110deutschland halted die klappe , omdas sie oil und gas importieren von ussr.
- 11. Aug. 2008Jerusalem Post.com » International » Article
Updated Aug 11, 2008 0:10
As we write, reports are coming in that after a bombardment by
Russia's aircraft, its tanks are advancing on the Georgian town of
Gori - the birthplace of Iosif Djugashvili, better known as Stalin.
This throwback to the heyday of the Soviet Union is more than
symbolic. Historical analogies are never perfect, but our sense of
déjà vu was acute as we watched Moscow's Soviet-style move to
reassert its domination of the USSR's former fief.
Moscow perceives a threat to its strategic interests from a small
regional actor. It prods its neighboring clients to commit such
provocations that the adversary is drawn into military action
that "legitimizes" a massive, direct intervention to "defend the
victims of aggression."
In our recent study Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble
in the Six-Day War, we demonstrated that this was the scenario
employed by the USSR to instigate the 1967 conflict. Then, it was
the unexpectedly devastating effect of Israel's preemptive strike
that thwarted the planned Soviet intervention. Against Georgia this
week, the ploy has so far worked much better.
As in our Middle Eastern precedent, a major motive for Moscow's move
was to prevent its encirclement by nuclear-armed Western pacts. When
the United States announced its intent to deploy missile defenses in
the new NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia declared
this to be a measure that would be met with a military response. Its
alarm grew when President George W. Bush visited Ukraine and
Georgia, inviting them, too, into NATO. But at the pact's summit in
Bucharest in April, when the European allies demurred, Russia saw
its chance - and pounced.
Georgia has assiduously courted US protection, if not a full NATO
guarantee. It sent 2,000 soldiers to Iraq, who are being recalled to
face the Russian invasion. Washington has provided Georgia with
materiel and advisers, and so did Israel - at least until Russia
pressed it to stop, reportedly in return for promises to withhold
advanced weapons from Syria.
The South Ossetia separatists are already claiming US intervention -
saying there are black people among the Georgian casualties. But
even if some American personnel went discreetly into action, that
would not suffice to deter Russia from bringing Georgia to heel, if
not physically occupying the country. And then the Western loss will
not be limited to the independence of a small, remote, struggling
Russia would achieve another strategic goal: regaining control of
the vital flow of Caspian Sea oil to Western (and Israeli) consumers
via pipelines that pass through Georgia to its own ports - now
already blockaded by the Russian navy - and to Turkey's.
But Moscow's apparent disregard for the hitherto internationally
sacrosanct borders and sovereignty of the 15 former Soviet Socialist
Republics may have even farther-reaching consequences. Russia itself
enjoyed immunity for its suppression of Chechnya's independence bid,
as the latter was only an autonomous component of the Russian
Federation. By the same token, South Ossetia and Abkhazia (where
Russian marines have landed to assist separatists in opening a
second front) are integral parts of Georgia. In calling these often-
arbitrary borders into question, Russia has opened a vast Pandora's
Absent a resolute Western response, the next in line for Russian
designs will be another would-be NATO candidate: Ukraine, which
Moscow has already berated for backing Georgia. Ukraine's eastern
mining and industrial regions are heavily populated by Russian-
speakers; the Crimea, whence Ukraine seeks to eject the Russian
Black Sea Fleet's main base, was part of Russia until the 1950s.
After "coming to the rescue of Russian citizens" in South Ossetia
(locals who were issued Russian passports, or actual settlers from
across the border), Moscow may demand the repatriation of its people
from Ukraine - along with their land.
In respect to Israel, too, Russian leaders often proclaim a "special
relationship" based on the "hundreds of thousands of Russian people"
who reside here. This may still be far over the horizon - but you
read it here first: Some day, a "representative delegation" of
these "Russians" may invoke the Ossetian precedent to appeal for
protection from Moscow. With a large part of the Russian fleet moved
by then from Sevastopol, Crimea, to Tartus, Syria, such an
intervention may be at least .
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