American Elephants

Just a little war far, far away, or… by The Elephant's Child

The crisis in far off Georgia is worrying. Georgia, a former Soviet state, if you look at a map, sits just outside the bear’s den, right on Russia’s border. South Ossetia, a breakaway province of Georgia, wanted to become independent. Georgia reasserted her authority. Russia, massing on the border in the role of “peacekeeper” crossed the border with an additional 10.000 soldiers, and many tanks into South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian aircraft bombed a military airfield near Tbilisi. Russia also sent ships to the coast of the Black Sea with reinforcements.

Reports say that Russia attacked not only targets in South Ossetia, but also targeted the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) gas and oil pipeline. The pipeline, in which British Petroleum is the lead partner, is important strategically, for it is the only outlet for countries in the region to get their oil to the international market without relying on Russia.

Russia has been what can be charitably described as a bully with their oil and gas, which supplies over a quarter of Europe’s needs. A gas pipeline called the South Caucasus pipeline is being built next to the oil pipeline. It is important to all the states in the region, including Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Russia has steadfastly opposed its construction.

Another part of the story has been Georgia’s desire to join NATO, and seek protection from the West. NATO’s refusal to date suggests weakness to the Russians, who keep track of that sort of thing.

Russia has not made much of a secret at her anger over the dissolution of the Soviet Union and loss of Superpower status. With oil funds flowing into a now state-controlled oil industry, the West must take notice. It is reported that Russia has just nationalized half of its wheat crop.

The European Union made bland protests, apparently shocked, shocked, that Russia didn’t realize that we had entered a new era when we solved problems by talking. The United Nations did what they do best, they had a meeting.

John McCain said that “Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border.” He also called on “Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia.”

Barack Obama called for “talks among all sides and said the United States, the UN. Security Council and other parties should try to help bring about a peaceful resolution.” Obama looked forward to an international peacekeeping force under an appropriate UN mandate.” Appropriately wimpy.

Georgia has pulled out of South Ossetia. Russia is in control. Georgia has ordered a cease fire and called for talks. A little war. Lots of dead.

Do you suppose that these events will arouse a slumbering Europe into a realization of the true nature of the world, or will they go on dreaming of a world without conflict? Of armies that are unneeded and unfunded?

Will Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid understand that drilling for our own oil is also a national security issue? That the Strategic Reserve is a – strategic – reserve. Or will they go on making up stories about greedy oil companies, evil speculators, and threatened species (that are multiplying nicely) and, oh yes, the need to save the planet, rising seas, disastrous storms and droughts and all those other mythical results from a one degree warming that stopped ten years ago.

Well, no, probably not.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I agree with McCain’s response. Unfortunately, President Bush seems to agree with Sen. Obama, allowing the fighting to continue without going to tbilisi, or sending Condi. Instead we are apparently going to push for some sort of UN resolution to condemn the actions.

President Sarkozy seems to have it right. He’s going to Tbilisi now to assist.


Comment by The Gentle Cricket

While I agree that oil is a national security issue, ‘we’ won’t be getting anything from drilling offshore. The oil company who gets the contracts will be getting the oil, and they will be selling that oil on the world markets, unless you are suggesting we need to nationalize the oil industry?


Comment by Nick

Georgia had no right to try to remove the Russians living in Georgia. Have they forgotten that they themselves wanted to become their own democratic nation after The Soviet Union split itself up? They are trying to put their thumb down on these Russians when these people are only doing what Georgia did with the split. We should not get involved.


Comment by exemployee

exemployee, Russia also had no right to try to remove the ethnic Russians from Georgia militarily. If you don’t think this is about threatening Georgia’s independence, you have not been paying attention. America’s interest is in seeing that if South Ossetians want to rejoin Russia, they do it through a free election, not through Russian military force. We need to let Russia know that their actions are unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean rushing in militarily. There are options. We an provide Georgia with arms. We can help other nations who were once part of Soviet Russia to maintain their independence.
Nick, Oil is an international commodity, and there is an international price for a barrel of oil. Added on top of that are the costs of transportation and refining. If it is found here, the costs of transportation alone guarantee that it will remain here. There are some problems in Alaska because building the pipeline is being held up in court by environmental activists. There is not the slightest reason to nationalize any part of the oil industry, except in Democrat dreams.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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