The Russkies redeploy missiles into a former Soviet territory.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Russia has moved short-range SS-21 missiles into South Ossetia, possibly putting the Georgian capital Tbilisi in range, a US defense official said Monday.
The development came amid other signs that Russia was adding ground troops and equipment to its force in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, strengthening its hold over the breakaway regions, officials said.
“We are seeing evidence of SS-21 missiles in South Ossetia,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said the short-range missiles should be capable of targeting Tbilisi.
“We’re seeing them solidify their positions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” the official said, adding that “more troops and more equipment” were evident in the enclaves.
But the official said it was “hard to say” whether Russia has begun pulling any troops out of Georgia into the enclaves.
“I can’t say whether they are actually moving people out right now or not, but we do expect them to start moving out. We expect them to move out slowly, so this may take some time,” he said.
And threaten Poland because of new ties to the West.
A top Russian general said Friday that Poland’s agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.
The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.
Poland and the United States on Thursday signed a deal for Poland to accept a missile interceptor base as part of a system the United States says is aimed at blocking attacks by rogue nations. Moscow, however, feels it is aimed at Russia’s missile force.
“Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike – 100 percent,” Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying.
The lesson here is that even in the post-Soviet ‘perestroika’, getting too friendly with the West has consequences.
John Bolton, former US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, weighs in:
……As bad as the bloodying of Georgia is, the broader consequences are worse. The United States fiddled while Georgia burned, not even reaching the right rhetorical level in its public statements until three days after the Russian invasion began, and not, at least to date, matching its rhetoric with anything even approximating decisive action. This pattern is the very definition of a paper tiger.
……It profits us little to blame Georgia for “provoking” the Russian attack. Nor is it becoming of the United States to have anonymous officials from its State Department telling reporters, as they did earlier this week, that they had warned Georgia not to provoke Russia. This confrontation is not about who violated the Marquess of Queensbury rules in South Ossetia, where ethnic violence has been a fact of life since the break-up of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1991 – and, indeed, long before. Instead, we are facing the much larger issue of how Russia plans to behave in international affairs for decades to come. Whether Mikhail Saakashvili “provoked” the Russians on August 8, or September 8, or whenever, this rape was well-planned and clearly coming, given Georgia’s manifest unwillingness to be “Finlandized” – the Cold War term for effectively losing your foreign-policy independence.
……First, Russia has made it clear that it will not accept a vacuum between its borders and the boundary line of Nato membership. Since the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union collapsed, this has been a central question affecting successive Nato membership decisions, with the fear that nations in the “gap” between Nato and Russia would actually be more at risk of Russian aggression than if they joined Nato. The potential for instability and confrontation was evident.
Europe’s rejection this spring of President Bush’s proposal to start Ukraine and Georgia towards Nato membership was the real provocation to Russia, because it exposed Western weakness and timidity. As long as that perception exists in Moscow, the risk to other former Soviet territories – and in precarious regions such as the Middle East – will remain.
……Second, the United States needs some straight talk with our friends in Europe, which ideally should have taken place long before the assault on Georgia. To be sure, American inaction gave French President Sarkozy and the EU the chance to seize the diplomatic initiative. However, Russia did not invade Georgia with diplomats or roubles, but with tanks. This is a security threat, and the proper forum for discussing security threats on the border of a Nato member – yes, Europe, this means Turkey – is Nato.
I hate to break this to Mr. Bolton, but Europe doesn’t have the balls to stand up to Russia or any threat, for that matter. They depended on America’s strength and fortitude to provide a deterrence to Soviet aggression for over 50 years. NATO is willing to participate- as long as the U.S.A. does the heavy lifting.
And, of course, we’re getting the requisite trashing for our concern over Georgia.
Case in point: the internet and MSM are rife with comments like this:
Why don’t you write an article entitled; After America’s illegal invasion of Iraq, what now? America killed more civilians in Iraq than what Russia done in Georgia. Besides its only collateral damage, isnt it? America wants to bring denmocracy to Iraq, why dont they bring democracy to Russia? Guess cowards don’t attack people who can fight back. Russia must remain in Georgia and do regime change. If america can do it, why cant someone someone else?
on August 17, 2008
at 07:57 AM
I wore the uniform of a United States Soldier for 30 years–through the Cold War, Iraq (twice), and Bosnia.
When the U.S. has to fight Islamofascist turds who not only attacked us, but want to transform the planet into a Caliphate, there’s no shortage of asshats spewing insults from the sidelines.
have any of YOUR relatives of appropriate age signed up to join the military in your never ending wars? didn’t think so. and certainly a chap as sharp as you remembers that russia (unlike iraq, afghanistan, or iran) actually DOES HAVE NUKES.
on August 16, 2008
at 06:16 PM
It’s ironic to hear a Neo-conservative’s take on the recent fighting in Georgia.
Lest we forget, it’s the Neo-conservative “Bush doctrine” which explicitly justifies US military intervention in third countries to *pro-actively* protect US interests, regardless of international law, that prepared the ground for Russia’s current actions. Morally and politically.
on August 16, 2008
at 01:55 PM
Liberal moral relativism at its best.
They expect us to be the world’s cop and babysitter, while they sit on the sidelines and bitch about American ‘imperialism’ and ‘hegemony’.
Just for once, I’d love to see the “culturally advanced” Europeans meet a crisis within their own borders without imploring the U.S. for a rescue. It never ceases to amaze me how the Eurotrash and even some nihilist Americans are quick to blame America for all the world’s ills and criticize our interventions, yet beg for our intervention when it suits THEM.
If they’re so fucking superior, let’s trade places so we can sit back and criticize them from the sidelines.