Shit, Meet Fan; Fan, Meet Shit

If this holds out to be true and not just a trial balloon you can expect the shit to hit the fan fairly soon, unless, that is Russia really is full of bluster:

Ukraine has agreed to take part in a missile defence system designed by the United States to protect Western countries. The government in Kiev defended its decision for military co-operation with the West, saying Russia cancelled a bilateral treaty with Ukraine earlier this year.

A few days ago, Poland and the United States reached agreement on the siting of missiles on Polish territory. These, together with radar installations in the Czech republic, make up the missile shield. Russia is fiercely opposed to the defence system and has threatened retaliatory measures.

The Ukrainian offer to co-operate with the US on the shield comes as the situation surrounding Russia’s military operations in Georgia is increasingly tense. Ukraine’s pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko has strongly criticised Russia and is threatening to impose restrictions on Russian navy vessels’ use of the port of Sebastopol in Ukraine.

I just can’t see any situation where Russia would let this stand.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • I would ask the Obama campaign to seriously prepare for such an eventuality. This is so dangerous for the US, the world and his campaign (not that it will mater much) that he needs to have an open statement condemning such an attempt. He has to explain that in the same way that we (well not we as I am not American but you get what I mean) did not allow Cuba to have missiles on its ground, in that same way Russia cannot allow this to happen. He has to commit to treading responsibly condemning McCain and Bush for warmongering and playing adds like Johnson’s with mushroom clouds. He needs to save the rest of us and his campaign immediately. And those adds should be accompanied with images of McCain talking about the anthrax attacks as Middle-east inspired and of more emphasis on Suskind’s book.

    I hope that European leaders (I mean old Europe not the irrelevant and highly irresponsible Poles who were unfortunately accepted in the EU) will act immediately and make it absolutely clear that this is unacceptable and that no fires should be lit on Europe’s powder-keg.

    Sorry needed to rant, this is bad

  • We agreed this negotiating phase a week ago, which was … before the events in Georgia, and because of the US calendar there was some urgency,” [Sikorski] said.

    I like how Tusk and Bush tied the next administration’s hands, or untied them, in McCain’s opinion.

  • 1. Obama’s in trouble even being perceived as an American.Thisis “wag the dog” big time, by Rove et al, except Putin doesn’t think it’s funny.

    2. Who in Europe would do this, except maybe Spain and Portugal, not exactly big-league players?

    But we all know what you’re worrying about.

    “The mythical John McCain is an affable, straight-talking, moderately conservative war hero who is an expert on foreign policy” – Bob Herbert

  • Trying to corner a martial artist like Putin is asking him to drop you to the floor hard with a move you don’t even see coming, which neutralizes your forward energy and turns it against you.

  • nymole:

    Agree with your Obama assessment. It is quasi impossible. The European front is more complex. Germany and France was more what I was thinking of. More like Germany alone in fact. They get their natural gas from Russia and they should push for rational policies. It is essential for them. They will have allies among the rest of the Europeans. Do not underestimate Spain (huge player in Latin America) and the clout that a proper round of EU diplomacy which would raise a number of other states as cosignatories can have. If Germany has Spain, Portugal, Greece (already purchased by Putin and incensed by Kossovo) the benelux and a tacit approval by sarko then you have most of Europe saying: hey stop it. All they have to do is come out and say: stop playing our troops in Afghanistan should not face Russian equivalents to the Stinger missile or.

  • Higher natural gas prices for the Ukraine.

    I’ve been perusing the Ukrainian online newspapers and see a real effort to portray the Russians as the oppressors of the poor downtrodden Georgians in this conflict. It seems that Yushenko is the one doing most of the talking on the subject; I haven’t seen a peep by Tymoshenko yet.

    As far as evicting the Black Sea fleet goes, I don’t think that it will happen anytime soon, if at all.

    And the propaganda mills are spinning in the US too. This morning, I saw this bit of witlessness in my local fishwrapper.

    We’ve got to be careful here and remember that Medvedev/Putin responded to a serious humanitarian crisis in Georgia and that the military action was not unprovoked. Personally, I think that Saakashvili was duped by the US into his actions. After seeing him eat his necktie, I’m not sure if he’s terribly bright.

    But this is a grand time for the Bush neocons to spin a new “global evil”. And I don’t have a lot of faith in the American people to think critically about this.

  • about this war is the portrayal of President Mikheil Saakashvili as a complete lunatic. Sure he’s young and tends to be impulsive, but is he as stupid as he’s portrayed?

    A possible explanation:

    Putin Walks into a Trap
    by Mike Whitney

    Obviously with satellite and US Intelligence, the massing of troops had to have been observed by possibly both Russia and the United States. Yet nothing was done to stop the launch of his troops? It does seem odd that the tunnel was left intact making it possible for the Russian tanks to enter Georgia. It doesn’t appear there are many writers that conclude it was Russia that was tricked with the exception of this article. What say you fellow agonists, “Should I be wearing my tinfoil hat?”

    hmmm…Should have been wearing the hat:

    Blow-by-blow description of the fighting that occurred in Tskhinvali, Georgia

    A Two-Sided Descent Into Full-Scale War
    By Peter Finn

    “military experts said the BM-21 is a weapon for battlefield combat and not for use anywhere near civilians. “The BM-21 was designed to attack forces in large areas, and, as a consequence, if you use them in an urban environment, the likelihood of collateral damage is high,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.”


    Follow up article:

    The Georgia Crisis: A Blow to NATO
    By Tony Karon

  • Over at Counterpunch:

    “The coverage of the western media has been abysmal. Nearly every article and TV news segment begins with accusations of Russian aggression concealing the fact that the Georgian Army bombarded and invaded the capital of South Ossetia one full day before the first Russian even tank crossed the border. By the time the Russians arrived, the city was already in a shambles and thousands were dead.

    These facts are not in dispute by those who followed the developments as they took place. Now the media are revising the facts to manage public perceptions, just as they did with the fictional WMD in Iraq. Many people think that the press learned its lesson after they were exposed for using bogus information in the lead up to the war in Iraq. But that is not true. The corporate media–especially FOX News, CNN and PBS (the smug, liberal-sounding channel)—continue to operate like the propaganda arm of the Pentagon. Its disgraceful. “

    There’s other good reading over there this weekend…

  • there was a picture yesterday in the Globe and Mail of the damage done when the opening salvos were fired. Russians were named as doing the damage!

    Shameful reporting!

    Whitney’s writing at Counterpunch lacks the credibility of the Washington Post description of the fighting by Peter Finn. Sources are suspect–many appear to be a regurgitation of internet articles.

  • This needs a response on the order of a worldwide general strike until there is credible evidence of serious negotiations towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

    Seriously. There may not be a next election.

  • That ought to make a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic happy!

    The return of the Cash Cow! The Rooster that just keeps on laying golden eggs!

    We need some new no-bid contracts and we need them now! Call up that Dubai company – what was their name? Oh yeah, Halliburton! Get them on the line, pronto!

  • From

    President Saakashvili has strongly brushed off any suggestion that it was his administration to blame for armed conflict with Russia and said Georgia was ready for international investigation to find out what led to the conflict.

    At a joint news conference with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, President Saakashvili was asked to comment on allegations that he also was partially responsible for the crisis because of attacking breakaway South Ossetia.

    Saakashvili said in a response that it was Russia which sent its troops to Georgia and Tbilisi just had to react. He also pointed out that Georgia had been telling the world about, what he said was, Russia’s preparations for invasion into Georgia for months.

    “None of you did pay attention at it,” he said, “and now you come back to me and blame us? None of the mainstream European media paid attention at it; there were all the indications on the ground saying this; and people now might say: who fired first shots; well, if there are hundreds of tanks rolling into your country you have two choices – either to fire or surrender. I made it clear, no matter what, Georgia will never surrender. If tanks continue to roll we will not again surrender.”

    He also said that Russia now tried to justify its action under the pretext of protecting its citizens in South Ossetia. He, however, said it was a Soviet-old tactics.

    The German Chancellor Merkel told the news conference that it was not time for speaking about the origins of the conflict; she said ceasefire and fulfillment of six-point plan was the priority at the moment.

  • The Times Online:

    August 7

    Georgia and rebels begin Russian-brokered ceasefire talks under a truce. Hours later, however, Georgian troops launch a surprise attack on Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia, “to restore constitutional order”. Russia is outraged, and later accuses Georgian troops of war crimes against civilians

    August 8

    Russia pours troops into South Ossetia, vowing to defend Russian “compatriots”. Fighting takes place in Tskhinvali. Russian jets attack Georgian military bases. President Saakashvili of Georgia says that Russia and Georgia are now at war. 30 Georgian and 21 Russian troops reported killed. Thousands of South Ossetian civilians flee, other shelter in basements

  • Saakashvili’s Televised Address

    Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Aug.’08 / 13:41

    President Saakashvili’s pre-recorded televised addressed aired by the Georgian Public Broadcaster early on August 18:

    Dear compatriots!

    During last days Georgia has passed through the hardest test and the entire Georgian society continues one of the most organized, one of the most heroic resistance against Russian occupation, which, for the first time in our history, was responded by appreciation by the entire world.

    We were attacked. Of course, the reason of attack was not either Tskhinvali or Abkhazia.

    The goal of the attack was to undermine Georgia’s independence; the goal of the attack was destruction of Georgia’s free sole, destruction of the Georgian nation and burial of Georgia’s future, which would have served as a bitter example for the entire world.

    After many days of intervention and occupation, we are now in the this situation: the key reasons of Russian aggression and occupation have not been reached so far; the Georgian capital has not fallen down, the Georgian government has not run away as it happened in 1921. Moreover, the government at all levels is working in an organized way. The Georgian people have not come out in the streets against their own government and are instead continuing passive heroic resistance against foreign invaders.

    I have been reported from various regions of Georgia about numerous examples of heroism of the residents of our cities and villages.

    We are successors of our great heroes, we are successors of Tsotne Dadiani, we are successors of Chkondideli, nine brothers Kherkheulidze, 300 Aragvelis, and many other Georgian heroes.

    We know and genetically we have an unimaginable experience how to meet the enemy which is thousand times more than us.

    Georgia has always been a target of attacks of numerous enemies, but Georgia managed to endure, to survive and we will survive this time as well.

    I want to bow low and thank you everybody.

    Your unimaginable restraint and demonstration of dignity in the eyes of the entire world has triggered admiration of the entire freedom loving nations throughout the world, and I can say it without exaggeration.

    The top issue in the American political discussions is the situation in Georgia, the top issue in Europe is the situation in Georgia and this will have a long-term effect and it will change the history of our country.

    We did not want it and we are not glad about it. But it has appeared unexpected and an unpleasant surprise for our enemies, for our invaders.

    Now, I want to address the occupational force which entered from Russia and their patrons.

    From the very beginning your entry was illegal and amounted to infringement of all international norms.

    The continuation of your presence in Georgia is senseless and each day of your presence here is fraught with catastrophic damage for your future, for your future perspectives.

    You will fail to achieve your goals. Georgia will not be destroyed. You have probably got assured that Georgia will not run away, Tbilisi will not be deserted, the Georgian army has not been destroyed and will not be destroyed and what is most important, the Georgian spirit of resistance has not been broken and will not be broken.

    The only thing you will reach by maundering about, looting, robbing, exploding and demolishing is alienation from the world for many months and years, and even for generations.

    You have caused great damage to Georgia, but afterwards you will not do anything more. Your presence here has no sense, proceeding from your own purposes.

    Therefore, I call on you and I demand that Russian occupations forces leave the country immediately.

    As soon as your troops leave the Georgian territory, let us start serious thinking about looking for the forms of future negotiations, future discussions, future relations in order not to further alienate our countries from each other for ever.

    But now the occupation should end.

    The Georgian cities and highways should be set free, as an urgent step and everything should be opened.

    The people should be given an opportunity to return home, to restore what has been saved, because each day of your presence here, besides damaging your own future, will bring no harm to the Georgian state, but cause great damage to ordinary citizens.

    Our future relations are based on these very people and their generations. Let us not alienate our future generations for ever.

    I do not pin great hopes on your mercy and I do not count on it now. But I pin hopes on your pragmatism and elementary sound idea. I think time has come when you should also make a right decision.

    Georgia will not fail whatever you will do, Georgia will not surrender, Georgia will not step back, Georgia will never give up any square meter of its territory regardless of what you will do in future.

    On the other hand, Georgia is always open, regardless of what has happened between us, to solve all disputable issues, if there are such, through a dialogue, negotiations and elementary civilized relations.

    But the precondition for it should be withdrawal of occupational forces and cessation of causing damage to Georgia, as well as de-occupation of Georgia.

    I want to address you, my compatriots, we will completely restore everything, we will put our country on its feet, we will compensate everything what we have lost; but of course it is impossible to compensate for the lives of the dead.

    We will regain our foothold; we will put our country – which was not forced to kneel down and to obey – on its feet.

    God bless us and our country, Georgia.

  • I wonder if the Georgians were spoofed into thinking that the Russians were coming through the Roki tunnel when, in fact, they weren’t.

    Saakashvili’s apparently not too stupid–he’s a graduate of both Columbia and George Washington. But he is definitely *our* guy.

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