In the previous post, I was visited by three commenters. When it became apparent the response would be lengthy, I decided to make it a post.
Response to MB’s comment – My biases are what they are, but anyone who reads your post can figure out the reference to old men. The first post provided as recommended reading Georgia: A Reality Check for the Left because it is addressed to the left.
Response to James’ comment – I read your post. Usually I find what you write well informed and interesting, and that was the case with this post. Unfortunately, the post sounds to me like an argument for moral relativism. While I suppose Putin’s invasion of Georgia could be easily construed as an exercise in Realpolitik, that hardly justifies it. Realpolitik is essentially amoral.
Wrong is wrong. Allowing Putin to engage in cold blooded and calculated exercise in Realpolitik is wrong. So long as Putin wants to enforce dictatorship, I don’t give a hoot if what he wants is Realpolitik. Even when power mad dictators are guided by the “ethics” of Realpolitik, any belief they will behave in a manner we might regard a reasonable is worthless. Their goal is power. The influence of such men must be fought and contained.
We must be guided by our ethics, not Putin’s. Acceding to Putin’s demands means allowing him to stifle any democracy in Russia’s sphere of influence. After all, would not any such democracy be a natural ally of the United States?
Consider your definition of luck, Russia falling back and just keeping Abkasia (Sp) in addition to South Ossetia. If Putin falls back and just keeps Abkasia (Sp) in addition to South Ossetia, it will not be luck. It will because we choose to resist and make Putin pay for his attempts at conquest.
Response to Sam’s comment – It is apparent you did not like what wrote. Why is unclear.
Your comment about about the Indians was uninformed. Early settlers untentionally wiped out larged numbers of Indians with disease. The rest they overcame with guns and steel (See Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, a 1997 book by Jared Diamond.). So the situation is not analogous.
I found your suggestion about calculating Georgia’s and Russia’s annual military spending more interesting so I decided to take your advice.
- Georgia‘s military spending = ( %GDP x GDP ) / 100% = ( 0.59% x $10.29 billion ) / 100% = 0.061 billion
- Russia‘s military spending = ( %GDP x GDP ) / 100% = (3.9% x $1286 billion) / 100% = 50.2 billion
Given the relative differences in military spending are much greater than the population differences, I concede the amount spent does contribute to a better understanding of why Georgia is unable to halt Russia’s military advance. Obviously, Georgia never seriously considered the possibility of throwing its military weight around. On the other hand, it is obvious that Russia has.
Your suggestions about maps and such is nice, but there are blogs specifically dedicated to strategic-level warfare and detailing the geopolitical consequences. I am not trying to compete with those blogs. This a local blog is dedicated to politics, and my suggestion was political. I want to motivate everyone to write their congressman.
Although Georgia is a small nation, the consequences of its overthrow by Russian tanks is no small matter. If the smaller natiions around Russia cannot count upon world support, they must acquire the means to defend themselves. What means will they seek? I think the likely solution they will seek is nuclear weapons.