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01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]
01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total per-capita costs]
01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]
01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]
01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less Great Again]
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01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]
01.18 Impeach Donald Trump
01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]
01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Bill Maher: If We Don’t Impeach President Donald Trump, Where Is The Bar? [9:49 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 With US 'Drilling Towards Disaster,' Report Warns Anything Less Than Urgent Green New Deal Will Be 'Too Little, Too Late' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Trump plans to relax Obama rules for oil companies put in place after BP disaster [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Trump's war on science: how the US is putting politics above evidence [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
01.16 Can Philadelphia 'stop people from dying' as drug crisis and gun violence rage on? [Whole country suffers from lack of effective federal policies... Seeing a pattern? P.S.: The answer is not a Wall!]
01.16 Why are more Americans than ever dying from drug overdoses? [graphs]
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01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]
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01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]
01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
Marching Through Georgia I: Cold War II Proxy Conflict Turns HotFriday, 08 August 2008
Georgia's president Mikhail Saakashvili said, "It's not about Georgia any more. It's about America, its values. We are a freedom-loving nation that is right now under attack."
With the world distracted by the glitz and glam of the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing -- where George W. Bush (after some entirely rote criticism) nestled down with his long-time family business partners and fellow crony-capitalist authoritarians in the Chinese leadership -- the new Cold War fuelled by the old Cold Warriors in Washington took a sharp and bitter turn in Georgia.
Yesterday, Georgia's American-educated, pro-NATO president, Mikhail Saakashvili sent a heavy force into the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has enjoyed de facto independence since the early 1990s. Georgian forces shelled the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, and sent thousands of refugees fleeing north into Russia. Several Russian peacekeepers, which have been stationed in South Ossetia for years as part of earlier ceasefire agreements, were killed in the attack. Saakashvili announced that his invasion had "liberated" much of the region.
Today, in retaliation, Russian troops and tanks began moving into South Ossetia (where up to 90 percent of the population hold Russian passports) and reportedly bombed some installations in Georgia proper. Saakashvili immediately appealed to his chief patron, George W. Bush, to step in and save him from the Russian bear: "It's not about Georgia any more," he told CNN. "It's about America, its values. We are a freedom-loving nation that is right now under attack."
Saakashvili had earlier broken a ceasefire agreement following the initial incursion. After promising to stop the attack, Georgian forces suddenly unleashed a fierce bombardment of Tskhinvali, then reportedly bombed a convoy of relief vehicles coming from Russia. Ossetian officials claimed that hundreds of civilians had been killed in the shelling of Tskhinvali, but that report -- like most of the others -- could not be confirmed in the swirling confusion of the moment.
Georgia claims its initial invasion of South Ossetia was in response to continued attacks from South Ossetian militias, and there is some truth in that. After years of relative peace, the tension between Georgia and the Ossetians accelerated after Washington and the Western nations unilaterally recognized the "independence" of Kosovo. (You know, that very independent, completely sovereign new nation whose affairs are entirely controlled by foreign viceroys, who exercise veto power over almost every function of Kosovo's government). South Ossetia -- and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia -- immediately asserted their right to similar recognition of their own independence. In the light of the West's move in Kosovo, Russian leader Vladimir Putin (it is amusing to see the media pretend that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev might be in charge of events in the Kremlin) said Moscow would increase its support for South Ossetia -- although the Kremlin denies, not very convincingly, supporting the Ossetian militia movement.
It is likely that Saakashvili -- who has been making increasingly authoritarian gestures to quash dissent and investigations into charges of corruption and murder in his administration -- will receive a sympathetic hearing from Bush. After all, under Saakashvili, Georgia is now the third-largest partner in war crime in Iraq, with some 2,000 troops taking part in the illegal occupation of the conquered land. Saakashvili has also avidly sought to bring Georgia into NATO, eagerly embracing the New Cold War strategy of ringing Russia with American proxy armies and bristling "missile defense" bases.
However, it is highly unlikely that he will get more than lip service (and perhaps a few black ops) out of Bush. Our steely tough American militarists never like to tangle with anyone who might actually fight back; they prefer to stomp around in broken states like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. They are certainly not going to take direct action against what is still the second-most powerful military machine in the world. And even their options for indirect action are also limited. Thanks to Bush's own Terror War, and its resultant upward spiral in oil prices, the Kremlin is floating on a sea of money at the moment -- and also tightening its hold on Europe's energy market.
So the New Cold Warriors might just have to concede this round in the renewed game -- although they will certainly be plotting to take revenge somewhere down the line. Of course, thousands of ordinary people will suffer, and many will die, from these machinations of the high and mighty in their redoubts along the Potomac and the Moskva. But what else is new?
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on August 8, 2008.
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