All of the coverage of the Republic of Georgia lately seems to be focused on how the big evil Russia is beating up on poor defenseless Georgia. Let’s not forget that it was Georgia who invaded South Ossetia and Abkhazia first, trying to reclaim those sovereign republics for itself, even though the people of those areas claimed independence all the way back in 1991. Have we somehow forgotten that Georgia was the one initiating force against those they claim were their own people?
First Mikheil Saaskashvili supposedly commands a cease-fire, and then his troops blast the province? Why should it be acceptable for Georgia to pull that and unacceptable for Russia’s Putin to order the same sort of cease-fire and then continue his invasion? Yes, of course Russia is supporting South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s rebellion, funding their struggle to maintain their independence from Georgia. It is more than a small share of duplicity for the West to claim that they are the defenders of the Georgia’s freedom while condemning Russia for being South Ossetia’s defenders against Georgia.
As usual, there are at least two sides to the story. Let us not deceive ourselves. Russia and the West each have their own motives. The people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are the unfortunate pawns, caught in the middle of this power struggle, being tugged and pulled at by both sides. Perhaps it is them and their republics which we should be defending.
Russia is selling oil to Europe. Russia stands to lose if the pipeline is shut down. The Americans are trying to play peace police in the world, and protecting their allies in Europe, so they stand behind Georgia’s president. The two rebel provinces have been claiming independence from Georgia for a long time, so why is it just now that Georgia decided to invade those breakaway provinces? Is it because some 30,000 people have fled South Ossetia and Abkhazia, left to the safety and protection of Russia? Why is it just now that Mikheil Saaskashvili decided to invade these territories – and during the Olympic Games as well?
The Americans are there to protect the flow of oil and because the Russians are backing the people of South Ossetia. This is about the same as the U.S. Civil war, where North and South Carolina were on opposite sides of the dividing lines. North Ossetia is in Russia, South Ossetia is wearing the rebel colors, struggling to be free of Georgia. It seems entirely reasonable that they should be allowed to go back home, and to be able to govern themselves as they see fit. If America is for Freedom, maybe it’s time for America to start supporting the victims in South Ossetia instead of covering their friends’ oil supply line.