Alright, I have to admit, I was a little behind in this story – I don’t know why, I just hadn’t heard anything about it until Saturday, and this is my first opportunity to post about it.
Brief overview (for a really good, but still short overview, see Wikipedia’s page):
- August 1st – Georgian and paramilitary South Ossetian soldiers begin fighting, causing several deaths and injuries. Fighting continues.
- August 7th – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili makes a statement: “A sniper war is ongoing against residents of the villages in the South Ossetian conflict zone and as I speak now intensive fire is ongoing from artillery, from tanks, from self-propelled artillery systems – which have been brought in the conflict zone illegally – and from other types of weaponry, including mortars and grenade launchers.”
- August 8th:
- Georgia attacks the city of Tskhinvali.
- The UN meets and expresses “serious concerns at the escalation of violence.”
- Russia attacks Georgian forces in cities in South Ossetia, and attacks the Georgian city of Gori.
- August 9th:
- Georgian/Russian fighting continues.
- Georigian South Ossetian fighitng continues.
- Abkhazian separatists bomb the Kodori Valley.
- August 10th – Georgia withdraws from Tskhinvali and other parts of South Ossetia.
- August 11th:
- Russia invade Georgia.
- Russia captures Gori.
- Georgian forces retreat to protect the capital, Tbilisi.
This is absolutely uncalled for. It doesn’t matter WHO started this, either Georgia or the separatists, but Russia has NO RIGHT to invade Georgia. President Bush said in a speech, “The United States takes this matter very seriously [...] Georgia is a sovereign nation and its territorial integrity must be respected.”
And that’s absolutely true – like I said, Russia has NO RIGHT to get involved here, especially not to the level of invading somebody who may not even be the aggressor. And why is Russia helping separatists here, when they continue to oppress the Chechnya?
Personally, I think the U.S. should stay out of this, other than helping with talks and the UN. But we ALL have to be careful here. Making Russia angry is not a wise move. The only countries capable of militarily stopping Russia are America and China. I don’t think America is stupid enough to get involved militarily, and I doubt China is either.
This being said, Russia should not be allowed to continue their invasion in Georgia. The UN and countries must step in and persuade (through sanctions and other non-military actions) Russia to stop.
Everybody was happy when the USSR ended, but all that really happened was a smaller giant emerged, a very dangerous giant named Russia.