Contextual Content

Nuclear war by miscalculation

ENGDAHL: Russia went into Georgia to essentially deliver a message. There are more than 1,000 US military special forces in Georgia doing exercising, training Georgian troops, before Georgia launched the attack on Ossetia on 8 August. There are 1,000 Israeli troops at least, private security firms and military advisors, including advisors who are upgrading the Georgian air force in an installation near Tbilisi. That’s what the Russian airplanes hit, and they essentially made the military strike on South Ossetia militarily impossible by making incursions inside Georgian territory before they announced that they were calling a halt to their military operations.

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Story Transcript

The geopolitical stakes in Georgia part 2

ZAA NKWETA, PRODUCER (VOICEOVER): President Bush announced on Wednesday that US troops would provide humanitarian aid to Georgia. Meanwhile, the war of words continued, with Georgia accusing Russia of continuing military operations and Moscow denouncing the Georgian president as a liar. For further analysis of the geopolitics of Georgia, The Real News spoke to political economist and author F. William Engdahl.

F. WILLIAM ENGDAHL, AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ECONOMIST: What Washington is literally playing with here is nuclear war by miscalculation, thinking they can outflank the Russians psychologically and militarily. And I think this was a clear signal from the Russian government that they have drawn a line in the sand with Georgia and that they’re not going to allow this kind of military adventurism. Georgia can take these areas back, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which fought a war to be independent of Georgia in the early ’90s. This region, including Georgia, has been, essentially, a part of the Russian Empire for 200 years, but Georgia is independent and has been since the early ’90s. Russia’s not demanding that Georgia become a part of the greater Russia, but what it’s demanding is that Georgia stay neutral vis-à-vis NATO. Russia went into Georgia to essentially deliver a message. There were more than 1,000 US military special forces in Georgia training Georgian troops before Georgia launched the attack on Ossetia on 8 August. There are 1,000 Israeli troops at least, private security firms and military advisors, including advisors who are upgrading the Georgian air force in an installation near Tbilisi. That’s what the Russian airplanes hit, and they essentially made the military strike on South Ossetia militarily impossible by making incursions inside Georgian territory before they announced that they were calling a halt to their military operations. What’s at stake here is that since the end of the Cold War, there has been literally a new Cold War over oil in Central Asia. Caspian Sea has huge undeveloped reserves of oil from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, Baku, the old oilfields of early Russia, one of the first big oilfields in the world, actually, more than a century ago. And British Petroleum and several US companies went in early to try to lock up the oilfields in Baku, and with considerable cash under the table and over the table, according to various reports, they more or less locked the government of Azerbaijan into a US-friendly stance. And they built a pipeline, which was opened three years ago, called the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (Ceyhan is a port on the Mediterranean side of Turkey) to bring oil from the Caspian Sea to the West, sidelining Russian territory. The Rose Revolution that brought President Saakashvili to power in Georgia in early 2004 was financed by the US State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy, and various NGOs that all receive money from the US government. So this was what the CIA did in Iran in the ’50s or in Guatemala against Arbenz that they do with these NGOs now, called the color revolutions. And that’s the operation that brought Saakashvili into power in 2004. So he’s essentially a Washington proxy or puppet figure, if you will, and that’s how Moscow regards it, and one that is committed to bringing Georgia into NATO, which is extremely provocative.

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