Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's Really Happening in Georgia and Why Should We Care?

I haven't posted in a while... I'm preparing to reshape my blog into a series of "chapters" about my thoughts on the how the world really works, how we relate to that world view, and then provide some thoughts on how we can overcome what is clearly a world careening toward catastrophe.

Today, I have to reference a bit of B.L.O.G. history about Caspian Sea oil and the South Asia Basin... the largest field of untapped oil and gas in the world. By understanding the immense geo-strategic importance of Georgia, we can have a glimpse at what is the real motive behind the Russian attack and perhaps peer into what can be a potentially volatile future for the Caucus region.

Mikhail Gorbachev said not too long ago "By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its 'national interest,' the United States made a serious blunder."

I'm not so sure he's correct as there is no country that is militarily even close to our catastrophically mammoth military might. Interesting to note that I have mentioned our strategic interest in this region so many times I can't even count. Our entire foreign and military policy is based on securing the riches of the former Soviet Republics, and then securing pipeline routes to move the oil and gas to U.S. dominated regions... essentially cutting off the Russians from the spoils.

In my post of May 29, "What About Those Stans, and Why Should I Care?", I posted the following pipeline map that clearly points out what informed sources are saying about the Russian invasion. The Russians are exerting their influence in the Caucus region and is acting out of frustration that the U.S. has completely taken control of the region, and thus its natural resources and potential wealth.

Note the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline going right through Georgia. Now check out what Al-Jazeera has to say about its role in this conflict:

"The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline runs through Georgia, allowing the US access to oil and gas supplies not pumped through Russia to the north or Iran to the south.

'Underlying all this is a larger, more significant contest: a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West over the export of Caspian Sea oil and natural gas,' Michael Klare, the author of Resource Wars told the New American Media website.'

The belief in Western Circles is that the close relationship between the U.S. and Georgia is primarily based on this pipeline and other yet to be discovered energy projects between the big 4 oil companies and countries in this region.

No doubt this Russian adventure sent chills throughout all of the former Soviet Republics and while it sent a very clear signal that "Russia is mad as hell and isn't gonna take it anymore", its my belief that the very opposite of its objectives will happen. They will push the oil rich Stans and geo-politically well situated countries further into the U.S. sphere to gain protection and finances to protect them from Russian adventures. (Assuming they trust the U.S., clearly Georgia learned the hard way that we can't be trusted to provide them protection.) A more aggressive stance by the Russians will not help them one bit to exert influence... similarly how U.S. invasions of countries has produced as many enemies and problems for us as it has real strategic advantages.

I believe this will backfire so hard on the Russians that it almost feels as if Georgia provoked the attack in order to demonstrate that the Russians are nothing more than newly emboldened bullies that cannot be trusted. It smacked of Bush-like foreign policy that inevitably backfires and scares no one. I imagine that in some circles in Moscow this helped to signal an end to Russian weakness and impotence on foreign policy but also sent a powerful message to the nations of the world that the Russians are no more sophisticated at handling sensitive regional conflicts that would engender a greater level of trust from their neighbors or a signal of their maturity as a world power and power broker.

Candidly, this will inevitably serve to embolden NATO to move quickly at expanding their reach toward Russia to secure those vital energy corridors that Georgia sits right in the center of. The first and very powerful indication of this is the NATO brokered ceasefire and the presence of leaders from Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia at the rally celebrating the cease fire in Tbilisi. (Picture on the left.)

Some other random thoughts about this event:

-The complete and total absence of U.S. influence once the war started. A stark and chilling reminder of our declining influence diplomatically and another demonstration of the total incompetence of Condoleeza Rice... who is supposed to be an expert in Russian affairs. (Yeah sure.)

-The clear indication that this attack was planned well in advance given the size and scope of the operation and the amount of armor the Russians had lined up along the Georgian border.

-Given the size of the Russian operation, there is NO WAY the U.S. did not know that a Russian operation was in the planning with our fleet of spy satellites watching every single ant, bee and beetle that even moves within a thousand mile range of the Caucus... now viewed as a strategic bastion of the United States

-The rising influence of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and French influence over world events in general. They seem to be at the center of the action when it comes to the Middle East (particularly Iran), and its stronger relationships with important geopolitical/military powers such as Israel and China.

Watch Putin put a spin on the military action in the video below... and his veiled threats at the United States. The U.S. military has been drooling at the possibility of a heightened threat with the Russians and I can't help but think that behind the scenes we have manipulated events to enable this to happen and will no doubt continue to bait the Russians into a self-destructive set of aggressive policies that we will use to create a more "dangerous world".

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