August 10, 2008
Regime Change? We Can’t Translate That!

It looks as though George Bush’s war and the removal of Saddam Hussein from office has created even more unintended consequences, at least to those in the White House (but not necessarily for those in the reality based community). From a Bloomberg News article published today:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a telephone conversation today that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “must go,” meaning he should be ousted from office, Khalilzad said.

“This is completely unacceptable and crosses a line,” the U.S. envoy said. “The days of overthrowing leaders by military means in Europe are gone.”

Khalilzad then asked Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin whether his government’s policy was “regime change” in Georgia. Churkin responded by saying that regime change was an American, not a Russian, expression.

I wonder what Karl Rove and Bob Shrum have to say about that.


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Graphic from waronterrorboardgame.com

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Posted by Buck Batard at August 10, 2008 05:41 PM
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We should send the 82nd airborn to defend georgia. Cut off all financial aid for Russia. Demand immediate withdrawl. Sieze all assessts overseas of the Russians and if necessary kick their !@#$.

Posted by: j. golder on August 10, 2008 6:52 PM

Our troops are already near Russia. This can escalate to something very major militarily. It's our job to stand by that country and maybe it's time to move our troops out of Iraq and toward Russia.

Posted by: Steven on August 10, 2008 7:05 PM

The Russians don't think we would do it but we will. I guarantee one thing if we do we will not retreat. No one wants a war but this is very bad for the United States and the world. They are afraid of the missile defense system and they are trying to weaken American influence in the region. They are attacking our friends and why now?

Posted by: Steven on August 10, 2008 7:13 PM

If US and EU will let Russia will take Azerbaijan,Kazakhstan,Turmenistan after Georgia and will control oil and gaz from Caspian Sea and Central Asia!

Posted by: on August 10, 2008 7:50 PM

Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? How arrogant our government is!

Posted by: Mark on August 10, 2008 7:58 PM

Steven and j.golder, do you know that Georgia (the country) is not a part of the US? Just checking. Guys, you are totally ignorant and brainwashed by the US media/government. Yes, the same media and government that fooled you about Iraq and continues to fool you on many other issues. What's worse is that Bush uses your tax money (and mine too) to help Georgia to exterminate the small ethnic group of Ossetians who, just like you, would like to be able to determine their destinies without being murdered by genocidal Georgian maniacs. Does it make you feel proud that your government spends your money to finance a war essentially set in motion by Stalin (a Georgian) who assigned South Ossetia's land and its residents to Georgians. So, are you idiots willing to die for Stalin, Bush, and Saakashvilli's ambitions? Why don't you stop watching CNN and start reading a variety of news sources (including Russian) and try to put a balanced picture together of what happened in South Ossetia since Georgia's surprise all-out military aggression on Friday, August 8, 2008?

Posted by: tom paine on August 10, 2008 7:59 PM

Yeah, wonderful idea. And where exactly do you propose to find these American troops? We are already overextended thanks to Bush's idiocy. I don't think the U.S. has much ground to stand on here seeing as it's invasion of a sovereign nation --Iraq-- was eventually justified as a necessary "regime change" (once all the other purported reasons were exposed as bogus). What many of these comments seem to suggest is that regime change is OK as long as it's the U.S. doing it. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Posted by: chris on August 10, 2008 8:03 PM

Yeah, wonderful idea. And where exactly do you propose to find these American troops? We are already overextended thanks to Bush's idiocy. I don't think the U.S. has much ground to stand on here seeing as it's invasion of a sovereign nation --Iraq-- was eventually justified as a necessary "regime change" (once all the other purported reasons were exposed as bogus). What many of these comments seem to suggest is that regime change is OK as long as it's the U.S. doing it. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Posted by: chris on August 10, 2008 8:03 PM

Dear US Readers. I'm a guy from Ukraine living in US (Ph.D. student). Do you think you live in a free world? Do you actually remember times before the War in Iraq? ALL OF YOU were brainwashed with US propaganda about 'weapons of mass destruction', 'Iraq involvement with 911', etc.. All of your news agencies were brainwashing you with this misinformation and as a result - 80% of your people supported the evil George W. Bush and his war. I didn't see a single voice of wisdom. What do we have a couple of years later? What do you actually know about Iraq before the war? Do you know that Saddam Hussain were paying with oil money for education, free medicine, free (!!) electricity & other bills? You destroyed the entire country for the sake of 'democracy'. WHO ARE YOU to judge about democracy if you are living in a police country under government propaganda? What do you actually know about South Ossetia? Go to wikipedia and READ about that. region. In 1795 Georgia was sacked by Persians and begged Tsar Paul I of Russia for help. Georgia was under Russian protection for ages.
From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars against Turkey and Iran (who actually started the war first), several territories were annexed to Georgia (Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, Poti, and Abkhazia). South Ossetia has ALWAYS been part of Russian Empire and WAS GIVEN to Georgia in 1921 by the Soviet Union (North Ossetia continued to be part of Russia). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia CANCELLED all the agreements including the agreement under which it controlled South Ossetia. As a result of this collapse the people of South Ossetia voted for independence. They've always wanted to be part of Russian Federation. Nevertheless, Russian wisdom didn't want to piss off Georgia. As a result up until now South Ossetia was an INDEPENDENT country and had a fragile peace. Russians DID NOT attack South Ossetia. The 'best friend on G.W.Bush', the Georgian president, gave the actual order to bomb South Ossetia. Georgian invaders destroyed the capital of South Ossetia and killed more than 1400 innocent people. Russia HAD to intervene. What would your government do if Danish president gave an order to attack Virgin Islands (that used to be Danish territory)? Your country has double standards when it comes to politics. US supported the independence of Kosovo but denies the South Ossetia independence. Why? I know the answer. Do you?

Posted by: Alexander on August 10, 2008 8:17 PM

It's fascinating how all the US news media have managed completely to avoid mentioning the big oil pipeline routed through Turkey into Georgia, which will give the US an excuse for stationing troops along Russia's southern border areas, and incidentally just to the east of the Middle East.

Given his views on human rights, Saakashvili seems to be just the latest in the long tradition of US-created monsters like Noriega, the Shah of Iran, Musharraf, bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. At least the 'regime change' in Iraq has given Russia something of a precedent to stand on.

Posted by: LFB on August 10, 2008 8:23 PM

Alexander you seem to be very knowledgable on this subject and I wonder if you have any critiques to make about the article that appears at this site:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/8/9/102157/8633

I had no idea this post would attract such attention, although I understand that both we and Europe have a very difficult and critical situation on our hands. It certainly is unfortunate that our troops are bogged down in Iraq in a money making scheme at this time. It does seem we have less leverage than we otherwise would have had it not been for the Iraq war.

Posted by: Buck on August 10, 2008 8:29 PM

Funny how Russia is so roundly condemned for doing the exact same things the USA did in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, and tried to do in Somalia, Vietnam, Cuba. I guess they don't package their intentions up in a shiny wrapper and feed a line of BS to their people. I guess no one remembers that the French military helped the American colonies gain independence from the British. There are so many comparisons here whereby we glorify our side of history and condemn the enemy; this hypocrisy is astounding.

Posted by: Bob on August 10, 2008 8:35 PM

Do not believe all the coverage you hear about this war from American papers. Russia has every right to attack Georgia. Let’s not forget, OUR own government destroyed Iraq on false bases, and very little justification. In addition, to keep the American people in "check" our media numerously has reminded us of the 9'11 terrorist attacks, in which Iraq played no part in. United States has sided with Georgia only because it promised Georgia a spot in the UN. US wants to have close ties with the Georgian government in order to install US missiles on Georgia's border. Georgia using this opportunity to quietly but affectively target South Ossetia separatist group knowing that US will back them up diplomatically, giving them the “get out of jail” free card. To give the American people a brief history lesson, South Ossentia never wanted to become part of Georgia, in fact majority of the people who live in South Ossentia are Russian citizens. South Ossetia among some of other regions in Georgia have tried to get there independence but like the rest they were muscled too. This war goes past oil, and pipelines; Russian forces have been in tug of war with Georgia since the collapse of USSR. This isn’t new to neither Georgians nor Russians. Before the Russians attacked Georgian troops massacred unknown number of South Ossetians, however according to several of newspaper that number is close to a 2,000 of civilians. The only thing Russia is guilty of is not playing politics and not broadcast worldwide every attack Georgians have executed this past year. Russians are rugged, stubborn, and try deal with problems themselves. Unlike the Bush Administration the Russian Government doesn’t parade around the world asking countries for donation and troops. I do condone Russian actions, and I do not support civilian death but to blame Russia for everything that’s going on that’s “disproportionate” blame.

Posted by: Ilya Pletinskiy on August 10, 2008 9:26 PM

Finally, I get some insight into the situation between Russia and Georgia.

I came here to post that about "the pot calling the kettle black" and see that many others recognize the almost hilarious nature of Bush telling Russia it has no business invading a "sovereign nation." God help us if we are stupid enough to elect McCain to continue this mindless BS!

Posted by: MH on August 10, 2008 9:46 PM

To Buck:
The article you mentioned is a very good one:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/8/9/102157/8633

I suggest you to check "Russia Today" (in English) on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/russiatoday

----
I've like to add a couple of fact (copied from wikipedia) about the President of Georgia - Mikhael Saakashvili:

There have been numerous concerns about Saakashvili monopolizing power since his coming to office in 2004. He constantly uses aggressive language (it was reported by Amnesty International around the time of the President's inauguration). At a news briefing on 12 January, Saakashvili advised the then Justice Minister "to use force when dealing with any attempt to stage prison riots, and to open fire, shoot to kill and destroy any criminal who attempts to cause turmoil. We will not spare bullets against these people." Saakashvili in his inaugural speech stated that "now it is time for the government to be afraid of people."

In 2004 a new media law sparked controversy, with fourteen Georgian civil society leaders and Georgian experts writing an open letter to the President, published in several national newspapers, claiming "Intolerance towards people with different opinions is being planted in Georgian politics and in other spheres of social life".

On June 30 2005 riot police and special military forces carrying machine guns violently dispersed hundreds of protesters blocking a major road in Tbilisi. It started as protest against the arrest of two well-known sportsmen accused in blackmail but soon grew into a demonstration against the central authorities. 25 people were arrested including 5 members of opposition parties.

On March 27 2006 the government announced that it had prevented a nation-wide prison riot plotted by criminal kingpins. The police operation ended with the deaths of 7 inmates and at least 17 injuries. While the Parliamentary opposition has cast doubts over the official version and demanded an independent investigation, the ruling party has been able to vote down such initiatives.

In 2007, Georgia faced the worst crisis since the Rose Revolution. A series of anti-government demonstration were sparked, in October, by accusations of murders and corruption levelled by Irakli Okruashvili, Saakashvili's erstwhile associate and former member of his government, against the president and his allies. The protests climaxed early in November 2007, and involved several opposition groups and the influential media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Although the demonstrations rapidly went downhill, the government's decision to use police force against the remaining protesters evolved into clashes in the streets of Tbilisi on November 7. The declaration of state of emergency by the president (November 7-16) and the restriction imposed on some massmedia sources led to harsh criticism of the Saakashvili government both in the country and abroad.

In November 2007 another series of demonstrations forced Saakashvili to set the prescheduled presidential elections for January 5, 2008.

-----
So as you see - Saakashvili frequently used force against his own people. Since 2005 he was telling his goverment to get ready to 'use deadly force' in Abhazia and South Ossetia. So it wasn't a big surprise he finally did it. Have you ever seen any information about that on CNN? No. Why?

I really suggest you to check Russia Today to get more information about Georgia's invasion, interviews with people LIVING in that area:

http://www.youtube.com/russiatoday

Posted by: Alexander on August 10, 2008 10:43 PM

@ LFB

"Given his views on human rights, Saakashvili seems to be just the latest in the long tradition of US-created monsters like Noriega, the Shah of Iran, Musharraf, bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."

And, like all of them, he seems to have developed delusions of grandeur which, in the end, will probably cost the US dearly.

By the way, Ossetia and Abkhazia used to be autonomous regions within the former USSR.

Posted by: on August 11, 2008 8:15 AM

As a Serbian, (Serbia, Kosovo ...remember?) I hope americans finally understand what is happening when you go around topling goverments, creating new states. Lavrov: "... Shakashvili must go...", Khalilzad: "...they cross the line..." What line? The one NATO/USA crossed 1999 by bombing Serbia to tople Milosevic for independence of Kosovo? Welcome to our world. Go Russia!

Posted by: Lazar, the Serb on August 11, 2008 7:06 PM
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