Saturday, August 09, 2008

You've Gotta be Kidding Me

No, not Edwards. Sorry, but considering the Republicans nominated a presidential candidate that married his mistress, I find myself not caring overmuch.

And no, not the Chinese Games. I was thoroughly impressed by the choreography of the opening ceremonies, particularly of that last run-around-the-ceiling torch ceremony, but it was created by the guy who made Hero. Impressive wirework was pretty much guaranteed.

No, it's this Russia/Georgia thing. Now let me get this straight: we've got an American-backed state, bristling at any thought of being dominated by Russia, attacking a smaller Russian-backed breakaway province.

Then the Russians start bombing Georgia to defend the province, ensuring that all the Georgian preconceptions about Russia's attitudes towards them are completely validated, and the Russians look especially imperial. Again.

Oh, and at least according to the BBC's Kevin Connolly, Georgia is trying to draw the "West" into it:

He compares Russia's military actions today with the German invasion of Poland in 1939, or the Soviet intervention to crush Czechoslovakian liberalisation in the Prague Spring of 1968.

In both cases of course, the democracies of the West were unwilling or unable to contain aggression - and Mr Saakashvili is hoping to shame them into reacting more strongly this time around with those carefully chosen examples.

I agree with Kevin that it's incredibly unlikely the west will intercede. Honestly, I can't see how they could without this turning into some sort of nuclear-tipped WWI scenario.

But honestly, everybody is going to come out of this disappointed.

The Russians will be disappointed because the rest of the world will think that they're one bad day away from reenacting that bit from the Simpsons where Lenin busts out of his glass chamber.

The Georgians will be disappointed because they'll learn that, yes, Russia still pretty much has a veto over their security policy.

The Americans will be disappointed because they'll have their monomaniacal focus on the middle east shoved in their faces, as they learn that the Caucasus probably should have got more attention than it did.

And I'll be disappointed because I'd actually like to see some progress towards peace and democracy in the former Soviet Union, and I'm seeing precious little of that right now.

(Edit: And the Chinese will be disappointed because it looks like brotherhood is in short supply these days, and the spectacle of Putin and Bush arguing with each other isn't one the Chinese wanted those billion or so viewers to be watching.)

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