Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Russia recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Commentary: WOW! I did not see that coming at all. Sure, I did notice that both chambers of the Russian parliament passed a resolution calling on President Medvedev to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia *unanimously*, but then, considering that by now all the parties in the Russian parliament were basically 'anti-Western' (bad expression, but you know what I mean) I was not too surprised. My guess was that Medvedev would keep this resolution on his table while trying to get the West to cool it and start making sense. That he chose not to do so clearly and unambiguously shows one thing: his analysts have told him that there is no point in hoping for any kind of partnership with the West. I guess that the last hopes that the Russians might have had about the Europeans showing some spine have finally vanished and that they now fully recognize that they are dealing with one, monolithic or, at least, centrally commanded hostile block.

As I have stated in an earlier post, the Russian rules of hardball play say that you should never promise, never threaten, but only take direct action. That is exactly what Medvedev has done. Not once since the end of combat operations in South Ossetia and Abkhazia has Russia threatened to recognize these republics if this or that did, or did not, happen. The Russians never threatened to 'retaliate' for the West monumental hypocrisy (though they did drop hints about this in the wake of the West's recognition of Kosovo). They took a long hard look at what was going on and decided to act in what can only be considered as an extremely provocative way: recognizing these two republics is an inherently dangerous decision as it literally forces the West to either loose face, or escalate. There can be no doubt that the recognition of these republics is the single most important Russian foreign policy decision since the birth of the post-Soviet Russia in 1991. Likewise, this is also the most serious challenge to the US Empire since the end of the Cold War and God knows the Imperial High Command had it coming. Please consider,

The Western breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the US military support for Croatia and the Bosnian Muslims and, even more so, the Kosovo represented a fundamental change in the international order as it had been designed following the end of WWII. The illegal invasion of Iraq by Dubya only sealed a process which Papa-Bush and Clinton had started before him: the total deconstruction of the rule of international law. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the Empire felt that it had no more need for diplomacy, no more need for partners, no more need for the rule of law and its entire foreign policy was reduced to two basic principles: 'might makes right' and 'my way or the highway' (which can really be summed up in the short 'screw you!').

If the semi-literate morons sitting in the White House had been exposed to even an introductory course in world history or dialectical philosophy they could have guessed that such imperial hubris would, sooner or later, generate a devastating response. This has now happened with Russia which is clearly adopting an openly defiant position. Make no mistake, this is only the beginning and the list of countries which will dare to openly define its former imperial overlords will only grow (in particular in the former Soviet Union and in Latin America).

Russia, China, India, Iran and most Latin American countries have almost identical foreign policy interests which can be summed up with two words: multipolarity and independence (objectively, one could argue that Europe has very similar interests, but considering how firmly the USA control the Old World this will not affect Europe's abject subservience to the Empire). The interests of Asian and African countries are harder to summarize if only because these continents lack a cohesive or common foreign policy stance.

How will the Empire react to Russia's provocation? NATO-Russian collaboration is over, that is clear. The Cold War rhetoric will 'go through the roof' and NATO can be expected to forward deploy some assets (which makes no military sense whatsoever, but is a way of 'showing the flag'). I personally would not put it past the 'crazies in the basement' to actually deploy military forces in Georgia in a reenactment of the Berlin crisis with Russian and US troops looking at each other across a demarcation line in Georgia. The political crisis in the Ukraine will escalate as, on one hand, Yushchenko & Co. will press for an accelerated integration into NATO while most of the population is firmly opposed to this idea. There is a very real risk of Russia taking unilateral action in Crimea if NATO persists in its plans to incorporate the Ukraine (just imagine what a NATO base in Sevastopol would look from a Russian point of view!)

God willing, the Empire will simply tend to its bruised ego and get it over with, but I don't expect it. Things are about to get much worse.

The Saker