Perhaps They Miscalculated

There is an excellent discussion of the dust up in the Republic of Georgia going on at The Belmont Club. There is lots of news about an impending Naval Blockade of Iran.

Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

That is very interesting. Very interesting indeed. A joint American and European task force including France? What is the world coming to? No good for the Iranians to be sure.

So a commenter at the Belmont Club on the Georgia thread pops up and asks if the excitement in Georgia will have an effect on the coming Iran operation?

Will it frustrate planned action on Iran? Yes.
Well I'm not going to give a set up like that a pass (I blog after all). So here is my response:

No. Russia is now tied down. Their freedom to act has just been reduced. You know: hold 'em by the nose and then kick them in the ass.

The Russians now have what? 30K - 40K troops tied down and their attention concentrated at the cost of 1,000 Americans in the field + a few hundred advisers. Plus there are Israeli advisers in Georgia as well.

Americans are taking no casualties and the Russians seem to be bloodied.

The time for a counter strike at Russia's wind pipe (the Roki Tunnel) is when they have fully extended. To make such a strike before that reduces the effect. As a commenter at the Belmont Club link said they have learned nothing from 1908. Evidently we have.

We will see how stupid the Russians are in the next few days. If they keep advancing while taking losses - i.e. they are goaded into ill considered action - they become more vulnerable every day. If they retreat they lose face. The Georgians need to keep retreating while fighting delaying actions to maintain limited contact and then cut off the Russian wind pipe. In the immortal words of Groucho Marx - stucco.

It is reported that Putin's face turned to ash at the Olympics. Perhaps things got out of hand before he was ready to act. We have disrupted Putin's timing. i.e. a spoiling attack.

In re: American politics. This is not going to help Obama with the muddled middle. Americans turn to warriors in dangerous times, not community organizers.

So what have the Russians decided to do?

The President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev issued an order Tuesday for the termination of the military operation of the Russian Army in Georgia.

Medvedev announced his decision during a meeting with the Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and the Head of the General Staff of the Army Nikolay Makarov, Interfax reported.

The operation for "coercing the Georgian side into making peace" was ended after a report of the Defense Ministry made it clear the goals of Russia's military operation was achieved.

If that report is true (and it is very likely true because it has come from a Russian news agency) the Russians know that they are in a very dangerous position militarily and may be beating feet to save their army.

However, they miscalculated by not announcing in advance "limited objectives". Now it will look like they have been defeated by a fifth rate power with American friends. Bad for morale. Bad for their world image. Having Putin at the Olympics at the start when the generals would be in control with orders to do nothing except to respond to attacks was a master stroke not an error.

Proving once again that Bush plays the game better than any one else currently on the world stage.

Note: no reported American deaths so far. It looks like the Russians got their noses bloodied and America barely lifted a finger. My guess is that Russia was saving its move into Georgia for the start of the planned blockade of Iran. That is not going to work is it?

The initiative in world affairs has shifted.

What can we expect next once the blockade starts? Hizballah will probably attack Israel. However, this time it will come as no surprise to the Israels and my guess is that this time they will not only take out Hizballah but also Syria as well. The Stupistinians in Gaza will also likely get their just deserts. Provided they heed their paymasters in Iran.

It will be a whole new world come 20 Jan. 2009. A lot of unfinished business will have been finished. Self government is on the move. It will not be denied.

And American politics? That poor Obama doesn't stand a chance.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

Welcome Instapundit readers. You might also like There Is A Fly In The Ointment and Some One Got Taught A Lesson.

posted by Simon on 08.12.08 at 06:55 AM










Comments

In what way are the Russians bloodied? I haven't read any reports about significant casualties. From what I read the Georgia and Russia both made a power play for South Ossetia, and it looks like the Russians won. If Russia withdraws to South Ossetia it can keep a militairy presence there, and build up a local supply base as well.
Should a cease-fire be signed Russia can use any violations as an excuse to bomb the pipelines.

There may be diplomatic fallout, but if the West wants to tackle Iran they will need Russia's cooperation. With democrats in charge of the US congress/senate and Europe having signed over it's energy policy to Russia, I don't think Putin has much to fear.

Daran   ·  August 12, 2008 8:38 AM

I agree with the first comment: Russia isn't bloodied at all. It has used maybe 10K-20K troops out of an army of many 100K. It suffered almost no casualties while it annihilated and routed the entire Georgian army, which left all of its heavy weapons behind as it desintegrated and fled in civilian cars.

Russia now controls half of the territory of Georgia and is well-positioned to do with Tbilisi what the Russian army does best: obliterate it with artillery fire. It sits atop the last pipeline to the West it didn't already control and it has made the US and Bush in particular look like an impotent idiot who can do nothing to stop the Russian advance, whether in Georgia or through its proxies in Venezuela/Bolivia. And wait until it lets its other proxy, Ahmadinejad out of his lunatic asylum.

And why is Bush still wandering about in Beijing ? Is he being held hostage by Putin's Chinese partners in crime ?

Peter   ·  August 12, 2008 9:31 AM

My read is that the Georgians dug in at Mtskheta and the cost to get past that defensive position was high. The Russian have taken severe casualties according to some reports. The Georgian military is still intact and Russian attempt to damage communications has not been as effective as the Russians wanted.

Plus the world’s reaction was against Russian adventurism. The media started pushing this story that it was about control of the BCZ pipeline.

Keeping the media in Georgia and Georgia constant access to the media was a plus for Georgia.

RAH   ·  August 12, 2008 9:31 AM

"And why is Bush still wandering about in Beijing"

Did not President Bush speak from the Rose Garden about this subject?

syn   ·  August 12, 2008 9:45 AM

In what way are the Russians bloodied? I haven't read any reports about significant casualties.

Perhaps my sources are better than yours.

Time will tell.

M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2008 11:00 AM

In two days of intense combat the Georgian army fighting their Russian opponents suffered hundreds of casualties, and so far have retained discipline. Russian casualties are in the hundreds and Russian aircraft have been shot down - solid performance for a military that has existed for less than a generation.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1422665.php/Georgian_army_may_be_tough_nut_for_Russia_to_crack__News_Feature_

If you want to find out who won the results will be in with the kind of agreement negotiated.

Remember that at first the Russians wanted President Mikheil Saakashvili to step down and to be tried as a war criminal. That is no longer mentioned.

The normal deal is for the demands to escalate if your side is winning. A reduction of demands indicates disadvantage in the field.


M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2008 11:16 AM

Russia was planning an invasion and the pretext was S. Ossetia. Saakashvili knew this and attempted to short circuit the invasion by attacking S. Ossetia. Georgia’s attempt failed because they miscalculated the Russian response and speed. Georgians failed to take out the road to the Roki Tunnel. They did retreat to good positions over the S. Ossetian capital and shelled the Russians.


Georgians successfully retreated and took up position near Gori and continued to cost the Russians and then retreated further to Mtskheta.

Russia was continuing to take losses see this post: There is some complaining on the Russian side regarding Israel. While virtually all media blames the Ukraine for every weapon system that kills a Russian soldier or any civilian, there is some sort of anti-vehicle weapon that locals are suggesting is Israeli in origin, and it is apparently lethal. We searched arms databases for exports and couldn't come up with anything, it may not be Israeli. There is a rumor circulating that some 50 armored vehicles and tanks have been destroyed by this weapon. The Russian UN ambassador was reportedly asked about it in the press conference today. I have not seen a transcript, but he reportedly did not answer the question.
This is from http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com


I think that the Russians did not have clear goals. To punish the Georgian was one but then to occupy Georgia and take out Saakashvili’s government was another. But they did not think this out clearly. They did not think they would get that much resistance from the Georgians and the world take was Russia was indulging in adventurism and an oil grab.

Russia thought Georgia would fold quickly and they could impose their puppet leader. Bush’s reaction yesterday indicated that he would support Georgia and probably is pushing Turkey to do something.


RAH   ·  August 12, 2008 12:43 PM

Thanks for the link. My remark was intended to indicate that I got my viewpoint from what I read on the average blog and was wondering what information made you reach your conclusion.

To me it feels like the narrative of Israel-Hezbollah is being replayed on a larger scale. In this case both sides will claim to have won, however Russia will have troops in Ossetia and left a clear impression with the small neighbours that it is still the regional power.

Daran   ·  August 12, 2008 12:51 PM

- There is some complaining on the Russian side regarding Israel. While virtually all media blames the Ukraine for every weapon system that kills a Russian soldier or any civilian, there is some sort of anti-vehicle weapon that locals are suggesting is Israeli in origin, and it is apparently lethal. We searched arms databases for exports and couldn't come up with anything, it may not be Israeli. There is a rumor circulating that some 50 armored vehicles and tanks have been destroyed by this weapon. The Russian UN ambassador was reportedly asked about it in the press conference today. I have not seen a transcript, but he reportedly did not answer the question.

- Russian military casualties appear to be high, and we note the number is being concealed intentionally. We are reminded of Afghanistan here. Georgian military casualties are very high, but they are spinning the numbers for political purposes. It will be up to international organizations to reveal the real numbers.

http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2008/08/obseving-russian-offensive.html

M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2008 2:30 PM

Wonder if any of those 2000 troops coming back from Iraq learned anything about ieds and vbieds. The Russians may yet be in for some surprises.

ctb   ·  August 12, 2008 2:49 PM

Re: "Limited objectives"

The Russians repeatedly said that their objectives were not to topple the Georgian government but to drive them out of the breakaway provinces and to rein in Georgia's military capability.

That seems to be accomplished.

Just because you don't believe the Russian pronouncements of what their objectives were doesn't mean that they didn't make them.

Dave   ·  August 12, 2008 7:07 PM

Dave,

I heard no such pronouncements until the operation was well under way.

Perhaps you have a link from late July giving their reasons. Or a statement from a few hours into the operation.

The Russians want a wedge in Georgia. I think the "breakaway" provinces will be leaving the Russian orbit in time. Once they get tired of being poor.

In any case Russian history shows that they do not give up a military operation when they are winning. So I suspect spin.

Their original demand was a war crimes trial for the Georgian President. Well you have to subjugate Georgia before that happens. Now they just want him to step down. To do that without a vote you have to subjugate Georgia. That didn't happen.

I predict they will not get any of their demands met.

The Russians will cease their raids. The Georgians will not move militarily. Think Lebanon '06. Both sides puffed their chests. Neither side won. However the border is now quiet. Every one decided to regroup and do it better next time.

Not a bad outcome for Georgia. And the American troops are still in country. Fixing to train the other 2/3s of the Georgian Army.

Why would the Russians give up if they thought they had a chance of driving the Americans out of the country? It makes no sense.

M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2008 7:44 PM

After hearing about Putin's reaction to the news of the Russian action it occurred to me, maybe it came as a surprise to Moscow as well. The Georgians attacked South Ossetia, and the commander of the Russian 38th army reacted, feeling he had no time to get a response from Moscow and deciding to act on his own initiative.

The Invasion of Georgia proper may well have been at his order, with directives from Moscow ignored, if they were received at all.

So the Russian government is presented with an accomplished fact, and doesn't feel itself to be in any position to refuse what has been done in their name. Be this the case, then Russia is in worse shape than we thought, and lives only on the sufferance of her gangsters and war lords.

We might see Russia joining the West to liberate Georgia from a brigand chief with a mob composed of a Russian army, and re-establish control over her own country. A second Russian civil war anybody?

Alan Kellogg   ·  August 12, 2008 11:23 PM

I think the Russians lost in the long run. I posted on this yesterday.

K T Cat   ·  August 13, 2008 10:47 AM

I'm not so sure I would jump to the conclusion that the Georgians are winning at this point, but the Russians are definately having some problems I doubt they anticipated.

Russian drones had a hard time getting into Georgian airspace for reconnaisance prior to the invasion. Russian pilots are having difficulty hitting their targets and more than a few have been shot down. They've been trying since day one to hit the BP pipeline and destroy the oil depot at Poti via airstrikes and have failed repeatedly (this is a small victory for Georgia right there).

The Russians have a foothold in Georgia, but now they've been forced into a "cease-fire" which it seems like they are already violating, however their momentum is now virtually nil and the Georgians themselves are mobilizing into a coherent force. If the Russians spend too much more time in Georgian territory they may find themselves the victims of a serious conventional and unconventional counter-attack.

I don't think the fat lady has even been given her warning that she's about to go on. There are probably many twists and turns to come in this whole adventure.

The Russians seem to have played their hand a bit early and it looks like they weren't holding as good a hand as we thought in the beginning.

I wish the Georgians the best of luck, courage and hope that they can weather this storm and come out stronger for it.

Jason Coleman   ·  August 13, 2008 10:52 AM

From everything I have seen, the Georgian Army has not been annihilated - they are retreating, trading space for time, and digging in in more defensible ground. The decision to retreat from the border to better terrain and thereby surrender large tracts of your country is a very tough one (remember the Germans in "Red Storm Rising"?). If Georgia can keep its Army mostly intact, it has a good chip to play.

I wonder what happened to all those Iranian made EFPs from Iraq? Think the US let the Georgians take them home as parting gifts?

Anonymous   ·  August 13, 2008 11:09 AM

From everything I have seen, the Georgian Army has not been annihilated - they are retreating, trading space for time, and digging in in more defensible ground. The decision to retreat from the border to better terrain and thereby surrender large tracts of your country is a very tough one (remember the Germans in "Red Storm Rising"?). If Georgia can keep its Army mostly intact, it has a good chip to play.

I wonder what happened to all those Iranian made EFPs from Iraq? Think the US let the Georgians take them home as parting gifts?

Holdfast   ·  August 13, 2008 11:09 AM

"Why would the Russians give up if they thought they had a chance of driving the Americans out of the country? It makes no sense."

Because driving the Americans out of the country, in this context, would mean killing American soldiers. Which would also mean buying trouble far beyond any reasonable Russian objectives in Georgia.

Russia's objective, such as it is, is to beat its chest and claim to be a superpower. Like most people who beat their chests and claim great strength, it's meant to cover up great weakness, and fools only the foolish.

Stacy   ·  August 13, 2008 11:17 AM

I know everyone is entitled to an opinion, but this comes off as wild speculation by armchair generals that don't know anything more than what they read on the wires.

Georgia's military is in full retreat and their airfields destroyed -- but this is all some clever ruse to "tie down" 40,000 Russian troops while the Americans do ... what was it again?

>>>Americans are taking no casualties and the Russians seem to be bloodied.

Umm, what war are you watching? The US is fighting Russia? This post is even more hilarious on the second read.

John   ·  August 13, 2008 11:21 AM

I agree this jumped off earlier than was expected. I saw _no_ T90 tanks and as a result the ATGM of the Georgians must have killed many an armored vehicle. The defense in depth is classic anti-Russian tactics. I commanded an anti-tank company of TOW missile vehicles. Our plan was to hit the Soviets from the edge of the forest as they cleared a cute German village. We would shoot once an fall back as the Soviet doctrine was to hit a firing point with a huge barrage.

Our plan was to fall back until we ran out of cute German villages or Ivans....which ever came first.

The end game was to stretch the Russians out so far that they became vulnerable to logistic disruption. We would fall back towards our log supply (just as the Georgians are doing) and they would advance _away_ from their log bases(Just as they are doing now).

The question is now whether the Russians will do something stupid that will allow the Georgians the excuse to smash the tunnel.

Quilly Mammoth   ·  August 13, 2008 11:24 AM

[i]Perhaps my sources are better than yours.

Time will tell.
[/i]

My sources agree with your sources, and there are reports of Russians trying to figure out what sort of AT weapon is taking out a disproportional amount of their armor.

Tim   ·  August 13, 2008 11:47 AM

Baloney.

-Ed.   ·  August 13, 2008 11:48 AM

I think people are getting a bit too worked up about this.

The situation in South Ossetia is similar in many ways to the wrangling that led to Texas becoming a U.S. state. The Russians may have crossed an international border, but it's one that was redrawn very recently, and quite a few Russians think it should be redrawn again.

From all appearances, the Russians are not going to try to remove Georgia's goverment, meaning this isn't really a Great Power struggle, but rather just another in the long series of nasty little ethno-religio-nationalist territorial disputes that have been going on since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

TallDave   ·  August 13, 2008 11:52 AM

The Russians were bitching yesterday about "Israeli made anti-tank weapons". Let me translate: The Georgians have killed a significant numbers of Russian tracks (AFVs). Just like the Stinger in Afghanistan, a good tank killer could equalize any apparatent superiority the Rus may have had (tech and numbers) at the start line.
Besides, the Russian army is still basing its doctrine on the Soviet model, and it's toast. Badly led, poorly trained and bad morale all add up to a war loser. Joe Stalin ain't around to kill the unlucky bastards who aren't properly motivated to fight, so it will fall apart.

B Dubya   ·  August 13, 2008 12:03 PM

Question: where are the P.O.W.s? With the utter rout of Georgian forces I haven't seen any news about Goergians taken prisoner.

Brian   ·  August 13, 2008 12:06 PM

Why would the Russians give up if they thought they had a chance of driving the Americans out of the country? It makes no sense.

But how much does Russia really care about driving the Americans and Israelis out of Georgia? Probably not a whole lot. The Cold War is over.

Anyways, Russia is now a third-rate power and at least nominally a free democracy, if a deeply flawed and authoritarian example of the species; they cannot occupy and control Georgia with terror the way the Soviets ruled their republics. It's neither within their means nor acceptable to the international community -- and probably not politically palatable at home, in the long run. If they tried, it would mean another Afghanistan, but worse because Georgia borders them and the Putin/Medvedev team needs to maintain some semblance of electoral legitimacy. They can't survive a difficult, unpopular war of naked conquest, and I would not be at all surprised if the rumors about Russian armor losses are accurate.

I think Russia's ambitions end at those two provinces where they can at least semi-legitimately claim to be protecting Russians, both by intent and necessity.

TallDave   ·  August 13, 2008 12:12 PM

Brian,

Question: where are the P.O.W.s? With the utter rout of Georgian forces I haven't seen any news about Georgians taken prisoner.

Good point. When you defeat an army you get prisoners. It is a classic defense in depth strategy. The Russians are not known for their logistics prowess. You get them to extend and then choke their windpipe. What the Japanese should have done in 1908 vs Port Arthur.

==

Pres. Bush has just announced an air lift into Georgia with "humanitarian" aid. And there are 1,000+ American troops in Georgia. Humanitarian aid means an air base.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 12:23 PM
TallDave   ·  August 13, 2008 12:27 PM

Besides being an obvious moral victory for Gerogia, I think it has also shown the military weakness of the Russians. TV coverage has shown outdated tanks and military equipment. Bombing raids revealed the inaccuracy of Russian target techonology. Russia apperantly lost at least 2-3 fighter planes in just a couple of days. Amazing! The US combat loss of fighter planes in two wars lasting half a decade has been statistically zero. Russia is weak, the West and the US are decades ahead in military technology.

Sergei   ·  August 13, 2008 12:30 PM

Yes, I have heard that the Israelis knocked out 50 Russian vehicles with a special device...but that only caused the Russians to break their agreement with Israel on not sending S-200 Anti-Aircraft missiles to Iran.

So the S-200s were probably shipped yesterday to Iran.

For reselling S-200s to Georgia that shot down Russian planes, the Ukraine just lost its privilege of buying more from Russia.

Minor details I guess.

What is not a minor detail is that Russia is now Europe's largest consumer market (bigger than Germany) and any businessman reading this would be a full-scale idiot to want to see US-Russian relations decline from this if it is not TOTALLY necessary.

Watch and wait. Today's Russian actions were seemingly designed to block the roads so nobody could stop them from destroying munitions that they say were part of the plan for Georgia to attack Abkhazia.

I am sure everyone here recognizes that Abkhazia and SO will now never be under Georgian rule (and never were except if you count before 1917 under the Tsar or after 1931 when Stalin forced the Abkhazians to come under the yoke of Beria in Tbilisi (a famous poisoning helped this happen).

In this last respect the Russians won big time.

The Russians have been there 16 years already and, quite frankly, there was every reason back in 1991 to let the areas join Russia if they wanted to.

There aren't any military guys here suggesting that Georgia be armed and trained to successfully attack Abkhazia in the future are there?

That would make things worse than the Cold War ever thought of being. We would have NEVER have used a proxy to make trouble directly on the Soviet border.

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 12:31 PM

Well, John, just what do YOU know? Apparently not much about warfare.

Germany lost WWII in part because Hitler would not allow his armies to retreat to more defensible positions - which is a standard tactic when facing an offensive. Trading space for time is also a standard tactic. The further into Georgia the Russians push, the more vulnerable they become (see Battle of Stalingrad). Since there is no chance Georgia could obtain air superiority against the Russians, the bombed airfields are not that big a factor. Resupply of the Georgian military becomes the critical factor the longer this goes on. Don't be surprised if the Georgians hold in the mountainous terrain, for example, around Miskheta.

Jack Okie   ·  August 13, 2008 12:34 PM

We would have NEVER have used a proxy to make trouble directly on the Soviet border.

Afghanistan.

TallDave   ·  August 13, 2008 12:36 PM

That would make things worse than the Cold War ever thought of being. We would have NEVER have used a proxy to make trouble directly on the Soviet border.

Evidently the times they are a changin.

In the past the Russians sustained a campaign like this in Afghanistan for 10 years. It appears that they can't do it for even 10 days.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 12:38 PM

Considering that Georgia is the size of Belgium & Luxembourg (Less than 0.5% of Russia's size) and population of just 4 million (0.2% of Russia), I am throughly unimpressed by the Russian military. Was this supposed to make us fear the Russia Bear?? LOL, more like little cub with a major self-confidence problem. The Russians are pathetic.

Kendra   ·  August 13, 2008 12:42 PM

Look, Simon, I seem to recall that you're the guy who insisted the Israelis were successfully carrying out a brilliant and complex plan in Lebanon, right up to the point where they gave up and went home and it turned out that the obvious read on the situation (their war effort was confused and aimless) was the actual truth. I can't help but think that you're overanalyzing a situation again to get the answer you wish was true.

M.   ·  August 13, 2008 12:45 PM

Look, Simon, I seem to recall that you're the guy who insisted the Israelis were successfully carrying out a brilliant and complex plan in Lebanon, right up to the point where they gave up and went home and it turned out that the obvious read on the situation (their war effort was confused and aimless) was the actual truth. I can't help but think that you're overanalyzing a situation again to get the answer you wish was true.

So true. I have made some whoppers of a mistake in my time. However, it is not my fault that Israel has really stupid political leaders. I was working on what a competent leader would have done (Olmert had US encouragement to do the right thing - he blew it).

It looks like Bush has a little more backbone. If I have blown it I will do what I did in Aug/Sept '06. Make a public apology.

In the mean time we have a lot of fodder for discussion. I'm learning stuff. Always valuable.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 12:56 PM

Fascinating. So youre saying that the Georgian retreat is all part of a clever plan to draw in the russians in order to close the tunnel behind them and anihilate them? That this is the beginning of a glorious Georgian victory? Ooookay.

To the rest of the universe, the russian offensive seems like a clearly setup contigency response, with clear aims. What is going on now is A) mopping up, dismantling of military infrastructure (the bases in Gori and on the Abkhaz border and B) bloodrevenge and looting by irregular cossack & south ossetian volunteers. Notice that the russians have made very little use of strategic bombers, missiles or other heavy area-covering weapons and instead used this as a livefire exercise for precision bombing, propably seeing it as a step towards the rebuilding of the russian armys capacity to wage western-style war that was announced two years ago.

It will be interesting to see what this has to say for the resupply-route to Afghanistan just being negotiated with the russians. but, hey, who cares about that, right?

fnord   ·  August 13, 2008 1:14 PM

IMHO. Putin never intended to take over Georgia (Wretchard got a little hysterical on that one).

Because: A year later Georgia = Afghanistan for Russia. I.E., a totally hostile population supporting very well-armed guerrillas also assisted by friendly neighboring states - resulting in many dead Russian tanks, aircraft, soldiers – and a classic quagmire. I doubt Putin even wants another Chechnya, much less another Afghanistan.

But assuming more limited objectives, Russia has come out ahead, on balance.

It lets its neighboring “near abroad” states know that it can and will invade if they get too obstreperous.

It demonstrates that there is very little outside countervailing military assistance available to oppose a Russian invasion in the short term.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia (with their Russian supporting populations) go from defacto Russian control to defacto Russian ownership.

World (European) opinion has been shocked but has not had time or been given reason to “harden” into permanent opposition, as a full-on Georgian takeover would have provoked – so it can be soothed back to sleep in a few months.

This is balanced somewhat by the fact that Georgia’s army will continue to be upgraded; and Georgia will (probably) at some point join NATO. And other neighbors will probably also pay more attention to their own militaries.

Tom Paine   ·  August 13, 2008 1:27 PM

Scty of State Rice will be vacationing in Tblisi:

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2008/08/secretary_of_st.html

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 1:29 PM

It demonstrates that there is very little outside countervailing military assistance available to oppose a Russian invasion in the short term.

I'd say that it shows the opposite. That Russian strength can be resisted and that the US will stand up for an ally. A really good message.

We whipped the Muj in Iraq. Russia will be much less feared and the Iranians are probably shaking in their boots. When push comes to shove with Iran my guess is the Chinless One in Syria will lay low.

A lot of unfinished business will get finished in the next few months. And Obama? I think his electoral chances just nose dived.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 1:38 PM
Fascinating. So youre saying that the Georgian retreat is all part of a clever plan to draw in the russians in order to close the tunnel behind them and anihilate them? That this is the beginning of a glorious Georgian victory? Ooookay.

It's called defense in depth and Soviet generals were so impressed with it that it forced them to keep a _huge_ army. Hoping that with enough men and machines they could overcome the kill sacks that we pull them into.

Whether the Georgians can pull it off is another question. But if they do cut the tunnel Ivan is screwed.

Quilly Mammoth   ·  August 13, 2008 1:42 PM

I'd like to know a bit more about the actual quality of the Russian Army. They now have a population of 150 million or less, of which only 48 mil are male between 15-64 (CIA factbook), which means certainly no more than no more than 20 mil (probably less) males even really available for the military. How many 18-35 males are in the Army?

Plus, as noted above, they have known problems that are bound to show up if Georgia can hold out.

I tend to agree that the two 'breakaway' provinces might have to be given up by Georgia, but I'm not sure that this will be a gain for the Russians in the long run.

I mean, how many troops are they willing to leave there, pinned down? And the Russkies aren't exactly known for being popular occupiers.

Basically, I expect the situation to look more and more like a Russian 'loss' as time goes on. The term "Pyhhric Victory" comes to mind.

JorgXMcKie   ·  August 13, 2008 1:57 PM

A word about Russian ethnic minorities in the old soviet republics....
Throughout the bloody history of the USSR, the Russians colonized and intended to displace the native populations, in some cases actually forcing populations to "resettle" or engineering famine to starve them to death.
Putin, by his steadfast resolve to "protect Slavic minorities" (i.e. the Stalin era ethnic colonies), is taking a page directly from the playbook of Hitler in the run-up to WWII. Does the Sudetenland ring any bells?
Look for more of the same. Oh, and don't look for POWs taken by the Russians in any of these little dustups; there won't be any.
Russia apparently missed her opportunity this century to become free and civilized. If you couple their xenophobia to their low life expectancy and birth rates, expect a steady decline into complete collapse by 2100.

B Dubya   ·  August 13, 2008 2:10 PM

It's called defense in depth and Soviet generals were so impressed with it that it forced them to keep a _huge_ army. Hoping that with enough men and machines they could overcome the kill sacks that we pull them into.

Whether the Georgians can pull it off is another question. But if they do cut the tunnel Ivan is screwed.

Yes. And if the tunnel is closed then they will have to evacuate by sea. Showing up their sea lift capability. I think that would force them to leave a lot of material behind. Dunkerque. Without the happy ending.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 2:49 PM

"It's called defense in depth and Soviet generals were so impressed with it that it forced them to keep a _huge_ army. Hoping that with enough men and machines they could overcome the kill sacks that we pull them into."

Oook. So they have given up several of their military bases, agreed to unconditional armistice, begged the international community for help (and recieved very little) and had to surrender both S. ossetia and Abkhazia as a strategy? Come on, seriously, this is a classic case of loosing militarily. The russians are propably right now destroying the infrastructure of the bases they have occupied in order to make sure that it takes several years before the Georgians are at the level they were pre invasion.

"Yes. And if the tunnel is closed then they will have to evacuate by sea. Showing up their sea lift capability. I think that would force them to leave a lot of material behind. Dunkerque. Without the happy ending."

Erm, what would hinder them to drive across from Abkhazia in strength while emergency re-suplying from air the Ossetian pocket? Or for that sake, leveling the whole of Tblisi as a response? They have lost air-supremacy, and have surrendered most vital keypoints in the whole of the north. They are outgunned, outtanked and out of money as well. Their equipment is mostly russian, so we cant even give them spare parts of any meaning. Hello?

Not meaning to flame, but your analysis is surrealistic.

fnord   ·  August 13, 2008 3:19 PM

Ground report: Russian milblogs are reporting that many of the 1000+ people killed in South Ossetia on the first day were the Russian peacekeeping force there.

No wonder the remains of the elite Georgian attack unit in the woods in SO have gone to ground while the Russians search for them so they can execute them.

Except for 200 prisoners that are being interogated about their participation in the attack last Friday.

Did someone above make the mistake of thinking that Russia is occupying two provinces whose populations aren't 99% pro-Russian?

You need to study up on the situation buddy.

Russia has already won the war because those provinces are now permanently in the control of the Russians who have been in control for the past 16 years (actually since 1924 - they were in limbo from 1917 to 1924).

But most of the commenters above are off in some strange neocon land...where I was on the Iraq War for a few years until I stopped obsessing about it by bothering to make blog comments anywwhere.

The Iraq War was necessary.

This little war means nothing in itself...except Saakvashili has backed Bush into a corner with all his crap about "save us America" that is playing to 7 other former Soviet satellites/republics.

Bush has to "provide humanitarian assistance for the ceasefire" now. The Russians won't mind that...because then the US military will have to keep Saakvashili in line and not attack the provinces anymore.

Where this war can hurt us is that Russia just announced is that the USA has to decide now if Russia is its enemy, complete with the consequences that would come from it being Europe's largest consumer market.

Did you know that Russians bought $34 Billion in cars and trucks last year? That is more than Germans bought.

They are calling our bluff. They are saying "Who is your friend, Georgia or us"?

To answer "Georgia. Go away you bully" would be a big mistake to make with Europe's largest buyer of cars and trucks and (soon) most consumer products.

Russia is not our enemy.

We are not talking about the Soviet Union here...a place that could offer us NOTHING as a friend or ally with no consumer market for our products. We were ALWAYS against the Soviet government's existence. We always implied or stated that we wanted it to no longer exist as a communist nation.

Are we now against Russia's existence even now that they are anti-communist and anti-feminist and getting richer with broad penetration of wealth spreading out among the people (slowly but surely)?

Russians are SHOCKED now at the naked hostility from Fox News watchers when all they are doing is what we did in Kosovo.

There is no difference. We are supporting Milosevic this time that is all.

Maybe you think he is better looking than Milosevic and better educated...but he is NEVER going to get those territories that were never his in the first place and would not be if Stalin had not forced Abkhazia and SO into Georgia in 1931 as a sick joke.

Our media will just spin it diffently...but don't count on that either. As a libertarian Republican, I am embarrassed that the Dem blogs have caught on to the idea that Saakvashili is a kook who is playing the US like a fiddle. Smart people in the middle are going to see through this farce as well.

That will hurt McCain. McCain does not want us to be standing nose to nose with the Russians in Georgia in November.

Too many Americans will have realized that this is where Neocon policy brings us (the US had to have given the green light for the attack on South Ossetia).

Bush's speech was condescending to Russians and then Saakvashili said "American troops are coming to secure our airports and ports".

I am sure he has to look good to other Eastern nations...but he made a mistake, which can be corrected, by acting like Russia is not America's biggest ally over there. Russia has more buying power than all of those former satellite nations put together.

Analysts are noting that Saakvashili wants war and tension in Georgia to last.

An American presence there would be great for him.

But for us? Do you think all the tension will help McCain? Not likely.

What will it do for the American military to be up against the Russian military, with convoys passing Gori all the time on the highway?

The Russians won't mind in principle.

But then do you trust this Saakvashili not to provide ambush activity that might get Americans and Russians shooting at each other?

And then Obama...when he sees mission creep coming on...

I don't think you really want to see US forces on television for weeks on end parading around as being the saviors of Georgians.

The Russians would be fine with that...but Americans will justifiably see it as one more country that we just have to be in to "uphold democracy" (Georgia's government is no more legitimate than Russia's, which is good enough for me).

You should all be blogging about how to deal with the embarrassing intransigence of Saakvashili who is on some big adventure over the fate of provinces that will always remain under Russian control.

And to the person who said "Afghanistan"...that was against a sick Soviet bear that wanted to occupy that large country forever while we wanted to destroy the entire Soviet Union. I was part of the US Army then and I understood the Republican mentality of containing them and provoking them as much as possible to drain them financially, etc, even if it were to be with proxy wars.

But Russia is Europe's largest consumer economy now. It is mentally sick to poke this much different bear. We do not want this country destroyed.

Now, tonight, Lavrov (foreign minister) has formally asked the USA: Who is more your friend, Russia or Georgia.

The answer is obvious: Russia

Georgia can still be protected with that stance. Just place yourself between your two great friends and talk like that.

McCain doesn't get it. Somebody needs to talk sense into him on that score.

But as this humanitarian mission drags on for weeks with Saakvashili playing us like a fiddle while WW3 looms in the Gori area, a lot of Americans are going to learn about and condemn the intransigence regarding settling those defacto non-Georgian provinces.

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 3:40 PM

Americans are not stupid. They can be initially fooled via a news cycle. The current news cycle has been "Big Bad Bear attacks Little Boy - the Cold War is Back".

But the next news cycle will be "Wait a minute, this is Kosovo in reverse"".

When that happens, McCain's goose is cooked.

Because McCain went way out on a limb with this, complete with really sappy speeches like "I speak for every American when I say we are all Georgians now".

(that's funny, I feel more South Ossetian)

The word Kosovo will be mentioned a million times on the news between now and November as they realize that the breakaway provinces just want to do what WE accomplished for Kosovo.

The only question is: will McCain get hip to the new trend in thinking or how many McCain supporters will realize the extreme hypocrisy in supporting a loony-tune Milosevic who insists that we will not give up "our" territory?

Kosovo, Kosovo, Kosovo. The word that will peel off more and more McCain voters until McCain finally realizes how hypocritical he is regarding Abkhazia.

Is Abkhazia worth losing the election over?

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 3:59 PM

Mark Bayne: And again, who holds the only alternative supplyroute to AFghanistan if Pakistan goes to hell? Russia. My fear is that mr. Bush is so in the pocket of his scriptwriters and their lobbyists that he just reads the words that get put in front of him. I would love to hear Gates analysis of the current situation, not to mention Petraeus. The logistics gurus of the Army are propably clawing at the walls at the thought of a McCain victory...

fnord   ·  August 13, 2008 4:39 PM

Exactly. This is dangerous for McCain. It is like a hail Mary play he hopes will finally put him in the lead.

And Fox News is leading the charge for him.

I am listening to Fox News now over the Internet (it is not allowed in Europe because nobody wants to watch it) and they have a total wacko named Frank Gaffey on who basically wants WW3. He is saying no Americans should hold Russian stocks in their portfolios.

Fox News lost my respect years ago, but this one-side reporting is over the top.

Russia is our main ally. They are our friends.

They are the biggest anti-socialist and anti-feminist bulwark in the world. They beat the USA on that score and conservative American males NEED Russia to help make the USA less socialist and feminist.

McCain and the liberal media don't want that. They want Russia erased off the map I guess. They want a permanent enemy that they can say wants to invade everybody.

Russia just wants this psycho reigned in. They have had those provinces for 16 years and they never belonged to Georgia when Georgia was a democracy / Republic.

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 4:59 PM

Oh, I think America can make do without an alliance with the Russians.

Consider this little dust up as payback for the Russian theft of oil company investments.

Russia will steal what it wants when it can.

Just consider this a little warm up for our upcoming adventure with Russia's friend Iran.

In any case Russia is dying. It is better to have a lot of friends on the edges to pick up what ever the Chinese don't steal. I wonder what the dividing line will be between China and the West.

Russia is losing population at the rate of 1 million a year. How long will they last? Another 40 years? Maybe.

Another way you can tell Russia is dying is its copious export of whores.

Yeah. The Afghanistan problem is tough. What happens when the regime in Iran falls and Iran becomes our newest BFF?

McCain? Americans turn to warriors when the world becomes too dangerous. He will do all right.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 4:59 PM

Is there any reliable information on just what was going on to "provoke" Russia? Was Saakvashili committing crimes or not? I want reports, not mere claims.

equitus   ·  August 13, 2008 5:08 PM

it is not allowed in Europe because nobody wants to watch it

Well that makes perfect sense. Ban something no one wants.

The rest of your logic is equally good. I'm impressed.

Russia is our main ally. They are our friends.

Yeah. Sure. I mean some one has to believe that. Why not you?

They are the biggest anti-socialist and anti-feminist bulwark in the world. They beat the USA on that score and conservative American males NEED Russia to help make the USA less socialist and feminist.

Let me know how you plan to make the Democrats more macho. Republicans are doing fine. Obama? Give me a break.

Russia is run by a band of thieves. They are no one's friend but their own.

The surest way to tell that Russia is in big trouble? They are selling off their women. Maybe they should get together with Iran and form a cartel.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 5:33 PM

equitus,

The Russians had been sponsoring raids into Georgia for years.

Evidently the Georgians finally said enough and attacked with arty a Russian military unit. Reports are that 1,000 died. Which was probably excessive. Or maybe not.

However, that is all rumor at this time. We won't get reliable reports for some time.

=====

BTW Mark, if Russia wants to prove they are our best friend they could keep their agreement for ending the dust up. Best friends keep their word. Just the way Russia did when they expropriated oil company assets. A trust worthy partner. I believe in the tooth fairy too and 14 impossible things before breakfast.


M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 5:44 PM

When that happens, McCain's goose is cooked.

Because McCain went way out on a limb with this, complete with really sappy speeches like "I speak for every American when I say we are all Georgians now".

And Obama agreed with him. How is that for solidarity?

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 5:48 PM

Actually, the tide will be turning in the next few days on this Georgia nonsense.

It is not conservative to want war with an anti-communist bulwark.

The US Republican Party is very feminist as I will explain below.

McCain has been dropping in the polls over the past 3 days. Nobody wants to get into a Cold War with Russia, which was just trying to save 2 Kosovos.

Obama won't gain from this so much as McCain will drop as Americans learn they were sold a bill of goods and that the US and the UK turned down a Security Council resolution that Russia wanted last month asking that "No force be used to try to settle the South Ossetia or Abkhazia issues"

Apparently, the US wanted the use of force to remain on the table.

I wonder if that is Bush's policy now.

There is no difference between this and Kosovo. I know...you didn't agree with saving Kosovo from Serbia either. That would make you consistent.

Here are two samples of the coming tide of articles that could force McCain to step aside for "health reasons" after he pushed neoconservatism too far with his melodrama in the past few days:

Remember, Russia wasn't stopped by US troops in this war. They are mopping up and now the US can bring in humanitarian aid:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/13/mccains-top-foreign-polic_n_118743.html

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218446195149&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Now Simon: does this blog belong to you because your comment on whores should induce a different response depending on whether you are a moderator here or not.

One of the largest signs that American men, especially the new breed of asexual eunuchs in the Neoconservative movement, have gone all wimpy and feminist is the IMBRA law.

IMBRA says that American men must provide background checks just to be able to say hello to a Russian woman online. VAWA is a feminist law that lets foreign women marry an American man and then pretend he hit her, in which case you bypasses the 5 year wait for citizenship.

Now you could note that about 8-15% of the Russian women online are, in fact, whores or scammers, but the feminist groups (and yes, the proponents of these laws identify themselves as feminists) will say that most are innocent, lovely girls preyed upon by fiends.

Of course, a fiend to a feminist is best described as an alpha male, who has a lot of money and speaks several languages...who can and does date adult women 15-30 years younger.

A neocon eunuch is mostly the type of guy who who won't admit he would love to have sex with a given cute 19 year old coed. Sadly, this is the type of guy I shared a cause with when I was (and still am) a proponent of the Iraq War.

Russia is packed with GORGEOUS women. Bush shouldn't have been enticed by that volleyball player's butt. He should be in North Ossetia right now checking things out.

To defend the IMBRA law, the feminists even said in court that these Americann businessmen who travel the world are sophisticated and the fact that they may date a nice 21 year old virgin means that she is "open for exploitation".

Now castrated eunuchs in the Republican Party, like Tony Snow and Bill OReilly, worked hard in 2006 to make sure the Republican faithful was told that this law, championed by Hillary and radfem Senator Maria Cantwell, was necessary to stop sex tourists.

Senator Sam Brownback said on Radio Vaticana "Americans who date foreigners are only out to fulfill their sexual fantasies".

The producer of the radio show was a gay man (every American who works at the Vatican is gay) who openly told me he did not care if there was no backup for what Brownback said.

This is the sorry state of the Republican Party today, and I know for sure now that much of this absolutely insane hatred of financially booming Russia comes from the ignorance that it is booming and the nonsensical idea that the men are all drunks and the women all mail order brides.

You need to get on a plane to see that Russia is the opposite of what you think. The standard of living for a good segment of the population is probably higher than your's, depending on how you measure that (dacha in the country, sufficient quantity of great looking members of the opposite sex).

I will tell you Simon: You couldn't get a good looking 30 year old in Moscow now, because you probably do not speak Russian and you probably haven't read Crime and Punishment or know any of the staples of conversation over here.

Actual whores in Moscow cost $500. If you don't have that kind of cash, they don't do discounts. But only about 0.4% of Russian women are whores.

Among the rest are tons of conservative Orthodox Christian women, perfect territory for good relationships.

Yet another reason not to be enemies with them.

Simon: You need to understand that your attitude regardig calling decent Russian Orthodox women whores will appear to most readers as ignorant to the extreme.

You can disparage Putin if you want (I like Putin), but leave the good women of Russia alone.

With the financial boom, the population decline will reverse itself by 2012.

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 6:39 PM

I just love how the Russophiles try to tell us that Russia is America's friend. Please. Never ever has that been the case. We were allies in WWII only because of a common enemy. But we were never friends. And once Hitler was finished, Russia quickly made it clear that we were the real enemy. In other words, back to the status quo.

Historically, Russia and America are opposites. Despotism and state control versus freedom and individual initiative. As each year passes, the overwhelming superiority of the latter just grows. In the end, the US will probably end up being the place where you can find the most ethnic Russians in the world as we absorb those Russians smart enough to bet on the winning system.

LenS   ·  August 13, 2008 6:39 PM

This kind of reporting can crush McCain:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/11/opinion/main4339896.shtml

It could even get his lobbyist campaign manager put into an international jail.

Either way, this kind of reporting will peel off a lot of independents and real conservatives who had been considering him despite is socialist and feminist stances.

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 6:47 PM

[Despotism and state control versus freedom and individual initiative.]

This is like talking to 5 year olds.

I am an American veteran who lives in Russia. You don't know what you are talking about.

Russia doesn't have feminist laws like I mentioned, telling men what they can and cannot do.

The USA is now a Nanny State. Russia is nowhere near that.

There was corruption that put the current billionaires in place just like corruption put JPMorgan and the Rockefellers in place.

After that, the United Russia Party really does enjoy massive support.

The Russians are like that. They don't obsess about political parties.

And they would not tolerate a Soros funded left wing movement.

You neocons tolerate feminists taking over the media and the Republican Party because you "want the women's vote".

Russian men aren't as stupid. You can have a free press there, but you cannot be subversive and turn the country into a socialist nightmare like the US is doing.

The Russians have been down that road and they learned.

It really is sick to talk about Russia from a position of zero knowledge.

You're not going to win this argument.

Maybe I should point the Russian embassy to this thread and see what real Russians have to say about the little men who know nothing but hate Russians anyway because they were told to by Fox News.

Mark Bayne   ·  August 13, 2008 6:54 PM

McCain has been dropping in the polls over the past 3 days. Nobody wants to get into a Cold War with Russia, which was just trying to save 2 Kosovos.

I'd blame Boll Clinton the Democrat for Kosovo.

Let me see McCain is more trusted on National Security by 15 points these days up 9 points since last month.

And sure McCain is dropping in the polls. He is still tied with BO. Same as the numbers have been for a month.

You can't make this stuff up. Oh, wait. Yes you can.

BTW how much is the FSB paying you to leave your pearls before us swine? I can't possibly be enough considering the low lifes you have to hang out with.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 7:06 PM


Memo to "Mark Bayne": If you Russians are going to pose as Americans on an American message board, it helps to choose a better name than "Mark Bayne"....LOL

Sarah   ·  August 13, 2008 7:07 PM

Russians have always been pathetic posers.

I laughed when I saw the rusty old T-72 tanks Russia used in its invasion of Georgia. Yeah, real impressive, guys!

Same thing with the Soviet Union. Collapsed under its own dead weight. Same thing will happen again with a life expectancy lower than most of Africa, low birth rates and rampant corruption.

I live in Norway (which borders Russia), and all we see coming from Russia is a daily deluge of organized crime, alcoholism and prostitutes. A truly pathetic nation.

Einar Bakke   ·  August 13, 2008 7:16 PM

Now Simon: does this blog belong to you because your comment on whores should induce a different response depending on whether you are a moderator here or not.

Eric (the blog owner) and myself have a pretty free policy here. I moderate my own posts and except for spam leave every one else's alone.

Since it is obvious you are not a spammer I have no objection to what you propose to say. If you want to attack me try not to make it too extreme.

We do prefer reasoned discussion to ad homs. BTW I have seen a bunch of ads on the 'net lately offering Russian brides to those interested in romance. Had I known you were coming I'd have saved the url. So it is not just hookers. Evidently Russian women want out.

So where did Russia go wrong? Making the Jews of that country want to leave. Well we got a bunch of them as did the Israelis and are better for it. Smart folks those Jews.

BTW my #2 son graduated in Russian literature with honors so I'm not unsympathetic to Russia. My grand parents on my fathers side came from there. But you know the Russia of today just doesn't seem to get the engine of general economic prosperity. Private property. And the country seems to be run by thuggish gangsters. We tend to prefer the more genteel types of gangsters here. It makes life pleasanter. No Polonium in the coffee. Here we like to pay people to get out of the way rather than kill them. It is a nicer way to do business. But we are rich and can afford it.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 7:24 PM

BTW you can try to subvert America all you want speak freely. This is America. Hell we even tolerate an internet full of America haters. WE can handle it.

We have been a free country for a while. With the best free speech laws in the world.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 7:37 PM

Mark Bayne,

First: You should get a different e-mail address. Your e-mail name gives you away.

Second: That CBS link is to a "The Nation" article they are a well known socialist/communist rag. I thought you were going to lead us away from socialism.

Third: The Nation is not one of the opinion leaders in this nation. Except in their own fevered minds. And CBS? We like to call them See BS. You remember the Rathergate scandal don't you?

Any way better you keep busy with us rather (heh) than causing mischief elsewhere. And as always I wish the best for you. I hope the FSB gives you a raise. Except for some of the cultural markers you miss, your American is excellent.

However, there is always the danger that too much exposure to Americans will make you one of us. A big problem back in the days of the USSR.

M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2008 7:54 PM

Georgia won? Are you insane? Do we now measure who won based on who was weakest from the start? They won because they got their butts kicked to a lesser extent than would be expected?

Bush has a stupid policy in this area. I have no problem with demographically Russian areas seceding from countries the just seceded from Russia. Why not? Why are we following the policy of supporting Georgian claims on these areas? Seems like it would be smart for the US and the Georgians to let Russia have these areas.

Policy should be: Russia out of Georgia, but Georgia should let these areas secede.

Brian Macker   ·  August 14, 2008 12:28 AM

Brian,

Have a look at a map of the area, preferably one showing the geography of the area, and not just the borders. Take particular note of how having South Ossetia as a salient allows you to bypass the very defensible mountainous terrain which forms Georgia's northern border.

Cybrludite   ·  August 14, 2008 3:09 AM

As for who's winning, let me point out that the initial invasion force was reported to be 150 tanks, or about 5 battalions worth. (Std Russian Tank Bn having 31 tanks) They're complaining that this "mystery weapon" has destroyed 50 or so of them. I'd suggest that losing a third of one's armored strength over the span of five days isn't much of a win. That's an attrition rate of a full tank company per day.

My guess as to the "mystery weapon"? Probably one of the newer warheads available for the RPG-7. In particular, there's one with a tandem warhead for getting past the ERA you see mounted on the burned out T-72s we're seeing in the news.

Cybrludite   ·  August 14, 2008 5:20 AM

Umm, where do you get your news that the ruskies have lost 50 tanks?

fnord   ·  August 14, 2008 5:55 AM

Bush has a stupid policy in this area. I have no problem with demographically Russian areas seceding from countries the just seceded from Russia. Why not? Why are we following the policy of supporting Georgian claims on these areas? Seems like it would be smart for the US and the Georgians to let Russia have these areas.

Russia was handing out passports to people in South Ossetia so they could claim a higher number of "Russians" in the area.

My solution for the future of the area? Destroy the Roki Tunnel.

M. Simon   ·  August 14, 2008 6:59 AM

fnord,

I believe the report referred to 50 vehicles.

In any case I think that events in Georgia will cause the countries ringing the USSR (strike that Russia) will get together in a mutual defense pact.

Russian life expectancy is declining (now below much of Africa) and the Russian population is declining by 1 million a year. In 40 or 50 years the demarcation line between China and the West will be the Urals. Russia will be a memory.

So sad. You guys had a chance to go the way of China and declined. Instead of learning to make thing you depend on resource extraction. A decision for suicide.

M. Simon   ·  August 14, 2008 7:11 AM

Stalin was Georgian and the new Georgian President was trying to ethnically cleanse South Ossettia. He may be criminally insane as some suggest. The code name for the mission into South Ossettia was "clean field", suggesting an ethnic overture. So here it is, we the US supporting genocide against the Russians and yet they are the bad guys and we are the good guys. The west has it completely wrong. This is a triumph for democracy, Russian democracy! This was stage with the nod of Bush and Cheney; to start a conflict with Russia so the Republican Party can garner fear votes and continue their war and oil economy. It is American imperialism we need to fear, not Russia. I hate to admit it, but there are a lot of ignorant crazy people in this country who need war and oil drama to satisfy their superiority complex.

Perspective   ·  August 14, 2008 9:36 AM

Perspective,

I have heard that it was started by Russian provocation. Cross border raids from South Ossetia supported by the Russians.

The Georgians hit back and the Russians carried out an invasion that appears to have been months in the planning.

Stalin was Really Good for Russia. He killed off Russian agriculture in an effort to get rid of market oriented kulaks. That worked well. Stalin was the beginning of the decline of the Russian Empire.

Patriotism will only carry you so far. When combined with stupidity it won't even go as far as that.

And now as a result of Soviet times and the thieves currently in charge, the Russian population is declining at the rate of 1 million a year and life expectancy is lower than African life expectancy. Good times, eh?

There is no doubt Russia these days has a lot to be proud of. Their leaders are liars and their country is in steep decline.

So where do you think the border between the West and China will wind up? I think the Caucasus Mountains. How soon will Russia lose direct access to Black Sea ports? Five years or ten?

Russia is in decline and the vultures are circling to pick the carcass. It is too bad you guys went with resource extraction instead of manufacturing. And being run by a gang of thieves will not help.

No matter. When the oil starts flowing from new American wells the Russian economy will fold. It won't be long now. Have fun while you can.

Russia could still change for the better , but the hour is getting late. And just think how far Russian fortunes have declined. Would America have ever dared what it is doing in Georgia in the old days? Your weakness is on display for the whole world to see.

How much of the Russian Army is being used to knock off a country of 4 million? Some say about 1/5th. What did America use to knock off Afghanistan? A few hundred men on horseback. No doubt the occupation is taking more. But still. The Russian Military has had centuries of stupidity. Old habits die hard.

Well you voted for the government you have so I guess you are getting what you want.

M. Simon   ·  August 14, 2008 11:43 AM


Georgia is the moral winner of this conflict.

I agree with Roman Genn in NRO:

1) Russian officers are drunk, slow, lazy thieves and are no match for any Western professionals. Their relative success is due purely to Georgian military incompetence, like the failure to block the roads and organize tank ambushes in the mountainous terrain perfectly suited for such operations. Even so, the Georgians managed to down several Russian aircraft and that should present a clear picture of the pathetic condition of the Russian air force.

2) The current Kremlin dwarfs (whichever one is really in charge) are no Hitlers or Stalins, but paper pushers who won the lottery and who, most likely, will not risk a real military confrontation with the West. They will however continue probing to sense weaknesses and to search for small victorious engagements to entertain the revenge hungry masses.

3) The whole thing is not entirely bad for us (aside from the human toll, naturally): the hated cop becomes popular when the local drunk returns to the village and starts smashing things.

Kawe   ·  August 14, 2008 12:12 PM

"The current Kremlin dwarfs (whichever one is really in charge) are no Hitlers or Stalins, but paper pushers who won the lottery"

Putin a paperpushing dwarf? Oil flowing from new american wells? Ye gods, fascinating.

"How much of the Russian Army is being used to knock off a country of 4 million? Some say about 1/5th."

Are these the same "some" that report 50 russian tanks lost? I didnt know the invasionforce consisted of 200 000 men. According to reports, between 8 and 14000 regulars and a bunch of irregulars have been involved directly, with propably twice that number in logistics. Do you ever visit reality, sir? Its a interesting place.

fnord   ·  August 14, 2008 4:41 PM


Putin does look like dwarf! Check out this photo:

http://america-russia-news.com/news%2019/putin-or-dobby_2.jpg

Breaking News: Poland just signed on to the Missile Shield deal with the US. Another sign that Russia lost in my opinion.

Zakopane   ·  August 14, 2008 7:29 PM

The current size of the Russian Army is 641,000 according to

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/11/georgia.russia.forces/

Russia has about 641,000 in its armed forces, 320,000 of whom are in the army -- most of them conscripts who traditionally fare poorly against a motivated opponent, according to Jane's. Low morale, poor management, inefficiency and inflexibility are cited as problems by Jane's.

So lets see 1/5 is 64,000.

Let us say that you are correct and there are 10,000 army in Georgia and 2X that for logistics in Georgia. That would be about 30,000 or roughly 1/10th The Russian Army. From a country of 140 million. vs a country of 4 million.

Also from CNN:

About 26,000 are in the Georgian military, and about 17,000 of them are in the army, which has had the benefit of four years of training by the U.S. Marines, Army and Special Forces, according to Jane's. Georgia has been trying to form a professional military force and by the end of next year expected to have only a small number of conscripts in its main force, Jane's said.

Those forces would be using almost all Soviet-era weaponry. The Tbilisi government has been seeking western armaments but has been told by Washington that forces must be able to use the old weapons proficiently before they get new ones, Jane's reported.

So what do you think? Will Georgia be getting Western weapons now?

And it was announced today that Poland is getting anti-missile systems from the USA:

http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=1952

Poland and the United States reached an agreement Thursday to base American missile interceptors in Poland, the prime minister said, going ahead with a plan that has angered Russia and threatened to escalate tensions with the region's communist-era master.

Speaking in an interview televised on news channel TVN24, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the United States had agreed to help augment Poland's defenses with Patriot missiles in exchange for placing 10 missile defense interceptors in the eastern European country.

"We have crossed the Rubicon," he said, referring to U.S. consent to meet Poland's demands.

The noose is tightening on Russia.

Russia's problem is that it has made a lot of enemies over the centuries.

So what will be happening over the near term? The countries ringing Russia are going to speed up improving their armies.

Russia is losing population at the rate of 1/2% a year and the birth rate is 1.4 vs 2.1 necessary to maintain its population. How many years will it take to make Russia a country of old men? A decade or two.

At the current rate Russia will be a country of 115 million in 40 years. With a huge number of old women and not many children.

M. Simon   ·  August 14, 2008 9:27 PM

World leaders are excellent dancers.

Not surprisingly, they always manage to keep their beat, take a low bow, and move off the dance floor at just the right moment.


Penny   ·  August 14, 2008 9:55 PM

God, there is a lot of hubris on this site. The only commenter who makes any sense is fnord. To the rest of you: grow a set and find the courage to face reality. This was a disaster (not a clever strategy) for Georgia. I had hoped to find information about the specific dimensions and location of the Roki Tunnel, but no hope of any fact-based thinking here. Seriously, where is there any concrete evidence of a secret weapon against the Russian tanks? Facts, people! Save the fantasy for your next game of Risk.

mrut   ·  August 17, 2008 1:33 AM

God, there is a lot of hubris on this site. The only commenter who makes any sense is fnord. To the rest of you: grow a set and find the courage to face reality. This was a disaster (not a clever strategy) for Georgia. I had hoped to find information about the specific dimensions and location of the Roki Tunnel, but no hope of any fact-based thinking here. Seriously, where is there any concrete evidence of a secret weapon against the Russian tanks? Facts, people! Save the fantasy for your next game of Risk.

mrut   ·  August 17, 2008 1:35 AM

God, there is a lot of hubris on this site. The only commenter who makes any sense is fnord. To the rest of you: grow a set and find the courage to face reality. This was a disaster (not a clever strategy) for Georgia. I had hoped to find information about the specific dimensions and location of the Roki Tunnel, but no hope of any fact-based thinking here. Seriously, where is there any concrete evidence of a secret weapon against the Russian tanks? Facts, people! Save the fantasy for your next game of Risk.

mrut   ·  August 17, 2008 9:28 AM

mrut,

I believe Bush has said the Russians will be leaving all of Georgia. I believe him.

In any case we are entertaining. Don't you think?

M. Simon   ·  August 17, 2008 11:56 AM

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