Friday, November 07, 2008

Ask Me if I'm Surprised?

This is one of the headlines from today's New York times:
Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question. The begining of the Article says "TBILISI, Georgia — Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression."
"Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm."

I am not surprised in the least and fits with how I saw the situation as it unfolded despite the Western media's take on the whole situation as poor little Georgia being innocently beat on by big bad Russia.

Don't get me wrong I am not a supporter of Russia, nor do I think their actions are or were paragons of Nation-State virtue (but really what Nation-State can ever really claim this?). However, I did feel that the US and Europe were reaction out of both feelings for an underdog and persistent fears of the great Bear that are centuries old and not really responding to the situation on the ground. The article goes on to say that the reports (that are in part from international monitors) are inconclusive but do call into question Georgia's account of how hostilities began. Georgia of course disputes these accounts, but the monitoring team does not seem to be made up of people who would take sides in the conflict.

But my thought was this just points out what I had thought all a long that the US and Europe reacted to the situation out of an historic distrust and fear of Russian and not out a true response to the situation. As far as Russia's actions I think they were self-centered and opportunistic like the actions of any self-respecting nation-state. Not good, but not some horrendous evil either.