Russia Defiant

The crisis in Georgia has been called the deepest in European security since the Balkan wars of the 1990s. And unlike the wars in Yugoslavia this one pits Russia against the US, although via a a proxy.

Now that the fighting is over, how should the US and its European allies handle Russia: must it be punished for its aggression in Georgia and its decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia? And what form would the punishment take?

Or is NATO itself partly to blame? In April NATO said that Georgia will join the alliance – eventually. Was this the best way to ensure security on the borders of Russia? Or was it more likely to play in to the hands of those Russians who already feel threatened and humiliated by the West?

On Saturday Newshour will be discussing with a panel of experts Russia’s relations with the West and the possibility of further conflict.

31 Responses to “Russia Defiant”

  1. August 27, 2008 at 22:11

    The government of the USA has NO moral, political, humanitarian or humanistic rights or freedom to speak on the Russia-Georgia conflict because:

    I. It has committed much more and much greater violations of international laws, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of overseas governments, and has threatened world brotherhood, security and peace more than anyone may accuse Russia of and I hear the USA government president and agents accuse Russia of.

    The USA government is the mastermind, engineer or trigger behind what is happening between Russia and Georgia and, indeed the break up and economic failure of the USSR, for globalisation ends.

    2. The USA government is still virtually or really occupying Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and all the countries where it has military bases.

    3. The USA government has insisted that its military cannot be tried at the ICC for war crimes, using Article 98 to terrorise sovereign governments to defer to its freedom from justice and right to criminality.

    4. The European Union is the rightful organisation to deal with the situation.

    5. The present presence of the USA government in Georgia is provocation and aggression against Russia and amounts to occupation, as the USA is not in Europe and the government of the USA is not a member of the EU

    To European governments I ask: Where is your manhood, European Union spirit, and justice, if the foreign government of the USA has taken up your duty to European countries and rights to carry out this duty?

    Prince Awele Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  2. 2 Roberto
    August 27, 2008 at 22:18

    On Saturday Newshour will be discussing with a panel of experts Russia’s relations with the West

    ——– Brilliant!

    Much ado over nothing, just like Russia wanted. They pull some strings now. US and EU overreached. Russia just filling the power vacuum.

  3. 3 Kelsie in Houston
    August 28, 2008 at 02:40

    I don’t think punitive punishments are the answer, and as Awele says, the U.S. in particular frankly does not have a gram of moral grounding vis-á-vis Russia or most nations in the world (including, dare I say it? the People’s Republic of China). The more I hear regarding this story, the more I am convinced that the blame lies with Georgia’s initial gambit, a bluff that was most definitely called by the Russian Federation. Perhaps a discussion of “punishments” should start there?

  4. 4 Count Iblis
    August 28, 2008 at 04:13

    Western actions:

    1) The West intervened in Iraq because of Saddam was refusing to give up his stockpiles of WMD.

    2) The West is punishing Iran because of their nuclear weapons program.

    3) And now the West wants to punish Russia because Russia intervened in Georgia to remove Saakashvili from power and Russia is up to no good in Ukraine and the Baltic states.

    The facts:

    1) Saddam did not have any WMD.

    2) There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

    3) Russia intervened in Georgia after Georgia launched an attack in South Ossetia. Whoever is right or wrong in this conflict, it has nothing to do with changing the government of Georgia.

    Given the way the West has acted in these three issues and given the facts about these three issues, we can conclude that facts don’t matter much to the West. I don’t think the West is an evil power, I think the West is acting out of fear. So my diagnosis is paranoia.

    The roots of the conflict with Russia over Georgia must be understood in these terms. The West, due to its powerful position could always get its way. But the Russian actions in Georgia have changed this and the West is now having a panick attack as a result.

    So, the West has to calm down, start to take the facts much more serious, stop fantasizing about potential dangers, stop taking speeches by Ahmadinejad, Putin, etc. from long ago out of context to see if they can be made to imply something dangerous.

  5. 5 parth guragain
    August 28, 2008 at 07:13

    @count iblis
    i thoroughly agree with you .west don’t have moral ground of accusing russia.yes i do believe that west belive in democracy and west should be more concerned to expose state of democracy in russia.we should be talking more about those small states rather than talking about these powerhouses.

  6. 6 David simmons
    August 28, 2008 at 08:20

    Even if we did not know it before we certainly know it now- regardless of their political colour the Russians cannot be trusted. They lied during their red period, lies which threatened the peace of the world, and now they are lying again about their actions in Georgia.
    Diplomacy seems to have no place in Russian politics, brute force (and ignorance?) seems to be the only solution to every situation they encounter.
    The free world must keep up the pressure on Russia, political pressure and economic pressure.

  7. August 28, 2008 at 09:15

    The world does not need us to abstain from each other but better communication. Known or not and admitted or not, nations learn from each other. Great Britain divided Ireland out of the difference of Ireland wanting to remain Ireland and those that figure they would have a better life if the resources of the United Kingdom was had. The same is said of Georgia. Each region on this Earth has it’s particulars just as the freedom of information of this INTERNET .

    In some areas things can be accessed and in other regions it is not. Right or wrong that is what has cultivated the human being indigenous to any particular area on this Earth. If separation is needed because of any irreconcilable difference then let a separation exist until edification on alls part comes into being.

    Humanity is a pompous species having achieved substance and in the next moment believing it may not be able to secure it. Feeble and misled with no foundation and ability for change using what is had and finding it appropriate. The world with it’s GOD apart from ones self creates the Devil, a unseen and inexistent entity of fear and loss of humanity’s understanding of it’s self made frailty.

  8. 8 Brett
    August 28, 2008 at 12:34

    I’m with Count…
    To those calling the shots for the US: STOP! Keep messing with everybody and your going to get us into a situation you can’t get us out of. Arrogance and Ignorance, coupled with a lack of regard for anyone but yourselves is a bad bad combination.
    Condi and Bush – Stop running your mouth.

  9. 9 Brett
    August 28, 2008 at 12:42

    On the topic of punishment:
    Yes, I really would like to see Russia “punished” lol. Do you think that Russia is going to sit back and accept a form of punishment or treat it as an act of aggression (of course depending on what type of punishment it is)? Add the US tossing fuel to the flame with the missile ‘defense’ system and we are just testing Russia, seeing how long it’s going to take for them to turn around and smack somebody.

  10. 10 Lubna
    August 28, 2008 at 12:45

    Hi gang ! :-)… Hi Prince, Kelsie, Parth, and Count… The four of you guys have just taken the words out of my mouth… Thank you all a million times… In July 2006 Israel launched a very brutal and agressive war on Lebanon… Lebanon was burnt and destroyed, and one thousand innocent Lebanese civilians were murdered by the IDF, the US in particular and the West in general stood completely by the side of Israel, and their excuse was that “it was Hezbolla who started the aggression”… Now if I weren’t mistaken, it was Georgia who started the aggression in South Ossetia, so any possible punishments or sanctions implied by the US and the West on Russia must also be implied on Israel… Otherwise why the double standards ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  11. 11 Kelsie in Houston
    August 28, 2008 at 13:05

    Speaking of double standards: as has already been pointed out, the U.S./West supported Kosovar independence, on the grounds that Kosovo didn’t want to be part of Russia any longer. If the people of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia want self-determination, once again: why the double standard? The U.S. seems more adept at foisting governments on people who don’t want them (c.f. our involvement in South America, for example) than promoting self-governance on behalf of people who demand it.

  12. 12 steve
    August 28, 2008 at 13:37

    @ Lubna

    “In July 2006 Israel launched a very brutal and agressive war on Lebanon… Lebanon was burnt and destroyed, and one thousand innocent Lebanese civilians were murdered by the IDF, the US in particular and the West in general stood completely by the side of Israel, and their excuse was that “it was Hezbolla who started the aggression”… ”

    That’s not exactly accurate. You neglected to mention Hezbollah attacked Israel and Israel retaliated. Perhaps the west stood by Israel instead of insane, religious whackjobs that hate the west? Perhaps if the Lebanese don’t want to get attacked by Israel they shouldn’t attack Israel? It make me wonder about the intelligence of someone who attacks a more powerful neighbor, hides amongst civilians, then whines bitterly when they get retaliated against. Too bad jihadis are such cowards. Hiding amongst women and children. That makes the women and children even braver than the jihadis are. Must be shameful to be a Jihadi. I’m sure the fictional sky deity is happy of their tactics.

  13. 13 selena in Paris
    August 28, 2008 at 13:48


    Last night the CBC National had an article on Iran. They interviewed Israelis who said the world should not trust Iran because their leaders were blah, blah, blah (the usual stuff, such as you have stated here). That is why Israeli would be compelled to make a preemptive strike.

    Don’t you see the hypocritical nonsense contained within this statement? The world has much more to fear from Israel.

    Being a Jihadi is no more shameful than being a paranoid country scared to death of its neighbors.

    It is all shameful Steve. Let’s say it one more time.

    Israel is no paragon of virtue and it has no moral right to call the kettle black.

  14. 14 Lubna
    August 28, 2008 at 13:52

    Thank you so much Precious Kelsie… And Hi my Precious Steve… I wonder, why did you ignore commenting on the issue of the ” shameless double moral standards” adopted by the US and the West when it comes to dealing with international issues ?! It seems that when Israel is involved in a particular issue, the only moral standard which is valid for the US and the West is that “support them unconditionally regardless of the nature of their acts”… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  15. 15 selena in Paris
    August 28, 2008 at 14:06


    It must be distressing for you to see the lack of support for you and your loss.

    My heart aches for everyone who is caught up in events beyond their control and who must also suffer the lack of compassion from those who see themselves as morally pure.

    Some people will always use perceived weakness to deliver multiple blows. I don’t think it is possible to change this quirk of human nature. But I fail to see what is to be gained from kicking other humans.

    Bless you Lubna!

  16. 16 Nofal Elias
    August 28, 2008 at 14:08

    I don’t believe US or any NATO members will enter in a direct or indirect confilct with Russia over Georgia.
    Georgia chose the wrong friend thinking US will defend them no matter what they do.
    You can not trust the Americans, look at the Shah of Iran in 1979, he was American’s best friend, he was refused to take asylm in the US.
    America uses small countries to their advantage. There is nothing for US to fight the Russians over Georgia.
    So, for Georgia the sooner they accept the fact they lost South Ossetia and Abkhazia the better.

  17. 17 steve
    August 28, 2008 at 14:09

    @ Lubna

    Does georgia talk about destroying Russia? Say even if Russia were in the right, and georgia in the wrong, i don’t see Georgia threatening the destruction or russia, or having in their charter that the destruction of russia as a primary goal of the government. Comparing georgia to Hezbollah must insult ever Georgian on earth. Hezbollah = insane, religious fanatics who hide amongst women and children, who teach hatred of everyone different than them, who kill over fairy tales from 1600 years ago. Please don’t insult georgians by even trying to compare Lebanon to Georgia/Russia.

  18. 18 steve
    August 28, 2008 at 14:15

    @ Nofal

    Um, the US did give asylum to The shah, he was treated for cancer in the US. The Iranians demanded the US hand him over, the US refused. He lated moved to Egypt, where he died from cancer.

  19. 19 Nofal Elias
    August 28, 2008 at 14:19

    Give Hezbollah the same weapons as their enemy has and see who hides behin women and children.
    When you have tanks, warplanes and helicopters than can hit their target few miles away, what sort of chance would Hezbollah has.
    Even though Israel destroyed the infrastructure of Leabenon 1000 times worse what Russia did to Georgia.

  20. 20 steve
    August 28, 2008 at 14:22

    @ Nofal

    Would the intelligent thing perhaps be to not attack a more powerful neighbor? That would be intelligent, but if I were some insane, religious nutjob, I guess intelligence doesn’t go along with that.

    Again, hezbollah attacked Israel. Yet you blame israel for it. Brilliant.

  21. 21 Nofal Elias
    August 28, 2008 at 14:47

    @ Steve,

    Nato blamed the Russians for using extrem force even though Georgia started by attacking South Ossetia by killing over 2000 civilians.
    Israel destroyed Leabenon when two soliders were kiddnaped

  22. 22 Nofal Elias
    August 28, 2008 at 14:48

    @ Steve,

    The Shah traveled from country to country in his second exile, seeking what he hoped would be a temporary residence. First he went to Egypt, and got an invitation and warm welcome from president Anwar el-Sadat. He later lived in Morocco, the Bahamas, and Mexico. But his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma began to grow worse and required immediate and sophisticated treatment.

    Reluctantly, on October 22, 1979, President Jimmy Carter allowed the Shah to make a brief stopover in the United States to undergo medical treatment. The compromise was extremely unpopular with the revolutionary movement, which had been angered by the United States’ years of support for the Shah’s rule. The Iranian government demanded the return of the Shah to Iran to stand trial.

  23. 23 Count Iblis
    August 28, 2008 at 15:05

    I agree with Lubna about Israel. Of course, one can disagree about some minor details about what exactly happened in the Lebanon war. But whether or not some leader has talked about “destruction of Israel”, is irrelevant. Because what does that mean in practice? Regime change? And wouldn’t it be impossible to implement that as Israel is a nuclear power?

    Perhaps one can say that the West is treating Georgia like Israel. We can let the South-Ossetians play the role of the Palestinians. Georgia attempted to resolve their “Palestinian problem” once and for all using military force.

    But since the balance of power is completely the opposite, Georgia is much weaker than Russia, this had to go wrong.

  24. 24 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 28, 2008 at 17:22

    USA is expecting too much from Europen allies without knowing the fact the US European’s allies dont have a courage to fight like PAKISTAN army & nation.
    Infact entire Europe is a dead elephant only Russia sound little alive, this is why resistance & reaction’s are very clear.
    Europen’s isolation policy sound like rusty & wornout sward in front of rifale as this policy never work in China isolation case, any way communist’s dont want to mixup with free & religious society.
    Journey of USSR to RUSSIA endedup in shape of ” wounded Lion” in European Jungle & no one have a courage to chain him up. No doubt Wounded lion knows it is dangerious for him to go close to Pakistan.

  25. 25 steve
    August 28, 2008 at 18:03

    Wow, Putin just blamed the US. He said US forces were in Georgia during the entire thing, and must have had US approval. Meanwhile he has a missile test that can reach Washington, DC. What a THUG.

  26. 26 roebert
    August 28, 2008 at 18:06

    This is a fight that the US has picked, as usual. What’s at stake is strategic positioning for an increasingly blatant American imperialism. The US does not give a hoot about the well-being of Ossetians or Abkhazians. As for NATO, it actually no longer has any reason to exist, and hasn’t had since the end of the Cold War. So, how to justify its lame-duck, wrong-headed and expensive continuance? Start another Cold War, of course. This is US cynicism at the height of its stupidity because picking a scrap with Russia will be the most embarrassing move it has made so far this millennium; and it’s made a few.

    The Russians are in the right here. The Georgians made a flop of a political move, and it would not surprise me if ‘the quiet Americans’ were behind that one too.

    I can only hope the EU will stand with Russia. Of course, you can’t hope for the same from the UK, the US’s satellite state across the water.

  27. 27 Tom D Ford
    August 28, 2008 at 18:33

    What the hell is a US Coast Guard ship doing over there off the coast of the nation of Georgia? There is no US coast over there!

  28. 28 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 28, 2008 at 20:03

    Russia have two allies those are India & China in other words all togather they are 65% of the world population on the other hand USA have minority public support around the globe. Overall US is moving towards isolation with all apporchunist friends & allies beside stratigic partner’s Pakistan & Isriel.
    Why US & European’s corporates are supporting China & India economicaly & technologically, which is technically wrong, need to be fix right now.
    USA need stratigic planning to achieve the object with follow up instruction’s to related sectors, factors & allies.
    I wish US will suceed to restore public trust in principals love & human diginity.

  29. 29 Thomas Murray
    August 28, 2008 at 22:09

    The EU is in a sticky wicket.

    They have to back Georgia, but Putin is trying to preserve his Federation.

    That common roots have a higher priorty over economic hegemonies, this is a no brainer.

    Protesting Russia’s occupation of South Ossetia with words is appropriate. But doing it with sanctions or the threat of armed intervention is not.

    Where is your moderation. Your diplomats need to start acting like diplomats.

    –Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  30. 30 andreas
    August 28, 2008 at 23:15

    Russia and Georgia = Turkey and Cyprus
    How dare Britain and the USA condemn Russia for invading Georgi with such self righteousness as guardians of democracy yet they ignore bully turkey’s brutal invasion of tiny Cyprus? They even give blessing to Turkey by doing everything possible to get Turkey into the EU regardless of her atrocious human rights and genocide (which Turkey still denies). Why moan about Russian troops in Georgia after 2 weeks when no complaints are made by UK/ USA against Turkeys 40,000 troops still in Cyprus after 34 years. British Foreign secretary Milliband shouts for strict sanctions on Russia and expulsion from G8, yet he and USA do nothing to put pressure on Turkey to get out of Cyprus. They say Russia is carving up Georgia and this is illegal on an independent sovereign state like Georgia — er, excuse me but didn’t Turkey carve up Cyprus and yet UK even signs trade treaties with Turkey and illegal so-called “north” Cyprus ??!
    Why doesn’t UK/US shout at Turkey’s aggression in Cyprus ? It made me laugh when Georgian President said it is the first time in Europe, since nazi Germany ,that a big country has attacked a little country!! H eobviously is blissfully unaware of his southern neighbour Turkey having attacked,invaded and occupied little Cyprus in 1974 on the pretext of protecting minority Turks . wake up ! the only reason UK/US do not put pressure on Turkey is because they want to kep Turkey happy a sa buffer against Russia, to secure their precious oil pipeline going thru Turkey and to keep a secular Turkey agaisnt militant Islamic Arabs next door.

  31. 31 Count Iblis
    August 29, 2008 at 00:37

    Another analogy: Suppose that China attacks Taiwan to bring it back under Chinese control. Then the US will come to the rescue of Taiwan and attack China. But Taiwan is officially part of China…

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