Monday, August 11, 2008

The Reasons Behind the Russian Invasion

Russia has struck Georgia hard militarily and its ultimate objectives are still unclear, but its impact could affect politics right here in the United States. Many are wondering why the Russians are doing this. We know that, since the fall of Communism, the Russians have operated under the old flag of Imperialism. Those days appear to be back.

The Russians are arguing that their motives are altruistic. They are simply trying to protect those Russians who live on the Georgia border with Russia. That was a few days ago, today Georgia is claiming that Russia has now cut the country in half and are adding the conquering of new cities daily. I have made several trips to the former Soviet Union conducting seminars on free market economics and I can tell you it has little interest in protecting civilian interests, but Russia's national ambitions. Russia largely maintains a utilitarian view of its people that is not the "greatest good for the greatest number" in the John Stuart Mill tradition, but in the greatest good for the government. Russia sees people as something to use, not protect.

Russia has complained about Georgia warming up to the West for quite some time. In fact, Georgia is one of the strongest allies of the US and has actively supported the war on terror. The United States actually flew Georgia troops home from Iraq to fight the Russian invasion. Georgia, like many countries that were victims of Soviet rule for decades, are among the most pro-democratic, pro-freedom, nations in the world. They recognize what the US has done to assure its freedom and have been extremely grateful for its efforts to favorably end the Cold War. However, the Russians have long expressed interest in and has now intervened on its border areas and that has escalated into the events of the last week. The timing of the attack, in my opinion, are likely due to three reasons.

There are the efforts on the part of Georgia to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In fact it has met the former Soviet Republic has met the criteria necessary to be guaranteed an invitation. Georgia would accept as soon as it was extended. Russia felt it needed to move fast in order to avoid attacking a country protected by the West.

Than there is the Summer Olympics. It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that the attacks began during the opening ceremony. The world has been largely occupied by the events in Beijing and not noticed the terror in Georgia. Russia seems to have called it well as much of the world has provided a collective yawn regarding the attacks.

The most important reason may in fact be the political environment in the United States, the only nation that really can do anything about this illegal action. George Bush is a lame duck President and largely a housekeeper until the new administration begins and the Russians know it. Furthermore, I believe the Russians are fairly confident that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States and they are eager to test his mettle. So far his response is certainly lackluster and I'm expecting a similar response from Bush. Sen. McCain has taken Russia to task and has stated that if he were President, he would call a meeting of the G 7. That is action that appears Presidential.

I personally would like to see NATO hurry up and offer the invitation retroactively and change the rules of the growing war quickly. Unfortunately, that isn't likely to happen, so one of our new and promising allies will find itself very alone. At the very least, NATO should extend membership to the Ukraine tomorrow to prevent the Russian imperialists from taking similar actions on another freedom seeking former Republic. The Cold War that we hoped was over almost two decades ago appears to be anything but over and anything but cold.

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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ezekiel 38 and 39 discuss Russia's attack on Israel. They are starting to head south!

8:52 PM  

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