Friday, August 8, 2008

Russia in South Ossetia

So Russia has tanks on the roads and boots on the ground in South Ossetia, Georgia's northern breakaway province. My wife, a Russia expert, alerted me to this. She also points out that the Russian stock market is not taking the news well . Oil prices have also been dropping, which can't make the Russians happy either - but their dollar reserves are doing better.

A frequent poster on my blog who has his own blog about security issues seems to be writing about this as well.

I don't know the background of this conflict, so I can't really support or scold Russia... I just know I really don't want another armed conflict in Central Asia. Feel free to share your thoughts - having talked about this with my wife, I've been familiar with the issue - but I still don't feel like I know enough to have any firm thoughts on it.


Evan said...

Ugh, heard about this on NPR this morning and then read it on CNN...

"Russia has always said it supports the territorial integrity of Georgia but also that it would defend its citizens. Many South Ossetians hold Russian passports."

I don't know anything about the South Ossetian separatist movement, but I suppose that so long as Georgia's case is legitimate in that, then Russia's isn't in this. But I've given up on understanding Russia, I think. I wonder what it will do to the touchy relationship between Russia and NATO/U.S./the-West-in-general. I suppose that depends on what move we make next, rather than anything that they do.

dkuehn said...

Ya - and I get the impression that South Ossetia is just full of Russians. They legitimately have beef with the rest of Georgia... whether that means they should join Russia - I'm not qualified to say. There are charges of genocide in the last week against the South Ossetians too - and obviously that needs to be verified.

A couple months back the U.S. was pressuring to get Georgia into NATO. Didn't happen, though. Can you imagine how terrifying things would be right now if Russia invaded a NATO country? It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. I bet we'll do a lot of grandstanding, but the U.S. will basically write Georgia off so long as Russia doesn't move into Georgia proper. But I don't know - Kate is more qualified to talk predictions.

JSN said...

Thanks for the link.

My blog is about anything political, not just security.

It is completely unclear who started this violence. Russia constantly blames Georgia, the Jamestown Foundation (which also publishes former CIA bin-Laden unit chief, Michael Scheuer) presents the other side.