Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 26, 2008

Danger in the Black Sea

Yesterday the Russian parliament voted on non-binding resolutions calling on President Dmitry Medvedev to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Bush called on Medvedev not to endorse these:

He said Georgia's borders merit the same respect as other countries', including Russia's.

One wonders why Bush didn't mentioned Serbia in that little hidden threat.

Today the Russian Federation officially recognized the independence of both regions:

"I have signed decrees on the recognition by the Russian Federation of the independence of South Ossetia and the independence of Abkhazia," Medvedev said in a televised statement.

I had expected that Medvedev would wait, but the 'western' response to Saakashvili's splendid little war was probably too much to take.

In the official 'western' media version Russia is the problem and overreached in response to the Georgian attack. But in reality the Russians refrained from conscious bombing of Georgian civil infrastructure and pulled their troops back as soon as possible. When was the last time U.S. forces attack in such a sensible way?

Meanwhile Sarkosy, with Rice's prodding, issued a letter to Saakashvili that essentially lied about the ceasefire conditions Russia agreed to. The 'western' media do not mention that at all. Sending U.S. military ships and Saak's continuous bellicose speeches did not help either. NATO introduced some punishing measures even while it depends on Russia for its logistics in Afghanistan.

Medvedev explicitly warned about that yesterday. NATO's other logistic line through Pakistan is in serious danger. Yesterday two NATO vehicles were burned in Karachi.

Now it seems that Russia had enough. Both former Georgian areas are now independent and in a next step will likely ask to join the Russian Federation. It should be obvious by now that one can not bully Russia anymore. But the 'west' still tries. This is dangerous.

There are now nine NATO warships in the Black Sea with nine more said to be coming. In response, the Russians send their Black Sea flagship, a missile cruiser, back to sea. The NATO ships have over 100 tomahawk (land attack) and harpoon (sea attack) missiles on board. Such concentration of forces can lead to misunderstandings and escalation. They should be avoided.

Russia has air cover over the Black Sea and owns a lot of the coast. In a conflict, the NATO fleet would likely get a serious beating.

But a conflict in the Black Sea would virtually guarantee a McCain victory in the upcoming U.S. election. U.S. foreign policy is always determined by domestic politics. That is what makes me really nervous about these escalations.

Posted by b on August 26, 2008 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

Comments

What the heck are NATO ships doing in the Black Sea? Last time I checked, it's quite far from North Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, both Iraq and Afghanistan are asking US/NATO to step down and in one case withdraw, and the other calm down and stop doing stupid bombings throughout the whole country. Ne natives are getting restless.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Aug 26, 2008 10:42:11 AM | 1

Good one: GEORGIAN TANKS V. OSSETIAN TEENAGERS - The Story of Tskhinvali's Resistance

Posted by: b | Aug 26, 2008 11:17:53 AM | 2

A loss in a naval conflict in the Black Sea would guarantee an Obama victory in November. Visible tensions, such as warning shots, without an easy sellable story about what the US stake in that area is, may well be a net positive for Obama.

I actually don't see this escalating. I hope I'm right.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Aug 26, 2008 11:39:35 AM | 3

b writes:

But a conflict in the Black Sea would virtually guarantee a McCain victory in the upcoming U.S. election.

Pat Buchanan writes

What were Mikheil's marching orders to Tbilisi's man in Washington? Get Georgia a NATO war guarantee. Get America committed to fight Russia, if necessary, on behalf of Georgia.

Could part of the McCain $70,000 payment to Randy Scheunemann of Orion Strategies have been to tilt the odds towards just such an escalation? Or is a better description of the money flow one from the public to the US Treasury to Orion Strategies (with strings to create a security threat)?

In any case it seems to me that the US voting process is a rather insignificant player in US foreign policy, designed more to absorb anger than as a vehicle to enable the public interest. Whomever is (s)elected will be operating within rather narrow constraints, and whether Randy's involvement was to ensure perpetual war or to increase the odds of a McCain election, is really a distinction without a difference.

Posted by: erichwwk | Aug 26, 2008 11:40:59 AM | 4

Arnold! Where have you been? A lot has been happening in the world. Let us know what you think about it.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 26, 2008 11:45:22 AM | 5

Here in Britain the BBC is doing it’s utmost day in, day out, hour on the hour to promote the US/UK propaganda line on the “Russian Invasion” of “plucky little Georgia”. With not a word of caution regarding the ulterior motives of US led NATO involvement. Needless to say everyone from the featured TV and radio presenter down to the nonentity news reader is toeing the line and presenting a solid front. Not so much a whisper of doubt. No one raises an eyebrow that reality is being stood on its head to a point where Orwellian Double-Think rules. OK?

It is the party political line of “Follow the Yanks” as dictated by Whitehall the London home of the espionage fortresses MI5 and MI6 together with the mandarins of official and failed government policy.

These are precisely the same imperatives that prevailed in the Dr. Kelly suicide scandal when Blair opted (lied actually) to take Britain into Iraq along with Bush in the quest for WMD’s and the BBC had the guts to blow the whistle on the string of lies flying out of 10 Downing Street. The result then was that heads rolled at Broadcasting House. Today similar vulnerable heads with credit card, car financing and mortgage repayment debt and fearful for their jobs dare not open their mouths while reality does a 180degree turn into into a chasm of surreal proportions.

It should be mentioned that, apart from the Guardian, the British press are right in step following suit with the BBC.

Finally one of the more amusing aspects of this the sound bite spin the Labour government spokespersons (political nobodies) are putting on the crises—naturally strongly promoted by the BBC. That and the posturing of that arch buffoon and shambling oaf Prime Idiot Gordon Brown who presently enjoys something in the region of a 9% approval rating of the British electorate in the latest opinion polls. Seasonally adjusted of course(!)

Posted by: Spyware | Aug 26, 2008 12:22:25 PM | 6

Guardian headline this morning.

Cindy McCain flies to Georgia for Saakashvili talks

Lol! You can't make this shit up.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 26, 2008 1:17:20 PM | 7

-A loss in a naval conflict in the Black Sea would guarantee an Obama victory in November -
- But a conflict in the Black Sea would virtually guarantee a McCain victory in the upcoming U.S. election -
is it the only implication ? The situaion is serious, it's aleady a mess and it can be a bloody mess

Posted by: ursun | Aug 26, 2008 1:31:37 PM | 8

Regarding the post by Spyware "Here in Britain the BBC is doing it’s utmost day in, day out, hour on the hour to promote the US/UK propaganda line on the “Russian Invasion” of “plucky little Georgia”." ... I live in the US and listen to BBC in the car to get some world news coverage ... but I have to say I have been dismayed by the BBC coverage. One example from this morning "the Georgian forces moved into South Ossettia and the Russians responded by force" ...WTF? Do "moving forces" refer to propelling GRAD rockets through the air ? Pitiful.
FkD

Posted by: FkD | Aug 26, 2008 1:41:00 PM | 9

Here's an even better take on the Georgian/Russian conflict.
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/08/the-truth-about-1.php

Btw, Stratfor released a good piece recently on the conflict in a little longer perspective.

Posted by: pecanpie | Aug 26, 2008 1:58:39 PM | 10

the totten piece is without substance or merit

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 2:15:41 PM | 11

US: Ships pass through Turkish straits for "Georgia aid"

U.S. ships USS McFaul and USS Dallas crossed through Turkish straits to take "humanitarian aid" to Georgia, Embassy spokesperson Kathy Schalow said when commenting on various news stories regarding the ships passing through the straits.

Schalow said that the USS Taylor ship sailed through Turkish straits within the scope of an earlier scheduled NATO military exercise.

Note how that Turkish news source puts "humanitarian aid" in quotes.

USS McFaul Destroyer, Arleigh Burke-class, some 8,000 tons

1 × 29 cell, 1 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems with 90 × RIM-66 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-Asroc missiles

USS Dallas? I hope the journalist has that wrong. That would be a nuclear submarine. Possible, but I doubt it.

Other reports said the USCGC Dallas, a Coastguard 'cutter' went to the black sea. Some 3,200 tons and a Otobreda 76 mm cannon.

USS Taylor guided missile frigate, Perry class, 4,000 tons

One OTO Melara Mk 75 76 mm/62 caliber naval gun
one Mk 13 Mod 4 single-arm launcher for Harpoon anti-ship missiles and SM-1MR Standard anti-ship/air missiles (40 round magazine)
two Mk 32 triple-tube (324 mm) launchers for Mark 46 torpedoes

Plus some 3 Frigates from Spain, Germany and Poland. Turkey has bigger four units in the Black Sea.

USS Mount Witney is supposed to come too. A command, control and spy ship, she is a swimming command center with significant transport capacity for additional troops (marines).

The Russians have six bigger units and a bunch of smaller stuff in the Black Sea.

Let's hope that this stays peaceful. It is fricking lunatic for the U.S. to send its ships at all.

Posted by: b | Aug 26, 2008 2:21:06 PM | 12

Totten knows nothing about the conflict. He talked with Saak's top media guy in Tbilisi and wrote down what he was told. I bet they payed his ticket too. That is journalism the way Judith Miller did "journalism".

Yes, the war started on the 6th August he says. The South Ossetian's attacked. A mortar was fired or so. Great nothing happened the days, month and years before that?

Who opened fire with area denial weapons (Stalin organs) against a sleeping town that was hardly a military target?

Now that is war, a single mortar isn't.

Posted by: b | Aug 26, 2008 2:28:16 PM | 13

Why did Russia call for a ceasefire BEFORE the 58th was thru the Roki Tunnel?

Why, exactly, did Britain and the US refuse to support the Russian initiative in the UN?

"Earlier the Security Council rejected a Russia-drafted resolution calling on Georgia and South Ossetia to immediately put down their weapons. The US, Britain and some other members backed the Georgians in rejecting a phrase in the three-sentence statement that would have required both sides "to renounce the use of force." But now there seems to be a slight shift of attitudes of some sides that were reluctant to the resolution."

http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/28688

Posted by: yuri | Aug 26, 2008 2:52:05 PM | 14

b

the u s is completely fucking mad with these postures that can escalate quite quickly in a way even the dumbest of neocon water closet strategists could imagine

the totten piece completely ludicrous

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 3:00:41 PM | 15

FkD

As to your admission to being an American, all well and good, but may I recall a flood of stickers that I found adorning the carriages of the New York Subway Transit System back in the late 1950’s at the time when Nikita Khrushchev was busy shouting at the UN. They read: “Don’t Get A Crush On Krushy—It’s You He Wants To Crush”. I could nearly say the same about the BBC.

I am constantly reading complaints on various informed blog spots (such as this one) about the coverage of Fox or CNN being consistently biased à la Bush and Co. Well, permit me to advise you: it ain’t no different with the BBC. It may have been up to and including the Suez Crises when the then PM Sir Anthony Eden raised all hell with the Beeb about it’s unbiased coverage and all to no avail. The Beeb just kept on publishing the truth. But, let me tell you a little bit about the BBC you might not otherwise know. The BBC is not—repeat: NOT by any stretch of the imagination an unbiased news sources—full stop. Not anymore.

The BBC, whether as a news gathering source or as a provider of general interest programmes is, if anything, heavily biased along class lines, i.e. along lower middleclass lines. In other words, at about the level of the pictorial popular press. Which is also where all the Jingoist mentality firmly flourishes. But, then it’s the same market all British newspapers also aspire to nowadays. That the BBC pretends to be an unbiased and informed source of information across a wide spectrum of national and international issues is one of the great anomalies of our time. In fact it could not be and still maintain its government granted Charter. A Charter which mandates that it not only inform but reflect the status quo.

It has always been accused of being elitist, but that is largely an indictment aimed at the corporate structure of the BBC and those who hold senior positions therein. And who are these people? Well, however stereotypical it may read they are in this case the Usual Suspects. An otherwise marginalised coterie of largely Oxford and Cambridge graduates of both sexes who have staked out a career structure in the sometimes eerie inner sanctum of their own insular and arrogant sanctimony.

rselle@hotmail.co.uk

Posted by: Spyware | Aug 26, 2008 3:06:23 PM | 16

A great entertainment has been to witness the complete nervous breakdown of the British media...Guardian, BBC, Telegraph, Times, Independent...the lot.

They have no idea which way to turn...triumphalist one day, despondent the next, bellicose one day, smarmily sorrowful the next, all the time churning out their by now well known, well honed, propaganda. The Yanks straight out lie, but the Brits know how to do it while filling out an application for the Nobel in literature.

Their latest tack is to describe Medvedev's signature as "defiance", as if Bush is the Wise Daddy (lol!) and Putin/Medvedev the unruly teenagers. They do know how to strike a pose, those Brit journos.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 26, 2008 3:32:06 PM | 17

@Spyware - I agree - I also see that tendency increasing in a lot of German news sources.

What is always interesting to follow is the way the news "changes" from the report of the first incident, in this case the Georgian criminal arty attack on Tskhinvali, changed over two or three days to "Russian invasion".

The same happened two years ago when the Israeli bombed around Lebanon because two of their soldiers were captured. First most western sources got that right. It was totally out of proportion. After the governments had decided to let Israel to go on, the news services supported the false tale and blamed Hizbullah for dead folks in Beirut.

The same issue again came up with the current ceasefire agreement between Georgia and Russia. The first reports were okay. Then Sarkozy started to lie about it (The Mysterious 'Sarkozy Letter') and the news followed that tale instead of following the data.

Another issue is language specific. The German SPIEGEL is seen internationally as a truthful well regarded magazine. It's English site is quite good in reporting both sides. The German site is following the German government line (different editors which I personally know). The BBC foreign language service is better than the English one. Those in power don't care much about what they can not read ...

Posted by: b | Aug 26, 2008 3:45:08 PM | 18

It's all look bad. NATO should NOT be there at all. Russian did not start it. Somebody from US oil companies/government has his own plans for this region , that's all .They do not care about the people. Russia will take stand on this and if they need to they will use the nuclear weapons to protect the Russian border. US did in 1945. Russia has all right to defend their country. (US trying to use Georgia to escalate conflict, blaming Russia, but the truth is completely opposite .. Georgian military started to bomb Ossetian cities on August 8th, after 16 years de facto (S.Ossetia) independence and US knew about it. But who cares.. Kill people and do it quick..Well,it did no work the way it was planned , so Western media started screaming about it..Propoganda, not telling the truth.Kind of remind you was media was saying about IRAQ's WMD...? And nothing there, I do remember that Russian were saying that IRAQ does not have it

Posted by: Nick | Aug 26, 2008 3:51:43 PM | 19

totten's blog is pure (gov) propaganda. you can tell by the way the gov blogger's @ the iraqi sites link to him as supporting evidence whenever they haul out a new 'frame'. completely worthless w/little inserts of troops putting bandaids on kid's fingers for the mom set to oo and ah about. probably cia, i don't know but anyone who thinks he's authentic isn't paying attention, at all.

Posted by: annie | Aug 26, 2008 4:08:08 PM | 20

saakashvili is having his stupid smile wiped off his face. first, by the just & calm armed response from the russians. & now with an adroit use of jurisprudence has recognised south ossettia & abkhazia. neither of which the nincompoop neocons ever imagined - i imagine they are ejaculating & farting all over each other

dmitry medvedev in all the interviews i have seen with him today has been quite precise & even. not in the least bellicose, but firm. i'm quite sure that saakashvili will be asked by his people to go & as people have pointed out he will either end up in some neocon thinktank or go to live in london(the new miami) to live with the other gangsters

the americans will do nothing. they will huff & they will puff - but to no avail - it is collapsing for the empire everywhere. even their puppets in iraq & afghanistan cannot put up with them. in egypt & pakistan - it is hotter than the u s wants it to be. in the phillipines & even in thailand it is getting very messy indeed

the west, for all its propaganda - cannot convince their people of an armed response because at heart - they have seen this movie before & they know the actors a little - & they know nothing can be believed of them. the u s has neither the means nor the popular will to do anything no matter how hard the harridans & gnomes of 'the press' cackle & cry for it

personally, i feel safer now that the russians have shown some firmness. it is a firmness the opposition in the u s ought to learn from

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 4:15:41 PM | 21

That guy they talk to on the toten website , this Patrik Worms is a agent for a belgian PR consultancy in the employment of Saakashvili .

Can see him here :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odK0cdL5m8U

Posted by: avm | Aug 26, 2008 4:52:37 PM | 22

I know what I would do if I were president again. They didn't say "give 'em hell, Harry" for nothing, you know.

Posted by: Harry Truman | Aug 26, 2008 5:28:56 PM | 23

remembereringgiap is absolutely right. The US is war-weary. People in the habit of deferring to the country's chauvinists and authoritarians just want the fighting to stop, they want the war to go away. Everyone knows this. Even Cheney knows it. What could this trip accomplish? It's a hand-holding session--Cheney cheering up the losers who've bought his line.

Up there where the air is thin, and the leaders keep talking to one another, the stream of noise and static must be unending. Sarkozy, for one, must have heard a lot of screaming in English lately. And as for the English, they were already screamed at for pulling out of Basra.

The creature of malice living within me just can't wait for that meeting between Cheney and Berlusconi, because among the not-nice men in this world, Berlusconi is much, much tougher and smarter than Cheney. And oh, how very malicious! He also gets along just fine with Putin, of course--not by looking deep, deep into his peerless eyes, but by reaching deep, deep into his fossil-fuel resources.

Cheney would have us think that this trip resembles Sharon's little tour of Europe and America back in the spring of 2001. No, thank God, it does not.

Posted by: alabama | Aug 26, 2008 5:33:57 PM | 24

inner city press

UNITED NATIONS, August 26 -- Russia has introduced a draft press statement for the Security Council to "deplore" the August 22 bombing of civilians in Afghanistan by the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom. Inner City Press has obtained the draft and puts it online here. (pdf) [i'm currently unable to open the downloaded file]

Prior to the conflict in Georgia and South Ossetia, there had been numerous other "collateral damage" incidents in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Russia did not put forward in the Security Council documents which would condemn them. But as Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Press last week, when asked about Russia's previous acceptance of reference to Georgia's territorial integrity in Security Council resolutions, "That was then, this is now."
...
The Russian draft statement on Afghanistan, attached, is indicative of the new mood in the Security Council, the heightened tension between Russia and the U.S. (and secondarily with France and the UK). Good luck on Iran sanctions, one wag at the Council stakeout said. But now a wider range of issues on the Council's agenda may be impacted.

Posted by: b real | Aug 26, 2008 6:04:11 PM | 25

screwed up the second link - pdf

Posted by: b real | Aug 26, 2008 6:05:32 PM | 26

paul craig roberts - russians should hang saakashvili

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 6:18:06 PM | 27

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9c7ad792-7395-11dd-8a66-0000779fd18c.html

Posted by: a nonie mouse | Aug 26, 2008 6:59:13 PM | 28

dimitry medvedev responds calmly to a western media hack

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 6:59:54 PM | 29

nonie mouse link

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 7:03:19 PM | 30

bbc hack has nervous breakdown interviewing dimitry medved

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 7:10:03 PM | 31


a government that could'nt find its way to New-Orleans after Katrina wants to pick a fight with Russia on the other side of the world ?

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 26, 2008 8:16:08 PM | 32

jbcool

i wonder why these stupid democrats dont push the fucking republican's noses in the cesspool of katrina - lord god - you'd think it would need no other elucidation of the failure of that particular wing of capital

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26, 2008 8:33:33 PM | 33

OT, but...

Katrina Pain Index:New Orleans Three Years Later

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 26, 2008 9:12:54 PM | 34

With 5 months of the bush administration left to run there's plenty of time to manipulate a real war and these fools are just the ones to promote it.

Posted by: waldo | Aug 26, 2008 10:27:29 PM | 35

the reason why these inept bottom feeders (democrats) sliming around the dregs of dissatisfaction can't mention colossal failures like Katrina is because then they might be compelled to try to alleviate the laundry list of inaction Uncle's link describes.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 26, 2008 11:27:20 PM | 36

correction/clarification on my inserted remark in #25 - there's nothing wrong w/ the pdf - t'was an OS issue

Posted by: b real | Aug 26, 2008 11:29:56 PM | 37

sorry, that was way off topic. in amerika it's easy to remain oblivious to the dangerous provocations the suicidal hawks (both parties) are up to while the dazzle is on.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 26, 2008 11:30:37 PM | 38

A country that couldn't get aid to Katrina now has cruise missile ships, already in the area, fully packed with "humanitarian aid"? Oh Yes, we always steam around with about 10 tonnes of humanitarion aid ready to deliver at the drop of a hat. Can anyone outside of the US believe that? And about 47% of the people in the US do believe it.

Posted by: Alen/Vancouver | Aug 26, 2008 11:42:57 PM | 39

the only thing more dangerous than NATO circling the wagons round Russia and nukes in Poland and warships in the Black Sea is the media manipulation of mentally pliant amerikans robbed of the necessary context to see where this is going.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 26, 2008 11:51:42 PM | 40

Can anyone outside of the US believe that? And about 47% of the people in the US do believe it.

I'd be confident in wagering that 47% is way low...

Warnings to Russia from Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham

War With Russia Is On The Agenda
By Paul Craig Roberts

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 26, 2008 11:53:23 PM | 41

John Q. Public

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 27, 2008 12:17:49 AM | 42

Reuters is quoting an anonymous US embassy source in Tbilsi that the US has cancelled plans to dock in Poti. Maybe.

"There was a possibility that the McFaul might go to Poti but no-one has given us a final decision. We're not sure (if it's coming)," a US navy source told Reuters.

Pentagon did not confirm or deny scrapping the Poti visit.

http://tinyurl.com/6p4hus

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 27, 2008 12:24:06 AM | 43


Thrasyboulos...

US warships scrap visit to Georgian port-source

Posted by: | Aug 27, 2008 12:35:49 AM | 44

Some of you thinking fellers & gals might want to reacquaint yourselves with the entity called NED.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 27, 2008 12:45:53 AM | 45

TOT, but perspective is called for ... world wars blossom in hysteria-time,
and frankly, there's not a damn thing MoA can do to stop Darth Cheney now.

--

Local independents put together perfect office

The country's local independent organizations officials claim to have opened a new perfect directorate and plan to expand projects. The announcement was made in a two-day workshop held by the office head to Pajhwak Press, to make changes to the official government system.

According to Pajhwak, the process of forming organizations in districts has been heeded, which will be an improvement to main organizations too.
The new process has already been completed in two districts of Dand and Daman, and it will soon be started in three other provinces of Kandahar, at Spin Boldak, Arghandab and Panjwaye.

Pajhwak explained that the recent workshop was held to educate district governors about the new office system. Workshop participants called it essential, and claimed that they have learned a lot about how to carry out official work. According to them, these workshops will play a big role in teaching functional office work, answering a constant criticism of the Afghan government, a lack of qualified workers for the office positions.


--

Southern Reconstruction face problems

Enayatullah Durrani, the head of Loy Kandahar, the leading southern reconstruction association, has asked provincial officials to help with problems the trades union faces. Loy Kandahar was established by the Kandahar Provincial assembly, and has 220 active member companies.

Mr. Durrani, talking at the opening ceremony of the reconstruction corporations, said that despite facing many challenges, their companies still function and continue to work for country and fellow country men.
He also spoke about the importance of private sectors in the country's economy, and said if private sectors are not developed, it would create distrust between local people and the national government.

Durrani blamed bureaucracy as one of the main reasons for their problems. He asked officials to launch more projects in Kandahar rather than Kabul so work in the district could be completed more effectively and easily.
Durrani also blamed some contracting organizations for selling each other projects which, according to him, often harms the quality of the work.

Ahamd Wali Karzai, the Kandahar Provincial Council representative, spoke opposite Mr. Durrani, blaming the reconstruction companies for low-quality work. He urged the companies to work as one and help rebuild the country. He asked them to provide better job opportunities for local civilians and take part in the country's economical redevelopment.

Kandahar newly-appointed Governor, Rahmatullah Raofi, also spoke at the ceremony, promising that he will take these organizational issues into serious consideration. He challenged the reconstruction companies to think about their profits, but also to consider providing better quality work.

--

15 % of population have no healthcare

Health ministry officials claim that 85 percent of the population have access to medical care but the remaining 15, most of whom are residing in remote regions of the country, have no medical attention whatsoever.

Health Ministry Deputy, Doctor Faizullah Kakar, while signing a contract in Kabul for construction of 71 new hospitals, said that there are 36,000 small villages in Afghanistan but the Health Ministry medical centers are limited to only 1,464. He also announced his plan to build 300 new local and 26 regional health centers worth 20 million AF$.

The 71 new hospitals are to be constructed in the following provinces: Laghman, Kunor, Samangan, Balkh, Meadan Wardak, Ghazni, Nemroz,Badghis, Paktiya, Khost,Bamyan, Baghlan, Takhar, Logar, Nengrahar, Zabul, Kunduz, Dai Kundi and Sari Pul.

According to Mr. Kakar, 167 local and 4 regional health centers have already been built and have started functioning. He explained that building health centers in more remote areas of the country would require a huge budget, which the health ministry says it couldn't afford.

--

Afghan Senators Propose Tribal Armed Forces

Masharano Jerga (Senior Assembly) representatives believe that having armed tribal forces would be a genuine step towards better security for the country Afghan national government senators are giving serious consideration to a plan to organize tribal forces, first suggested by the Afghan Border Army.

Afghan Border military, who sent their proposal for making tribal forces to the Mashrano Jerga and the Tribal and Ethnic Assembly, claim that tribal forces would have a big role in bringing better security to the frontiers and far remote regions of the country.

Tribal forces refers to a militia of local people of different ethnic groups chosen specifically by tribal leaders, and one that has no direct links with the government. Tribal forces would be armed by the government, but have the responsibility to secure their own districts of the country, without the direct involvement of the Afghan National Army.

According to Afghan senator Merbat Khan Mangal, a member of the Tribal and Ethnic Assembly, many families accept the need for tribal forces in the countryside. Mangal added, he believes that these tribal forces will strengthen those 86 districts lying near the Pakistani border.

Others believe the creation of an armed tribal militia would be opening another front on the continuing and ongoing conflicts in the country.

--

Poppy eradication campaign makes gains

The Associated Press, August 26, 2008

Drought and anti-drug campaigns helped slash Afghanistan's opium poppy cultivation by 19 per cent this year, but the country is still by far the world's leading source of the heroin-producing crop, a United Nations agency said Tuesday.

Successful anti-poppy campaigns in the country's north and east were mainly to thank for the drop in output of the plant, the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime said.

But, the agency said, fields in the south — where the Taliban resistance is strongest — remain awash in poppies, which produce opium, the main ingredient in heroin.

And because of a rise in yield, opium production this year will fall only six per cent compared with last year's record haul. That means the Taliban stands to again earn tens of millions of dollars from the drug trade to support its insurgency.

Still, the UN agency and other drug officials said this year's results provide reason to be cautiously optimistic.

"The opium flood waters in Afghanistan have started to recede," the agency said in its report, Afghanistan Opium Survey 2008.

--


Afghanistan demands end to Nato air strikes

guardian.co.uk, August 26 2008

Tensions increased today between Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, and US and Nato troops, with the government ordering a review of foreign military activities amid claims that dozens of civilians have died in raids and air strikes over the past week.

The ministries of foreign affairs and defence said they would seek to regulate raids with a status of forces agreement and a negotiated end to "air strikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians".

The UN mission in Afghanistan has backed the government. Afghan and foreign soldiers entered the village of Nawabad in Shindand district last Friday and called in air strikes, villagers told UN investigators.

The UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said in a statement that an investigation "found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men. Fifteen other villagers were wounded.

"The destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with seven to eight houses having been destroyed, with serious damage to many others," Eide said. "Local residents were able to confirm the number of casualties, including names, age and gender of the victims.

--

Japanese aid worker missing

Radio Australia August 27, 2008

Police are searching rugged eastern mountain regions in Afghanistan for a Japanese national thought to have been kidnapped by the extremist Taliban.

Earlier, the Afghan interior ministry told reporters 31-year-old Kazuya Ito had been freed in a massive operation, around 10 hours after he was snatched in the eastern province of Nangarhar, but it was later determined Mr. Ito is still missing.

Provincial police said they had men in the mountains between Nangarhar and Kunar provinces looking for Ito.

"There are police searches everywhere. It is a mountainous area full of trees," provincial government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai told AFP.

Posted by: Luke Skywalker | Aug 27, 2008 1:33:44 AM | 46

I doubt that the aim of all the USuk sabre rattling over Georgia is to promote an actual shooting war, many of the most virulently outspoken Russia haters will be totally pissed at Shaakashvili's silliness in actually shooting at the Rooshians. (I watched Dr Strangelove again last night and thats what Slim Pickens called em)
The disadvantage of a shooting war is that there are very definite winners and loser, which means a 50% probability that 'our side' could lose and even worse shooting wars end.
If those who are old enough cast their minds back to the year 1990 and remember the generals and admirals, along with arms manufacturing CEO's who were running around like headless chooks while trying to come up with reasons to continue the arms race, they will recognise that USukEU seeming victory in 'winning' the cold war wasn't any cause for elation on the part of the victors.

If Cheney and co are behind the crank up of bad relations with Russia and all the evidence seems to show they are, the objective isn't open warfare - the risks are too great and the rewards (open war with Russia would likely be decided one way or the other in a matter of months) too small.

I reckon this mob of assholes want the cold war back just as it was. Those were the days limitless funding for silly pork barrel projects, it didn't mater about mistakes and greed because the stuff was rarely if ever used they didn't get found out. For example it wasn't until the illegal invaders were being shot at that anyone took complaints about lousy armour seriously.
Armour how the hell are you gonna make a dollar outta armour? It's simple stuff, made of metal plates and everyone knows about how much it should cost. Universal smoke grinders or modulated decompression analysers are where the money is. Everyone is too proud to admit they don't what they are, or what they hell they should do, so they sure as hell aren't gonna tell you how much they should cost.

Lookit the lengths contractors had to go to to make body armour seem sophisticated and therefore expensive. They can't say something simple like a bulletproof vest so they talk about
The Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) has significantly improved Soldier combat survivability, but in what ways does it change rifleman lethality? A July 2005 study quantified the effects of Soldier equipment on lethality through multi-factor logistic regression using data from range experiments

If you never actually use the stuff there is much less chance of it being found to be useless. Even better re-ordering, maintenence and updating can be set on the basis of how generous the contractor is to his mates, not because some uppity piece of cannon fodder has gone whining to the media.

This is a fallback position for Cheney and his constituents in the arms manufacturing industries, "if Obama behaves like the wimpy half-caste he looks like and stops amerika shooting at other darkies, everyone can still make a dollar until we get our trough back".

Incidentally those who imagined that the New York Times wasn't always a tool of the defense establishment I suggest they read Bosley Crowther's review of Dr Strangelove from January 1964:

. . . On the other hand, I am troubled by the feeling, which runs all through the film, of discredit and even contempt for our whole defense establishment, up to and even including the hypothetical Commander in Chief.

It is all right to show the general who starts this wild foray as a Communist-hating madman, convinced that a "Red conspiracy" is fluoridating our water in order to pollute our precious body fluids. That is pointed satire, and Sterling Hayden plays the role with just a right blend of wackiness and meanness to give the character significance.

But when virtually everybody turns up stupid or insane—or, what is worse, psychopathic—I want to know what this picture proves. The President, played by Peter Sellers with a shiny bald head, is a dolt, whining and unavailing with the nation in a life-or-death spot. But worse yet, his technical expert, Dr. Strangelove, whom Mr. Sellers also plays, is a devious and noxious ex-German whose mechanical arm insists on making the Nazi salute.

Lol whats an "ex-German" do you think? I always thought Dr Kissinger was a red-blooded amerikan.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 27, 2008 3:44:55 AM | 47

Further thoughts on Cheney's Grand Tour: (1.) it's Cheney, not Bush; (2.) it's Cheney, not Rice--but after Rice; (3.) as such, and given the reaction against Rice by Saak & Co,, it would serve, mostly, as a damage-control operation; (4.) Cheney can't be allowed, publicly, to act as a leader on this scene, since his doing so would weaken beyond repair the standing of an already-weak Bush; (5.) given all this, we can expect Bush himself to stage some sort of face-saving performance after Labor Day, perhaps through a speech and a round of meetings at the UN; (6.) but not with Putin or Medvedev (an unthinkable humiliation).

Posted by: alabama | Aug 27, 2008 3:56:29 AM | 48

@ 44 - also confirmed in today's NYT

U.S. Cancels Plan to Send Military Ship to Georgian City

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: August 27, 2008
Filed at 4:15 a.m. ET

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- The United States has canceled plans to try to dock a military ship carrying humanitarian aid in the Georgian port of Poti, where Russian forces are posted on the outskirts, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said Wednesday.

The ship, the Coast Guard cutter Dallas, was to have come to the Black Sea port Wednesday morning. But embassy spokesman Stephen Guice said the vessel instead will dock in Batumi, a port well south of the zone of fighting in this month's war between Russia and Georgia.

Guice said he did not have information on why the plan was changed.
...

Russian troops have established checkpoints on the northern approach to the city and a U.S. ship docking there could have been seen as a direct challenge.
...
In a move that angered Russia, the U.S. sent the missile destroyer USS McFaul to Batumi to deliver 34 tons of humanitarian aid on Sunday.

The McFaul left Batumi on Tuesday but would remain in the Black Sea area, said Commander Scott Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet in Naples, Italy.

In Moscow, the deputy head of the Russian military's general staff lashed out at the U.S. naval operation.

''We are worried'' about aid the way aid is delivered on warships, Nogovitsyn said. ''This is devilish.''

''This aid could be bought at any flea market,'' he added.

LOL

Posted by: Hamburger | Aug 27, 2008 5:10:49 AM | 49

While they may have postponed the ship for now...

US continues to ratchet up tensions with Russia

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 27, 2008 6:18:18 AM | 50

The Dallas is not docking in the Georgian port of Poti, where Russian forces are posted on the outskirts, but instead will dock in Batumi, a port about 60 km south, where the missile destroyer USS McFaul offloaded its "aid" yesterday. The McFaul remains in the">http://www.kaukasus-kaleidoscope.com/images/black-sea22.jpg&imgrefurl=http://kaukasus.blogspot.com/2005/08/ferry-from-sochi-russia-to-poti-and.html&h=382&w=500&sz=46&hl=en&start=7&sig2=PU-Jzqh0S0iTuHybTmimrA&usg=__hPN5gqF0XhD71za-sBE7uXjpBC4=&tbnid=bLdEHSV9R-tLPM:&tbnh=99&tbnw=130&ei=gj61SPv-N4K00gXLmZ2_Cg&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dblack%2Bsea%2Bcoast%2Bpoti%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG">the area.

Posted by: Hamburger | Aug 27, 2008 7:52:03 AM | 51

Alabama,

I think what that says is Bush can't make it to the finish line. He's completely unraveled as witnessed by his obvious intoxicated display at the Olympics. In all fairness, it's not as if he ever made it to the starting line, other than in appearance, and a sorry rendition it has been (or masterful, depending on how you view, but either way, an act), but he can't even be relied upon now for even a half-assed pretense of being the leader of the free world (don't you love when they say that....leader of the free world...ha!!).

Posted by: Laura | Aug 27, 2008 8:03:53 AM | 52

That very democratic - elected with 96% yes votes - President of Georgia, is censoring access to Russian websites and other small places like google.com.

Can't let the people get real information ...

Posted by: b | Aug 27, 2008 8:22:06 AM | 53

Reply to Spyware

Regarding BBC

This may explain their adherance to the government agenda :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/26/alqaida.uksecurity

Posted by: avm | Aug 27, 2008 10:37:52 AM | 54

medley..excuse:

Just like B, I though Mevd. and Putin would wait, I reckoned about 6 weeks, say. I also thought that maybe a more elegant solution could be found. A tricky, sneaky, thing to have tried would have been to have a referendum in the ‘breakaways’, by somehow twisting Saak’s arm and so on. I mean, if ppl are going to garble and hiss about democracy and liberty then stick it in their craw, damn deep.

Fanfare! Liberty for all peoples! Forward march!

sidebar: Israel is different; an outpost of the superpower. And Kosova, is just, well, duh, special! (And we will have no talk about Muslims in this case.)

The detaching of Kosova (or other ex Yugo, break-up in short) was a move the Atlantic powers wanted desperately to accomplish (Clinton, etc.) and they were warned, again and again.

The upshot there is that Kosova will be partitioned, it already is de facto (north-south), even if that will not be signed officially in years to come (to save face.) It seemed an easy prey...post USSR... and so it proved to be, but the future..

I was just getting my mind around a possible next step - Transnistria, independent since a long time according to them, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria>wiki when I read about the decision of the Russkie parliament.

Overreach. Hubris, lies, media manipulation. UN arm twisting. Grandstanding. Idiocy. On the part of the ‘West.’

rgiap wrote: the americans will do nothing. they will huff & they will puff..

right. to no avail.

Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 27, 2008 12:49:37 PM | 55

Best analysis of the larger picture -- Grand Imperial Strategy -- that I have seen yet, from Richard K. Moore :

Friends,

Like most people who have any awareness of the world, you've probably been wondering about the events in Georgia. Is Russia going to be 'isolated'? Is NATO going to expand into Georgia and the Ukraine? Will Russia bomb the missile systems the US is deploying in Poland? Might things spiral out of control into a nuclear exchange? I too have been wondering, and watching the developments carefully. The picture is now beginning to become clear.

The first thing to realize is that everything that is happening has been planned out well in advance by the usual suspects in Washington. The events have not in any sense been caused by tensions in the Caucus, rather those tensions have provided a convenient venue for Washington to pursue its grand designs.

The second thing to realize is that Russia has no interest whatsoever in conflict. By this I don't mean 'Russia is good', but rather 'Russia is sensible'. The conflicts now and to come are entirely the creation of US/EU elites, in their pursuit of global domination.

The third thing to realize – and this is well known in both Washington and Moscow – is that the US has been preparing for many years to carry out a nuclear first-strike against Russia. That's what Reagan's 'Star Wars' was about, and the thread continues to space-based lasers, and right down to the missiles in Poland.

The fourth thing to realize is the reason why this first strike is critical to US/EU elite interests. Without it, the overwhelming balance of global power will shift to Eurasia, to Russia and China. Eurasia is growing rapidly economically, while the US & EU are in rapid economic decline, and these trends are not going to change without decisive military intervention.

There was a period where it seemed Russia could be defeated without a conflagration. Under Yeltsin, Washington thought it could destroy Russia from within. And then later the 'colored revolutions' looked like they might succeed. Those schemes, however, failed. The Russian Bear is now fully awake, with pockets full of cash, and prepared to defend its interests. Not a scenario that pleases a bully who wants to be King of the Schoolyard.

That's the background to the events in Georgia.

What we are now seeing is the countdown to the first strike. There are many dimensions to the project. The military capability is only one part. Equally important is the psy-ops preparation.

Militarily, the US is not ready yet. The missile defense systems still need a few years to be sufficiently effective to enable a first strike with minimal damage to the US from Russian retaliation. Evidently, the Pentagon now has a reliable date for when it will be ready, and that's the reason for the launch of the psy-ops part of the project.

That's what the Georgian incident was all about: the beginning of a psy-ops project, Demonizing Russia. Washington hit Russia with provocation it couldn't ignore ('an offer it couldn't refuse'), and then the propaganda machine (ie, the Western media) launched its well-prepared campaign of lies and deception.

This is only the beginning. Washington and its toady NATO will push Russia again and again, forcing it into moves that will be increasingly easy to demonize. By such means Washington will create a situation where populations in the West think of Russia as expansionist, just like in the Cold War. As the first-strike capability nears readiness, the pushing will be accelerated. Ultimately Russia will be forced to take an action that will be perceived by Western audiences as 'going too far', and that will be the excuse for the first strike. Of course I have no idea what the code name for this whole project is, but The Eagle Strikes might be it.

rkm

If Moore's scenario is true, and I presume that it is, then it is clearly understood by all world leaders and planners, and is the driving force behind increasingly chaotic and unexpected events. It also renders "gatekeeper" commentators, like Monbiot, ludicrous in their misleading analyses. Perhaps one may read between the lines of Paul Craig Roberts. Those who fill the void with endless puffery about how dumb Dubya is, or how bellicose Dick is, or how incompetent Condi is, are fools, or worse.

The only thing I have to add is the necessary precondition of having assiduously placed puppet leaders in place in France and Germany (and Italy?), and also throughout the EU: Poland, Scandinavia, etc. UK and US also, but that goes without saying. The US Military, particularly the Air Force, is chock-full of brainwashed born-agains who will rush lemming-like towards Armageddon with glee frozen on their glassified masks.

And, of course, like the Color Revolutions, the plan may not be successful. We can only hope.

But this is brinksmanship raised to the highest degree: The final roll of the dice for the West, and the entire world, in all probability. One last chance to auger in on what Fukuyama termed "The End of History."

Compared to this, the Obamamania spectacle playing out before the flocks of expectant sheep is but the slightest rustle of desicated leaves in a lonely copse of Quaking Aspens before a cold desolate Autumn breeze. Compared to this, moving into a "green" house, or searching for the right livelihood, or meditating upon the words of the Dalai Lama, is but the shaking of a single leaf in an immense forest on the edge of a vast volcano that is about to blow.

(Sorry, old friends, that I never post anymore, but despite all my talents and hard work, I have completely fallen through the social network -- to the point where I cannot even properly care for myself, much less use my brain for anything productive. Keep up the great work, b, et al.)

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 27, 2008 12:52:54 PM | 56

Malooga!

welcome back old friend

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 27, 2008 1:02:44 PM | 57

Media and pipole (people in the media in French, media figures):

Cindy McCain flies to Georgia for Saakashvili talks

And Saak’s wife wanted to fly to California, as her Therapist is there. She was very upset and so shattered! and sad about deaths and needed counsel. (no link for that, sorry...) Maybe she needed time off from her (scam?) charitable foundation... But she didn’t go! Cos she is to meet Cindy!
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1010/42/370434.htm>moscow times

Wake up! The BBC is worse that Fox or CNN. Gigantic budget, very clever filming, deep investigation of points to push, hyper sophisticated spin, every word on sensitive issues vetted, etc. (And the fiction is fitted in...)

Fox is just silly pleb-Repub-redneck-proper ppl-support for Gvmt -US ranting- and many see it as such - of course Fox is not called on to do more. That is their slot, their role, their revenue.

CNN Europe is clumsy, biased of course, BS, natch, but as it is just talking heads (mainly) and they rely on their rep. of objectivity, they try to be ‘balanced’ etc., overall it is mainstream media, deceptive, idiotic, dismaying, the pits, but they don’t have the means to do more, and one can read between the lines, and many times things slip through. It is superficial. A mask of well being, rose petals fly, commercialism, ads, and more ads, wooden experts, upbeat opinion, appeals to regions, nice darkies making baskets or doing gene research on the cusp of a discovery, weather with hysterical joy, a plane crash - suitable somber tones and downturned mouths. It is crap.

The Beeb (I see BBC world and BBC prime) is not elitist at all. It is pointed to controlling the masses and projecting world wide propaganda. The top elites don’t watch it, and don’t let their children watch it - they control it. CNN is harmless commercial drivel and news pablum in comparison, and Fox is some minor fringe nut thing.

Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 27, 2008 1:12:26 PM | 58

WaPo

Here's a link that will warm your heart, Laura....

Posted by: alabama | Aug 27, 2008 1:22:39 PM | 59

take care, my friend malooga

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 27, 2008 1:30:05 PM | 60

more happy news for the u s - times

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 27, 2008 2:01:55 PM | 61

when you think they cannot step up the hysteria - they step it up across the board - but yes tangerine - even that'a huffin' & a'puffin' - i think there are very few people in the world - even georgians - who will believe there is any substance at all in this hysteria - let alone, fight for it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 27, 2008 2:26:05 PM | 62

@Malooga - welcome back -

a dark scenario you present - and a likely one.

(let me know if I can help you - financially or otherwise - email moonofa _at_ aol.com)

Posted by: b | Aug 27, 2008 2:38:51 PM | 63

I wonder if Russia has plans on despoiling drug trade routes from Afghanistan to Europe. Afterall, Afghanistan does supply something like 90% of the heroin to the european market. That's big money and a lot of big players have vested, unofficial interests. Such a move could break the rusty wire, so to speak. Laundered drug money accounts for a not insubstantial percentage of the highly over-valued U.S. Stock Market.

Posted by: Poppy Bush | Aug 27, 2008 4:10:03 PM | 64

ot but @64

i think that is one of the things that surprises me substantially - about capital - that was clear to balzac a long time ago - that behind every fortune is a crime

we never have to go very far in the last century & this to find the connection between capital & criminality. between laundering & liquidity. often it is quite direct & does not take einstein to research. the chicago boys legitimised & incorporated such criminality at its base

& since time immemorial - the military & intelligence arms of the state - have had a hand in hand relation with criminals whether it was with lucky luciano in the 2nd worl war or the drug cartels in latin america, heroin in south east asia

so it would not surprise me in the least - that a little money is being earned from the poppy by those same arms of the state

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 27, 2008 6:07:55 PM | 65


Moores analysis @56 is compelling given what we know about the promoters of world domination. However, the Star-Wars/Missile-Shields projects have been more about pork than defense. Everything thats come out of these efforts has been woefully un-impressive & highly vulnerable to low-cost counter-measures. And theres not much reason to expect dramatic improvements in the foreseeable future. Absent the pork element, it might be another story.

If Moore is right, & he may very well be, we have a hostile foreign policy towards Russia thats reliant on little more than futuristic technical fantasy. Pure madness.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 27, 2008 7:27:23 PM | 66

There are a couple of overlooked US objectives here ... including US Navy access to the Black Sea, in support of those color revolution governments ? Or simply further 'containinment' re a resurgent Russia or seeking to ensure that flow of Central Asian oil (other than via Russia or Iran) ? Or perhaps all the above ?

The Great Game Revisited continues ... and a concerned (NATO) Turkey appears rather troubled ... not to mention Armenia and Azerbaijan, another pair of US/Russian proxy cards yet to be played in the Caucasus ?

Scuttling Montreaux

FromWikipedia:- Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits

Posted by: Outraged | Aug 27, 2008 11:24:04 PM | 67

Nagorno-Karabakh a Wiki primer.

Azerbaijains Military (And US Sponsored military buildup ... Deja Vu re Georgia ? (After all, the Azerbaijanis have oil !, and they border both Iran & Russia ))

and

Armenias Military (Armenia, the home of the Russian 102nd military base, Air force and Russian border gaurds who kindly secure Armenias Turkish & Azerbaijan borders)

Posted by: Outraged | Aug 27, 2008 11:45:13 PM | 68

Ooops, should read:- ... secure Armenias Turkish and Iranian borders

Posted by: Outraged | Aug 28, 2008 12:02:19 AM | 69

I'm kind of worried about a beer heiress being assassinated in Tbilisi leading to the first world war of this century. Or alternately, all it takes is for a handful of Chechen rebels with an RPG and a rubber dingy to trigger havoc. There just should not be that much concentration of US Navy at risk in an enclosed pond where there is no practical way to use them.

Watching the DNC, even the sane and more rational side of politics are still making the wrong noises about Georgia.

Posted by: YY | Aug 28, 2008 1:08:10 AM | 70

Not just the wrong noises, YY - after hearing excerpts on the radio (can't bear to turn on the tv these days) from Biden's acceptance speech tonight about how he and St. O were going to push back on Russia and deliver our dear Georgian brothers in freedom from the horrible Russkys, I am just incredibly depressed. The dems are making the same lunatic noises as the Republicans. Not that I expected substantial differences in foreign policy to come from an Obama ticket, but why did Biden have to explicitly make such a stupid, confrontational statement about Georgia in his speech at all? He could have stuck to " we'll get the U.S. out of Iraq and restore respect for the U.S. in the world" or something like that and it would have sufficed.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Aug 28, 2008 3:06:56 AM | 71

Biden did have a gratuitous moment about Georgia. This, from a foreign policy expert!
Reality is going to force them to walk this cat back so the less they make of the issue the better. Like the Columbia hostages, this one has zero effect on immediate US domestic and electoral politics, so it is not a smart move to add to the problems they would eventually have to face. (If it has an effect it would be to have to kiss one's ass goodbye)

Posted by: YY | Aug 28, 2008 3:39:23 AM | 72

WaPo

Very interesting piece, this--an interview with the administration's top man in Eastern European affairs. Bottom line? Georgia makes mistakes, and we won't go there. We won't even kick Russia out of the G8....

Posted by: alabama | Aug 28, 2008 4:06:29 AM | 73

Pfaff

A good piece by Pfaff on the same topic.

That WaPo interview with Fried (who, as the top Russian person at State, is clearly speaking for Rice) puts Cheney's Grand Tour in a new light: he's being humiliated to some degree by Bush--being forced to admit to the true believers in Georgia and the Ukraine that the US can't, and won't, deliver on his (i.e. Cheney's) earlier promises.

We shouldn't forget that Bush tortures animals and people alike (most probably a form of "anger management").

Posted by: alabama | Aug 28, 2008 5:03:00 AM | 74

Well, regardless of what Cheney's real agenda or marching orders are supposed to be for his trip to Georgia and environs, it would only take one little "mistake" (like,shooting down a civilian airliner by "mistake" for allegedly flying too close to one of our assets, or an incident with some suspicious fishing boats)to set off a big conflagration with all the military hardware assembled in a tight spot in the Black Sea. I'll feel slightly less anxious when they get those vessels the hell out of the Black Sea and wrap up the "humanitarian" mission.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Aug 28, 2008 7:41:59 AM | 75

If Cheney's trip is a response to the failure of Georgia's war, and he is being made to eat humble pie as a result, why did the Washington Post tell us on Tuesday that Cheney's aide Joseph R. Wood was in Tbilisi shortly before the new flareup to make arrangements for Cheney's visit to Georgia? Cheney To Visit Georgia Next Week: Ukraine, Azerbaijan Also on Itinerary:

One of Cheney's senior aides, Joseph R. Wood, visited Georgia shortly before the war with Russia began, administration officials said. Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said Wood was in Tbilisi as part of planning for the vice president's trip, and said the visit had no connection to the later conflict with Russia.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 28, 2008 10:54:24 AM | 76

I've always suspected Franz Ferdinand was set up for the assassination in Sarajevo by his enemies in the Austrian government and warmongers in Berlin and Vienna. Killing him killed two birds with one stone for his enemies in Vienna: get rid of a distrusted heir apparent to the throne, and get a chance to crack down on the Serbs. And, for Berlin, it meant either humiliating Russia and strengthening Austria, or fighting a war that they had an excellent chance of winning, thus reestablishing their continental dominance.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 28, 2008 11:04:26 AM | 77

Turkey in tight spot between Russia and NATO

Posted by: Outraged | Aug 28, 2008 12:49:26 PM | 78

Very interesting: satellite photo damage assessment:
http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/

/FkD

Posted by: FkD | Aug 28, 2008 1:31:50 PM | 79

Very interesting, indeed. Thank you for this.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 28, 2008 1:45:55 PM | 80

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