“Many believe the current crisis is a major power play planned by the Russians. That may be correct. Yet, Georgia lit the fuse to open this ugly chapter of a long-running crisis by moving troops into the disputed Georgian region of South Ossetia, which contains Russian “peacekeepers.” Tensions have been rising between South Ossetian separatists and Georgia for several years, but little has been done to restrain the Georgians. Instead, the U.S. in particular has long been ignoring warning signs about a resurgent Russia’s concern over deepening Western ties to a seemingly overconfident Georgia.” Wayne White
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- “Terran 1 | Good Luck, Have Fun” – TTG
- ISW take on the Xi – Putin meeting – TTG
- Russian defensive lines: screwing the pooch once again – TTG
- “ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin over Ukraine war crimes” – TTG
- How the JDAM-ER will be employed – TTG
- HARPER: DRINKING THE KOOL-AID
- Pope Francis: ten years on – TTG
- “Turkey Supplied Ukraine with DPICM Cluster Shells” – TTG
- Saudi-Iranian Rapprochement Orchestrated by China – TTG
- Polish MiG-29s to Ukraine… finally – TTG
Another Rove/Bush blunder–Hit your opponent at their strong point. Isn’t it amusing to hear the Bush administration talking about naked aggression,and the integrity of sovereign states,and accusing the Russian’s of restarting the Cold War? All obvious offenses committed by this out of control Executive and compliant Legislative branch.
The shame of the missed opportunities in this administration is monumental.
The Georgia fiasco is yet another demonstration that the USA has long since past the culminating point in its global power. Sadly our people are too uninformed (and perhaps uninterested) to see this demonstration for what it is. All they seem to see is what CNN and Fox show – poor Georgia “overrun” by “Soviet” power. And that this is somehow important to us that force be met with force.
What Georgia is demonstrating to the world is our weakness and groveling to the bear holding all the cards. Sad to watch indeed, but oh so necessary in order to begin the process of real, meaningful change in our attitudes and policies here at home.
We the People need to quickly understand the limits of our national power – and how little real power we can still wield in our crowded world. Andrew Bacevich lays out his views on the limits of our power in his new book. His interview on Moyers’ Journal last night is most highly commended.
For an entirely different qualitative perspective on what is happening between Russia and Georgia, read < a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200804/uranium-smuggling">A Smuggler’s Story, describing uranium smuggling in Russia/Georgia/Ossetia.
These quotes merely provide a flavor for what this article is about, which in turn, merely provides us with a flavor for much of what apparently is really going on in that part of the world.
Who gets to define what a “Peacekeeper” is de jure and de facto? Isn’t that the whole point of UN involvement on intrastate issues that impact international relations? Guess the Russians were just reading the US playbook.
At the risk of alienating the Russian Bear I think it would be grand if someone blew up the Roki Tunnel.
the russians have destroyed a key railway bridge linking georgia’s capital to the black sea coast, effectively severing all east-west transportation routes. the russians have also set up positions on the country’s main east-west road 25 miles from the capital.
Do we really care about Georgia one way or the other. Its a negligible little country whose only use is that of a pipeline right of way and not worth anything more. If non-Russian control of the pipeline is that important it should be up to either the oil producers in the Baku area or the oil consumers in Western Europe to defend it.
The BBC is saying that the Russians are now 18 miles from the capitol, holding tight apparently and in the process of destroying whatever Georgian military equipment they come across.
Most of the commentary in the US on the Georgian situation has focussed on the issue of what the Russians are up to. A far more pertinent, and important, question for Americans is: What is the US up to?
Condi Rice and the State Dept warned President S’vili not to get into a fight with Russia (NY Times – August 12). S’vili is erratic, perhaps even unstable, but the decision to attack S. Ossetia involved other important Georgian players. The fact that they did attack seems to indicate that they had strong assurances from someone very high up in the US administration that the US would back them up. Once the conflict started, one way for the US to save S’vili’s bacon would have been for Bush to speak to his ‘soul-buddy’ Putin, and quietly sort out the mess without a US-Russia confrontation. The Russians would probably have agreed to go along, knowing that, in the process, they would be able to get in a few good kicks at S’vili’s shins under the table. Instead, the administration takes a very public hard line with lots of Cold War rhetoric, even though it is obvious that this is going to prove counter-productive.
So, what is going on? Here is one hypothesis.
Cheney and the neocons, having been checkmated on Iran by Gates, Mullen and Rice (and by Bush’s loss of appetite for rash adventures), realized that their only hope of achieving their grand design to remake the world now lay with getting McCain into the White House. McCain’s only strong suit against Obama is security. However, Iraq and the war on terror weren’t providing much traction to push this advantage. So, what better means to sell an old warhorse than an old war? Presto! We have the resurrection of the Cold War. Who can better stand up to the big, bad Russian bear – old Cold Warrior McCain or fresh-faced, namby-pamby Obama?
Whether this hypothesis is accurate or not should become apparent fairly soon. Europe and most other countries would be deeply averse to a restart of the Cold War, and will so press the US. If, in spite of this, and the obvious damage to many important US interests, the administration (abetted as usual by the morons and paid hacks of the MSM) continues in Cold War mode, it will mean that there is some method to this madness. The neocons are no M’vellis but, with such pliable material as S’vili and the US public, even they could pull off such a stunt. (An interesting sideshow: How will Israel react? They are friends with both the US and Russia, and it greatly suits them to keep it that way. Will they change their policy, or will we see a contest of political muscle between AIPAC and the neocons?).
Richard Whitman said: “If non-Russian control of the pipeline is that important it should be up to either the oil producers in the Baku area or the oil consumers in Western Europe to defend it.”
Were justice to prevail, that would be a noble goal. The BCT pipeline’s customers would not seem to be the cheese eating, surrender monkeyesque Euros though. The pipeline terminal is Ceyhan Turkey, on the Mediterranean sea, smack dab in the Levant.
The maps provided below will illustrate all existing and proposed oil and gas routes, as well as their attendant refineries and pumping stations.
These maps are clickable for the purpose of magnification.
I come to the conclusion that Israel is a prime beneficiary of this pipeline; the Euros less so , as there are more direct lines from the Caucasus. Israel, which has 80,000 Georgian expats among its citizens, plus many more from the former Soviet Union, has to have a delicate relationship with the Russians. So even were the Israeli leadership to
desire launching military initiatives to keep the BCT open (should anything untoward happen), they would have to rely on The good Ole’ USA to act upon their whims (in the indirect mode of course). We are after all, their military “Pakis,” as we were the Saudi Royals’ in Gulf war one, and as were the original recipe Paks were to The Saudis for time immemorial.
I am sure that Bush/Cheney are jess a’ spoilin’ for a fight with them Russkies, however, they cannot get to the theatre “fuhstest with the mostest.” This minor detail will not stop the Sayanim infested NeoKonoid Amen Corner, in and out of Government, from urging action. If you read some of the Nutjob periodicals, this fifth column work has already begun.
“Can you read a map?”…” Can you read THIS map?”
(The last is a HUMINTER inside joke). You can bet that neither a McCain nor Obama foreign policy team will be able to read ANY maps; there are no more George Kennans, George Marshalls, nor Dwight Eisenhowers.
Hmm – Georgia – who cares …
Anybody interested in a full company retreat in Afghanistan?
Concern over Afghan ‘withdrawal’
The folks will need a battalion (at least) to reestablish the position. It is btw quite near the ring road which is the LOC between Kandahar and Kabul.
The locals will of course have full trust in U.S. delivered security as soon as the original position is reestablished.
Just like the Georgians …
This interesting but unconfirmible (by me) comment, posted in a discussion group run by Asia Times’ “Spengler”:
Yesterday, the Black Sea Fleet was placed in a higher state of readiness for action — against Ukraine. In Georgia, the Russian Army was hunting for a Ukrainian link to the Caucasus fiasco — and has found it. Today, Russian news media have been reporting caches of Georgian weapons and munitions that originated from Ukraine. The army has gathered Ukrainian diplomatic license plates from a Georgian military base and anecdotal evidence from РФ soldiers of Ukrainian diplomatic vehicles scattered throughout Georgia like confetti. They are demanding an explanation from Kyiv. Four days ago, among the mercenaries Russia captured — and has been interrogating — were Ukrainians, Balts, Caucasus region nationals and “dark skinned” fighters. It is this sort of evidence-gathering I suspect, which has kept them in Georgia. They are unraveling the threads of what has all the appearances of a Washington operation gone wrong: the price for admission to NATO. All that remains when the book is written is to determine which branch of American intelligence so badly fumbled the ball….
How do the beans, barrels and bullets get to the increasingly hard-pressed US and NATO troops in Afghanistan?
Two routes: (1) Through the port of Karachi and then overland through Quetta or Peshawar or (2) from the north via the Russian-controlled railways and the famed Salang Tunnel.
Around the time of the last NATO meeting, there were reports that Putin had agreed to facilitate logistics in exchange for deferral of the matter of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia.
Those land-locked countries are so much trouble….
‘Yet, Georgia lit the fuse to open this ugly chapter of a long-running crisis by moving troops into the disputed Georgian region of South Ossetia, which contains Russian “peacekeepers.”’
I have seen reports in several places that the Georgians were actually responding to a massive increase in Ossetian artillery fire into government controlled areas of Georgia, such as started the recent war between Hezbollah and Israel. Conversely, some sources still indicate that the Georgian invasion was run entirely on a Saakashvili determined and defined timetable (at least until the Russian tanks started to roll).
Can anybody confirm the Ossetian artillery story, or is this an apocryphal story written after the fact to justify Georgian actions? And ultimately, does it matter beyond how people reconcile themselves to the outcome?
At the risk of plugging yet-another nugget from Nassim Taleb, I believe that the narrative fallacy is at play in the corporate media reporting on this emerging crisis.
That is, we humans have an unfortunate cognitive tendency to connect facts and observations via weaving them into stories (whether they fit or not!), and if we already have a ready-made story line on the shelf just waiting to “explain” these observations, we use it to filter our understanding, and eventually the story replaces the reality.
Baudrillard would be proud.
In the U.S., we have a ready-made story about the Russians, complete with a mascot (the bear) and decades of supporting propaganda (sorry!! I meant “information operations”) reinforcing the particulars of the cold-war-vintage story line.
With Georgia, we don’t have much in the way of extant narratives, though plenty of pundits (and McCain advisors) seem to be writing new ones up just-in-time for release to the media… these include your Georgian-David-meets-Russian-Goliath rewrites and other stock plot developments that don’t exactly fit the facts on the ground.
What we need is an understanding of the reality as divorced from the various fallacies, and for his all-important part in fostering that understanding via a “Committee of Correspondence”, I’ll thank our host Colonel Lang one more time…
One item I keep wondering: Why did Saakasvili finally decide to invade south Ossetia? What makes him confident he can handle the Russian?
Item I can think of:
1. Chechnya. It was a very bloody war for the Russian. A decade long, 4000 killed, very expensive.
I bet he was thinking: well if bunch of chechen rebels can beat up russian and make them fight for 10 years+. surely Georgia with fancier gears and western backing can do even better.
1. Chechen fight in the mountain, instead of flat, tank friendly terrain.
2. Chechen is Islamic guerillas, with gigantic amount of old russian weapons (plus, I suspect we supply and play there. Condi was screaming about giving chechen independence before 9/11. Even after the moscow terror attack. But after 9/11 I think they pull the plug and get scared of backlash, since it starts to spread to dagestan, Georgia, ossetia, the entire eastern mountain range) The Russian has to fight with boot on the ground and kill the guerilla one by one. Look at the wiki page. It’s impressive, if not brutal, how they kill every single one of them.
3. He has bunch of losers as advisor. Giving him all sort of clever idea without considering if they can pull it off. by now, I conclude if there is Israel advisors in any war, that side is in serious trouble. These guys sell themselves as experts in anything, terrorism, security, military, etc. Thinking they are at the top of the world without considering massive economic, military supply and diplomatic support that afford Israel such gung ho attitude. (hey, if Israel loses a battle, they can always call up uncle sam for back up and resupply. Why bother strategic thinking, in case everything gone wrong. They always win war… or something.)
Pentagon advisors? gimme a break. They work with the most educated and well supplied troops in the world. They can make all sort of fancy theory, without thinking further. They are not going to know how to sustain war in small country economy. They usually operate in unlimited budget and supply. Surely the Russian will get crushed with enough training and supply. (yeah, but you ain’t got unlimited supply and the smartest troops to begin with.)
4. The Georgian has controlled 60-70% of village in south ossetia before the war begin. (what’s few more village to finally subdue the Ossetian?)
5. Western supplies and military trainings. Tons of it)
6. Neocon delusion. This can’t be discounted. US ambassador in Georgia is hardcore neocon. Israeli defense Ministry in georgian cabinet. Bush/Condi and crew.. etc (the usual set of neocon combination that leads to disaster steps)
7. Saakasvili himself can only be describe as a fucking idiot. (seriously, look at how the war progresses. The strategy. How he combines international diplomacy and military strategy. How he cries on TV after making the dumbest plan in his life. ) I bet he is the type one makes fun in downtown party in college because he is so clueless and full of himself. He can even score a weed without getting ripped off.
Did he even close up the only tunnel connecting Ossetia and south Ossetia?
8. Saakasvili really thinks he is a european or a new yorker. That Condi and EU will send the cavalry to help him when things go bad. (News flash: He is a puppet regime in a fringe of empires. He only got an oil pipe going for him. He should adjust his perspective.)
How did the Russia win? (really, why did the Russian decide to go ahead?)
1. No doubt Chechnya. They know if they don’t take care of the entire thing, It will come back. They will accept another moscow apartment bombing or that Beslan school hostage crisis. They really go all the way. (look at the people they kill in Chechnya. It’s a very hard guerilla war and they pull it off. They kill EVERY SINGLE insurgency leaders.)
2. I suspect the Russian knows somebody is supporting the chechen. And that Georgia has to be eliminated thusly. Otherwise they will forever have torn. They will never accept an afghanistan in their own backyard.
3. I bet the Russian has ears deep inside every aspect of Georgian government functions. They know everything.
4. The military buildup from chechen war is ready for next target. Georgia is next door. Why not clean it up next?
5. New and advance equipments. Putin accelerate Glonass completion by one year. (and they float a new giant military gear in space last june. I think it’s a radar) The result is deadly.
This is the part I think the Georgian didn’t expect. If you look at Youtube video clip. the Russian precision bombs are now working. The Georgian tanks are sitting ducks and they didn’t expect such situation. I suspect they were preparing for standard tank/infantry battle with classic air support instead of guided weapon.
6. Putin (his war really) enjoys broad public mandate. Putin can afford attacking Georgia.
7. International environment. US tied in Iraq. Europe is in economic funk. Russia has good trade ties with europe, specially gas.
8. The russians come prepared (observe their diplomatic maneuvering and how it tied to situation on the ground. Chart the sequence of their movments)
– It’s all peace keeping( no really, but our guys we shot)
– entering the tunnel (I bet the russian can’t believe the luck the tunnel keeps opens all throughout the war)
– Gori (I am in, no I am not in. Are you negotiating yet? okay fine. I’ll slice your territory in two)
– systematic bombing. (did the Georgian lost command and control on day 2?)
9. They know exactly how Condi is going to react. (The diplomatic dance is classic diplomatic bargaining, loop holes, wiggle room, all tied to situation on the ground.)
Condi is outclassed by several order of magnitude. She simply does not understand what diplomacy is. She thinks spinning on TV talking smack, maybe signing a couple of paper, is diplomacy. But the russian uses classic maxim “war is a continuation of diplomacy by other means”. They know their troops is holding all the high ground (literally). They know all Georgian military asset is withing their artillery range, and all supply line is closed. The Russian is always aware they control gas supply to europe. Europe is in no position to go do trade war GDP growth is turning negative.
– Latest so called “peace” agreement. (essentially it gives Russia military control over entire Georgia)
It will be interesting to figure out what the Russian will do next.
– Use Shaakashvili to undermind US image. Give him another month or two TV time. His whining and incompetency is amazing.
– Make Georgia economy crashing hard. Winter is coming. People are going to need shelter, heat and food. With massive refugee in Tsibili, the social situation is unstable.
A couple plane load of “humanitarian” aid is not going to cut it, specially if Russia cut electricity and gas supply.
– Then it’s regime change time. Riot. Brutal police action, backlash, etc… the usual thing. Shaakashvili definitely has totalitarian streak, Everybody can see it. And the Russians will gladly exploit this.
– Russia gets entire Georgia back after new regime is installed.
around spring next year? (at the latest)
If things turns nasty. The russian can always start arming Syria, Iran, Iraq, afghanistan to the ninth. They have plenty of friends in there. Major fire works.
I think deep down they are bidding their time for Chechnya and Afghanistan payback.
Some excellent forensic of the war by WaPo:
A Two-Sided Descent Into Full-Scale War
This alone should put Saak into jail for a long time:
It certainly does seem clear likely that the Georgians anticipated that they would have serious American support — unless they simply thought the very fact of their being a de facto American ally would prevent the Russians taking action.
An small piece of evidence which may be of help in unraveling the puzzle of this extraordinary series of Georgian, American and Israeli miscalculations comes from a post-mortem held at the American Enterprise Institute.
Among the speakers was Lt. Col. Bob Hamilton, who had apparently recently returned from a tour as chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation in the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi. An extract:
‘Hamilton explained that the American capacity-building program in Georgia has been focused on developing the skills necessary for conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism missions — not for prosecuting a “full-spectrum, maneuver war.” An inexperienced senior leadership corps, limited command and control capabilities, and a severe numerical disadvantage against Russia further hindered the Georgian military. The small republic’s armed forces were no match for those of their northern neighbor. “This was not a fair fight, and it was never going to be a fair fight,” Hamilton said.’
One has to ask: what did Hamilton and others think that the Georgians wanted counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism capabilities for? Out of disinterested concern to be of use to the U.S. counter-insurgency effort in Iraq, with no thought of payback, perhaps? Or maybe they assumed the Georgians were simply concerned with enforcing law and order in the Pankisi Gorge?
As Saakashvili had made abundantly clear his determination to reincorporate Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, one might have thought Hamilton and people like him could have put two and two together.
It may be they were fully aware of the uses to which Saakashvili intended to put the military capabilities that he was developing with the assistance of the U.S. and Israel. And perhaps there was indeed some kind of high level decision to give the green light now, for internal U.S. political reasons. If that is so, then the effect of U.S. and Israeli assistance was to egg Georgia to confront Russia in a war that those involved should have known the country’s military was hopelessly ill equipped to fight.
But then it is also possible that Hamilton and people like him really do inhabit Cloudcuckooland.
In general, in bitter ethnic conflicts there is a lot of wrong on both sides (certainly this has been so in Britain’s own bitter ethnic conflict, in Northern Ireland.) However, many in the United States (and in Britain) seem these days to suffer from a curious compulsion, confronted by such conflicts, to see one side as angels and the other as demons — and/or one side as ‘modern’ and ‘enlightened’, and the other atavistic and reactionary.
The absurd lengths to which the idealisation of the ‘rose revolutionaries’ in much of the Western media has gone was well brought out in a piece last year by the historian Mark Almond, which effectively juxtaposed quotes from the Western media with quotes from a range of Georgian figures.
My favourite Georgian quote actually came from Saakashvili’s Dutch wife, Sandra Roeloffs:
‘Georgia has produced strong leaders. Stalin, Beria, Gamsakhurdia. Even Shevardnadze, before he got addicted to power. They looked beyond Georgia. My husband does the same; he fits in the tradition. This country needs a strong hand. It is incredibly important that respect for authority returns… I think my husband is the right person to frighten people.’
Bombarding Tskhinvali obviously ‘fits with the tradition’. But the fatuous Manichaeanism which corrupts so much thinking in Washington and London may have contributed to preventing people grasping what Saakashvili had in mind, and the possibility that he might take American and Israeli military assistance, and the promise of NATO membership, as a green light.
How incidentally anyone thought that Russian military commanders would do anything but make maximum use of their local advantages to crush the Georgian military decisively and quickly, I simply cannot understand. Lt. Colonel Hamilton may think the Russians were being deplorably unfair. Perhaps back in 2003 he was arguing that the U.S. Army should fight the Iraqis with one hand tied behind its back — so as to give them a ‘fair fight’.
Any military commander who is not concerned to see that any fight his country gets into is as unfair as possible, in favour of his own side, is I think in the wrong profession.
afghanistan is still a raw boil. both the loss of life in russian military personnel, and in the loss of face.
Do you think the FSS/KGB element knew this was coming and everything else was simply the cards falling as they suspected? I’ve seen a lot of comments here about how the Georgians did not close the tunnel leading to South Ossentia; perhaps it was not because they didn’t think of it, but because they simply could not?
I’ve noticed that in the Western press, I’ve yet to see anything mentioning them as having any hand in this war. While I’m not foolish enough to think that they had no hand in all of this, I’m curious as to what extent they’ve penatrated and comprimised other Baltic/Caucaus states. With the resources and status of their nemesis (the CIA) focused elsewhere and reduced, is there really anyone dedicated to playing against them in that field?
I’ve just finished reading Wayne White’s reflections, and although I agree with much of what he says, for the record I’d like to point out that this particular statement of his contains several inaccuracies:
Georgia has NOT been admitted to the EU, it doesn’t even qualify for opening pre-admission procedures – it’s a corrupt, mafia-ridden little country plagued by secessionist conflicts with ethnic cleansings as much on the Georgian side as on those of the various non-Georgian peoples/territories lumped by Stalin inside its Soviet frontiers, all of whom have been fiercely struggling to get free of it since the collapse of the USSR; and after this latest escapade I’d place its EU admission prospects well below those of Turkey… i.e. far-far back burner for the foreseeable future.
Re who’s been training its army: I’ve found absolutely no word of any Europeans being involved in training Georgian forces – despite “European Command” rhetoric afaik the trainers are all Americans, the object being – at least declaredly – to prepare Georgian forces to fight in Iraq?
Re “setting the stage for its admission to NATO” – Georgia’s membership request was heavily pushed by the US, seconded by Poland and the Baltic states and kinda-supported with slight misgivings by the UK, but was determinedly blocked by Germany and France with the support of Italy Spain and Belgium amongst others, specifically because of the unresolved secessionist issues.
The Georgia Crisis – A Blow To Nato:
Do not expect an open flare-up within NATO next December: the widening cracks will yet again be papered over with platitudes. But ever-increasing Eurozone unease will be seething beneath that blandly mellifluous “united front”.
The Neocons and imperial faction types operating within their “unipolar world/unipolar moment” geopolitical fantasy are pushing for a New Cold War against Russia it would seem. Russia will respond, and has reponded, accordingly. This was and is predictable.
COSTS? A long term worst case scenario would be, IMO, tightened security and economic arrangements between: Russia-China-Japan. In the end, the EU would tilt toward this alignment and cut its losses with the delusional American cowboys fading into the sunset in the long ride downhill…Bilderberg-ism and Trilateral-ism notwithstanding.
While there is fault on both sides, it seems to me the facts are beginning to demonstrate this particular situation was triggered by a Georgian provocation. No doubt the bear was licking its chops awaiting such a provocation but nonetheless it was a reckless, unnecessary and counterproductive provocation by a clearly psychologically unbalanced and delusional “leader.”
A “military analysis” from the New York Times indicates to me that more than just CI and CT doctrine was imparted. the article has NO REFERENCE to Israelis…curiously?:
“The American military training for the Georgian troops … Against the Russians, Georgian command and control withered quickly, and army and police units were operating on their own, often at cross purposes or overlapping missions.
Although the Georgians had been taught that speed of operations brings a mass all its own to the battlefield, and that improving accuracy in firepower brings a mass all its own, the lesson of the conflict is that, in some cases, mass has a mass all its own.”
The last paragraph does not indicate CI or CT to me rather but formal battlefield operational doctrine.
Some questions on this:
— just what doctrine did the ISRAELIS impart to the Georgians? Based on Lebanon 2, for ecample or other?
— just what did the US mission to Georgia know about the ISRAELI activity?
Furthermore, and significantly,
Did the visit of Shaul Mofaz and Barak to the White House ONE WEEK before the Georgian attack receive a green light from POTUS or VP to activate the Georgian operations? Compare to Lebanon 2 for example.
the amount of time and money that the blockheads in d.c. spend on causing angst with the russian bear and others, imagine if all of that time and energy were spent instead in forming an alliance of the u.s./russia/china/india to tackle the world’s ills and make the globe a better place. the four nations putting their heads togeather could really come up with a good plan for the betterment of the globe, no?
These excellent comments clearly demonstrate that the Georgian blow up was completely senseless; an example of another gigantic screw up by the Bush/McCain White House.
But, more is going on. It is the outcome of the conversion of the 20th century state into the 21st century scions of global corporations. Rather, like New Jersey politicians and Mafia chieftains. The State no longer serves the people but its one and only purpose is to line the pockets of the made men. Follow the money. Saakashvili no doubt assumed the Bush and Gang being oil men would defend the BP pipeline. They couldn’t. It is in the Russian Mafia’s home turf.
I am trying to figure out the size of Russia sovereign wealth fund.
For one. Russia can dump their Fannie Mae holding. Sold it to chinese for 60c to the dollar? They’ll take it. If they decide to dump those housing treasury. One or two big banks are going to collapse within weeks. That will assure Russia and China financial domination within a decade if combined with forex manipulation.
At this point, a trade war against Russia goes both way. Russia actually can withstand far more pain than us if they start playing energy price and forex reserve.
In fact if they survive this one, they very well become the first alternate financial center in eastern europe. (nobody else can backed their banking system using nuclear weapon.)
But I doubt the Russian has the banking skill to pull this one off. They are still pretty unsophisticated in electronic banking, unlike the chinese (they have HongKong)
Further, part of that foreign sovereign fund wealth stems from increased oil revenue, with oil-producing Russia being a classic example. A cash-strapped country a decade ago when it had to default on its government bonds in 1998, record-high oil prices and privatization have helped propel an economic boom in Russia, including soaring hard, foreign currency reserves. Russia has amassed more than $700 billion in foreign currency reserves as amid an economic expansion that’s featured a growing middle class, a thriving domestic commercial sector, and broadening trade ties with the E.U. and China.
They already begin divesting some US holding.
The reduction in Russia’s investments in U.S. agency debt was driven by political pressure and the holdings may be reduced further, a Russian senior central bank official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
‘The reduction of holdings is linked to the fact that it’s a politically sensitive zone. From an economic analysis we don’t think that investments in these papers are risky … but we are obliged to take into account the mood and the concerns which exist in society,’ central bank first deputy chairman Alexei Ulyukayev told Prime-Tass news agency in an interview.
‘Our holdings have been reduced by about 40 percent … It’s possible that we will reduce them a bit more, it’s not significant’ he added.
Russia held about $100 billion in U.S. agencies Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM – news – people ) and Freddie Mac (nyse: FRE – news – people ) and Federal Home Loan Banks at the start of 2008. Last month, Ulyukayev said that the investment had been reduced by about 40 percent, with maturing short-term holdings often not being replaced.
Nevermind, scratch that. Even the chinese won’t take more US housing bond. (ain’t market economy grand.)
The trouble at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. mortgage finance companies, may discourage sovereign wealth funds from buying dollar-denominated assets, but the euro is not likely to be the main beneficiary.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences also said the problems at Fannie and Freddie added urgency to China’s goal of diversifying its $1.8 trillion in currency reserves.
The russian opts to go on hard asset buying binge with their cash. I guess they do get how market economy functions… hah.
Whither Russia? The Kremlin’s $100 billion Stabilization Fund, which represents about 10% of the country’s GDP, made a profit of $3.4 billion in the year to July 24, 2007, according to RIA Novosti, a Russian wire service. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his officials will channel cash from the fund into state-controlled companies like Gazprom and Lukoil (other-otc: LUKOY – news – people ) to make acquisitions. Gazprom has been rumored for more than a year to have wanted to buyCentrica (other-otc: CPYYY – news – people ), Britain’s biggest utility, and the financing would likely come from the Stabilization Fund.
“Their motives are different to the Chinese,” said Randolph. “What the Russians are salivating over is good industrial assets. They’ve already got a degree of industrialization, but what they want to do now is raise the technological level of their industry.”
OMG, this is hilarious…(in scary way. it was last june)
In the wake of his interesting announcement at the 2008 St. Petersburg Economic Forum that Gazprom is seeking a stake in a proposed Alaska/Canadian natural gas pipeline to the lower 48 U.S. states, CEO Alexei Miller made headlines again this week in France. In a briefing to European energy executives in the French coastal city of Deauville, Mr. Miller predicted that world oil prices could reach $250 per barrel by 2010.
While many energy analysts were quick to dismiss these comments from a CEO representing an energy company with larger oil reserves than many OPEC countries, Mr. Miller’s statement, combined with a comment from the Vice President of OAO Lukoil in April 2008 that Russian oil production might have peaked last year, could send world energy prices higher in the coming months. In the first quarter of 2008, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer.
Could the other NATO states have been anticipating the move by Russia and so opposed the admission of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO? My guess is the ethnic Russian issue could also be used to stir up problems needing the “Putin” solution in the Ukraine. Again could the US intel orgs have mislead POTUS when he was out advocating membership expansion? I doubt POTUS decided on his own to advocate expansion.
These little places are unstable politically. If they are connected in some defense treaty, as a result the stability of entire european system will be dictated by some crazy dudes in Georgia or Ukraine This is exactly how both world wars started. defense treaty connected to unstable places.
eg. some future hypothetical. Another little “revolution” in Georgia, and NATO has to butt head with Russia. Germany energy policy shakes, DAX goes down, economy jittery, etc. Ukraine is even worst since it has giant Russian navy center in it. On top of that, these places are target of neocon tricks and no doubt Russia will pull counter move.
The stability of entire european market is dictated by people like Saakasvili? That’s just Germany, the biggest economy in Europe.
What about Turkey? Anything happens in Ukraine or Georgia when NATO is concerned,… They are first to get in political trouble. They have to go to war against their biggest neighbor or energy supplier?
I more likely see this as the beginning of an end of NATO. Everybody in europe now feels their stability is at the wimp of some Washington DC hacks and projects. (regime change, missile defense, pipeline projects, large military contract, Israel, etc)
Why should europe send troop to be part of things that don’t concern them or harm them even?
So, Condi will be the one who breaks NATO.
What will break her effort is the ground situation in Georgia. The european clearly see what the Russian did (relatively low casualties, strutting around in their tanks, harmless posturing in their own backyard, hardly worth the effort launching WW III)
Leave it to Condi to make it even bigger problem. The Russian is watching gleee, they just drive a giant wedge between Europe and US.
Pretty soon, NATO identity crisis will start to show. (Is it defense treaty or DC imperial tool?)
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to push NATO allies Tuesday to curtail high level meetings and military cooperation with Russia unless Moscow sticks to its cease-fire pledge to withdraw troops from Georgia.
“‘Our holdings have been reduced by about 40 percent … It’s possible that we will reduce them a bit more, it’s not significant’ he added.”
Talk about understatements.
In discussing this whole Georgian situation with friends, many seem to have come to the conclusion that this whole thing was a premature move by Georgia. They seem to feel that the move was supposed to have been made at a latter time to coincide with US moves against Iran, so thus the Russians would be distracted and not able to come to the aid of Iran.
But just our opinion.