In the past days I read a lot of articles about the recent confrontation between Russia and Georgia. But the most time consuming was reading (some of) the hundreds of commentaries. A huge number of them where supporting Russia. From what i saw there are two kinds of people who support or at least seek to find a justification for the Russian attack. The first are probably Russians. When not writing in all caps and shouting about “the Georgian genocide” or about “Georgian Nazis” the usual arguments are :
- the Georgians attacked first. Yes, after they were continually provoked;
- the Georgian attack killed around 1500 people. That is a lot of people in such a short period. People are more difficult to kill then you think. Only South Ossetian sources confirmed this figure and they’re interested in over estimating the number;
- Russia is a proud country which has every right to protect its citizens. Indeed, but the South Ossetians are Russian citizens only because they were given passports so as to give Russia an excuse to intervene in Georgia,
- What about Kosovo? Well what about Chechnya?
- The world press is lying. Unlike the very free Russian press.
- Georgia is a corrupt so called democracy. When compared to Finland yes you can say Georgia is not a democracy but compared to the latter day roman empire that is Russia where every president is “adopted” by the former president…
- Georgia is a puppet state controlled by the US. How can a state in the near abroad be controlled by the Americans. In the near abroad only Russian puppet state are ok.
This stance is in some ways justifiable. After all is there country involved. Most (a lot?) Russians still feel that Russia has a right somehow to be a great power and see most of the former soviet or communist countries as ungrateful up starts. After decades of communist propaganda and centuries as the rulers of a great empire this is understandable. Countless tomes have been written about the special character of the Russian soul which of course the western consumerist press doesn’t understand. They feel that they were unjustly attacked and harassed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Every time a country in there former sphere of influence chooses closer ties to the west it is clear for them a manipulation by the US. This kind of outlook is encouraged by the press.
The second group of people defending Russian actions is scarier for me. They are mostly Europeans an Americans. For them only the US is responsible for all that it’s evil in the world. On every occasion they get they will somehow find a way to mention Iraq, Guantanamo, etc. Yes the involvement of the US in the world wasn’t always for the greater good and mistakes have been made (Iraq, Guantanamo and Kosovo). But this is a big country and so the mistakes tend to have greater effects. This dosen't meen that everything happening in the world is only the fault of the US government.
This group will compare the domination of a country by the US with that by Russia. It’s inconceivable for them that a country would choose to be close to the greedy imperialistic US. The government of a country can be bought and convinced to buy weapons (like it happened in there view in Georgia) but other then this there are no reasons for supporting the US. Besides, the US only intervenes when there is oil to be found. But if it doesn’t intervene is because it’s a hypocrite (for example if it takes military action in Sudan it’s for the oil if not it’s because it doesn’t care for the black people dying in Darfur and if there was oil in Darfur it would had intervened). And what is the US doing in Russia’s backyard? Well if Russia is allowed to have a backyard then how can you defend Cuba? Isn’t the US allowed a backyard? This group sees any democracy in the area as being just a front for American interests. But, you know, maybe the Georgians really want democracy, albeit a corrupt one for now? The more extreme seem to think that there country (if they are from the UK or the US) is no longer a democracy, but they’re really don’t know what they are talking about. I said this group is scarier for me because I’m from Romania and after there way of thinking Romania should have stayed in the Russian zone. Well I must say that living under the “American “ occupation is a hell lot better than being in the Russian one and I’m glad that the EU and the US have encroached in the Russian sphere of influence. Without the constant pressure from the EU Romania would have become a larger Belarus.
Even in a cynical perspective it’s better for a small country to be dominated by the farther away power then the one that is really close.
I don't know what would be the "right" answer for this situation, because probably there isn't one. But I’m sure NATO should have had more cojones in this case because it’s sets a bad example.
P.S. Even scarier is the fact that I’m starting more and more to agree with the common neo-con opinion about the weakness of the EU. They are really too soft for there one good.
To be continued (when I will find more time in my busy schedule of conquering Europe in Crusader Knights, sleeping and reading about the revival of the Omaha language).