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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7550804.stm

So as I'm sure most of you know, yesterday Georgian forces moved to regain control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has been trying to gain independence from Tbilisi since the early 90's. South Ossetian separatists are supported by Russia with arms and supplies, something which Russia denies, but which everyone know is, frankly, bullshit. After 10 Russian "peacekeepers" were killed during the fighting, Russia went all huffy-puffy(as it usually does) and promised that those responsible would get their dues. Except this time, it carried out its threat. So now Russia and Georgia are going at it in South Ossetia, Russia is launching airstrikes deeper into Georgia, Tsinkhvali(capital of South Ossetia) is devastated, and it looks like war. As usual, the UN can't agree on anything, due to Russia having a permanent place on the Security Council.

What is your take on this?

I fully support Georgia on this, the South Ossetian separatists are fools, we don't need more and more of these tiny, unstable micro-countries springing up like mushrooms everywhere. They usually have no prospects and leech off a bigger nieghbour for support - in this case, SO leeches off Russia. Sure, Ossetians are a different ethnic group than Georgians, but so are Basques different from the Spanish, Tibetans from the Chinese, etc. Doesn't mean we should give them all independance - Tibet was ruled an archaic, feudal society, almost totally lacking modern medicine(if a body part was amputated, the wound was sterilized in boiling butter - yum!). But I digress. This isn't about Tibet, this is about South Ossetia.

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I generally support the right of self-determination rather than arguments of sovereignty over ethnic minorities. The most sensible thing for Georgia, as far as I can see, is to simply leave south Ossetia and Abchazia to it's own fate since clinging on to rebellious regions is rarely worth the effort anyway.

That said, I don't have any praise for what Russia's doing. They're only presenting themselves as the protector of the Ossetians because the region is strategically important for oil and gas transport and to piss off NATO (Georgia has been promised future membership) The way I understand the situation is that Russia's been cleverly distributing Russian communities in all its former satelite states and dealing out Russian  citizenship papers as if it were candy, in combination with covertly supplying arms to keep this conflict going until present day.

I'm undecided. On one hand, Georgia is a somewhat-functional democracy and it wouldn't do to abandon them to Russian bullying. On the other hand, even if the Ossetians are misguided in thinking of the Russians as their benevolent saviours I still can't condone the Georgians keeping them as part of their own nation agaisnt their will.

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Ossetians drove the Georgians off 16 years ago and since then they are de facto a part of Russia. Now the Kosovan model inspired them to declare independence, and thus give president Saakasvili a motive to save his own crumbling image and try the limits of western support. I would like to read the "offer of autonomy" which his people proposed to Ossetians before they started to shoot at each other. The guy should be deposed as Milosevic, this was a really mad move, I see him as responsible.

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No matter what triggered this conflict, it is madness to bomb the civilian populations of Tskhinvali. If Saakashvili claims S. Ossetia as part of his territories, how can he sacrifice his own people in this manner? How can there be a chance of a peaceful coexistance between Georgia and S. Ossetia after all this? All that Saakashvili has done is turn this situation into one reminiscent of Kosovo.

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Let's not forget that peacekeeping force is overseen by Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that follows UN Charter. Thus Georgia attacked fully legitimate peacekeeping force.

Georgia demanded in UN for Russian forces to leave, however it through out the whole seating of the UN Security Council continued to bomb the South Osetia with missiles batteries. I don't think that it has the right to ask for some kind of intervention if it still continuing aggressive actions.

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Georgia is a sovereign nation defending it's territories. South Ossetia is not recognized by any nation besides Russia as not being part of Georgia.

Russia invading draws parallels in my mind with German troops taking Czechoslovakia for the Sudetenland

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Georgia is a sovereign nation defending it's territories. South Ossetia is not recognized by any nation besides Russia as not being part of Georgia.

Russia invading draws parallels in my mind with German troops taking Czechoslovakia for the Sudetenland

With the regards to the mandate of peacekeeping from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Russia has full right to move its forces in to reinforce peacekeepers if either South Ossetia or Georgia will violate the cease fire agreement and the additional forces are needed to enforce the cease fire.

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Russia stated that if Georgia pulled it's forces out. Russian troops will remain. Russia has no right to bomb Georgian cities and ports.

This is a invasion that is a planned effort by Russia to reclaim their lost territories.

Look at the Belarus Russian pact their pushing around

The cutting off and meddling with Ukraine's gas lines over

Now invading Georgia

The other thread From Russia with hate pt 1. had a strong example of the growing radical right in Russia, and now blatant aggression.

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Georgia is a sovereign nation defending it's territories. South Ossetia is not recognized by any nation besides Russia as not being part of Georgia.

Russia invading draws parallels in my mind with German troops taking Czechoslovakia for the Sudetenland

Ah what a bullshit, Germans had support of all the world. As well for Sudeten as for Bohemia half a year later. Second thing, Sudeten had no autonomy, factual nor jurisdical. Also, Russia isn't taking Georgia as a whole; in fact they may not be taking the country at all. Just to set a flag against American radars in Europe.

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True about the autonomy part of the Sudetenland, however the Czech's weren't even present at the diplomatic meetings. And was only another step in appeasing the Reich.

Russia is bombing Georgian cities and has mobilized the black sea fleet, after bombing the major Georgian port. So we should support Russia's right to gain those provinces?

Well what about Chechnya's desire to leave Russia? This is a bold imperialist attempt to rebuild the Russian empire.

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We also did not bomb Germans in Sudeten. And weren't forcing them to flee to Germany. When Serbs do this, it is called ethnic cleansing.

On the other hand, why do you bring here Chechnya? It is in same position towards Russia as Ossetia towards Georgia. While, unlike Georgians, Russians won the war there (perhaps because they were backed only by Taliban). Don't you mean that Russia has no right to use her army at all? Or to use them against nations, which aren't hostile to USA?

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Now invading Georgia

The other thread From Russia with hate pt 1. had a strong example of the growing radical right in Russia, and now blatant aggression.

FYI, Russian reinforcements entered the point of conflict in response to the attacks on Russian peacekeeper outposts in the region by Georgian forces.

I fully support Georgia on this, the South Ossetian separatists are fools, we don't need more and more of these tiny, unstable micro-countries springing up like mushrooms everywhere.

How very nice. So you fully support genocide of Ossetian people? Perhaps you haven't heard about the capital city of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, being devastated by artillery fire by Georgian armed forces, with tremendous casualties among civilian population, and extermination of Ossetians by Georgian troops?

And with their petty political games, the UN are delaying any decision on the matter, whereas the bloodshed continues.

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After those separatists broke the cease fire.

And I brought it up Caid because if people want to leave Russia and form their own country, it's fine for Russia to move and stop them, but if people are trying to leave a country to go back to Russia, It's just a hypocritical response. Not to have let the Chechnya's go, and then help the south ossetias.

"Ukraine, which, like Georgia, is a former Soviet republic, said it might prevent Russian navy ships involved in the blockade from returning to their bases in the Crimea, an spokeswoman with Ukraine's foreign ministry said." -CNN

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I like that you accept my point that backing Georgians in this conflict is justified only when you back russian policy in Chechnya. Per analogiam, we may call this a "bold imperialist attempt to rebuild the" Georgian Empire. So, if "Georgia is a sovereign nation defending it's territories"...why are you bringing Sudetenland here? Why Chechnya? Why you call the russian operation a "blatant aggression"? Why don't you keep coherent if you know that there can be no objective opinion on the matter?

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I'm simply saying.

If No one stopped Russia from taking Chechnya, if it was fine in the international light for them to take a country that wanted independence from Russia. The international community has only grunted a bit during the invasion of Georgia. A nation that doesn't want to loose it's border's and was responding to a attack from separatists.

I mentioned Sudetenland as a reference to a right wing attempt for a country to attempt to regain lost glory, and using "ethnic Germans" or in this case "ethnic Russians" as a excuse for a pretense to invade. . Russia is trying to push it's influence on Belarus, Ukraine, Chechnya, and now over Georgia.  At least three of those countries were moving away from the Russian sphere of influence.

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I'm simply saying.

If No one stopped Russia from taking Chechnya, if it was fine in the international light for them to take a country that wanted independence from Russia. The international community has only grunted a bit during the invasion of Georgia. A nation that doesn't want to loose it's border's and was responding to a attack from separatists.

Whether it was response to attack by separatists or not is hard to say as the two sides have been taking shots at each other without really stopping.

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In fact no Russian had ever spoken of annex, that's a mere hypothetical outcome. Which may be found unrealistic, seeing the diplomatic support. It would be ok, if Russians just came, scattered all Georgian army, changed government and executed the president (the US style)?

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True, but were not trying to outright Annex them.

I would think an influx of several hundred thousand people (military, mercenary, civilian, corporate), probably around 300,000 would be a good start to annexing Iraq, or at least having a lasting influence on the countries future.

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There are still a lot of questions on my mind, but it seems Saakashvili initiated the conflict because he thought that the Russians wouldn't react, or that NATO would back him. But since both sides had been building up long before that it becomes less important who fired the first shot. If what the Russians say about the civilian casualties is true it's a good thing we didn't support the Georgians in any meaningful way.

The most sensible plan for Georgia would be to reach a permanent solution for Ossetia and Abchazia (even if it's bitter to swallow) and get admitted into NATO as fast as possible. Oh yeah, and get another president.

I don't think this is necessarily indicative of what Russia intends to do to all former Soviet states. It can easily bully a tiny country like Georgia with military power, but the Ukraine would give them a hard time and might just send them running. It's far more likely that they'll use their proxy minorities in other countries to stir up trouble.

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The other thread From Russia with hate pt 1. had a strong example of the growing radical right in Russia, and now blatant aggression.

The growing radical right in Russia is, for the moment, an enemy of the government. The Russian government is conservative and right-wing, but by no means radical or racist. The Russian ruling class does want to increase its power internationally, but as far as internal Russian politics and society are concerned, they are satisfied with the status quo and wish to preserve it. They are enemies of the radical right because, like all radical movements, it opposes the status quo.

Yes, because it did just that in South Korea and Germany.

South Korea would not exist without the heavy American military presence. Good or bad, that's a pretty major influence on their history, government and society. And also, South Korea had a rather nasty authoritarian regime for some 30 years after the war, and wasn't doing particularly well economically during that period (it even lagged behind the North in the beginning).

Regarding the other US-occupied countries, Japan did indeed become a democracy after WW2, at least on paper, but it was and still is a very dubious case - the same political party has won every election since WW2. West Germany turned out fine, though.

Now, back on the topic of South Ossetia, of course the Russian government is being hypocritical. South Ossetia is to Georgia what Chechnya was to Russia. So either Russia is right about South Ossetia but was wrong about Chechnya, or it's wrong on South Ossetia but was right on Chechnya. They can't have it both ways, they couldn't possibly be right in both cases. But their opponents can't have it both ways either - Russia couldn't possibly be wrong on South Ossetia AND wrong on Chechnya. They must have done the right thing in at least one of those situations.

And the West is being hypocritical too, because of Kosovo. If Kosovo could declare independence from Serbia and become a de facto Western protectorate, why can't South Ossetia declare independence from Georgia and become a Russian protectorate? Neither Kosovo nor South Ossetia is anything like a viable state, of course, but that doesn't seem to matter.

As for Saakashvili, I already knew he was a right-wing authoritarian bastard with delusions of grandeur, but now it turns out he's an idiot too. What the hell was he thinking, attacking South Ossetia and deliberately provoking Russia like that? What did he expect NATO to do, go to war on his behalf? Even if you think South Ossetia should remain part of Georgia (which I do), the fact is that this war was entirely Saakashvili's fault. When you have a large, powerful, unfriendly neighbor, how stupid do you have to be to give them such a perfect excuse to fight you?

And speaking of Saakashvili, did you notice that he always seems to hold his speeches and press conferences in English these days? He's talking more to the West than to his own people (I doubt all Georgians are fluent in English).

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