Georgia Conflict - Open Thread #4

Medvedev Signs Georgia Peace Plan After Saakashvili (Update4)

The Georgian interior minister, Shota Upiashvili, said at a Tbilisi news conference that the Russians today carried out an attack on a railway bridge near the Georgian village of Grakali paralyzing the whole Georgian railway system.

Rail bridge destroyed west of Tbilisi - Reuters witness

KASPI, Georgia, Aug 16 (Reuters) - A Reuters television crew verified on Saturday that a railway bridge on the main line west of the Georgian capital Tbilisi has been destroyed. . .

Villagers said an explosive device had been detonated remotely on Saturday by men in military uniforms.

Prior Summary
Russia has won in the conflict in Georgia, and we are in the process of sorting out what happens next. Various ones have written what they see happening.


But this week's offensive, during which British Petroleum shut down an oil pipeline and temporarily stopped pumping gas through Georgia, has called into question plans for a Eurasian corridor free from Russian interference.

"The Caspian region is wondering what this means for the future," says Giorgi Vashakmadze, an energy executive in Georgia. "Russia is showing it controls this corridor."

War Casts Cloud Over Pipeline Route

Now, Georgia's vulnerability may have dealt a lethal blow to Nabucco and plans for a trans-Caspian pipeline.

"A trans-Caspian gas pipeline can be considered a forever buried chimera," said Pavel Baev, an energy expert at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo. "It became clear for all the participants of these energy games that nothing will go through the Caspian Sea."

Europe was "shocked" by the instability and realized that "hardly anyone would invest money in new projects" associated with Georgia, said Konstantin Simonov, director of the Fund for National Energy Security.

Georgia: A Blow to US Energy by Steve LeVine

What about the White House's plans for a pipeline to ship natural gas to Europe? The proposed pipeline's success depends on Turkmenistan, which has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves on the planet, an estimated 3 trillion cubic meters. The Turkmen are cautious: Under former President Saparmurat Niyazov, they refused to defy the Russians and support the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. "[Niyazov] thought about it and probably decided he didn't want to wake up dead," says former U.S. diplomat Wolf.

The assault on Georgia may make the Turkmen even more wary of the new pipeline. Instead, they may end up cutting a deal with the Russians, who are vigorously pursuing new gas pipelines of their own in a bid to dominate energy in the region. "A new Iron Curtain," says analyst Ruppel, "is descending around the periphery of Russia."

After war in Georgia, what does Russia want?

"This is not about oil," said Kimberly Marten, an expert on Russian defense and foreign policy at Barnard College. "The only oil at stake is what's flowing through the BTC pipeline to Turkey, something that involves many big Western oil companies; and if Russia were to do anything to disrupt that, it would become a pariah in Europe." . . .

The war may have weakened Ukraine's bid to enter NATO, some experts predicted, because of European concerns about antagonizing Russia. The defeat of Georgia, an ally of Washington, also could reduce the influence of the United States in the former Soviet Union — particularly among the rulers of Central Asia.

Rice says draft truce protects Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says a proposed cease-fire she wants Georgia to sign with Russia protects Georgia's interests despite concessions to Moscow.

Russian soldiers continue to occupy Georgian towns

Russian soldiers are still occupying three towns in Georgia today as international efforts continue to resolve the crisis in the country.

Russia is vowing to remain in control of the towns until it is satisfied that the Georgian military is no longer capable of attacking the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia and Georgia have both accepted a French-brokered peace plan that requires them to return to the positions they held before Georgia launched an asault on South Ossetia last week.

Dmitry Orlov gives his view of what is happening in his blog:

The Trouble with Georgia

It may be difficult for some people to grasp why it is that the Abkhaz or the Ossetians do not much fancy suddenly becoming Georgian, so let me offer you a precise analogy. Suppose Los Angeles, California, were to collapse as the USSR once did, and East L.A. quickly moved to declare its independence. Suppose, further, that the 88% of its population that is Hispanic/Latino voted that the other 12% were free to stay on as "guests," provided they only spoke Spanish. The teaching of English were to be forbidden. After some bloody skirmishes, East L.A. split up into ethnic enclaves. Then some foreign government (say, Russian, or Chinese) stepped in and started shipping in weapons and providing training to the Latino faction, in support of their efforts to restore East L.A.'s "territorial integrity." As a non-Hispanic resident of East L.A., would you then (1) run and hide, (2) stay and fight, or (3) pick up a copy of "Spanish for Dummies" and start cramming?

Can somebody explain to me why Georgians decided to attacked south Ossetia? what the hell were they thinking? they should stay quiet with the mighty Russian army at their doorstep!

the georgian-russian conflict shows that US promises, guarantees and mutual commitment are meaningless.

As such, allies such as poland, czech, turkey, baltic states, ukraine all have mutual committment from the US.....all are meaningless when Russia attacks them.

Uh completely false, First off Georgia is NOT a NATO country and the US never guarenteed or even said they would protect them militarily. Now Ukraine is one thing, I can't say one way or another if the US would defend her, but the other countries are members of NATO, and I can guarantee you any attack on them would lead to a full scale NATO Vs. Russia War and Russia knows this.

Maybe, but I bet Georgia is feeling pretty ****ing stupid right now for sending 2000 of their soldiers to help W out on his adventure...


Half of Ukraine is waiting for Russia to claim it. The crimea and Donbass want to unite with Russia but Russia is lukewarm to this because of the cost of rebuilding their economies. They have been struggling to rebuild their economy and are finally over the hump.They don't have the money to invest in this project. However I could see the crimea joining Russia soon as it is very strategic for harboring the Black sea fleet.

Why would Russia ever militarily attack a NATO member when it could just withhold or raise the price of natural gas?

Are ya nuts?

It's true the US never explicitly provided a security guarantee to Georgia. All it did was hold up Georgia as a model for the rest of New Europe (to use Cheney's notorious phrase) to emulate, provide military advisors, and talk extensively (if vaguely) about the benefits that New Europe could realize by cozying up to the US. Do you think it's an accident that Georgia had the 2nd largest contingent in the Coalition of the Willing? Personally I'm pretty sure they expected some kind of quid pro quo for that.

And the quid pro quo was that the US would insulate them from Russian pressure. Instead what they got was TV images of the president of the United States covorting at the Olympics while Gori burned. Fact is the whole episode has sent an unmistakeable message not only to Georgia but the other former Soviet republics about what American support is really worth when push comes to shove.

Bottom line: not a hell of a lot.

You could almost wonder what the prize here is. Clearly the BTC is undamaged and is likely to continue that way. And what do the US corporations and banks really care about whether Georgia is unified or not? However this appears to have been the catalyst that brought about the signing of the missile shield agreement with Poland. In a short time, with missiles in place, the US will have "nuclear primacy", and Russia will have no choice but to follow US corporate and banking dictates delivered by whichever president has been installed in the oval office to cater to their needs.

Russia will have no choice but to follow US corporate and banking dictates...

Most US corporations are very weak; many are going bankrupt or are seeking additional capital which dilutes equity, while others having ofshored their operations aren't really US corporations any more. The Doha trade round failed, which means the uS corporate agenda failed. The banks are in even dire straits; many financial corporations are bankrupt, trillions of dollars in caital valuation no longer exisis, and the whole of the US financial system hangs by a very thin thread of foreign investment.

In other words, the powers you say are going to dictate orders to Russia are very close to not having a pot to piss in.

Exactly right.
The events of the past 10 days have provided ample proof, if any was needed, that Russia is an ascendant power.
And the US? After 5 years of war and occupation?
Would it not seem to be prudent to Russian generals to now probe and test US force projection capabilities?
A proxy war would useful- if only both sides had reliable clients.
Absent that, the tension builds.
I thought history was over and the world was flat and now that Russia has McDonalds we needn't concern ourselves with them...remember that?
Maybe Georgia didn't have a McDonalds.

while some businesses are failing and will fail, there seems to be no real threat to the central bank, yet. Nor have the oil majors seen a decline in profits, yet. And while I agree with you that it is coming, it could be a few years off still. And yes these are the guys that are calling the shots. Cheney brought them all into a room for secret meetings in 2000, and I imagine the recent follies are the outcome of their meetings: WTC 1,2, and 7, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and of course the continual boxing in of Russia. Anyway who do you think guides foreign policy and for what ends? It ain't you or me, except in some bazaare trickle down rational. If the world were fair Russia with all its energy would be a rising star. I think the missile shield has less to do with Iran and more to do with Russia. Do you think otherwise? If the Internaltional corporations and banks aren't calling the shots, do you think Bush and Cheney have acted independantly for the common good?


You are correct in your astute analysis. However Gori did not fair as badly as MSM would have you believe: (Link with video)

Gori was the staging grounds for the attack on South Ossetia therefore it recieved an inordinate amount of attention in the ensuing counter-attack.



another disturbing aspect is the pre-text under which the USA began militarizing Georgia:

There is, however, one small kernel of truth in what is otherwise a rather self-serving argument: In 2002, when the U.S. began providing military assistance and training to Georgia, both the Washington and Tblisi claimed there was evidence of Al Qaeda hiding out in Georgia's Pankisi region (similarly, there were articles, like this one in Time, titled "Inside Al-Qaeda's Georgia Refuge"). Those early claims appear to have evaporated, however. In 2006, the Dallas Morning News ran an article repeating what many have come to believe in the years since: there never really was credible evidence of Al Qaeda in Georgia. The article quote a Tbilisi-based analyst saying: "I personally would not link al-Qaeda with Pankisi in any way whatsoever."


Antidoomer, you're joking right? A full scale NATO vs. Russia war?

Do you really think NATO countries would risk a war with Russia over those ex-Russian satelite countries? I don't think so. They're just not worth it.

Hello Cslater8,

See my [N]itrogen posting at the bottom of this thread. I would hope that NATO & the US would gladly sit in the dark, if required, to avert full-on war with Russia. TSHTF when you can't get sufficient NPK to grow minimal food...

This would be quite saddening to me since I have many friends in Lithuania and know the struggle they went through to become independent in the 1990's. Of course the former satellite countries with natural resources or strategic energy infrastructure should be the ones that Russia pays the most attention to first. Lithuania's main asset (correct me anyone if I'm wrong) is their easy access to the Baltic Sea and some nuclear power plants.


Ignalina is the Lithuanian muclear plant. It's shutdown is scheduled to be completed next year. Latvia,Lithuania and Poland signed a memorandum of agreement to build a new plant. However due to lack of financing and bitter disagreements among the states it is not progressing well:

Lithuania is acting on such recommendations. With Poland, Latvia and Estonia it has discussed a new nuclear plant with capacity of between 3,200 and 3,400 megawatts at a cost of 22 billion Lithuanian litas ($9.24 billion).

But talks have got bogged down as Poland wants a third of the output and made agreement conditional upon connecting the plant to its grid. Shevaldin said the planned launch date of 2015 could be delayed at least two years, but Latvian government officials have said 2020 might be more realistic.

Russia has decided to build a Nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad and plans to sell the excess capacity to Lat,Lith and PL.

From wiki:

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is a two-unit RBMK-1500 nuclear power station in Visaginas, Lithuania. It is named after a larger nearby town Ignalina. Unit #1 was closed in December 2004, as a condition of Lithuania's entry into the European Union; the plant is similar to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in its lack of a robust containment structure. The remaining unit, as of 2006, supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand.[1] Unit #2 is tentatively scheduled for closure in 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another nuclear power plant in Lithuania

Information on the port of Klaipeda:



here is some polling information regarding the situation.

"If a referendum on unification of the former Soviet republics into a new alliance would be held today, would you vote in favour of the alliance or against it?"

In favour 51 45 36
Against 22 25 32
other/not sure 27 30 32

My own Note: 45% percent of Ukrainian people want Unification with Russia. However this encompasses all Ukraine. The percent among the Eastern part would problably approach 80-90%. Firther more this poll was taken in wake of gas pricing disputes with both Ukraine and Belarus.

"However in spite of most citizens regretting the Soviet Union dissolution the quantity of those who is ready today to vote for a unification of former union republics into a new union during a hypothetical referendum are less than those who “regret”. At that if in Russia almost a half of population (51%) voted for a new union, in Ukraine a little bit less (45%), in Belarus unification spirit is significantly weaker, here only a third of population (36%) would support unification. In Armenia 49% would vote for unification, 41% would vote against it (more than in other countries)."



Some info On Ukraine's NATO "aspirations" as the MSM likes to call it:

In regards to Ukraine joining NATO:
The poll revealed that 54.9% of respondents would vote against joining the military alliance if a referendum were to be held tomorrow, and that 22.3% would back joining NATO.

Why our are the leaders of Ukraine and the USA trying to drag Ukraine into NATO against the will of their people? Is this how democratic countries behave.


The Georgians had donated 2,000 troops to the Iraq effort. In return, they received training for their troops. I don't know if this influenced their belief that their troops were more competent then they were, or that the US would come and back them up.

My understanding is that the training the Georgian troops received was counter-insurgency, war-on-terrorism training. Not the sort of training that makes you competent against tanks. But evidently enough to make you think you can take them on...

I think Saakashvily miscalculated how much support he will get from his western allies. I think his plan was to take positions in the province by surprise and hold the lines against the Russian counter-offensive until the US and the west gather in support of the Georgian "territorial integrity" and against the "Russian aggression into Georgian territory".

However he did not foresee that Russians were carefully planning for exactly the same scenario. The mighty Georgian army (partially US-trained and armed) was pushed away too quickly before anyone could react. Another miscalculation - apparently he did not get prior approval by his US mentors, he just assumed they will come to aid in order to save their reputation. I don't think US would ever openly or even covertly support all of this, they need Russia too much to take that risk (to deal with Iran, for the energy projects etc.).

Interesting to speculate how much of the miscalculation on his part may have been deliberately induced by foreign diplomats?

I wouldn't speculate too much in that direction.

It could have very well been a provocation to push Russia into this war, which could be used as a wildcard against it at later stage. But the reaction of the West made me think it's not that, not this time... they were cautious in their reactions at first, and tried to exploit the alleged Russian overreaction at much later stage.

Personally I am attributing this simply to the opportunistic craziness of Saakashvily. That guy is a psycho, you can not just offer cease fire during the day and shell a city full of civilians in the night. I have nothing against Georgians, they are people as everyone else, but they are simply out of luck with their leaders - and they have a long history of that.

According to a Georgian timeline, Georgia declared and implemented an unilateral cease fire on Aug. 7, but South Ossetian militiamen resumed shelling the Georgian village of Avnevi about an hour later. Since it likely required several days for Georgia to assemble their troops to invade South Ossetia, they were probably ready on Aug. 7, and Saakashvili offered one last chance for South Ossetia to stop their attacks. Because the South Ossetian militiamen ignored it, he made his fateful move.

The timeline indicates the first Russian troops entered South Ossetia through the Roki Tunnel at 05:30 on Aug. 8. At 08:00 Georgian airplanes successfully bombed the Gufta Bridge and killed some Russian troops forcing the advancing column to take the alternate Geri-Dmenisi road. Although the time line makes no mention, the Russian air force may have prevented Georgia from bombing the Roki Tunnel which, if it had been destroyed, would have halted the advancing Russian armor gaining Georgia more time. The failure of Georgia to destroy the Roki Tunnel may have been pivotal in their rapid demise.

Even the Georgian version of the story seems to confirm that the attack on Osetia was well prepared and planned for act, not some kind of incidental decision to invade.

I also don't put much trust in the part of the story when Osetinians separatist continued to launch rockets towards Georgian villages 1 hour after the announced "unilateral" cease fire. Besides unconfirmed information, it's hard to imagine that immediate peace could have been establish before meeting with militant leaders and signing a bilateral cease fire. What exactly did Saakashvily expect - just stop firing and the others all at once to say thank you, we're stopping too? And it's hard to justify the destruction of a whole city and a full scale invasion on the basis of a few rockets. Overall it's very hard to find who's right and wrong in such messy situations, but one thing is certain - Georgian leaders did a huge a mistake by doing what they did.

What we do know is that Georgia has wanted to reassert its sovereignty over South Ossetia for many years. We also know that the US and its allies have been training and equipping the Georgians. Also, the US went to a great deal of trouble to bring Georgia into its circle of influence via the rose revolution. We also know that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Georgia in early July as tensions grew in the area and was Russia warning of a escalation due to Georgia's actions.

I do not for one minute believe that the US were not in the loop concerning Georgia's plan to attack South Ossetia. At best the US gave it a green light, at worst the US instigated the attack for strategic reasons. The US also had military on the ground training the Georgian troops at the time and its unlikely they weren't aware of what was happening. The US could have stopped it with a phone call if they so wanted.

It is also likely that the Georgian solution to the South Ossetian problem was to ethnically cleanse the area, hence their incredible onslaught on the civilian population of Tskhinvali. An onslaught that left the city in ruins and has prompted the Russians to open an investigation into attempted genocide by the Georgians.

So whatever madness possessed the Georgians to attack South Ossetia, it was madness fully endorsed by the regime in Washington. Either because they wanted the current outcome or because they thought the Georgians would get away with it. As the Russians are now dismembering practically everything the US has worked to achieve in Georgia over the last 4 years and perhaps longer, I'm assuming it was the latter.

So whatever madness possessed the Georgians to attack South Ossetia, it was madness fully endorsed by the regime in Washington. Either because they wanted the current outcome or because they thought the Georgians would get away with it. As the Russians are now dismembering practically everything the US has worked to achieve in Georgia over the last 4 years and perhaps longer, I'm assuming it was the latter.

My feeling is that even Bush would have balked it he thought large scale ethnic cleansing was planned. Perhaps Saakashvili somehow, thought he could move into S Ossetia with little opposition, presenting the world with a fait accompli. Then when the combination of Russian "peacekeepers", S Ossetia irregulars, and S Ossetian citizens violently resisted, the occupation force was likely presented with a situation they had not gamed (i.e. anticipated and practiced for ahead of time). In such a situation poorly trained and led forces could easily forget decent rules of engagement. So whether by incompetence/ failure for be ready for the worst case, or willfull intent, apparently the Georgian forces were participating in serious atrocities. We still don't know for sure if this is even the case, i.e. how much of the civilian casualties, and property destruction was the work of the Georgians, versus the Russians. In any case it was a serious miscalculation on the part of the Georgians.

Of more concern to me, is how this is playing out with respect to American presidential politics. It looks like all parties, Bush, McCain, and Obama, are acting as if testosterone sells well to the voters. We are upping the energy of the US/Russian conflict, at precisely the time when we should be damping it down. My guess is that blame is roughly 80/20 here, with the 80 being on the Georgian side, but domestic political considerations mean we are acting as if it was all Russia's fault. This does not bode well for future US Russian relations.

It looks like the Russians baited the Georgians into a trap. And I don't think the timing, right at the onset of the Olympics, was a coincidence either.

The first line of this post suggests Russia won this conflict. I don't think so. This was really a pointless display of force, which, when combined with the business issues there (Yukos, BP, Exxon, Shell, Mechel) will likely make potential investors in Russia shy away even further than they already have.

There was a message for other former Soviet allies in this, and they too got the message. But as Poland has demonstrated, it may we'll drive them away from Russia further.

"Russians baited the Georgians into a trap"?!?

So you organize a the shelling and destruction of a whole city, because you were "baited" by some claimed border incidents? Just like Israel destroyed Lebanon, because they were "challenged"? OK, you believe what you wish.

A very key point everyone here and in the Propaganda System is missing/avoiding is that Saakashvili on the eve of his invasion offered a ceasefire and negotiations dealing with the Ossetians independent status:

On August 7 Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in his national TV address to Georgia and to the Tskhinvali region, said he was ready for any negotiations to settle the conflict with South Ossetia. He suggested Russia become a guarantor of South Ossetia's autonomy within Georgia.

Thus the well deserved cries of war crimes. The "infamy" of Georgia is no different from that of Japan in 1941--pretending to negotiate in good faith while planning a sneak attack.

Overall, the end result is that very little has changed. Russia still holds all the energy cards; and as I said before, Russia doesn't need Europe or the USA, whereas they both need Russia's energy and other mineral resources. The importers are perhaps more clearly in the inferior position, and signing treaties to install technologies that are proven to NOT work isn't going to change that fundamental one bit.

Reading this info sheet about Russia's natgas exports and other related data helps one appreciate the strength of the Russain energy position and the weakness of its adversaries.

So, I post a link to an EIA infosheet and get a minus rec? It does contain a great table displaying country's % of domestic gas use comes from Russia. Or maybe it's just that I used an EIA source? Whatever. Some folks are just realityaverse.

OTOH the current Russian leadership is more or less propped up by export revenues; it's not like they can "punish" the EU/USA by reducing exports and not suffer themselves from that.

True but never forget that money is merely a psychological concept. Whereas the oil under their land is a real thing.

"... Russia still holds all the energy cards". More than true.

One-tenth of America’s electricity comes from fuel made from Russian nuclear warheads. The Megatons to Megawatts program converts highly-enriched uranium in Russian weapons into low-enriched uranium that is used in US civilian nuclear power reactors.

Russia has shown reluctance to part with it and if a worldwide energy crisis is triggered expect the worst from them regarding honoring and extending uranium supply contracts.

Ahh!! but the chain you mention has even more links,
many of them. The nuclear fuel America uses comes from
Russian sources and when depleted,(depleted Urainium)
its turned into weapons to kill and maim to further
take control of "Americas Intrests" (READ OIL) thats
under other peoples sand.
This is the only site Ive seen where people accept the
truth that Georgia instigated the aggression.
All other places have fallen victim to the MSM
propaganda that its all the former USSR's fault.

Hi Neph,

The nuclear fuel America uses comes from Russian sources and when depleted,(depleted Urainium (sic)) its turned into weapons to kill and maim to further take control of "Americas Int(e)rests" (READ OIL) thats under other peoples sand.

I take it this is just your little joke? DU and spent nuclear fuel are very different things.

Of course, I certainly wouldn't want to be hit by a DU shell, whether fired by an American or a Russian aircraft. There's a lot of spent DU lying around in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The first line of this post suggests Russia won this conflict. I don't think so. This was really a pointless display of force, which, when combined with the business issues there (Yukos, BP, Exxon, Shell, Mechel) will likely make potential investors in Russia shy away even further than they already have."

Are you kidding? The Russians really give a rat's ass about foreign investment -- they are rolling in money and will be for a long time to come. And in fact the Russians have really won big time here, they have most assuredly stopped anymore foreign investment in Georgia, especially for new pipelines, and also most likely any other pipelines in the area.
All new pipelines will go to them. And I wouldn't be surprised if the existing pipelines in Georgia never reopen. Think how vulnerable they are to "terrorist" attack, as proven just a couple weeks ago in Turkey. Very, very likely to happen again over and over in Georgia now, done by angry Ossetians.


From Intel:

"We at Intel have a saying: Give the urgent projects to the Americans, big projects to the Indians, and the impossible ones to the Russians. The Russians can do anything, "says Steve Chase, the head of Intel's branch in Russia.

To further support your argument at this very moment the following large companies are expanding their operations in Russia. GM,Ford,Caterpillar,Bosch,Siemens,Pepsi,Coke,Intel,Mitsubishi,Hochtief,bombardier, Volvo, Magna - Actually I think every major corporation is.

The Soviet Union left Russia with a few good things(Not many).
1. The best science and engineering education system in the world
2. good mass transit.

From Global Insight:

Remarkably, today's Russia may have the right combination of talent, expertise and cost to be the location of choice for development of financial technology, specifically for complex software engineering and R&D projects. For one, Russia keeps producing: More than 2 million people work in more than 4,500 R&D centers throughout Russia, with at least 1 million being researchers and scientists. This is far more than in any other country. A vast majority of Russian software engineers and computer programmers holds MS or PhD degrees in mathematics or physics. With a significant R&D heritage, one of the world's best educational systems and a tremendous pool of software engineers, Russia has become a key location for R&D work for many leading American and European companies. This list includes Bechtel, Boeing, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, and Sun Microsystems, among others.

Russians are known for their unconventional approach and complex problem-solving capabilities. "We at Intel have a saying: Give the urgent projects to the Americans, big projects to the Indians, and the impossible ones to the Russians. The Russians can do anything, "says Steve Chase, the head of Intel's branch in Russia. While India and China lead the way in number, overall size and revenue volume of outsourcing vendors, Russian IT companies are often built on the "boutique" vs. "wholesale" approach, focusing on solving advanced R&D problems. Thus, most large projects demanding standardized solutions are often outsourced to India, and specialized R&D tasks go to Eastern Europe.

I heartily concur.

Looking back at the dread Cold War (part I) arms race, it was amazing how well the Russians were able to keep up after being set back by WW2 and having very limited access to modern transistor technology.

The Russians also came up with some incredibly outside the box solutions, as well as some solutions to questions no one in the West had even thought of.

On the other hand, you can also see many practical details in Russian design that are overlooked or ignored by the West. For example, look at their frontline fighter aircraft. They are designed with retractable primary air intake grates, secondary dorsal intakes, and ruggedized landing gear to facilitate operation from very rough airfields. By comparison, Western aircraft all seem to assume perfectly smooth and clear wartime airfields.

The Soviet Union left Russia with a few good things(Not many).
1. The best science and engineering education system in the world
2. good mass transit.

Like most things that work in Russia, these were copied from foreigners, starting about 300 years ago. The army and the educational system from the Germans, the navy and the railways from the British (although the supposed origin of the Russian word for Railway Station may be an urban myth - look it up), architecture from the French, large-scale industrialization from the Americans, political theory from a German Jew, and the secret police (which still works very well indeed) from the Austro-Hungarians. Hence the perpetual Russian inferiority complex - never more on display than during the past week.

Sure, and America is made of, what exactly ???

привет всем моим российских спам-роботов друзей. Как погода в Москве?


greetings to all my Russian friends spam bots. How's the weather in Moscow?

Typical summer weather comarade--warm, then showers, then warm again. Weekends at the Dacha are very quiet. For the first time in long time, life is good.

до свидания


I live in Philly, since you asked its a typical humid and muggy summer. We go the Jersey shoe for relief. Fortunately I am never more than a mouseclick away from Russian culture if I feel the need:

enjoy some Zhanna.


I'd have called that Russian decadence, rather than Russian culture of which there has been no shortage over the centuries.

I recall I was in a hotel bar in Kiev some years back. I struck up a conversation with a the bartendress, young, very fit and yes very attractive. I mentioned that I was not great with foreign languages like many in the US. She mentioned that her study speciality was in linguistics and spent 20 minutes giving me, in fluent English, a dissertation on the etymology, roots and dispersion of Rus/Slavic languages. This was a bartender. While I don't recall the details of most of what I learned on the topic, it does stay with me that this might not be the sort of people to senselessly and needlessly screw with.

Ossian revenge? Very good point.

And after what has happened (whatever the physical evidence might eventually show, it is clear the Ostians already believe Georgia's attack was an attempt at ethnic cleansing)--and considering the Caucasian propensity for vengeance and feuding--this seems more than likely.

I would agree that the Georgian pipeline--and all future projects--are dead.

Which is why, as I posted below, Turkey suddenly seems to be looking to Russia, not Georgia, for future energy projects.

It is hard to believe the US thought its Georgian war through. Maybe the White House thinks it worth it to elect McCain, but the strategic cost is . . . just . . amazing. problem.

South Ossetia is within Georgian internationally accepted borders as even Russian maps show.
The fact is that South Ossetia was a source of drug-trafficking and crime.

It's not clear that this Georgian 'incusion' was anymore than tit-for-tat for raids by South Ossetian irregulars.

I think the entire world world was surprised at the overwhelming force and coordination shown by Russia. Obviously this has been in the works for years.

Putin was also irritated by Georgian incusions into Abkhazia, which is part of Russia's 'riveria'. The 2014 Winter Olympics is to be held in Sochi just 20 miles north of Abkhazia.

Clearly Putin laid a trap for Georgia (and Bush too).
Is it a crime to fall into a maliciously set trap?
Some people think setting up lethal 'man-traps' for burgulars is well within their property rights.
But the world-at-large (and the law) regards them as unacceptable.

In effect you are 'blaming the victim'.

Also, the Russian people are not to blame for Putonian excess. It is the act of just one man(and his obliging slaves) IMO.

As for Bush, he is responsible for his irresponsible needling of Putin and deserves condemnation and a hard slap on the wrist for that, but for VVP
it's becoming a serious international crime.

Your foaming at the mouth ignorance is barely worth a response but here it is:

The view from South Ossetia: Joy and thanks in the land that is now part of Russia

It looks like a small Stalingrad, doesn't it?" says Teimuraz Pliyev, 62. "Barbarians! Look – this is Georgian democracy. If it weren't for Russia, we would already have been buried here."

"Georgians" and "Genocide" come up again and again in these crumpled streets, always in the same breath.

"I saw a Georgian soldier throw a grenade into a basement full of women and children," rages Sarmat Tskhovredov, 28, who joined to fight on the spur of the moment. "The young men ran, but the women and the infirm who could not leave were shot like dogs."

Ever wonder how ethnic Russians in Tbilisi feel?

Forty-three-year-old Ilya serves as an acolyte at the Russian Orthodox Church named after Aleksandr Nevsky in Tbilisi. He arrived in Georgia from his native Volgograd seven years ago.

Ilya says he's praying the confrontation between Russia and Georgia does not end up affecting ordinary people like himself living in Georgia. Already, hundreds of Georgians have been expelled from Russia for alleged illegal immigration. Russia has imposed a series of measures against Georgians living in Russia, despite Tbilisi's release of four Russian soldiers accused of spying.

Ilya says the deterioration in relations between Georgia and Russia has not yet been reflected in his life. "I am from a simple, working, peasant family," he says. "I got married in 1991. Fate brought me here in 1998 together with my child, and I stayed. For me, personally, nothing has changed. Nothing at all. I continue to receive warmth and love, the lack of which I have never experienced from the Georgian people."

Family Quarrel

In the church where Ilya serves, all services are performed in the Russian language. The parish is comprised predominantly of ethnic Russians.

Sixty-one-year-old Sergei Davidov goes to the church almost every day. Davidov is unemployed. The church serves more than just his spiritual needs. Davidov always carries a bowl to church to collect soup, which the church provides for the poor, free of charge.

Davidov finds it difficult to speak about the strained relations between Georgia and Russia. "The Soviet Union is long gone, but we still consider ourselves as members of the same family," he says. "Seeing the family members quarrel naturally makes me worried. I am not experiencing any physical pressure, of course. But morally, I am very down, for we have a very bad, confrontational situation."

Deep Roots

Some 119 Georgians accused of illegal immigration were deported from Russia on October 10, the second group of Georgians to be expelled in less than a week.

Despite these tensions, School No. 72 in the capital, which provides instruction in Russian, has also remained insulated from the dispute.

Ludmila Likonzeva is the school's vice principal. Born in St. Petersburg, Likonzeva has been living in Georgia since 1968. She says the Russian government's policies bear no resemblance to the attitudes shared by the Russian people.

"We are very hurt to see all this," she says. "We keep receiving phone calls from our native towns. People call and ask us not to believe what we're hearing. We are by your side, they say. We love Georgia and Georgians. They are worried. We married Russians. This is our motherland. Our children and grandchildren are here, and we are not going anywhere. We praise our state and provide the youngsters with strength and love, so that out friendship is strong and eternal."

Rejecting Xenophobia

Anatoly, a pupil at School No. 72, says his parents are not planning to leave Georgia. "The school is very nice. I like it here a lot," he says. "I have nice classmates -- Georgians, Russians, Armenians. My sister used to also study here. Now she is a student at an institute."

Anatoly's parents, who are both ethnic Russians, run a shop in Tbilisi. Georgia's tax police, in contrast to Russia, have not started inspecting shops and restaurants on account of the owners' ethnicity.

Education Minister Kakha Lomaia says the Georgian government has no plans to follow the Russian leadership's example. "Our response is [from] a democratic, tolerant, open, pluralistic society," he says. "Our response is [based on] the values we share. First and foremost, it is to defend human rights. Georgia has always been far from xenophobia and discrimination, and this will surely remain unchanged."

No Politics In The Kitchen

Despite Russia's ban on Georgian wine and mineral water, Russian alcohol and food appear to have retained their popularity among Georgians. Matrioshka, a Russian restaurant in the center of Tbilisi, offers fine Russian cuisine.

Nikolai, who works at the restaurant, says that, despite the worsening political situation, the number of Russian food aficionados has not dwindled in Tbilisi.

Natia sips a cold Russian beer while she waits for her delivery of hot pilmenis. Is she considering a change in her culinary preferences because of the political tensions between Russia and Georgia? "No, there is absolutely no chance politics can interfere with the kitchen," she says.

This is how it is in a FREE country like Georgia.

Enjoy your dark dreams of Greater Russia!
(It's a great country with amazing people).

God save the Czar(Vladimir Putin)!!!

Free Georgia? Now their is an oxymoron. According to Freedom house an American Neo-con NGO. They give Georgia a lower score now than when Saakashvili's predecessor was president. Maybe that is because they shut down opposition media, beat protestors to a pulp, and their interior police reign terro on all dissenters.

From Voice of America:

Much of the mistrust stems from a violent crackdown in November against protesters opposed to President Mikhail Saakashvili. His opponents accuse him of arrogance and authoritarian rule.

A crisis following the anti-government demonstrations prompted Mr. Saakashvili to call early presidential elections for January and also an earlier parliamentary vote. He won the January election, but international observers say the process was flawed.

Independent political observer Ramaz Sakvarelidze told VOA that electoral reforms since the presidential vote have not been significant. Sakvarelidze says the opposition continues to accuse officials of election irregularities, such as padding voter lists.

"The opposition has provided many examples of non-existent apartment buildings entered into election lists and also of people who have died, but are still on election rolls," Sakvarelidze said.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently issued a report that notes opposition concerns about the legitimacy of voter lists. And the OSCE notes media bias, vote buying, and abuse of public resources in favor of the party in power.

Mikhail Sakashvili (file photo)
In addition, the observer group says it has confirmed several allegations of voter intimidation, despite statements by President Saakashvili and the Interior Ministry calling for public officials not to interfere in the election process.

The ministry's spokesman, Shota Utiashvili told VOA there have been no arrests for violations of election laws.

"I think," said Utiashvili, "that the Interior Ministry has opened several-dozen criminal cases and investigations of electoral irregularities are underway. He adds, however, that such cases always depend on secondary factors - if somebody, for example, was hit or kidnapped, but as far as the spokesman is aware, no serious charges have been presented to the Ministry.

dparkins, let me just say a few words in relation to your active postings and perfect knowledge and understanding of the issue.
First of all, if you are a paid commentator, please do not do it here, as it is still thought to be a form of free press not something that should reflect the views of current regime in Moscow. You seem to be in lockstep with Russia Today, but please keep your comments and politically motivated postings to yourself. Current Russian regime is anything but friendly and democratic, whichever aspect you decide to look at. And what's more, they have started active propaganda in public forums worldover. So watch out for paid commentators and comments everyone

Whether a poster is paid or not (I don't think this person is), what they write is either true or false. If it is true it should be accepted, and if it is false it can be refuted. I don't see a refutation; I see an ad hominem attack.

You are correct, the current Russian regime is not very friendly or democratic. Neither is the US. Georgia is perhaps worse than either. Ossetians have been treated very badly by Georgia for a long time, and they seem united in their desire to join Russia as the lesser of two evils. You seem to be a fan of democracy - perhaps the Ossetians should have the right to self-determination, no?


"paid commentator"

please ask the moderator if a certain dparkins3 registered a few months back with the same email address.

As further proof It was TOD who featured InSead's paper "Accounting for growth: The role of physical work" Which convinced me of the dire implications of PO.


Majorian, I don't agree with everything you write but I havn't given you a negative.
What concerns me is that everything you write is given a big negative rating even when what you write is mild. It appears that you are the victim of flaming by hard core fanatics that won't tolerate others opinions.
BTW anybody who thinks I'm anti Russian is mistaken. I'm glad that Russia now has the strength and balls to stand up to the neocons but saddened that (mostly) innocent Georgians are getting hammered.

I don't exert the effort to give Majorian negative clicks, but considering the quality of his comments in several areas, and particularly the tone in which they are delivered, I can't be surprised at the downgrades. I don't think it's due to 'unpopular conclusions' much at all.

Cobblers. Majorian's posts above, rating -17 and -10 respectively, are not particularly low on either quality or presentation, compared to others here.

I think those low grades of Majorian are much more to do with the low intellectual quality (superficial, stereotyping, and preoccupied with the messenger over the message) of those people who find time for the rating system (which I take not the slightest notice of myself).

What rating system? Oh, THAT rating system, the one I filter completely out with Ad Block Plus Element Hider and the following rule: karma_3_big)

My eternal thanks to the TODer who originally posted that. :)

"Can somebody explain why Georgians decided to attack S. Ossetia?"

For the same reason Israel attacked Lebanon, because the Ossetians were firing missiles into Georgia. Ossetia is historically part of Georgia. The Russians have been subverting Ossetia ever since the fall of the Soviet Onion.

Of course, those on the other side of the issue claim the opposite, so choose whom you will believe.

Ossetia is historically part of Georgia.

Depends on how "historical" you want to get. Ossetia was split in half by Stalin (himself a Georgian) in 1922 and along with Abkhazia was reassigned to the Soviet Republic of Georgia (as autonomous regions) for administration purposes. Under the Soviet Union, it probably didn't matter much either way, but with the disintegration of the USSR, those peoples refused to be part of "Georgia" and fought to keep their autonomy.

Can you point to a source that confirms the Ossetians were firing missiles into Georgia, or was it really the other way around?

Me thinks you need more research, research.

Check engine, you really need a complete overhaul.

A map of the Democratic Republic of Georgia 1918-1920 (pre-Stalin) shows both Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be within the national borders as they do today.

Under the Soviet Union, it probably didn't matter much either way, but with the disintegration of the USSR, those peoples refused to be part of "Georgia" and fought to keep their autonomy.

You really have no idea what you are talking about.
These folks are a bunch of hillbillies.

For example just before the 1991 breakup there were far more Georgians in Abkhazia than Abkhazians. Today the country is run by an ex-bank guard.

South Ossetia was the center of an international counterfeiting ring in 2006. The country is run by a former wrestler who doesn't believe in democracy, rather 'caucasian values'.

So being a hillbilly means you must face a death sentence?

Ossetia is historically part of Georgia.

What does this statement mean?

South Ossetia and Abkhazia were "given" to Georgia by Stalin (General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee), a Georgian.

Similarly, the Crimea was "given" to Ukraine by Khrushchev (General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee), a Ukrainian.

If go back a while, you will find that Georgia was part of Iran for 400 years. Does that mean that the Iranians can bomb the hell out of it and try to occupy it?

Crimean Tatars at press conference declare Crimea is rightfully theirs and demand to return to their homeland.

Circassians in a joint statement issued from Ankara demand compensation for ethnoc cleansing at hands of Russians in 1800s.

I could go on with 40 more similar claims from peoples driven from the Caucasus, Southern Ukraine, and Southwestern Russia over the last 200 years. The historical evidence is that ethno-national groups move or are pushed from locale to locale over time. The European nation-state idea with fixed national borders is an historical annomally and has caused a lot of harm. It will likely erode and then cease to exist as climate change prompts vast movements in populations toward the end of this century and the next. Borders between peoples are an artifact of competition. But if large numbers of humans are going to survive in the longrun, they must learn to cooperate, which will destroy borders.

No comment.

Karloff1 -- you make several excellent points in one short comment. Thanks for that!

I agree that we need to evolve from the competitive model -- a "Dead Ender" strategy for survival if ever there was one -- to a kind of intensive and extensive cooperative paradigm.

We are at the brink of "The Last Man Standing" Competition. No one will be around to award, recieve, or enjoy the glory of any kind of victory.

No one actually wins wars. The survivors are shaped by war in terrible ways. The consequences of reliance upon violence as our ultimate business/political strategy are upon us.

We have effectively declared war on the planet as well. The consequences of our reliance upon this violence are upon us as well.

Can we use our big brains to find a way through the Bottleneck of the next 20 years or so? That is the real question we need to direct resources toward answering. We are distracted by this petty but grotesquely destructive devotion to violence even as our potential slips from our grasp.

Georgia is one more example of local and parochial infighting inflamed by bigger competitors using the small players as pawns.

Can we use our big brains to find a way through the Bottleneck of the next 20 years or so?

Beggar--Thanks for the compliment. Numerous folks using their "big brains" have offered many suggestions as to how we can transit the "Bottleneck." But as long as the Propaganda System remains in the service of Empire and its allies, we will have a very hard time getting those suggestions broadcast and debated in the wider forum of Public Opinion. The great majority of US society has no clue about the multiple crises rolling across the Sea of Time directly at them, and instead behave like the Three Little Pigs before the Wolf arrives. But I do give the public some credit as over 80% in polls understand and state that the US is going in the wrong direction, and this % has remained that high for close to a year now, and it continues to grow.

Most of us were told to share with others by our parents as we tansited adolescence. But that is the only direction to cooperate we get from our socio-cultural milieu, as every other message promotes competition. Indeed, I think this is what starts the dysfunctioning of families--a child may love her/his parents, but the trust between them is deeply impacted by the percieved lie of sharing: My parents tell me I must share with others; but outside of home, no one shares with anyone; instead, they try to get as much as they can for themselves. I think any attempt to promote sharing is destroyed as soon as the game of Monopoly is introduced to the child. We get programmed at a very young age to accumulate and not share our wealth with others because that's how you WIN. Changing this one aspect of our socio-cultural-political-economic behavior is absolutely necessary to transcend and solve our crises by creating a new paradigm; but it is so ingrained and there are so many deeply established institutions promoting competition that I think it will be this reason why we will experience an Olduvai Gorge type of societal collapse--not because we aren't smart enough or don't have the right technology, but because we will lack the cultural tools demanded by the new paradigm.

In a nutshell:

...I think it will be this reason why we will experience an Olduvai Gorge type of societal collapse--not because we aren't smart enough or don't have the right technology, but because we will lack the cultural tools demanded by the new paradigm.

Thanks for the reply, Karlof1.

Forgive me for being slow to respond. I was working both yesterday and today -- in fact I do fairly physical "handy person" type of work, and so have to do quite a bit of that in order to earn enough American Dollars to support a family (two adopted children, no biological children) in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Therefore my time for internet conversation is limited.

I feel like our government wants our time for meaningful discussion to be limited. After all, a thoughtful and literate populace is harder to seduce and manipulate. Our corporatist government likes us Plebes to be working for enough money for food, shelter, and some measure of medical care. The shrinking Managerial Class may have leisure as long as it is spent consuming propaganda and soul-numbing stuff.

I was reminded of one of my old favorite authors on another thread at TOD today -- Jacques Ellul -- here's a Wiki quote from Ellul regarding the present existential predicament of our funny little big-brained species:

"...what is at issue here is evaluating the danger of what might happen to our humanity in the present half-century, and distinguishing between what we want to keep and what we are ready to lose, between what we can welcome as legitimate human development and what we should reject with our last ounce of strength as dehumanization. I cannot think that choices of this kind are unimportant."

Our responses to the present ecological catastrophe -- largely anthropogenic in my opinion -- will define us as a species and determine, quite possibly, whether we survive for more than another 30 years or so.

Can somebody explain to me why Georgians decided to attacked south Ossetia?

Always, always, always: cui bono? It looks like a big defeat for the US, doesn't it? But is it a defeat for the military-industrial complex? Is it a defeat for McCain and the neocons? The color revolutions took place with no small degree of US encouragement (instigation, truth to tell), the entrance of some into Nato, the proposed placement of anti-missile bases in Poland and Czechoslovakia (aimed at whom? Iran? this is an insult to everyone's intelligence) -- all this has to be considered. Who then might have instigated such foolishness, despite disavowals?

This game has been payed over and over and over again. In Iraq, Saddam was enticed into a trap: invading Kuwait. The Japanese in WW2, see Stinnett Day of Deceit.

Whether the game will ultimately work this time is another matter -- it is certainly far more dangerous. But I have no doubt the a greatly increased militarization of our economy is the game plan. It's the only card the US holds. The oil and gas card was played out long ago and is held by someone else now.

My very great concern is that TPTB are conscious of declining US relative strength, and therefore prefer a showdown sooner rather than later. Madness, yes. But this too has relatively recent historical precedents -- the guy with the mustache, remember? He knew he had to act soon or be overwhelmed by the US and the Soviets.

Oh, I forgot. Brzezinksi openly claims credit for enticing the Soviets into Afghanistan.

Note: I don't like the EDIT feature because someone who has already read a post may miss the edit.

"My very great concern is that TPTB are conscious of declining US relative strength, and therefore prefer a showdown sooner rather than later."


Both the US and Israel had boots on the ground in Georgia. And as so eloquently stated by Burgundy above, "it would've taken one phone call" from Washington to halt Saakashvili.

El: Shalom and thank you for mentioning the truth so
many fear to declare.I was wondering when or if the 800 lb gorrilla would get mentioned.
Heres Israel meddling in an area it has no business in
and while they dont have enough on their plate at home? Oy Gevelt!
The MSM ignores the Israeli factor like leprosy.
The people on this thread are amazing at their knowledge and reasoning.

My own guess is that there is a lot we don't know. We know that the different groups in the area dislike each other (to put it mildly), and that there was clearly a nationalistic reason why the Georgians would attack the Ossetians. However, I suspect the Russians were egging the Georgians on. After all, they were allowing the Ossetians to get Russian passports, making them defacto Russian citizens which the Russians could "protect". My guess is that the Russians, by supporting the Ossetians put the Georgians in a position that only a very level headed leader could have gotten out of without doing some sort of military action. I suspect Ossatia was moving towards secession as well, something the Georgians could not tolerate. I also note that the Russians were clearly expecting this, since they could not have fielded that military response without advance planning. The point is, I suspect that Russia had maneuvered Georgia into a position where they were all but forced to attack Ossetia, and into a position where Russia could justify invading Ossetia to defend their citizens. Not to be entirely one sided about this, I suspect that it was not hard to convince the very nationalist leader of Georgia to attack Ossetia.

I suspect that the Russians wanted this attack. They knew and know that there is no political way that they can take over control of the pipeline on this go-around, BUT (1) they have very clearly made the point that if they choose to capture or destroy the pipe it is their choice alone, (2) it clearly points out that Russia is back as a regional power and can no longer be ignored, and (3) it sets up a situation where it may be possible to take over control of the pipe line in the future. This third point could be either a military adventure in the form of another attack on Georgia, or more likely wrestling political control from the west and replacing the current government with a Russian ally.

Well you got that right. But US did the very same by actually forcing Saddam into Kuwait for example. Now you ask yourself - why did the Russians want the attack? Wasn't it because Georgia has been playing hardball against them all those years? I perfectly understand their point of view - being encircled and intimidated by much more powerful and richer competitor and potential enemy is not exactly a thing you could just stand by and watch. Now this game just got one point for Russia, but it's far from over yet. If US didn't want this to happen maybe they shouldn't have started this cold war for controlling Russian energy resources at the first place - using Georgia and other countries just as their pawns which they can sacrifice if needed.

I suspect that the Russians wanted this attack

This is probably true. Another fact on the ground is that at least 90% of Russians beleive that Georgia/USA palnned and conducted a dastardly attack, with the intent to cleanse/kill Russian citizens. It may well be that Putin, and a small circle surrounding him, successfully goaded Saakashvili into acting, but ordinary citizens, and even high ranking members of the military are out of this loop. At this point in time, it is important to give the Russian people the message, that we would never try to do that (cleanse/kill). The problem is that for whatever reason, our domestic political calculations prevent us from doing that, but instead are leading to further provacative actions. For the average Russian, this will only confirm their suspicions about our perfidty.

If our leaders, and prospective presidential candidates are acting like testosterone crazed teenagers, the first place to look for an explanation for this behavior is that the American people are foolish enough to fall for this sort of behavior come election time. The fault is not just with our leaders, but is shared by the people who fall for the same emotional/political manipulation nearly every time.

Said by enemy of state:
The fault is not just with our leaders, but is shared by the people who fall for the same emotional/political manipulation nearly every time.

The same thing can be said for the Russian people believing the Russian propaganda. The vast majority of the Russian people do not learn anything more than what the Putin controlled Russian media tell them. At various sites I have read many emotional posts from Russians finding great justification for Russia's actions based on the allegation of genocide against Saakashvili. I strongly suspect these allegations could only be "proven" in a Russian court like the one Mikhail Khodorkovsky found himself occupying.

U.S. leaders and principal presidential candidates are not acting like testosterone crazed teenagers. They are acting like loud-mouthed cowards yelling and trembling in the distance as they watch a friend mauled by a hungry bear.

"a friend" who announces on TV the previous evening that he is going to restart negotiations and restrain his security forces, and then a few hours later attacks the very people he said he would negotiate with. That person is a premeditated murderer and a terrorist--not a "friend."

I have no idea whose version of events are true but suspect both sides are lying. Georgia's version of events of Aug. 7, 2008, asserts that they did a unilateral ceasefire. About an hour later, South Ossetia signaled its refusal to negotiate by shelling various villages in Georgia. A few hours later Georgia invaded South Ossetia. I suspect that it took a few days for Georgia to prepare its troops. After becoming ready on Aug. 7, Saakasvili probably offered South Ossetia one last chance at a peaceful resolution with the ceasefire, but the South Ossetians rejected it, so he invaded. The fictional character Doctor Who usually gives the bad guy one last chance to resolve the conflict. If the bad guy takes the deal, then everybody lives. If not, the Doctor executes his plan and somebody dies. I find myself having to repeat the Georgian version because nearly everybody is emotionally repeating the Russian version without any consideration. All Putin has to do is say, "genocide" without proof to make every Russian unquestioningly believe it. Putin, a former KGB official, is the guy who crushed the free Russian press and essentially appointed the president of Russia, Medvedev, making me very skeptical of Russian reports. Russia entered South Ossetia on Aug. 8 so fast, there is no way he responded due to reports of genocide. The bear was lying in wait. No matter how Georgia attacked Tskhinvali, the Russian propaganda machine had probably already decided to label it genocide. I do not see how Russia is a saint after allegedly allowing South Ossetians and possibly Cossack volunteers to pillage Gori. In all modern wars civilians lose.

The first casualty of war is the truth. We on the outside do not really know what is happening.

The reality:

Aug. 1 - Georgia attacks South Ossetia.
Aug. 3 - South Ossetians request and are granted the opportunity to flee to North Ossetia as refugees by Russia. Putin orders the Russian 58th Army to the border. Note that this is 5 days before Russia actually enters Georgia.
Aug. 7 - Georgia announces a unilateral ceasefire. Georgia fails to convey this information to South Ossetian leadership. South Ossetian forces continue to attack Georgian forces that have been attacking them for 7 days.
Aug. 8 - Georgia continues shelling South Ossetia and targets Russian peacekeepers, killing 13 and wounding 70. Putin orders Russian forces into the fight.

There was tons of rhetoric on both sides for months before Aug. 1. Big deal. Rhetoric is not justification for military action. Georgia threw the first stone. Did Georgia have a grievance? Yes, Georgia wanted to reunify South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) with Georgia just the same way China wants Taiwan back. Was military force justified? No.

I am no fan of Putin and I agree with another TODer who called Putin a "cold blooded psychopath", but very clearly here Georgia was in the wrong. That hothead, Saakashvili, took a chance that should not have been taken. Then, to make matters worse, the US allowed the violence to continue for over a week before Russia finally entered the fight. If the US didn't want Russia in there, it should have pulled strings and shut the idiot Saakashvili down immediately.

More than anything else, the last 2 weeks demonstrate either a gross incompetence at foreign affairs by the current administration or a deliberately calculating and cold blooded attitude towards the entire world by that same administration. I can find no other viable ways to explain what just happened.

At this point in time, it is important to give the Russian people the message, that we would never try to do that (cleanse/kill).

I am not sure who exactly is included in your definition of "we", but the preponderance of evidence suggests that the US government is more than happy to cleanse (see NATO-occupied Kosovo, which has been cleansed of 98% of its pre-war Serbian, Goran and Gypsy population) and kill (see hundreds of thousands of people killed in Iraq) to reach its political goals. The Russian people would be wise to take note of that.

There is a natural choke point between N and S Ossetia.

With Russia now in a position to stop oil flow into Turkey (in addition to energy flow into Europe) it means that shipping oil to Ashkelon and Eilat can be stopped very quickly. The Russian response and presence in Georgia most likely will prevent a unilateral israeli attack on Iran by raising the cost by an order of magnitude.

That's why over 1000 israeli advisers taking part on the attack on S Ossetia in order to control the choke point.

Also explains the Gates / JCS no response position despite the unprecedented access to the neocon controlled US MSM by the stooge Saakashvili.

Also why the counter intuitive response by the markets.


According to some/many the Russia laid a sophisticated trap for the hapless Georgians who, innocents that they are in the big, bad, world, walked into the trap like lambs to the slaughter.

Alternatively it was the United States and their Georgian proxies that laid a trap for the Russians, by attacking South Ossetia with such violence that that Moscow was forced to react or be shown to be impotent, unable to protect its own and ripe for regime change.

The Georgian people are mere pawns in new Great Game for influence, access and control over not just the Causcasus, but the energy reserves of the Caspian Basin, and further down the line, mastery of the entire Eurasian continent.

This conflict is part of something far bigger, more complex, and very, very dangerous. Anyone who thinks or says they understand what happening in the ethnic cauldron that's the Caucasus, doesn't really know what they are talking about. It makes the Middle East and the Balkans look like a walk in the park!

For me, for starters, is the fact that the ordinary people on the ground, are regaded as expendible and are merely pawns in the game, real people, with real lives, that can be sacrificed and ignored, they don't really count and they have, in reality little value, like ants crushed under the giant wheels of a juggernaut they have no control over and barely understand the direction it's moving in and why, if they understand at all.

The very idea that Bush, of all people, after Iraq, has anything but contempt for international law, sovereignty, human rights and democracy, is absurd. God, he doesn't give a damn about democracy in the United States, so the idea that he cares about the Georgians is riciculous. When these people talk about democracy and freedom, they don't use these words like most other people do. Democracy and freedom means our right to own and control the Unitd States for our own narrow benefit and interests, and if we can get the peasants to fight and die for us, as much of the rest of the world as we can get hold of!

Putin is radically different either. He wants to see his version of Russian strong and successful too, if this brings him into confrontation with Bush, then so be it. The United States and Russia are like two Mafia clans deviding up territory between them. It's like The Godfather, which was actually a film about America disguised as a movie about the mob.

The final point is that the pawns on the board don't really don't have any substantive reason for playing the game at all, if they have enemies, it's they hands moving them across the board they should be fighting not their own kind.

The complete interview of a South Ossetian Girl on Fox.

American Joe Mestas, in South Ossetia at the time of Georgian shelling, describes the shelling and assigns blame to Georgia.

The 12 year old US citizen describes unprovoked Georgian bombing and thanks Russian forces for their assistance. Her older relative blames Saakashvili for the conflict at which point FOX feels the need to go to a commercial break. On return the older relative commences to provide her views on the source of the conflict and FOX has to end the segment with the FOX host stating there are a lot of grey areas in any conflict.

The FOX host had first person witnesses who were providing evidence he did not wish to hear so it all became "a grey area."

The degree to which the US MSM do not act to air differing views and instead reinforce the "party line" is startling.

Others have made similar comment but there is more informed opinion on TOD [and better evidence] than in the MSM. Thank you Goose, Gail, et al.

Great....Just Great....

A reverse Cuba.

I wonder if Russian sill suggest concessions in Georgia be tied to renouncement of USA Inteceptors in Poland?

In part the Cuban Misslie Crisis was resolved by removal of USSR IRBMs from Cuba and USA removed Jupiter IRBMs from Turkey.

I lived in South Florida - still do - at the ripe old age of 10 at the time of the Cuban Missiel Crisis. I do remember the parents being quite freaked out.


I was 20, at Columbia, Peace Corps training -- everyone was freaked out!

Dupe deleted

Russia states that Poland is a legitimate nuclear target due to the missile deal:

and the oil market crashes!, didn’t hit anyone that Russia may “punish” the west by playing on the energy supply?, if energy is their leverage, so this is the time to use it.


It's not quite as simple as that.

First, Russians are not crazed commies.

They are rationalist realpolitik people in a controlled market economy - not completely unlike the USA.

Second, they rely on oil revenues just as OECD relies on oil imports.

In fact, their government fiscal outlook is not particularly good for the coming years.

With the falling oil price in face of claimed 'soft demand', cutting production may not bring the desired price rises.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this option is being considered as well, but whether they'll use it and to what extent - remains to be seen.

We're all co-dependent from each other in this big mess. Nobody has an ultimate upper hand here.

Over the last 10 days the Russian Ruble has devalued by 3% to 4% compared to the U.S. dollar which is bad news for Russia's hopes to restrain inflation. However, it is good news to Russian exporters.
Russian markets falter, then recover, as violence escalates, International Herald Tribune, Aug. 11, 2008.

Due to the fire in the BTC pipeline in Turkey and the war in Georgia, between 800 kb/d and 1.5 Mb/d of oil was removed from the export market while the price of crude oil declined and the dollar strengthened. Russia wins the war and strengthens their grip on oil from the area of the Caspian sea, but apparently foreigners sell their Rubles and the Russian stock market goes down. I wonder how much Russia would have to reduce the oil flow to make the price increase. This market reeks of manipulation.

Quoting Bush this morning:

"The Cold War is over," Bush said. "The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us. A contentious relationship with Russia is not in America's interest. And a contentious relationship with America is not in Russia's interests."

Ok, but why in the same time Bush is spreading his bogus missile defense system all over Europe:

An agreement that will allow the United States to install a missile defense battery in Poland exposes the ex-communist nation to an attack,

If you did not catch it last night, go to the daily show website: for a remarkable take on McCain's presumptuous involvement in the Georgia conflict.

So, John McCain's top foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann gets paid $800,000 by the Republic of Georgia, and McCain evidently finds nothing wrong with that? How can anything McCain says about the situation in Georgia be taken seriously at this point? If I were the government of Georgia, I'd ask for my money back.

Yup. Cold war is over. No more spheres of influence.

Like those US military bases in 150 countries, with more than 1,4 million active duty troops.

Memo to myself. Pay attention to what liars do, not what they say.

Because those super-reliable, secret Iranian missiles have a very long rang now.

Bush said. "The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us."

The vast majority of Americans couldnt list all the
satellite states that America controls...of course
the majority also couldnt name a country that begins
with the first letter "U".
Many answered Utah. When told that the United States
of America begins with a "U"....they giggled nervously.

  1. Canada and Mexico, for sure; The UK, a number of Persian Gulf states, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea ... I can't list em all either, there's too many...
  2. Uganda; Uzbekistan; Uruguay.

What did I win?

One of the happy benefits of relocalization (whenever it happens) will be that satellite states will necessarily be close neighbors of the center-of-gravity state. And that's not saying the path to relocalization is going to be easy. Nor will energy independence. But both will happen, as inevitable steps in our catabolic collapse.

It's easy to find multiple causes, motivations, pretexts and drivers for this little war. Sakashvili is a bellicose loose cannon, (sort of a local version of John McCain, though half his age) and after a strategic blunder of such magnitude, should logically resign or be removed.

On thing is clear : it was not "all about oil". However, I'm thinking it may have been all about gas.

Just recently, Gazprom signed a deal with Turkmenistan to buy all their gas at market prices. They are working on a similar deal with Azerbaijan... which is currently connected to the non-Russian world by pipelines that pass through Georgia. (The Russians apparently either tried to bomb the pipelines and missed -- unlikely -- or deliberately missed as a warning to all concerned.

So : this little war sends the following messages :

* To the Azeris : hurry up and sign your gas over to us. You don't want to depend on those flaky Georgians, or their so-called allies, the US and Europe.

* To Europe : forget about the Nabucco project; forget about sourcing Central Asian gas without our participation. We will give you security of supply; but don't try to deal with the competition.

The end of the modern Great Game (set, and match).

I think the end of the Great Game is still well out of site. This episode was no more than a point for Russia, or a game at most.

The West still has the power of the international financial system, the MSM, the military supremacy, all those US/EU allies which would now rally even faster for US "protection" and "aid". So it still has the tools to intimidate and isolate Russia, while Russian positions are not that strong. With the peak of Russian oil and gas these positions may be expected to decline even further in the near future.

The power of the international financial system? I think that's more of a liability than an asset at the moment! The mainstream media just spread propaganda to the gullible. I don't see them as a useful asset, except within national borders. I also foresee increasing tension between the US and Europe as things get more complicated, and the financial system implodes.

The US does still have military supremacy as you say, and they seem desparate to use it whilst they still have it. I think given that many countries are past peak, the profile of declines becomes the bigger issue. I wonder how that aspect will play out.

I would rather be surrounded by an armed enemy...then
have a group of bankers behind me.

"The end of the modern Great Game."

I think I was mistaken about what the Great Game was..I thought it was Global Chess, but now I see it is really Global Musical Chairs. The music has stopped and the big dudes are trying to grab all the chairs (and even stools) they can find.

And where is TURKEY in all this ??

Actually, more important - Where is China in all this?

The Georgians / USA rain on their 'coming out party' and not a peep from them.

I find this confusing and worrying. I spent most of my life working in the Far East, and I know China does not forgive easily nor is it retesent about making it's feelings known.

What are the chances that a good portion of the oil and gas from the Caspian is redirected east?

Maybe this "great game" is wider than the parochial interests so far exposed...

China is one of the ultimate winners, so it rightfully waits for the dust to settle. It won't support Russia explicitly in the beginning not to alienate the West, it will just do it passively in the UN and elsewhere. I see Russia and China moving closer to each other after all of this settles.

The EU is in the awkward position to want neutrality not to upset Russia too much, but to be unable to be neutral because of the alliance with US.

An interesting game to watch, much better than the Olympics :) My bet is China will pick up the golden medals in the end, silver for Russia the bronze will go to all others that stayed neutral, while some players like Saakashvily will be disqualified.

If China has any brain, she would buy oil from Russia and keep producing stuff that Europe and America want. No point of joining anyone -- if two madman are fighting, it's better to stay away.

Georgia leaders had failed their people by allowing Russia this golden opportunity. For Poland, the acceptance of US missile shield might look good now, but in a few years it might become a liability. The things with all these "democratic countries" is that they do get a lot of "defense" money from US. Don't tell me that we are not buying them out -- the leaders walk away with millions while their people eat bombs and bullets.

Actually, that is a good question.

It seems--now that the Georgian pipeline and any future Georgian projects are dead--that the Turks are seeking closer ties with RUSSIA.

First time in centuries! Indeed: Bush is a uniter, not a divider.

However, Turkey is right now a massive site of NATO bases. This will be tricky, tricky . . .


I think one of the issues is that the natural gas that Russia has of its own that is available for export is declining, because Russia's consumption is growing more than its production. It is under a lot of pressure to keep imports up, so that it can make good on its export promises. (Graph is based on BP data).

Yes, but Russia's reserves and exports are larger than anyone else, almost double #2 Iran. And Russia just added Turkmenistan's natgas to their portfolio, and may add Khazakstan's too. Throw in the Uzbek's, and Russia resumes having the amounts and control of the USSR period. If Russia forms a gas exporting alliance like OPEC, then the leverage it can exert will rise greatly. Acts of stupidity by the US and EU will only encourage the formation of such an alliance.

Of course, I also expect the Russians to think more clearly than others about the future when its hydrocarbon export assets are used up. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Russia become a member of OPEC or to see it demand rubles be used to purchase Russian energy supplies.


they have established a commodities exchange in St. Pete for just this purpose. In a few years oil will be sold for roubles only.


Will this change significantly over the medium term?

NG represents 55% of Russian energy mix (2005) and sells domestically at 15-20% of market rate. They are working to increase the price of gas sold domestically toward market rates over time ... to ~40% by 2011. So significant contributor to GDP growth, but oil / gas represents 64% of export revenue and ~ 20.5% of GDP, so reduction in price = significant hit to GDP & vice-versa.

Russian population declining significantly, -0.5% in 2008, projected to be 4 million less in 2015 from now.

First gas Shtokhman 2013-15.

The conflict did not start out with an energy dimension, I don't think -- Putin simply decided to show that he wouldn't be pushed around, and the Georgians and Saakashvili in particular always exercised him. Putin has been livid since Kosovo, since the attempt to absorb Georgia into NATO at Bucharest, and since the Czech Republic agreed to host the missile radar. However, this debate is almost besides the point. The fact is that the invasion does send a powerful message to the rest of the Central Asian and Caucasus states -- Russia is prepared to exercise hard power in the region, and the U.S. is not. And that is a language they understand. U.S. influence has been vastly diminished, and will not be easy to claw back.

If you are a European depending on gas from the East to heat your tea or your house, you had better think long and hard about your regional energy strategy. The safest and most expensive is to use regional and domestic sources. The riskiest is to rely on pipelines through turbulent regions. And meanwhile the US and the bushy nitwits blunder along their diplomatically incompetent highway screwing everyone who was foolish enough to rely upon a nation approaching the end of its empire. The bush administration has been an unmitigated fiasco without a single accomplishment and its failures in the energy arena have been monumental and will be with us for decades to come/

DJ is reporting that a Russian armoured column (10 vehicles) is heading deeper into Georgia towards Tbilisi or North East of it. Hardly a major threat, but no doubt Condi's knickers are going to get all twisted over it.

Bit like a cat playing with a mouse.

I started to ignore such "news" already. What the hell will 10 vehicles do against a whole city?!? I'm waiting for the dust to settle to see what is what, listening to propaganda driven pieces of news is meaningless.

Just one thing I'm sure of - now Russia will avoid military actions and escalation at all cost. They may very well try to take the arms off captured Georgian military bases though.

I imagine the statement was, we are a few miles outside the city with ten APCs, you want to mess with this? If so Condi might be coming hime in a box.

I'm of the opinion that this is one of those long-standing State Department strategies that blew up in their face. The policy ever since GHW Bush and Clinton was to enable Caspian oil to reach the west, avoiding Russian control in which Western IOCs are heavily involved. Were it not for Caspian oil, the US wouldn't give a hoot about Georgia so their policy of cozying up with Georgia was probably sabotaged by Russia with the fomenting of separatism in the two provinces. Its the kind of power play the US has used many times, so its hardly far-fetched that Russia fomented the "unrest" and in that sense "suckered" Georgia in. With the Ossetians lobbing missiles, what was Georgia to do? Turn the other cheek?

I doubt that Bush and Rice are much surprised at the outcome; if they are they really are fools. The Georgian pipeline was always a risky gambit. You can go back and read the pre 2005 articles on-line speculating about what Russia's response would be. There was no question about IF there would be a response, just WHAT it would be. Now we know.

American girl thanks Russian troops for saving her life from Georgian shelling live on Fox News of all places:

The neocons are basking in their victory with the media war, but the fallout and rational analysis has yet to begin. This could end up badly for the neocons. Germany,France and Italy will not let them stir-up Europe.

Evidence is overwhelming that "stir up Europe" is the core of their whole strategy though. The end of the "cold war" (another of those fantasies like "war on terror") has cost them a lot of military contracts, and getting it going again has to be among their top priorities.

I think you're probably right. Preventing the formation of a eurasian block has always seemed like a plausable goal for the anglo-american establishment.

I think you're right : the most important legacy of W's administration may well be a weak, divided Europe.

I have honestly never understood why this was a goal for them, as it clearly has been.

One clear prediction is rapid, multiple orders for new nuclear power plants in Poland, Germany, Estonia, and elsewhere in Eastern and Southern Europe. Any nation that allows itself to depend on Gazprom is asking for problems. Finland already ahead of the curve on this issue, having fought their own wars with Russia and recently escaping "Finlandization."

The US did leave itself exposed but felt the risk of Russian military intervention was low. I think everyone is surprised that Putin acted as he did. The payoffs were an open channel for Central Asia to Western markets and the spread of democracy and good government. The US has exposed and over-extended logistics to Georgia limiting our options. Bush is doing the right thing by offering to emplace a trip wire that also serves as a rapid resupply chain.

As to China, they are winners. First, some of that energy will travel east now. Second, Eastern Siberia will more easily drift into their sphere as Russia weakens.

When the neighborhood bully, an ex-con with a bad temper and a drinking problem, starts flashing a knife, reasonable people start to think about packing heat. Poland has had its doubts removed and others will soon follow into a much closer embrace of the US.

Orlov's analysis supports my long-held views on immigration - why did we LET ourselves get in such a situation where we've allowed the creation of ethnic and language enclaves within our own borders. Haven't we learned anything from history?

Unfortunately the words "rapid" and "nuclear power plants" don't seem to go together in the foreseeable future. Especially if you mention countries like Germany - they have still long way to go to even to cancel their phase-out, let alone commencing new build.

For the rest of the post you should try to put yourself in Putin's shoes to understand why he did what he did. If the Bush administration thought they could isolate, intimidate and control Russia (or Russian energy resource more precisely) the way they intended to, without a proper pushback, it is time for a reality check. Obviously Russia feels emancipated enough to protect it's own interest the way it decides too. You are also in apparent confusion about who invaded who in this war.

BTW the only place I see a rapid nuclear build is Russia and China. The West is too much entangled into its own blunder to have that any time soon.

The policy of opening Georgia and allowing an alternate route to Western markets of Caspian Sea and Central Asian oil and gas is NOT one of the US controlling Russian energy resources. On the contrary, this war is Russia trying to control the energy resources of other countries. Putin wants the greatest control over others; the US wants the most freedom for all.

I can put myself into his shoes but not into his value system.

Yes, building new nukes takes time and the decisions to do so are not made in haste. I still see greater clarity in the need to avoid Gazprom dependency. Give it a year - that to me is "rapid."

"The policy of opening Georgia and allowing an alternate route to Western markets of Caspian Sea and Central Asian oil and gas is NOT one of the US controlling Russian energy resources."

This has never been about the pipeline, Russia may have disliked competition but so far has lived with it pretty well. The West gets much more than 1mln.bpd from sources outside of Russia, so what is the big deal about it?

The root of the whole problem has much more to do with the expansion of NATO, the missile defense system, and the constant pressure for privatization of Russian energy assets by foreign majors - which, of course is the ultimate goal of all of this. In this game Georgia is/was one of the most aggressive US puppets used to exert pressure on the russian bear. In this situation Russia rightfully sees itself threatened and tries to use its energy resources to protect its interests; the pipeline is just one of the coins the West has to diminish Russian bargaining power but is very far from the the only one, it is not even the most significant one.

BTW I expect decisions about nuclear power plants will be much slower in the medium term... we seemed to be poised to enter a recession cycle with lower energy prices and lower demand worldwide, so it may take a while.

One more thing I forgot to mention. Nuclear power produces electricity; Gazprom supplies natural gas. All of the countries you mentioned - Germany, Poland, Finland, the Baltic republics use very little to no natural gas for electricity (only Germany uses some). Natural gas is best used for heating, so unfortunately I don't see Gazprom's position threatened by new nukes.

Electricity is an excellent substitute for most natural gas uses except petrochemicals. while I prefer gas over electricity for cooking, I can make do.

For petrochemicals, it makes sense to put the plants near the source and ship the higher value end-products.

In Europe electricity rates are much higher, hence heating by NG turns out to be a lot more cost-effective (about two times in my country IIRC). NG also makes its way as an extremely cost-effective automotive fuel (to the tune of 3 times less expensive than diesel/gasoline). Things might change of course but it will have to be a radical change, and will certainly not arrive with the first generation of nukes which will bear quite a hefty price tag. For those and many other reasons NG consumption is growing very fast in EU countries, despite rising prices and percieved-to-be-unstable suppliers.

Only a handful of countries rely heavily on NG for electricity, notably UK and Italy - mostly as a result of particularly short-sighted energy policies, including a nuke phase out in IT. Over there nukes could help a lot, but they are not moving nearly as fast enough as they should.

Cold air heat pumps (or geothermal heat pumps) are one strategy. But one does not build nukes just to supply winter heating.

Wind plus pumped storage (wind typically being highest in the winter, and leading winter storm fronts could load natch very roughly).

A wind + nuke + pumped storage with heat pumps supplemented with wood strategy could replace natural gas, but it would take over a decade.


"Putin wants the greatest control over others; the US wants the most freedom for all."

You frame this as an ideological question; the Russians see it as a commercial question.

History demonstrates that producers of primary resources get the best results if they can control marketing and delivery, and thus prices, to the maximum. Gazprom is pursuing both vertical integration -- from drilling to gas retailing in importing countries -- and external growth, by agglomerating the Central Asian production to their own.

Europe has spent the last couple of decades dismantling all barriers to free trade in energy, and so finds itself at the mercy of this smart commercial strategy.

The only place I see a rapid nuclear build is Russia and China

South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil & Argentina, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Jordan, Persian Gulf, South Africa, Philippines are all candidates for major nuke build-outs (in proportion to their needs). Even Canada is possible (a combination of new hydro, new wind and new nukes).

Chile debated nukes but went with hydroelectric plants in the far south.


South Korea - yes, but they have quite a few already (some 40% IIRC) so there is not that much place to grow
Taiwan - bogged down in political controversy
Finland - kind of, but also bogged down by beurocracy, euro style
Brazil & Argentina have a lot issues too; recently the Brazilian enviromental minister put a list of 60 demands in order to build a third unit at Angra, including the plant to fund local reservations, build schools etc. WTF?! Argentina is a newcomer - high entrance costs
Romania and Bulgaria are going to build 2 Candu and 2 VVER units each in the next 10 years but this is far from a major build
Persion Gulf - still to make the decisions, high entrance costs (mostly in terms of time and know-how, money is not a problem for them)
Philippines - even the refurbishing&reopening of the almost fully finished unit is still controversial; let alone new build
South Africa - long time dormant, future not that certain yet

Overall it is Russia and China the only ones who are firmly planning to go on this en masse; Russia plans 20GWe by 2020; China - 40GWe by 2020 and a whopping 120GWe by 2030.

Sorry I was retrieving information from memory... Argentina has 1 small PWR and one CANDU reactor. A third reactor started 2 decades ago, might be finished up, but it's not quite uncertain.
Overall the experience of 2nd and 3rd world countries with nuclear power is not very encouraging, with many reactors abandoned halfway finished. I guess it goes down to that like all major projects nukes require stable political and economical environment.

the experience of 2nd and 3rd world countries with nuclear power is not very encouraging, with many reactors abandoned halfway finished. I guess it goes down to that like all major projects nukes require stable political and economical environment

WHOOPS 1,3,4,5
11 TVA nukes (1 later finished, 1 STILL "under construction").
Riverbend 2
Black Fox 1 & 2
Shoreham 1
Seabrook 2
And many, many more.


Do you have information how many unfinished/abandoned nukes do France or Japan have?

US has it's own unique troubles and this list is only showing in some respects it is comparable to a 3rd world country, mostly due to its weak public policy (or the lack of it).

I believe 4 quite large nukes in Japan are in limbo due to earthquakes and France has Phenix (and super-Phenix ?) scrapped.

I found this about Romanian nuclear power plans

SNN was planning to complete Cernavoda unit 5 by 2020, but government thinking is now to build further nuclear capacity at other sites. Early plans foresaw ten Candu and three VVER-1000 units for Romania, at several sites. A March 2008 statement by the head of SNN said that up to four more units by 2020 at a new site were proposed

Operating = 2x 660 MW = "almost 20% of electrical demand."
Under construction = 2x 705 MWe

Add four more units of unspecified size. Likely 1 GW or larger (IMHO)
It6 does not appear that they are wild for more CANDUs (Advanced CANDU = 1.2 GW). My bet would be two or three EPRs (3x 1.6 GW) or four VVER-1000s (4x 1 GW).

Even with very high growth rates for electrical demand, it is clear that Romania wants to export electricity ! Another Kalingrad type operation.

So you should add Romania to those with very aggressive nuclear programs. Producing over 100% of total electrical demand with nuke + hydro (about 1.5 GW hydro) is as pro-nuke as one can get !


I am pretty sure Japanese reactors will be finished once the uncertainties around earthquake resistance requirements are resolved. Japanese don't have the habit of unfinishing things or wasting resources.

There is also plenty of room for both Romania and Bulgaria on the regional market - consider Turkey (nearing 100mln.ppl, growing economy, no nukes), Greece, Serbia, Albania, potentially Austria and even Italy. The region is poor on other energy resources so nukes are pretty much the only reasonable choice (other than depending on Gasprom or importing coal from Donbas).

Kalingrad, peak demand 350 MW (from memory) and building 2x 1 GW nukes.

I looked up Romanian hydro, 17.5 TWh expected average annula production. That is 2.0 GW at 100% capacity, but hydro can do peaking and spinning reserve for nukes. Plus 3.0 GW of wind coming on-line. Expected total demand is 71.8 TWh in 2012.

The wind should come on-line before the next new nuke, and working with hydro, zero out their oil burn for electricity and reduce either coal and /or NG use.

Romania is planning to export power. As you said, they have a market.


The Kaliningrad plant was a big surprise for me. It is obviously betting on outpacing and/or outcompeting the planned EPR at Ignalina - not too unlikely given the disagreements between the parties. Even if this is the case I see Baltic states being extremely reluctant on importing electricity from Russia. Makes you wonder what did the Russians have in mind?

Romania currently gets about 18% of it's power from 2 CANDUs. The next two will be a bit larger, perhaps 40% by 2015 (quick guess). A fifth CANDU was started at the site and could be finished as an Advanced CANDU of 1200 MWe within a decade. ~55% nuke at that point.

And the PM has asked for a new site for more nukes after that.

If they start construction of a single EPR at the new site after finishing the 3rd CANDU in 2014, they could have 75% (est.) nuke in a dozen years. With hydro and wind, a power exporter. Add a second EPR and the grid would depend upon power exports.

Bulgarian data is more confusing, but I think that by 2014 (Belene 2 on-line) they should be 55% nuke. Less hydro & wind, so still burning FF. Add a third unit @ Belene and they will be closer to, but not quite, self sufficient.

Brazil is, and will be, mostly hydro (Itapu is a giant, and many more beyond). There is some effort to use nuke for the rest (like Sweden & Switzerland, become hydro+nuke). Brazil & Argentina have signed a nuclear co-operation agreement, so they can share expertise.

Argentina may go very heavily nuke soon, if they can arrange financing. Gas supplies are suspect.

Smaller nations cannot rival Russia and China in absolute #s, but they can get quite high % nuke + hydro (France has built as much hydro as she can, about 10%).

Best Hopes for more non-GHG generation,


Your numbers seem to be about right; I was simply omitting smaller countries that use imported technology as affecting the big picture. Otherwise, compared to their local needs these are huge projects I agree.

My point had more to do with the countries that intend to streamline and mass-produce nukes - and so far Russia and China are the only ones that have presented detailed programs for getting from A to B, where B features tens or even hundreds of reactors coming online. More importantly these are the only countries that demonstrated the political will and commitment to follow on these plans. Interestingly China's long term strategy is for completely phasing out FFs by mid century. It's obvious that Chinese leadership is well aware of FF depletion and pollution problems that lie ahead.

If other countries (US comes to mind) want to stay afloat, they should develop similar long-term programs. Some things simply can not be left solely to the market, especially if we are talking for transitioning away from FFs.

"Poland has had its doubts removed and others will soon follow into a much closer embrace of the US."

Yeah, and now they have Russian missles aimed right down their throat. Brilliant, eh? But then all those Polack jokes must have some basis.
The Russians have already stated that the Polish missle compact "will not go unpunished". What you want to bet that Iran is going to get their nice new Russian anti-aircraft system quite soon. And maybe some Russian nuclear tipped missles aimed at Isreal to go along with them.

"If war be the remedy of my enemy's choosing, I say, give it to him."

General WT Sherman 1863

We certainly hoped that Putin wouldn't choose the path of another arms race. He will have even less chance of winning this one than Gorby did. I doubt that the American people will back down this time either.

One loser here is NATO. They, and "Old Europe" in general, seem increasely irrelevant in today's world.

By Russia's logic, protective vests on policemen are "provocative."

To suggest that Putin would supply Iran with Nuclear missiles is crazy. Putin has brains and balls and to arm Iran to that extent would require no brains and the risk of your balls getting toasted. The US and Israel would justifiably nuke Iran the moment that the missiles were shipped and the blowback on Russia would be severe.

The US and Israel would justifiably nuke Iran the moment that the missiles were shipped...

There is NEVER any justification for using nuclear weapons--they are the ultimate terrorist weapon--and their use--even the threat of their use--is already considered War Crime #1--a crime the US and Isreal are both guilty of as they continue to overtly threaten Iran with an attack using nuclear weapons.

Of course, Putin's Russian Army now threatens rapid escalation to tactical nukes at an early stage (per reports).


Yeah, both US and Russian combat doctrine have upped the importance of tactical nukes. The US did this during Clinton/Gore and expanded it during BushCo. My read is that the Russians did so in response. But it matters little who was first. US doctrine during the 1960s to the end of the Cold War was to use tactical nukes to stop and plug the anticipated holes made in NATO lines by the greater numbers of Soviet armour pouring through. This culminated in massive Europe-wide protests and the removal of the shortrange missiles Reagan had emplaced as a part of that doctrine. When I underwent training under this doctrine, there was a dark joke about our NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) gear being a convenient body bag since it provided only a few hours protection from radiation, and was too porous to keep out likely biological agents. Added to that was the suit's unsuitibilty for conducting the form of heavy exercise associated with infantry combat--after a few minutes of heavy breathing your gas mask eye lenses would fog-up, and the only way to de-fog them was to remove the mask! I rather doubt technological improvements to the suits have made them better to the point where a soldier could actually fight for an extended period within a contaminated area. We oftened wondered if the generals who evolved the doctrine ever tried to use the suits. And of course we already knew the answer--NO.

"To suggest that Putin would supply Iran with Nuclear missiles is crazy. Putin has brains and balls and to arm Iran to that extent would require no brains and the risk of your balls getting toasted. The US and Israel would justifiably nuke Iran the moment that the missiles were shipped and the blowback on Russia would be severe."

Not crazy at all. Russia is already (and has been for a long time) helping Iran build a nuclear plant, plus they have stonewalled most Security Council sanctions against Iran. And rightly so -- as a signer of the Non-proliferation Treaty, Iran has every legal right under international law to do enrichment. So obviously Russia is not at all opposed to a nuclear Iran.
Furthermore, Iran already has the missiles, really good ones, and they are fully capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and also fully capable of hitting Israel. Where, of course, they are already aimed. So if Russian quietly gave them the warheads and no one knew anything about it until they were installed -- 8-)
I also wouldn't be at all surprised to see Russian and Iran forming a mutual defense pact, where if Iran was attacked by Israel or the US, they would be fighting Russia as well. Even without that, if Iran does get attacked, it would mean that the Shias in Iraq would then be equipped with lots of nice shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles that would ensure the total annihilation of all the US forces in Iraq. Likewise in Afghanistan. Not to mention the closing of the Straits of Hormuz, etc.
Whatever -- we can be well assured that Mother Russia is all done playing nice with the US. Dubbya and the neocons have made sure of that. I think we can expect some very interesting and inventive moves coming from Russia in the near future. And as usual, most people in the US won't have a clue what's going on.

While I agree with the potential for an Iranian-Russian defense pact, I highly disagree with the idea of Russia giving Iran a nuclear weapon(s) for several reasons. First, the radiation emitted by an exploded nuclear device can be traced to its country/point of origin. Second, the protocols and infrastructure for the control and movement of nuclear weapons is vast and takes time to implement, which is something Russia would insist upon, just as the US does with NATO. Third, both #s 1 & 2 will create a huge ongoing headache for any power, which means it's far easier to not enter into such a project in the first place. Lastly, the Iranian leadership has been adamant that nuclear weapons are against Islam, and since the country is an Islamic Theocratic Republic, to embrace nuclear weapons in any form would immediately discredit/deligitimize the Iranian leadership. The Iranian leadership in its call for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East have the high moral ground staked out for themselves and the other governments that have joined them; I doubt very much that they will abandon this position as it paints them in a much different light than that of their antagonists.

Iran has the second highest Jewish population outside
of Israel in the middle east.The Jews in Iran have
been a protected minority for nearly 2000 years.
Ahmadinejad never said he "would wipe Israel from map"
Anyone who speaks the language already knows this.
The IDF has troops in the Georgian region and is an
instigator in this escalation...not innocent victims.
Also the lies told about babies being taken from
incubators and dashed on floors by Iraqi troops in
Kuwait is a prime example of how truth becomes the 1st
casualty of war.
Iran hasnt attacked anyone.Israel has always attacked its neighbors.

While I don't want to get drawn into heated rhetoric. I have, surprise, sometimes in the past found that when I became angry at some group, I later came to believe I might have not understood the story completely. That said, in my attempt to try and put some perpective on things I would just ask the following. Abraham, the patriarch of major religions was born in and came from Iraq, correct? Therefore, by definition, is it not "anti-Semitic" to kill Iraqi's? Abraham is the (grand)father of Israel and his children married thier kin and not the Cannanites of Palestine. If the word is to have any meaning, how are the Iraqi's not Semitic? While it is highly unpopular to take note of, Eastern European and Russian Jewery, which is so prevalent and influential in Isreal, while, of course, Jewish, appear commonsensically, to be by lineage, well, primarily Eastern European and Russian. While the issue is unclear, it is debatable whether by lineage your average Palestinian has greater claim to Jacob and David than your average Israeli let alone Iraqi's of the birthplace of Abraham's ancestor's and kin.

As regards Iran, this nation was ancient and powerful (older than the US?) some two and a half millenia ago. Talk about lack of respect towards your elders! They still exist today. This might at least give one pause, if Russia and China do not suffice. I am Christian/Roman Catholic (though in action perhaps quite often ostensibly and/or hypocritically). Nonetheless I disagree with the Islamic religion and also have no natural affinity to defend these people, except against what is to my mind bizarre, dangerous and quite reckless agression.

Your rabid, ignorant and racist right wing views are on full display with every keystroke. The Germans certainly don't think Gazprom is an unreliable supplier, about 35 years of uninterrupted supply. Only those who insist on pay 60$ m3 when the market price is 300 and blackmail gazprom because the pipeline runs through their territory are at risk.

In a powerful demonstration of the ongoing importance of Russian gas supplies to Europe, Gazprom has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with German joint venture (JV) WIEH to provide a further 500 bcm of natural gas to Germany over a 35-year period.

Global Insight Perspective

The agreement extends the largest contract in the history of the Russian-German energy relationship.

The MoU is a timely reminder of Russia's unrivalled ability to supply gas to Europe into the future as European authorities continue to emphasise the importance of diversifying the bloc's supplies. At the same time, it also highlights the ongoing importance of the European market for Russia.

The agreement will be a foundation of the ongoing trading relationship between Russia and Germany for several decades and provides a further indication that Russia will continue to act as the cornerstone of European Union (EU) gas supplies for years to come.

Looking Back While Looking Forward

A delegation from Russian gas giant Gazprom yesterday took part in a gala event in Leipzig, Germany, to celebrate 35 years of natural gas supply between the two countries. Despite the historical emphasis of the event, the delegates were clearly also looking forward, with a new MoU signed to secure gas trade between the countries into the future. The gala saw Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of Gazprom and head of Gazprom Export, and Reiner Steele, a director of German energy group Wintershall, sign an MoU to extend the gas-supply contract between Gazprom Export and WIEH for a 35-year period, stretching out until 2043. WIEH is one of three JVs for natural gas trading in Germany and Europe that is operated by Wintershall and Gazprom, with Wingas and WIEE the remaining two

dparkins, TOD member for 4 days, I dub thee troll.


please explain your point. I have been reading TOD for 2 years.


My point is that you attacked Majoriam in a vicious way by calling he/she a racist with every keystroke he took. I have read what he has written and like most posters it is partisan but not vicious or racist.
You may have been reading for 2 years but why does your history show only 5 days TOD membership. Yes, many people lurk for a while before joining (myself included) but many others only join to troll or to assume new identities.
If you are a genuine poster that I have misread then I apologise.


you should read some of Majorian posts, they are a bit more than partisan. He and Alan have also accuse me of being a Russian agent on a disinformation campaign. The truth is much more simple, I believe America is not served by the neo-con agenda of encircling russia and trying to restrict its sovereignity. I believe Nato on Russia's borders and missile defense in Poland will destabilize not only Europe but the world. Russia has been voicing their complaints for years but nobody has been listening. The Georgian blunder has presented them with a perfect opportunity to show they are serious. I do believe cooler heads will prevail. The Italian president said this week "We will not allow NATO to become an anti-russian alliance."


The truth is much more simple, I believe America is not served by the neo-con agenda of encircling russia and trying to restrict its sovereignity

Your posted positions are much more than "simply that".

I do wonder how extreme Russian nationalists think that we are "restricting Russian sovereignty". The West stood by quietly when bloody massacres were done in Chechnya.

The US and rest of the West makes some extremely bland statements about democracy and freedom of speech when journalists are murdered, etc., but not enough to irritate, and certainly not enough to "infringe on Russian sovereignty".

Russia makes deals for foreign investment, and then reneges on them later. Hardly a word of protest from the West (outside the business press).

I was just wondering where this "grievance" came from ?

I really do not see how we have "restricted Russian sovereignty".


The Italian president said this week "We will not allow NATO to become an anti-russian alliance."

Wow!! That's a howler!! NATO is in fact just that, an anti-Russian alliance, as it has no other reason for its existence.

There are plenty of new trolls on TOD, and especially on these Georgian threads. However, Dparkins' comments have been polite, reasonable, non antagonistic or disruptive, and he has been able to back some of it up with press info, etc. I don't see troll here.

These Georgian open threads have been quite disappointing for behavior they have revealed from both newcomers and some long time regulars. PO is interesting in that it is a issue that crosses political ideologies, and many here that agree on PO issues have very different thoughts on other issues. This thread has got the bats flying out of a lot of belfries - not pretty to see.

Dparkins' comments have been polite, reasonable, non antagonistic or disruptive,

Such as this ad hominem irrelevance:?

Your rabid, ignorant and racist right wing views are on full display with every keystroke.

Come off it. There's no justification for such a start to a post. I couldnt give a fig if the entire posting membership were racists, left-looneys, child-eating enthusiasts or whatever. What makes this site worthwhile is the info, ideas, and critical consideration. The web is bursting full of other places for cheap slagging competitions!

You're right, he did lose his temper there, but perhaps not unreasonable given

When the neighborhood bully, an ex-con with a bad temper and a drinking problem, starts flashing a knife, reasonable people start to think about packing heat.

I still don't see a troll. I see a lot of people with closed minds and strong opinions, and I see dparkins being called names and treated poorly.

I think this post provides a useful starting point for discussion and understanding of the future impacts of this conflict.

If you are a European and heading into a cold winter will you seek friendly relations with your fuel supplier, or with your weapons supplier?

If your weapons supplier engages in pointless sabre rattling around the world, fails to understand and protect its own interests, undertakes actions inviting blowback, demonstates that it is completely unprepared for that blowback, has the arrogance to declare "Bring it on!" and then seek help when the inevitable occurs, undermines world institutions, disregards global law and precedent, ignores its own constitution, murders its own citizens with impunity, depends on its enemies to finance all of this, and proclaims its way of life is non-negotiable, what have you got?
This is the assessment that will now be underway in capitals around the world. The likely conclusion: You end up with a world of headache.

I suspect we will see the following:

1) No further expansion of NATO. The Afghani war is a morass that will take decades to resolve, that threatens to destabilize the entire region. Is this a true NATO issue? If Georgia had been granted fast NATO membership then Europe would today find itself on the brink of new commitment and a hot war. Poland presents another set of headaches.

2) A shift to European lead security arrangements which more accurately reflect European interests. This will have the relative effect of sidelining the US.

3A) Greater recognition of the critical role energy plays in international relations. Those who have it are sitting on gold mines. Those who lack it are hollow men growing cold in the dark. Again this will weaken the US.

3B) If Europe is concerned over its energy security then how does it act in relation to other states which have the same concern? I think we will see a much more nuanced position with regard Iran.

3C) What is key is the reaction of the Gulf States. King Abdullah has already spoken of the illegal US occupation of Iraq. Many of these states have security agreements with the US. The US is in the process of demonstrating that it is a paper tiger. Worse the US has demonstrated that it acts in ignorant ways that threaten the security of all countries in the region. Why should Arabs burn to protect a non-negotiable US way of life? All the arguments against Russian intervention in Georgia apply with even greater force to US intervention in Iraq.

4) The world faces a set of problems associated with Global Warming. The US has acted to frustrate any response. This is a further reason to seek independence from US positions.

5) The world faces a weakening economy. This is derives from the US credit crisis. The US has imposed financial solutions on other states and then ignored its own prescriptions in the management of its domestic economy and this moves the world to the brink of financial crisis. Why tolerate this if you can make alternate arrangments?

Nouriel Roubini has written recently on the decline of the US empire. I think the cracks are there and growing. The question that remains is does this result in an Orlov Collapse?

Given that Putin is even more alien than GWB to EU/Western values (and both Obama and McCain are much closer to those values than GWB, Putin seems to reflect the Russian character), "play nice" with Russia while expanding energy independence and other sources is the best EU strategy IMO.

Step up EU building conservation standards to German/Swedish levels. Solar water heaters everywhere south of Germany (and some north). Move to heat pump heat with much more nuclear power (plus wind which is faster, but has a lower upper limit). Explore geothermal intensely.

Build out non-oil transportation as fast as the French.

Pay a premium for LNG and make peace with Iran. Bring Persian Gulf gas to Europe in large quantities. Perhaps even Nigerian and Angolan gas via pipeline.

Buy some Dutch and Norwegian gas fields as "strategic gas reserves" and save what is left and inject more gas.

In a dozen to 15 years, the EU could be far less dependent on Russia, and much lower CO2.


These are issues to think about. If there is a US financial crash because of all of our stupidity plus peak oil, who can we expect to come to our aid? Won't they want to go along without us (to the extent they can), and make the available oil go farther/last longer?

Gotta love a women who thinks forward.!

who can we expect to come to our aid? Won't they want to go along without us

Quite how could anyone come to the untied states' aid, even if they fervently wanted to? It isn't like a 1944-in-reverse situation.

^^ The above site has details of the US' role in funding and training the Georgian military, helping Saakashvili to power, as well as a discussion of peak oil / abiotic oil as regards the conflict. I found it pretty enlightening.

Hello TODers,

This giant geopolitical discussion reminds me that it is still a jungle out there:
Battle at Kruger
Predators & Prey, "just wanting a meal", locked into the Circle of Life.

8 minutes, 30 seconds--IMO, well worth your time. Obviously, this video doesn't provide a solution, but it can help to place all our actions in a larger Thermo/Gene context:
"War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Some words of wisdom (not mine :-))

"probe with bayonets to discover whether the social revolution of the proletariat was ripe in Poland".

- Lenin (this quote was later reconstructed into a more general analogy)

“This is worse than a crime, it's a blunder”

- Talleyrand (my all time favourite realist and professional realpolitiker)

It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

- Machiavelli

Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.”

- Machiavelli (again)

There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.”

- Machiavelli (yet again)

“Before all else, be armed.”

- Machiavelli (yet again and again…)

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

- Sun Tzu

Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

- more Sun Tzu

“Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.”

- yet more Sun Tzu.

Ladies and Gentlemen of TOD it would appear to (this amateur’s) eyes that:

Putin is more a student of military and political literature than Bush, Cheney or Saakashvili

What value now a Harvard Degree compared with training in the KGB?

Putin :

1. Remains in possession of the field at dusk
2. Humiliates the West
3. Threatens the BTC Pipeline
4. Owns real estate south of the Caucasus
5. Remains a hero to the Russian People – after years of humiliation
6. Moves one step closer to the title of Putin the Great.

Frankly, it takes years of bad training in politics in the US and UK, and sadly, cowardice in the face of politicians at West Point, Sandhurst and Camberley to read this situation so badly wrong and for the cream of western military training to not offer resistance to the political morons in charge of the US and UK.

Note: The Germans are not this stupid. But then they have met the Red Army in the field….

Sun Tzu's "The art of war" is taught at West Point as
it is at every military academy in the world.
With sadness many American military leaders who have been "tapped" in the past several years to positions
in the theater of war for "American Intrests" have
declined the position.
They retire by the dozens...They see the folly of the
neocon agenda and want no historical reference to make
mention of thier personal participation.
Mudlogger you made a great post!

Really like your choice of commentators, Muddie, especially little Niccolo; one of my all time favourites.

Let me take this opportunity to re-post here a comment I contributed a couple of days back to a thread on the Medialens Message Board, which may be relevant to this discussion also. FYI, 'gics' is my acronym for 'gangster-in-charge':


Media Lens Message Board

Posted by Rhisiart Gwilym on August 14, 2008, 11:39 am, in reply to "Very good point and possibly true!"

"Russia's current strength will wane eventually." Er - really? How, exactly...? --

-- Will all that oil/natgas (currently the world's no.2 EXPORTER) suddenly just evaporate? Or maybe mystically migrate to the already part-drained geological structures beneath the US, which currently imports more than half of its -- wholly unsustainable -- oil demand?

The interesting question from this war is: who finally ends up with de facto control of the BTC pipeline. That's the only one currently running petro-energy from the Caspian Basin which is not -- sorry, that should read: which WAS not -- effectively controlled by Russia. And it's right on Russia's doorstep, in a small country which has just received a quick, professional, well-heeled mauling from it's huge northern neighbour, with plenty more available where that came from. The image of a shocked, out-of-his-depth little Mikheil cowering from the Russian helicopter, with not a single US 'peacekeeper' or 'humanitarian helper' to protect him tells everything in one shot, really. Dunnit?

Meanwhile, as anyone following the military situation of the US will understand, US forces are stretched almost to breaking point, even in their current failing imperial wars, and there are repeated rumbles of carefully covered-up, near-mutinous dissension within US military officer and general officer personnel, together with evidence that the US military themselves are fragmenting into factions and parallel command-structures. Cheney seems to be actively attempting to promote this for his own deeply-criminal, anti-US-constitutional purposes, but with little success, as genuine patriots within the US military frustrate his schemes every step of the way. See, for example, Noam's link, just above on this board. [That's Noam Swampy, a regular contributor to ML] Wayne Madsen Report is also a good source, but requires subscription. See also here, for example, for an idea of the increasing number of US's genuine patriots who are now aware that Cheney and other US gics were probably behind 9/11:

The sane mafiosi in the US imperial mafias seem to understand their military's severe overstretch. Increasing numbers of them are coming to understand also, belatedly, just how precarious and potentially disastrous the US energy situation really is. (Shit! If an utter outsider, an obscure commoner with a computer, like me, can get it, you can suspect that they will too eventually, however unwilling they may be to face it) Roughly speaking, you might call them the Zbig faction.

However, the criminal psychopaths running the fag-end of the neocon administration seem to be in the seriously-delusional faction, which the sane faction, quietly and well out of the public eye, are trying to contain. These are the crazies who still seem to think that they can take on another confrontation on top of their current failing ones, this time directly with Russia, on it's own doorstep.

Beggars belief, doesn't it!

Matt Simmons -- who actually understands the oil situation of the world, particularly in his own country, very deeply, as a matter of professional survival of his own consistently-effective oil-trades finance company -- points out here: (very highly recommended. Also Matt's book 'Twilight In The Desert')

that the US is currently teetering in a desperately dangerous domestic situation whereby, depending on the weather in the Caribbean, the continental US could be three days away from filling stations running dry, and therefore eight days away from serious, nationwide food shortages. As Matt puts it: "We [the US] are in a deep hole."

And this fragile basket-case is now going to take on -- on top of all its current overstretch -- an eyeball-to-eyeball with the newly-resurrecting Eurasian empire (inevitably knocking-on serious problems for Eurasia's current buddy-buddy Eastasia, who will also be seriously annoyed)? And of course with the EU's criminal but at least sane gics jingoistically supporting the Washington neo-con delusionals? Despite the EU's absolute dependency on Siberian and Russian-routed Caspian gas, just to keep their economies functioning and their homes heated and lit?


Matt Simmons, a conservative, Republican realist, is talking soberly about the absolute inevitability of the US reverting to what he calls 'village economies' now -- if it's lucky and gets things right -- and then the whole world being obliged by ungovernable force-majeure to have a worldwide conference and 'new Marshall plan' to deal equitably and effectively with the global energy crisis, which is here ahead of the climate crisis. If dealt with wisely over the next crucial hundred months, the energy crisis's solutions would actually go a good way towards addressing wise reponses to the climate crisis. But the energy crisis is here now. Which is why Russian tank tracks unexpectedly choking the oil-flow to Ceyhan (on the Mediterranean coast just north of Lebanon and Israel) has so appalled the US gics.

I think the neocon delusionals thought that they could push their schemes against Russia a bit further in Georgia last weekend, and were shocked by just how fast and effective Tsar Vladimir's response has been.

If I were Tsar Vlad:

1) Would I keep my military forces in Poti, Abkhazia's (allegedly part of Georgia) Black Sea port, where they might come into direct confrontation with US military 'humanitarian helpers'?


2) Would I understand just how precarious USAmerica's military, economic and energy situation really is, overall?

Yes of course. (Chess:1.01. Vlad and several of his close consiglieri are advanced chess players -- the game originally invented to help kings and generals to develop their uber-strategic capabilities. How do you think Dick matches up? Forget George, of course.)

3) Would I wait patiently, time being absolutely on my side in this, whilst the US demonstates to itself and the world just how little it can now do to extend it's already fatally-overstretched military adventurism into the Caucasus?


4) Would I, from my nearby pull-back position in South Ossetia, keep staring like a testosterone-drenched super-alpha Kodiak Grizzly directly at little Mikheil, so that he wouldn't be in any doubt of the realities (people intent on not provoking bear attacks never, ever, stare them in the eye; the classic red-rag, to a bear)?

Well, what do you think?

So now here we all are, teetering on a knife-edge, with 'our leaders' deploying their usual wise and far-seeing strategy of: "Er- er-"

Grandmaster chess it ain't.

Jesus, why was I born human! I don't like this species very much, sometimes. I'm very glad my potato-plant friends are cropping so well this year. Earlies already building up in the clamp very nicely, ready for this Interesting Winter, and next Spring's hungry gap......


Ignored by DParkins in Thread #3

by kert

Hello, i am an Estonian living in Tallinn. What the HELL are you on about ?? Our economy, compared to global, is doing quite fine. Just so you know, I work together in a company with lots and lots of ethnic russians, all young bright people, and not one of them has ever seen or heard anything about human rights violations, they go vote in both local and state elections and generally very much like to live where they are. They were mostly quite embarrassed around the events of Bronze Soldier and wanted nothing to do with any of this.
Would you care to elaborate where you get your data ?




Hansabank(The biggest lender in the baltics) Estonia CEO: devaluation would bankrupt Estonian economy

Alan&Kert, quite simply Estonia and Latvia are toast. The inflation in Latvia is now 18% and the economy is crumbling. I say this with a lot of regret as I own property there and simply can't sell it. The banks are not lending. Estonia is in better shape than Latvia though.

From BBC regarding Bronze Soldier:

And for local ethnic Russians it is one insult too many, the BBC's Richard Galpin says, after what they feel has been years of discrimination against them by the majority Estonian population.

Kert's claim that many were embarassed belies the 3 days of riots seen on television.

Voting rights:

Alvaro Gil-Robles European Council Commissioner for Human Rights are to be taken more serious. During his visit to Riga October 2003 the high commissioner criticized the lack of citizenship for more than 20% of Latvias population and recommended the granting of voting rights to non-citizens in municipal elections"

My bad its Latvia. But unfortunately Estonia is not much better:

Ny times:

There is a note of pain in Lyudmila Vedina's voice as she recalls those days, a few years ago, when she and her Russian friends in this ancient university town were ardent supporters of the struggle for Estonian independence.

"We rushed to read every paper," said Mrs. Vedina, a philologist, who has spent half her life in Tartu and has brought up her children here. "We signed all the petitions, we took part in everything, we let nothing go by. We were so proud of Estonia."

Estonia regained its freedom a year ago, but for people like Mrs. Vedina, it has been a bitter disappointment.

By nationality she is a member of the Finno-Ugric ethnic group, which includes Estonians, though her parents moved here from Russia after World War II, and she is fluent in Estonian but her mother tongue is Russian.

But because neither she nor her parents were registered residents in Estonia in 1938, she is now suddenly stateless, at least for another year. She can not vote in Estonia's coming elections, she can not own property, and by year's end, she may be barred from her state job. 40 Percent 'Non-Citizens'

Ny times:

According to the Estonian Statistical Office[citation needed], ethnic Russians comprised 25.7% of the population in 2006. Of that 25.7%, approximately 27% hold Russian citizenship, 35% hold Estonian citizenship, and 35% continue to have undefined citizenship.

Under Estonian law, residents without citizenship may not vote in elections of Riigikogu (the national parliament) or European Parliament elections, but are eligible to vote in local (municipal) elections(Under pressure they recently allowd non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Conveniently Kert forgot to mention that.).

However, Amnesty International has claimed that Russian-speaking linguistic minority living in Estonia often find themselves de facto excluded from the labour market and educational system. The report expressed the view that the current policies fail to constitute a coherent framework within which these rights can be guaranteed for such persons. Amnesty International cites as evidence the high unemployment rate — 12.9% in 2005 — among people belonging to Russian-speaking linguistic minority, in contrast to only 5.3% among ethnic Estonians during the same period.[13] On the other hand, ethnic Estonians without good command of Russian and English language also have limited job opportunities.[citation needed]

The think-tank Development and Transition, which is sponsored by the United Nations, has argued that Latvia and Estonia employ a "sophisticated and extensive policy regime of discrimination" against their respective Russophone parts of the population. [4]

I believe I answered all of Kert's accusations, I did confuse Latvia with Estonia on 1 point again my bad. If you would like to read about
Krasnodar(big city on Black sea) from the perspective of an American Living there please see I will answer your response from yesterday in a few days if I can still find the thread, I have a wedding to attend tommorow in Philadelphia and this is occupying my free time. If I can't find that thread I'll post it to 1 of your comments.


Given the invasion of the Baltic Republics, I can understand the rejection of that was imposed on them by the Soviet Union, including efforts at ethnic dilution (much as China is doing in Tibet, Turkey in Cyprus, etc.) and trying to reverse that which was imposed on them by the Red Army. Quite frankly, Soviet policy was to make the Baltic Republics Russian by moving enough Russians there (and exiling or killing enough locals

Unfortunately, such national strategic moves impose hardship and injustice on individuals.

In Iceland five years residency is required to vote in municipal elections (half the population lives in Reykjavik, and more than half of the utlangers, so that is not a minor right), but Icelandic citizenship (with exceptions) requires good conversational Icelandic, a difficult language.

I think that the Baltic Nations are within their national rights in reserving what was imposed on them at the point of the bayonet after an illegal invasion. One can hope that and encourage that humanity and justice are part of the move of Russians back to Russia.

And removing symbols of Soviet repression seem quite right and appropriate.


Although I agree with your point that invasion of Baltic republics was blatantly illegal, "trying to reverse what was imposed" on them (Baltic states), can not justify any ill treatment of Russian minority.

In this regard these countries are not within their national rights to try to cause any move of Russians back to Russia. Collective punishment of any sort is simply forbidden in international law. And instigating population movements, even if done in fairly civil manner, could be understood like sort of punishment.

In former Yugoslavia, where I have many relatives (which I mention only to show I am quite familiar with such situations), similar ideas are in fact called "ethnic cleansing". Russians in Estonia (which admittedly I once visited only in tourist capacity) seem to be ordinary folks, trying to get by, in what should actually be their country, too. Majority of them were already born in territory of Estonia, and with each passing year, origins of Russian settlement become more irrelevant. These people can not be considered as some kind of pawns, proxies or scapegoats in geopolitical events that presently unfold.

AlanfromBigEasy. I like the stuff you write on railways so I hesitate to criticize your comment.

The idea that the Soviet Union was some sort of Russian invention is quite false. The Russians suffered from that unfortunate state at least as much as any of the other nationalities. I hardly need point out that Marxism originated outside the country. The first chief of the KGB's predecessor, Felix Dzerzhinsky, was a Lithuanian of Jewish descent.

During the most bloody period of the Soviet epoch, the state was run by Stalin and Beria - two Georgians.

Stalin's immediate bodyguards were from the Baltic states. Wisely, he never trusted Russians to protect his life.

Blaming young people of Russian descent for what happened many years before they were born is quite unreasonable. There were no innocents in those days. Everyone had blood on their hands as that is the way the state operated. In order to survive that form of totalitarianism one had to conform and do what one was expected to do. This is very difficult for a person who has not lived in a totalitarian society to understand so I can quite understand your difficulty.

I think that the Baltic Nations are within their national rights in reserving what was imposed on them at the point of the bayonet after an illegal invasion.

Do you realize that you are talking about people who were born and grew up in Estonia, lived there all their lives and are now being denied citizenship and basic human rights? These are not the evil occupiers who moved in by force after WW2; those are mostly dead by now.

One can hope that and encourage that humanity and justice are part of the move of Russians back to Russia.

It sounds like you are advocating for ethnic cleansing of Baltic states of the people who happened to have the wrong ethnicity and language. Why should normal, law abiding people be forced to leave their home country, abandon their property, and start anew in another country?

A decade ago that would have been a reasonable question.

But Czar Putin has announced a policy of 'protecting' Russians living outside the borders of Russia, thereby putting the neighbors of those ex-patriate Russians in continuous physical danger.

I see little evidence of antipathy between Russian ex-patriates and citizens of FSU states. Instead I see expressions of solidarity, say between the Georgian and Russian female athletes at the Olympics.

I do know that the Czar Vlad I is luring Russians living in the FSU countries such as Kazahkstan, Ukraine, etc.
back to Russia with financial enticements so as to offset the declining population at a rate of 200,000 per year. He is also expelling Georgians and in general repressing non-ethnic Russians within his Empire.

Perhaps you could ask the Little Father of the Russians(Batiushka) about that?

Best wishes for a free and happy Russia

Thank you dparkins. I think you made you point quite nicely.

There is far too much false nationalism in Europe. Many people think that if they give someone from another country a tough time because he/she is not a local then they are proving their patriotism. That sort of behaviour always ends badly.

...the Germans are not this stupid (they were at one time)...but then they have met the Red Army in the field..

And How.

The Russians did far, far more during WWII than the U.S. or Britain to defeat the Nazi's.

The US was responsible for 10% of German troop causalities while the Germans were responsible for 90% of US causalities in Europe.

What does this say about the 'Western Front'?

That the Germans held off the Allies with second string forces (lots of old men and teenagers) while the real German men fought on the Eastern Front.

America believes it's own press, the first step in true decadence and terminal decline.

Your analysis is very lacking in several dimensions.

"Amateurs argue strategy. professionals talk logistics".

To quote Khrushchev in "Khrushchev Remembers". the US supplies kept the Soviet Red Army in the field. Over 90% of the trucks were American (the Ford was preferred over the Dodge or Chevy). Khrushchev noted that "Even though the men made many obscene jokes about Spam, it was actually pretty good".

The "Western Front" was hardly the only contribution by the US & UK.

The UK stood alone against Germany while the Sovirt Union took their half of Poland (and executed all of the Polish Army officers @ Katyn).

The US & UK took more Axis soldiers out in 1942 in Africa than the Soviets did. Yes, most were captured, but they no longer bore arms.

The Air War reduced production and kept 1 million men and much (most ?) of the German artillery occupied.

And in the Pacific, the Chinese took the role of the Soviets, tying down large #s of the enemy, and being kept in the field with American logistics, but the USA advanced alone on Japan.


The only reason the Soviet Union wasn't destroyed in WW2 was the British actions in the Med and North Africa in mid 1941. The delays caused there to the Germans (think Greece and Crete) delayed the start of the German attack on the Soviets and caused the attack to run into the Russian winter.
Little things can have big consequences. Had the Soviets collapsed then the British would have been defeated in '42.

The only reason the Soviet Union wasn't destroyed in WW2 was the British actions in the Med and North Africa in mid 1941. The delays caused there to the Germans (think Greece and Crete) delayed the start of the German attack on the Soviets and caused the attack to run into the Russian winter.

Wrong. Totally. The Italian failure in the Balkans to secure the Southern flank is what caused the delay to Barbarossa. Thus the kudos fall to the Serbian resistence.

Had the Soviets collapsed then the British would have been defeated in '42.

Again wrong, totally. The Germans NEVER had the proper equipment for a cross-channel invasion. And its defeat in the air Battle of Britain denied them the absolutely necessary command over the air to even contemplate building up that equipment if it could manufacture it.

Karlof, the weak Italian performance caused the Germans to get involved more than they expected. The Germans then did the hard yards in the Greek and Crete campaigns where the resistance of British and ANZAC troops caused the Germans to start their Russian campaign late and run intowinter.
The crack paratrooper landings on Crete gave the Germans a great victory but the severity of their casualties meant that they became reluctant to repeat it.
Had Germany invaded the Soviets on time they would have beaten them and then gone on to defeat the Empire forces in Iraq and Egypt.
Turkey was fencesitting and could of joined the Axis (Australian troops were massed in Syria in 1942 in case Turkey joined Hitler). Had the Germans won in Russia and the Middle East then Britain would of capitulated without invasion (or Germany would have Russian campaign veterans and their armour PLUS Caspian oil to invade).

Had Germany invaded the Soviets on time they would have beaten them and then gone on to defeat the Empire forces in Iraq and Egypt.

There is no way to prove or refute this hypothesis, or your further hypothesis, although being a very close student of the subject leads me to say that Germany wouldn't have won even if Barbarossa had gone off on time. Someone once said all battleplans become obsolete once the battle starts because of the tremendous numbers of variables involved.

Mao-Tse Tung writing just after what he called the battle of Stalingrad (but before the infinitely more famous Siege of Stalingrad) prophetically said that merely by going there the Nazis had guaranteed their own defeat. And that the entire idea of conquering Russia had been a dud from the start; even if they had captured Moscow they would still have lost in the end. This guy clearly had some idea what he was writing about, notwithstanding his incompetence in non-military matters.

A "liberation from Communism" occupation of European Russia would probably have worked. Break up collective farms into individual farms, support the Orthodox Church, etc. This would dry up the "Sea of the People" that would support resistance.

The more likely alternative would have been one that emulates Genghis Khan. I do not care to speculate about the success of that genocide.

The most chilling debate I have ever read about was amongst the Mongols. One side pointed out what excellent pasture the farms of China would make. The other side said that the Chinese could supply many useful goods and services. And that it would be a LOT of work to kill all the Chinese.

Fortunately for human civilization, the second POV carried the debate.


I would have to concur that the result of Barbarossa couldn't be guarenteed even if the starting date wasn't delayed. Hitler arguing with his generals and the early and hard onset of winter didn't help the Germans. Mistakes, miscalculations and the vagaries of chance (such as the weather) screw with plans. Lets hope that Putin uses his wisdom to prevail and not follow in the stupidity of Hitler and Bush.

"the USA advanced alone on Japan."

Alan, the Soviets played a major role in the surrender of Japan. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria is considered among the most brilliant campaigns(along with Bagration) of the entire war by many English historians.

From wiki (

The Soviets did attack from both those routes, but their main attack went through the supposedly impassable Greater Khingan range south of Solun and into the center of Manchuria.

The operation was carried out as a classic double pincer movement over an area the size of Western Europe. In the western pincer, the Red Army advanced over the deserts and mountains from Mongolia, far from their resupply railways. This confounded the Japanese military analysis of Soviet logistics, and the Japanese were caught by surprise in unfortified positions. The Japanese commander was missing for the first eighteen hours of conflict, and communication was lost with forward units very early on. At the same time, airborne units were used to seize airfields and city centers in advance of the land forces; they were also used to ferry fuel to those units that had outrun their supply lines.

The Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, along with the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined to break the Japanese political deadlock and force Japan's surrender; they made it clear that Japan had no hope of holding out, even in the Home Islands.

Japan's decision to surrender was made before the scale of the Soviet attack on Manchuria, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands was known[9], but had the war continued, the Soviets had plans to invade Hokkaidō well before the other Allied invasion of Kyushu.[10][11]

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's research has led him to conclude that the atomic bombings were not the principal reason for capitulation. Instead, he contends, it was the swift and devastating Soviet victories on the mainland in the week following Joseph Stalin's August 8 declaration of war that forced the Japanese message of surrender on August 15, 1945.[12] His claim, however, has been criticized because it ignores the fact that the Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo was unaware of how badly the fighting in Manchuria was going.[13]

The Soviet invasion of Manchuria or Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, began on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Soviets later conquered Mengjiang, as well as northern Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands. The operation is sometimes called Operation August Storm by English-language writers, after historian David Glantz used this title for a paper on the subject.

At the Yalta Conference, the Soviet Union had agreed to Allied pleas to terminate its neutrality pact with Japan and enter World War II's Pacific Theater within three months after the end of the war in Europe. It should not be confused with the Soviet-Japanese Border War that ended in Japan's defeat in 1939.


BS !

The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The Soviet Union declared war on August 8, 1945. The war was effectively over and the Soviet Union wanted the spoils of the war at almost no cost to itself.

The Japanese forces in Manchuria facing the Red Army were a shell, having been stripped to defend the homeland against an American invasion.

"Pincer" movement ? Are you even aware of the history of the USMC in their advance across the Pacific ?

Japan would have surrendered aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay not one minute later if the Soviet Union had not declared war.

You are an irrational Russian nationalist.


You are an irrational Russian nationalist.

A Russian feels the Manchurian campaign was most important, an American feels the American nuclear weapons were most important.

Could it be that irrational nationalism is, ironically enough, universal?

Any objective reading of the documents of the era show that it was both which convinced the Japanese to surrender. One of the things which caused them to hold out was the hope of keeping some of their empire, the Soviet operation told them that they'd lose their empire no matter what. Casualties on the level of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had already been suffered in Tokyo due to firebombing in February and March 1945, so simply casualties didn't put the leadership off: what really hit them was having it all from one bomb.

It was the two operations together which ensured the prompt surrender of Japan.

But read the history books of any victorious nation, and discover that that nation was solely responsible for the victory; read the books of any losing nation, and find that the defeat was someone else's fault. Read memoirs of Generals and Prime Ministers and soldiers, and discover that victories were to their credit, and defeats were someone else's fault.

We can be more mature and sensible than that.

You are wrong. Even prior to Hiroshima, Japan had no hope of keeping the Empire, even Korea. "the hard liners, who favored fighting one last "decisive" battle that would inflict so many casualties on the U.S. that they would be willing to offer more lenient terms."

The Imperial HQ War Journal stated "We can no longer direct the war with any hope of success. The only course left is for Japan's one hundred million people to sacrifice their lives by charging the enemy to make them lose the will to fight."

The "Fundamental Policy" of Suzuki's government was to fight on and to choose "honorable death of the hundred million" over surrender.

My position that the war would have ended at the same moment in Tokyo Bay comes from the tie breaking vote to the War Cabinet (divided 3-3) by the Emperor who is recorded as saying

I was told by those advocating a continuation of hostilities that by June new divisions would be in place in fortified positions [east of Tokyo] ready for the invader when he sought to land. It is now August and the fortifications still have not been completed. ...

There are those who say the key to national survival lies in a decisive battle in the homeland. The experiences of the past, however, show that there has always been a discrepancy between plans and performance. ... [He then made some specific reference to the atomic bomb]

And the later August 12 decision to accept the exact terms of surrender The Emperor met with the most senior Army and Navy officers. While several spoke in favor of fighting on, Field Marshall Shunroku Hata did not. As commander of the Second General Army, the headquarters of which had been in Hiroshima, Hata commanded all the troops defending southern Japan — the troops preparing to fight the "decisive battle". Hata said he had no confidence in defeating the invasion and did not dispute the Emperor's decision. The Emperor requested that his military leaders cooperate with him in ending the war.

Note that this was the American invasion and had nothing to do with the Red Army.

The only effect of the August 8/9 Soviet Declaration of War was the removal of hope that Stalin would mediate a more favorable peace for Japan, not any of the military success in Manchuria.

I stand by my historical analysis.


PS: This was of some personal interest, since I would likely not be here, and my father would likely have died in Operation Olympic. His unit would have been one of the first ashore with expected "heavy causalities". His reinforced company (extra man/squad, extra squad/platoon and (I think) an extra platoon for the company had four survivors from Okinawa, and none from earlier battles.

From the Emperor's Surrender speech

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization

The Soviets did not rate even a mention.


You are wrong.

No, I'm not.

Conflicts are complex things. In any conflict, when assessing how and why people made the decisions they did, you'll have a whole swag of evidence which if you focus on one bit of it will show one thing, and if you focus on another bit of it will show another. A broader view takes it all in.

Of course, if we wish to say that our own nation is the greatest ever, and responsible for all victories and successes, and never to blame for any defeats or failures, then we'll consistently choose to look at the evidence which only shows things in that way. That is, as nationalists we will not be rational, but will be partial.

As you put it, "You are an irrational [nix: Russian] American nationalist."

Yes, you are wrong on several points.

On the historical record:

The historical record on the Japanese surrender is quite extremely clear. There is no ambiguity (quite rare in the historical record). The two factors were the impending American invasion of the home islands (and the uncertainty that it could be repelled) and the two nuclear bombs.

History records that while the Imperial Japanese War Cabinet meet, they received word of Nagasaki, which deflated the argument that the Americans did not have more bombs. The War Cabinet split 3-3 on surrender or a fight to the death for 100 million against the Americans. They went to the Emperor for a "tie break" vote. That conversation was recounted by at least two of the participants. At least one of those (which I read some time ago) did not even mention the Soviet Union.

The Emperor noted that the defenses were uncertain against the American invasion and he focused on the atomic bombs and their absolute devastation. This he noted again in the surrender statement (which I quoted above). The Emperor did not mention the Soviet Union in the decision to surrender with the War Cabinet or in the later public broadcast of surrender.

The impact of the Soviet Union declaring war was it dashed any hopes of Stalin mediating a peace treaty (a la Theodore Roosevelt and the Russo-Japanese War).

History is so precise that many details of the coup attempt that took over the Imperial Palace are known. From memory, a phonograph recording of the surrender statement was smuggled out for national broadcast past the coup in women's underwear going out for laundry.

It is clear that the Soviet declaration of war may have had, at most, a small indirect effect by foreclosing a diplomatic option, but the Soviet invasion did not end World War II one minute earlier.

It is also clear that the Soviet Union was in a vulture like land grab. Men and material had been stripped for defense of the home islands, so the invasion was easy (and Stalin waited till after the atomic bomb was dropped to declare war). The Soviet Union even grabbed the Kurile Islands (from memory) TWO WEEKS after the Emperor broadcast his surrender speech ! The war was effectively over, but they wanted more land.

China deserves substantial credit for the defeat of Imperial Japan, as does Australia and New Zealand. British troops were important to hold the line in SE Asia. India contributed several divisions that fought well in Burma. Native islanders provided very useful help in the early stages of the Pacific War. The Dutch did all that they could to help. All deserve credit for ending the war early (especially the Chinese who lost tens of millions in the war). But not the Soviet Union ! They deserve zero credit for ending World War II against Japan even one minute early.

Historical truth with no uncertainty what so ever in the quite detailed record.

I will address the other issues tomorrow.


P.S. I took an interest in this issue because of the morality of using atomic weapons, even in this extreme case. I came to the conclusion that had the atomic weapons not been dropped, (both of them were needed), many millions, perhaps tens of millions, would have died and the modern Japan of today could not have arisen from the ashes of WW II.



Yeah, thanks, I hear that on the internet all the time.

You must not have read very much of what I have posted, in your claims that I am an ardent nationalist that can see no wrong bu the USA.

The USA has been, and currently is, quite wrong AND stupid (some historical figure had a quote that stupidity was worse) in innumerable areas.

In the areas of interest on TOD I have posted severe critiques about US policy Global warming/Climate change, the policy towards Russia in the 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Iraq, Iran, New Orleans/Katrina, and energy policy.

One could accuse me of French nationalism on energy policy, but NEVER American nationalism !! I respect the French and appreciate their many contributions, especially to the rebuilding of New Orleans, but I cannot say that I like them as a group.

In the historical record, there are MANY blights and wrong doings by the USA. I am ambivalent about WW I. There are at least two shining moments in American history though (like all complex human endeavors, not perfect). The writing and adaptation of the US Constitution with the Bill of Rights and WW II and it's aftermath.

I have come to the conclusion that logistics won, and lost respectively, WW II. Not brilliant generals, not brave soldiers and sailors, not great leaders, not superbly designed weapons, not determined and valiant people (all sides had all of the above) but boring logistics was the deciding factor. A factor with a minimum of patriotism and jingoism.

Several nations had atomic bomb projects. Only the USA had the resources/logistics and the peaceful rear area to actually develop two different types of atomic bombs. A triumph of logistics.

And what sort of nationalist would say that if the USA abandons New Orleans, and I am forced out, I shall leave the USA and cease all of my efforts at mitigation here ?

By contrast dparkins has only the most glowing things to say about Russia and the Soviet Union. "glowing adjective" Putin will never allow the population of Russia to shrink, Russian generals were the best generals in WW II, and on and on. Some of his claims are true, or at least debatable, many are pure jingoism.



What was more 'effective' in causing Japan to surrender?

The Soviet stab-in-the-back? or genocidal US atomic bombs?

The Japanese were hoping for the Russians to help negotiate a limited surrender. For the peace-inclined Japanese the surprise attack was a tremendous blow to their fantasy of a Soviet negotiated peace.

However the Japanese peace faction was very weak at the time and was inconsequential.

The only faction that really mattered was Hirohito who approved the war in the first place.

He knew the war was lost in 1943.
At the final stage everything depended on the treatment of the Emperor.

Who is responsible for the Japanese surrender?

Hirohito, of course.
Could the Soviet Union won the war without US aid?

The real turning point was the battle of Moscow in December 1941 before the US entered the war. Had Hitler conquered Moscow, Leningrad would have fallen and the unpopular communists would have been routed. Stalin knew this, which is why he turned the Communist war into the Great Patriotic War and changed the national anthem.

The major result of the battle of Moscow was that Hitler personally took command of the Wehrmacht and the series of military stupidities began, the conquest of the eastern Ukraine, adventures in the Caucasus, etc. which
overextended his army. Hitler the general was a gift to the Soviet Union
(Stalin was also a really awful general).

I find it difficult to believe that without US aid particularly food the Soviet Union could have continued fighting after 1942 after all a famine brought down the Kaiser in 1918 Germany, a country which had just defeated Russia.

Without material aid, Stalin would be at best in the position of the Czar in WW1 when Russia kept throwing poorly equipped cannon fodder into the breech.

OTH, the Soviet Union defeated more Germans than the Allies did(75% of casualties were on the Eastern Front).


So why are the Russians continuing to hold the southern Kurile Island, which were ceded to the Japanese by treaty with a previous Czar(1875)?

It doesn't appear that Russia, by far the largest country in the world, can spare these 4 small volcanic rocks(strangely located just a few miles from the Japanese Home Islands).

The Russian government has actually agreed to return the Kuriles several times but reaction by Russian ultranationalists(such as yourself?) caused the government to reverse course.
Recently Russia decided to consolidate its absolute claim over the North Pole by planting a small metal flag on the ocean floor.

Russia has also already established its inviolable claim over the Planet Venus by landing a 'scientific' probe with a Russian flag on its 800 degree F surface several decades ago.


some good points but the bombing campaign didn't pick up steam until after Stalingrad at which point the war was a fate accompli. Certainly the lend-lease program was a big help. However the main result of the D-Day landing (which my father participated in Via Liberty ship(merchant marines)) was to prevent the Soviet Union from occupying all of Western Europe. This was a very good thing but did not have an effect on the eventual victory, it only hastened it.


Without American aid, Germany would have defeated the Red Army and occupied Europe to the Urals, and the Caspian Sea.

And without the fighting in Africa, but with American aid, Stalingrad would almost certainly have fallen to the Germans and Axis allies.

Afrika Corps consumed an inordinate amount of logistics and many soldiers.


At the time of Alamein, Panzer Armee Afrika had 115,000 men and 560 tanks in its order of battle. The German order of battle in Russia varied, but at its height included 4.5 million soldiers and roughly 3,350 tanks.

Rommel was consistent in his complaint over poor logistic support for his forces.

The German invasion of Russia was defeated by the same weapon that destroyed Napolean's Grand Armee - the Russian winter for which neither the Germans or the French had prepared.

Despite Allied aid the Germans occupied most of Europe from the Atlantic coast east to the Volga. The divisions deployed on the Russian Front could be counted in the 100's. The divisions deployed on the Western Front could be counted in the 10's.

Europe was a sideshow to the real war and the North African campaign was a sideshow to a sideshow

It is good to pay attention to history as those who do not are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. Herr Bush is slowly, painfully, learning this lesson.

I have seen analysis (of WW II logistics, a different and ignored historical analysis) about Afrikakorps. It took several times the logistics to support one man or one tank in Africa vs, the Eastern Front.

Since the thesis of this analysis (which I agree with) is that Germany's greatest weakness was limited logistics (winter clothing was not shipped and delivered to the front in time for example, it was not that Germany was incapable of producing winter clothing), the drain of Afrikakorps was disproportionate to the numbers, and the numbers were not that small.

According to Wikipedia, the Axis losses in North Africa were 950,000 total casualties, 8,000 aircraft destroyed or captured, 6,200 guns destroyed or captured, 2,500 tanks destroyed or captured. This is comparable (but somewhat smaller) to the losses on the Eastern Front at the same time. Had these forces, with associated logistics, been devoted to the Battle of Stalingrad, the result would surely have been different.

Despite Stalin's complaint, there was a "Second Front".

There is a fallacy of looking at Soviet causalities vs. US & UK causalities and assume that the war contribution was comparable to total causalities. This ignores the critical value of logistics and that several Red Army soldiers were killed or wounded for every Axis causality, while there were several Axis causalities for every American or British one.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army killed tens of millions of his own people for domestic political control and other aims. He was not particularly concerned about how many Russian, Georgians, Armenians, Ukrainians etc. died in battle.

BTW, the decisive factor in WW II was the miracle of American logistics. Besides supplying the US Army, US Navy and USMC with an over abundance of logistical support, we supplied much to the British and Commonwealth Army (little to the Royal Navy) and supported the exile Armies, the Red Army and the Chinese Army. The last three could not have stayed in the field without US support.



The consensus among WESTERN military historians is quite different.

When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler (Modern War Studies) (Paperback)
by David M. Glantz (Author), Jonathan M. House (Author)
By Jonathan D. Eckel "nekulturnii istorik"

This incredible book belongs on the shelf of any student of World War II. It is easy to read, concise, and scholarly. If you don't know much about the Soviet-German conflict, this is an ideal place to start. If you have read widely on the subject, be sure to add this to your collection. It is excellent for both those looking for a quick read or for those who want a starting point for further research. The notes at the end of the book list an impressive number of sources.
So many Americans, even those who are avid readers of military history, are very uninformed about the Russian Front. Anti-Soviet attitudes and the preponderance of books written from the German point of view have combined to present an often false and distorted version of history. In the minds of many, the Red Army was completely dependent on American military aid and survived only because of its "inexhaustable" manpower. The Soviets could only win by throwing more men into battle than the Germans had bullets to shoot them with, and were just barely holding their own prior to D-Day. According to popular imagination, the Russian winter is what really stopped the Nazis. As bad as these misperceptions are, even worse are the schools of thought which suggest that the Soviet Union was as guilty as Germany for the start of the war or that Hitler's invasion was a defensive move against an impending Soviet attack on Germany.

Col. Glantz has proven himself to be the preeminent Western author on the Soviet military in general and its pivotal role in the Second World War in particular. Against all the myths, he presents the facts. Tenacious Soviet resistance, combined with overextended German supply lines, halted the Blitzkrieg at Moscow and Leningrad. Long before D-Day, the Red Army had made Hitler's defeat inevitable by gutting the Wehrmacht in the decisive battles of Stalingrad and Kursk. During the same time as the Normandy fighting, the Soviets' "Bagration" offensive inflicted 500,000 casualties on the Axis and drove the last of the invaders from their territory. From 1941 until mid-1943, the Red Army confronted 80-90% of Germany's total armed forces. At no time in the whole war did it ever face less than 60%, not even during the heaviest fighting on the Western Front (Normandy, Arnhem, or the "Battle of the Bulge"). Germany's Axis partners on the Russian Front included not only the Italians but the whole armed forces of Romania, Hungary, and Finland, as well as contingents of pro-fascist volunteers from all over Europe.

Proper credit is finally given to the Soviet military leadership, as well. Red Army commanders often displayed outstanding generalship after the harsh lessons of '41 and '42, mastering the art of strategic deception and mechanized warfare on a level matching, even exceeding, that of their best German or Allied counterparts. Names like Zhukov, Vasilievsky, Rokossovsky, Konev, and Vatutin deserve a place alongside Rommel, Guderian, von Manstein, and Patton.

Glantz does not claim that the Soviet Union defeated Germany on its own. American Lend-Lease supplies and the Allied bombing campaign were important, though not decisively so, to the Soviet war effort and are given their just due here. However, 80% of Germany's combat losses were sustained on the Russian front, inflicted by Soviet forces equipped almost entirely with Soviet-made weapons. Had Germany honored the 1939 Non-Aggression Pact, or had the Red Army been defeated, the Anglo-American forces would have faced an enemy that was 4 times, that is 400%, stronger than it was historically. How many more Americans would have died under these circumstances? How many atomic bombs would need to be dropped on Hitler's Europe in order bring about victory. As we honor our own veterans with movies and memorials, let us not forget the 11 million Soviet soldiers and the at least 15 million Soviet civilians that died in World War II.


let us not forget the 11 million Soviet soldiers and the at least 15 million Soviet civilians that died in World War II.

Well said Dan. That thing about the Nazis being defeated by "General Winter" was an outrageous slur on the memory of those millions.

let us not forget the 11 million Soviet soldiers and the at least 15 million Soviet civilians that died in World War II

And let us not forget at least as many citizens were killed by Stalin in purges, collectivization, forced relocations and the Finnish wars.

Had Stalin not purged the Red Army, resulting in chaotic and quite poor quality officer corps, many fewer millions would have died in the Great Patriotic War.


The Russians won the war for 3 reasons

1. Superior soldiers:

In his book, La Tregua (The Truce. Abacus, London, 1987), Primo Levi, the great writer from Turin, describes his liberation from Auschwitz by Russian soldiers and the subsequent errant train voyage in the joyous chaos of Russian troops returning home from the war which first carried him north through Poland and Ukraine. Levi and the liberated Italians observed the Red Army soldiers homeward bound in a kind of “disorderly and multicolored biblical migration. . . .” So what is their strength, Levi wondered? “It is an interior discipline born from the harmony, reciprocal love and love for their homeland; a discipline that triumphs -- precisely because it is interior -- over the mechanical and servile discipline of the Germans. It was easy to understand why they prevailed.”

2. better equipment: T-34

3. Better Strategy/generals. Brilliant campaigns conducted by equally brilliant generals.

Marshal Zhukov: The man who beat Hitler. By Albert Axell


Wrong on all 3 points.

1) Analysis of all forces, trying to adjust for logistical support, for combat effectiveness, shows the Red Army near the bottom. Quantity, but not quality. Chinese and Italians were worse.

The strongest point of several for the Red Army was combat effectiveness after suffering high causalities. Not quite the best, but quite good.

2) The T-34 was good but hardly the only weapon of the Red Army, or other armies. And it is detailed debate vs. German tanks. The best German tanks were better, many others were equivalent and some worse. But the Germans had a bewildering array of tanks so analysis is almost impossible.

What counts is quantity. The Sherman was designed as an inferior tank, but one that took a minimum of space to ship. Two Shermans were more useful than one better tank. The Red Army had much larger quantities of a good tank, Good enough and LOTS of them,

3) Stalin killed off almost all his good generals in a purge and the Red Army suffered from quite poor officership during the invasion of Finland and the first two years of the Great Patriotic War. Capable generals did emerge later (Zhukov among the best) but the German generals and overall officer corps was generally better even at the end .

I agree that, like China with the Japanese, the Red Army did tie down a large number of soldiers and dramatically reduced those facing the US & UK.

The US did inflict high proportionate causalities till VE Day (surrender is a causality and the Germans much preferred surrendering to the Americans. My father went into mainland China and disarmed and took the surrender of Japanese forces. They would NOT surrender to the Chinese, preferring to fight to the death. Sometimes fighting the Chinese the day before surrendering to the USMC).

I have read your claims and I doubt them. I also doubt that you are an American as you claim, for several reasons. I suspect, but cannot prove, that you are an ardent Russian nationalist that joined 4 days ago for your own purposes.

Putin is an evil man, but that is what Russians, to their discredit, actively want in a ruler.


This analysis of WW II is getting off-thread. I effectively rebutted your claim that the Soviet land grab at the end of WW II had any effect on Japanese surrender. So this is the end of this sub-thread for me.

BTW: The official US WW II Museum is within walking distance of my home and they give free lectures periodically.


Unfortunately they are not my arguments. They are the arguments of military historians who spend their life studying these conflicts. Your spurious attempts to discredit them point to your myopic world view and intellectual rigidity when confronted with another point of view. Your painting someone as "evil" clearly indicates that you can not argue your thesis. I am an American of Irish descent, accusing me of being an FSB agent on a disinformation campaign is a further inidication of your unsophisticated and provincial world view. It disturbs you that some Americans are not on the neo-con bandwagon? That some of us believe the interests of the United States are not served by encircling Russia but in partnering with it? Furthermore, at no time did I say operation August Storm was the deciding factor in Japan's surrender. I only entered this point to show the Soviets did "help-out."


at no time did I say operation August Storm was the deciding factor in Japan's surrender. I only entered this point to show the Soviets did "help-out."

Earlier you wrote (plus much more)

Alan, the Soviets played a major role in the surrender of Japan...

The Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, along with the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined to break the Japanese political deadlock and force Japan's surrender;

Declaring war when it was effectively all over (2.5 days after the atomic bomb) would be expected to have no effect and I demonstrated that Stalin's land grab did not shorten the war by a single minute.

I am an American of Irish descent

Several non-idiomatic statements make me doubt this. If you claimed to be a Russian who studied in the USA and perhaps lives here, I would not have doubted that in the least.

Plus I have never known such a blind devoted Russo-phile in the USA ,even among students of Russian and Russia political history. Every word is Putin's party line. TOO EXTREME much to be believable ! Quite frankly, Americans, even those that have lived abroad, or have Russian wives, simply do not think like you do. You are 6 standard deviations from the norm.

"Evil" is an appropriate term for political assassination, especially when a especially cruel and painful method is chosen "for effect".


Declaring war when it was effectively all over (2.5 days after the atomic bomb) would be expected to have no effect and I demonstrated that Stalin's land grab did not shorten the war by a single minute.

So, according to Alan,

August 6th, 1945, Hiroshima bombed, war "effectively all over"
August 8th, 1945, USSR enters war against Japan
August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki bombed

If the Soviets making war against Japan was after the war was "effectively all over", then the atomic bombing of Nagasaki was also after the war was "effectively all over", yes?

Surely destroying a city when the war is over is... a war crime? Or if not a war crime, at least treacherous and cowardly?

If the war being "effectively all over" removes the credit from the actions of the Soviets, it must assign blame to the actions of the Americans.

If the bombing of Nagasaki was not a war crime, not treacherous and cowardly, it can only be because the war was not "effectively all over", yes?

Either the war was "effectively all over", and the actions of the Soviets and the bombing of Nagasaki were both useless and/or criminal, or the war was not "effectively all over" and the two were both useful and good.

It's both, or neither. If you praise one, you must praise both; if you condemn or dismiss as irrelevant one, then you must condemn or dismiss both.

So, was the American bombing of Nagasaki a war crime, treacherous and cowardly? Or was the Soviet invasion of Manchuria a useful contribution to the war effort? Which is it?

You are in for a heap of trouble Kiashu. Logic doesn't get much respect around here. An emotive, personal, idiosyncratic interpretation of the historical record works much better. If that fails then declare yourself to be a Native American and tell the other guy his mother wears army boots. :-)


Kiashu, stop arguing like a neocon because it's not becoming of you, and usually you're better than that.

History is a complex thing. Clearly the Japanese had spent years fighting the Americans, never hearing one peep from the Russians. Clearly the Japanese were worried first and foremost about the US, not Russia. Clearly the dropping of 2 atomic bombs swayed their decision.

Let's reverse this argument for a moment. If the US had used no atomic bombs, would the war have continued? Very possibly. If the USSR had not done anything at all, just sat back, would the war have ended when it did. Almost certainly. Clearly, the entry of the USSR into the war against Japan was a largely symbolic gesture. And certainly it was a land grab.

On the other side of the coin, ask these questions:
1. Would the war in Europe have been won by the allies or ended sooner if the US had not joined?
2. Would the war in Europe have been won by the allies or ended sooner if Russia had not made its huge sacrifices?

Clearly, in Europe both the US and USSR played key roles in the defeat of the Axis powers. Without either one, the results would have been far different.

But in the east, the USSR joining the battle had no material outcome on Japan's surrender. Anyone who argues otherwise is demonstrating a massive ignorance of history.

I would not go nearly so far in minimizing the impact that the Soviet declaration of War had on the Japanese. The latter had serious concerns about Soviet intentions in the Far East well before WWII. Among other things, there were major border clashes between the Soviet Far East Army and Japanese forces in Manchuria (1938) and Outer Mongolia (1939) where the Japanese came off poorly. In April 1941, Japan signed a Neutrality Pact with the Soviet Union and carefully respected the terms of the agreement (a point that certainly annoyed the German leadership for obvious reasons). The Soviet declaration of war was very definitely bad news - the relatively intact Japanese forces in China, Korea, and Manchuria were now in an untenable position and, given the catastrophic naval situation (mostly the work of the US Navy), the impending loss of any remaining ability to exploit raw materials and industrial assets on the Asian mainland was a serious loss. As it was, the Japan was desperately short of both food and fuel and much of the urban infrastructure had already been razed by conventional bombing attacks.

The amazing thing is that the Japanese persevered as long as they did - certainly by mid-1944 if not earlier, it was obvious that their economic and military capbilities were rapidly deteriorating as was the overall military situation of what was left of the Axis powers. Moreover, any political analysis should have made it clear that:

(a) the US leadership and population were both united in their determination to force a Japanese surrender (i.e., a negotiated settlement involving minor concessions was not in the cards), and
(b) the circumstances would be very favorable, indeed irresistable, for the Soviet Union to retake territory lost in the 1905 war once Germany was defeated. The implications of the renunciation of the Neutrality Pact by the Soviet Union even before the German surrender should have been unmistakable.


As I pointed out the War Cabinet was meeting when word of Nagasaki reached them. At least one member of the War Cabinet was voicing the opinion that atomic bombs were *SO* difficult to make (Japan had their own failed program) that the Americans could not have any more. Nagasaki confirmed that he was wrong.

The Imperial Japanese War Cabinet split 3-3 in that same meeting on whether to surrender or have the entire nation fight to the death. If Nagasaki had not happened at the hour that it did, it is quite possible that the vote would have been 4-2 or 5-1 in favor of a fight to the death. And fortunately, the Nagasaki bomb was several miles off target, which reduced the death toll by half.

So, with perfect knowledge, it was the right thing to do, at precisely te right hour.

But the USA did not have perfect knowledge, and it would have been morally better to wait another few days, but not too long (so as to not lose the psychological impact), before dropping a second atomic bomb.

The Soviet invasion of Manchuria had no effect what so ever (other than grabbing territory and killing more people, never a concern by Stalin).

Within the immorality of war, how wrong would it have been for Switzerland to declare war on Germany during the Siege of Berlin and grab part of Austria ? Such an action would not have shortened the war by 1 minute, it would cause additional deaths. But Germany was still very much at war.

Whatever the moral decision is on a Swiss invasion of Austria in order to grab land in the last week of the war, can be applied to the Soviet Union and the invasion of Manchuria.

My argument was not so much a moral argument as pointing out how overblown dparkins claim was that the Soviet Union invasion helped end the war in the Pacific. It had as much impact as a Swiss invasion of Austria would have had in the last week of the war in Europe.

The Soviet invasions AFTER the August 15 surrender speech was morally reprehensible and a war crime. The USA ceased bombing Japan after August 16 (translation and chain of command issues account for the 1 day delay) and slightly longer in other theaters of war.

My father's role in China, of disarming and transporting the Japanese Army there back home, was entirely moral and proper. It prevented a fight to the death between the remnants of the Japanese Army and the Chinese, at some risk, and some deaths to the USMC.


"....Putin is an evil man, but that is what Russians, to their discredit, actively want in a ruler."

Bush is an evil man, but that is what Americans, to their discredit, actively want in a ruler.

He started a preemptive war and invaded another country to steal their oil. Over a million Iraq civilians have been killed. He has not been to a single soldier's funeral.

The US and Allies wrapped up WWII in less time than the present fiasco in Iraq. In six plus years the US military hasn't been able to wrap up a country as small as Iraq. What gives?

Bush is an evil man, but that is what Americans, to their discredit, actively want in a ruler

I disagree that is what Americans want.

GWB ran as a "compassionate conservative" the first time and in the after effects of 9-11 the second time. Current opinion polls show both he personally and his party in strong disfavor. Moral revulsion is at least part of the reason.

Neither of the two candidates still running is quite as profoundly morally repugnant as GWB. Within the limits of what is known, none of the primary candidates are as morally bad as GWB turned out to be (but, as I said, GWB ran as a compassionate conservative after a decent term as Governor of Texas. His governorship was not highly objectionable).


I disagree that is what Americans want.

It's what they voted for.

VERY often you do NOT get what you voted for. Sometimes not even close.

In 2000, about 48% of Americans that voted, voted for a self proclaimed "compassionate conservative. Few would argue that is what we got.

Evil can be elected by deception, or by deliberate choice. There is a moral difference. Thye defense of teh 2004 election is much more problematic, because emotion more than rationality appeared (IMHO) to rule the day.

But there is little doubt that Americans today broadly regret their choice in 2004. We made an error, and a terrible one. But most recognize that and vow not to repeat it.


We made an error, and a terrible one. But most recognize that and vow not to repeat it.

A tenner says McCain gets in.

McCain was the least Republican candidate in the R primaries.

Up to 2001, he had an extremely well deserved reputation for being a maverick. Campaign finance reform had his name on it, he attacked the tobacco industry, he was a very unreliable member of the R caucus in the Senate, likely to vote his conscience before party loyalty.

GWB beat him in 2000 with dirty tricks, especially in South Carolina.

And he has opposed GWB on some issues (torture, Guantanamo Bay).

Some voters still see the "old McCain", Hopefully not enough.

I will accept your bet.


You make a lot of claims here, but all are opinion. I do not believe that most people have turned against Bush for moral reasons at all - where is the evidence of that? The drop in his approval comes from poor performance, not because people have objected to what he is doing. That is a major distinction.

1. People turned against the Iraq war because it isn't going well, not because it was morally wrong. If we were winning, the flags would still be waving. Nobody gave crap about the obvious lies that were being told to justify getting into it. The atrocities we've committed over there are manifold and well documented - when was the last time you heard anyone talking about it? Other than a few of my radical friends, nobody ever discusses it. Never. They don't know, they don't want to know, and they don't care. The only "moral" outrage is over US servicemen.

2. The economy is probably the biggest reason for his drop in approval - it is the main issue for almost all Americans.

3. Katrina was a peek behind the curtain for many, obviously for you too. Most people didn't like what they saw because it embarrassed them and it made them appear weak.

If I recall correctly, you've said you voted for Bush in the first election. I don't know what changed your mind, but I'm sure Katrina had a lot to do with it. The idea that somehow we had no idea what he would turn into would be laughable if it were not so sad - his entire history, including his behavior as Texas governor, was plenty of warning for those of us who were paying attention.

If there is such a thing as "evil", then Bush and his cronies are it. Your attempts to draw a distinction between the flavor of evil of Bush and Putin look like an attempt to justify your own role in having helped put him in office to begin with, and are part of a consistent anti-Russian attitude (for both the people and their leadership) you've shown all through these threads (edit: gratuitously, as you've done a fine job presenting your case in all the discussions). Today, in 2008, I see no moral distinctions between the US and Russian people and leadership. I'm under no illusions about what kind of guy Putin is, but I suspect you are still suffering under some illusions about what is running our country, your recent eye opening notwithstanding. The biggest difference I see between Putin and Bush is one of competence.

Yes, you made an error, and have since started to see the reality. I suggest you look a little more, because there are more things you missed.

Yes, you made an error, and have since started to see the reality. I suggest you look a little more, because there are more things you missed

Of that I have absolutely no doubt.

that most people have turned against Bush for moral reasons

I agree, but a significant minority have, however. Morality has relatively minor impact on public opinion (at least morality about ones' society, it is far easier to be moralistic about another society).

Today, in 2008, I see no moral distinctions between the US and Russian people and leadership

Putin's terms have already expired and we see where he is today and who replaced him.

I see who is going to replace GWB and both are much more acceptable morally.


his entire history, including his behavior as Texas governor, was plenty of warning for those of us who were paying attention

Strange but true anecdote. I was delayed for several minutes in my move from Austin to New Orleans by the first inaugural parade for Governor Bush.

A couple of politically involved liberal friends reported back to me that they were pleasantly surprised by Gov. Bush. His co-operation with Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock has much to do with this. And some of his policies were mildly progressive (eliminating sales tax on OTC medications, etc.)

And I am not aware of anything objectionable that he did when managing the Texas Rangers.


Alan, this is the first time that I would have to strongly disagree with you. Bushs term as governor WAS highly objectionable. He did put the welcome mat out for the Taliban as governor even though they were repugnant killers. He also signed the death sentence on a woman who epitomised the moral conversion of Christianity and who was reforming many other prisoners. In other words I regard Bush as evil as a Satanist by his actions. His actions since then have only reinforced my opinion and I regard the religious right who supported him in elections as moronic dupes.
America is reaping the sh*t that it sowed.

I'm sorry. After the 1st term of GWB, the people of USA had a second chance.

By that time they knew the kind of war mongering liar they had for a president and psycho for a vp.

Either that, or the voters are practically as dumb as a pair of boots. I wouldn't be surprised by that, because that happens to be the rule where I live (not US, mind you).

One way or the other, US voters screwed it up for themselves and the rest of us by giving the GWB & Cheney a second term.

Here's hoping Americans can make the right choice (from my POV) come next elections :)

Then again, if anybody thinks the last 8 years have been honky dory, by all means vote McCain, hope Cheney ends up in the cabinet and insist they together 'bomb, bomb, bomb Iran' >:D

the decisive factor in WW II was the miracle of American logistics.

The decisive factor in WW II was the miracle of American oil production. It was precisely because America had significant energy surplus that it was able to run and maintain its logistics effort. When the western allies advance stalled it was quite literally because they had run out of gas.

Hitler attempted to capture the oil fields of Baku. His forces reached Grozny which is 200 km to the north of Gori, Georgia. German military production increased throughout the war but they had increasing difficulty moving armaments from the factory gate to the front line.

David Glantz has written a series of excellent books on this campaign. A reading of Glantz would correct some of your misunderstandings such as the statement that the Red Army could not have stayed in the field without US support. Without the schwerepunkt of the Red Army there would have been no western front.

Oil conservation also helped. Besides 3 gallons/month rationing:

In my paper for the Transportation Research Board (a division of the Nat'l Academy of Engineering) I quote co-author (and TRB emeritus) Lt. E. L. Tennyson, US Transport Command HQ, that 90% of the ton-miles in the 48 states during WW II were by rail (coal & steam then#) due a conscious decision to save oil and rubber and use truck and bus as little as possible and maximize rail for moving both passengers and freight. Priority was freight first, troop trains second and then civilian passenger trains.


# Some new diesel locomotives were shipped to Iran (plenty of local oil, steep rail grades) to ship supplies to Russia. (UK & Soviets overthrew Shah and installed son to get access to this rail line).

Remove just 90+% of the Red Army trucks and use animal & human transport from railheads and the Wehrmacht would have made it to Baku.

Just that one item from the USA. Not to count the food, aircraft, materials, etc. etc. etc.


Your only partly correct Alan,althougth the North African campaigns Afrika Corps consumed soldiers and logistics this consumption didn't affect the wars outcome. The failures of the Italians in the Balkans led the Germans to commit to the Greek/Crete campaigns which delayed them by 6 weeks in Barbarossa. That was the main reason for the wars outcome.
I knew a British naval Captain on convoys and from what he said the ungratful Soviets in Murmansk kept shaking their fists demanding more supplies.
BTW it wasn't just yanks in the Pacific that defeated Japan but British and Empire troops in Burma, PNG, Borneo etc and Chinese (Nationalists and Reds) that helped.

I am really shocked that you compare what happened on the Eastern Front with what went on in North Africa.

The scale was entirely different. The intensity and ruthlessness of the fighting was of an entirely different order. The military casualties in North Africa were perhaps one-twentieth of that of the Eastern Front. Furthermore, the war was nearly all in the deserts and the local populations were largely untouched. That is why the British Tommies respected Rommel and that is why they adopted German songs like "Lillie Marlene". This attitude would have been entirely inconceivable on the Eastern Front.

The Americans came into the war after it was clear to people who should know such things that the Germans would be defeated by the Soviets. The Normandy landings took place a year after Stalin had been told that they would take place.

It always amazes me the influence that Hollywood has.

The military casualties in North Africa were perhaps one-twentieth of that of the Eastern Front.

Per Wikipedia, the Northern Africa campaign cost the Axis

950,000 total casualties (67,221 Allied casualties)
8,000 aircraft destroyed or captured
6,200 guns destroyed or captured
2,500 tanks destroyed or captured

By comparison, the Axis losses in the Battle of Stalingrad were

572,300 total casualties (1,130,000 Soviet military casualties)
1,135 aircraft

No listing of guns and tanks @ Wikipedia

On the Allied side, your "one-twentieth" statement is very close to being true. But not on the Axis side.

I do not deny that the USA, UK and Commonwealth fronts followed the rules of war and showed more humanity towards each other than on the Eastern Front. This is a substantial military advantage because the enemy is much more willing to surrender. (See my father's experience in China).

And, of course, the Eastern Front was more than Stalingrad.


Five times as many German soldiers were engaged on the Eastern Front as on the Western Front and yet the Soviets got to Berlin first despite having to advance a good deal further. The contribution of air power towards ground victory is always overestimated as Vietnam and Afghanistan demonstrate. Also, lots of people believe that the bombing of civilians prolong wars. Doubtless supplies from the USA helped but not by as much as American historians would like to believe.

As a child, I met a German who had been a colonel in the Waffen SS and who had been captured at Stalingrad. When we met him, he was a senior manager at a large German company. He was only released from Russian captivity in 1954. This man told us kids that the Soviets they fought were mostly Asiatic people and quite different to the Russian stereotypes the Germans had expected to meet.

Look, in the end a war happens because both sides are very keen for it to happen.

Those who wish to paint Russia as the great saviour of Caucasus independence have apparently not heard of a region just near the recent fighting, called "Chechnya". So this is not about the right to self-determination of all peoples.

Why the particular indignation of the world about the Georgians and Ossetians? It's only one of scores of intractable conflicts. Darfur in Sudan, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the Karen in Burma, the Uighur in China, the Albanians in Kosovo, the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, the Kashmiris in India, the Pashtun in Pakistan, the Turkmen in Afghanistan, and so on and so forth. In all those places the national government carries out attacks on the rebels and their civilian population to keep that land at least nominally in the country.

Why do we ignore all those and then suddenly pretend great indignation about the Ossetians? Let's be honest, how many of those now so indignant had even heard of the Ossetians a month ago? Be honest: without googling, can you tell us what language the Ossetians speak? What script they use for it? What is their religious faith, and which rite do they follow? Now compare and contrast with what you know of Georgia? Let's be honest: most of us wouldn't know if there were genuine differences between Ossetians and Georgians, or if this was all the result of some ambitious warlord in Ossetia. And yet, such indignation, arguments about which area is a "true" democracy and so on.

This is not about any of that. This is about Russia asserting its Great Power status - "me butch, you the bitch" - and about controlling the flow of fossil fuels into Europe - the two tie together.

The end result is very simple. With natural gas, Russia had Europe by the balls. Now with oil, it has Europe by the throat, too. And NATO has shown itself to be useless, and the US a faithless deserter of its ally. This has entirely changed the balance of power in the region, and in Europe as a whole. Russia has checkmated the West in the new Great Game in Central Asia.

"But he started it!" What are we, eight year olds? Come on. Russia, Ossetia and Georgia could not have had a war unless they all wanted one. Why did they do it? People start wars because they think they can win. That they are wrong at least half the time is irrelevant - they think they'll win.

kiashu, the problem is that you are right and therefore the hardcore pro/anti bush/putin will attack that truth.

Neal,I see no reason to attack kiashu.He nailed it.We have incompetent people playing our end of the game.I keep hoping there is no further actions by these clowns who"lead" us,but I honestly believe that the car has gone over the cliff,and we are on a short,"interesting"ride to the bottom.

I expect the same sort of future as the members of the USSR had during the breakup.As too many of the players "gamed" the system,its now broke/dead and running on inertia.I don't know what the shock will be that "tips the corpse over" and makes everyone know that things are never going to be 'Leave it to beaver" again,but it will happen sooner than later.

This whole gig just shows the world how worthless and corrupt our command structure is,god help us.

I think we all have to remember what the Olduvai Theory postulates.

These fools leading us are subconsciously aware that the losers, after Peak Oil, get into the Dark Ages first.

The below-stupid Capitalists who only know short term profits are still in control of all National politics and calling the shots. The politicians are merely the puppets on the strings.

The biggest economy on the planet is the most controlled by the these ignorant Capitalists and hence is making the least intelligent decisions for a sustainable future.

Georgia is the first batsman of the first innings and we will see one hell of a game unfold as peak Oil is confirmed.

The fact that BP has pulled out of Georgia is alarming. They know something we do not. Maybe Russia has already won control over that route or BP's hands are also dirty,and they are avoiding expensive turmoil over that pipeline.

BP has made a few strange decisions lately. I think the Brits should start asking questions about their economic future. Could BP be the first Oil Giant to fail?


I think we all have to remember what the Olduvai Theory postulates.


"The fact that BP has pulled out of Georgia is alarming. They know something we do not. Maybe Russia has already won control over that route or BP's hands are also dirty,and they are avoiding expensive turmoil over that pipeline."

They have? Do you have some reference for this?

Apologies if my poor wording caused you to believe that I was sarcastically attacking Kiashu. I was agreeing with him and I also agree with you, the neocons and Yerginites will be in the painful situation of the ex-Soviets in the 90's. At least the Russians made sure their powerdown then didn't lead to lashing out. I fear that once the neocons realize the parties over and their toys are broken then they might lash out to break the other kids toys (like bomb Iran or trying to pick a fight with Russia or China that they can't win).

This is a USA-Russia contest. Georgia is just a pawn in this game. Do you really think, the US and Russia did not know about this attack? I think they knew. The US goal is to alienate the EU from Russia. This has been their strategy for many decades.

Mission accomplished, as the signing of the missile pact with Poland shows. What good (or more likely bad) this will do, only time will tell.

Huh? It is my understanding that the EU has never been this tied to Russia. If things keep going the way they have been going, it appears Russia will actually gain substantial geopolitical leverage over the EU, at least in the medium term. Forty years ago, Russia had nothing on the EU but a vague military threat, now the military threat is secondary.

Actually, the grand US plan of Containment immediately failed because of Europe's trading relationship with the USSR. You are correect to say Russia now enjoys a degree of leverage it hasn't in the past. But this leverage was foreseen years ago, which is one of the main reasons most European governments embarked on their particular form of energy policies. That they haven't done enough or haven't been truthful with their citizens is quite true. I think the lack of long term thinking about the energy question is very apparent, along with the trance induced by BAU and its "Classical" economic theory.

European Statesperson: Comerade Citizens, we must face the fact that we will be dependent on Russian hydrocarbon energy sources for the foreseeable future, and also face the fact that they will cease exporting because of depletion of those resources within 20-25 years. It is thus imperative that we embark on a program of electrical energy production that relies on only the planet and sun for its fuel. This will need to have the cooperation of all citizens as many other social and cultural adjustments will become mandatory, too. Furthermore, the whole of the European Community--indeed the World Community--faces this same fundamental challenge. The fact of declining hydrocarbon supplies eventually becoming too expensive for general use affects all of humanity. Competing and fighting wars for control over what remains ignores the fact of eventual hydrocarbon depletion and defeats the cooperation mandatory for the transition to a different energy and economic paradigm. Our efforts must not await others to embark upon theirs, although we will attempt to motivate them. Yes, it is true we should have started on this transition years ago. But let us not waste time on recriminations; they are counterproductive. The next step is to develop our plan beyond the basic outline we currently have. A schedule of public forums to provide citizen input will be made available soon for the next week.

So, please, get together with your family and your neighbors. Take this message very seriously, and discuss what ought to be done between yourselves. List your ideas. Then bring them to the forums. This whole energy and social transition is something we must do, for if we don't we'll fail ourselves and be very unprepared for the future.

Thank You.

Said by Kiashu:
This is not about any of that. This is about Russia asserting its Great Power status - "me butch, you the bitch" - and about controlling the flow of fossil fuels into Europe - the two tie together.

Precisely. The Russian and western media feed their respective audiences the simple concept of, "me good guy, you bad guy," by the Russians declaring genocide against Saakashvili after lying in wait and by the West whining about a democratically elected government and territorial integrity while failing to act.

The end result is very simple. With natural gas, Russia had Europe by the balls. Now with oil, it has Europe by the throat, too. And NATO has shown itself to be useless, and the US a faithless deserter of its ally. This has entirely changed the balance of power in the region, and in Europe as a whole. Russia has checkmated the West in the new Great Game in Central Asia

Correct. Basically the trend is with Russia and therefore they will gain advantage, whereas those fighting the trend (the West's elite) will accumulate the losses.

It is obvious that Europe needs to have a healthy symbiotic relationship with Russia and in the end this simple fact will trump all else. But as with all trends, they are usually long established before people become aware of them and unfortunately politicians last of all. This will ensure a rocky road from where Europe is today, to where Europe will be in the future.

As I've mentioned before, I believe France will be the most likely country to recognise the trend and pull Europe in that direction. On the opposite side will be the UK and the stress of going against the gravitational pull will likely end in the breakup and dissolution of the Union (ie. England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland will split into separate sovereign entities). The final act in the fall of the centuries old British Empire.

Peak Oil will rewrite the geopolitical map. Those that understand how the map will be in the future will benefit, whereas those that fail to see the new realities will no doubt make serious mistakes as a result.

At best, Russia's actions will speed up Europe's transformation and at worst, it will entrench Western dogmatism to the detriment of all and may even sink Europe's peak oil lifeboat.

Look, in the end a war happens because both sides are very keen for it to happen.

Do you believe that, Green-with-a-Gun?

Ever hear of WW2?

No. It's just a hollow argument by someone who has lost his 'moral compass'.

How are you morally better that the bugs who think war is a chess game?

Or you now able to denounce evil deeds without equivocation?

I told this board that many would come to regret their hasty embrace of evil deeds and I believe the numbers are growing.

Do you believe that, Green-with-a-Gun?

Yes, I really believe wars happen because both sides are very keen for them to happen.

Sometimes they try to put off the war to what they believe will be a better time, but if they fight, it's because they want to. Otherwise they could just surrender the instant their enemy crossed the borders, and then they wouldn't have to have a war at all.

Ever hear of WW2?

Yes. And that conflict is a good example of what I'm saying. The keenness for war varied a lot among the combatants. That is why Russia and Germany needed a lot more rebuilding after the war than did France or Denmark.

Countries which weren't keen on war quickly capitulated to avoid it (like France, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium), or simply sent small token forces to the war (like Spain), or so arranged their diplomacy and defences so as to be able to avoid the war entirely (like Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey, Sweden).

Countries which were keen on war went and fought it, and when one foe was defeated looked for others (USSR, Germany, Italy).

No. It's just a hollow argument by someone who has lost his 'moral compass'.

How are you morally better that the bugs who think war is a chess game?

Or you now able to denounce evil deeds without equivocation?

Who said I'd lost my moral compass?

To say that for Russia and the US the Russia-Georgia-Ossetia conflict is like a chess game, and that the right to self-determination of ethnic minorities is not important, is not to say it's like a chess game to me.

I'm describing the way things are, not approving of them. If it were up to me, the world would not use oil and natural gas and coal at all - or we at least wouldn't burn them - and we wouldn't have nation-states, but only republican city-states, and all the republican city-states would be entirely secular, with no religious or ethnic political parties allowed. In such a situation, there would not be conflicts like this.

But that ain't the way the world is, nor is it likely to be that way for some time. I'm describing, not approving.

That is why Russia and Germany needed a lot more rebuilding after the war

Russians weren't "keen" on the war. Just they were under attack by people who classed them as subhumans to be exterminated, unlike the others you mention. Then when the tide turned against the Nazis instead, they in turn were fighting for their lives with no option of gaining anything from surrender. A stronger case might be made against Churchill. If he'd agreed terms with Hitler then the devastation of ww2 could have been greatly reduced and Naziism would likely have died a natural death after a few years anyway.

Yes, I really believe wars happen because both sides are very keen for them to happen.
Sometimes they try to put off the war to what they believe will be a better time, but if they fight, it's because they want to. Otherwise they could just surrender the instant their enemy crossed the borders, and then they wouldn't have to have a war at all.
--Ever hear of WW2?--
Yes. And that conflict is a good example of what I'm saying. The keenness for war varied a lot among the combatants. That is why Russia and Germany needed a lot more rebuilding after the war than did France or Denmark.
Countries which weren't keen on war quickly capitulated to avoid it (like France, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium), or simply sent small token forces to the war (like Spain), or so arranged their diplomacy and defences so as to be able to avoid the war entirely (like Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey, Sweden).
Countries which were keen on war went and fought it, and when one foe was defeated looked for others (USSR, Germany, Italy).

(Hmm..not MY understanding of WW2..)

So anyone engaged in a fight must really want to fight?
The aggressor and the defender are morally the same.
No right of national self-defense, Green-with-a-gun?
(So why the gun?)

Who said I'd lost my moral compass?

Right. Maybe you never had one.

To say that for Russia and the US the Russia-Georgia-Ossetia conflict is like a chess game, and that the right to self-determination of ethnic minorities is not important, is not to say it's like a chess game to me.

Is there an argument in that convoluted 'collage' of red herrings?

Ignore aggression because it is just a US-Russia chess game OR let's worry about the self-determination of 50000 Ossetian hillbillies ruled by gangsters and defended by one of the largest armies in the world?

If it's not just a chess game to you, what is it?

I find it quite disappointing that apparently green-minded folks should
abandon frank moral disapproval and see things as either a chess game or
a world utterly compromised and therefore incapable of self-improvement.
Most of the considerable improvements in this world have been done by raising the bar.

I'm describing the way things are, not approving of them. If it were up to me, the world would not use oil and natural gas and coal at all - or we at least wouldn't burn them - and we wouldn't have nation-states, but only republican city-states, and all the republican city-states would be entirely secular, with no religious or ethnic political parties allowed. In such a situation, there would not be conflicts like this.

Of course, if YOU 'ruled the world..every day would be the first day of spring..' But since you don't then apparently you have no moral responsibility to criticize bad actions and actors(be it, XOM or Putin).

'There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.'

But that ain't the way the world is, nor is it likely to be that way for some time. I'm describing, not approving.

This isn't a troop of baboons on the Seregetti. Everything people do has a moral dimension.

Are the activities of XOM in promoting GW deniers an example of their superior strategy(earning them points in the struggle of energy survival) or an outrageous abuse of human society.

It is the same kind of abuse of human society to violate another country's sovereignty and to attack it.

I for one believe that we have a moral duty to hold TPTB responsible for their actions. I don't believe that I am too guilty to speak up, rather that I am too guilty NOT to speak up!

So anyone engaged in a fight must really want to fight?
The aggressor and the defender are morally the same.
No right of national self-defense, Green-with-a-gun?

I didn't say people had no right of national self-defence, still less did I say all fighters were morally equal. I said they didn't fight unless they wanted to.

I mean neither less nor more than what I say.

Ignore aggression because it is just a US-Russia chess game OR let's worry about the self-determination of 50000 Ossetian hillbillies ruled by gangsters and defended by one of the largest armies in the world?

I didn't say we should ignore it. I said it would be ignored by the US.

Again, description does not mean approval. I am describing how the leaders of these nations think, what motivates them, the purpose of their actions. I do not approve of them, but my approval or lack of it makes no difference to them.

If it's not just a chess game to you, what is it?

It's a great tragedy. Blood shed, people's homes destroyed, merely over some shit we'll burn anyway.

But since you don't then apparently you have no moral responsibility to criticize bad actions and actors(be it, XOM or Putin).

More than five years ago, I was involved in a discussion about the coming US-UK-Australian invasion of Iraq.

I mourned the passing of the UN as a relevant force. I noted that our elected leaders only seemed interested in the threat of terrorism when Moslems do it. I said that the invasion of Iraq was a victory for Osama Bin Laden, in that it brought the West into open conflict with Islam, and would win Bin Laden recruits. Once the invasion was done, I Iraqis were now "free" - to kill each-other. More recently, I have spoken about human rights in my own country, saying, "The environmental movement must necessarily be a human rights movement." When a federal election approached, I considered in some detail who I should vote for, and why.

So I have long criticised wars of aggression, and threats to human rights, and I write to my local, state and federal representatives in each season. I vote in every election. I pay taxes without stinting or evasion. I have been called for jury service, and answered that call. I have served in the armed forces of Australia and when I was in New Zealand, in theirs, too.

So I do in my life make a habit of making my voice heard, and if actions speak louder than words, I've done them, too.

Describing how the world is does not mean that I approve of it. In fact, knowing how the world is is the first step to changing it. Know thyself, and know thy enemy, and be victorious in one hundred battles.

But a casual chat on a forum about peak oil is not an effective course of action. It's just a casual chat. Part of the decline of our modern democracy is that we confuse having an opinion with doing something. So don't get all indignant and self-righteous just because you express your opinions here and not everyone leaps to agree with you instantly. You're just mouthing off like the rest of us.

Too simplistic.

In a non-fungible commodity piped through fixed delivery networkds, both non-diverse seller and mono-supplier buyer have each other by the throat.

Seller: if you don't act as we wish, we won't sell to you
Buyer: if you don't act as we wish, we won't buy from you

The balance of fear.

Any sane energy-geo-econo-political analysis about Russia/Europe acknowledges this.

Which is also the reason, why both seller and buyer are making a mad scramble to diversify, but it'll take a long time.

Seller: if you don't act as we wish, we won't sell to you
Buyer: if you don't act as we wish, we won't buy from you

The balance of fear.

It's only a balance if the seller and buyer's desire and need to sell are the same.

If the seller needs to sell more than the buyer needs to buy from them in particular, the seller is in trouble. See the USSR's oil exports in the 1980s - undersold by Arab oil.

If the buyer needs to buy more than the seller needs to sell to them in particular, the buyer is in trouble. See the EU and Russia today; if Russia turned off the tap, their drop in export income would cut into their currency reserves, but they would not perish, whereas Eastern Europeans could freeze to death in large numbers.

Hello TODers,

The WSJournal on the US pointman for Georgia:
U.S. Diplomat, Close to Saakashvili, Plays Key Role in Conflict

When Russian tanks rolled out of South Ossetia and into Georgia proper Monday, triggering fears of a full-scale invasion, a man began furiously shoving U.S. diplomat Matthew J. Bryza around the lobby of the Marriott Tbilisi, the capital's fanciest hotel.

"It's your fault too...."

totoneila: Thanks for that WSJ article.A person couldnt get a more corporate view of the world or
what the corporations want you to think about the world...than the WSJ.I took great pains to read what
was said and greater pains at what wasnt said in that article.
Seems abundantly clear as many TOD contributors have
already pointed out...this was all preplanned and as
usual wasnt planned well and didnt go according to plan.
Also seems that energy and access to energy is at
the heart of the conflict. This wrapping oneself in
flags of nationality and patriotic fervor and old
animosities is a deception used by rulers to get us
at each others throats.
"Without oil theres friction" could be an epitaph if
someones inclined to chisel it in advance.

totoneila: I also meant to ask, are you the one who
always says "Have you hugged your bag of fertiliser
I ask because I saw a public traded potash company up
10% in one day and thought of you.
On top of the thousand % gain already , I wouldnt just
hug it...I would marry without regard to a prenupt.

Hello Nephilim,

Yep, that phrase hopefully helps people to understand how critical the need for I-NPK is going forward, plus drive a greater impetus for ramping O-NPK recycling.

A 10% daily price fluctuation in some ag-company stock is nothing, consider this commodity trend:

..Reported prices continued to increase through May as
supplies remained tight globally. The average customs value of
elemental sulfur imported into the United States in May 2008
was $243 per ton. This was 23% higher than that of April 2008,
nearly 14 times what it was in May 2007.
Sulfur is essential to the beneficiation of many I-NPK products.

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

A little more information on the Georgian railroad from the website of Advantage Logistics

The railfreight service, between Georgia’s port of Poti, Baku Port in Azerbaijan, Aktau port in Kazakhstan and Almaty in Kazakhstan, offers an alternate form of transport to limited road and river routes – many of which are ice-choked in winter.

The service is an express operation delivering a transit time of just eight days between the two cities which represents the fastest possible means of delivering cargo overland from any international sea port to Almaty. At present, the average overland transit time of containers from international ports to Almaty is between 25 and 45 days.

When building a bus shelter you have to use toughened glass to resist vandals. Seems that now that when building a railway you have to avoid including unnecessary bridges so as to resist some bigger vandals. I don't know which makes me sicker, the callous anticooperative destructiveness (by already very fortunate people) or the eternal gullibility of so many people in the face of sophisticated propaganda.

And yet this is going to be very much the norm for years to come. I'd better come to terms with it.

It appears that Georgians, or Gruzinskii as the Russkys call them, have long been viewed by the latter as intellectually inferior impatient mafia-type psychopaths. And this seems born out by the latest. Quite what coaxed them into launching their Ossetia offensive at precisely the wrong time is unclear. What is clear is that they had long been blinded by the dollar signs flashing in their eyes at the prospect of being a bypass for oil along that pipeline and or road/rail to ports. If they'd had a modicum of sense they'd have realised how vulnerable they were to having the pipe, road, rail and port all sabotaged and effectively turned into a joke country. They'd have given up on a dream of excluding Russia from their oil-routing wealth. Applied for membership of CIS rather than of NATO. And thereby would have been able to avoid this unnecessary war.

In a mountainous area, I would expect that there are many rivers and gorges. It seems like bridges would be essential. It is hard to think of a way to build strong enough ones.

I had looked at the map and noted that if they had been wishing to make that key railway less sabotageable they could easily have kept it along the south side of the big river, with just a crossing over for the Gori branch. Instead they had multiple bridges going back and forth, probably because it was designed by Moscow-directed engineers with half an eye on making it easily sabotageable if the Georgians ever fell out of line.

Some speculation: the railway bridge was destroyed by Georgians, fearing a Russian attack on Tbilsi and hoping to slow the approach of Russian armoured vehicles and strangle their supply lines.

Some speculation indeed! The Russian armour could easily enough travel along the main valley road. The oil trains in winter certainly couldn't.

The Gs had already soundly lost this war. This was merely the Rs making the point that the Gs' energy bypass is not going to be able to function except under R terms. Which was the whole point of this invasion anyway. They have no need of conducting an embarassing attack on Tbilisi now that the country is reduced to a dismembered joke anyway. They can just wait for it to collapse economically now.

THE LAYING of a foundation stone at Marabda station in the Tetri-Tsakro region of Georgia on November 21 [2007] marked the formal start of work on the long-planned rail link between Turkey and Georgia. Reflecting the international significance of the event, the two countries' presidents participated in the ceremony, along with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan.

Now expected to be complete by 2010, the Kars - Tbilisi corridor is one of several cross-border rail projects being developed in the Caucasus region, which lies between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, hemmed in by the Caucasus mountains to the north and the Lesser Caucasus range to the south

An overview of all connections in Central Asia/Caucasus.
EU. I find the direct Azeri-Iranian one "interesting". The best one to avoid Russian influence.

Going to the Georgia port avoids a gauge change (figure 12 to 24 hour delay plus cost) and they use a rail ferry across the Caspian to avoid both Russia and Iran. The route linked by Gail is all broad gauge.

EU, Turkey, Iran and China are standard gauge, Soviet Union & Finland broad gauge.

Work is started in Kazakhstan of a standard gauge line to the EU and Iran is expanding into Afghanistan with standard gauge which could be extended to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and from there to Kazahkstan.

Few major population centers in Kazakhstan will be served by the new standard gauge rail line though, minerals and trans-shipment are the role of the new line.


It should be noted the Russians take railways very seriously; they learned from our WWII experiences. What we forgot, they seized as a strategic necessity. Russian railway cars exist, in the thousands, with mechanism to change the wheel rolling gauge, from 5' to standard European/US 4'8&1/2" in minutes. Handy to roll military equipment into NATO countries, maybe?

The railway cuts are quickly rebuildable; delays are probably the intent. Interested parties can see "RAIL TRANSPORT and THE WINNING of WARS" , James A. Van Fleet 1956(get from Association of American Railroads, Wash., D.C.).

The Russians & Chinese are investing heavily in rail networks, in the $100's of Billions. The USA has dismanteled 2/3 of 1950's rail mileage and local warehousing to favor mergers of mains, truck haul, and just-in-time distribution. OK, with near flawless trucking running on plentiful fuel. Hmmm. An interim step to cover food supply for a couple hundred million of us shall be re-commission of the respective 48 State National Guard "Railroad Operation & Maintenance Batallions"; along with rehab of dormant rail branchlines found here & there still.

The US Military Transportation Corps, Civil war to Vietnam Era, referred to rail supply methodology as: "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform".. This relates to railways as effective outside the general road & highway network, when the rails have needed road & off-road (railway operating platform) maintenance facilities to operate independently. This is important going into the Oil Interregnum; maintaining ability to distribute victuals & necessities of life as trucking falters in fuel shortage.

Using the Guard Organizations as back-up for expanded USA rail network, we assure available rail-savvy human resources. In an earlier time, rebuilding/recovery after Gulf Coast destruction (Katrina) would have included much use of rail elements in various locations. Many miles of dormant rail branchlines are still extant in Louisiana & Mississippi, likewise across the USA. USA "Rail Atlas Maps" are available from ( for planning around rail rehab in the 3066 US Counties. Parallel Bar Therapy...

Disaster recovery is particularly where the "Second Dimension" element of the rail mode shines. Railway operators typically have pre-planned equipment and extra material for line rebuilding after disaster or sabotage. This is really very on-topic in the Fossils Rollover study. Even in best & smoothest transition from conventional oil, there will be inexorable growing requirement for railway building, vast expansion & extension of mains, branchline rehabs, and local interface rail/trucking warehousing and perishibles facilities.

One technical comment. Each axle may take a few minutes, but an entire train is delayed by 12 to 24 hours. I have seen this quoted consistently.

I would like to see the facilities were a rail gauge change is actually done. Some questions about the technical details.

I think that expanding (such as double tracking), electrifying and speeding up (better signals, trackbed, grade separation, etc) the main lines is more important than bringing back abandoned spurs.

Ed Tennyson has some interesting tales from his service with US Army Transport Command HQ (he worked with mainly US rail network).


The ability to change gauge may be more a gimmick than a commercial reality/military threat. With containers or wheeled (mobile) vehicles, transferring to a parallel track (the payload) is probably best way. The important thing we know is, Chinese & Russian investment in railways is staggeringly higher than US... Add the African and Middle East & South American projects, you will see the idea that rails are back in a rush 'round the world is a talking point even a politician can verbalize.

Comment about expanding track capacity, signals and electrification is absolutely right. Please consider the magnitude of Peaking Oil, Climate Change challenges, and put railway re-focus into that frame of thinking. The 1900-1950 USA rail system had more mains, more miles and track in yards, etc. Tens of thousands more spur tracks into industry, warehousing, mines, mills, agriculture, etc. We have trimmed down the rail mileage to a very lean plant, the Mega-Ralroads envisioned by John Barringer in the 1950's are here. Bazillions of trucks large & small to keep Americas Moving... Great with cheap & plentiful diesel! That's the rub. folks.

Even so, note the hundreds of "Short Line" rail operators still in America. These are branchlines, and they perform the local interface role, the model we need to look at sans long-haul trucking. So, that is the thinking with rehabbing branchlines, many more are going to be necessary to maintain SOCIETAL & COMMERCIAL COHESION when trucking shrinks to pre-1950's operating pattern.

The issue of road maintenance comes in, enough for cars, another order of magnitude strong enough for trucks. Bridges? This can be the ultimate decider of which rail branchlines are rebuilt & extended.

We have to see the way rails large & small interconnected, again. The Pacific Electric is a west coast example of a regional rail SYSTEM: passengers by day, freight, perishibles & victuals at night- same tracks. Pacific Motor Trucking worked out of terminals in the region, picked up and delivered the goods to & from the rail side of the warehouses. Door to-door, trucks, yes, lots more train miles in between. Shaving energy use, running renewable as much as possible until the entire distribution platform is renewable source power. Pkease see (peakoil,net) articles 374 & 1037 in the ASPO Newsletters.

These regionals, shortlines and interurban electric lines connected with the big mains via yards where trains are assembled for the long haul. Big mains operators do not like spurs or switching cars, or even yards. UP and BNSF wish they could pick up 100 carloads on the West Coast, bring the train to the East Coast, and return with another batch. Problem is, we are running out of trucking fuel, roads for trucks another matter... And, a lot of people live in between coasts & borders. Resources, food, even train passengers!

We will build on the existing rail plant, rehab most viable branches, remove inventory taxes that made daily truck trips a necessity, and re-localize railway service corridor by corridor, town by town. Railway is the most effective way to use renewable generated electricity, most efficient application of power to surface transport at commercial scale.

Helpful book for following this thread of a thread is, "ELECTRIC WATER" by Christopher C. Swan (New Society Press, 2007). Unless one of the presidential types has a rail savvy chief of staff, the railway reniassance will be a private & grass roots initiative. Some 3000 US County executives will each & everyone be confronted with knowlwedge of possible food shortage. Blessed are they who have a railroad and a warehouse near the county seat!

Blessed are they who have a railroad and a warehouse near the county seat!

Or have 6 Class I RRs (plus some short lines), what may be the world's busiest RR bridge. N-S and E-W barge lines, the seaport closest to the Panama Canal, and nearby farm and fish resources (and a cuisine designed around those resources).

Best Hopes,


Ha! Give it another couple decades of Global Warming and it'll just be an interesting ruin in the shallows of the now expanded Gulf.

The railway cuts are quickly rebuildable; delays are probably the intent.

Not so. No way are they going to rebuild that big bridge while snipers have free reign in the area, let alone the prospect that it can be just blown up again at minimal cost. Ditto the port of Poti. Georgia is now a third-world country in the making, with its capital cut off from most of itself to say nothing of cut off from the outside world.

One technical comment. Each axle may take a few minutes, but an entire train is delayed by 12 to 24 hours. I have seen this quoted consistently.

I have taken a train from Paris to Moscow about 20 years ago; the entire train is switched from standard EU gauge to broad gauge on the Belarus side of the border (USSR at the time) after crossing the river from Poland. Took about an hour IIRC, certainly not anywhere near 12 hours, perhaps because passenger trains tend to have fewer cars than freight.

The axle weight is far less for passenger trains as well. And passenger trains may get higher priority (multiple crews working on one train).

I wish I knew more about this issue, but I don't. Thanks for the personal information !


If Saakashvili started this little war why did they seem to spend their time attacking the town of Tskhinvali instead of taking out the Roki Tunnel. If they could not take out the tunnel why did they bother? They knew the Russian reienforcements would be there in hours with the tunnel in place? It is not clear what the game plan was or could have been.

I find it amazing that the Czech Republic and Poland have allowed themselves to be dragged into this.

In light of the rather normal relations a nation such as Germany has with Russia ( the one that created the mess that they needed to live through after WWII) it is tough for me to understand the logic that their leaders are using to allow to be used (again, recall the appeasement of Hitler through UK diplomacy and the ending of WWII maps of Europe).

Stupidity comes to my mind or more mildly naiveness !!!

Memories of over 40 years of Soviet Occupation fully explain the attitudes.


Then why is not every ex-soviet bloc member angry at Russia?

Almost everyone of them wants to, or has, joined NATO. They at least fear Russia.

Current NATO members include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.


That's right, but we haven't heard a lot of protest coming from Bulgaria, Czeech Rep (where the majority of the population is against the missile shield), Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

They where satellite states too, but maybe they understand that the past is the past and the current russian gov is not reponsible for Staline's crime, 50 years ago, for exemple.

That's right, but we haven't heard a lot of protest coming from Bulgaria, Czeech Rep (where the majority of the population is against the missile shield), Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

For some of them, they where satellite states too, but maybe they understand that the past is the past and the current russian gov is not thinking seriously about recreating the USSR.

If you look at this map, you will see there are several other routes Russian forces based at Vladikavkaz could have used. You will also note that Tskhinvali is just over the border with Georgia, so the classic battle strategy of capturing your enemy's capital city to force a surrender was certainly followed. I can think of many reasons why the Georgian forces lost, with the first being lack of battle hardening as whole battalion-sized units broke and ran when they learned Russian forces were approaching--before even meeting the forward Russian elements!!! Plus the Ossetian militia/security forces performed as well as Hezbollah in delaying the invader's advance long enough for the cavalry to arrive. There's newsfootage of Saakashvili cowering while the press entourage stood its ground as a motar barrage struck nearby that conveys a lot.

I find it amazing that since the American gov changed
the name of the "WAR DEPT" too the "DEFENSE DEPT"
circa 1947 or 1949 I believe....America hasnt defended
its self with its defense department....but has made
lots of wars.
Wouldnt a Department of Defense defend and a War Department make war?
Did Orwells Winston find this stuff confusing?

Demolition of Railroad Bridge

1) It was done during a ceasefire.

2) It had no military rationale.

3) It was economic warfare.

Georgian Black Sea port of Poti had a capacity of 500,000 b/day of which 75,000 to 90,000 b/day came by pipeline at the time of the Russian invasion. There were plans for adding 200,000 b/day of capacity, which implies that it was operating close to capacity. I imply that most of the oil came by rail.

There was no military reason to bomb the oil facilities @ Poti, but the Russians did. This further vandalism is designed to reduce Georgian oil transport and further disable their economy (non-oil imports and exports via sea).


Russian oil production is peaking.

This is the bridge:

This interrupts all oil tanker trains from Azerbaijan to Batumi at the Black Sea for some time to come

Image from:

Image from:

youtube videos:

An an aside, note the railroad electrification infrastructure.

Those that know more than me say that they can tell which nation the picture is taken in by the style of electrification.


Exactly. That's the very essence of what this has been all about. And why it's rightly on this site. But blind folly lay in Saakashvilii's lust for riches from providing that hopelessly undefendable energy bypass. The world is full of unfairnesses. Including the unfairness of Georgia disproportionately profiting from being an energy bypass route.

I always said that our general policies on post-Soviet Russia would come back to haunt us - particularly the way Serbia was handled. It is hard to grasp the enormous loss to everyone as Russia slides back towards totalitarianism. (of course the US has its own problems in that respect) Ultimately everything always seems to come back to "you reap what you sow". That's not to say the Russian nationalists aren't adding to their own bundle of political bad karma.

The US, and in general Western, policies (commercial included) after the disintegration of the Soviet Union was both tragic and morally wrong.

As you said, it will come back to haunt us.


"The only place I see a rapid nuclear build is Russia and China South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil & Argentina, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Jordan, Persian Gulf, South Africa, Philippines are all candidates for major nuke build-outs (in proportion to their needs). Even Canada is possible (a combination of new hydro, new wind and new nukes)."

The new Canadian nuclear reactors are proposed by Bruce Power to supply the Alberta oilsands, instead of burning natural gas to steam heat the bitumen out. The reactor(s) would be built either in northeastern Alberta or just across the Saskatchewan border.
Russia is considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads for the first time since the cold war, senior military sources warned last night....

From the above Timesonline article:

They (Russia) are also said to be thinking of reviving a military presence in Cuba.

Time to dig out The Guns of August. There is a story line here and I cannot remember how it all ends.
Ukraine offers West radar warning

Ukraine has said it is ready to make its missile early warning systems available to European nations following Russia's conflict with Georgia.

President Viktor Yushchenko said his country could ensure its sovereignty only through collective security. Last week, Kiev limited the freedom of movement of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Moscow denounced the restrictions as anti-Russian and said its military commanders would answer only to the Russian president.
Are we moving towards another Cold War? Even if these militaries never clash, it saddens me to think how much energy will be wasted in this effort vs spending the same sums on mitigation practices.

Hello TODers,

As you know from my prior postings: the US is a huge importer of Haber-Bosch [N]itrogen products, which IMO, is a grave national security risk, as we have no multi-year strategic stockpiles stored in my speculative Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK:

Net import reliance as a percentage of apparent consumption was 44% for 2007...

Import Sources (2003-06): Trinidad and Tobago, 55%; Canada, 16%; Russia, 12%; Ukraine, 9%; and other, 8%.
Potentially, if Russia decides to grab the Ukraine, then imposes an ammonia product embargo upon us: 21% or more of our N-imports could be instantly removed from our local farming market. This would set off a huge price spiral in I-NPK and food prices, as if these prices aren't already breath-taking now.

Recall that 1914 Germany embargoed potash exports to the US: the inflation-adjusted price skyrocketed to $14,500/ton until we finally found a potash ore deposit in New Mexico.

Even if Russia ignored the Ukraine, but diverted its US N-exports to the building of their own internal I-NPK stockpile: it would still have a dramatic effect on global I-NPK prices if the other countries could not quickly ramp their Haber-Bosch output.

Putin, about six months ago, called for his people to grow their own food. I think it would be wise for Bush, or the next President, to do the same thing, plus jumpstart massive O-NPK recycling. FF-depletion will ultimately force this direction, so the sooner we get started the better....

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

"Putin, about six months ago, called for his people to grow their own food. "

Is there a link for this ??

Hello Jmygann,

Actually, it was further back in time than I recalled [PDF Warning]:
National Priority Project for Development of Agro-Industrial Complex: Russia

The Project includes three sub-projects:
1) accelerated development of the livestock sector
2) support of smallholder farms
3) provision of accessible housing for young specialists and their families in rural areas.

Another supporting PDF link:
This shows that the focus is clearly on the dairy/livestock
sector, as became clear in September 2005, when President Putin designated agriculture as one of four priorities for national development, next to housing, health care and education
(Serova et al., 2006a).
IMO, it would seem that Russia might be further ahead in Peak Planning. The idea of getting youngsters trained in agro/husbandry, then moving them to the countryside is pretty advanced thinking. Much better than the American emphasis on teenage shopping, car-cruising, and video gaming. Matt Savinar & Nate Hagens have long suggested that we culturally need to make small scale farmer/gardeners more sexy than Chippendale dancers to get females to support a rural/permaculture shift.

EDIT: for your further consideration, an earlier May 27th posting of mine:
..Too bad the hundreds of military strategists, that are all over the globe reading TOD daily, won't respond. :(

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

If you're still hanging out in Aridzona after 2 years of TOD, can I infer that you yourself aren't smarter than yeast? Or that you have just given up?

He is supporting/helping his elderly mother.

Something yeast do not do.

Best Hopes for Humanity,


This appears to be a well-reasoned assessment:
LONDON (AFP) — The West should make more effort to understand Moscow's concerns in responding to Russia's actions in Georgia, a former head of the British armed forces said Sunday...

Can some expert give us a guess as to the ability of some portion(s) of the EU to survive and prosper, however faintly) if the Russians decide to shut off the gas and/or oil?

It seems as if Russia needs the money as much as Europe needs that particular batch of oil.

This winter ?

My Swag.

8 to 10C interior temperatures (limited clustering of people into one home/public building)

Take most of the world LNG imports.

Enough non-oil transportation that, combined with reduced economic activity, critical needs could be meet with remaining oil imports.