Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

Russia’s Medvedev says he’s Upbeat About America With President Obama

December 4, 2008

President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes Russia’s relations with the United States improve after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, according to an interview released Thursday.

Moscow’s relations with Washington have been strained by disputes over U.S. missile defense plans and Russia’s war with Georgia in August.

But Medvedev dismissed suggestions that the chill could lead to a new Cold War, and said he expects the new U.S. administration “to take constructive, reasonable stance, to show willingness to compromise on the most difficult issues.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir ...
When journalists see photographs like this from Russia they often ask, “Who is the school master?”  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seen at their meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)

“What we have recently heard from Washington makes me feel moderately optimistic,” he said, without elaborating, in an interview with Indian Broadcasting Corporation Doordarshan that was posted on the Kremlin Web site Thursday.

Medvedev and Obama spoke by telephone last month, but the details of the conversation were not released.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
russia_us;_ylt=Ag2VravpuxE68McMAS2GMOms0NUE

Advertisements

Georgians Stand Up, Say No To Obama: Chambliss Reelected

December 3, 2008

“When he wants to raise your taxes, when he wants to tinker with the Second Amendment, when he wants to make proposals with respect to health care that is going to take your choice of choosing your doctor away form you, then I’m going to be the 41st senator to stand up and say no.”

Those were some of the words from reelected Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia last night following the vote count.

“Tonight, the voters of Georgia have spoken,” he told supporters. “I accept the decision that has been made.”

Saxby Chambiss promised to be a firewall against the Democrats in Washington.

Saxby Chambliss

“You have delivered a message that a balance in government in Washington is necessary and that’s not only what the people of Georgia want, it’s what the people of America want,” Chambliss told 500 cheering supporters at a victory rally in Cobb County.

Read more and see video:
 http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/02/
georgia.senate/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Read the Associated Press report:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081203/ap_on_el_se/georgia_senate

NATO agrees to gradual reengagement with Russia

December 2, 2008

NATO foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday on a gradual resumption of contacts with Russia, suspended after Moscow’s intervention in Georgia, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

“Allies agreed on what I would qualify as a conditional and graduated reengagement with Russia,” De Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pictured prior ...
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pictured prior the Foreign Affairs Minister meeting at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. NATO agreed Tuesday to gradually resume high-level talks with Russia, which were frozen over the August conflict in the Caucasus, and to deepen ties with former Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine.(AFP/John Thys)

–Reuters

Don’t rush Georgia and Ukraine into NATO

December 2, 2008

Several scholars have recently come forward to say it may be too early to bring Ukraine and georgia into NATO — and thus anger Russia….

******

By Michael O’Hanlon
The washington Times
According to press reports, the Bush administration is pursuing a final bold foreign policy move in its last weeks. Bypassing normal procedures, it wants European allies and Canada to agree to offer Georgia and Ukraine rapid membership into NATO.

This is a singularly bad idea, much more likely to worsen U.S.-Russia relations and increase the risk of war than to do any real good for the new democracies of Central Europe.

The idea might seem a natural response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Georgia in August, by any measure a disproportionate and unwarranted action in response to tensions over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But as most now realize, Russia’s aggression, while unjustified, was not unprovoked. Among other things, Georgia had fired artillery rounds carelessly into disputed regions at the outset of the crisis. President Mikhail Saakashvili’s desire to reintegrate South Ossetia and Abkhazia back into Georgia proper, while understandable at one level, has been pursued with wanton disregard for the role of the international community and for the need to pursue this goal carefully and peacefully. Future policymaking must seek to deter not only Russia, but other regional actors, from the kind of irresponsible behavior that pushed the Caucasus toward all-out war just three months ago.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
8/dec/02/dont-rush-georgia-and-ukraine-into-nato/

 

By Charles King
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page B02

The tiny village of Ushguli lies in an emerald-green valley in the far north of the republic of Georgia. Hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus mountains, it’s a jumble of slate buildings flanking a glacier-fed stream. When I last visited, local elders showed me around the medieval stone towers that dot the countryside. A millennium ago, defense was a self-help game, and families erected private fortresses to guard against vengeful neighbors and foreign raiders.

Political leaders in the United States and Europe are careering down a path that could make faraway Ushguli the eastern border of NATO. Foreign ministers from the transatlantic alliance’s 26 member states will meet this week in Brussels to decide whether Georgia and Ukraine should take an important step toward membership. But Western leaders would be wise to act slowly, or the world’s most successful military alliance could become as irrelevant as the ancient watchtowers of the upland Caucasus.

Last April, NATO put off both countries’ applications but promised to revisit the issue in December. The August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia has sharpened the debate. To some Western observers, Russia’s intervention in Georgia demonstrated the need to expand the alliance and block Moscow’s imperial ambitions. Without the security guarantees provided by NATO membership, the logic goes, both Georgia and Ukraine will find themselves increasingly threatened by the bear lumbering forth from the Kremlin.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
8/AR2008112802251.html

Russia Wants NATO, Europe To Ease Moscow’s Suspicions

November 30, 2008

Russia has reason to feel betrayed by the process of NATO expansion, begun in 1997. Seven years earlier, the Russians believe, American and German officials working on German reunification pledged not to take advantage of Moscow‘s weakness by extending NATO into Russia’s traditional backyard. By reneging on that promise, Western leaders have made Russians doubt their trustworthiness.

By Michael Mandelbaum | NEWSWEEK

To the Kremlin, the expansion process has also seemed to be based on dishonest premises. U.S. officials advertised it as a way of promoting democracy, of forcing ex-Soviet states to reform. But the democratic commitment of NATO’s first ex-communist entrants—Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—was never in doubt. And if the Americans truly believed that NATO membership was the best way to guarantee free elections and constitutional rights, why didn’t they immediately offer it to the largest ex-communist country of them all, Russia itself? Instead, Moscow was told it would never be able to join.

NATO expansion taught Russia another lesson. The process went ahead because Moscow was too weak to stop it. This told the Russians that to have a say in European affairs, they needed to be able to assert themselves militarily. Last summer’s war in Georgia was one result.

Given this history, what should the West do now about Russia? We have no good options. In the wake of the war, some in the United States renewed the call to welcome Georgia into NATO. But NATO is a mutual-defense pact. Making Georgia a member would mean that we’d have to come to the country’s aid should fighting with Russia break out once more. This would require putting Western troops, tanks, aircraft and perhaps even nuclear weapons on Russia’s border—to which the Russians would respond with comparable forces. The U.S. military is already seriously overstretched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet doing nothing would look like a retreat in the face of Russian aggression.

In the short term, the incoming U.S. president needs to think like a doctor: “First, do no harm.” This means deferring any offer of NATO membership to Georgia (and Ukraine, for that matter). Some may object that this will reward Russia for its belligerence. Perhaps, but the consequences of deferral are preferable to the costs of expansion—including a serious deterioration in relations with Moscow.

At the same time, the West should renew its security cooperation with Russia. NATO must eventually either include Russia or give….

Read the rest:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/171258

Georgia’s President Defends Actions Prior to War With Russia

November 29, 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on Friday defended the decisions made in the run-up to the August war with Russia, telling a parliamentary commission that Georgia had responded to Russian “intervention.”

He also repeated assertions that his government had neither sought nor received advance approval of the Aug. 7 attack on the separatist region of South Ossetia, in particular from the United States.

Associated Press
.
“We didn’t ask for a green light from anyone,” he testified. “We were telling our friends that Russia was conducting these provocations, which were completely out of any sort of framework.”

Russia’s military response to the attack was overwhelming. It routed the Georgian military, inflicted severe damage on Georgia’s economy and aggravated already troubled relations between Moscow and Washington – a staunch backer of Mr. Saakashvili.

Opposition politicians have been increasing their criticism of Mr. Saakashvili over the run-up to the war.

Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia said Wednesday that Georgian officials perceived a July visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as encouragement for the use of force against South Ossetia. Former Ambassador Erosi Kitsmarishvili also said people in Mr. Saakashvili’s circle told Mr. Kitsmarishvili that Miss Rice “gave the green light” – something Miss Rice herself has denied.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/29/georgian
-president-defends-russia-war-moves/

Russia applauds U.S. moves on NATO membership

November 28, 2008

Russia welcomes a decision by the U.S. government to back away from granting fast-track NATO membership to ex-Soviet republics Georgia and Ukraine at the alliance’s summit later this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

“I am satisfied common sense prevailed,” he told reporters during a visit to Havana. “Whatever the reasons, European pressure or whatever else, the main thing is that they (Washington) no longer push ahead with their previous ferociousness and senselessness.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday pulled back from offering Georgia and Ukraine a formal roadmap to join NATO and said Britain had proposed finding other ways to bring them into the alliance.

Russia strongly opposes giving NATO membership to the two states although Washington led a push for the alliance to allow them in through a so-called Membership Action Plan, or MAP. Moscow’s opposition stiffened following its brief war with Georgia earlier this year.

(Reporting by Oleg Shchedrov in Havana; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Bill Trott at Reuters)

The Testing of Obama Rolls On

November 20, 2008

The ink had barely dried on the final vote count when the testing of President-elect Barack Obama began.

One of the first was by Vladimir Putin’s puppet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declaring that if the United States continued with its plan to deploy 10 ABM interceptor missiles into Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, then Russia would move short range missiles into Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic, targeting Europe. Russia’s excuse for this threat is that they were forced into it because the U.S. defensive system could be converted to an offensive system, targeting Russia. This is a contrived argument and Mr. Putin knows it is groundless.

By James Lyons
The Washington Times

What’s more disturbing is that Mr. Putin’s European proxies like the former German defense minister, Peter Struck, currently the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, called Mr. Medvedev’s threat understandable and blamed President Bush for provoking Russia. This is incredible since he knows Russia was invited to participate in this very limited defensive shield whose fundamental purpose is to destroy any ballistic missile fired at Europe or the United States from a “rogue state” such as Iran.

During Mr. Medvedev’s recent visit to Washington, he appeared to soften his opening salvo by saying he hoped a compromise on the planned defensive shield deployment could be worked out with the new administration. He suggested a potential global system of protection against rogue states or perhaps use of existing systems to defeat such an attack. Existing systems clearly will be inadequate for this task. Mr. Medvedev concluded his comments by saying Russia will not make the first move.

With NATO’s weak response to Russia’s blatant invasion of Georgia, plus Russia’s increasing control of energy resources provided Europe, Mr. Putin sees the defensive shield issue as another opportunity to embarrass and further weaken U.S. influence while furthering his own agenda. If Mr. Putin can cause President-elect Obama to eventually back down on the deployment of the defensive shield, then Mr. Putin’s influence in dealing with the Eastern European border states, as well as the rest of Europe, will be significantly strengthened. Mr. Putin and his KGB cronies can be expected to further expand their control over the energy systems fueling Europe, as well as promoting the gas cartel.

Just last week, we saw the European Union reverse its position on withdrawing from negotiating with Russia on a “strategic Partnership” – the negotiations now will proceed even though Russia has not lived up to its obligations in the EU-brokered agreement with Georgia. Led by France and Germany, the EU has essentially caved and will resume business as usual. After all, since they have mortgaged their energy requirements, they cannot afford to have Mr. Putin turn off the energy valves as he did to the Ukraine in the winter of 2006.

I believe Mr. Obama will come under intense pressure from our European “partners” to cancel the deployment of defensive missiles to Poland. With no change in Iran’s drive to achieve a nuclear weapon capability, we would be sending all the wrong signals by canceling the deployment.

Related:
 Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/20/testing-has-begun/

Russia’s Putin threatened to hang Georgia’s leader ‘by the balls’

November 19, 2008

Vladimir Putin threatened to overthrow Georgia’s leader and “hang him by the balls” during talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the height of the war between Russia and Georgia.

From The Telegraph, London
November 13, 2008

The Russian Prime Minister issued the threat against Mikheil Saakashvili as his troops rolled into Georgian territory and at one point threatened the country’s capital Tbilisi.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here on November ... 
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here on November 12, 2008, allegedly threatened to hang Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “by the balls” during the August war in Georgia, a report not denied by Putin’s spokesman.(AFP/POOL/File/Alexey Nikolsky)

Mr Putin’s fury was overheard by President Sarkozy’s chief adviser, Jean-David Levitte during emergency cease-fire talks on August 12.

According Mr Levitte, interviewed in Le Nouvel Observateur magazine, Mr Putin exploded with rage when Mr Sarkozy warned him off toppling Georgia’s democratically elected government  and its President Saakashvili.

“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” he said.

“Hang him?,” asked Mr Sarkozy.

“Why not?,” retorted Mr Putin. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”

Mr Sarkozy replied: “Yes but do you want to end up like Bush?”

Briefly lost for words, the Russian leader agreed: “Ah, you have scored a point there.”

Confronted by the comments on a French radio show yesterday (THURS), Mr Saakashvili laughed nervously.

Vladimir “By The Balls” Putin Runs Russia; Dmitry “Tinkerbell” Medvedev Follows the Big Dog

November 18, 2008

It is pretty clear to even outside observers not paying too much attention to the international scene that the man running Russia is one Vladimir Putin. 
.
The “former” president and current Prime Minister hand picked his successer in the top post, Dmitry Medvedev, who is the former head of the biggest Russian state money maker, Gazprom, the oil giant.

Medvedev, thanks to Putin, went from Gazprom to Putin’s chief of staff and then to the presidency of Russia.  Medvedev has already said he will ask parliament to lengthen the term Russian president’s serve so that the next president, whom all analysts believe will be Putin (Part Deux), can have a longer Kremlin tour.

Putin, a former KGB intelligence operative, is the strong man of the Kremlin and all of Russia.  After he sparked the Russian invasion of South Ossietia and Georgia last summer, he was quoted by the Times in London as saying he wanted to “hang by the balls” Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Putin made the “by the balls” remark to a man he considers to be a lightweight: French President Sarkozy.  Peace and Freedom was told by a source inside the Moscow leadership that Putin refers to “lightweights” using derisive, feminine terms and names from fairy tales and stories. 

Sarkozy and Medvedev have been called “Tinkerbell” by Putin, we were told.

Walt Disney’s version of “Tinkerbell” 

Putin showed who had the balls in the Georgia invasion all right.  Kremilin insiders said the attack was Putin’s brainchild and not of Medvedev’s making.

“Tinkerbell” just followed orders.

Then we have Mr. Putin’s he-man media blitz.  Photographs of Putin hunting, fishing, swimming, lifting weights, skinning game and shooting have appeared routinely in the Russian media.

Putin’s “manliness” is rivaled on the world media stage only by Sarah Palin’s moose hunting….





Above: Putin the he-man hunter

Putin also engineered the intimidation of Barack Obama just hours after the American Presidential election, threatening Eastern Europe with Iskander ballistic missiles unless the U.S. backed off of its missile defense plan in Poland and the Czech Republic.

What does this all mean?  It isn’t entirely clear.

But one thing is certain: inside Russia Putin is “the man.”  The average Russian considers Putin a strong man who represents Russia very well.  “He is bringing back Soviet greatness” one veteran told us.

And if weak-sister Tinkerbells in the West don’t like it, Russia and Putin don’t much care.

Related:
“Technically” No Longer President, Russia’s Putin Continues Some Functions

Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

In Russia’s Putin-Medvedev shuffle, Putin is the lead dancer
.
Russia’s Putin threatened to hang Georgia’s leader ‘by the balls’

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the Russian ...
Putin’s favorite “Tinkerbells.”  French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev are seen during the EU-Russia summit, in Nice, southern France, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008.(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)