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Georgia-Russia Roundup the Umpteenth

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It’s always sad when an interstate war winds down. Except, of course, for all of the people living in the place where the war happens. It’s good for them.

  • Read Dan on the ceasefire. While the NYT is still reporting that the “fragile truce [is] on the brink of collapse”, it seems that the shooting has pretty much stopped. Ceasing fire is rather an important component of any ceasefire…. in comments, Bloix notes reports that South Ossetian irregulars are attacking Georgian villagers.
  • Spackerman makes a critical point:
  • I’ve noticed this sort of “Democratic Georgia vs Autocratic Russia” formulation occurring with some frequency. To the degree it’s meant to actually describe a motivation for the conflict, the democracy/autocracy point is a category error. The Russian invasion of Georgia has absolutely nothing to do with a conflict over methods of political organization. I admit to a rather deep ignorance over Georgia/Russia issues, but the conflict is rather obviously over concentric spheres of influence — Georgia claims South Ossetia; Russia claims protectorate status over South Ossetia and, in a nontrivial way, also claims Georgia. These claims have deep historical roots and would hold even if Georgia subscribed to the Juche ideology of North Korea and Russia became an Islamic Emirate. To graft an ideological component to the current conflict is to guarantee misunderstanding it — or, more cynically, to try to manipulatively rope the U.S. into it.

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Moreover, a conflict between two somewhat democratic Eastern Orthodox countries, even if one of them is somewhat more democratic than the other, does not constitute a war between the West and the barbarian other. Now, because Georgia is mildly more democratic than Russia may incline us to have a bit more sympathy for its cause, but that’s rather a different argument.

  • Read Hilzoy on NATO and Peter on the future of US-Russia relations. I’m still planning longer posts on both of those subjects, but Hilzoy and Peter both do an excellent job.
  • Doug Muir, appropriately, counts this as a big win for the Russians. He also suggests that this victory may make the Azeris more cautious in their relations with Armenia.
  • Read Digby on John McCain. As if you haven’t already.
  • And of course, SWJ has an excellent roundup.

…this NYT article indicates that Sarkozy may have been badly played by Medvedev in ceasefire negotiations. One part of the agreement more or less allows Russia to do whatever it pleases in terms of troop deployments.

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