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A hypothesis

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Autor: Adrian Severin 02 Sep 2008 - 00:00

The small war in South Osetia leaves an obsessive question behind: did President Şaakasvili act without the U.S. consent?



The small war in South Osetia leaves an obsessive question behind: did President Şaakasvili act without the U.S. consent?

At a first glance, Washington has been taken by surprise by the leader of Tbilisi and has done everything it could to confirm their surprise. At the time of the attack and several days afterwards, President Bush was on the stadiums of the Beijing Olympics, where he discussed calmly with Prime Minister Putin. The American reaction towards the great Russian counterattack was and remained moderate and, in any case, especially rhetoric. As the Georgian army suffered their predictable correction from Russia, the diplomatic channels were spreading the information that America did not have anything to do with Georgia’s suicidal moves.

Logic also pleads in the favor of the authenticity of the surprise feeling of the U.S. administration. What did the White House think when it pushed Mikhail Şaakasvili adventurously into that attack? It is impossible for the Americans to have been unaware of the number of soldiers that Russia had in the Caucasus, soldiers that were fully equipped and ready for battle. It was more than likely that the leaders from Kremlin will use their means to perform their duties of "imposing peace" and give a lesson to Georgia, in order to prove that inviting them to join NATO was risky and, therefore, not recommended, or even impossible. Why would the U.S. send their total ally, for the military equipment of which they had spent so much money, to a certain defeat and risk deteriorating their relations with Russia and probe their inability or lack of willingness to use force in the complicated region in the South Caucasus?

However, it is hard to believe that the president of Georgia triggered such a great and risky action, without asking their main ally. In any case, it seems impossible that in a country assisted by many U.S. military advisers and supervised by U.S. satellite-spies, the war movements of the Georgians have not been detected before the attack itself took place. This, even though the day that had been chosen was exactly the D day on which the eyes of the world were headed towards the spectacular opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Therefore, there had to be an agreement! An agreement between the U.S. and Georgia. Or even (or especially) between the Americans and the Russians! Under the conditions of such assumptions, however, the real agreement is the latter, but not the first (appeared only in order to make possible the implementation of the second agreement between Washington and Moscow).

If President Şaakasvili received the American consent for the adventure, it is very likely that, given the conditions, it was a rather allusive, ambiguous, circumstantial and technical consent, without the direct involvement of the White House. Therefore, the U.S. could show their surprise and was able not to take any responsibility. (It is interesting that Russia didn’t make any reproaches towards the American leaders either.)

What could the Russians and Americans agree on? The main current event with strategic stakes in the U.S. is represented by the presidential elections. In this confrontation, "the eagles" gathered around the current administration, are represented by bipolar order veteran, John McCain, who speaks strongly about the relationship with Russia, while the "pigeons" are represented by the pacifist message of Barak Obama. The strange thing is that Russia, which returned to the “global power” status, might prefer the dialogue with a predictable leader, to continue a speech in the style of the Cold War and to maintain current Euro-Atlantic separation trend to entering into the unknown with an inexperienced and thus unpredictable American President. In fact, understanding the new order should be made with the opponent, but not with a potential friend that is hard to evaluate, that has an uncertain support from the U.S. government bureaucracy. However, the Russian intervention in Georgia helped McCain's camp of warriors, but not the peacemakers that support Obama. This was seen immediately in the surveys.

Destroying the capacity of Georgia to integrate into NATO and compromising the Georgian President represent the bonus that Russia seems to receive. The only thing left to do is to take the dead (political) bodies out of the house. Maybe this is why President Basescu left on a tour. Finally, a diplomatic mission for Romania in the region!

But all these are just hypotheses!
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