Friday, August 15, 2008

Act of Deception - Russia Attacks Georgia

What is going on with Georgia and Russia? Why did Georgia fire rockets into South Ossetia on Thursday, 14 August 2008, the day before the Olympics in Beijing? Obviously Russia was going to react, so what was Georgia thinking? Thanks to the internet, and not the main media, the more complete picture is being presented. Read on ...
Georgian soldiers run through the town of Gori on Saturday after a Russian air bombardment.

Russian jets attack Georgian city as battles rage
Hundreds dead in South Ossetia; Bush calls Medvedev, Saakashvili
MSNBC News Services
Sat., Aug. 9, 2008

TBILISI, Georgia - Russia and small, U.S.-allied Georgia headed toward a wider war Saturday as Russian tanks rumbled into the contested province of South Ossetia and Russian aircraft bombed a Georgian town, escalating a conflict that already has left hundreds dead.
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said the country was “in a state of war” and accused Russia of beginning a “massive military aggression.” The Georgian parliament approved a state of martial law, mobilizing reservists and ordering government authorities to work round-the-clock.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow sent troops into South Ossetia to force Georgia into a cease-fire and prevent Georgia from retaking control of its breakaway region after it launched a major offensive there overnight Friday.
In a meeting with refugees, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin characterized Georgia’s actions as “complete genocide,” according to his office’s Web site. Putin also said Georgia had effectively lost the right to rule the breakaway province — an indication Moscow could be preparing to fulfill South Ossetians’ wish to be absorbed into Russia.
The risk of the conflict setting off a wider war also increased Saturday when Russian-supported separatists in another breakaway region, Abkhazia, also targeted Georgian troops by launching air and artillery strikes to drive them out.
President Bush called for an end to the Russian bombings and an immediate halt to the violence.
“The attacks are occurring in regions of Georgia far from the zone of conflict in South Ossetia. They mark a dangerous escalation in the crisis,” Bush said in a statement to reporters while attending the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili called it an “unprovoked brutal Russian invasion.”
“This is about annihilation of a democracy on their borders,” Saakashvili told the British Broadcasting Corp. “We on our own cannot fight with Russia. We want immediate cease-fire, immediate cessation of hostilities, separation of Russia and Georgia and international mediation.” Early Sunday, loud explosions were heard in Tbilisi, and Georgian Interior Ministry spokesperson Shota Utiashvili said Russia bombed the city's international airport. Utiashvili said Russia had massed thousands of troops backed by tanks in Georgia and was waiting until dawn to start another offensive.
Russia refuses ceasefireAt a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Saturday, the third in three days on the issue, Russia refused to agree to a cease-fire or a diplomatic agreement. The move ensured that the fighting with Georgia would keep spilling into other regions such as Abkhazia’s Kodori Ridge, where 15 U.N. military observers were told to evacuate.
“A ceasefire would not be a solution. The fighting is still going on. The Georgian forces are continuing to be on the South Ossetian territory,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.
Georgia, a U.S. ally whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, launched the major offensive overnight Friday. Heavy rocket and artillery fire pounded the provincial capital, Tskhinvali. A South Ossetain government statement said firing died down in the capital early Sunday and that 12 Georgian tanks were destroyed on the city’s outskirts.
It was the worst outbreak of hostilities since South Ossetia won de facto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Saturday in Moscow that some 1,500 people had been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, with the death toll rising. The figures could not be independently confirmed.
But Tskhinvali residents who survived the bombardment by hiding in basements and later fled the city estimated that hundreds of civilians had died. They said bodies were lying everywhere.
Russia aiming to take South Ossetia?Georgia, a country about the size of South Carolina that borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia, was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the breakup of the Soviet Union. Today, Russia has approximately 30 times more people than Georgia and 240 times the area.
Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia 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.
Putin arrived late Saturday in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz to talk to South Ossetian refugees who have fled the fighting. He said there were at least 34,000 refugees.
“The actions of the Georgian powers in South Ossetia are, of course, a crime — first of all against their own people,” Putin said. “The territorial integrity of Georgia has suffered a fatal blow.”
[read entire article at:]

Georgia, Russia continue battle over breakaway territoryWorld leaders condemn the violenceLast Updated: Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hundreds of civilians were reportedly killed in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia on Friday as Georgia launched a major military offensive to regain the territory and Russia responded by sending troops into the region.
Battles raged through much of Friday night and into Saturday, devastating the provincial capital Tskhinvali. Georgia has said it invaded South Ossetia because of rebel attacks, while the Georgian breakaway territory claims Georgia violated a ceasefire.
Eduard Kokoity, the head of South Ossetia's rebel government, accused Georgia of acting aggressively. He told Interfax news that about 1,400 people have died as a result of "Georgian aggression," a number he based on reports from relatives.
The fighting marked the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won de facto independence from Georgia in the early 1990s.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has long vowed to reclaim the territory from South Ossetian separatists, who have ties to Russia.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has always warned that a Georgian attack would draw retaliation, while Russia's Defence Ministry has vowed to protect South Ossetians, many of whom have Russian citizenship.
The current conflict is threatening to spark a larger war between Georgia and Russia, as well as heighten tensions between Moscow and Washington. The United Nations Security Council convened two emergency sessions over the conflict Friday, with a third one planned for Saturday, according to officials.
Meanwhile, a top Georgian official told Reuters that Saakashvili was planning to declare martial law.
Georgia's Interior Ministry said Saturday that warplanes had attacked three Georgian military bases and key facilities for shipping oil to the West. Foreign Ministry officials said Friday that Russian aircraft had bombed military air bases in the southern Marneuli and Bolnisi communities, while reports suggest columns of Russian tanks have rumbled into the region.
Reports emerged that Georgian forces shot down four Russian planes, while South Ossetia officials said Georgian troops were firing missiles into the region, and attacking by air and ground.
"I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars," said Tskhinvali resident Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia.
"It's impossible to count [the ruined buildings] now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged."
'Brilliant moment to attack a small country'
The fighting broke out Friday as the world's attention was focused on the bedazzling hours-long opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Observers say the timing suggests Saakashvili was counting on the element of surprise to fulfil his long-term pledge to reclaim the region.
Saakashvili argued Russia was taking advantage of the timing.
"Most decision-makers have gone for the holidays," he told CNN. "Brilliant moment to attack a country."
"Russia is fighting a war with us in our own territory. And we are in this situation of self-defence against our neighbour," he added.
He said he is calling his Georgian troops home from Iraq to handle the domestic crisis. Georgia, with 2,000 troops in Iraq, is the largest contributor in Iraq after the United States and Britain.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow has a right to move into South Ossetia on behalf of the Russians living there.
"In accordance with the constitution and federal laws, I, as president of Russia, am obliged to protect lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are located," he said. "We won't allow the death of our compatriots to go unpunished."
International community condemns violence
U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who were among the many world leaders attending the Beijing ceremony, discussed the South Ossetia situation but details of the talks were not released.
The U.S. is sending an envoy to the region and Bush is receiving constant updates on the situation, White House press secretary Dana Perino said.
"I want to reiterate on his behalf that the United States supports Georgia's territorial integrity," she said, speaking on behalf of Bush. "We urge all parties — Georgians, South Ossetians and Russians — to de-escalate the tension and avoid conflict."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Russia to end all aircraft and missile attacks and pull its combat forces out of South Ossetia out of respect for Georgian sovereignty.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson, who was in China for the opening of the Olympic Games, said Canada is "gravely concerned" about the violence in South Ossetia "and we deplore the casualties that have resulted."
"We call for an immediate halt to the hostilities and strongly urge all parties involved to display restraint in words and deeds, and to respect national boundaries," Emerson said in a statement that calls for "a peaceful resolution of the conflict."
The UN and NATO, an organization Georgia is bidding to join, also condemned the violence and called for peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Short ceasefire gives civilians time to leave
In Tskhinvali, the main hospital stopped functioning and ambulances were unable to reach wounded civilians, said International Red Cross spokeswoman Maia Kardova, located in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.
The Red Cross has been urging the warring sides to allow aid workers access to wounded and frightened civilians, some who reportedly are hiding in their basements without access to food, water or electricity.
Russia, which has always maintained peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia, said 12 of its peacekeepers were killed in the clashes and 150 wounded, according to Reuters.
Georgia declared a three-hour ceasefire, which began at 3 p.m. local time, to give civilians a chance to leave Tskhinvali. Panicked villagers fled to the Russian border to find safety, some of them spending the night in fields.
West criticized Russia for provoking tensions
Saakashvili has long pledged to restore rule over South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia. Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s, and both have built up ties with Moscow.
Russia was criticized by the West for provoking tensions by sending warplanes over South Ossetia last month.
Most of South Ossetia, which is roughly 1.5 times the size of Luxembourg, has been under the control of an internationally unrecognized separatist government since 1992. Georgian forces held several swaths of it.
Relations between Georgia and Russia worsened notably this year as Georgia pushed to join NATO and Russia dispatched additional peacekeepers to Abkhazia.

Georgia On My Mind
Posted on August 12, 2008 by thestateofblog

“The anti-Russia biased of the Westerm media is really something to behold: “Russia Invades Georgia,” “Russia Attacks Georgia,” and variations thereof have been some of the choice headlines reporting events in the Caucasus, but the reality is not only quite different, but the exact opposite. Sometimes this comes out in the third or fourth paragraph of the reportage, in which it is admitted that the Georgians tried to “retake” the “breakaway province” of South Ossetia. The Georgian bombing campaign and the civilian casualties – if they are mentioned at all – are downplayed and presented as subject to dispute.
“The Georgians have been openly engaging in a military buildup since last year, and President Mikhail Saakashvili and his party have been proclaiming from the rooftops their aim of re-conquering South Ossetia (and rebellious Abkhazia, while they’re at it). Avid readers of saw this coming. Link to
Communism Alive and Well in Russia
By Dr. Laurie Roth
August 15, 2008

What is Russia thinking? Why have they decided to be so imperialistic and aggressive and attack the free sovereign nation of Georgia now? Just last night I talked with Ret. Navy Lt. Commander Cy Huerter and Van Hipp, former Deputy Secretary of the Army, on my radio show, trying to find answers to these questions and explore what our response should be. I also consulted with media whistle blower and columnist Daniel Zanoza. In his recent article on this invasion he writes: “Most experts agree Putin, though not the official leader of Russia, in reality, is calling the shots in the former Soviet Union. Putin, who was head of the FSB, one of the successor agencies to the KGB, the dreaded Soviet intelligence agency, had planned the attack on Georgia long ago. Military and political experts say Putin’s decision to move troops into Georgia was skillfully calculated to coincide with the Summer Olympics, currently being held in China.” [Read]
In 1968 Russia pulled this when they invaded and attacked Czechoslovakia and got away with it. Our Secretary of State reminded us of that just this week. This is not 1968 but Russia is pulling this aggressive, rubbish again. They are still attacking and all over Georgia. Why now?
Why attack now?
Reason number 1 - They chose to do it now because there is momentum with the break away republics aligning with the west, gaining power in the world’s eyes, enjoying their freedoms and sovereignty. The U.S. was becoming a little too supportive and close to the nations surrounding Russia….Ukraine, Estonia.
Reason number 2 – They see the pressure on our economy, dollar and struggles with gas and oil prices. They also see the need to control the pipeline going through Georgia to the black sea. Russia wants that control back and sees us as fragile and struggling in that aria, so they think they can poke the U.S. more by gaining control of this pipeline.
Reason number 3 - Russia says now is the time because the U.S. is distracted and worn out with Iraq and Afghanistan. 100s of Billions of dollars later and lots of troops abroad, we wouldn’t dream of getting in Russia’s way if they attacked and behaved badly. The American’ will is too tired and distracted. We want our troops home not somewhere else.
Reason number 4 – Russia can’t help but notice our liberal congress with a lame duck President. Much of our vocal congress has not been really supporting our efforts to finish Iraq and Afghanistan in the right way and is not willing to acknowledge the real threat with Islamic Radicals. What’s to be afraid of? Obama and a host of other congressman just want to ‘talk.’
Reason number 5 - Putin can’t help but rejoice when he sees the endless concern over extending habeas corbus rights to terrorists, our demonizing of Gitmo and detaining these high level terrorists while the war is going on. We have practically given them talk shows!
Reason number 6 – Putin watched us do nothing but talk and even with threats to N. Korea regarding them going nuclear we did nothing. He is watching us talk and retreat again and again with Iran. Why shouldn’t he jump in and conquer old Russia back?
Putin has learned we are more concerned about feelings than safety; there is division in our congress regarding how to define the dangers we face and the war we are in; and we are worn out, struggling economically and don’t want any more trouble.
When I asked Van Hipp and Ret. Lt. Commander Cy Huerter how we should respond to Putin and Russia they said that we must respond in clarity and strength. We should send in not only aid (which we are) to Georgia, but a battle ship or carrier in that area, while exploring sanctions, and uniting many countries including the U.N. against their actions (This seems to also be happening). No one wants a blood bath and another war, but we cannot ignore the attack on a free, sovereign nation. May we be clear, strong and tough as a country while rallying the free world against Russia. Pay attention Puttin.
© 2008 Dr. Laurie Roth - All Rights Reserved


Has the Russian Bear Awakened?By Jon Christian Ryter
August 8, 2008
Over the space of a decade-and-a-half, the world has experienced several very stark snapshots of the inhumanity of mankind that should have raised the specter that man, believing he has arrived at the gate of Utopia has arrived, instead, at the crossroads of its own extermination. Man now faces the very real threat of a global nuclear holocaust at the hands of Muslim extremists bent on martyrdom, our trading partners in Beijing, or the revived Soviet Union. And that man's actions, whatever he does, will only speed us to the destination known in the Holy Bible as Armageddon.
The latest reminder that the hands of the doomsday clock are ticking was the Soviet invasion of Georgia. It appears the invasion was triggered by two events. First, Muslim separatists in Muslim-majority South Ossetia are repeating the feat of Albanian Muslims who stole the mineral wealth of Yugoslavia from the Serbs during the Clinton years by declaring the Yugoslav province of Kosovo to be an independent Muslim State. Second, on Aug. 7, 2008 the Georgian military invaded the Georgian breakawy province to prevent the Georgian Muslims in South Ossetia from merging with Russian North Ossetia. (Muslim separists call the breakaway province South Ossetia. It's historic name is Samachablo, or more recently, Tskhinvali—now the name of the capital.) Ultimately, the goal of the Ossetian Muslims is to break away from their non-Muslim landlords and become an Islamic nation governed by Sharia Law. When Georgia declared itself an independent nation in August, 1990, South Ossetia declared itself independent from Georgia. Georgia abolished South Ossetia's autonomous status in December, 1990. On Nov. 28, 1991 South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia. Ethnic unrest escalated under Eduard Shevardnadze and triggered an 18-month war.
On April. 8, 2001 the Muslim-majority South Ossetians held a referendum to change the Republic of South Ossetia's constitution and increase "local" presidential authority. Roughly two-thirds of the Muslim population turned out to vote, and two-thirds of them approved the change. The intent of South Ossetia was to be annexed by North Ossetia, which is a lawful satellite of the Russian Federation. The Russians knew South Ossetia intended to be reunited with the Russian Federation. Shevardnadze rejected the secession of South Ossetia. The Ossetian Muslims appealed to the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The EU and the OSCE condemned Ossetiia's action and declared the attempted secession was illegal.
In April, 2008 NATO agreed to admit Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "at some point." This decision angering Moscow. .Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (the former Russian Federation President) was angered by NATO's decision since the Russians oppose the eastward expansion of NATO. Putin and newly-elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev moved quickly to inflame Muslims in South Ossetia and another Islamic breakaway province, Abkhazia. Russia strengthened its economic ties with the breakaway provinces and warned Georgian President Mikhail Saaashvili (elected in 2004) that if violence erupted in either province, Russia would insert troops into the equation to defend the citizens of those provinces since they carried Russian, not Georgian, passports. Because of the current conflict between Georgia and Russia, NATO has removed the membership offer from the table—at least as far as Georgia is concerned.
On Aug. 7 Georgia interjected 2,000 troops into South Ossetia following clashes between separatists and Georgian police. The Georgians also launched airl strikes on Muslim strongholds that indiscriminately killed hundreds of civilians. including women and children. Survivers in the attack on Dzhava, a village near the Russian border, told the media that not a single building in the town was undamaged, and that bodies lay in the streets.
On Aug. 8 Georgian troops were in control of Tskhinvali, the capital. Within hours of Georgia subduing separtist hostilities, Russia began air strikes on Georgian targets, first in South Ossetia and then in Georgia itself. Following the aerial strikes, Russia deployed 10,000 troops into South Ossetia, sweeping through the province and driving the Georgians out of Tskhinvali. On Friday, Georgia launched a massive counter-attack to regain control of South Ossetia using heavy artillery and aircraft. The Georgians claim to have shot down two Russian jet fighters. Russia claims the only soldiers they sent to South Ossetia were peacekeepers. However, the 10,000 "peacekeepers" were supported by 50 Russian tanks and a convoy of armored personnel carriers who were clearly backing the separtists with lethal fire. Further, Russian bombers targeted Georgia's economic infrastructure including Georgia's largest Black Sea port city of Poti.
To the spectators on the world stage the confrontation was expected. British intelligence predicted it earlier this year. The separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossentia were heavily supported by Russia as part of Moscow's strategy to weaken Georgia. In Moscow's collective mind, the West—the United States in particular—has stoked Georgia's fire by providing the former Soviet satellite with military assistance (in the form of arms sales and assistance in training its troops. The move was seen by Moscow as a challenge of its dominance with one of its key former republics. America's presence in Georgia is to protect the world's second longest oil pipeline, the 1,109 Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey that bypasses Russia's stanglehold on energy exports from that region. (When the Georgia and Russian situation heated up to the boiling point, British Petroleum [BP-Amoco] closed down the pipeline and temporarily stopped the flow of 1.2 million barrels of crude per day heading for a gas station near you. Not reported in the US media was the Russian attack to "protect" the Muslim majority in South Ossetia was the Russian's bombing of the Georgian oil tanker fleet harbored at Poti. The Paris-based International Energy Agency [IEA] warned Russia that's its actions threatened the strategic energy hub. In its monthy report, released on Tuesday, August 12, the IEA said: "Recent escalation in military enegagement between Russia and Georgia poses a hreat to certain key oil and gas pipelines which transit Georgia. While the conflict...may have been the main source of attention, for us, the most most significant supply event was the attack on the BTC [pipeline] and the implication that it may continue to be a target."
Since his election in 2004, US-educated Georgian President Saakashvili has transformed Georgia's dire communist-style econosphere into a model western market economy, proving that free-enterprise capitalism works. Russia-watchers are convinced Moscow is trying to force Georgia back into the Soviet sphere, and will use Georgia's capitulation to Moscow to force the remaining former satellites back into the Soviet orbit. To weaken the United States, the remerging Soviet Union and their communist ally, the People's Republic of China will supply the radical Muslim world with nuclear weapons to use against the United States. Under the Reagan-era MAD (mutually-assured-destruction) philosophy the Islamic extremists and the western bloc nations will destroy each other sufficiently that the Soviet Union and Red China will be the world's only remaining super powers. [Read entire article at:]
PJB: Blowback from Bear Baiting
Posted By Linda On August 15, 2008 @ 10:09 am In PJB Columns
By Patrick Buchanan
Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.
Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili’s army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.
Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.
Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America’s lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.
Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.
American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight — Russia finished it. People who start wars don’t get to decide how and when they end.
Russia’s response was “disproportionate” and “brutal,” wailed Bush.
True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more “disproportionate”?
Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?
Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?
When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?
Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of who viscerally detest Russia?
That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili’s provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia’s nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.
When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?
American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia’s doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.
Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin’s birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?
The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.
We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic “revolutions” in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.
Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.
Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.
How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?
For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia’s space and getting into Russia’s face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost — in Tbilisi.
Military help for Georgia is a 'declaration of war', says Moscow in extraordinary warning to the West
Moscow has issued an extraordinary warning to the West that military assistance to Georgia for use against South Ossetia or Abkhazia would be viewed as a "declaration of war" by Russia.
The extreme rhetoric from the Kremlin's envoy to NATO came as President Dmitry Medvedev stressed he will make a military response to US missile defence installations in eastern Europe, sending new shudders across countries whose people were once blighted by the Iron Curtain.
And Moscow also emphasised it was closely monitoring what it claims is a build-up of NATO firepower in the Black Sea.
The incendiary warning on Western military involvement in Georgia - where NATO nations have long played a role in training and equipping the small state - came in an interview with Dmitry Rogozin, a former nationalist politician who is now ambassador to the North Atlantic Alliance.
"If NATO suddenly takes military actions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, acting solely in support of Tbilisi, this will mean a declaration of war on Russia," he stated.
Yesterday likened the current world crisis to the fevered atmosphere before the start of the First World War.
Rogozin said he did not believe the crisis would descend to war between the West and Russia.
But his use of such intemperate language will be seen as dowsing a fire with petrol.
Top military figure Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies in Moscow, alleged that the US and NATO had been arming Georgia as a dress rehearsal for a future military operation in Iran.
"We are close to a serious conflict - U.S. and NATO preparations on a strategic scale are ongoing. In the operation the West conducted on Georgian soil against Russia - South Ossetians were the victims or hostages of it - we can see a rehearsal for an attack on Iran."
He claimed Washington was fine tuning a new type of warfare and that the threat of an attack on Iran was growing by the day bringing "chaos and instability" in its wake.
With the real architect of the worsening Georgian conflict - prime minister Vladimir Putin - remaining in the background, Medvedev followed up on Rogozin's broadside with a threat to use the Russian military machine to respond to the deployment of the American anti-missile defence system in Poland and the Czech republic.
Poland agreed this month to place ten interceptor missiles on its territory, and Moscow has already hinted it would become a nuclear target for Russia in the event of conflict.
"These missiles are close to our borders and constitute a threat to us," Medvedev told Al-Jazeera television. "This will create additional tension and we will have to respond to it in some way, naturally using military means."
The Russian president said that offering NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, two former Soviet republics, would only aggravate the situation.
Moscow has consistently expressed its opposition to the U.S. missile shield, saying it threatens its national security.
The U.S. claims the shield is designed to thwart missile attacks by what it calls "rogue states," including Iran.
Meanwhile, Russia - seen by the West as flouting international law - today demanded NATO abide by an obscure agreement signed before the Second World War limiting its warships in the Black Sea.
"In light of the build-up of NATO naval forces in the Black Sea, our fleet has also taken on the task of monitoring their activities," said hawkish deputy head of Russia's general staff, Anatoly Nogovitsyn.
The Montreux Convention, as it is called, sets a weight restriction of 45,000 tonnes on the number of warships that countries outside the Black Sea region can deploy in the basin.
"Can NATO indefinitely build up its forces and means there? It turns out it cannot," said Nogovitsyn.
NATO has said it is undertaking pre-arranged exercises in the Black Sea involving US, German, Spanish and Polish ships. Two other US warships sailed to Georgian waters with humanitarian aid.
Georgia is poised to sever diplomatic relations with Russia, or reduce them to a bare minimum.
"We will drastically cut our diplomatic ties with Russia," said a top official.
President Mikhail Saakashvili said he was frightened to leave Georgia to attend the EU summit on the crisis.
"If I leave Georgia, the Russians will close our airspace and prevent me from returning home," he said.
Russia sought Chinese backing for its action - but the Communist regime in Beijing appeared reluctant to offer support, instead issuing a statement saying it was "concerned" about recent developments.
NATO called for Russia to reverse its decision on recognition for the two enclaves, both Georgian under international law.
But the new 'president' of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoyty, called for Russian military bases on his territory.
French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner warned today that an marauding Russian bear could trample over other ex-Soviet states.
"That is very dangerous," he said, pointing at Ukraine and Moldova.
[under construction]