Russia’s Campaign of State Terror

Russia’s policy is not technically genocidal, as it does not seek to destroy Georgians as a race.  Rather, it is a series of massacres, a campaign of targeting civilian people.  This is in spite of Georgia’s focus on fighting on military personal.

GORI, Georgia — Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia veered closer to all-out war on Saturday as Russia moved parts of its Black Sea fleet toward Georgia’s coast and intensified air attacks on Georgia, striking two apartment buildings in the city of Gori and clogging roads out of the area with fleeing refugees.

Russia acknowledged that Georgian forces had shot down two Russian warplanes, while a senior Georgian official said the Georgians had destroyed 10 Russian jets. Russian armored vehicles continued to stream into South Ossetia, the pro-Russian region that won de facto autonomy from Georgia in the early 1990s.

1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle – NYTimes.com.

Russia’s campaign of State Terror recalls their outrages in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Finland.  The same factors that make Russia a terrible neighbor and a threat to the Core also lead to their incompetently bloodly military operations: a focus on steadfastness, a history of authoritarianism, and an inability to promote the best to the top.

Russia should be rolled back.  Back out of Georgia.  Back out of Europe.  Back out of an ability to matter.

19 thoughts on “Russia’s Campaign of State Terror”

  1. Here is my Solomanic prescription for the situation in Georgia:

    Russia can have South Ossetia. They can probably have the other break away areas.

    Georgia gets NATO membership. This week. Immediately followed by basing NATO F-16s in Georgia. As soon as the Georgian air force is able to handle them, the foreign F-16s and pilots are replaced with Georgian F-16s and pilots.

    Everybody gives a little, everybody gets a little. The Russians get to protect their “citizens” which is what they claim this is all about and the Georgians don’t have to worry as much that the Russians might not be satisfied with just those areas that they claim to be concerned about. Oh, yeah. It would be silly to have NATO member Georgia sitting off all alone so make Ukraine a NATO member at the same time.

  2. Considering that we can give Georgia a security guarantee whenever we wish, but Russia is attempting to launch the first interstate war against a good friend since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, rewarding them for their worst aggression since Afghanistan by allowing them to change international borders hardly sounds Solomanic!

    One might as well say a “Solomanic” solution to a bank robbery is allowing the thief to take his cash, but sternly warning him against robbing the bank again.

  3. I may be wrong, but I think that most Georgians would consider NATO membership worth the loss of some territory.

    More importantly, it would be an important push back against Russian military activity if the result is NATO expansion. The fact is that the Russian story being pedaled to the Europeans is that Russian peace keepers are just combating Georgian ethnic cleansing. Trading land for NATO membership is a pretty good deal for Georgia and a terrible deal for Russia. The tough part is getting the Europeans to agree to it. This Russian action might provide a window of opportunity for European acceptance of a few new members. The Europeans might need to be bribed with something like military contracts for the new NATO members, maybe Eurofighters instead of F-16s or F-35s, Leopard tanks rather than M1s and antiaircraft systems from European countries.

  4. I see no problem with Russia controlling the Caucuses, as long as they don’t mess with Eastern Europe. Why should there be an independent Chechnya, unless we want to see Islamic forces controlling an important piece of pipeline? If Russia wants to contain the forces of Islam in the Caucuses, then I see no problem with it?

    Now I realize that Georgia isn’t Islamic. But what did Georgia think would happen when they attacked Russian soldiers? This action by Russia is really no more or less justified than Panama or Grenada was for us.

    “Russia’s policy is not technically genocidal, as it does not seek to destroy Georgians as a race. Rather, it is a series of massacres, a campaign of targeting civilian people.” (Dan Tdaxp)

    Now I hope you realize that people made this same argument against the US when we were hitting civilian targets in Serbia? Don’t become one of these people who through around the word “genocide” like its candy.

    I must say, I can’t really figure out where all this anger towards Russia is coming from from you? If it were me sounding like this, it would easier to understand. But I can’t figure it out with you? I’ll continue observing and have an answer later.

  5. Mark in Texas,

    I may be wrong, but I think that most Georgians would consider NATO membership worth the loss of some territory.

    I may be wrong, but I think that a woman being raped in full view of the policy would consider a lot of things, in order to secure future police protection.

    Trading land for NATO membership is a pretty good deal for Georgia and a terrible deal for Russia.

    What makes you think this, as Georgia is on the path to NATO membership anyway, and the benefits of NATO membership can be had immediately through a bilateral security guarantee.

    Seerov,

    I see no problem with Russia controlling the Caucuses, as long as they don’t mess with Eastern Europe.

    Georgia is culturally and economically eastern Europe, and wrt EU and NATO it is often discussed in the context of other eastern European states (Ukraine, Moldova, etc).

    . Why should there be an independent Chechnya, unless we want to see Islamic forces controlling an important piece of pipeline? If Russia wants to contain the forces of Islam in the Caucuses, then I see no problem with it?

    I asked similar questions — what is it worth to accelerate the decline of Russia — in another thead [1].

    This action by Russia is really no more or less justified than Panama or Grenada was for us.

    An irrelevant comparison. One might as well as “This action by Iraq is really no more or less justified than Panama or Grenada was for us” after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

    The 2008 Russian and 1990 Iraq actions are violations of the peace, interstate wars in places that matter to the world.

    The United States, by contrast, is a hegemonic power across the globe that enforces the peace.

    Now I hope you realize that people made this same argument against the US when we were hitting civilian targets in Serbia? Don’t become one of these people who through around the word “genocide” like its candy.

    That’s why I said it wasn’t genocidal. The distinction between genocide and massacre is a technical one, but an important one [2].

    I must say, I can’t really figure out where all this anger towards Russia is coming from from you? If it were me sounding like this, it would easier to understand. But I can’t figure it out with you? I’ll continue observing and have an answer later

    It’s more useful to be if you criticize what you disagree with than search for a psychological explanation. Ad hominem analysis is useless to me.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/09/how-serious-is-the-russian-invasion-of-georgia.html
    [2] http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Genocide-Origins-Armenian-Holocaust/dp/0226519910?tag=particculturf-20

  6. Dan

    Turkey has been on the track for EU membership for decades but it still hasn’t happened. I think that your rape analysis is pretty accurate. The victim scratched her attacker who has then proceeded to break her nose, cheek bones and jaw before proceding with the assault. The difference is that you look at Georgia and think in terms of present day Poland and I am seeing Georgia as more analagous to Darfur. You think that NATO membership for Georgia is inevetable and soon. I think that it is very likely to not happen. We both agree that NATO membership for Georgia would be A Good Thing.

  7. Mark in Texas,

    Well said.

    I actually think our positions are pretty close.

    Georgia’s on the track to membership, but not the fast-track.

    The merely defensive benefits of membership can be had more easily by just giving them a security guarantee.

    NATO membership makes them “Europe’s problem,” which is also valuable, but does little to expel Russia from Georgian territory or close the door on this nightmarish resumption of interstate war. [1]

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/10/8808-like-8290-and-91101.html

  8. Dan

    Would that it were so. An unfortunate consequence of our commitment in Iraq is that I don’t think we can credibly make such a bilateral security guarantee. Even if we have the military capacity to guarantee Georgia’s security on the ground without overstressing our already stressed ground forces, I don’t think that the Russians would take such a guarantee seriously. There is also the domestic political situation. The Democrats will vote to override any security guaranty as soon as they return from their summer recess. This would make the US look enormously weaker.

    I think that European resistance to NATO membership can be overcome by signing deals for Georgia and Ukraine to buy European military aircraft and defense equipment. Right now there are hundreds if not thousands of surplus Leopard tanks in Europe. The prospect of money and jobs is likely to overcome European reluctance to expanding NATO into Georgia. European politicians really are a bunch of whores.

    The most important result of granting NATO membership to Georgia is that the Russians would be getting exactly the opposite of the reaction that they were hoping for by their military action. By showing resolution instead of timidity, NATO would discourage Russia from further adventures of this sort.

  9. Mark in Texas,

    Would that it were so. An unfortunate consequence of our commitment in Iraq is that I don’t think we can credibly make such a bilateral security guarantee. Even if we have the military capacity to guarantee Georgia’s security on the ground without overstressing our already stressed ground forces, I don’t think that the Russians would take such a guarantee seriously. There is also the domestic political situation. The Democrats will vote to override any security guaranty as soon as they return from their summer recess. This would make the US look enormously weaker.

    No need for ground forces to intervene. Air Force / Naval operations of the portion of the Black Sea fleet in Georgian waters, and the columns within Georgian territory, would be both far quicker and more effective.

    I think that European resistance to NATO membership can be overcome by signing deals for Georgia and Ukraine to buy European military aircraft and defense equipment. Right now there are hundreds if not thousands of surplus Leopard tanks in Europe. The prospect of money and jobs is likely to overcome European reluctance to expanding NATO into Georgia. European politicians really are a bunch of whores.

    Agreed.

    The most important result of granting NATO membership to Georgia is that the Russians would be getting exactly the opposite of the reaction that they were hoping for by their military action. By showing resolution instead of timidity, NATO would discourage Russia from further adventures of this sort.

    Agreed, as long as Georgian territorial integrity is not violated.

  10. I see your point with that air force and navy units could be deployed quickly and would have an important effect. Certainly they could prevent any more air attacks against port cities or the oil pipeline. The thing about air force alone is that I remember reading about the air bases built in China during WW II. Much of the supplies that were flown from India “over the hump” of the Himalayas were used to build those air fields that would allow B-29 raids against the Japanese home islands. Right about the time the air fields were completed, the Japanese launched an offensive that captured the air bases and pushed out to the range of the B-29.

    One thing that I find interesting is that the French Rafale has not had any foreign sales. If Georgia were to offer to buy 30 Rafale jets upon NATO membership, this might be the thing that keeps the French military aircraft industry alive. Of course, the Eurofighter Typhoon is built in Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain. Buying thirty of those would keep the plants open in those countries and lower the per plane costs not only in those countries but also in Greece and Austria which have also bought the plane. Perhaps if NATO countries were to base some Rafale and some Typhoons in Georgia and one of them were to shoot down a Russian plane, that would do wonders for their international sales.

    To continue the rape analogy, Georgina territorial virginity is already violated. To a significant degree, I think that this has a lot to do with the independence of Kosovo in the Russian minds. Recognizing Kosovo independence was pretty pointless and it needlessly provoked the Russians into their current actions in Ossetia and Abkazia (although the Russians were bound to do something to counteract the price of oil dropping from $147 to below $120). As Dr.Barnett pointed out, the Russians seem to be inordinately concerned with these “olive tree” issues.

    We can let the Russians win a little one on the Georgian territory issue in return for losing a big one on Georgia and Ukraine NATO membership. Or we could choose to whine about Russian troops on the ground in those areas who are not going to leave. Or we could recognize the new nations of Ossetia and Abkazia and point out to them that if they are ever interested in NATO and EU membership that we will do everything that we can to help them.

  11. Mark in Texas,

    I think we generally agree here, so I will focus on our area of disagreement:

    To a significant degree, I think that this has a lot to do with the independence of Kosovo in the Russian minds. Recognizing Kosovo independence was pretty pointless and it needlessly provoked the Russians into their current actions in Ossetia and Abkazia (although the Russians were bound to do something to counteract the price of oil dropping from $147 to below $120)

    I agree it is a reaction to Kosovo [1], but I don’t think Kosovo was pointless. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia generally, and the recognition of Kosov in particular, are part of a coherent and long-term campaign to minimize Russian influence in Europe, punish Russian clients in Europe, and humiliate Russia so as to disuade others from being clients. As I previously wrote: [2]

    Kosov’s independence is another milepost in NATO’s and the EU’s expansion into the lands of the fallen Communist empire. The latest central remnant of that empire, now called the Russian Federation, It also is just the latest bit torn from Yugoslavia, a country hapless enough to decide to be a Russian satellite

    Obviously, Russia is attempting to stop this long-term decline.

    We must not let them.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/08/why-did-russia-invade-georgia.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/02/17/kosovo-day.html

  12. We are in agreement on long term goals but not on short term tactics in this case.

    I think of Serbia and Kosovo in terms of the infiltration tactics that finally ended the long stalemate phase of WW I. By moving ahead and bypassing enemy strong points for later units to mop up, mobility was restored to the battle space.

    With the rest of former Yugoslavia integrating into the EU, all that connectivity goodness will ooze into Serbia and over time their emotional and political connections with Russia will become weaker and dissolve. This requires time, kind of like starving out the defenders of a surrounded pill box. Connectivity, economic development and all that other good stuff happens much better in a peaceful and stable environment. That already existed regardless of Kosovo’s official political status.

    I would have found it acceptable to base a division of Russian “peace keepers” in Kosovo to let the Russians win a meaningless “olive tree” issue but more importantly to corrupt some of those Russian conscripts with connectivity and most important of all to remind the people of “Old Europe” by frequent example just what (what is a non obscene reference to an anal orifice?) Russians can be.

    By wasting political effort and capital on Kosovo, I fear that the integration of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO and eventually the EU have been delayed, maybe permanently.

  13. Mark in Texas,

    Excellent reply.

    The question faced with respect to Russia on Kosov is similar to the question that Japan, say, faces wrt the yakuza: to what extent is tolerating a mafia acceptable to bulid a peaceful society?

    I don’t know how to answer that question in general, but it seems that it’s a function of societal cohesiveness. The more cohesive a society it, the less it has to rely on the police in order to enforce the law (because there’s less variation in the people). So Japan is a very homogenous society, and can easily tolerate an extralegal mafia. The United States is an immigrant society and cannot, so focuses on rooting out the mafia instead of reaching an accomodation.

    While Europe is not an immigrant society, it is a multicultural one, and the ties that bind it together are relatively brittle. I do not think that Europe can easily survive the presence of a large, organized, transterritorial mafia (such as Russian influence). It is corrosive, and subverts the Union at its core. It replaces that certain idea of Europe [1] with something much more corrupt, ugly, and dangerous.

    [1] http://www.amazon.com/Certain-Cornell-Studies-Political-Economy/dp/0801440866?tag=particculturf-20

  14. “It’s more useful to be if you criticize what you disagree with than search for a psychological explanation. Ad hominem analysis is useless to me.” (Dan)

    Your reaction to this situation requires some sort explanation? I’m pretty sure if I look through your blog archives to Israel’s 2006 bombing and invasion of Lebanon, that you weren’t out for blood like you for the Russians.

    “The United States, by contrast, is a hegemonic power across the globe that enforces the peace.” (Dan)

    Statements like this are what concern me about your mental health? I normally look to your blog as an Island of sanity, but when I see statements like this, I can’t help but to worry? I would expect something like this out of Sean Hannity but not you.

    Why do you want to see Russia collapse so bad? I know you’re one of these folks who wants to “spread globalization,” do you think Russia is somehow “stopping” globalization? Isn’t it better that Russia be the major power in the Caucuses instead of Islam? Isn’t better that Russia remain a strong power in the Far East to balance China? When Russia falls, what will take its place? Most likely something that looks like the Balkans? Why would a Balkan like geographic area the size of Russia and Central Asia be good for Globalization?

    “An irrelevant comparison. One might as well as “This action by Iraq is really no more or less justified than Panama or Grenada was for us” after Iraq invaded Kuwait.” (Dan)

    I think an argument could be made for Iraq taking back Kuwait, but that’s why I like to leave “morals” out of geopolitics. Russia’s action with Georgia does not threaten the worlds oil supply. In fact, if Russia can keep something bigger from starting by conducting these operations, then it might be for the better?

  15. Seerov,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I’m pretty sure if I look through your blog archives to Israel’s 2006 bombing and invasion of Lebanon, that you weren’t out for blood like you for the Russians.

    What contradiction is there?

    Statements like this are what concern me about your mental health? I normally look to your blog as an Island of sanity, but when I see statements like this, I can’t help but to worry? I would expect something like this out of Sean Hannity but not you.

    What I said is merely a correlary of Tom Barnett’s view that “security is this country’s most influential public-sector export” [1]. The US discourages interstate war, which costs all countries some ‘sovereignty’ but has the advantage of creating peace, a global public good that helps all countries develop their economies. Because the hegemonic role is closely tried to securing trade lanes, previous hegemons have traditionally focused on their naval role (Britain, Netherlands, Portugal, etc). New technologies expand this somewhat, but the basic dynamics remain the same.

    Why do you want to see Russia collapse so bad?

    Russia is a land power, a Eurasian heartland power, a power by culture, history, and economy more easily ruled through authoritarian command-and-control than permissive markets. Russia consistently attempts to export that ruleset, leading to negative results for their neighbors (who are by culture, history, and economy best ruled through the benefits of economic growth).

    Russia exists by parasitically sapping the wealth of the Asian Core to the East and the European Core to the west.

    The weaker Russia is, the less well that Russia is able to be an effective parasite.

    I know you’re one of these folks who wants to “spread globalization,” do you think Russia is somehow “stopping” globalization?

    Slowing in general, and reversing in some areas.

    Isn’t it better that Russia be the major power in the Caucuses instead of Islam?

    Given the choice between a strong Russia, and a strong al Qaeda, I’d take a weak Russia and a weak al Qaeda.

    Russia is a parasite and al Qaeda is a fungus. Both are toxic, especially to weaker patients.

    To the extent that Russia can be saved, it must be weakened so as to become a normal European state. This has been the consistent American and European strategy since Gorbachev. I’d take a “big Poland” over a “big Kazakhstan” model of rule for Russia any day.

    [1] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/pentagonsnewmap.htm

  16. “What I said is merely a correlary of Tom Barnett’s view that “security is this country’s most influential public-sector export”” (Dan)

    When I first heard Tom Barnett say this, I too, thought it was a creative way of putting a positive spin on the American elites using our military for their benefit. Unfortunately, American military action usually leads to more military action. The words “security is this country’s most influential public-sector export” may sound good, but its actually saying that our war making activities are the best thing America can offer the world.

    It seems to me that ideologically, you’re totally committed to hyperglobalization. You seem to be sure that increased connectivity of culture, economics, and politics will be beneficial for you and your future bloodlines? This is really the crux of this argument. I agree that Russia does stand in the way of the global elite lead, neoliberal economic, border-less, multicultural world that you envision. Believing this doesn’t make you “wrong,” as I don’t think its possible to have a “wrong” ideological worldview, it just makes me wonder why you think you’ll benefit from this. Remember that Barnett has spent the last 20 years of his life hanging out with international financiers, defense industry folks, and internationalist academics at Harvard. There is no question that these people benefit from hyperglobalization. But will we? At this point, I don’t know?

    Whenever I read or listen to the hyperglobalists, I can’t help but to wonder who their allegiance is to? Does someone like Tom Barnett even think of himself as an American? Do you? If we’re entering a time where being “American” doesn’t matter anymore, what happens when we come into contact with people who do think tribally. People like Barnett like call people “scared old white men,” as he tells us to “embrace diversity,” but where does he live? Wisconsin?

    It looks like you will get your hyper-globalized world, as this is what the global elites want. So as the State matters less for issues of security and identity, you better not complain when people start looking elsewhere to fill this need.

    “What contradiction is there?” (Dan)

    I rest my case.

  17. Seerov, Dan, your points of view actually seem to be opposite sides of the same coin. A policeman needs to have power to do his job and is worthy of respect for the sacrifices he makes for the greater good–but only to the extent he himself follows the rules he expects others to follow. When he is
    seen violating those rules himself, people will either assume the rules have changed or lose respect for him as a policeman.

    If you haven’t already done so, Seerov, go to Barnett’s blog at
    http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com
    He makes the same point in his coverage of Russia v. Georgia.

  18. Dan

    “The question faced with respect to Russia on Kosov is similar to the question that Japan, say, faces wrt the yakuza: to what extent is tolerating a mafia acceptable to bulid a peaceful society?”

    I think that the question WRT Kosovo was more a matter of picking your battles. It is starting to look like the cost of Kosovo independence will be paid with the price of Georgian independence. That looks to me like a bad deal.

  19. Great discussion!

    Seerov,

    Whenever I read or listen to the hyperglobalists, I can’t help but to wonder who their allegiance is to? Does someone like Tom Barnett even think of himself as an American? Do you? If we’re entering a time where being “American” doesn’t matter anymore, what happens when we come into contact with people who do think tribally. People like Barnett like call people “scared old white men,” as he tells us to “embrace diversity,” but where does he live? Wisconsin?

    I can’t speak for Tom.

    I believe that creating a global order that runs on rules derived from us and beneficial to us is a big win. I know that our enforcement of peace[1], even if it can be annoying, is more beneficial to us than allowing some EU-Chinese-whatever version to grow up without us.

    And of course there is the economics. Being rich is better than being poor.

    It looks like you will get your hyper-globalized world, as this is what the global elites want. So as the State matters less for issues of security and identity, you better not complain when people start looking elsewhere to fill this need.

    The state should provide security. Some of my future-oriented posts imagine how this might be done. [2]

    As for identity, the state’s role in that seems more transient.

    Michael,

    A policeman needs to have power to do his job and is worthy of respect for the sacrifices he makes for the greater good–but only to the extent he himself follows the rules he expects others to follow. When he is
    seen violating those rules himself, people will either assume the rules have changed or lose respect for him as a policeman.

    You are referring to modeling, which is part of behavior modification and seemingly weaker than “capture & reward” methods of preference altering. [3]

    Mark in Texas,

    I think that the question WRT Kosovo was more a matter of picking your battles. It is starting to look like the cost of Kosovo independence will be paid with the price of Georgian independence. That looks to me like a bad deal.

    How else could we have done so much to demonstrate the emptiness of Russian promises in central Europe so efficiently? [4]

    Territory is a precious thing, and Serbia had been a client long standing.

    Now, clearly, if we back down and great Russia what is wishes, great progress will be lost. But this is always the case.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/14/war-is-bad.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/06/13/clearing-the-ghettos.html
    [3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/14/learning-theories.html
    [4] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/14/russia-is-bad.html

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