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Mugsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:01 AM
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"October Surprise"? - Fringe benefits for the Neocons from the crisis in Georgia...
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Via "Mugsy's Rap Sheet"

"October Surprise"? - Fringe benefits for the Neocons from the crisis in Georgia you might not have considered.

his is one of those obscenely complicated and convoluted subjects that is difficult to explain without sounding like a ranting lunatic. And like any complicated subject, it takes a while to explain, so get comfy while I take this step-by-step (I'm getting this report out early because, after working on it for nearly a week, some of my points are already being scooped):

(Let me preface this by saying Russia has committed enormous crimes here. They over-reacted to Georgia's invasion of the breakaway regions, going WAY beyond protecting them to actually invading Georgia itself and killing over a thousand people. So no one get the idea I'm suggesting Russia is blameless in all this. - Mugsy)

First, the recent conflict in Georgia didn't begin with the August 8th invasion of Ossetia by Georgia. Not even close. It was the culmination of months (years?) of Diplomatic failure by the Bush Administration, negotiating talks between Russia and Georgia.

The Democratic Republic of Georgia, a former Soviet satellite nation, has been a very good friend indeed to the Bush Administration. Despite a population of barely 250,000, Georgia contributed 2,000 troops to fight in Iraq, making them the third largest force in Iraq after the U.S. (135,000) and GreatBrittan (7,500). Considering their small population, that's a pretty massive commitment.

To describe the relationship between Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (SA-cosh-villi), and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev (med-VYEH-dev) as "stormy" would be like describing the relationship between Cindy Sheehan and George WBush as "cordial". These two men despise each other. Both view the others' election as illegitimate. Saakashvilli, a American-educated lawyer was just 35 when he led Georgia's "Rose Revolution" of 2004 into the Georgia Parliament and demanded the resignation of President Shevardnadze. Medvedev was Putin's hand-picked successor. Both Putin and Medvedev opposed the invasion of Iraq and never provided any troops. Saakashvili saw great opportunity in befriending the U.S., with the big prize being admission into NATO. Just last March, President Saakashvilli visited the White House to discuss membership into NATO. President Bush pledged to push for Georgia's admission at the next NATO summit in April.

So why all the love between the Bushies and Georgia? Dirt poor with no real assets of its own, already an ally in the "War on Terror" what's left for the them to exploit?

Turkish Caspian Oil Pipeline
(Turkish-Caspian pipeline image)

Gosh, who could of seen THAT coming?

Georgia doesn't have oil, but neighboring Turkey is building an enormous pipeline stretching from the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Mediterranean Sea, all but cutting Russia out of the lucrative $100+/barrel oil market the Bush energy policy has produced. Why should Russia benefit from the catastrophe in Iraq when they didn't sacrifice a red cent to create it?

Here is another map that might help explain things a bit better:

(map of Ossetia)

That pipeline runs just 100 miles South of the Separatist "autonomous region" of South Ossetia between Russia and Georgia, making it a ripe target for anyone looking to disrupt the flow of oil cutting into Russia's market.


Unfortunately, Russia didn't stop there. To further secure the former Russian province, they pushed on into Georgia, even commandeering a main highway that splits the country in two, effectively cutting one side of Georgia off from the other. Had Russia of stopped at the Ossetia border, they might have won The P.R. War as well, but instead, pushing further on into Georgia gave the Bushites justification to scream bloody murder. Without a hint of irony or a shred of self-awareness, President Bush denounced Russia:

"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such action is unacceptable in the 21st century."


"Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century."

Excuse me... barf.

But as I said before, this conflict didn't start two weeks ago:

In February of 2006, Georgian police arrested "a Russian" they accused of trying to sell weapons-grade uranium inside Georgia for $1million U.S. dollars. Russia called it "a public relations ploy to discredit Moscow". The amount of uranium in question: 100g (3.5oz), enough to fuel "part" of a bomb, but not all on its own. The uranium was smuggled into Georgia through Ossetia (where the uranium originated from was never determined).

As the U.S. became involved, things got worse:

Tension Between Russia, Georgia Heats Up

Washington Post, October 1, 2006

TBILISI, Georgia -- The Cold War is long over, but the tension between Georgia and Russia revisits many of its issues... allegations of spying by Moscow, suspicions of interference by the United States and concerns that a hot war will start without some sort of compromise.

Last week's arrest of four Russian soldiers on charges of spying pushed a decade of animosity between Russia and Georgia to new heights. Russia recalled its ambassador, called Georgia a "bandit state" and stopped issuing visas to Georgians.

The reactions were far stronger than the tit-for-tat expulsions that usually accompany espionage scandals.


Georgia's West-leaning government resents Russia for its close contacts with two separatist Georgian regions, for its reluctance to pulling out thousands of troops based in the country as a Soviet-era holdover and for economic pressure including sharply increasing the price of natural gas to banning Georgian wine, one of the country's major exports.

Russia in turn resists Georgia's drive to join NATO, its demands for the withdrawal of Russian forces and President Mikhail Saakashvili's determination to re-exert control over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which seek possible annexation into Russia and have Russian forces present as peacekeepers.

It was also annoyed that a major oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Turkey runs through Georgia, bypassing Russia, and bristled when Georgia arrested a dozen opposition figures that Tbilisi claimed were plotting a coup with Russian backing.


So now you can see why the Bushies got involved. And after nearly two years of negotiations between Russia and Georgia, the war Russia feared might happen, did. Another diplomatic coup for Condi Rice and the Bush Administration. Bravo!

I'm going to make some intuitive leaps here, so stay with me. Remember when the Bush Administration wanted to put a "nuclear missile shield in Poland" last year? (ignore for now the fact it doesn't even work) They claimed the purpose of putting it there was "to protect our European allies and our friends" from a possible missile strike from Iran. The fact Iran doesn't even have an ICBM missile system is apparently irrelevant.

The point of putting interceptor missiles (ie: a "missile shield") so close to Russia has nothing to do with "defending Europe", but instead has everything to do with intimidating Russia should we decide to invade their ally Iran. Russia's ability to threaten the U.S. diminishes considerably if we can not only shoot down any Russian missiles fired in response to an attack on Iran, but possibly even fire missiles into Russia from Poland. Bush wasn't fooling anyone with his "missile shield". Russia made a reasonable counter-offer of putting the "missile shield" in the Russian territory of Azerbaijan (over 1,500 miles to the South-East and ON the Iranian border). The Bush Administration rejected the offer. But you know who's right next door, NOT under Russian control, but within striking distance of both Russia and Iran? C'mon, guess! Did you guess Georgia? Give yourself a cookie.

So we've got a Georgian President, close ally of the U.S., despises Russia, has provided the third largest troop commitment in Iraq, is sitting on the nuclear doorstep of both Russia and Iran, is allowing a massive oil pipeline to be built through their country that could have serious economic repercussions for Russia, and wants entry into NATO. Sounds like a match made in NeoCon heaven.

Which takes us back to politics in the U.S....


"Terrorism" wasn't even on their radar. And how do I know this FOR A FACT? Because George Bush picked a Professor of Russian Studies fluent in Russian, Condoleezza Rice, to be his National Security Advisor, despite the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a string of U.S. embassy bombings, an unwieldy number of terrorist threats to disrupt the New Years Millennium celebrations (including an arrest at the Washington/Canada border), and an attack on the USS Cole just four weeks before the November election. To George W. Bush, the greatest threat facing the U.S. as he entered office wasn't "terrorism", it was "the Russians".


So I'm watching Condi hit the airwaves day after day, after eight years of keeping a relatively low profile (compared to other Bush Administration officials), and I'm thinking, "this conflict seems to be tailor made for her". I didn't mean it "literally", but the more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder. "WAS this conflict concocted as a way to elevate Condi's profile in the closing days of the Bush Administration? And if so, why?"

Only one answer comes to mind: "They're prep'ing her for the VP slot with McCain."


Read the full story at "Mugsy's Rap Sheet"
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