Monday, May 12, 2008

Georgia- Another needless confrontation???

I read a post at written by Doug Bandow
entitled; "Another Needless Confrontation : Stay out of the Russian-Georgian crossfire"

It was an interesting read, a general historical review, a humourous mention of how the average American doesn't realize that Georgia is actually a country, and not just a state in the US.
However when I got to this part;
Georgia is irrelevant to allied security and brings no military assets to the table. It has put a few troops into Iraq, but while the burden on Tbilisi might be real, the value to the U.S. is minimal. Most importantly, including Georgia in NATO would force the alliance to take Georgia's side against Russia in any territorial disputes.
or this part;

In short, nothing going on in Georgia is worth a confrontation with Moscow. Certainly nothing concerning Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

I was left scratching my head. How is this possible? If there is nothing in or about Georgia worth all this fuss with Russia, then why all this fuss?
Why did the US take an active, though covert roll, using for example NGO's such as the NED,
in the Rose Revolution?
Here is a quote from former Georgian leader, Eduard Shevardnadze, who was ousted in the revolution.
"I don't want to talk about theUnited States. They have various bases of power, democratic institutes... various structures, there are embassies. Some participated, some helped, some aided. I don't think the administration itself participated in what happened in Georgia. The West supports realistic power. They saw, they were convinced that others had come to power. They said to themselves: 'Shevardnadze was a good person, we cooperated with him well, but everything comes to an end, he has a year, year and a half left (in his presidency) and then he has to leave.' Who are we going to deal with afterwards? They looked for someone and found those three [Nino Burjanadze, currently acting president; Zurab Zhvania, State Minister; and Saakashvili]."

He makes it clear that the interests of the US played a role in his ousting.

So, Georgia, a nation that is claimed in the article by Doug Bandow, to be of no real importance to the US, saw the US play an important role in the removal of it's leader. A country that had an already 'friendly' (compliant) leader ousted, to make way for an even more compliant leadership has to be of some value, has to be of some vital interest? Additionally, why at this time would George Bush lobby so strongly for Georgia to join NATO?

There has to be something important about this geographical bit of land?
In all the reading I had done on Georgia, past and present, I knew somewhere I had stumbled upon news of a pipeline, of strategic importance.

Georgia Hopes for Boost from Caspian Pipeline

April 19, 2006 · Starting this summer, a new $4 billion pipeline is expected to begin pumping crude oil from the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean Sea. To get there, the pipeline passes through neighboring Georgia, a small, impoverished republic that has no energy resources of its own.

Analysts say Georgia is the weakest link in this energy project, which has strong support from the U.S. government.

Georgia's leaders hope the pipeline will help transform the country from an impoverished backwater to a member of NATO and a vital supplier of energy to the West.

I would assume that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is of vital importance. Let's look at the map of the pipeline;

Georgia looks integral to the path of the pipeline?

So how is it the author of the article makes the claim of Georgia's irrelevance, when that does not seem to be the case? I want to be quite clear , I am not advocating for intervention in questioning that article writers contention,
I am wondering how or why the writer did not make note of the oil pipeline as the primary reason for US/ Western concern?

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