5th Generation Warfare in Georgia?

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Map_georgia_russia "Georgia will withdraw its entire 2,000-strong military contingent from Iraq within three days to help battle South Ossetian separatist rebels, a senior Georgian military official said on Saturday.

"We are actually in the stage of preparing our departure," Colonel Bondo Maisuradze, chief of Georgia’s military operations in Iraq, told AFP.

"It will definitely not be today. We are discussing with the Americans the conditions of our departure which may take place tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," said Maisuradze in Baghdad.

The US military has agreed to help with the logistics of the Georgian redeployment, Maisuradze added."  Agence France Presse"

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1826959833_ebcd4c00cd This is a Georgian icon.  Cool.

I’ll be brief.  I have written several posts here insisting that war is not generational and that 4th Generation Warfare as a theory of the development of warfare is an illusion if what is meant is that history has moved on past a time of utility for what the 4th Generation crowd would call "oldthink."  In other words, the 4th Generation crowd think armored forces or other "heavy" forces are no longer useful.

It seems to me that what has happened in Georgia, South Ossetia and the Russian Federation belies that idea.

I have argued that war is always many headed in its methodology.  In South Ossetia, terrorism, resistance warfare and political action have all occurred in whatever it is that Georgia and Russia are doing with each other.

When that did not produce a decisive result, Georgia employed its "conventional forces" in an effort to reintegrate South Ossetia, and Russian sent in forces from its 58th Army.

If I am not mistaken the pictures on television show that tanks, self-propelled guns, armored personnel carriers, fighter aircraft employed as fighter-bombers, conventional infantry and armored reconnaissance vehicles abound in what is happening in the south Caucasus.

What’s this, 5th Generation warfare?  pl

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hAZ4s0zJThk3POsYjjP0ZieJyNaw

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101 Responses to 5th Generation Warfare in Georgia?

  1. Curious says:

    5th generation is the one Rice and Medvedev yelling at each other on global news while nobody cares and the war rages on.
    Incidentally, I wonder if Pentagon really believes on this 5th generation idea and was training Georgia’s troop on anti insurgency preparing for Chechnya situation. (saw some pictures floating around. completely silly)
    But Russia having deep connection in there decides clown show time is over. They want the whole thing back before bigger NATO scheme enters georgia.
    Russia really needs to wants georgia coast to control entire oil supply line (actually just georgia’s big oil port) This way they can control Ukraine and black sea. They are having trouble making Ukraine to renew the black sea navy base contract.
    The balkan game is very ancient. the little conflicts and wars are all dating back to medieval time. Both WWII started in that area because bunch of super power thinks they know what they are doing…then get sucked into giant ever expanding conflicts.
    Just watch, the Balkan will make Sunnis-Shia conflict in Iraq created by state dept. clown looks like second grade drama night.
    Btw, I think Ukraine is gone. the PM-president installed by Bush regime change project won’t last much longer. And Russia seems serious about regaining control of black sea.

  2. 505th PIR says:

    Warfare since it’s inception in the time before recorded history has been the ultimate Human activity since the stakes are higher than any other.
    It is reasonable to believe that combatants use the most useful tools at hand and reason would dictate that one uses the tool that causes the most mission specific pain to the adversary at the least cost to the friendly force.
    A person cuts down trees with chainsaws and cuts butter with a butter knife for obvious reasons. When tanks, massed artillery and aircraft are the best way to get something done they will be used. Likewise, more subtle tactics/kit are used where they are a better choice.
    In the case of the Georgian-Russian conflict now unfolding there is urgency and urgent means are now being used.
    On the broader topic it would seem that a military able to project force at all levels and with the leadership and doctrine to ratched up and down that which is required is a better military than one skewed one way or the other.
    The Russians are doing this right now! This conflict with Georgia seems to be a brilliant example of Maskarova. The S. Ossetian “resistance” led by Russian special ops has entrenched and then purposefully become an intolerable irritant to the Georgians. The Georgians take the bait and use a conventional force to consolodate their semi-autonomous breakaway state. The Russians spring their trap (their 58th Army and supporting elements are conveniently massed for an instant assault/relief mission).
    All of this dovetails nicely into the long-term Kremlin plans for the reconsolodation of the empire Ivan Terrible began those centuries ago. The collapse of the Soviets was a great exhale of empire, they (Russia) are earnestly beginning to inhale again.

  3. condfusedponderer says:

    I just heard that on NPR: Army Focus on Counterinsurgency Debated Within
    The article’s bottom line is that voices in the army, here in the field artillery branch, are pointing out that the focus on counterinsurgency is atrophying the traditional skills required in the artillery, to the extent that artillery units, as far as I understand, aren’t combat ready as artillery any more.

  4. Ormolov says:

    Terrifying. The Russians will not back down on this. The Georgians are fighting a true ‘existential war.’ We have a pair of warmongers in the White House with no political controls on their lame-duck days. Oil is involved. Echoes of the Cold War. Ye gods. Please don’t let Tom Clancy be the new Nostradamus. I don’t mean to be so alarmist, but can anyone see a way out of this that isn’t cataclysmic?

  5. Patrick Lang says:

    All
    My post was on the “military art” aspects of the new war in the Caucasus.
    This situation has a “Guns of August” smell to it. The US effort to push the NATO alliance farther and farther east toward Russia has been reckless. Russia is an immature state given to chauvinist imperialism. What else was their history made up of before the Bolshevik period? Are they different now?
    Let us hope that cooler heads in Washington and European capitals will find a diplomatic solution to this foolishness before the train runs off the track. pl

  6. fnord says:

    “The S. Ossetian “resistance” led by Russian special ops has entrenched and then purposefully become an intolerable irritant to the Georgians. The Georgians take the bait and use a conventional force to consolodate their semi-autonomous breakaway state. The Russians spring their trap (their 58th Army and supporting elements are conveniently massed for an instant assault/relief mission). ”
    Its the part of “the Georgians taking the bait” I really do not understand at all. I quite simply do not understand their projected-outcome calculations: Did they think that Russia would back down? Or that NATO would come rushing to the rescue? As for the Ossetians being “intolerable irritants”, the bombs that have been going off recently have been going off in Ossetia and Abkhazia, not in Georgia. And the set piece assault on Ossetias capital shows long premeditation, as does the fact of the coincidence with the Olympics. The 58th Army is not invisible, with acess to US satelites the Georgians must have known what they were facing. We basically have the Georgians doing a classic setpiece attack on a russian enclave, wich the russians have already said they would use as a counterweight to Kosovo. If anyone thought that Putin would stand under the Russian flag in Bejing and back down, then they must live in a alternative world.
    Condoleeza is officially supporting the Georgians anyway, their national integrity is of course so much more worth than Serbia. And US warplanes are getting ready to ship the georgians into the warzone, aiding and abetting one side in the conflict. Is this some sort of sick joke, a poke in the eye to all russian nationalists? At the exact moment that prez. Bush and mr. Putin met in Bejing? Que pasa?
    But Ormolov, I refuse to believe that the US will become directly involved with this. Its logistically impossible.

  7. fnord says:

    Confused ponderer: You might want to check out the writings of Col Gian Gentile (ret) on the issue, he is one of the foremost critics of the COINdinistas.

  8. Cieran says:

    Colonel:
    ok, so you’ve been proven exactly right about fourth-generation warfare, immediately after you’ve been proven exactly right about oil prices.
    With that kind of track record of accuracy in prediction, you’ll never make it in the political pundit business! You need to make some colossal blunders before anyone in the MSM is going to take you seriously enough to offer you a New York Times columnist gig!
    Bill Kristol’s job is safe as long as you keep making sense…

  9. Duncan Kinder says:

    My post was on the “military art” aspects of the new war in the Caucasus.
    This has been but the first act of our play.
    As I recall, Russian tanks once rolled into Afghanistan and into Chechnya. Yet that did not thereby conclude those matters.
    And I have heard that one of the actual uses Russia has for South Ossetian is that it is some sort of bandit lair where transnational criminals can carry on activities as they will. Which suggests that the current “war” between Russia and Georgia may actually be a Godfather-style shoot out between the Russian and the Georgian mafiyas.
    If this matter gets wrapped up in the next few days/weeks, we’ll never know. But if the matter turns into something like, say, what is now happening in Mexico, then the 4th Generation war fellow will have something to say.

  10. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Tanks and jets seem pretty conventional to me. Use of Cossack (Don, Terek) “volunteers” very 19th century indeed.
    Per military art: I read somewhere recently the South Ossetians have better weapons,leadership, and morale than the Georgians.(???) Order of battle for the opposing sides, anyone? Good place for Russians to test out the RPG-32s?
    Per geopolitics, IMO, this relates to the Brzezinski geopolitics circa 1979: support anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan, support destabilization of the Caucasus…with Saudi wahhabi help targeting Chechnya and Daghestan etc. Just what were those roving Tabligh Jamaat (from Pakistan) teams doing in the Caucasus in 1979?
    In Zbigs “The Grand Chessboard” we find Georgia on a map (page 124) projection as part of the “Eurasian Balkans” with Zbig emphasizing in the text the hydrocarbon dimension.The pipeline thing and all that is in this picture and is explained by Zbig on pages 144 and 145…ah yes, hydrocarbons.
    The new Cold War with Russia has been under way in US circles both Republican and Democrat for a while. What is McCain saying on Caucasus? What is Obama saying? Obama is advised by Zbig…

  11. Castellio says:

    Hey, isn’t it relevant to point out that South Ossetia sees itself allied with North Ossetia? Which is in Russia?
    The Ossetians don’t want to be Georgians. That much is crystal clear.
    And then the Georgians bomb their regional capital. Friendly gesture that.
    And the US and Israel are going to support the Georgians.. big time.
    Already 70% of the Georgian budget is used on its military. Very progressive regime, that.

  12. jonst says:

    Ormolov wrote:
    ” I don’t mean to be so alarmist, but can anyone see a way out of this that isn’t cataclysmic?”
    Yes. Let the law of ‘gravity’ work within its natural boundaries. And be thankful—all things relative—that Georgia is not a member of NATO. And feel sad for the average Georgians, and other citizens of direct area, caught in the middle of this. And as the Col noted, root for ‘cooler heads’ because I suspect the Bush Admin has led US has schemed its way, once removed, into another box canyon.
    It will be interesting…and illuminating, to see how the Obama and McCain camps spin this. This will be a real test of leadership for them. It is a sideshow in this drama, for now, anyway, but keep an eye on that.

  13. Ormolov says:

    Fnord,
    Thanks. You are correct, I figure. In the ashes of Iraq we have a safeguard against WWIII: insufficient troops for a third front. But it begs a further question– will the White House allow Georgia to fall? Weren’t elements within the Pentagon, specifically the Air Force, clamoring for air assaults on Iran? I know no one will want to directly engage even a weakened Russia, but what other options will our doddering Cold Warriors have?
    Me? If I’m in charge it’s appeasement and diplomatic overdrive. But will Rice use her long-neglected language skills and sweet talk the Kremlin? Would we allow all that oil to get away? I just don’t see it. And barring that, I don’t see any other avenues toward peace. Am I wrong, and too alarmist, to see Putin on one side and Cheney & co. on the other incapable of backing down?
    Your point, however, speaks directly to Col. Lang’s 5th Generation warfare posting. In the absence of conventional forces on our side of the conflict (notwithstanding Georgia’s small army) what will the days ahead bring? Tblisi needs to find some common ground with Nasrullah and Hezbollah a few thousand miles south in Lebanon. It’s time for them to learn the art of asymmetrical conflict from the current masters of the form. I know that’s specious, but I don’t believe Col. Lang’s hope for ‘cooler heads’ will prevail. Waking up pessimistic on the West Coast this morning…

  14. David Habakkuk says:

    Curious:
    The Russians have no interest whatsoever in trying to conquer the whole of Georgia. This would simply saddle them with an intractable irredentist problem.
    They have very strong interests in preventing the forcible reincorporation into Georgia of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the populations of both of which have no more desire to be in Georgia than the Kosovo Albanians had to be in Serbia.
    Likewise, they have an overwhelming interest in preventing a united Ukraine becoming part of NATO. There are also strong emotional elements. Kiev is where Russian Orthodox culture started. And the Russians have many dead in the Crimea.
    The reckless policy of NATO expansion threatens a civil war in the Ukraine — which would be a total disaster for Europe.
    Ukraine as a coherent nation is almost as much of a fiction as Iraq as a coherent nation.
    My sister in law comes from the West Ukraine. When we were in Kiev for her marriage several years ago, she time and again addressed people in Ukrainian.
    On every occasion, they replied in Russian.
    This does not mean that the inhabitants of Kiev want reunion with Russia. The inhabitants of the Crimea, however, are liable to be a very different story.
    Ukrainian nationalists are trying to create a sense of Ukrainian identity by portraying the famine in the Eastern Ukraine as genocide committed by Russians against Ukrainians.
    This is false — the Georgian Joseph Stalin was no respecter of national distinctions in his war against the peasantry. And it has caused intense antagonism among Russians.
    One would have thought their Iraqi experience would have taught Americans — and Brits — not to play with fire.
    But it seems some people never learn.

  15. Curious says:

    Anybody knows if the georgian troop transported from Iraq arrived yet? The russian systematically bomb airports and seaports.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they take over Poli soon enough. Only 60 miles down road from Abkhazia.
    It’s surprising how confused Condi is. She is still waiting for UN to resolve anything. By tomorrow , nobody will be answering phone in georgia. (Putin is being very clever invading Georgia on weekend-Olympic. everybody is busy screwing around baby sitting Bush in Beijing.)
    So this was how much she prepared to defend that shiny Baku pipeline after pissing off Russia? nice.
    Russia is going to want Kosovo, Ukraine and black sea back.
    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h_pFj41BrbIfhfxvfkJBbZiG3BzgD92ER6KG0
    Abkhazia moves to flush out Georgian troops

    He said that Abkhazia had to act because it has a friendship treaty with South Ossetia.
    Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up ties with Moscow. Russia has granted its passports to most of their residents.
    Shamba said Abkhazian forces intended to push Georgian forces out of the Kodori Gorge. The northern part of the gorge is the only area of Abkhazia that has remained under Georgian government control.
    Georgia’s Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said that Georgian administrative buildings in the Kodori Gorge were bombed, but he blamed the attack on Russia.
    In 2006, Georgian forces moved into the upper part of the Kodori Gorge to root out members of a defiant militia. Georgia later established a local administration made up of people who fled the fighting in Abkhazia.
    ————-
    I guess giving Kosovo independence wasn’t such a good idea afteral, if one can’t defend, Iraq and Caspian region.

  16. Rob73 says:

    Col. Lang,
    Any chance we might see some successful light infantry tactics by the Georgians against the Russian armored column–they seem to be pretty strung out due to the paucity of roads. . . .

  17. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    A Russian perspective on military dimension:
    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080808/115905108.html

  18. Alex says:

    You’re quite right of course, PL, that this is a conventional war. The reason is that 90% of the South Ossetian population are said to have Russian passports. There is no possibility of a guerilla resistance, once, and if, the Russians succeed in taking control of the territory.
    The Brits are already comparing the war to the retaking of the Falklands (!).
    If the Russians make no mistakes, and if they limit themselves to occupying South Ossetia, as I imagine with “Marshal” Putin in the field, this will be the perfect conventional war.
    There could be a cease-fire from tomorrow evening or so (Sunday). The Russians should have achieved their military objectives by then – occupying South Ossetia. They have superiority, and “Marshal” Putin is in the field. Depends on whether the Russians are having trouble in the mountains. Could be why the 76 Airborne Brigade is being brought in, but more likely they are there to occupy mountain points quickly. The Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, is undefendable by street-fighting, as the population is not pro-Georgian.
    No point on either side in going on. The Russians want to have it all over soon. They will not annex South Ossetia – that would be provocative. Depends on when the hawks in Tbilisi are ready to give up. They would be wise to do so; otherwise they will spend the next few weeks watching Georgian cities reduced to rubble for no reason.
    The consequences will be that South Ossetia will be somewhat more independent than before. Abkhazia too. Saakashvili will disappear in a few months; the failure is catastrophic. Russia will have gained a victory, and thus be better placed in international politics. The US will have failed to defend an ally, and that is the most serious of all. For the politics of the Middle East. I can just imagine the jihadis in Iraq and Afghanistan thinking that US power has its limits; it is possible to win.

  19. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    One can certainly use Col. Lang’s point on utility of anthropology and ponder this map of the Caucasus:
    http://www.colorado.edu/ibs/waroutcomes/pics/ethnicMap.jpg
    1. And:
    “The people of the Caucasus, many of whom adhered to ancient traditions and were resentful of outsiders’ attempts to control them, were perhaps the most troublesome subjects of Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union that succeeded it. Stalin – whose father was reputed to be Ossetian – in 1922 divided control over Ossetia between the Georgian and Russian Soviet republics, a move which angered Ossetians and prompted occasional protests over subsequent decades. When the South Ossetians attempted in 1989 to reunite with ethnic kin in Russian-controlled North Ossetia, the Georgian nationalist Zviad Gamsakhurdia marched supporters into the region to confront the secessionists.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/we-are-at-war-with-russia-declares-georgian-leader-889266.html
    3. Per military situation, lot’s of “old fashioned” armor:
    “A column of 150 Russian tanks and other military vehicles entered South Ossetia yesterday after Georgian troops launched a major offensive to retake control of the area from Ossetian rebels late on Thursday night.” same url as above.
    4. Some Russian airstrikes reportedly rather close to the BTC pipeline…a message?
    5. Zbigniew Brzezinski as a consultant for British Petroleum worked on the BTC project, as I recall.
    6. Some data on BTC at:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan_pipeline

  20. zanzibar says:

    Cieran
    Funny! I was thinking the same thoughts.
    This is worth a read but in a more serious vein.

  21. Marcus says:

    PL:
    “The US effort to push the NATO alliance farther and farther east toward Russia has been reckless.”
    Not any more reckless than spreadin’ democracy in Iraq.
    Let’s see who would I bet on in a chess match between Bush and Putin… Oh yea Putin will get what he wants.
    War isn’t evil in the Decider’s mind so Georgia really doesn’t concern him–let the games continue, W is partying, do not disturb.

  22. Curious says:

    It seems Russia made a proposal to Condi on Ukraine and Georgia.
    If Condi wants georgia so bad, how come she is so unprepared defending it?
    Somewhere in Ukraine Tymoshenko is wondering if Condi going to save her from big bad russians when the time come.
    http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/georgia_russias_response_united_states
    During a March 19 meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Bush announced that the United States will push for Georgia to begin the NATO Membership Action Plan — the first step to join the alliance — at the April 2 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. The announcement goes directly against Russia’s desire to keep NATO and the West out of its periphery while it works to consolidate control over the former Soviet states.
    Russia wanted to make a deal on the issue March 17, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with their Russian counterparts Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Moscow proposed that if the United States backed away from proposed NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, Russia would stop causing instability in Ukraine’s transit of natural gas to Europe and also in Serbia and the newly independent Kosovo. But no deal seems to have been reached, since Bush’s announcement came just two days after the United States and Russia discussed the topic.
    Now Moscow has two very volatile potential responses on the table: moving troops and possibly recognizing Georgia’s secessionist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These actions not only could completely destabilize Georgia, but also could also spark a war between the small Caucasian country and its large neighbor.

  23. Curious says:

    Gori. (georgia is practically sliced in half now)
    http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/080908b.shtml
    As Russia widens its war with Georgia beyond the separatist territory of South Ossetia, the city of Gori, famous for being the birthplace of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, has been hit the hardest. The civilian casualty toll is climbing, and anyone with the means is leaving.
    ——-
    nice map
    http://daqache.net/maps/map-of-Georgia-10-big.jpg

  24. SubKommander Dred says:

    Colonel;
    Symbolism, while often hyped, can be important. I mention this because every time speech by the Georgian President I have seen broadcast since this war started shows the both the Georgeian standard as well as the flag of the EU (a circle of stars on a blue banner) placed prominently behind him. Is he counting on the EU (and NATO) to pull him out of the fire on this? That is certainly the impression I’m left with.
    SubKommander Dred

  25. Yohan says:

    Conventional fighting with Russia on any scale is not thinkable since they have taken on the Western doctrine of the cold war: facing conventional inferiority, they plan to use a nuclear first strike to halt any successful advance against them.

  26. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “4th generation” fairy tales notwithstanding…
    Georgians are reported using conventional artillery, heavy weapons, including BM 21 Grad 122mm MRL as stated in official South Ossetian press release:
    “At this moment the massed, intense, extremely cruel shelling of the housing estate of Tskhinval from the howitzers, mortars, artillery, IFV, tanks with using the system of the volley fire “Grad” from the direction of the Georgian villages continues. The bombardment goes on with the persistent volleys with the intervals under one second.”…
    “In these minutes Georgian SU-25 planes dropped bombs on the peaceful citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia. SU-25 also strikes at ossetian village Kvernet, and bypass road,Zar, the only road, which links South Ossetia with the North. Perfidious massive bombardment of Tskhinval by the morning became more intense. In the city and its environs are fighting with heavy weapons.”
    http://cominf.org/english/

  27. Mad Dogs says:

    This war will end only when Russia (Putin) decides it has punished Georgia sufficiently, and not a moment sooner.
    Unlike the US in Iraq, the Russians will indeed be welcomed with candy and flowers in South Ossetia.
    In “wars of choice”, no one will misunderstand who had the better judgment.
    As to the end of this conflict, Russia will dictate the terms. All of the terms!
    Not the feckless, doddering, pot-bellied and purely ceremonial play-soldiers of NATO.
    Nor will Junya or Secretary “I’m a tough guy…ahem…gal!” Rice do more than validate their already acknowledged uselessness on the world stage.
    Putin has looked this Adminstration in the eye and has seen what exists there is filled with nothing but vacuous, empty-headed,rhetoric-spouting, and reality-ignorant Jacobin dolts.
    Their Unipolar mirage has evaporated and their brain has yet to comprehend the future its eyes behold.

  28. robt willmann says:

    The Colonel is having a little fun with a skewer directed at people who seem to think that there is actually something new under the sun when it comes to human behavior and conflicts, and who thereby can market themselves and perhaps even receive “consulting fees” in that regard.
    There is new technology over time, but that is all.
    Unless you can rot an area or country out from within, and take control of it that way, you almost have to have the Heavy Metal and large concentrations of soldiers to do any sort of invasion. Hizbullah successfully defended southern Lebanon in 2007 but was not invading Israel.
    Chinese news says that—
    “The Russian army on Saturday reportedly took full control of the South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinvali from Georgian forces, raising stakes in the fighting which erupted late on Thursday night and has reportedly left 1,400 people dead.
    ‘Tactical groups have completely liberated Tskhinvali from the Georgian military,’ General Vladimir Boldyrev, the head of the Russian ground forces, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agencies.”
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-08/09/content_9101010.htm
    The article includes a photograph after a Russian bombardment in Gori, about 80 km (50 miles) from Tbilisi, and the interesting statement that–
    “A key oil pipeline to Turkey runs about 100 km south of Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia.”
    I always try to look at a map first. Clifford Kiracofe has pointed us to one, from the Univ. of Colorado at Boulder.
    When a less detailed map flashed briefly on the TV screen yesterday, I focused on Abkhazia.
    Look at its coastline on the Black Sea, and how it squeezes down Georgia’s coastline.
    I think there might just be some fighting by “conventional forces” in Abkhazia; it might be a bigger prize than Ossetia.
    While Russian “President” Medvedev looks like a beginning television news anchor in a small media market, Vladimir Putin left the feel-good Olympics public relations project by China and is reported
    to be visiting refugees from the fighting who have gone to Russia—
    “Pro-western Georgia earlier called for a ceasefire after Moscow’s bombers widened an offensive to force Tbilisi’s troops back out of the region in the Caucasus mountains.
    ‘Russia’s actions in South Ossetia are totally legitimate,’ Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, visiting an adjacent region of Russia to which thousands of refugees have fled.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/georgia_ossetia_dc
    I am having trouble recalling the number of times president Bush jr. visited the two million or more Iraqi refugees who fled their “liberation” by the U.S., Britain, and Israel after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
    The smirking promoters of the U.S. gangster foreign policy have loved pushing around countries like Serbia/Yugoslavia, Iraq (after massive 1991 bombing and 12 years of sanctions), and poverty-stricken Afghanistan.
    But now a new player appears on the field who has satellites, an air force, missiles, and no debt, and who seems not to be just another political hack with his hand out. This is Mr. Putin.
    Even though Putin had to high tail it out of former East Germany when its Department of Homeland Security (the Stasi) could no longer intimidate that population, he lived to fight another day. And fight he has, as he worked with others to regain control from the thieves and oligarchs who were looting Mother Russia, paid down the national debt, and (allegedly) tried to upgrade the military.
    This situation in the country of Georgia is serious soap. Unlike the guerrilla who swims in the sea of the people, in this case the Russian “conventional army” is swimming in the sea of the people, if Ossetia and Abkhazia are indeed friendly to Russia.
    Vladimir Putin is not a limp noodle.
    I agree with “Curious” in his first comment: “… Russia having deep connection in there decides clown show time is over”.

  29. Cieran says:

    Zanzibar:
    This is worth a read but in a more serious vein.
    Great link!
    That’s perhaps the best summary I’ve yet read of the current mess in financials. The economic wolves are at the door, and they aren’t there to sell magazine subscriptions.
    I see that your London Banker is a big fan of Nouriel Roubini of NYU, who like Colonel Lang, has that singular habit of being right about his predictions of the future.
    Roubini will never replace Cramer or Kudlow with that kind of track record!

  30. Mad Dogs says:

    Anne Applebaum of the WaPo says it better than I could:

    …Wherever the blame for this week’s escalation is finally laid, the West has very little influence on the outcome. Saakashvili’s appeals for help and moral support — ” This is not about Georgia,” he told CNN, “this is about the basic values the U.S. has always preached” — aren’t going to amount to much unless Russia wants them to…
    …In any case, the time to deal with this conflict is not now but was two, or even four, years ago. For a very long time it has been clear that there was a security vacuum in the Caucasus; that this vacuum was dangerous; that war was likely; that Georgia, an eager ally of the United States, would not emerge well from a confrontation; and that a successful invasion of Georgia, a country with U.S. troops on its soil, would reflect badly on the West. Cowardice, weakness, lack of ideas and, above all, the distraction of other events prevented any deeper engagement. And now it may be too late.

    And so does Steve Clemons of the Washington Note:

    Georgia-Russia Clash: American Culpability and the Kosovo Connection
    …My own view is that the U.S. has displayed a reckless disregard for Russian interests for some time. I don’t like Russia’s swing to greater domestic authoritarianism and worry about its stiffened posture on a number of international fronts — but Simes convinces me in his important Foreign Affairs essay, “Losing Russia.” that much of what we are seeing unfold between Russia and Georgia involves a high quotient of American culpability.
    When Kosovo declared independence and the US and other European states recognized it — thus sidestepping Russia’s veto in the United Nations Security Council — many of us believed that the price for Russian cooperation in other major global problems just went much higher and that the chance of a clash over Georgia’s breakaway border provinces increased dramatically.
    By pushing Kosovo the way the US did and aggravating nationalist sensitivities, Russia could in reaction be rationally expected to further integrate and cultivate South Ossetia and Abkhazia under de facto Russian control and pull these provinces that border Russia away from the state of Georgia.
    At the time, there was word from senior level sources that Russia had asked the US to stretch an independence process for Kosovo over a longer stretch of time — and tie to it some process of independence for the two autonomous Georgia provinces. In exchange, Russia would not veto the creation of a new state of Kosovo at the Security Council. The U.S. rejected Russia’s secret entreaties and instead rushed recognition of Kosovo and said damn the consequences.
    Now thousands are dead. The fact is that a combination of American recklessness, serious miscalculation and over-reach by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, as well as Russia’s forceful reassertion of its regional national interests and status as an oil and gas rich, tough international player means America and Europe have yet again helped generate a crisis that tests US global credibility…

  31. This is the article that started it all in 1989:
    The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation
    And an update in 2004:
    Understanding Fourth Generation War
    They focus a lot on specific tactics. In that case, one has to admit that war was fought differently in 1776 compared to today. When I first read these articles they made sense to me. And in many ways they still do.
    But now I see where slicing these specific tactics, many of which are centered on technological advances, into generations can lead to the ever popular American belief in throwing out the old for the new.
    It makes more sense to recognize that some tactics are timeless while others change with technology and circumstance. So I whole heartily second 505th PIR’s comment:
    It is reasonable to believe that combatants use the most useful tools at hand and reason would dictate that one uses the tool that causes the most mission specific pain to the adversary at the least cost to the friendly force.
    In my field people fall in love with specific technologies. You see their eyes light up when you talk about some obsolete telecom technology they worked on in their younger lives. (I’ve been known to do the same!)
    But the best engineers are technology agnostics and simply search for the best solution for the particular problem. Sometimes it’s tough to stick to that mindset, but it works best.

  32. Patrick Lang says:

    “Hizbullah successfully defended southern Lebanon in 2007”
    Yes, they certainly did, and it was not by guerrilla action. pl
    Right Leila 2006. Our bad.

  33. Curious says:

    What the conflict is about in one short paragraph. Ukraine is next.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/world/europe/10diplo.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
    Then, Mr. Putin flew from Beijing to a region that borders South Ossetia, arriving after an announcement that Georgia was pulling its troops out of the capital of the breakaway region. He appeared ostensibly to coordinate assistance to refugees who had fled South Ossetia into Russia, but the Russian message was clear: This is our sphere of influence; others stay out.
    “What the Russians just did is, for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, they have taken a decisive military action and imposed a military reality,” said George Friedman, chief executive of Stratfor, a geopolitical analysis and intelligence company. “They’ve done it unilaterally, and all of the countries that have been looking to the West to intimidate the Russians are now forced into a position to consider what just happened.”
    And Bush administration officials acknowledged that the outside world, and the United States in particular, had little leverage over Russian actions.

  34. “Hizbullah successfully defended southern Lebanon in 2007”
    And I know that you all intended to write 2006, but I must still post this to make sure the record is correct. The war you refer to was in July-August 2006. You knew that, please forgive my intrusion.

  35. Curious says:

    Air and sea routes into Georgia are now closed.
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Russia_plans_to_move_naval_ships_toward_Abkhazia_US/articleshow/3347607.cms
    WASHINGTON: Russia is planning to move parts of its Black Sea fleet towards Georgia’s rebel Abkhazia region, a US State Department official has said.
    “We have been notified that Russia has plans to move elements of its Black Sea fleet to Abkhazia, to Ochamchira, ostensibly to protect their civilians a couple of cruisers, or large scale naval vessels,” said the official yesterday, asking to remaining anonymous.

  36. Curious says:

    This is an interesting clip
    1. classic tank-infantry formation. (that should answer what sort of generation this war is, if anybody still cares) The amount of tanks floating in these clips are amazing. The russians really love their threaded toys.
    2. Putin language to justify his action. Pretty much mirror image of Bush.
    3. Russia definitely has developed some form of modern media capability.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4tvUrIQe0U

  37. Zanzibar – I, too must thank you for the London Banker link. His abstruse comment boils down, in housewife’s terms, to the following: we need to save more, produce real goods rather than vapor, spend less, and invest in tangibles.
    It may be off topic to the thread but I think such fiscal prudence goes along with the sensible worldview of our esteemed host. London banker is highly recommended.

  38. fnord says:

    On mediacapability, the Georgians seem to be rather old-school. Not smart using the same man wearing three different costumes in three photo-ops of “wounded”.. http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/25329.html#cutid1
    But again and again, what strikes me as amazing is that a Georgian president, with hundreds of US advisors and military personel around, with direct acess to the Pentagon and satelites and all the new 4th generation toys somehow thought he could get away with storming russian military positions and killing russian troops. That shows a political and military way of thinking that has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. I do not understand how they thought it could be done. At all.

  39. David Habakkuk says:

    Yohan:
    You write:
    ‘Conventional fighting with Russia on any scale is not thinkable since they have taken on the Western doctrine of the cold war: facing conventional inferiority, they plan to use a nuclear first strike to halt any successful advance against them.’
    The Russian adoption of Western-style strategies of ‘deterrence’ is one of the most consequential — and ignored — aspects of the history of the last twenty years.
    In the second half of the Sixties, the Soviets began to move away from strategies based on the assumption that any war with NATO would escalate to all-out nuclear exchange, and that given this fact their best option was all-out preemption should it appear that war was inevitable. This involved a shift towards planning on the basis of launch-on-warning. A strategy of no-first-use was adopted in 1974-5.
    Accumulating evidence of this change was met with denial by the Richard Pipes/Team B crowd. An example: in 1985 an authoritative statement of Soviet military thinking appeared in the study of one of the key figures in the formation of the Red Army, Mikhail Frunze, by Colonel General Mahmut Akhmetovich Gareev — then Deputy Chief of the Soviet General Staff.
    (Born into a Tatar family from Chelyabinsk, Gareev joined the Red Army as a cavalryman in the late Thirties. When last heard of he was still going strong as president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.)
    My English language translation has a preface by a scholar of the Pipes school, Joseph D. Douglass, who attempts to show that the book states that there is a need to plan for a first-strike nuclear capability It also contains an insert, in which an obviously incensed Gareev points out the clear references to the no-first-use commitment in the book.
    This was not propaganda. When in the Yeltsin years the no-first-use commitment was abandoned, it was very much against Gareev’s better judgement. From a 1995 paper by the current head of the Foreign Military Studies Office of the U.S. Army, the invaluable and admirable Dr Jakob Kipp.
    ‘Gareev strongly disagrees with the new Russian military doctrine’s open proclamation of possible first-use of nuclear weapons and points out the serious political dangers associated with such a declaratory policy. Dismissing the need for such actions against a wide range of states and noting the terrible risks associated in the use of such weapons against another nuclear power, Gareev concludes that a defensive military doctrine and first use of nuclear weapons amount to a dangerous contradiction. It can lead to confusion in times of crisis that could result in dangerous miscalculations.’
    (See http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/rusrma.htm.)
    Subsequently, however, Gareev has undergone a conversion. From a report of a conference at the Academy of Military Sciences in January last year:
    ‘The keynote speaker, General (ret.) Mahmoud Gareev, offered a somewhat different perspective on future threats. He predicted that “in the next 10-15 years, ecological and the energy factors will become the main cause of political and military conflicts.” Apparently referring to the U.S. presence in Iraq, he stated that some states will seek to control energy resources, while others will have little choice except to perish or resist. In Gareev’s assessment, competition for energy sources will pit Russia first and foremost against the United States and other developed countries, but will also spur nuclear proliferation, as other energy-rich countries seek nuclear weapons to defend their resources from the United States. This could lead to a “war of everyone against everyone.”
    ‘Given these conditions, Gareev asserted that nuclear weapons will remain the “central, most reliable means for the strategic deterrence of external aggression.” He predicted that although future wars will primarily be conventional, the threat of nuclear use will always be present. Thus, Russia needs to rely on its nuclear arsenal given the unfavorable balance of conventional forces in all theaters. The role of nuclear weapons will be all the more important, Gareev asserted, because the nuclear armaments of almost all other nuclear weapons states are aimed at Russia; therefore, he concluded, Russia must maintain a credible and robust strategic nuclear deterrent. He noted, however, that due to the deterioration of Russia’s space-based observation capabilities, ground-based early warning systems, and offensive weapons, Russia’s “ability to launch a strike on warning, much less a second strike is becoming problematic.”
    (See http://www.wmdinsights.com/I13/I13_R2_RussianAcademy.htm.)
    The dangers of these developments, I think, hardly need spelling out.

  40. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The New Cold War the US foreign policy establishment has been provoking may well enter a new phase, if it has not done so already:
    “Jim Jeffrey, President Bush’s deputy national security adviser, says the U.S. has made it clear that “If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, that this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations.”
    The establishment’s perspective at Council on Foreign Relations, 2005 report on Russia:
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/
    Some Questions:
    1. Are naval blockades part of 4th generation warfare?
    “In a new move underlining Moscow’s giant military advantage, Russian moved warships to the Black Sea on the west coast of Georgia and Interfax news agency said they were preparing a blockade to stop military supplies entering Georgia.
    “This is definitely necessary for preventing arms shipments to Georgia by sea,” Interfax quoted a naval source as saying. “A sea blockade of Georgia will also help avert an escalation of military activity in Abkhazia.”
    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ik7qnEtRlrxgSE8gW1ZHBe6gM3sg
    2. What about Ukraine? Ukrainian attitude issue complicates matters:
    “KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine warned Russia on Sunday it could bar Russian navy ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their deployment to Georgia’s coast.”
    3. Precisely what has been the US military role in Georgia per training, advising, and etc.? How many US troops are deployed there? How many, if any, mercenary forces of the Blackwater type are there guarding pipelines or whatever? Were any US military forces involved in the Georgian advance on S. Ossetia…”advisors”?
    McCain and Obama both condemning Russia per the Council on Foreign Relations script above.
    “McCain, an outspoken critic of Moscow, said it was clear the situation in Georgia was dire. “Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border,” he said in a statement.
    “I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire,” Obama said in a statement.
    “Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/europeCrisis/idUSN09504234
    Pin down Russia a bit in the Caucasus then launch on Iran?

  41. Since we’ve closed almost all of our Cold War SIGINT ground stations in Europe and Turkey, are we able to track the Russian operations with the accuracy we had 20 years ago?
    If this were twenty years ago RAF Chicksands, San Vito, Augsberg, Bad Aibling, Rota, Iraklion, Sinop, and maybe Edzell and Menwith Hill, plus some tiny outliers I’ve only heard about in passing, would be tracking every move the Russians made. We most likely would also be flying RC-135s and maybe SR-71s overhead.
    It would be interesting to know how much we’re in the dark now, if any, after closing all but two of the stations above. We still have some RC-135s and modern SATCOM capabilities can fill in a lot of the imagery and SIGINT gaps.
    I’m not suggesting we should still have all those sites open. But hopefully we haven’t completely turned out the lights for tracking conventional Soviet…oops, I mean Russian…military forces. I doubt we have, but I don’t know at all.
    Although technology may have allowed us to replace all those stations with overhead assets and a smaller number of highly powerful ground stations, have we kept up with the evolving Russian military? As an example, we used to track Russian ground forces by “fingerprinting” their radio transmissions. Over time, we amassed records of fingerprints. When someone popped up on air, we could identify and triangulate on them. I’m sure over time those fingerprinting methods and records would have required to be updated when the Russians upgraded or changed their radios. Did we keep up with this over the last decade?
    I’m a dinosaur after leaving that business 13 years ago. So it would be fun to hear from anyone who can answer these questions.

  42. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    A German press analysis of Georgian military:
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3550183,00.html

  43. ISL says:

    Alex made an excellent point which I want to emphasize on its own:
    “The US will have failed to defend an ally, and that is the most serious of all.”
    One should never take on commitments that one cannot pay. Of course, as the mortgage crisis shows, perhaps this is a society wide problem.

  44. Lysander says:

    By Col Lang;
    “Hizbullah successfully defended southern Lebanon in 2007”
    Yes, they certainly did, and it was not by guerrilla action. pl
    In defense of the 4thGen crowd I would note that it was *Hizbullah* that defended south Lebanon and NOT the Lebanese national army. They also fought an enemy with massive superiority in numbers firepower and air dominance…and a sympathetic world media. No other conventional Arab army manged this.
    Indeed, few armies of any kind managed to do this. Finland in 1939 maybe?
    So clearly Hizb is doing something different. Maybe not ‘4thgen’ but different.

  45. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The Georgian military as an Israeli-American project:
    “In addition to the spy drones, Israel has also been supplying Georgia with infantry weapons and electronics for artillery systems, and has helped upgrade Soviet-designed Su-25 ground attack jets assembled in Georgia, according to Koba Liklikadze, an independent military expert based in Tbilisi. Former Israeli generals also serve as advisers to the Georgian military.” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1008784.html

  46. Patrick Lang says:

    Lysander
    Hizbullah in its war with Israel in 2006 was no longer a guerrilla force. A force may be capably of several kinds of warfare, but the defense of what I have jokingly called the “Tabouleh Line” was in no way a guerrilla action.
    Therefore, the 4th generation claque can claim NO support from that example. pl

  47. Pan says:

    It’s apparent the Georgians hoped to serve the Russians with a fait accompli by storming into Tskhinvali, but the Russians wouldn’t play along. Now they’ve turned tail and are demanding a cease fire. No doubt they’re pissed at the EU, NATO, and the US of abandoning them, thinking they had the green light from the White House to start the mess. Whatever happens, the US is the big loser.

  48. Cieran says:

    Leila:
    It may be off topic to the thread but I think such fiscal prudence goes along with the sensible worldview of our esteemed host.
    I would suggest that there is a strong connection between the lack of fiscal prudence in NATO countries (that Zanzibar has been ably documenting here of late), and the resurgence of belligerence in Russia, including the most recent events in Georgia.
    During the years of the Bush administration (which never met a high oil price it didn’t like), the Russian economy has gone from dead-on-arrival levels of insolvency to the better part of a trillion dollars in available surplus. And we can thank high oil and gas prices for that spectacular transformation in Russian fortunes.
    This is a remarkable policy change from the Reagan years, when low prices for Russian crude oil helped cause the economic collapse of the Soviet economy.
    So when we say that NATO can’t afford another war, that’s literally true.

  49. Pan says:

    It’s apparent the Georgians hoped to serve the Russians with a fait accompli by storming into Tskhinvali, but the Russians wouldn’t play along. Now they’ve turned tail and are demanding a cease fire. No doubt they’re pissed at the EU, NATO, and the US of abandoning them, thinking they had the green light from the White House to start the mess. Whatever happens, the US is the big loser.

  50. Yohan says:

    Speaking of generations of conflict, America’s inability to do anything to save Georgia reminds me very much of Napoleon III’s position after the Battle of Königgrätz(Sadowa). Even though French forces were not involved in the fighting and thus he faced no direct defeat, nevertheless France’s standing in Europe took a major hit by its inability to affect events and by the sharp rise in Prussian power and influence. France had not lost any absolute power, the relative balance of power shifted away from France to Prussia. Napoleon III’s hapless and naive attempts to mitigate this development led directly to him getting himself into the disastrous Franco-Prussian War.
    The same is true of the US influence. What good is a “strategic partnership” with the US or sending troops to US adventures like Iraq when the US will/can do nothing to help you in your hour of need? What does it say about US power that we have absolutely no lever to pull to influence these events? How are we now to tell Ukraine and the Central Asian countries to defy Russia in order to cozy up to us?
    And by the way, how was the Georgian president allowed to make TV appearances with a EU flag in the background?

  51. David Habakkuk says:

    ISL, Alex, Clifford Kiracofe,
    The point that one should never take on board commitments which one is likely or indeed liable not to be able to honour is indeed fundamental.
    And this is all the more so, in situations where making such commitments is likely to encourage others to undertake reckless actions, on the basis of expectations of one’s support.
    We are currently seeing the results of such encouragement in Georgia.
    Its results in the Ukraine are not well known — and deserve to be.
    From a recent commentary by Gordon Hahn on the invaluable Russia: Other Points of View website:
    ‘Post-Soviet Ukraine, is a conglomeration cobbled together by the whims of the Soviet regime, in particular two of its leaders – Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev. Established in the 1920s by Bolsheviks, it was later the beneficiary of Stalin’s annexation of both Rumanian and Polish territories during World War II (part of the August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany). In 1957, Ukraine was again the beneficiary of one of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous ‘hare-brained schemes.’ He transferred the Crimea Peninsula (but not Sevastopol, according to some) from the Russia Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. The Crimea and Sevastopol had been part of Russian territory from the time of Russian Empress Catherine the Great in the late 18th century.
    ‘The current Ukrainian government is now deeply involved in a politically-motivated campaign of historical ‘revisionism’ or falsification, to demonize Russia as Ukraine prepares to take up the West’s offer to join NATO. For example, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry is creating a film that portrays the Russian Imperial Army’s defense of Sevastopol against Western forces during the Crimean War (1853-56) as a defense led solely by Ukrainians. Of course, it was not – and if it were, this would make Ukrainians more partners in, rather than victims of Russian rule.
    ‘More outrageously, the current Ukraine governing forces’ new version of Soviet history portrays Ukraine and Ukrainians purely as victims of the Soviet regime, and the Russians as its beneficiaries and purveyors. Stalin’s induced famine in Ukraine is now being characterized as an attempt by Moscow (read: Russia) to commit genocide against Ukrainians. This ignores the multi-ethnic and Russian population in Ukraine, not to mention in southern Russia itself – who all got the same disastrous treatment under Stalin’s “collectivization” policies. Worse yet, recently Ukrainian nationalists successfully lobbied Ukraine’s western province of Ivano-Frankovsk to allow former units of the Nazi SS army, native Ukrainians, to hold parades in the province’s capitol and to receive the same pensions awarded to Soviet army veterans in Ukraine. The grounds for such policies: that Ukrainians who supported the fascist Nazis did so understandably, given the ‘complex times’ of the 1930s-40s.’
    (See http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2008/06/ukrainian-russi.html.)
    Among the many questions raised, a crucial one is what sacrifices the United States, or indeed Britain, is likely to be willing to make in order to defend Khrushchev’s grant of the Crimea to the Ukraine.
    Whether the U.S. is prepared to make such sacrifices I do not know — although I much doubt it. The likelihood of Britain doing so, however, I know to precisely zilch — particularly given our growing dependence on Russian gas. We would confine ourselves to moral posturing, at which we are very good.
    It really is criminally and self-destructively irresponsible to encourage Ukrainian nationalists down a road which is highly likely to destroy their country. And this is all the more so given that if the Crimea did split off, this could precipitate a very nasty — and quite possibly extremely bloody — process of fragmentation in the rest of the country.

  52. J says:

    russia has been preparing for the neocon created contrivances (a.k.a.govts.) set up their periphery since the dissolution of the soviet union.
    british correspondents in the area noted that the georgians stared the whole affair and were shelling unarmed universities and hospitals. with the loss of life of 9 russian peacekeepers and scores of civilians, and the outcrys of the unarmed ossetians, the kremlin saw it was time to act against georgian aggression in order to prevent even more georgian ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the ossetians.

  53. zanzibar says:

    Leila
    Yes good old common sense. Another key point he was making is that we should beware the snake-oil salesmen who repackage snake oil in new shiny bottles. Like the “bi-partisan” Goldman Sachs mafia or the Fannie Gang for example.
    As long as we allow those that put us in this disastrous position to continue to run the show we will get the same or worse results. More digging not getting out the hole. What we need is to listen more to those that got it right like our host and get them into positions of influence.
    That’s why I am not very optimistic in the short term as we have the political elite in both parties in collusion with the financial elite and they will go to whatever extent necessary to preserve their power and increase their wealth. At some point we are going to have to stand up or we will wake up one morning and realize that our sovereignty has been completely lost.
    Cieran – London Banker posts on Roubini’s site on occasion.

  54. J says:

    Colonel,
    the georgian aggression into ossetia were in breach of major agreements with the european osce. those agreements trampled by the georgians include the closing act in helsinki, the code of conduct, the european security charter and the conventional forces in europe treaty.

  55. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    David Habbakuk,
    Your points on the Ukraine and also US-Russian relations are very well taken, indeed.
    I am somewhat familiar with Ukrainian nationalism through Ukrainian-American friends including one married to the current president of Ukraine. I share your concerns.
    I would hasten to point you to Zbig Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard” as this book has been a sort of geopolitical guide for the Clinton Administration and the Bush43 Administration. Given his Polish background and early emigre family status (to Canada), Zbig’s inherent and life-long Russophobia is understandable. His anti-Russian geopolitics, as laid out in this book, include the “color” revolutions we saw in Ukraine and Georgia and etc. Madeleine Albright was a protege. In turn, Condi Rice studied under Albright’s father, Joseph Korbel (Koerbel) and has been extremenly close to Madeleine which explains why she often sounds like Madeleine.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbigniew_Brzezinski
    This all is DIRECTLY related to the current crisis in the Caucasus which is one locus of Brzezinski and company’s geopolitical concern to flank and harass the Russian bear. The geopolitics of energy are involved owing to the pipeline routes etc.
    As George Kennan argued in 1997-1998, NATO expansion eastwards was a fatal mistake in US foreign policy.
    Here are his comments in 1998 to the New York Times broadcast on VOA (capital letters in the original VOA transcribed text):
    ‘I THINK IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW COLD WAR ….. I
    THINK THE RUSSIANS WILL GRADUALLY REACT QUITE ADVERSELY
    AND IT WILL AFFECT THEIR POLICIES. I THINK IT IS A
    TRAGIC MISTAKE. THERE WAS NO REASON FOR THIS
    WHATSOEVER. NO ONE WAS THREATENING ANYBODY ELSE. THIS
    EXPANSION WOULD MAKE THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THIS
    COUNTRY TURN OVER IN THEIR GRAVES [AN IDIOM FOR: “BEING
    PROFOUNDLY UPSET” WITH SOMETHING.] WE HAVE SIGNED UP TO
    PROTECT A WHOLE SERIES OF COUNTRIES, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE
    NEITHER THE RESOURCES NOR THE INTENTION TO DO SO IN ANY
    SERIOUS WAY. [NATO EXPANSION] WAS SIMPLY A
    LIGHT-HEARTED ACTION BY A SENATE THAT HAS NO REAL
    INTEREST IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS.’ ….. AS HE SAID GOODBYE
    TO ME ON THE PHONE, MR. KENNAN ADDED JUST ONE MORE
    THING: ‘THIS HAS BEEN MY LIFE, AND IT PAINS ME TO SEE IT
    SO SCREWED UP [MISHANDLED] IN THE END.’
    http://www.fas.org/man/nato/news/1998/980504-nato2.htm
    Too bad the US foreign policy elite listens to Zbig and didn’t listen to Kennan. Zbig is an advisor to Obama so one can draw conclusions.
    The Neconnish Jamestown Foundation is a paper mill which has long echoed Zbig’s Russophobe geopolitical ideas. They track the Caucasus and you can bet their material circulates to Capitol Hill staffers and news media:
    http://www.jamestown.org/
    1. Wiki has some useful entries relating to the “nationalism” of those formerly called Ruthenians under the headings “Ukrainian Language,” “Ukrainian Religion,” and “Ukrainian Nationalism”. I believe there was quite a lot of philological work on the “Ukrainian” language done in Berlin prior to WWI. This may well have reflected German geopolitical designs on eastern Ukraine.
    2. I would draw attention to the Wiki article “Prometheism” concerning the Prometheus organization a subject about which I once knew a fair amount. Whoever wrote the piece was well informed. Note the entry for Georgia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheism

  56. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    More data on the Israeli connection:
    “Georgian government officials used to tell me that they wanted to model their army after the IDF,” former Israeli ambassador to Georgia Shabtai Zur told Ynet Sunday evening amid the country’s bloody feud with Russia over the separatist region of South Ossetia. “…
    “The former envoy said the ongoing tension between Georgia and the separatist provinces brought Israeli experts to the area.
    “The private company of Brig.-Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch (Galilee Division commander during the Second Lebanon War) has been operating in Georgia for some time now and is providing consultation to the Georgian army,” he noted.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3580522,00.html
    So the Ossetians are kinda sorta like Palestinians? Or like those pesky Shia in South Lebanon?
    Anyone have bio on Gen. Hirsch?

  57. Arherring says:

    5th Generation Warfare?
    I don’t see any fifth generation warfare. Besides, if you are speaking of Lind’s Generations of Modern Warfare (GMW) there is no 5th Generation. On the other hand if you are speaking of ‘X’ Gradient Warfare (XGW), I think operationally this conflict is being fought mostly at 1GW.

  58. Cieran – thank you for pulling economics and US-Russia policy together for me. This blog always teaches me something I didn’t know.
    Colonel Lang – I like “the tabouleh line.” Good one.

  59. SSG G says:

    “In other words, the 4th Generation crowd think armored forces or other “heavy” forces are no longer useful.
    It seems to me that what has happened in Georgia, South Ossetia and the Russian Federation belies that idea.”
    —————–
    Col Lang
    I never heard anyone make this claim; however, third generation armored forces and their tactics are futile in a fourth generation battlefield- like present day Iraq. The Georgian conflict is currently a second/third generation battle that may very well evolve into full blown fourth generation battle once the BTC oil and gas pipeline explodes 😉
    Fifth generation warfare is nothing more than some faceless bloggers pipedream for fame. Don’t fall for it.

  60. Patrick Lang says:

    SSG-G and arherring
    Whoa. You didn’t get the point which is that I think all this schematization of warfare into periods,etc. is just a lot of crap.
    I have been in a few of what are called 4th generation wars.
    War is war. Circumstances and appropriate methods vary. pl

  61. SSG says:

    Aherring is one of the faceless bloggers I was referring to, Zenpundit is the other. If you are referring to them, full of crap, indeed.

  62. Cieran says:

    Dr, Kiracofe:
    More data on the Israeli connection [snip]
    And it looks like Kezerashvili, the Georgian Defense Minister (who has no military experience) is close to the Israeli government, and may even be another dual-loyalty type (he has been described in the Israeli press as “a former Israeli”)
    I learned that interesting tidbit this morning when I enlisted Google to try to answer the obvious question of “so who was the @#$%^&* Georgian Defense Secretary who decided to start shelling the capital of South Ossetia, anyway?”.
    It looks like Kezerashvili’s primary qualifications for the defense position are that (a) he’s close to Georgian president Saakashvili, and (b) he plays well with Israeli arms dealers (Georgia’s defense expenditures are among the fastest-growing in the world).
    So who needs a drink?

  63. Yohan says:

    J,
    Russia had already suspended the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in order to punish the US for its missile defense developments in eastern Europe.

  64. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    A British assessment from The Times:
    “Georgia’s attempt to seize control of the secessionist South Ossetia region has been a gamble too far, reckless in its timing and founded on a fundamental misjudgment.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4500160.ece
    Comment from Israel:
    “Georgia lost a foolhardy gamble in thumbing its nose at its powerful neighbor Russia, which this weekend bombed Georgian cities and wrested control of its breakaway province of South Ossetia, according to Israeli Russian experts.
    Russia had seen a “golden opportunity” to teach Georgia and its neighbors a lesson to “behave properly,” said Hebrew University Russian expert Yitzhak Brudny, as he explained how a small military flare-up between Georgia and South Ossetia had turned into a major military exercise for Russia and drawn world attention away from the Olympics in Beijing.”
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218104259471&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    “Israel is seeking to play down its defense exports to Georgia, which is battling Russia in a border war…Israel’s annual military dealings with Tbilisi are worth approximately $200 million a year, a defense source said.”
    http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/109863.html
    The delusional Georgian President received “rose revolution” backing from the US National Endowment for Democracy (taxpayer funded) and the Soros organization….following Zbig’s geopolitical script.
    “Tbilisi — It was back in February that billionaire financier George Soros began laying the brickwork for the toppling of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.
    That month, funds from his Open Society Institute sent a 31-year-old Tbilisi activist named Giga Bokeria to Serbia to meet with members of the Otpor (Resistance) movement and learn how they used street demonstrations to topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Then, in the summer, Mr. Soros’s foundation paid for a return trip to Georgia by Otpor activists, who ran three-day courses teaching more than 1,000 students how to stage a peaceful revolution.”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031126.wxsoros1126/BNStory/Front/

  65. Curious says:

    random musing what Georgia signify,
    -Beyond legal boundary, Europe is irrelevant. (so is NATO)
    – Russia has consolidated its domestic economy, politics and now doing military house cleaning.
    – They are now ready to defend their turf. Starting with obvious, immediate national interest. Energy supply related to domestic economy. Next will be geographical access (black sea)
    – Altho’ still out of shape, Russia’s military combined with their economy/resource is nothing to scoff at. The soviet raises from backwater european state to a super power in 3 decades. I seriously doubt it will take the russians a decade to shape up and get back on super power business. Their next tank, fighter and military training will be based on their observation in Iraq and afghanistan.
    -Location matter. The new game is eurasia. (China-europe-russia) It’s where the global trade actions happens right now.
    -Bush has seriously put US in bad position. (diplomatically in eurasia, militarily in middle east, and economically) The twin budget deficits are not sustainable. There is no way the world will pay for another $200B+ military adventure. China is going to start thinking outloud: we loan them money so we can pay more expensive energy cost? Not going to happen.
    -Russia and Iran now know the limit of our willingness to go to war. Expensive and bloody confrontation is out of the question. If we are not willing to defend Georgia, a classic tank battle with modern transportation infrastructure to conduct mechanized battle. I think Russia will rightly conclude we are not willing to fight in the balkan and the black sea.
    – Kuwait and Israel are panicking right now. (You mean US won’t fight to defend our interest?)
    – Iran is smirking hard at Kuwait. (regime change time. Hezbollah style in Kuwait.)
    – What will we do if there is “Southern Iraq” breakaway republic attempt backed by Iran and Russia. Maybe in 2010 or 2011. Mark that as upcoming $200Billion+ conflict. Because that would be the most logical strategic move to bring the rest of Iraq on its knees. Conflict with Iran will last another 2-3 decades unless there is major change in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
    – Iran will acquire all necessary technology, given the condition they are in right now. They simply have to.
    – US diplomacy is severely crippled by pro-Israel operators. By extension, our economic interest.
    ——-
    This is assuming the entire world will be back to cold war style slug off. Except it will be complex unipolar.

  66. Ormolov says:

    Asked to explain Cheney’s phrase “must not go unanswered,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, “It means it must not stand.” White House officials refused to indicate what recourse the United States might have if the military onslaught continues.

  67. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Cieran,
    Thanks for the lead. The pro-Zionist corporate US newsmedia is spinning the story against the Russian bear and at the same time is covering up the Israeli angle. It seems fairly clear from various open source materials, particularly from Israel, that this was an Israeli-Georgian operation. How the US fits in remains to be uncovered. There have been reports that bodies of “mercenaries” have been recovered by Russian troops to include at least two with “black skin.”
    What has yet to be reported on is precisely WHO is in charge of security for the pipeline corridor: Israelis? Blackwater? other?
    Here is a question for military specialists: What is the relationship (if any) between the US forces in Georgia and the Israelis in Georgia?
    Here is a Debka File (I know…) story which appears to have some truth in it:
    “Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax…
    “However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region….DEBKAfile discloses Israel’s interest in the conflict from its exclusive military sources:
    “Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean….Last year, the Georgian president commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics. They also offer instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday.”
    http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1358
    Did you notice the outcome of the Russian negotiations with Turkmenistan the other day?…

  68. Lysander says:

    By Colonel Lang,
    “Lysander
    Hizbullah in its war with Israel in 2006 was no longer a guerrilla force. A force may be capably of several kinds of warfare, but the defense of what I have jokingly called the “Tabouleh Line” was in no way a guerrilla action.
    Therefore, the 4th generation claque can claim NO support from that example. pl”
    Colonel,
    Hizbullah seems to have mounted a classical military defense without air cover, air defense, armor or heavy artillery (unguided rockets hardly replace batteries of 155s) against an enemy that had all these things in spades. They did so with no advanced tech weaponry (besides maybe the RPG 29) Can you site an example of a conventional army that has done the same? If Israel were to mount an invasion of Syria, what do you think would be the outcome? I would wager that air power would make resupply impossible and most Syrian units would wither on the vine.
    Hizb is also an army that seems to have formed almost ex-nihilo independently of its surrounding nation state.
    I hate to wear out my welcome so I will argue no more and leave you the last word. (assuming you think my post warrants a response)
    Thanx,
    L

  69. Patrick Lang says:

    Lysander
    I am not sure what your point is.
    If you think I am denigrating Hizbullah’s transformation, then you are mistaken. They are making themselves over in ways reminiscent of the Chinese PLA in the 20s and 30s or the Viet Minh. Actually, the transformation closely resembles Giap’s transformational doctrine. HB does not have tanks yet but they do have artillery in the form of product improved artillery rockets, anti-ship missile, those entertaining little UAVs, product improved snti-tank missiles, night vision equipment, body armor, and an ability to intercept Israeli tactical communications. I would say that the process of their transformation of at least some of their forces was well advanced by 2006 and is likely to be even better now. Look for an anti-air capability next time.
    You seem to think that “guerrilla” has to do with scale of equipment. Sorry, but that is a badly flawed view. “Guerrilla” is a state of mind. If you think of yourself as the little guy and you are not going to hold ground but rather are going to rely on physdical and “moral” (in the Napoleonic sense) attrition to win in the long run, then you are “guerrillas”.
    “Guerrilla” armies that beat more heavil armed opponents even as they transformed towards conventional forces abound in the history of the 20th Century. I leave it to others to supply examples. If they do not, then I will. pl

  70. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang, assuming we want to “help” Georgia, exactly what options are available to us?
    Ship in Manpads and anti shipping and anti tank missiles?
    Put a “No fly” zone over Georgia?
    Put in place a battalion as a “tripwire” in front of Tbilsi?
    Is Turkey going to give us overflight rights?
    What can we actually do without being suicidally stupid?

  71. Twit says:

    Prof. Kiracofe and Cieran,
    With all due respect, have you ever been to Georgia, because your comments seem to indicate a shallow knowledge of the country, its society, its history, or its political institutions?
    Just a few facts to put into context your anecdotes about Georgian-Israeli interaction.
    1. There has been a sizable Jewish population in Georgia for 2000 years, mostly in and around Imereti. Ties to Israel therefore are cultural as well as political, just like in the US.
    2. The Georgian government makes no secret about its ties to Israel’s government, just like it is an avowed ally of the US. In fact, there are just as many flights that go to Tel Aviv (3-4 per week) as go to Western Europe. So, no real ‘scoop’ there.
    3. Saakashvili purposely appointed young Georgians (age 25-40) into high positions in the Georgian government because the older generation were almost all either associated with organized crime, or hopelessly corrupted by Schevernadze. These Young Turks (Georgians) are all western educated and generally to be both at least as competent as those they replaced and much less corrupt.

  72. David Habakkuk says:

    Clifford Kiracofe,
    I would be curious to know whether there is a British involvement in this.
    The Georgian oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili told the Financial Times late last year that he had financed the ‘rose revolution’. He was a very close crony of Berezovsky.
    A key figure in Berezovsky’s efforts in support of the ‘orange revolutionaries’, the former KGB agent Yuri Shvets, hangs out at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies in Washington.
    He was also an important figure in the disinformation operations run by the late Alexander Litvinenko and his associate Mario Scaramella in Italy, with which Berezovsky is also likely to have been associated. One of their objectives was to smear opponents of Berlusconi using disinformation purporting to show KGB links. Among the targets were both Romano Prodi and the journalists from La Repubblica who played a crucial role in uncovering the Niger uranium forgeries.
    A particular speciality was the construction of disinformation scenarios involving nuclear scaremongering. A favourite of Scaramella’s was a scenario in which the Ukrainian mobster Semion Mogilevich, in collaboration with elements in the Russian and Ukrainian secret services and the Naples Camorra, were going to bring up nuclear torpedoes supposedly left by the Soviet navy in the Bay of Naples, and supply them to bin Laden.
    There is a vivid picture of the influence Berezovsky wields in London in some responses by a Washington-based lady called Karon von Gerhke-Thompson to a restatement of the official British version of Litvinenko’s death on the BBC Newnight programme last month. She knows Shvets from way back — it has been reported she was once a business partner of his.
    (See http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/markurban/2008/07/litvinenko_killing_had_state_i.html.)
    She describes the close involvement of the Berezovsky circle with the ‘orange revolutionaries’ — noting the role of Berezovsky’s factotum Alex Goldfarb:
    ‘Goldfarb’s lobbying efforts in Washington on behalf of Julia Tymoschenko are well known to me. As are Berezovsky’s, his disinformation specialist’s, Goldfarb’s and Litvinenko’s involvement in the infamous Kuchma tapes Berezovsky purchased from Major Melnichenko and their knowledge and involvement in the alleged dioxin poisoning case of Viktor Yushchenko. These too were under the CTCU’s microscope. Repeat patterns, unchanging spots on leopards and all that razzmatazz.’
    The ‘disinformation specialist’ is Shvets.
    A key question is how far there is MI6 involvement in all this.
    Patarkatsishvili fell out spectacularly with the ‘rose revolutionaries’. He died of a heart attack in February, following a day of meetings involving Berezovsky, Blair’s former attorney general Peter Goldsmith, and the Thatcherite factotum Lord Tim Bell.
    It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall at that meeting.

  73. mo says:

    I think the confusion over Hizballah and “what” they are seems to me to be definition versus strategy.
    They are, being non-state, popular and lacking the heaviest weapons a good definiton of guerilla.
    However, they do not rely on attrition to defeat the enemy. They did not apply the ambush/sabotage methodology of guerillas, nor did they give ground after battles, but held nearly all their positions for the entire 34 days (Maroun Al Ras, a full 100 metres from the Israeli border was declared “taken” on no less than five occasions by Israel). That is not guerilla strategy.
    The best advice I can give and the closest approximation to their development is to read the three-phase Maoist model. By that model they are very much into Phase 3.

  74. Curious says:

    It seems now the battle moves from ground to high level diplomacy. Russia told Condi to get rid of Saakashvili, or the bombing will continue. (I doubt she understand what happens on the ground. So the bombing will continue.)
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JH12Ag02.html
    “If [former Yugoslav president] Slobodan Milosevic should be put on trial, the opinion here is – so too should Saakashvili,” says a leading Moscow analyst.
    But is it now a Russian war aim to drive Saakashvili from power? Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the weekend that Saakashvili “must go”. Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, on a mediation mission on Monday between the Georgian and Russian capitals, will hear the same view in Moscow.
    The Russian argument is that, since coming to power in 2003, Saakashvili has militarized his country with US, NATO and Israeli arms, military training and money, for no purpose except to threaten Russia, and the minority nationalities of the region, who seek the protection of Moscow – the Abkhazians and the Ossetians.

  75. Patrick Lang says:

    Walrus
    This is a tough situation even if it is largely of our own making, ours and the Israelis.
    Some risk will have to be assumed to avoid opening the door to Russian irredentism in other places, i.e., the Baltics and Ukraine. pl

  76. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    For an explanation of McCain and the situation in Georgia:
    “McCain’s raving Russophobia, and his campaign team’s financial and ideological ties to Saakashvili. As has been reported, McCain’s top foreign policy advisor, neocon Randy Scheunemann, has a long financial relationship with Saakashvili to lobby his interests in the United States.
    According to the Wall Street Journal:
    In 2005, Mr. Scheunemann asked Sen. McCain to introduce a Senate resolution expressing support for peace in the Russian-influenced region of South Ossetia that wants to break away from Georgia, the records show.”
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080818/ames
    The reference is to the cottage industry inside the Beltway of various Neocon related “freedom” projects generating consulting fees. Randy has been a key player for years in the Neocon faction Republican foreign policy circles. He worked in the US Senate for Trent Lott and later for Rummy. Very key player promoting Iraq War.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Scheunemann
    also
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Randy_Scheunemann

  77. condfusedponderer says:

    Clifford Kiracofe,
    thanks to pointing out Promethism. Fascinating.

  78. Cieran says:

    Twit:
    With all due respect, have you ever been to Georgia, because your comments seem to indicate a shallow knowledge of the country, its society, its history, or its political institutions?
    No respect is due to me for any knowledge of Georgia’s society, because what I know of that country (or almost any country) is geological and topographical, not societal.
    I pay more attention to natural barriers (and natural resources) when I read the news, and so I generally can’t be honestly accused of being shallow in my comments about foreign society, because I try to avoid society-wide assertions, save for that one society I know pretty well first-hand, namely the good-old-US-of-A.
    As I wrote yesterday, my investigations began with the obvious question of why it appeared that someone in Georgia decided it was high time to poke the Russian bear. That strikes me as a peculiarly ill-considered act, especially given the relative economic directions of NATO nations and the states of the former USSR (including the role of energy assets in those national economic trajectories).
    Right now, the BTC pipeline through Georgia is about the only energy asset standing between a Russian monopoly on energy supplies to Europe and a somewhat more robust (and more free) market in oil and natural gas.
    Monopolists of any societal origin don’t really appreciate the virtues of competition, and since we aren’t exactly playing nice lately with Iran (which holds an alternative route), Georgia’s unusual topography makes it singularly well-suited for providing Caspian Sea energy resources to the west without much potential for Russian interference.
    With such a unique geographical reward comes the concomitant responsibility for not stirring up the neighbors any more than absolutely necessary, hence my recent investigations into the skills and abilities of the Georgian leadership.
    And since recent experience in the U.S. has demonstrated that some real-world experience in military affairs goes a long way towards intelligent decision-making about military deployments (Exhibit A: Dick “I had other priorities” Cheney), I find the background of the Georgian Defense Minister to be quite interesting. Don’t you?
    In the interest of full disclosure, I was not only interested in whether the Georgian leadership had any idea of what they were doing militarily. I keep thinking there’s a lot of symbolic maneuvering going on here, too, as the message of invading a breakaway Georgian region at the beginning of the 2008 Olympics provides yet-another public poke in the eye of the Russian leadership, since they are hosting the 2014 Olympics just a stone’s throw from the border with Abkhazia, which is another breakaway Georgian region with strong Russian ties (including some new railroad ties that Russian military was laying in Georgia in the last few months, as if they were up to something, too).
    So if events as reported in the media are to be believed, the Georgian leadership decided to invade one of their contested regions during the Olympics, in the hopes that the Russians wouldn’t notice. That would be those same Russians who are worried about security of the Olympics they will soon host right next to yet-another contested region of Georgia. Aye, caramba!
    And Russian troops are soon pouring into contested region #1, even though access to that region is constrained by one of the most spectacular natural barriers on the planet. Hannibal and his elephants would be proud of those logistics.
    So I’m scratching my head in wonder, because my only visits to Georgia have been of the Atlanta and Macon varieties.
    And speaking of Macon, I also find it intriguing that the Georgia (U.S.) national guard was involved in a military cooperation exercise (Immediate Response 2008) in Georgia (the republic) that ended pretty much exactly when the current hostilities began.
    Go figure…

  79. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Cieran, Twit, All,
    Per the Israeli military connection here is further data. Still lacking specifics on all the weapons systems sold: types, quantities. The Israeli press has been excellent in providing its readers with data. Ynet has some great material.
    “Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businesspeople.
    “They contacted defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons,” says a source involved in arms exports.
    “The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia’s defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation.
    “His door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel,” the source said. “Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the defense minister’s personal involvement.”
    “Among the Israelis who took advantage of the opportunity and began doing business in Georgia were former Minister Roni Milo and his brother Shlomo, former director-general of the Military Industries, Brigadier-General (Res.) Gal Hirsch and Major-General (Res.) Yisrael Ziv.
    “Roni Milo conducted business in Georgia for Elbit Systems and the Military Industries, and with his help Israel’s defense industries managed to sell to Georgia remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs), automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rockets.”
    “According to Israeli sources, Gal Hirsch gave the Georgian army advice on the establishment of elite units such as Sayeret Matkal and on rearmament, and gave various courses in the fields of combat intelligence and fighting in built-up areas.”
    http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3580136,00.html
    Twit, thanks for the data; very helpful on the air flights and young appointees angles. Could give us a list of Jewish Georgians in the current government there? I noted that the Jews in Gori have just been evacuated to the capital by the Jewish Agency which does seem quite active in Georgia now that you mention it. Given your expertise, could you give us details on Georgians making aliyah?
    David Habbakuk,
    Thanks for that most interesting and detailed note. The various mafiyas such as the Georgian, Chechen, Ukrainian etc. are to be followed carefully, a formidable and dark element indeed.
    It would be interesting to analyze any possible relations between the Georgian mafiyas and Israeli organized crime. Global organized crime is now a subject of academic interest and there are some specialized centers, one at American University in DC for example.
    “A major group based in Russia is the Georgian Mafiya, which controlled much of the black market under the Communist system and has now extended its range of activities. Two other ethnically oriented organizations include the Chechens and the Azerbaijani groups, who have contributed to a major upsurge in the illegal trafficking of drugs, metals, weapons, nuclear materials and even body organs. Several of the Mafiya groups have infiltrated the Russian banking system and have used tactics of intimidation and violence against bankers and businessmen that do not cooperate.”
    http://www.american.edu/ted/hpages/crime/Russian.htm
    Do not at this time have a British connection other than the usual Neocon networks here interfacing with their counterparts there. However, the Soros role in the “rose revolution” could lead back to some British circles of a different stripe at higher levels. I had heard the name “Malloch-Brown” associated with Soros but have no details.
    By the way, exploitation of Georgians by American financiers goes back to the Harriman family who picked up certain mines (manganese was it?) in Georgia in the mid-1920s from their Soviet friends. I used to have some data on this somewhere. If it is of interest I will try to find it. As the Harrimans were linked to London via Brown Brothers Harriman and were close to the Lazard London group I assume there was some coordination between New York and London circles.

  80. Cieran says:

    Dr. Kiracofe:
    Did you notice the outcome of the Russian negotiations with Turkmenistan the other day?…
    Interesting… it looks like Russia just locked up more of the world’s energy reserves. And it appears that they were willing to do so at a financial loss in order to gain better strategic terms on long-term control of these energy supplies.
    I think the Russians are playing chess very well, and the Bush administration is playing checkers badly. This will not end well, it seems.
    One can only wonder where this country would be had we chosen to spend a trillion dollars perfecting battery and fuel cell technologies instead of on a war of choice in Iraq.
    When Bush was getting his MBA at Harvard, he must have missed the lecture on the fundamental importance of opportunity costs.

  81. David Habakkuk says:

    Cieran,
    I think the game in question may be more like Go than chess.
    There was a memorable piece in Asia Times by John Helmer back in 2003 on the way that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was being outmanoeuvred by Putin, entitled ‘When oligarchs are beaten at go.’ Having noted that the object of Go was to establish ‘a position that is not only invulnerable to attack by your opponent, but that enables you to surround and capture his pieces, known as stones,’ Helmer remarked that the game ‘is so complex that the unwitting player will sometimes not realize when he is surrounded, his stones about to be annihilated.’
    (See http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/EG17Ag01.html.)
    If Khodorkovsky was one such ‘unwitting player’, it seems that the Bush Administration may be another.
    On the deal between Russia and Turkmenistan, the former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar points to the implications of the fact that the viability of the Nabucco pipeline depended upon access to Turkmen gas. Without this gas, he writes:
    ‘the entire US strategy of reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies makes no sense. Therefore, Washington is faced with Hobson’s choice. Friday’s agreements in Ashgabat mean that Nabucco’s realization will now critically depend on gas supplies from the Middle East – Iran, in particular. Turkey is pursuing the idea of Iran supplying gas to Europe and has offered to mediate in the US-Iran standoff.’
    (See http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JG30Ag01.html.)
    So the logical next move would be rapprochement of some kind with Iran. Although there are some signs of this, it still does not seem likely. And it remains quite within the bounds of possibility that the Americans will go ahead and attack Iran.
    Not only would that help consolidate Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. As Brigadier Ali pointed out recently, it is highly likely to put paid to the supply route to Afghanistan through Pakistan. So NATO would then be left with a choice — face the collapse of its position in Afghanistan, or go cap in hand to the Russians, on whose goodwill alternative supply routes from the north depend.
    Meanwhile, Gazprom has been active in Africa. From another recent Bhadrakumar piece, in which he discusses the implications of developments in Libya following the rapprochement between that country and the United States:
    ‘Western statesmen from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to French President Nikolas Sarkozy and former Italian premier Romano Prodi queued up to climb the window of business opportunity opened by the Bush administration. And then Putin visits Tripoli in April, less than a month before he left office, and the two erstwhile colonels decided to jointly handle all of Libya’s energy resources.
    ‘And Gazprom seeks to buy exploration licenses in Nigeria and proposes to build a pipeline from there to Algeria, and with Algeria, Gazprom is developing a proposal on “joint” marketing of gas in Europe.’
    (See http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JG19Ag02.html.)
    The acme of stupidity, in any game, meanwhile, is to push an opponent into a high risk strategy and then create conditions where you have no response.
    There had been, frankly, no sign whatsoever of Russian ‘revanchism’ either in relation to Georgia or — far more significantly — the Ukraine. Hope of NATO membership, however, was always a surefire way to encourage nationalists in both countries to do suicidal things. The Georgian nationalists, practically, have done so.
    With luck, the United States will now back off the project of incorporating the Ukraine in an alliance which is perceived as fundamentally hostile by the Russians — but in which key members are becoming progressively more dependent on energy supplies from Russia. With luck and a fair wind, if they do so, the prospect of Ukrainian disintegration can be avoided.

  82. Curious says:

    The colored revolution so far:
    Tulip Revolution, Kyrgyzstan (too early to tell)
    Cedar Revolution, Lebanon (total waste of money. Hezbollah won)
    Orange Revolution, Ukraine (falling apart)
    The Rose Revolution, Georgia (falling apart, in the brink of total failure)
    The saffron Revolution, Burma (total failure, non event)
    Kosovo (This is going to turn very expensive down the road)
    There are about a dozen other strange election of bumpy political transition where national policy suddenly moves extreme right after new regime comes in. (I seriously think last France is a “job”. The city riot is just strange. Italy is definitely a clown show. But they have always been clowning around. So it’s hard to tell.)
    Netherland, Mexico, Palestine, Belarus (are example of successful installation of friendly regime)
    Complete Failure:
    North Korea
    China
    Venezuela
    Brazil
    Spain

  83. Arherring says:

    Col. Lang,
    “Whoa. You didn’t get the point which is that I think all this schematization of warfare into periods,etc. is just a lot of crap.”
    I agree with you. That is why I don’t use GMW. That is why the XGW model isn’t confined to any sort of timeline. XGW describes a framework for methods and the doctrines and provides a guide to creating appropriate responses. ‘Generations’ no longer applies.
    SSG G,
    I’m not going to argue with you because it likely would be pointless. Say what you like about me (absurd as it is), I commented on the post, but I think you owe Zenpundit an apology.

  84. Curious says:

    Wow, this Saakashvili guy is dumber than a bag of hammers. Perfect match to neocon crew. He completely misreads the Russian. (Does he really think Europe and Condi are going to help his position aside from “empty talk”? yeah everybody can talk, but Russia will keep blowing things up.)
    1. What russian want is “sign the paper”. South ossetia independence. Russia wants absolute guarantee that these shenanigans is not going to happen again.
    2. Otherwise Russia has to bring current georgia’s administration on its knees begging for their lifes. Russia will keep bombing everything until Georgia is back to stone age. (Georgia has nearly zero industrial base) It cannot possibly buy, let alone build those tanks and heavy artilleries.
    3. Keep tightening the noose until only Tsibili left. By that time, the big bankers who own the pipe will kill Saakashvili themselves to save the pipe.
    It’s pretty obvious from what Russia decide to not bomb (television) that they fully intent to make sure the Georgian are crying on TV asking for Europe and US help while keep squeezing them.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/georgia/2541051/Georgia-Russia-fighting-on-several-fronts-as-Georgian-troops-withdraw-to-defend-Tbilisi.html
    A Georgian official has said it is transferring “all its troops” from South Ossetia towards Tbilisi amid fighting in the city of Gori, about 35 miles to the south-east of the capital.
    Georgians were witnessed by the Telegraph in a full scale disorganised and panicked retreat from Gori. They were crammed into vehicles heading down road from Gori to Tbilisi, the capital. They say 6,000-7,000 Russian troops are heading their way and the Georgians are abandoning their positions.
    Kakha Lomaia, a senior Georgian security official, said: “We received very reliable information that the Russians decided to move towards Gori. That’s why we decided to pull out all our troops and to relocate them – to defend Tbilisi.”

  85. Cieran says:

    David Habakkuk:
    I think the game in question may be more like Go than chess.
    I believe you are absolutely right! Thanks for these most well-considered thoughts.
    And as far as this:
    The acme of stupidity, in any game, meanwhile, is to push an opponent into a high risk strategy and then create conditions where you have no response.
    I think that the NATO countries have one more response up their sleeves (in addition to the obvious but insane one of yet more wars that they cannot afford), namely that of spectacular demand destruction caused by a collapse of their respective economies.
    That would likely drop the prices of energy resources sufficiently to compromise these Russian strategies, since Russia’s economy is probably not yet diversified enough to survive without high energy prices brokered via its increasingly monopolist position.
    Unfortunately, that would also likely destroy the now-globalized world economy as a side effect. What an interesting set of choices, eh?
    Do I hear a motion for a “Concert of the Greater Middle East”?

  86. mo says:

    Anyone notice that that this is the third “action” by a Bush-Friendly group that has led to the opposition making considerable gains?
    First, Dahlan ridiculous attempt at taking down Hamas in Gaza.
    Then, Senioras ludicrous attempt at weaking Hizballah.
    And now this.
    All three decisions were remarkably poor, ill considered and very predictable in outcome. Who is making these calls?

  87. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Cieran and David Habbakuk,
    One can say there are opportunity costs in foreign policy and national strategy as well as in commercial transactions. These costs are fundamentally in blood and national treasure as we observe anent the unnecessary, useless, and costly Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
    Yes indeed Cieran, we should have placed some of that trillion into energy research via DARPA and other deparments not to mention a huge chunk of it in mass transportation in the urban corridors. I well recall Senator Feinstein in the fall of 2002 in the run up to the Iraq War emphasizing that every $20 billion the Iraq war would cost represents one year’s maintenance of our nations highways. I think similar comparisons should be made to bring the context and costs to the American citizen.
    The dominant faction of the US foreign policy elite has chosen: 1) strategic GLOBAL partnership with Israel and 2) New Cold War with Russia and with China, perhaps, to follow. This is the track the US is presently on and is reflected in McCain and Obama’s statements. I do not see it changing in 08 with either McCain or Obama in office. George Kennan foresaw the situation correctly, IMO, in his 1998 assessment of the consequences of eastward NATO expansion.
    Other policy options involve using adroit diplomacy to make appropriate arrangements with other great powers such as Russia and China within a multipolar environment. Energy is one area for commercial relations which benefit our business corporations and create jobs. However, the US foreign policy elite’s obsession with a unipolar perspective (“full spectrum dominance” BS) precludes this.
    Given the present simplistic and counterproductive militarization of national strategy and foreign policy, the space for serious diplomacy is constricted particularly when we are burdened with a wholly incompetent Secretary of State not to mention “White House.”
    On Russian energy security policy, I think one has to put China and Japan into the mix to begin to see a larger set of arrangements. India also and Iran fit into the mix. Also, the analysis must take into account both oil and gas, particularly gas. This dimension then leads us into consideration of Algeria, Libya, Venezuela and so on. The situation is complex.
    I will be offering a seminar on the geopolitics of energy this spring at W and L at the request of my dept chair. Our politics department is under the Dean of Commerce and the curriculum has some required economics and accounting courses. Which is handy for me as I like to bring in IPE to the IR. In doing the course development, I find Rafael Kandiyoti’s book “Pipelines. Flowing Oil and Crude Politics” (London: IB Tauris, 2008) quite worthwhile and will include it as a textbook. I will also use Engdahl’s “Century of War” (London: Pluto) to provide historical context. Any further suggestions?

  88. Cieran says:

    Dr. Kiracofe:
    I find Rafael Kandiyoti’s book “Pipelines. Flowing Oil and Crude Politics” (London: IB Tauris, 2008) quite worthwhile and will include it as a textbook. I will also use Engdahl’s “Century of War” (London: Pluto) to provide historical context. Any further suggestions?
    The book I have found myself returning to over and over since it was published in 2000 is Ahmed Rashid’s “Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia”.
    The maps of energy resources that open Rashid’s book are still timely now, as are the awful juxtapositions of the opening pages (where the sadistic public executions held by the Taliban are interleaved with the story of Unocal’s attempts to land a pipeline deal with those very same sociopaths).
    I just recently enjoyed reading Kevin Phillips’ “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century”, which is in some strange way an American companion to Rashid’s expose (tho thankfully, without the degree of violence). It’s very accessible, but it’s not really academic stuff.
    My own energy-and-politics bookshelves are more oriented towards the nuclear end of the energy spectrum, e.g., Jonathan Schell’s “The Seventh Decade” is excellent, as is Richard Rhodes’ latest “Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race”.
    Avner Cohen’s “Israel and the Bomb” is a pretty good introduction to nuclear technology in Israel, and William Langewiesche’s “Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor” covers most of the rest of the world’s sub rosa nuclear WMD programs.
    I encourage my own students to read Daniel Yergin’s classic “The Prize”, which is beginning to show its age (and it’s a behemoth, too), but it’s still a very good introduction to the fossil-fuel end of the picture, as well as a darned good read.
    But I admit that most of my own reading on the subject of energy and geopolitics is of the uncontrolled nuclear variety, instead of the controlled fossil fuel end of the picture. Hopefully, humanity will not make my peculiar personal reading interests more relevant to your upcoming course anytime soon.

  89. Curious says:

    No wonder the Russian is not happy. Rumsfeld was setting up “forward operational area”? (This is right after Saakashvili going in)
    I don’t think the Russian want their former base used that way.
    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11213
    The western diplomat said the US was also considering creating in Georgia a “forward operational area”, where equipment and fuel could be stored, similar to support structures in the Gulf.
    The two moves would combine to give Washington a “virtual base” – stored equipment and a loyal Georgian military – without the diplomatic inconvenience of setting up a permanent base in a country where Moscow already has two controversial bases.
    Under an international agreement, the Russian facilities should be dismantled within three years. But Mr Japaridze said: “We have been having that discussion for five years, so it is quite surreal.” The Kremlin has said it will withdraw by 2011.

  90. bjerryberg says:

    Be very careful of buying into the anti-Russia hype. This Georgia thing is a provocation and a trap.
    The current president of Georgia is a British-style neo-con and his rise to power was financed by London’s George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros is also the prime financial angel of Barack Obama.
    A prominent McCain advisor has been the top paid lobbyist for this Soros-installed government.
    Unless you want WWIII, reject both the McCain and Obama flavors of British geo-politics.

  91. Buff52 says:

    Why would the Georgian Army launch an attack that would provoke a Russian military response when they have only about 200 T72 tanks?
    Would not they have been wiser to re-equip their armored force with more effective U.S. M-1 Abrams and or German Leopard II tanks so they could have a chance to stop a Russian armored attack down their main highway?

  92. Curious says:

    Great. So, somebody has the bright idea of initiating trade war against Russia.
    At what point do you think the state department will find out nobody else in the world left trading with us?
    On top of that China has the biggest reserve in the planet, Russia has third biggest after Japan at half a trillion. Our reserve is about $300B, with gigantic twin deficit. Everybody else have surplus.
    In what nasty way will Russia retaliate? Bring down the International space station? Arming Iran with fast breeder reactor? Introducing rpg/thermobaric devices to insurgencies? Or maybe manpad.
    Well, about time we restart the cold war again anyway. China probably is itching to jab back for last riot in Tibet.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.georgia12aug12,0,830225.story
    U.S. likely to target Russia economically, diplomatically
    U.S. officials said the most likely options to pressure Russia were through global institutions. Russia is attempting to join the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Membership is now likely to be blocked, they said.
    Others raised the possibility of kicking Russia out of the Group of Eight, the annual gathering of leading industrialized nations.
    On its own, officials said, the United States could deny Russia normalized trade status, currently blocked by a 1970s-era statute known as Jackson-Vanik.

    In the short term, U.S. officials believe that financial markets will exert pressure on Russian behavior. A Democratic Senate aide said the conflict should push up insurance rates for the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held in the nearby southern Russia town of Sochi, to prohibitive levels. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin’s efforts to create a financial center in Moscow could also be snuffed out.

  93. fnord says:

    Umm, what does this have to say for the resupply situation in AFghanistan, btw? What happens if the russians nix that agreement? Georgias stupidity is just apalling.

  94. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Cieran,
    Thanks much. I will include the Rashid book as a text and will put Yergin on the suggested reading list.
    I will also invite a specialist in petroleum geology from our Geology Department to give the class some insights on the technical side.
    If you have not seen John Blair “The Control of Oil” (New York: Pantheon, 1976) it is an extremely valuable technical study. Also, I find Leonard M. Fanning’s “Foreign Oil and the Free World” (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954) quite useful for early Cold War context.

  95. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    As I noted anent Brzezinski:
    “Polish-born Brezinski, 80, who earned a reputation as a hardliner due to his anti-Soviet politics, said the world was now being confronted with the question as to how it should react to Russia and what he saw as its efforts to “reincorporate old Soviet areas into the Kremlin’s sphere of control”. He said at the heart of the issue was access to oil and specifically who controlled the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which runs through Georgia.
    “If Georgia no longer has its sovereignty it means not only that the west is cut off from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia, but we can also assume that Putin will exercise a similar strategy against Ukraine if he faces resistance. He’s already publicly voiced threats against Ukraine.”
    “If Russia continues on this path it has to be isolated by the international community,” he said, including economic sanctions on which all alliances from the European Union to Nato would have to take a joint stand.
    He added that Russia’s invasion of Georgia was proof of the failure of the White House during George Bush’s eight year tenure, to recognise the “Putin regime” for what it really was.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/12/georgia
    So just what will Obama do when and if he is President? Listen to Zbig, the imperial faction’s geopolitician in chief?

  96. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Bio for the brash State Department official, Mathew Bryza, involved on the ground now in this crisis:
    http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/or/48913.htm
    More interesting, perhaps, is the bio of his Turkish-American wife particularly the link to the Neoconish Hudson Institute:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeyno_Baran

  97. David Habakkuk says:

    Cieran, Clifford Kiracofe:
    Thanks for those illuminating (if hardly exactly comforting) posts.
    If the alternative to McCain is going to be an Obama who listens to Bzezinski, all I can say is heaven help us.
    If he seriously believes that the rather predictable Russian response to the Georgian attempt to reintegrate South Ossetia has anything very much to do pipelines, then the man is a dolt.
    Some useful if immensely dispiriting reflections appeared on from Robert Bruce Ware, a genuine expert on the Caucasus, on the invaluable Russia List run by David Johnson.
    Date: Mon 11 Aug 08
    From: Robert Bruce Ware (rware@siue.edu)
    Subject: Our Georgian Adventure
    Western nations committed serious strategic errors in their hurry to extend NATO control to Russia’s southern borders. With his head-long rush into NATO’s arms, Georgia’s American-educated President, Mikhail Saakashvili, became prematurely confident of western military support. In order, to redeem his campaign pledge, and clinch NATO membership, Saakashvili attempted to reclaim the breakaway region of South Ossetia with a bloody invasion that began
    on August 7. Saakashvili did not anticipate fierce South Ossetian resistance and a swift Russian military response, including airstrikes across Georgia. There are no winners in Russia’s war with Georgia. Here is a catalogue of losses and losers.
    — Contrary to claims that this is “The War that Russia Wants” (see The Guardian, 8/8/08), Russia cautioned against western recognition for Kosovo last Spring on the ground that this would have a destabilizing influence on other “frozen” conflicts: Had Russia sought an excuse to annex South Ossetia, it would not have attempted to prevent recognition of Kosovo.
    — After a 12-hour bombardment by Georgian troops, at least 1,500 people with Russian passports had died in South Ossetia before Russian planes left the ground and Russian convoys headed south on August 8. Russia had accepted a widely-recognized obligation to defend South Ossetians, who were slaughtered by Georgians from 1989 to 1992 when they fought to separate their region. Russia is connected with South Ossetia by a single highway, passing through a tunnel that could easily be closed by Georgian bombers. Predictably, Russia grounded Georgian planes by bombing Georgian airstrips and aviation facilities.
    — No matter what else happens, Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili, in whom the West has heavily invested, is finished. Georgia is, once again, hurtling over the falls with neither rudder nor oar. Georgia’s NATO prospects, in which the West has heavily invested, are shelved indefinitely. In an act of gross futility, many Georgians have lost life and property.
    — It is impossible that the break-away regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will ever return to Georgian control. South Ossetia will gradually be annexed by Russia. Abkhazia will explore independent statehood, with marginal viability, but will probably come under Russian administration sometime in the next 50 years.
    — Russia, which has been asserting claims to water and territory in Azerbaijan, south of the Samur River, will become more aggressive toward its other South Caucasian neighbor. Much like the Ossetians in Georgia, the population of approximately 500,000 Lezgins is split between Azerbaijan and the Russian Republic of Dagestan. Azerbaijan will fear Lezgin and Russian irredentism, though action by Lezgins or Russians in Azerbaijan remains unlikely in the near term. Since Azerbaijan has been desperately courting the West, similar strategic errors are possible there.
    — Armenia will be encouraged in its own “frozen conflict” with Azerbaijan, though near-term action is unlikely.
    — Russia will celebrate a short-term military victory, but will suffer over time: South Ossetia has become a criminalized enclave that will not be easily integrated into the Russian Federation, and which will place further pressure on the Russian military in the Caucasus.
    — Moscow will be unfortunately encouraged in its forceful, security-first policy toward the Caucasus. This approach has undermined democracy in Russia’s North Caucasian republics, and has replaced local political access and accountability with bureaucratic corruption and incompetence. The results have only contributed
    to radical resistance across Russia’s North Caucasus region, from Dagestan to Kabardino-Balkaria.
    — Dealings with an increasingly self-confident Russia will now become more difficult for the West.
    — With the fall of Saakashvili, the West has lost its anointed disciple and its eastern outpost in Georgia. Though it will retain remnants of sovereignty, Georgia has now been effectively returned to the Russian sphere of influence. America has lost support from 2,000 Georgiantroops that it is returning to Georgia from Iraq.
    Like another war that began in an obscure mountain setting 94 years ago, the conflict in South Ossetia sprang from the imprudence of the great powers, and resulted in disproportionate losses for all concerned.

  98. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Most of the comments are focused on the specific war in Georgia and not the issue of assigning warfare to different generations.
    To get back on that topic a little, I’m following up on the fact that Russia is fighting a conventional war while we have closed much of our Cold War ground stations which would have been monitoring this entire affair. I was wondering if we were in the dark compared to twenty years ago.
    From a recent article:
    The US military was surprised by the timing and swiftness of the Russian military’s move into South Ossetia and is still trying to sort out what happened, a US defense official said Monday… The United States has among the most powerful tools for monitoring brewing conflicts, from spy satellites to reconnaissance aircraft and drones capable of scooping up radio signals or capture real-time images of forces on the ground. But the extent to which they were trained on this remote conflict before it turned violent is not known.
    Article

  99. Curious says:

    Would not they have been wiser to re-equip their armored force with more effective U.S. M-1 Abrams and or German Leopard II tanks so they could have a chance to stop a Russian armored attack down their main highway?
    Posted by: Buff52 | 12 August 2008 at 12:37 AM
    first of all. Georgia isn’t dealing with commie warsaw pact anymore. They gotta pay retail for military equipments. There is no more freebies like under soviet.
    Georgia economy is tiny. They really can’t afford tanks, airforce or navy.They are poorer than dirt at$4000K GDP/cap.
    no you want to make them buy a $5m equipments a pop? They are not arabian kings. Do they have $1B to spare?
    On top of that, they have to retrain their tank crew to handle new equipments, new maintenance cost structure, build entire new infra-structure to support those tanks, equipments compatibilities, etc etc.
    here is one example. M1A1 is twice as heavy as T72 and a lot wider. Georgia’s has a lot of mountain passage with narrow roads, bridges and tunnels.
    Had the Russian use M1 against Georgian T72, they would have lost the war. The M1 can’t go pass through the only tunnel up north and narrow road. (not to mention the russian would have to have bigger supply line and can’t use georgian one)
    On top of that M1 uses gigantic turbine engine that is very hard to maintain and cannot be used for urban combat. The exhaust heat will bake infantry around them.
    The M1 is designed to fight in open european low land and middle east desert. Not tight mountain area, small budget war. The hot exhaust fume on cool mountain range alone will make any low tech infra red anti tank happy.
    (of course georgia can buy helis, rpc, tank transporter, self propelled guns, anti aricraft, new radar system…. bla bla… that goes with m1…
    But by then they will go bankrupt and lost the war without even shooting a single bullet.
    The people will bring down the regime for economic mismanagement.

  100. jr786 says:

    5th generation?:
    Cyberspace Barrage Preceded Russian Invasion of Georgia
    By JOHN MARKOFF
    Published: August 12, 2008
    Weeks before physical bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace.
    A screen grab of the Georgian Parliament Web site, parliament.ge, which had been defaced by the “South Ossetia Hack Crew.” The site’s content had been replaced with images comparing Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, to Adolf Hitler.
    Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks in Lexington noticed a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: win+love+in+Rusia.
    Other Internet experts in the United States said the attacks against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests — known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks — that overloaded certain Georgian servers.
    The Georgian government blamed Russia for the attacks, but the Russian government said it was not involved.
    Researchers at Shadowserver, a volunteer group that tracks malicious network activity, reported that the Web site of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been rendered inoperable for 24 hours by multiple D.D.O.S. attacks. The researchers said the command and control server that directed the attack, which was based in the United States, had come online several weeks before it began the assault.

    at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/technology/13cyber.html

  101. Curious says:

    A clip of Russian army on highway near Gori.
    – They are moving really fast .
    – The amount of vehicles is beyond believe. Are they invading Poland? Definitely overkill.
    – bunch of tanks, APC, self propelled howitzer… And vehicles that is covered. Is that the SS-21? Anybody?
    -They are definitely testing all their toys.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNM2p5IwyGw

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