August 14, 2008

Sweet Georgia Blown

Hatched by Lee

Russia and its supporters within the Democratic Party constantly charge that Georgia engaged in "provocations" that justified at least some military response by Russia, if not quite as severe a one as it actually undertook. Yet among the provocative actions that Russia itself committed was issuing Russian passports to large numbers of separatists and sympathizers in South Ossetia. In fact, this is what finally gave Russia its pretext for this operation, as it claimed the need to protect "its citizens in South Ossetia."

This would be equivalent to Mexico offering Mexican passports to any "Aztlan"-supporting Hispanic-American radicals living in the American Southwest, then sending Mexican troops into Arizona to stop ICE raids, calling them war crimes against Mexican citizens.

A majority of Ossetians gleefully accepted these passports; and as John S. McCain noted, there are billboards across South Ossetia and Abkhazia reading "Vladimir Putin is our president."

Russia insists it was acting as a peacekeeper in South Ossetia, rejecting Georgian accusations that it has been supplying arms to the separatists.

But it has vowed to defend its citizens in South Ossetia -- of which there are many. More than half of South Ossetia's 70,000 citizens are said to have taken up Moscow's offer of a Russian passport.

Clearly, residents of those provinces think of themselves as Russian citizens (of Iranian descent), not Georgians; and they declare all of Ossetia (North and South) and Abkhazia to be independent and sovereign nations... notwithstanding the fact that no country, not even Russia, has recognized that independence.

The ceasefire, brokered by Nicholas Sarkozy, between Russia and Georgia -- which Russia has already violated -- calls on all military forces to return to the status quo ante. When (if) the Russians do withdraw, and if Georgia is somehow able to gain control of the breakaway territory, I would not like to see the passport fiasco ignored.

What should be Georgia's response? Very simple: Accepting a Russian passport should be considered the same as renouncing Georgian citizenship. I'd like to see Georgia begin deporting every Ossetian or Abkhazian who took Russia up on its offer.

Peacekeeping forces from NATO may be able to help them implement this. The inevitable charge of "ethnic cleansing" will ring hollow; their deportation would not be based on ethnicity but on self-selection: The deportees willingly renounced Georgian citizenship and were being deported as "undesirable aliens" who knowingly participated in activity that destabilized South Ossetia and promoted secession.

The Ukrainians are probably planning to sit tight and hope their turn doesn't come before the US election. If McCain wins, Ukraine should take a good hard look at NATO and EU membership. The alternative may be a return to vassal status under a new Evil Empire.

Hatched by Lee on this day, August 14, 2008, at the time of 3:21 PM

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The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr

I really like your other ideas, but this one just plain won't work. They can't deport more than half of the local citizens. They couldn't do it even if Russia was not beating them into a pulp. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever to try.

Furthermore, aside from Russia setting this whole thing up (obviously), there's a reason all those people have Russian passports -- they need to get into North Ossetia to see their countrymen, and Russia isn't about to let them decide which passport is going to be most convenient to use.

Oh, and I love the fact that Poland decided to let our missiles in -- I was hoping (out loud) that this would be one of the outcomes, and I hope our diplomats were doing a lot of footwork to make it happen. Russia just might lose a lot of subtle contests because of this.

The above hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2008 5:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

What I find interesting is that if Israelis respond to much more existential threats than posed by Georgia dealing with manipulations by Russia, they are widely condemned by the same democrat party members now defending Russia's apparent effort to re-enroll Georgia. I think what we are seeing here is simply another example of how much more comfortable leftists are with tyranny than freedom.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2008 8:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Sorry, Lee. Georgia is gone from those areas; they won't be back. The most the West can hope for is to save Georgia proper.

And I'm afraid that NATO is going to be much much slower to accept these other countries like the Ukraine. No one really wants to fight Russia.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 15, 2008 6:30 AM

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