Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Various from the world

Russia, unsurprisingly for all but the western foreign ministers it seems, officially recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Protests and shrieks followed from the western capitals, calling the move illegal and unacceptable, proclaiming the territorial integrity of Georgia untouchable and vowing that the two small breakaway regions will never ever be independant.

Yet, not a single politician or analyst who dared to draw a comparison between the case for Kossovo's independence and South Ossetia's and Abhkazia's ones to demonstrate the differences advocating for a different treatment.

In South Africa, a land reform bill which effectively gave major powers to the government to exporpriate the white ladowners to redistribute their properties to the black people was, at least for the time being, shelved. Considering that was the very move that precipitated Zimbabwe from being a relatively wealthy african country and a breadbasket for the continent to a eight (nine? ten?) zeroes inflation rate and economic disintegration, perhaps that's not a bad news at all.

In the meanwhile, in the States, the democratic convention is going on. Considering I didn't join an investment program because I didn't trust a banker with decades of experience to administer my money, it is still beyond me how the democrats could trust so much part of their life in the hands of a nearly-zero-experience orator. Hillary Clinton had sum it up as no repubblican could with her famous statement "I know Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.". Even now, I feel Hillary doesn't regret saying that a bit.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


A semi-authoritarian country wishing to re-exert its control on a breakaway province which has been practically independent for more than a decade resolves to armed intervention which includes firing on peacekeeping forces present in the region, but is pushed back by the intervention of a superpower strongly opposed by its long time cold-war era opponent. Are we talking of Serbia, Kossova, USA and Russia? No, rather of Georgia, South Ossetia (and Abkhazia), Russia and USA.

Now, all would be a "normal" old fashioned sphere on influence's quarrel were it not for the uncommon, even for the protagonists of the events, amount of hypocrisy involved. It is not one year yet that the USA supported the independence of Kossovo, the breakaway province of Serbia, after having been the leader in the war that wrestled it away from Serbia's rule. Having in Kossova's case explicitly rejected the principle of territorial integrity for Serbia, now they want it upheld for Georgia.

And what would be the difference? That Georgia is a democracy that needs to be defended (which is false) , that Russia has been unlawfully deploying forces in South Ossetia in the first place (false, considering that the Russian forces have been there after a joint agreement dated 1996 between the then Georgian president and the South Ossetian one following the war in the early 90s). All that, disregarding that South Ossetia and Abkhazia had been "donated" to Georgia by Georgian soviet dictator Stalin (himself a Georgian) despite ethnic, linguistic and religious differences.

Now, even more worrying (and no doubt a trigger, if not the trigger, of the crisis) is Georgia's bid to enter the NATO. Personally, I think it's an absolute nonsense and a very shortsighted move to allow countries neighboring Russia to enter the NATO, potentially forcing an armed reaction from the western countries in what Russia consider, and rightly so, its backyard. The USA almost started WWIII when Russia moved to install missiles in Cuba, would Russia back down seeing USA doing exactly the same forty years later? Is it worth risking a shooting war with Russia for a semi-dictatorial aggressive state in the Caucasus? No, thank you.