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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Georgia's war against Russia: 'Wag the Dog' Part II

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Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it a US election ruse gone wrong, asks Eric Walberg
 

4/9/8 -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave a gritty, straight-talking 30-minute interview with CNN this week in Russian. It was not translated or reported on widely in the US media, which is a shame. He charged that US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack, and lectured about such topics as Ossetia's long membership in the Russian empire (since 1801) and Ossetians' age-old resentment of Georgian chauvinism, especially following the 1917 Russian revolution and the 1990 declaration of Georgian independence. A South Ossetian legislator has already mooted the possibility that it will eventually become part of the Russian Federation.

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Ossetia: Diplomatic rubble

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Russia's firm response to the Georgian gamble in Ossetia is being interpreted in various ways, but the reality is clear, says Eric Walberg

21/8/8 -- Analogies of the Ossetia fiasco and its fallout with past events are coming thick and fast. Condoleezza Rice -- bless her heart -- says, "This is no longer 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia." James Townsend, a former Pentagon official now with the Atlantic Council, compared the situation to Hungary in 1956. In both cases, the Russians being, well, the Russians. Neocon Charles Krauthammer says Georgia needs "equivalent of the Berlin air lift". The Baltic statelets and Poland go back further yet, arguing it is a replay of Hitler and Stalin's invasions of their territory, prompting Poland to quickly sign on the dotted line for US missiles (against the Iranians, of course).

But the most telling analogy is with Iraq and its ill-fated invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

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Ossetia: War a la carte

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The US is inventing wars aplenty these days. Will it be Iran or Ossetia this month, asks Eric Walberg

14/8/8 -- In August 2008, Georgia launched a major military offensive against the rebel province South Ossetia, just hours after President Mikhail Saakashvili had announced a unilateral ceasefire.

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Georgia: The mouse that roared

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The line in the sand has been drawn on Georgia and NATO. Beware pushing the limits of Russia's patience too far, worries Eric Walberg

8/5/8 -- While Georgians see themselves as part of Europe, "the whole history of Georgia is of Georgian kings writing to Western kings for help, or for understanding. And sometimes not even getting a response," said its thoroughly Westernised president, Mikheil Saakashvili, in a recent interview. "Not just being an isolated, faraway country, but part of something bigger."

With a population of 4.7 million, this beautiful land, noted for its dozen or so hot-blooded independent-minded peoples, is surrounded by at best indifferent neighbours Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and of course Russia.

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Russia-US: Plus ca change

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The West and Russia are continuing their worn-out Cold War dance routine, argues Eric Walberg

17/3/8 -- As antagonists United States President George W Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin both begin ceding power to others, one would expect new political horizons to open up. Bush already looks more like a footnote than a leader, with the US focussing on McCain vs Clinton/Obama, leaving the failed president a classic lame duck. Putin is introducing his successor Dmitri Medvedev to the subtleties of power politics, with Western analysts slavering over hints in his biography of liberalism and even a rejection of Putin's clear anti-imperialist foreign politics. But this appearance of change belies the reality.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html