Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Case Against Russia's Invasion of Georgia

It’s been several months since the Russian aggression against Georgia. Though the media has entirely abandoned this story, some of us continue to think about and discuss the implications of the situation, which as far as I know remains fairly tense and problematic.

A friend argued that in invading Georgia, Russia is only doing the same thing the US has done any number of times for oppressed countries. The rebels of South Ossetia are like the 13 colonies of America at the Revolutionary War.

My argument, (certainly not made so persuasively in person and on the spot) is as follows:

- Russia chose this summer to invade Georgia, though South Ossetia has had its share of rebels since the Soviet Union fell. This summer was a time when world attention was on other things. The invasion happened just before the start of the Olympic Games. Economic times were hard and more pressing to most of the world than foreign affairs. America was and continues to be engaged in a close and important election, while its sitting government has proved impotent.

- Only after Georgia sought to join the NATO alliance did Russia act against them. Russia is less interested in revolutionaries than it is in bullying smaller nations out of alliances with the democratic West. Russia is engaged in a new Cold War with the West, though the West seems unaware of this development. Russia is testing the strength of the NATO nations’ friendship with Georgia, much as Hitler did by stepping into Austria, the Sudetanland, and Czechoslavakia before the free world decided with Poland that enough was enough and Europe was in danger.

- Russia has economic/oil interests in disabling Georgia or in annexing the small country. Georgia has the only oil pipeline to northeastern European countries that is outside of Russian control. Russia wishes to control those NE countries, many of which were formerly part of the Soviet Empire. Controlling the supply of such an essential resource essentially holds hostage any dependent nations.

- Russia is busy forming an alliance with Iran and the Islamic states. Georgia is in the way.

- The revolutionaries in S. Ossetia are Islamic troublemakers, not interested in freedom. If they wanted to be free, they would want to be independent, not to join Russia. Like Iran supplying insurgents in Iraq with weapons and training, so has Russia been backing these rebels for over a decade.

- The claim has been made that because the South Ossetians and the Georgians are of different ethnicity, they cannot get along sufficiently to live under the same government. America has done this for its history as a nation. Russia does this, and South Ossetia is seeking to be annexed into Russia, which has much more ethnic diversity than Georgia. Local South Ossetians and Georgians get along just fine when there is no battle line drawn between them. (See the American Civil War)

- Russia did not only invade South Ossetia; their troops pushed all the way to just outside the Georgian capital. If helping the South Ossetians throw off an oppressive regime was their only interest, Russia should only have occupied South Ossetia.

- Russia has been dishonest in its invasion of Georgia. Russia promised to withdraw its military troops, but has not. It simply renamed the occupying forces as “peacekeepers.”

- South Ossetia says that Georgia’s rule was oppressive. There are three possible explanations for this: 1) Georgia is abusing its power and depriving South Ossetians of their rights based on ethnicity. If that is the case, the best first move is a demonstration of these “atrocities” to the world. America did this with its Declaration of Independence. 2) Georgia is engaged in a military conflict begun by the rebels themselves. A sovereign nation has the right and responsibility to quell insubordination within its borders. 3) South Ossetians are lying in order to justify their rebellion.

- Georgia is a small country still wobbling towards maturity as a democratic republic. In the interest of discouraging the return of Communism or totalitarianism, the US is justified in making alliances with this nation. It was proposed as part of a potential NATO treaty that Georgia allow the US to post technology military in nature on their land and directed at the aggressively posturing Russian nation. Many young nations with democratic ideals look to the US (successful in these very pursuits) for help and example in establishing their governments.

- If the US or any other nation has a defense treaty with Georgia, it must be honored less the validity of any treaty made by said nations be weakened and doubted. A treaty is like a contract, each nation receiving a needed good or service. One party cannot withdraw on its agreement.

- The free world must take a strong stand against Russia lest they, growing confident, invade more countries in Europe and Asia.

- If the US has unjustly invaded other countries, this is no argument for Russia to do the same. However, in many cases the US has invaded countries in order to honor treaties it has with threatened nations. In other cases, the US has engaged in preemptive or retributive strikes against countries whose military/weapon technology has threatened us directly.

- Whether the US should militarily support Georgia is dependent on at least two things: Have we made any official promise to Georgia to do so? and Are we nationally threatened by this move Russia is making?

In conclusion, I believe that Russia’s motives are suspect in a large way, its methods are inappropriately aggressive, and its response to world denouncements chillingly indifferent or dishonest.

Georgia is a little former Soviet ‘republic’ with ethnic tensions, economic precariousness, and threatening neighbors. Whether right or wrong in its treatment of the northern province, the country ought to be esteemed as a sovereign nation, not as a child-state of Russia. As such it has the right to international relations and to addressing its own civil order.

The US needs to pay more attention to world events, especially Russia. Russia is quietly rebuilding its empire, reducing the freedoms within its boundaries. It is also allying itself, including through the sale of weapons, with professed enemies of the United States. Watching is not enough; the US needs to take a stand. In this age of global technology, we must be very careful lest those who wish to destroy us get the weapons capabilities of doing so. We are engaged in a global war on terror, declared first by the terrorists on us. Failure to engage our enemies means defeat.

We as Christians need to give careful thought to prophecy and the roles of countries such as Russia, Iran, and Iraq. It is written in the Bible that they who bless Abraham and his heirs will be blessed. Essential for our preservation in the world is that we side with Israel, not only in word, but in diplomacy and force. Also important at this time is evangelism: in America, in the closing country of Russia, and in the Middle East. I believe biblical prophecy predicts that a revival is at hand.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

GOOD post, miss. GOOD post.