for diminished dependency on Russia go up in smoke."

The Israeli-Georgia connection is estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to a former Georgian ambassador to Israel. The Jewish state and private investors have provided military assistance and advisors to Georgia, where pipelines pump oil destined for Israel. A new pipeline is being built to bypass Russian territory.

Georgia: Russia targets key oil pipeline with over 50 missiles

Who owns the pipeline?
The pipeline is owned by a consortium of energy companies led by BP (formerly British Petroleum), the operator of the pipeline. The shareholders of the consortium are:

BP (United Kingdom): 30.1%
State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) (Azerbaijan): 25.00%
Chevron (USA): 8.90%
StatoilHydro (Norway): 8.71%
Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO) (Turkey): 6.53%
Eni/Agip (Italy): 5.00%
Total (France): 5.0%
Itochu (Japan): 3.4%
Inpex (Japan): 2.50%
ConocoPhillips (USA): 2.50%
Hess Corporation (USA) 2.36%[13]

Howler of the Day:

"Georgia is a sovereign nation and its territorial integrity must be respected," [U.S. President George W. ) Bush said.

Saakashvili overplays his hand at Asia Times Online

That was good, but I thought this bit from the article was even more howl-worthy:

Analysts say the West does have some leverage over Russia. The EU, for example, could suspend negotiations over a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Moscow; the NATO-Russia Council could be dissolved; Russia could be prevented from joining the World Trade Organization, or even kicked out of the Group of Eight.

Goodness gracious!

Well, Bush is the recognized expert on what it means to be sovereign; it is something that is given to you, and presumably can also be taken away:

"Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." —President Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004


Did the Georgians think they would get any different response? A huge mistake in testing the will of Putin and Russia. I don't think it has anything to due with pipelines etc. Just Russia drawing a line.

I'm pretty sure Russians are here for the control of Georgia, not just Ossetia.

It always bothered them that the pipeline was not under Russian control.

Russians are already controlling Senaki in the west:

As usual, civilians will pay the price:

At a guess, I'd think the Russians will swing round Tbilisi and look to take the military base at Vaziani and the airfield at Marneuli (airborne assault?) thus taking control of the pipeline. Then look to Georgian capitulation prior to taking Tbilisi peacefully.

Having taken Zugdidi and Senaki, it looks like Poti is next.

Just conjecture of course.

Does the US still have planes stationed at Vaziani?

No idea, but as the US is looking to remove US military advisers from the Country, I'd assume that would apply to aircraft too, unless they intended to us them. It would be interesting to know what the situation is regarding any US hardware there and if there are/where any nuclear weapons?

DJ are reporting that Russia says it has no plans to attack Tbilisi. As in the above scenario, I believe them, there will be no need to. The Georgian president also is saying there is no threat to Tbilisi from Russian forces.

As expected, the DJ is reporting that Russian forces have entered the Georgian city of Poti. So, if things go to plan then we should get word about Russian forces taking the airfield at Marneuli sometime tomorrow.

Will Sakaskvili flee or stay to the bitter end. I would say flee.

I concur.

However, Putin's actions are justified under the new international rule set a.k.a Bush Doctrine.

Note: Russian media has labeled the incursion a 'peace keeping' one. Watch for the 'peace keepers' to stay indefinitely.

Baku is almost like where the international oil industry began and was a major prize sought by the Germans in WWII. The fact that the massive oil riches of The Caspian are just beginning to be unlocked with the building of the BTC pipe begins to make me wonder about the motives of the Russians here. Its one thing having impoverished former republics rotting along the southern border of Mother Russia. Quite another to have oil rich states allied with NATO.

The bigger picture includes Kazakhstan, oil and nat gas of Central asia. And the ongoing spat between TNK BP and the Russian authorities.

Russia is flexing its muscles - and this will be done in the interests of Russia. The longer this goes on and the deeper Russian forces penetrate into Georgia the more it will look like a strategic move to control energy supplies.

Blowback. We can't even use 'moral' pressure on the Russians to adhere to the Geneva Conventions after Bush and Cheney basically tore-up the treaty and threw it in the trash, along with all the human rights treaties since WWII.

The next steps are predictable. Massacres and outrages, mass arrests, bogus charges of terrorism, military show trials, and executions.

We're all terrorists now.

WSJ is now saying:

GORI, Georgia -- Russia captured the central city of Gori and its armored vehicles rolled deep into western Georgia on Monday, seizing a military base and several towns and opening a second front of fighting. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said the Russian forces had effectively cut his country in half. . .

By taking Gori, which sits on Georgia's only east-west highway, Russia has the potential to effectively cut the country in half.

Security Council head Alexander Lomaia said Monday it was not immediately clear if Russian forces would advance on Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. The United Nations Security Council called an emergency session at Georgia's request -- the fifth meeting on the subject in as many days.

CNN Video:

Georgian president takes cover 2:19

Georgia's president is surrounded by security, who cover him before rushing him away:

I can't believe the comments I am hearing here!

Georgia, a nation of 4.6 million people with a democratically elected government is being raped over an enclave of 70,000 people run by a warlord
and the best you can come up with is to blame Bush for what is a vicious attack and fret about 1 mbpd of oil.

Putin is Bush-Cheney on steroids (I know it is hard to believe but some people are even worse than Bush-Cheney).

You'll regret your immoral and cynical 'evaluations'.

The best thing the US/EU can do is to admit the Ukraine immediately into NATO.

Putin is Bush-Cheney on steroids ...

What a pity that Mikheil Saakashvili didn't factor those steroids in when he ordered the invasion of South Ossetia five days ago.

The best thing the US/EU can do is to do what they should have done 19 years ago and declare that NATO's mission is dead. Now, 19 years on, we've succeeded in rekindling the Cold War -- much, I'm sure, to the glee of the Neo-cons and the military bureaucrats at NATO headquarters.

Give a military bureaucracy enough time and resources and it will find a way to justify its existence.

At the risk of repeating myself, this conflict is the result of blowback. Just look at the chain of events: Georgia sucks-up to the US by sending a handful of troops to Iraq. In return, they get weapons and Israeli military training. This inflates their self importance and belligerence to the point where they seem to have reached the conclusion that they could take on the Russians. Now they are discovering that the Russians don't play very nicely at war. Of course, the civilian population pays the price.

Had the US minded it's own business from the start, and instructed the Israelis to mind their P's and Q's, chances are that the Georgians and the Russians would have worked matters out themselves more or less peacefully.

"Israeli military training"?
Who would want or accept that? Seems the IDF trains
with silhouette's of children, women and journalists.
Besides any military commander should be able to
review how Israel lost in south Lebanon.
The IAF did do a great job on the USS Liberty....but
only because it was an unarmed ship.
1967 war was pre-emptive on Israels part so I suppose
sucker punches count somewhat.

You might add payback for US support for the separation of Kosovo from Serbia as well.

majorian, your propaganda created world view is going up in flames and when it lies in ashes you will see the real world for what it is.

Very troubled times are ahead and even countries need to create their lifeboats to enhance survival. Russia is not threatening world domination, it is securing its own position in an increasingly dangerous World. I would expect Russia to limit military action to areas around its borders and support other areas of strategic interest using different methods. It wouldn't even have to do this except for being forced into doing so by the US and its allies.

Europe needs Russia (although it doesn't seem to realise it) and Russia needs Europe, so I expect Russia to take a carrot and stick approach to Europe. I do not expect Russia to be a threat to anyone, other than those that threaten its security or those that have a strategic interest relevant to their survival. Energy is their preferred weapon to realign relationships. Those relationships can be symbiotic for those countries that make the effort, but we will probably see the current elite resist until they are swept away by a newer, more pragmatic elite. France will most likely see the writing on the wall first and adjust its world view accordingly.

Or maybe we could just MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS - for a change!

(I can hear a clearly audible ***GASP!!!*** as people encounter an heretofore unthought and unthinkable proposition. . .)

Majorian states:"I can't believe the comments I am hearing here!"

I tend to agree. Its seems that this whole thread is more of a Bush Bashing party than real commentary and info on the events in Georgia.

Appears that many here just look for any excuse to whine about Bush.

You have Freedom and you have Tyranny. Some can't seem to sort out the two.

Some surely don't remember Stalin like I do. I fought these suckers way way back in the Cold War. Now we kiss their hineys? Not me.

Airdale- I remember some of my squadron mates who died in a burning aircraft due to fighting these arseholes while we were engaged in preventing them from bombing our country,too many good men fought the Cold War to ever forget what it was all about,,too bad that the later generations haven't a clue.

You have Freedom and you have Tyranny. Some can't seem to sort out the two.

This is the black and white world view of the Bush Administration that has gotten us boxed into a corner after nearly 8 years. The world is much more nuanced than simply "Freedom" and "Tyranny." Bush deserves to be bashed given the geopolitical disaster he has left the country in! Can you give us one reason to praise the Bush Administration's foreign policy as it relates specifically to the Georgia-Russia conflict?

Come on Airdale, you didn't fight the Russians during the Cold War. You may have fought the Koreans; you may have fought the Vietnamese; you may even have fought the Chinese; but you didn't fight the Russians.

Let's be clear -- the beauty of the Cold War was that we could pretend to fight the Russians without fighting them directly. In this way, the welfare queens at Raytheon, Boeing, LTV, General Electric, General Dynamics, et al. could enrich themselves at the taxpayer teat and not get their hands dirty. If we'd had an all-out with the Russians, we'd have no doubt lost a lot of productive capacity and a lot of taxpayers -- something that was definitely not in the business plan.

So, you're a military man. Tell me: What did the Cold War accomplish? I'll tell you what I think it accomplished. It allowed a bunch of weasels and their financiers to set up shop in the power halls of Washington and ensure that they would always have control over your country and mine. Democracy in America in 2008 is a joke. America was long ago zombified.


How can so many people be making the mistake of assuming that because we are led by a bunch of dotardly half-wits, our enemies actions are automatically justified. Where are the Russian renewable power initiatives, carbon capture plants, sustainable farms, and the rest? Nowhere i've read about. Their leaders are just as fixated on the past as ours are, and just as convinced that control over Caspian oil will solve everything.

Besides, this is only the beginning, and some here may regret their words if this all turns into a gamma-ray show by next month.

What's there to regret? All some of us are saying is that we're tired of being spoon fed a black and white view of the world. If you are a "good guy" then get on your white hat and go join the fray. But don't expect me to follow.

Disclaimer: I am an American and I vote. However, my vote doesn't count. Therefore, my conscience is a free as it can be (considering I pay mucho tax dollars to support "the system" every year).

I haven't read any post here that takes the position that the Russian action in Georgia (or the Georgia action in S Ossetia) is actually "justified." We are all merely observers observing the chess game before our eyes - nothing more.

I've enjoyed your posts on sustainability and farming, but this is just rehashed and long-debunked propaganda. I can understand the emotive force of living through such clashes, but even back then the powerful were playing their games. See Taft-Katsura and Gulf of Tonkin, the truth, for examples of how noble it all was back in the day.

As regards Georgia in specific, we shall have to wait and see who is to blame for what. There is enough evidence for either side to be blamed as yet.


I can't believe the comments I am hearing here!

I can believe it, and it has been that way for awhile - a non-trivial portion of the commentors on TOD are of the BDS/Kos-kids sort.

Georgia is a nascent, flawed democracy which, because its leader has made some poor decisions on old ethnic tensions, now finds itself being destroyed by a much larger Russian nation whose leaders' pattern of behavior has been to directly control as much of oil and gas business in the old Soviet Empire as possible.

Because the leader of Georgia and many Georgian citizens like GWB that makes them worthy of scorn by the BDS crowd at TOD and somehow deserving of whatever the Russians dish out.

Okay, I'll bite -- What's BDS? Can I possibly be a member without paying dues?

Bush Derangement Syndrome

You are a member.
You have paid your dues many times over and will continue to pay for the foreseeable future.

Georgia is a nascent, flawed democracy which, because its leader has made some poor decisions on old ethnic tensions

Oh, that's rich! One of those poor decisions has left a awful lot of dead people in S. Ossetia, and will now lead to more on both sides.

"But hey, bad luck chaps - sorry about the city and all, but we haven't quite got the bugs worked out of this democracy thing yet." You've got to be kidding.

Tell me again why I should care about a scumbag like Saakashvili? He's another ambitious sociopath. In this case he's made a very big mistake, and now the regular people trying to live their lives suffer - both his victims and his people. You really should read more about what this guy has been up to before you label this den of thieves and thugs as democrats.

Tell me again why I should care about a scumbag like Saakashvili?

You shouldn't, anymore than any of us should care about Putin, Medvedev, Timoshenko, Dubya, or any other political leader.

But they tend to drag their people with them. Young men are dying in the field of battle because of the poor decisions and the violent ambition of these political leaders. And civilians are fleeing in terror from their homes, and dying in the streets.

Set aside your contempt for the leaders for a moment and consider the harsh reality of what a war really is.

"Hey, you guys started it!"

No. That's not what's important. There's too much focus on political leaders in the world. I think there's a very undemocratic undercurrent in Western society, we like to put all the blame and praise onto One Great Leader. But we are responsible for what our countries do, or do not do. Saakashvilli, Putin, Dubya, Thaksin - it's just one guy.

Very well said, Kiashu.

I guess you do know that that is a staged pic, you know it, right? the "news" agency made several variations with the same dead body.. sure, the body IS really a Georgian.. but I seriously doubt the actor knows him.. and they made several casualties out of the body!!

What, one dead guy can't have several people mourning him?

Read my comments downthread - my contempt for the leaders is because I understand that "young men are dying in the field of battle because of the poor decisions and the violent ambition of these political leaders. And civilians are fleeing in terror from their homes, and dying in the streets."

The comments I was responding to were trying to paint this in a good guys vs. bad guys light, which is nonsense. I'm not sure where you got "Hey, you guys started it!" out of my post - I've been arguing that to try to pick a starting point is a distortion of reality, and criticizing cheerleading.

"The best thing the US/EU can do is to admit the Ukraine immediately into NATO."

Oh yes that's right, now that the play with Georgia has failed you think that a different state should be admitted to Nato and maybe they can be encouraged to provoke Russia. Of course if a Nato state is attacked then Nato members should come to it's aid. Woo Hooo then it would be WW3, mission accomplished. Back in the 1990s Bill clinton promised Yeltsin that Nato would not extend into the former Soviet Union. Are you fast-food slow-thinking or own an arms manufacturer or what?

"I can't believe the comments I am hearing here! Georgia, a nation of 4.6 million people with a democratically elected government is being raped over an enclave of 70,000 people run by a warlord"

Yes, majorian many people are unable to countenance any opinion other then their own, so you're not the first. Try reading "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq" to learn more. Try asking why so many South Ossetians were killed.

FYI, South Ossetia voted overwhelmingly to leave Georgia, it was linked to Georgia by Stalin (a Georgian), maybe that piece of democracy doesn't count?

The US doesn't want russia to sell anti-aircraft defences to Iran, but seems to be happy to sell arms to countries on russia's borders. So what should russia do now, sell to Iran, put some stuff in cuba? Is that OK with you?

Some say that the US engineered the collapse of the Soviet Union. The harbinger of their collapse was Kuwait/Iraq, first Gulf War. The Soviets were bankrupt, had been bogged down for years in Central Asia (Afghanistan) and had been trying to compete economically and militarily with the US of A. In the end, the oustering of Iraq from Kuwait demonstrated supremacy of US Technology and also the utter helplessness of the Soviets to respond.

Does history repeat itself? Which country is now bankrupt, been bogged down for years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and utterly helpless to respond to events in Georgia? Will this act as a harbinger of the coming collapse of the American Empire? Stay tuned. Things could get interesting.

Ok, nobody can intervene directly. Will there be a Charlie Wilson this time around ?

This will all be over before Charlie Wilson gets out of the hot tub.

Does Georgia have the funds to hire Blackwater ?

I haven't heard that Sakaskvili ordered an invasion.

Either somebody miscalculated or it was a deliberate Putin provocation in which case it is completely Putin's fault. Obviously Putin could stop this in 5 minutes, instead he flies back from the Olympics to squeal about 'genocide'.

It looks like a 100% Putin set up.

I have heard that it started with 6 Georgian policemen being killed by South Ossetian irregulars followed by a drive to seize the South Ossetian
'capital'/bordertowm of Tskhinvali, a town of 30,000 people 1/3 of which are Georgians. By contrast Tbilisi has 1,000,000 people in it.

The Ossetians(Alani) are not ethnic Russians but have been used as Russian/Soviet proxies in the Caucasus before.


this isn't quite a black-and-white, good guys-bad guys story. Or at any rate the good guy wasn't a very smart good guy.

Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili has made the biggest mistake of his life. It's a mistake that could cost him his political career - and in the process lose the West a vital ally.

Last week, Saakashvili ordered his army to invade South Ossetia, a small breakaway province of Georgia that has been independent since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991...

Full commentary here:

The 6 policemen killed is just one event in the way longer line of all sorts of funnay stuff going on on the georgian borders all leading up to this event. Georgian drones shot down by Mig-29s, constant border violations by Russian recon and combat aircraft, russian propaganda campaign that started early in august, and suddely increasing ossetian activity against georgian villages.
All the news reports before the 8th point to constant provocations. While everyone in former soviet union knows the rules of the play, georgians were hot headed enough to ignore the obvious and responded in force. A few hours later, hundreds of russian tanks rolling across the border. Coincidence, of course. They were just passing by.

Sakaskvili the politician promised to bring Ossetia back into the Georgian fold. He kept his promise and they were gloriously reunited for 24 hours. He calculated that having US troops in Georgia for training, the extended Georgian troops in Iraq and his aggressive pursuit of a NATO membership guaranteed the USA and therefore NATO would back him. He is a hothead and a very poor statesman and he brought this upon himself and Georgia. His tweaking of the Bear to the north ignored the facts on the ground that Putin's Russia was back and consolidated. This is not 1992 when the Russia Bear was on it's knees.

My take is that the Russians knew of the attack of the Georgians ahead of time. They quietly organized and prepared w/o alerting Georgia or NATO(ie the US). Putin flies off to Beijing knowing his counterstoke already war gamed, planned
and supplied would eliminate this irritating flea to the south and strengthn his sphere in the oil 'stans. The Georgian attack exceeds his Putin's wildest propaganda dreams(yet the western media is ignoring for the most part the atrocities done by the Georgians...Putin will have them documented and pursue Georgian army units and the Georgian president himself for war crimes)...attacks by rockets on civilians, eye witness's to atrocities, even an american recounting of such evil..

Putin has shown THE BEAR is Back! Condi supposidly is a "Russian expert"...she didn't get ahead of this one...Oh, by the way Condi didn't pay attention to the memo Bin Ladin seeks to attack in the USA either.

My take is that the Russians knew of the attack of the Georgians ahead of time.

Yes, because he did everything to provoke it. And just out of the blue, huge russian army was marching in across the borders both in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Out of the blue? Georgia has been attacking South Ossetia, in violation of the semi-autonomous status granted to South Ossetia and Abkhazia both, by Georgia itself clear back in the 1990s. These attacks begain at least as early as August 1, and may have begun earlier.

Yes, Russia is run by a power mad lunatic. But Georgia gave him every possible excuse to step in and kick Georgia's ass. The question then is what does Bushco gain from this?

Yes, Russia is run by a power mad lunatic.

You think so? How many wars were started by Russia under Putins watch as President? He strikes me more as a totally sane stone cold psychopath.(there is a world of difference between psychosis and psychopathy) A chess player, and trained KGB agent. He's not mad, just taking what he sees as the best decisions for the future security of his country - and that involves preventing its total encirclement by US proxies. What efforts would the USA take, I wonder, to prevent Russian or Chinese military airbases in Mexico?

Haha! Ok, I stand corrected... Putin is a "totally sane stone cold psychopath". :)

Not to worry. Condi has been a feature on Yahoo! news all week. The focus is mainly on who her favorite showbiz entertainers are.

Condaleeza Rice has shown that, despite having a Chevron tanker named after her, and despite being a so-called "expert" on the FSU, she is an incompetent player on the world stage.

The Rupert Murdoch media outlets will have her on as a talking-head "expert" about everything under the sun starting the day Bush is out of office, but the fact remains that nobody should ever listen to this woman about anything ever again. She makes my dog look smart.

"even an american recounting of such evil.."

Listen carefully to what Joe Mestas is saying on youtube, Joe is an American citizen on vacation who witnessed everything that happening in the region. He clearly says Georgia bombed the town of Java and calls them war crimes and claims Georgians are committing genocide.

Note he says the Georgians cut off water supplies a month ago, so very much planned.

“I thought that since US is supporting Georgia there would be some control over the situation in South Ossetia and that there would be a peaceful solution to the conflict. But what is happening there now it’s not just war, but war crimes. George Bush and Mikhail Saakashvili should answer to the crimes that are being committed – the killing of innocent people, running over by tanks of children and women, throwing grenades into cellars where people are hiding,” Joe Mestas said.

Is it all rubbish?? I can't know, there are many many questions, including why has the Georgian military budget recently grown so much? Why has the US blocked a Russia-NATO Council meeting today? Is it true the Georgians shot the Russian peacekeepers? Are there foreigners fighting on Georgian side? ... time will tell but maybe by next month we will have forgotten about this place.

Putin forced GWB to give Georgia finacial support.
Putin forced Israel to come and train troops to fight
the Russians and supply the weapons to do so.
Putin causes Bush to stutter and stammer.
Putin is to blame for making George Bush's mother look
like the guy on the Quaker oats cereal box.

(No Quakers were harmed in this dramatization)

Russia may be doing the same thing to the US that Saudi did to them during the Reagan years. Drop the price of crude to bankrupt the USSR. Drop the price of crude to bankrupt the US.

Dropping the price of crude would hurt Russia more than the US. The US is an importer.

I see no cause and effect of these events on the downward price of oil. Its bullish, but for whatever reasons, such as currency manipulation, oil drops anyway. It's definitely in Russia's best interests for the price of oil to be high. For the US, Wall Street cheers loudly for low oil price. However, longer term the US would also be better served by higher oil price because it would force demand destruction and conservation.

Also to be considered is that the Georgia situation is little more than a diversion from what may be about to happen in the Persian Gulf.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- No sooner had Operation Brimstone ended -- a mega joint U.S., British and French naval exercise held in the Atlantic Ocean where the allies practiced enforcing an eventual blockade on Iran -- when, according to numerous reports, the armada set sail for the Gulf waters -- and a potential showdown with Iran.

The move comes shortly after the European Union issued a decree Friday authorizing the imposition of stronger sanctions against Iran, on top of existing U.N. Security Council sanctions, over its refusal to back down from its controversial nuclear program.

Leading the joint naval task force is the nuclear-powered carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its Carrier Strike Group Two; besides its 80-plus combat planes the Roosevelt normally transports, it is carrying an additional load of French Naval Rafale fighter jets from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, currently in dry dock.

Also reported heading toward Iran is another nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan and its Carrier Strike Group Seven; the USS Iwo Jima, the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and a number of French warships, including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste.

Once on site, the joint naval force in the Persian Gulf region will be joining two other U.S. naval battle groups already in position: the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Peleliu; the Lincoln with its carrier strike group and the latter with an expeditionary strike group.

What an amazing coincidence! John McCain must be doing back flips!!

A quick search of the UPI web site shows no sign of this story, which was previously presented upthread as being from the Middle East Times. Do you have a link?

Something else you don't see in the MSM: Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Agreement and no one has ever shown the slightest bit of evidence that they have violated that treaty.

That is correct. And while I don't trust Iran's religious mullahs any more than I trust Putin, we have no moral basis for attacking Iran at this time. Once you open the can of "preemptive" war, where does it stop? Should we lock you up because we think you might murder your wife?

(deleted my duplicate link)

Just because it isn't true, it's still odd the MSM hasn't repeated it. They've never let that stop them before.

Except, not really.

No idea where this story came from, but it's being spread about on a number of websites.

CVN-71(USS Roosevelt) is undergoing Operational Reactor Safeguard Exam (ORSE), and is just off the East Coast (as of 8/6).
CVN-76 (USS Ronald Reagan) is replacing CV-63 (Kitty Hawk) on 7th Fleet rotation (Pacific Ocean, currently near Japan) (as of 8/6).

LHD-7 (USS Iwo Jima) was at homeport in VA (as of 8/6).

The Lincoln and Peleliu are deployed as part of the 5th Fleet, area of responsibility being the Middle East, and have been for a while.

[All above information obtained from open-source material]

And the Rafale thing is funny. The Rafale isn't really operable from a US carrier for any sort of time. The AtA suite is designed for MICA/Magic II/Meteor, which the US doesn't operate. It's got a 30mm integral cannon, which the US doesn't operate (USN aircraft use a 20mm cannon). It would get in the way more than anything else...

I'm frankly amazed that there is "open-source material" that reliably tells the whole world where U.S. war ships are!

"Loose Lips Sink Ships"

But I hope you're right...

[edit] Also I don't think the difference in the size of the missiles is that much of a factor; that can be handled logistically. Seems to me the much larger problem would be the difference between the launch and recovery systems and hardware of the US and French carriers. [/edit]

Try googling the ship's names... They've mostly all got websites. Note that they're not 'current' in the sense that they're not updated daily, but more like weekly or so.

It's not the size of the missiles - it's that we haven't got any. We also don't have the handling equipment for them, and no real training on handling them, which isn't something you'd deviate from lightly. As for recovery/launch, I think they're pretty similar. I know they did catapult qualifications in the US for the Rafale, as the De Gaulle wasn't ready yet.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Blog is here:

Fighting going on 25 km from Tbilisi

Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Nikolaz Natbiladze told journalists that fighting was going on 25 km from Tbilisi, reported Interfax.

"I wish to inform you that Georgian government troops left Gori, the line of defense is taking place in the town of Mtskheta (25 km from the capital of Georgia)", - Nikolaz Natbiladze told reporters late on Monday evening in Baku.

"I wish to state that via all these aggressive acts Russia is trying to destroy the independence of the country - Georgia", - the Ambassador added in his statement to the press.

Why would Russia NOT use it's "Oil Weapon" ?

It is clear to me that Russia wants to make a dramatic statement about it's power and capability. Air strikes outside the areas contested, expanding to the other breakaway province, naval forces, etc. Clearly some muscle flexing.

Azerbaijan has, like Georgia, been acting against Russian interests by shipping it's oil out by the Western supported pipeline, bypassing Russia. In a "punishment fit the crime", they may just Azerbaijan sit on it's oil long enough to draw down foreign currency reserves (and perhaps long enough to expand the alternative pipeline that goes through Russia.

Minimal cost to Russia.

Couple this with reduced exports from Russia (pipeline problems, "technical problems", the next quarter's oil export tax is set too high, etc.) and the West (and China) can learn the power of Russia's oil weapon.

With higher oil prices, Russia may make more money off of less oil. A cutback of over 1 million b/day (exports now over 6 million b/day) could turn Russia into the world's swing oil producer. LOTS of influence from that position.


The Soviets did the same thing in 1939 against Finland, setting up a
puppet government on Finnish territory as a prelude to war.

And now huge swaths of Russian power have magically appeared all over the place?

It doesn't matter what Saakashvili would have done(on his own territory no less).

It is naked aggression and state terrorism.

Funnily, Bush went to the UN for his authorization on Iraq.

Some folks here have elected to switch-off their moral compasses and seek to 'understand' Putin's motivation. Pathetic.

I remember when Bush was with Putin and Bush remarked
that he (Bush) hoped that Russia would become a democracy.
Putin replied "Like the one you gave Iraq?" and the
entire press corps from around the world began laughing.
Putin also told "60 minutes"..."Mr. Bush had little business lecturing about democracy when the 2000 presidential election in the United States was decided by the Supreme Court."

Also from the White House Press corps web site is this
tidbit of info....

(Mr. Bush also did not dispute the premise of a question from a reporter implying that the United States was behind revolutionary change in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.)

Dobra Yutra!


Critical reflection is not synonymous with naivety. Most of your fellow commentators on TOD would agree with your assessment that Putin is not a nice guy -- from cutthroat beginnings as a high ranking career KGB officer, he is a manipulative, ruthless thug.

Doesn't take anything away from the drama unfolding in front of us.

Putin is to Bush what Bismarck was to Napoleon III, a nasty spoiler in the wet dream of Second Empire (a.k.a. Project for a New American Century).

Critical reflection or an admiration of Putin's sense of realpolitik?
I detect only the later along with the rather repulsive attraction of some to displays naked power.

(Aha! Putin plays the Game better than Bush, bravo!).

BTW, I have seen NOTHING in the way of a excuse or justification by the Russians or their apologists.
Actually, Hitler in his speeches actually made a case for his various aggressions(although they were based on lies).

I remain APPALLED at the indifference here to the bloody subjugation and re-colonialization(in the 21st century) of the Georgian people.

Shame on the lot of you!

Nations have interests, not morals.

I really wish I lived in a world where naked aggression was not rewarded.

I lament the fact that the US is not very good at playing the game. But realpolitik is the name of the game.

Few in America were appalled by Chile's September 11th 1973 coup. Few in the Soviet Union felt for the Hungarians during the 1956 uprising. The Chinese did not cry for the millions of Cambodians bludgeoned in the killing fields. Those on the periphery of hegemonic interests do get trampled.

The end of the cold war did not usher in an era of universal peace and prosperity.

The western powers have in meantime frittered away their strength and their ethical advantage.

It really is too bad and so sad:-{

No, shame on you for fecklessly sucking on the propaganda pipe for so long it's turned your brains to mush.


(Actually, Hitler in his speeches actually made a case for his various aggressions(although they were based on lies).

So When Bush talked about the WMD and how "There could
be no doubt" or how "The oil revenue would pay for the war" and when he said "The yellow cake from Nigeria" and the "Aluminum tubes that could only be used for the enrichment of uranium" and how "Americans
would be welcomed as liberators" or "Not two days or two weeks but certainly not two years" What about that
"Mushroom cloud over Manhattan being the smoking gun"?
The constant referances to 9/11 and IRAQ? the lies
about Saddam being in bed with the Taliban and Alquida
Saddam was secular and the bed fellows being fundies
Patrick Tillman storming enemy positions screaming orders to his men???...he screamed alright..."DONT
SHOOT ME"!!! and Jessica Lynch the damsel in distress????...Oh wait!...they were trying to give her to the Americans but the ambulance was turned back by gunfire.
majorian ....Bush does NOTHING BUT LIE and anyone who
who cant admit it ...cant be that stunatta<---latin
slang.majorian I could easily post thousands of Bush
lies and the video and audio to verify all of em.
But I got better things too do with the next millenia.

Dear TOD members,

Do you approve of the brainless slimeball who calls itself Nephilim?

Please show your feelings by troll-rating this whore out of existence.

Best wishes for a Nephilim-free TOD.

Sounds like a personal thing. Maybe you guys should take it outside.

It may be more convenient if IT goes away on its own, but IT won't.

Just look up all ITS disgusting comments, Tarzan and then decide if you want IT around.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ---Edmund Burke

Do you have a problem with the truth,majorian?If not ,address the issues Nep raised and refrain from a personal attack.If you can deal with the truth.

majorian, as far as I know, the only people who have been given the boot here are folks who appeared to be here largely to harass others or to disrupt the exchange. You and I don't have to agree with other's posts (or with each other for that matter) but as long as things don't get too personal, I think we all benefit.

Thankfully most of us on this blog live in countries of the western world. We enjoy the benefits of affluence, the rule of law, representative government, and time honoured restraints on arbitrary authority.

Opposition is considered a necessary and yes, even loyal feature of a healthy and respectful civil society.

I have the God-given right to be wrong. And so does everyone else.

By jumpin's there may even be times when some of us may be on to something profound or witty or smart.

And some other opinions will irritate us to no ends.

My advice to everybody: when this happens, deal with it! B/c we tend to learn more from people with whom we disagree than from those who are friendly to our opinions.

So I see where Majoriam is coming from, since I get voted down routinely. In fact, I'd say I get voted up every time I post insightful technical information or comments, and down every time I make a political comment.

/rant on
Several here take Bush-bashing and neocon-clubbing to the level of an art form, but mastering the ability to be insultingly clever doesn't make it truthful or right. I don't like either Bush or neocon positions in general, but to assume that ANYBODY in the world who is anti-American or even anti-Bush is somehow "better" is not right either.

Sure, America does some crappy stuff, and so do many other countries, but come on folks, this is Russia we're talking about in this thread. The KGB didn't evaporate 20 years ago, and its methods and henchmen didn't either. People here talk blithely about supposed American detention camps and torture and spying, yet what you believe happens here is likely well overstated while what happened there was and probably is quite real. How many dead Americans were killed by their government and buried in mass graves? Even if you include the Civil War and Indians from a few centuries ago you'd be far below the level of Stalin or Lenin, let alone including Mao and Pol Pot.

Like it or not, you don't get much more free than here, and the West in general, for all its failings, still has a lot going for it. Capitalism may not be perfect, and corporations and nations may not have enough "empathy" to suit everybody, but I'd quiver to live in a country run by a oligarchy as kind and understanding as the self-sure bunch I see here.

What will you all (and you all know who I mean by "you") do if the US doesn't come crumbling down next year, or the dollar doesn't crash, or Iran doesn't get attacked, or Pickens and Exxon team up to create a charity for iceless polar bears, or McCain proposes funding the biggest alt energy project in history from a tax on newborn Republican children while Obama announces a massive new oil source from heating arctic shale using nuclear waste while melting baby seal blubber as a co-gen project? Will you at least think that MAYBE a knee-jerk anti-US, anti-capitalism reaction is just as misguided as a knee-jerk neocon position?

Let's debate with facts and use some modicum of rational support coupled with some human decency, shall we?

/rant off

Let's debate with facts and use some modicum of rational support coupled with some human decency, shall we?

Well said. Cheers!

Well, here some ppl seem to rejoice at the prospect of a crumbling US.
They should really think about what would that mean for them. And then they would start to hope that the US doesn't crumble.

As for detention camps.. well, of course the US has them, and it is a shame.

A detention camp in the US for Americans? Where?

For enemy combatants, terrorists, and spies? Where?

He's probably talking about the "FEMA concentration camps", take a look at:

sounds like yet another conspiracy theory:-(

Given he's correct about BuCheney, why would we do that?


Your "dear TOD members" are voting you big negative ratings on most of your comments - take a hint. Your attempt to pep-rally TOD members into down rating another reveals much about you. Apparently you understand as little about the caliber of most on this site as you do about how the world really works. You'll find most TOD folks are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves.

Best wishes for a Neocon-fantasy-free TOD.

Twilight, (may I call you Dim?)

I'm afraid you are right.

My plan, inspired by my great love of the neo-cons, was to use the Bush inspired plan of 'losing' Georgia to make propaganda against the expanded Russian sphere of influence.(Sarcasm)

But TOD members cannot be shamed out of their silent consent to Putin bombings of the Georgian people because their superior understanding of 'strategy' and 'logic' is too strong to be diverted by moral considerations.
I am appalled that only a few posters came even close to decrying the
brutal invasion of Georgia, which is not a fantasy.

Did you read the comments left by Nephilim? Or did you knee-jerk your way
to forming a judgement about me?

Best wishes for a clear conscience and pleasant dreams, Dim!

Do you really believe that life is a chess board?

Yo major - I don't see the same indignation in your posts on or around Iraq.

Are you being selecive?

To be fair, Iraq is rather old news, while Georgia is new. Who wants to rehash last year's news, when there is so much new stuff to misinterpret inventively?

I think most of us paleocons have been ready to be out of Iraq for a long time, and see little reason in fighting for oil when we have yet to:

- create an energy policy that would indicate why oil needs to be fought over at all
- attempt to conserve energy in any practical way, whether through efficiency regulations, negawatt programs, technology funding, transportation planning, or community re-structuring
- emphasize alternative energy in any meaningful way
- even renew the paltry incentives that have existed.

I saw the Afghanistan rationale, if not the recent prosecution of the war, but Iraq never made a lot of sense. But then, playing policeman in Kosovo wouldn't have been on my list either.

My comments were based on reading what YOU have written.

His/Her comment was not too easy to read, given the formating, but it appears to be a list of some of the well documented lies pumped out by our government. Is that what got your panties in a twist? It doesn't bother me, as I've known about the lies for years - in fact, I understood most of them were lies when I heard them. Sorry if you haven't caught on yet.

The lies and war crimes of our power mad sociopaths do not justify or excuse the actions of the those in other countries, and it is always the little people who get hurt. I cannot change that, and so it is frustrating to see an asshat like Saakashvili let the monster out of its cage just to satisfy his own personal ambition - egged on by neocon madmen. But these are the people who run countries, and it has always been so. Read the history of Britain after the fall of the Roman empire - a thousand years of one warlord or another trying to gain power, only to be murdered by his brother, or killed by the ambitious warlord next door, or wiped out by invaders from outside, etc. And of course the history of everywhere else is similar. How many people throughout history have been fooled/forced into killing and/or dieing for the cause of these people? It's what war is about, and it's why you don't start them.

So tonight, there are soldiers in Georgia who happily fired massive volleys of rockets and artillery (and likely did worse) into S. Ossetian towns, suckered into giving up their humanity by someone like Saakashvili, and now they are on the run because they pissed off the bigger thug next door. I do not care in the least what happens to them, nor what bad happens to Saakashvili, because it was stupid and wrong and they deserve what they get. But I very much feel for the people on both sides who will have their lives shattered or ended.

My conscience is not truly clear, because I know my disproportionate use of energy (and other resources) has contributed to the geopolitical stresses that is driving this. But I also know I would not have done these monstrous things, nor would I choose to allow them to be done in my name - even though they are.

Silence? This is happening all over the world, all the time, and often in our name. Let me hear your outrage over that.

Certainly it easy on a forum like this to vent with excess hyperbole and to overstate positions for effect. It's not like this is the only forum with flames and trolls. :)

Actually I do feel for the Georgian soldiers, and the Russians, and their families. They are the pawns of pawns, and really they do what they're told like soldiers do. I have had relatives die in the service, and I have relatives who serve now, and if you unit is told to target a bunch of buildings with artillery, I'm sure that's what you do (probably not "happily" though. It's a stomach churning event for most, I understand). War is hell.

In the end it doesn't matter if soldiers die in battle, or people starve, or are killed by their neighbor over some chickens, or in a bar brawl over a game loss, or in a car crash -- they are still dead, many pointlessly so, and they will be mourned by somebody. I don't think life is made to be lived in fear, or self-loathing, or stultifying timidity, or despair. Nor should it be lived in fear-mongering, or sociopathic hate, or manic self-assurance, or blind optimism. I do believe it can be lived with understanding, kindness, action, and hope.

Of course I know that evil and unfeeling wrongs happen everywhere everyday, some in our names, but good happens that way too. I also feel bad that we killed of the Indians and enslaved black people and have continuing social inequities, but I'm not going to apologize for it or feel guilty, because I wasn't there and I can't change it. For the rest of the world today, much suffering I can't stop or help either, but I can do a little closer to home to make the world a little better and maybe a little wiser place to be.

majorian: I will happily leave this venue (although I
feel it contains the most eclectic and best minds I have found on the topic of P.O.)if you show where any
facts I have posted were "brainless" or anything but
Your attempt at "swiftboating" my persona,and its
outcome,I take without self pride in its failure.
I happen to have loved my child while raising him too
adulthood and was on several occassions compelled to
give stern words of rebuke and even a few pats on the
bum to keep him from harm.
Telling blatant lies...or at least not telling the whole truth is detrimental to the health and future of
society as a whole.

Essence of : Hippocratic Oath for scientists and Doctors
"If I can do no the very least I should do
no harm"

I myself am a simple man of extended years and having
recieved no education whats-so-ever from any institution. I was compelled to associate myself with
people of the exact caliber as those I found here.
Any critical abilities of thought and deduction I may
on rare occassions demonstrate....are the product of
those I choose to surround myself with.
The information from industry insiders I find here on
TOD is of paramount value to a person of my humble
position. Harvard or Yale wouldnt provide me with any
thing remotely comparable.
Please take this operatunity to point out my errors
and see how swiftly I accept rebuke...before my
adversary can garner glee at my indefensible position.
Sincerely ,Nephilim

Ok....It really sucks that the Georgian people made mistake of trusting our fearful leader...and will be now butchered for that mistake,but,honestly,there is not a whole lot that folks like me can do about it.Aside from understanding that soon,we here in the USA may find ourselves in a hell of our own design that rivals that occurring in Georgia now...

That movie "red dawn" playing on all the tv's in Georgia might give a hint that things will not be quite the same as under the soviets....

Then pick up a rifle, and go defend the Georgian people yourself. Ah, but you will have 1001 excuses why YOU can't do that. May I introduce you to a mirror and a new word? Your word of the day is "hypocrite".

I used to use the Myers-Briggs tool to teach high school students about leadership & personality types (not the best, but affordable). One of the teachers who helped was a self-admitted, but reformed double high authority type. When asked how people like that thought, she responded "If I'm not in charge, someone is going to get hurt". She added that they were as sensitive to the slightest perceived loss of power as any of us might be if we couldn't draw our next breath.

Putin, a double, double-high, saw a chance to deal out some serious payback for being diminished and unable to breath for quite awhile. Power, payback, drawing a line, making a statement, getting control of oil & pipelines, recapturing lost territory, getting rid of an irritant, a kick to the U.S. & NATO's groin, a counter to Iran, a shove in the back to Bush and Condi as they head out the door... Yes, all of the above and whatever else everyone can think of. The opportunity was there and, being a man of power, Putin took it. He now has more chips to trade, and a successful war to counter the Afghanistan loss. And, if the U.S./Israel attack Iran and the price of oil goes through the roof, guess whose power and cash flow goes way up too.

Whether Saakashvili was goaded into attacking or just blundered into the bear-trap, he clearly was not thinking. As far as what Bush and Condi did or did not know, and if they didn’t do anything about it & why, should become clear over the next week or two as the story unfolds.

What is certain is that the video of Bush trading jolly pleasantries with Putin at the Olympics on the eve of this war will now join the other four defining moments of his administration: His ignoring 9/11 memo warning of Bin Ladin’s attack, using only 850 troops to try and capture Bin Laden in a country the size of Texas (Texas has over 13,000 active police officers in it), attacking Iraqi and the blunders therein, and the picture of him looking out of Air force One at New Orleans as he returned from attending a high-powered fundraiser held the night Katrina devastated the city.

Russia to Bush: Who's the Paper Tiger Now?

There's a not-so-subtle message in this action, aside from Russia's primary goals, to the United States. It concerns the missile defense systems Bush and the neocons think they can put in place with impunity.

It also demonstrates to the rest of the world what kind of an ally the US is when TSHTF. Bush is out of office in 6 months, though, so he doesn't really care.

Heres a local video from on the ground in the
theater of war.

This might add some clarity to the fog of war.

No, here is Russian propaganda courtesy of Russia Today blaming Bush and the U.S. for the carnage caused by Russia, Georgia and South Ossetia while the U.S. is not engaged in combat. Using the ridiculous argument symmetrically, it is all Russia's fault for having an army and training its soldiers. It is all Russia's fault for building a nuclear fission power reactor for Iran, a country that supports suicidal bombers and terrorists who kidnap and murder Russian school children. The video is a fog generator revealing Russia's desperation to conceal its naked aggression.

Heres the most recent update on Bush responding to
the emergency and disaster he created

"WARNING!!!! many hundreds of millions of people WERE
HARMED AND KILLED in the making of this video"

Good article...looks at the "The roots of the conflict", "Proxy War", "Nuclear Primacy: the larger strategic danger".

THE CAUCASUS: Washington Risks Nuclear War by Miscalculation

The dramatic military attack by the military of the Republic of Georgia on South Ossetia in the last days has brought the world one major step closer to the ultimate horror of the Cold War era—a thermonuclear war between Russia and the United States—by miscalculation. What is playing out in the Caucasus is being reported in US media in an alarmingly misleading light, making Moscow appear the lone aggressor. The question is whether George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are encouraging the unstable Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili in order to force the next US President to back the NATO military agenda of the Bush Doctrine. This time Washington may have badly misjudged the possibilities, as it did in Iraq, but this time with possible nuclear consequences.

This is a map Matt Mushalik e-mailed to me:

What truly amazes me is that there are so many "Armchair" diplomats" on these web sites. I would guess that less then 10% of the folks that are in this thread have any real idea what is going on any where in the world. I can see someone reporting from the front lines of battle or maybe in the presence of a congressional debate. But to sit back and type up accusations and suppositions seems to me to be more of a child game then folks really trying find peaceful solutions.
Just like armchair coaches watching a ball game, there is probably not a real diplomat among any that I have seen here. And unless you can fill the shoes of one who has to face this kind of action every day, I don't see much worth in your words.
Quite another thing if you are in the heat of battle or one of the negotiators.
No malice intended. Just observations of an old man

The problem with that sort of comment is that we end up saying that no-one has a worthwhile opinion.

"You can't say anything, because you haven't been there, man."
"And you can't say anything because having been there makes you biased."

All of us are either ignorant or biased, and therefore no-one can say anything.

That's really not a very helpful perspective.

That was exactly what I meant..if you have not been the you have no idea what is really going one and therefore your comment is pure speculation!
We have enough folks telling everyone of us what is wrong with the world and not enough with their hands ready to do the work. Talk is cheap.

And you can do something about for congress or an office and you start the changes you want to see. If you aren't willing to be part of the are part of the problem.

You didn't read all my comment. Try again.

Volunteering to Kill Georgians By JOHN WENDLE / VLADIKAVKAZ
Tue Aug 12, 4:25 AM ET

The Vladikavkaz City Recruiting Center in the Russian territory of North Ossetia lies just outside the main town, through a tall, steel gate. Inside, along a small driveway overlapped by tall pines, lie a parking lot, pavilion and fruit orchard. A low, two-story concrete building with peeling paint serves as the recruiting center. Men in clean, dark green fatigues organize would-be recruits. They are mostly men in their 50s and 60s who have already served but are too old now. Lots of gray hair and mustaches, gold teeth and cigarettes.

Around the courtyard, the potential recruits, men of all ages, squat and stand. There are half a dozen in their 20s; at least twice as many older men, some as old as 50. A group of 10 Cossacks - in their traditional blue breeches with a wide red stripe down the side, green tunic bedecked in medals and tall black riding boots - forms to one side. One man has a curled handlebar mustache and watery pale-blue eyes. The men in this group won't talk to the press and keep walking off to stand and talk in a circle in the orchard. But one told a reporter earlier that he had come all the way from Siberia to serve in the Russian operations across the border in Georgia and its breakaway region South Ossetia. They look like a rough, hard bunch.

A tall, athletic Serb in his mid-40s, with blue eyes and curly long blond hair, comes into the courtyard. He walks over to the group of Cossacks, picks the oldest one out of the group and gives him a big hug and a kiss on each cheek. According to two of the men in the courtyard, the Serb, who is wearing new fatigues and slightly worn Asolo hiking boots, had fought Bosnia and is now there to fight in South Ossetia and Georgia. He may have fought in Chechnya, but no one will say. I talk to him for a moment. He speaks some English but is more comfortable in his lightly accented Russian. "I've come to fight in South Ossetia alongside the Russians," he says.

The older men in the group of would-be recruits sit in a row on a bench smoking cigarettes. Some carry plastic red-white-and-blue-striped rice bags. The few recruiters who agree to be interviewed tell similar stories. They accuse the American and Western press of lying about the events in Georgia. No one believes that the Russians have invaded Georgia and that Tbilisi and other cities have been bombed. Because the Russian press has not reported it, they say, it cannot be true. A rumor widely circulated is that black soldiers have been spotted fighting on the Georgian side. This is seen as incontrovertible evidence that America is helping Georgia with military aid. There is widespread, anti-American sentiment here.

That's one of the reasons men continue to trudge into the recruitment center as the morning unfolds. "Hopefully I will go to serve tomorrow," says Ramaz Kuchiev, 27, who has arrived from Mazdok, a city in North Ossetia. "Probably we will go to Tskhinvali. There is a group of 50 of us that are prepared to serve right now." Kuchiev has amber eyes and a calm but intense demeanor. He served his two years in the Russian army at a base near Moscow. Now he is unemployed; he is wearing a bright red shirt and pointy black shoes. "I want to go to Tskhinvali. The Georgians shot small children there. I want to go kill Georgians."

"Now he is unemployed"

I wonder how many unemployed americans have signed up for want of a job? I would guess that in America right now it is in fact difficult to get enough new recruits given the wars have been going on for a long time.

"Because the Russian press has not reported it, they say, it cannot be true."

I don't know about the russian language version but the english version of russia today has plenty of information. Here's a timeline:

it includes comments like:

16:31 GMT – Georgian troops have been forced out of Kodori gorge, according to Abkhazian Deputy Defence Minister.
15:32 GMT – Russia is not keeping any peace in Georgia, says U.S. Deputy State Secretary Matthew Bryza.

So not all one way propoganda. Then again poor unemployed russians probably don't look at much internet.

Right now Medvedev and Sarkozy (current EU head) are talking together and trying to devise a peace plan. Six points seem to have been agreed:
1)not to resort to the use of force.
2)to halt all military action.
3)free access to humanitarian aid.
4)Georgian Armed Forces should return to their bases.
5)Russian Armed Forces should pull back to their positions prior to combat.
6)the beginning of international discussions on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and on ways to ensure their security.

Well, that wasn't very diplomatic :)

This article is the source for the map:

Russian troops take first steps deep into Georgian territory

NATO isn't going to do anything.

Saakashvili needs to be dragged to The Hague. No more double standards.
The Georgian military that indiscriminately bombed Russian civilians will cease to exist.

Fairly detailed map of Georgia for those following along at home.

Hello TODers,
Russian president calls halt to Georgian war

And there it is...every former Soviet country now knows what can happen if they stray too far from Russia into the arms of America....mission accomplished.

DJ is reporting that Russia are still bombing targets in Georgia. Seems to be villages.

To call a halt would indicate they've achieved their objective, but that objective is not immediately clear at this point or they've been stopped. Do they control the pipeline? Are the Georgian elite now ready to do as they're told? Has the US whispered something in Russia's ear?

There is obviously some piece of news that we're not privy to at the moment.

Hi totonella:
I believe one of the objectives that the Russian politicos had in mind when they extended the war was to reduce and destroy Georgian military units that to my mind are fascist gangs made up of Ukrainians, mercenaries, paid agents(Israeli, US,) and the lot.
There are Gerogian videos on youtube glorifing these "heros" I viewed had over 1000 killed by this Georgian unit.
The attack on Ossetia by these Georgian forces will be shown to be a genicidal scorched earth approach. The Georgian president, when confronted with the Russian Army, tried to offer a cease fire, and complained that the Russian Army would not disengage. They would not disengage because one of the primary war aims was to destroy these Georgian military units that that terrorized their neighbors. The Russian Army went looking for certain Georgian military units, to army bases, and that is why the war continued. Now the Georgian military has been ground down and the Russians have stopped.

I'm absolutely certain that the RNC will take 100% credit for the Russians calling a halt to military action in Georgia. I can just hear it now, "Although Obama is a bobble-headed celebrity with no experience, John McCain showed presidential leadership in bringing an end to violence in Georgia". All hail corporate America where policies are crafted by ex-congressmen-multi-millionaire-lobbyists. If you're a true American, you'll kneel in obeyance during the next ten thousand TV ads aired during the Olympics.