The U.S.-educated Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili said, “This is not about Georgia anymore. It is about America, and its values.”
Faraway in Beijing, U.S. President George W. Bush promptly agreed.
Much has been written about the Russian ‘invasion’ of Georgia and made the former a favorite whipping boy. I have in this article tried and put
things in the correct perspective, and perhaps help clear up much of the fog of misinformation people have been fed by Washington and the Western
Georgia, the main U.S. ally in the Caucasus Region, launched a major ground and air offensive to seize control of South Ossetia recently,
prompting Russia to send in tanks and hundreds of troops. Georgia imposed martial law after Russian warplanes began bombarding military
How and why did this happen?
The Caucasus region consists of the new independent states of the Southern Caucasus
which include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian
federal region of the Northern Caucasus
, including war-torn Chechnya.
In the post-Soviet period, it has become one of the most volatile and potentially unstable regions in world where big power politics has generated
popular dissatisfaction and political instability due to:
• The fragile state structures.
• A series of unresolved secessionist conflicts.
• Widespread poverty.
• The existence of hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian basin, attracting significant great power competitive engagement, resulting in the United
States and the Russian Federation pursuing assertive regional policies in the Caucasus.
The questions of access to the oil and natural gas reserves of the Caspian, Russia’s role in the geopolitical space of the former Soviet Union, the
Western military role in the unstable regions along the Russian Federation’s southern flank, and strategies for pursuing a war on terrorism, all
have the potential to become serious apples of discord.
The U.S. Game Plan.
US Geopolitical Objectives
For starters, Saakashvili is a progeny of the “Colour revolution” in Georgia, which was financed and stage-managed by the U.S. in 2003. Georgia
and the Caucasus constitute a critically important piece of real estate for the U.S. since it straddles a busy transportation route for energy
and can be used as a choke point.
Therefore, keeping it within its sphere of influence is highly advantageous for U.S. geopolitical interests in the region. A rollback of Russian
influence therefore becomes a desirable objective.
The NATO Factor
A conflict in the Caucasus suits Washington’s strategic imperatives, which strengthens Washington’s long standing case for inducting Georgia into
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]. It is imperative that the Bush administration overcomes the resistance within the NATO on Georgia’s
membership, ahead of the meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers in December, which will also be the last major NATO event of the Bush era.
Georgia has been a pet project of the Bush administration, and its induction into NATO makes a fine legacy. Indeed, the strategic implications
With the induction of Georgia into its fold,
• NATO crosses over to the approaches to Asia.
• The arc of encirclement of Russia gets strengthened. The encirclement of the Eurasian core, which was where the Soviet Union was geographically
placed, is still a U.S. objective after the end of the Cold War. The Containment theory may really have been more about “penetration.”
Penetration of the Eurasian core is underway. NATO is a bridgehead from Europe that is pushing towards Russia. In addition, an Asiatic sister-alliance
of NATO is being forged against China.
Courtesy: Global Research
• The NATO ties facilitate the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system in Georgia thereby increasing Russia’s threat perceptions .
• The U.S. aims to have a chain of countries tied to “partnerships” with NATO brought into its missile defense system — stretching from its
allies in the Baltic and Central Europe, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, India, and leading to the Asia Pacific.
According to the National Defence Strategy Document
issued by the Pentagon on July 31, 2008, Washington’s perceptions of a
resurgent Russia and a rising China as potential adversaries includes the ultimate U.S. objective of neutralizing their strategic capabilities and to
establish its nuclear superiority.
The Grand Design
Russia: A Catch 22 Situation
This is part of the project to create three strategic fronts against Russia and China. Pressure will be exerted from NATO in the western
end of Eurasia, while in the Middle East there is a strong NATO presence and a “Coalition of the Moderate” is being formed and armed, which will
eventually become a de facto extension of NATO.
Courtesy: Global Research.
The arming of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf is directly linked to the inward penetration of Eurasia from the Middle East
via Iran. While NATO exerts pressure from Europe and the Middle East, Japan and Australia will do the same from the eastern end of Eurasia. Russia,
Iran, and China are all being addressed through three Eurasian fronts.
To pursue its geopolitical agenda keeping the Grand Design in mind, Washington’s desire is to get Russia bogged down in the Caucasus to attenuate
Russia’s capacity to counter the American Grand Design (As brought out above). But Moscow dreads a full-blown war erupting in the Caucasus and is
averse to a confrontation with the West.
• If Moscow accedes to the long-standing demand by South Ossetia to become part of the Russian Federation, it becomes fodder for Western criticism
that a “revanchist” Kremlin is bent on annexing territories, and provides an excuse for further expansionism of the US sphere of influence.
• If Moscow remains passive, the Caucasus could become Russia’s “bleeding wound”, diminishing its prestige and potential to a great degree,
permitting indirectly the Arc Of Encirclement.
AS can be seem above, it is not a simple case of Russia invading Georgia for territorial compulsions. It is a strategic imperative to maintain its
influence and domination in this volatile region to avoid the trap of encirclement, resulting in a direct military threat to Russia.
As an epilogue, I would like to mention a fact that few know. In 1991, South Ossetia was promised independence from the Soviet Union, and the Georgian
Republic. However, when Georgia became independent it saw an opportunity to grab some land, and the terminals for two major oil pipelines. Since
Georgia is essentially bankrupt and an economic basket case, they saw this as a viable option.
The rest is history.