With seeming disregard for the consequences, Russia has recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia deepening the crisis with the USA and, theoretically, NATO. The deed was done by the puppet president Dmitry Medvedev and he called on other states to follow Russia’s sterling example. Russia’s actions evoked a range of statements from our European Allies from the British who “categorically” rejected the move and the French and the Italians who expressed “regret”. I’m not quite sure what the French and Italians “regret”; was it the invasion, or the occasion of their hiding under their beds shaking in fear that Russia might slap them around next? But this is the consequences of countries that have too long been able to avoid the nasty reality inherent in defending Europe because the much maligned USA has done it for them all these years. If the United States were out of the equation one wonders if Europe might do more than express “regret”. Europe has its eyes wide shut in the face of naked Russian aggression and clearly it has no stomach for the US actions to keep the pressure on Russia.
The US embassy in Tbilisi said Tuesday, Aug. 26, that two warships will deliver aid to Georgia Wednesday through the Black Sea port of Poti, the day after Russian forces announced they would search all incoming cargoes.
The first US aid warship docked at Batumi Saturday, to avoid friction with the Russian naval, infantry and armored forces which control Poti port…….
In Moscow, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, Capt. Igor Dygalo, deputy commander of the Russian Navy, announced that the Moskva missile cruiser would carry out a naval exercise on the Black Sea.
The Russians are clearly marking out their control of the Black Sea in the face of the USS McFaul guided missile destroyer’s arrival with aid for Georgia. Our sources report that the McFaul carries 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of striking land and sea targets.
Capt. Dygalo said the Moskva would practice its wire-guided weapons, communications and missile guidance systems. The exercise will no doubt interfere with the movements of NATO vessels, as clearly intended.
This is the classic cold war methodology for dealing with the Soviets: never back down and never give them an inch or they’ll take a mile. This really ramps up the conflict significantly because it’s no longer about Georgia: it’s now clearly about Russia and the United States. Russia wants to reconstitute the Soviet Empire and the United States wants to keep that from happening. The Europeans want to pretend that none of this is happening as they sit on the sidelines, expressing regret, while their future is decided by the Russian whom they fear and the Americans whom they envy and despise. What a mess. And into this cauldron of uncertainty and insanity sails the Captain and Crew of the guided missile destroyer USS McFaul.
What happens if the Russians accidently send the USS McFaul to the bottom of the ocean? What happens if things get out of hand during the inspection of the “humanitarian aid” and Russians and American sailors start shooting at each other? What happens if the Russian lets the McFaul offload its cargo and then essentially impounds it or turns it into a bond fire? One wonders if the USS McFaul is slapped around a bit but not destroyed if the NATO countries will honor the terms of the alliance and come to our aid? I would bet lots of money on the idea that France and Italy are expressing more than “regret” to Washington and are instead calling President Bush every name in the book. Lots of bad things continue to happen over the Georgia war that both the American People and the Europeans seem to be deliberately ignoring. If shooting is going to happen it needs to be intentional and well thought out shooting not a series of impulsive escalations to escalating provocations punctuated by European displays of “regret” rather than their customary apathy. No one knows what’s going to happen if the Russians interdict our aid shipments. I doubt that NATO would do more than protest if the Russians blew the USS McFaul out of the water. Europe is missing in in action and Bush and Putin are toe to toe: what do we think is going to happen!
Russia’s RTS Index fell to the lowest level since 2006, the ruble extended its drop and the cost of protecting the country’s bonds rose as the government recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions.
The RTS index of 48 companies posted the biggest decline among 89 global equity measures tracked by Bloomberg, while Russia’s currency slid to the lowest level in almost seven months against the dollar. Credit-default swaps on Russian debt climbed 7 basis points, according to CMA Datavision prices in London, as President Dmitry Medvedev risked a deepening rift with the West by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Russia is paying a financial price right now that may or may not be a good thing. If the Russians get tired of the world giving them the cold shoulder and trashing the economic good times they’ve been enjoying they’re quite capable of manipulating the price of oil to make it much worse on the West. How do you suppose our friends in Europe will react if all the Russian petroleum products that were coming from Russia suddenly stopped? I wonder if NATO would have a position on that or if it would join the French in expressing regret? All this stuff is a big deal for everyone, Russia, Europe and The United States and I don’t think either the US or Europe is prepared for the possible consequences. I think NATO is more likely to disband in an oil boycott than to stand firm and tell the Russians to get out of Georgia or NATO will kick them out. I just don’t see it. The Russians with their dictator and a people accustom to privations will withstand the economic war better than the West. If it comes to down and dirty economic warfare the Russians are far more likely to win than the West. Russia is paying a price right now but they could decide that we will pay in like manner and they may well achieve more than they could with all their artillery and armored divisions.
While the Soviets fell and the Russians emerged: the Europeans and Americans became soft and utterly dependant on foreign oil. If the escalating confrontations between Russian and American military don’t end soon, the world’s investors will be rushing to sit on the sidelines inadvertently starting an economic war that could be just as devastating as a shooting war. In our interdependent world, where the global economy is the new normal, we may be able to back off a shooting war but will the free markets continue to invest in Russia? Are we already locked into a shooting war or an economic war no matter what happens? While we watched the Olympics, and the Speeches at the Democrat convention; the world has become an ever more dangerous place. The conflict between Russia and the United States is escalating and it’s entirely possible that Bush is bluffing from a busted flush. (I can only hope he knows that.) If there’s going to be a winner out of this conflict his name is going to be Vladimir Putin because we can’t do it alone and our European Allies want nothing to do with this conflict. That just leaves the Captain and Crew of the USS McFaul who sail into harm’s way while everyone holds their breath.
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