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.... France to threaten Russia by proxy?
Russians losing propaganda war
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in Tbilisi on 13 August 2008
Most of the Western media is based in Georgia
The Bush administration appears to be trying to turn a failed military operation by Georgia into a successful diplomatic operation against Russia.
It is doing so by presenting the Russian actions as aggression and playing down the Georgian attack into South Ossetia on 7 August, which triggered the Russian operation.
Yet the evidence from South Ossetia about that attack indicates that it was extensive and damaging.
The BBC's Sarah Rainsford has reported: "Many Ossetians I met both in Tskhinvali and in the main refugee camp in Russia are furious about what has happened to their city.
"They are very clear who they blame: Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili, who sent troops to re-take control of this breakaway region."
Human Rights Watch concluded after an on-the-ground inspection: "Witness accounts and the timing of the damage would point to Georgian fire accounting for much of the damage described [in Tskhinvali]."
One problem for the Russians is that they have not yet learned how to play the media game. Their authoritarian government might never do so.
Most of the Western media is based in Georgia. The Russians were slow to give access from their side and this has helped them lose the propaganda war.
Georgia, meanwhile, was comparing this to Prague in 1968 and Budapest in 1956. Even the massacre at Srebrenica was recalled.
The comparisons did not fit the facts, but some of the mud has stuck and Russia has been on the international defensive.
The visit by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Georgia is a signal of support for Mr Saakashvili.
Significantly, she is not paying a matching visit to Moscow but will return directly to the United States where she will brief President George W Bush in Texas.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on 13 August 2008
Washington has accused Russia of widening the conflict
She has refused to condemn Georgia and barely acknowledged Russia's point that it had to protect its peacekeeping forces (a battalion-sized unit allowed in South Ossetia along with Georgian and North Ossetian and South Ossetian forces under a 1992 agreement).
Instead she blamed Russia for widening the conflict by bombing beyond what the 1992 deal called the "zone of conflict" in South Ossetia.
She said: "This is something that, had it been about South Ossetia, could have been resolved within certain limits.
"Russian peacekeepers were in the area; that is true. And Russia initially said it needed to act to protect its peacekeepers and its people.
"But what Russia has done is well beyond anything that anyone could say is for the protection of those people and for those peacekeepers."
The Americans have sent in planes full of humanitarian aid, again a symbol of support.
But they have sent no military supplies. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said: "I don't see any prospect for the use of military force by the United States in this situation. Is that clear enough?"
US diplomacy is also concentrating on the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity - which means that South Ossetia and the other restless region, Abkhazia, must remain within Georgian borders. Russian has questioned this.
This widens the whole question into one of Russian behaviour generally, which is much surer ground for the Bush administration. The US will continue to press for eventual Georgian and Ukrainian membership of Nato.
The Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain also sees in this conflict an opportunity to put Russia in the dock, declaring: "We are all Georgians now."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Dmitry Medvedev at G8 in Japan on 9 July 2008
Germany, at least, has been notably reluctant to find fault with Russia
All this is likely to anger Moscow, which will feel that it has a case and that it is being ignored. Right from the start it said that the operation was not an invasion.
The adverse effect on US-Russia relations, about which Mr Gates warned, is going to be a two-way process.
There are signs, though, that there is some sympathy for Russia within the European Union - although not among the Eastern European states who still fear Russia and not in the British government, which has matched the US line about Russian "aggression".
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeing Russian leaders and while she too will urge them not to challenge borders, the German government has been notably reluctant to blame Russia.
Originally posted by intrepid
Don't provoke this Russian gov't. They WILL push back.
Originally posted by Sky watcher
Russia could not even hit the oil pipeline with their bombers and the same un-accurate bombs killed many innocent people. The Russians used their best troops and faulty combat tactics and were very lucky that Georgia was not armed very well. Had Georgia had a decent air defense network and tank busting TOW or Javelin systems then Russia would be getting a beating. Only Russia's superior man power gave them a win.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he considers Georgia's leader a "puppet" of Washington and is backing Russia in its conflict with the former Soviet republic.
Chavez said Sunday on his weekly broadcast show that the Russians "did what they had to do" in response to what he called a military provocation in the Georgian province of South Ossetia.
Chavez accused Washington of sparking the conflict, saying Georgia's troops were armed and trained by the United States. He did not elaborate, but added that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is "nothing but a puppet of the U.S. empire."
U.S. President George W. Bush has demanded that Russia respect Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Seldom since the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has the west found itself in such a muddle as it is today about events in Georgia and South Ossetia. Among rightwingers, hawks are suddenly back in fashion, and not only in Washington. David Cameron wants Georgia admitted to Nato in quick time. Russian threats to Poland are compared to the Cuban missile confrontation.
In truth, of course, this remains a small crisis by comparison with those of the cold war, even if some of the principals, in Moscow as well as Washington, talk as if Stanley Kubrick was writing their lines. It is nonetheless a real one, because Moscow has shown its readiness to use force in its proclaimed sphere of influence.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, US policy in eastern Europe and beyond has sought to exploit Russian weakness to install pro-western regimes wherever fertile soil could be found. In Washington's perception, this does not represent aggression or even unreasonable assertiveness, because its honourable objective is to replace tyranny and repression with democracy and freedom.
The Russians do not care sixpence about these fine things. They perceive only that American missiles are on their way into Poland and the Czech Republic, while Georgia is becoming a US puppet. A Russian academic living in the west inquired in my hearing a few weeks ago: "What would George Bush say if our government announced that it was installing an anti-missile system in Cuba?"
Originally posted by The_Alarmist2012
Are you saying that the Russians are no match militarily for the USA?
Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
I'm thinking that Energy and Finance are behind it for the most part. America is trying to fulfill world hegemony once and for all. Problem is, it has to borrow money from the same countries that it is threatening. Russia is some 300 Billion in the Black every year, while America is the worlds largest dead beat Debtor.
Originally posted by Sky watcher
Are you saying that the Russians are no match militarily for the USA?
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — The United States on Sunday accused Russia of stalling its military pullback in Georgia, but the Bush administration is not rushing to repudiate Moscow for its actions.
The White House is struggling to figure out the best way to penalize Russia. It doesn't want to deeply damage existing cooperation on many fronts or discourage Moscow from further integrating itself into global economic and political institutions. At the same time, U.S. officials say Russia can't be allowed to get away with invading its neighbor.
Fighting broke out after Georgia launched a massive barrage Aug. 7 to try to take control of the separatist province of South Ossetia, which is heavily influenced by Russia. The Russian army quickly overwhelmed Georgia's forces, then drove deep into the country, bombed Georgian ports and military installations and tied up an east-west highway through the nation.
"There's no doubt there will be further consequences," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who briefed President George W. Bush on the fast-changing crisis over the weekend at his Texas ranch.
She returned to Washington on Sunday and is flying to Europe on Monday to talk with NATO allies about what message the West should send to Russia.
Originally posted by Regenmacher
Looks like S. Ossetia is are prepping to join the Russian Federation.
South Ossetia President Sacks Government, Declares Emergency
MOSCOW (AFP)--The president of Georgia's pro-Russian separatist republic of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, late Sunday dismissed his government and proclaimed a state of emergency in the rebel region, Russia's Vesti-24 TV reported.
"I have signed three decrees including one on the resignation of the government, another on proclamation of a state of emergency in South Ossetia and the third on setting up an emergency committee to settle the consequences of the Georgian aggression," Kokoity told the channel.
Meanwhile, looks like a Russian naval fleet is going to Venezuela and it's a stalemate at the UN.