**UPDATE** Grim has an interesting post at Blackfive. He tosses his lot with Georgia in this fight. Good arguments. He argues that it’s more about what it means to be an ally than what Georgia may have done to precipitate the Russian assault. Very much an interesting proposition.
While the US wrangles its way through an election process with Dimwit Versus Dimwit the rest of the world carries on with the usual tomfoolery and wretched wickedness we should expect. China has started it’s own game show, the GWoT carries on with the US kicking a serious load of arse as expected, NATO continues to lose the fight in Afghanistan (fear not Euros, the US Marines are coming to clean up your mess), and most recently and frankly most concerning the Russian Bear is showing it’s teeth again.
This past week, after a bit of minor clashes between South Ossetian separatists and Georgian forces, Russian forces poured into South Ossetia under the guise of protecting Russians “trapped” in the area. This is a very lopsided fight with Russia having the military might to crush Georgia outright and it looks like that’s the plan. Russia has secured the capital of South Ossetia, struck “strategic targets” within Georgia proper, and this morning comes news of bombing runs over Tbilisi International Airport and a unilateral cease fire on the part of the Georgians. I’m thinking that just gives the Russians sometime to regroup where and if necessary.
I think this looks very bad not only for Georgia but for the eastern Europe over all. This is a resurgent Russia extending her claws back to the old satellite states. Russia has been concerned with the expansion of NATO for many years. I’m not exactly sure why however. All NATO membership offers members is American support. With the political climate here in the State’s, while we are obligated to support an ally in NATO one has to wonder what that “support” might entail. Perhaps a visit by a high level official? Maybe a weak rebuke to the attacker? There is absolutely no way the American Congress is going to vote to send American Forces into another fight unless there is a direct attack on American interests. Those interests will have to be either American forces being attacked, large numbers of Americans being taken hostage, or attacks on the American homeland. Without those kinds of interests being attacked I fear that NATO is going to be out of luck and will be shown, again, for the worthless organization it now is.
The attack of Russia on Georgia is reminiscent of the original takeovers during the build up of the old Warsaw Pact countries. Some vague rationale for the “defense of the Russian People” followed by an overpowering attack and annexation. This is a great concern to anyone who might have even a passing interest in International Relations.
Here are some great links to information on the situation:
And the usual suspects for Analysis:
Why CounterTerrorismBlog? That’s really easy and Laughing Wolf at Blackfive hit upon this in his analysis:
Seventh, I think Russia is very well aware that this would also have a strong negative effect on the War on Terror. Destabilizing Georgia will create the potential for a strong and even prolonged pulse of people and supplies along the “Jihad Road” headed both East and West. That this would also tend to cause destabilization in western China as well as in the Balkans works well for Russia. It allows them to regain or seize control of sections of the Balkans, and block moves by the U.S. and parts of Europe to bring order and nurture some emerging democracies. It also causes problems for current ally and long-term rival China. Russia has never mistaken short-term advantage via working with China for anything other than what it is, and if they can weaken or hurt China even as they use China against the U.S., all the better. Final thought, if you break up the alliances, much of what we have done and are working on will fail. It is not inconceivable that Russia may also be looking long term at even further expansion.
I can’t add anymore to that. If anything should wake up the Europeans, that should do it. Of course it won’t because they all seem to think they can pay off the barbarians.
Bottom line to all of this is the dreaded second front has opened. In this new age of warfare we can no longer consider “fronts” as lines of troops and strategic movements. “Fronts” these days will fall back on a more philosophic approach to how the fight is fought which dictates what kind of warriors you bring into the theater.
The Terrorism front is an asynchronous war best fought with what Americans might call our Special Operators. Lines of Armor and battalions of Infantry are usually pretty inefficient in an Asynchronous fight. While they can certainly take and hold territory, they are not equipped to deal with insurgent style tactics. Thanks to General Petreaus that is changing and with startling results.
Unfortunately we can’t take his COIN strategy and implement it in a more traditional war such as what we are facing in the Balkans at the moment. There we have uniformed forces taking orders from recognized National governments, rather refreshing isn’t it?
Before Amir starts waving his Liberterian flag with “foreign entanglments” and all that, let me toss this out. Since the collapse of the Evil Empire we, the US, have been making deals with the former Iron Curtain countries. First was Poland, then in quick succession was Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, and Ukraine and that list comes right off the top of my head. Some of those countries have found their way into NATO. Georgia and Ukraine are vitally important to Russian. That is pretty much the ONLY reason Georgia didn’t get in during the last round of discussion. Should Russia get the itch for their Balkan seaports what’s preventing them from going after Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia? The action would be about as dramatic as it was the first time and NATO would be forced into a very VERY bloody affair to “fix” the problem. Article 5 is going to be a thorn for the US. If we are to hold true to President Washington’s fear of foreign entanglments then we will be leaving these countries out to dry and assisting the resurgent Russia back to her glory days of the Evil Empire.
Some folks may be okay with leaving our allies out to dry. If that is the case, let’s be prepared to let them know ahead of time that should they be attacked that they are on their own. At least then, they can prepare by digging the graves for their people.