WORLD WAR ZERO AND WORLD WAR THREE
BUSH, PUTIN, MCCAIN, MEDVEDEV, PALIN, PLANNING APOCALYPSE NOW?
A NEW CRIMEAN WAR MAY BE IN THE WORKS
"Sarah Palin ABC Gibson Interview - Georgia Conflict"
Gawd Bless The Global Military-Industrial Complex! They're Everywhere, On Every Side!! Except The Citizens' Side!!!
The Crimean War, you may recall, was a complicated affair involving various "Great Powers" of the time in confrontations which ranged from the Arctic to the Middle East, by diplomatic, economic, and the (then) new modern military means, in the 1850's.
The self-installed French Emperor, Napoleon III, the nephew of the little guy ("The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."), took it into his Imperial Napoleonic head to rearrange things in the Holy Land. He was a sort of Gallic Dubya. Or maybe Dubya is an American Napoleon?
Most of the Middle East was then under Ottoman Turkish control, including Palestine, or, as many refer to it today, Israel. By treaty, the Turks had placed the Russian Empire in charge of all Eastern Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire (whose influence had stretched from Spain to Austria the long southern way, and from Finland to Somalia, Morocco to Mongolia, at one time or another). With the Sultan's permission, the Russians had a copy of the keys to Jerusalem for eighty years.
The Catholic westerner Napoleon III chose to impose himself upon the ailing, unmodernized Turks, and secured a treaty with the Sultan giving the French responsibility for the protection of Christians in the Middle East. Unhappy about this, the Russians invaded Ottoman Moldova and Wallachia, Orthodox Christian enclaves in present-day Romania, wresting them from the Turks. (This was the beginning of the end of the Ottomans, who brought relative peace and stability to the Middle East for centuries. The modern era was about to begin there; and now look where we are today.)
The Russian incursion into Europe caused concern among the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Prussians, the British and the French. British and French warships attacked Russian commercial ports and naval bases at Archangel on the White Sea in the Arctic, Helsinki on the Baltic Sea in Scandinavia, and Sebastopol on the Crimean peninsula, on the Black Sea, today part of the Ukraine. World War Ø had begun.
The Russians had headquartered their warm-water Southern Fleet in Sebastopol for over a hundred years at that point. They were not about to give it up without a fight, as it was their best access to the world's oceans in the icy Winter. The Brit's and the French fought several famous battles with the Rooskies on the Crimean Peninsula, and in the adjacent waters: The French still honor the memory of their brave Algerian Zouaves in that war with the statues on the Pont d'Alma in Paris. The English can still be roused with a few stanzas from Kipling's "The Charge Of The Light Brigade," which took place in Crimea. This despite the fact that the West basically lost the Crimean War to the Russians and their fierce Cossack (now "Kazakh": see "Borat") warriors.
Which brings us to the current complications. The Crimean Peninsula, which looks more like a large island jammed in between the Black Sea (above Turkey) and the Sea of Azov (above Iran), is today an autonomous region of the independent sovereign nation of Ukraine. Soviet Premier Krushchev returned the region to Ukrainian control, nominally, in the 1950's. The Ukraine became independent from the Soviet Union after it collapsed. But the Crimean population remain largely ethnic Russian or pro-Russian (like the majority in Abkhazia & S. Ossetia, Georgia). They govern themselves and view themselves as more a part of Russia. The "Red Fleet" is still in Sebastopol, and the Russians control access to the port by land, sea and air. It is still their main warm-water military and civilian seaport, their lifeline to the world.
The Crimea is vital to the exploitation of the Russian and Central Asian oil and gas fields today. At least, it will be until pipelines can be completed to transport the oil and gas across Afghanistan to some Pakistani port on the Arabian Sea far to the South. In case you were wondering why anyone, ourselves included, would ever be interested in the remote wastes of the high Afghan plains and rugged mountains, these pipelines are why.
The whole oil & gas thing (over which we fought WWI & WWII, at least in part), might also explain why the West, the EU, NATO, and the USA are suddenly so interested in the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukrainia: It's the Energy, stupid; and the old "bottle-up the Rooskies" thing, previously seen in the whole Crimean War thing, and in other little things like the Napoleonic Wars.
The lesson of history in all this is that you don't mess with the Russians on what they regard as their home turf unless you are prepared to go all the way to Moscow. Ask Napoleon or Hitler about that, before starting. Unfortunately, they are currently serving time in Hell for the destruction of much of their nations' armies, the slaughter of millions, and other bad stupid crazy Bushlike stuff. You'd have to do similar things in order to meet them in Hell, at which point, their advice would be moot.
The intelligent move on this would be to get Georgia and Ukraine into the European (economic) Union first; then, after a few years of not f*cking with the Russians which might result in a less belligerent government in Russia, try the NATO thing again. If at all. Give the Ukrainians and Georgians a chance to sample Western living, and to decide if they might ever want to die for it. Then maybe NATO, shto?
Unless we plan to invade Russia some day, why encircle it? Isn't this XVII & XVIII Century policy? Aren't we in the XXI Century, when missiles can go from anywhere to anyplace, and all of our economies are tied together anyway? This is why you should always choose a President who paid attention in class, read the assignments, did well on the tests, and maybe did a little extra-curricular activity like reading newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, and familiarizing himself or herself with such things as dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias, gazetteers, and maybe a few non-fiction books. Perhaps a work of actual History or two? Not just the Bible, or some John Birch Society pamphlets. Because, GOSH, the President of the United States there, he or she has to do an awful lot of reading, there, to sift through all the Warsheden insider BS there, and make intelligent, rational, informed, well-reasoned decisions about this stuff there that effects everybody in the whole wide world there, by golly. There.
Otherwise, "Half a league, half a league, half a league onward; Into the valley of death rode the six hundred." Again? Really? Hm? And for what? Life is not a game of Stratego. It's more like chess, with real bodies. And the Russians are really good at chess, da? So, let's get the cowboys off the chessboard, and bring in our current diplomatic and strategic Bobby Fischer or maybe the Big Blue States champ, Barack Obama. John McCain? Sarah Palin? Nyet. They're only pawns in the Game.
' The Crimean War, also known in Russia as the Eastern War (Russian: Восточная война, Vostochnaya Vojna) (March 1854–February 1856) was fought between the Russian Empire on one side and an alliance of France, the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Sardinia (which would be absorbed into Italy in 1861), and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining Ottoman Empire. Most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula, with additional actions occurring in western Turkey and the Baltic Sea region. The Crimean War is sometimes considered to be the first "modern" conflict and "introduced technical changes which affected the future course of warfare.". '
"Ukrainian coalition collapses amid tensions over Moscow"
' Ukraine's coalition government collapsed yesterday after its two ruling parties fell out over Russia's invasion of Georgia. President Viktor Yushchenko accused the prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, of attempting a coup and then threatened to dissolve parliament and call early elections. The pro-democratic coalition of the pair has only a two-seat majority. On Tuesday Tymoshenko's bloc voted with the opposition to strip the president of some powers and boost her own. Yesterday Yushchenko's bloc quit the coalition in protest, with the president denouncing the vote in Ukraine's lower house and urging the formation of a new coalition. The ostensible trigger for the government's collapse after less than a year is the conflict in Georgia. Speculation has grown that Ukraine and its Russian-speaking Crimea region could be the Kremlin's next "target". Yushchenko has outspokenly condemned the invasion of Georgia but Tymoshenko has not criticised Russia directly. On Tuesday her party failed to support a toughly worded statement blaming Moscow. '
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
"Roots of Georgia-Russia clash run deep"
' Ancient ethnic strife, fanned by East-West rivalry and Moscow's growing regional ambitions, lie behind the war over Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Russian troops opened a second front Monday. For dozens of young Ossetian men lined up at a Russian Army recruitment center in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz, the conflict is a replay of endless clashes with their traditional foe: Georgia. For Georgians, whose forces are retrenching after failing to retake the separatist province of South Ossetia, the war appears just the latest futile effort to unite their country against what they see as Moscow's neocolonial designs. US and Russian diplomats, who sparred angrily over the crisis at a United Nations session Sunday, were falling back into the language and passions of their long, bitter cold-war standoff. '
"Defiant Cheney vows Georgia will join Nato"
' The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, yesterday issued a direct challenge to Moscow's sway over Georgia, pledging Washington's support for its eventual membership of Nato, while denouncing Russia's "illegitimate" invasion. "Georgia will be in our alliance," Cheney said after talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili. Cheney used his one-day visit to Georgia to reinforce battle lines in the increasingly direct struggle between Washington and Moscow for the upper hand along Russia's southern border. His visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine was aimed at stressing America's "deep, abiding interest" in the region, in response to the claim by Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, that Moscow had "privileged interests" in former Soviet states. The US challenge was undermined by the collapse of Ukraine's pro-western coalition on the eve of Cheney's arrival in Kiev at the end of his three-country trip yesterday. The crisis threatened to derail President Viktor Yushchenko's efforts to win Ukraine Nato and EU membership. '
"Cheney set to meet squabbling Ukranian leaders"
' US Vice President Dick Cheney was set Friday to meet with Ukraine's squabbling leaders as he continues his tour to bolster US allies in the region following the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Cheney was to meet with President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose political feuding has intensified over ties with Russia during Moscow's confrontation with Georgia and the West. Ukraine has applied to join NATO and the European Union, angering Moscow which sees the country as part of its sphere of influence, but its political leaders are deeply divided. European officials have suggested Ukraine could be the next flashpoint for tensions between Russia and the West after the war in Georgia last month that has left Russian troops occupying positions deep inside Georgian territory. '
"Mighty Russian Black Sea fleet making waves"
' As the Kremlin seeks to reassert its sphere of influence around its borders and beyond, this home port for Russia's Black Sea fleet — marooned in the south of Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union — has moved to the center of tensions between Russia and U.S. allies in the region. Some Ukrainian politicians worry that Russia will stoke anti-Western sentiments in Sevastopol and cities around it on the Crimean peninsula to create an opportunity to annex the area, the same way Moscow did with two breakaway provinces in Georgia last month, or at least use its considerable influence here to push the central government in Kiev to drop plans to join the European Union and NATO . Either move would heighten the rising tensions between Russia and the United States , which have returned to Cold War levels over the past year. Georgia and Ukraine , with American backing, angered the Russian leadership with their NATO aspirations. If they were to join, Russia's Black Sea coastline would be surrounded by members of the military organization. '
"Why shouldn't Ukraine join NATO? It may not want to"
' The Bush White House has been pressing its European allies to accept Ukraine into NATO — over Russia's bitter opposition — but the continuing political crisis in Kiev raises serious questions about whether this country is ready to join. Viktor Yushchenko, the U.S.-backed president, was in New York this week, ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange and exhorting the U.N. General Assembly to contain Russia. Back home, his ruling coalition remains fractured, raising the prospect of a third parliamentary election in as many years. Approval ratings for the one-time hero of the 2004 Orange Revolution are consistently below 10 percent. Despite Yushchenko's strong condemnation of Russia's invasion of Georgia last month and his enthusiastic support for NATO, polls show that only some 22 percent of Ukrainians favor joining the alliance. In the parliament, opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions, considered by many to be close to Russia, has more than twice as many seats as Yushchenko's bloc, which is anchored by the Our Ukraine party. The political bickering has significant implications for U.S. interests in the area, including the drive to admit Ukraine into NATO. If Russia can capitalize on the instability and help shape Kiev's foreign policy, it could reassert some of the control it lost on Europe's edge after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That would be a major step forward for the Kremlin in what Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has referred to as "regions where (Russia) has privileged interests." '
"In Black Sea port, Ukraine is sovereign, but Russia rules"
' Sergei Zayats, the administrator of Sevastopol's largest district, said he thought the Russians would be willing to resort to force to keep their ships docked in Crimea, where their fleet has operated since the 1780s. "The events in Georgia show that this may happen at any time," said Zayats, who was appointed by Kiev. Russia has said it has no plans along those lines. "This is a myth brought to you from other countries that Crimea will be next," Vsevolod Loskutov, the number two man in the Russian Embassy to Ukraine, told journalists last week. "Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeated many times that we highlight our respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." The tension over Crimea is complicated by the intertwined histories of Ukraine and Russia. The region belonged to Russia until 1954, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed it over to Ukraine. At the time, the difference was largely semantic, but when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, many in Crimea would have rather not become part of an independent Ukraine. In interviews on the streets of Sevastopol, college students, engineers and housewives alike said they sympathized with Russia far more than with Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's pro-Western president. Any move to join NATO, they said, almost certainly would lead to a backlash. '
"Georgia-Russia talks angrily break down"
' Internationally-backed peace talks between Georgia and Russia broke down on the first day Wednesday with the rivals, who fought a war in August, blaming each other for the failure to even enter the same room. "There were two separate meetings, the Russians and the Abkhazians (in one) and the Georgians in another," Sergei Shamba, foreign minister of the pro-Russian separatist region of Abkhazia, told journalists. The talks would have been the first time representatives of the two sides have held direct negotiations since the five-day war after Russia thwarted a Georgian assault to retake its breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia has kept troops in South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, and recognises both as independent states. Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Moscow of adopting "Soviet" tactics during the talks. '
"Bush: Russia must respect neighbors' sovereignty"
' Speaking in the White House Rose Garden with visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Bush reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia's territorial integrity following its August war with Moscow and expressed support for other countries concerned about Russian aggression. Months of skirmishes between separatists and Georgian forces erupted into war in August when Georgia sent troops and tanks to retake pro-Russian South Ossetia, which broke away from Tbilisi in 1991-92. Russia's counterstrike drove the Georgian army out of South Ossetia. Moscow's troops then pushed farther into Georgia, saying they needed to prevent further Georgian attacks. The West accused Russia of a "disproportionate response" to Georgia's actions. "We firmly support Georgia's democracy and sovereignty and territorial integrity," Bush said. "The United States and the EU agree that the territory of Georgia includes the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "To earn the respect of the international community, Russia must show respect for the sovereignty and territory of its neighbors. Russia must accept the responsibilities and obligations of international leadership," he said. '
"McCain's Top Foreign Policy Advisor Got Money From Georgia"
' John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The payments raise ethical questions about the intersection of Randy Scheunemann's personal financial interests and his advice to the Republican presidential candidate who is seizing on Russian aggression in Georgia as a campaign issue. McCain warned Russian leaders Tuesday that their assault in Georgia risks "the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world." On April 17, a month and a half after Scheunemann stopped working for Georgia, his partner signed a $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government. The deal added to an arrangement that brought in more than $800,000 to the two-man firm from 2004 to mid-2007. For the duration of the campaign, Scheunemann is taking a leave of absence from the firm. "Scheunemann's work as a lobbyist poses valid questions about McCain's judgment in choosing someone who _ and whose firm _ are paid to promote the interests of other nations," said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers. "So one must ask whether McCain is getting disinterested advice, at least when the issues concern those nations." "If McCain wants advice from someone whose private interests as a once and future lobbyist may affect the objectivity of the advice, that's his choice to make." McCain has been to Georgia three times since 1997 and "this is an issue that he has been involved with for well over a decade," said McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers. McCain's strong condemnation in recent days of Russia's military action against Georgia as "totally, absolutely unacceptable" reflects long-standing ties between McCain and hardline conservatives such as Scheunemann, an aide in the 1990s to then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Four months ago, on the same day that Scheunemann's partner signed the latest $200,000 agreement with Georgia, McCain spoke with Saakashvili by phone. The senator then issued a strong statement saying that "we must not allow Russia to believe it has a free hand to engage in policies that undermine Georgian sovereignty." On Tuesday, McCain told Fox News that "as you know, through the NATO membership, ... if a member nation is attacked, it is viewed as an attack on all." '.
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