Saturday, August 16, 2008

Russia and Georgia, again... yawn??

So there's this spike in people visiting my blog, specifically to entries on the Russia-Georgia war that I've been writing about for years. It's tragic: the most recent entry mentioned Russia gunning for parts of Georgia, and whaddyaknow, there they are: both countries fighting again.

Guess it's that news of Russia invading Georgia that has piqued people's interests. What surprises me is how US news channels treat this as a brand new development -- it's not.

TV coverage has the usual American razzle dazzle, what fun. Fox News seems to have sent some j-school kid to the Georgia border who manages to extract quotes from locals like "We love America" and "We want freedom."

Here are some talking points:

1) Russia has made incursions into Georgia in the past and the tensions have been high since the Soviet Union broke up, with things spiking in 1995. (Entry).

2) This is not the first time Russia has invaded Georgia. Russia has a constant presence in two Georgian areas: Abkhazia and Georgia. (Entry) It has made many, many incursions into South Ossetia, not just this one. This particular "invasion" is similar to ones in the past. It also has a number of "peacemakers" in the region. (hyuk, hyuk!)

3) Georgia has been protesting for years that Russia is meddling with its internal affairs. (Entry)

4) Georgians are treating people in South Ossetia, which Russia has "invaded," like trash. They want to be a part of Russia, but are being denied by Georgia. (Entry)

There's a North Ossetia too, and that is part of Russia. That is where the tragic Beslan hostage incident took place, where 300 people, including children, were gunned down by Chechen rebels. (Entry)

5) It is widely believed that Georgia prez Mikhail Saakashvili (aka Mikheil) doesn't care about the South Ossetian people -- he's using the war as a tool to boost Georgia's chances to join NATO. The war ending quick may not help Saakashvili. The implications are fair: there's no time to lose.

6) The U.S. doesn't want Georgia in NATO by account of both ongoing conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

7) I'm not pro-Russia! I'm mostly passive on this because the war has been on for so long. But this time, Saakashvili's taking a somewha cold-blooded approach in dealing with this. Feeling no pity for Georgia at this point, though I always do in a way.

So that's the basic primer. Don't be too excited -- this will die down, and it'll come back again. It's like a gift that keeps giving. The tension has always been high and Russia and Georgia excitable enough to jump at each other at a minor provocation.

But it's good to see word of the long war reach out to the people, finally.


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