Russia Stops Bombing Georgia
At least that’s the latest report. We probably won’t have confirmation on this until sometime later today.
MOSCOW â€” President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia announced Tuesday that he had ordered a halt to his countryâ€™s military operation in Georgia, although he did not say that troops were pulling out and he insisted that Russian forces were still authorized to fire on enemies in South Ossetia.
The president said Russia had achieved its military goals during five days of intense fighting, which has seen Russian troops advance into Georgian territory and which brought strong denunciations from President Bush and other Western leaders.
In a meeting with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov shown on Russian television, Mr. Medvedev said: â€œThe goal of the operation has been achieved. The security of our peacekeepers and civilians has been ensured.â€ But he also told Mr. Serdyukov to â€œeliminateâ€ any enemy remaining in South Ossetia.
A tenuous peace? Perhaps. But something tells me that Russia won’t be starting this back up because they’ve proven their point. They’re powerful and they’ll defend their interests in the region. Done and done.
In another corner of the world, former President Mikhail Gorbachev offers a way forward…
The international community’s long-term aim could be to create a sub-regional system of security and cooperation that would make any provocation, and the very possibility of crises such as this one, impossible. Building this type of system would be challenging and could only be accomplished with the cooperation of the region’s countries themselves. Nations outside the region could perhaps help, too — but only if they take a fair and objective stance. A lesson from recent events is that geopolitical games are dangerous anywhere, not just in the Caucasus.
He also chides the world community for taking such a one sided view on this conflict, and while I agree with him about South Ossetia’s right to work with their own allies to defend their territory, especially given the special historical circumstances that surround this area, I think it’s obvious that the Russians overreached.
Still, the US’s actions in the past 7 years haven’t helped our credibility to make the point that Russia overreached, as Andrew Sullivan points out…
Russia is not exporting a totalitarian ideology; it is flexing its military power in its backyard, as it has always done and always will. Since Cheney has exactly the same view about the use of American military power as Putin does about Russian power, I’m not sure what grounds he has to complain. Maybe we should start complaining when as many Georgians have perished as Iraqis – and when Putin throws thousands of innocent Georgians into torture chambers.
However, lost in all of this discussion about right and wrong is what Russia’s aim is here. They’re not claiming that Georgia is theirs. Nor are they claiming that South Ossetia is theirs. But South Ossetia has Russia’s backing, and if Georgia thought they could just roll right in there and take it over, regardless of whatever support they thought they had from us, it’s now abundantly clear they were mistaken.
More as it develops…