The battle in Georgia

Current Affairs / Peak Oil

Oil Drum has an omnibus post with background information on the escalating conflict in Georgia.

“Georgia has asked for a cease-fire, but Russia continues its air raids. Bombing originally began in the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russia is now demanding that Georgian forces disarm in another breakaway province, Abkhazia, or Russian troops will move in. This would be a major escalation of the war.”

Read the full post here. There are a bunch of helpful links to reports about the situation and analysis of what’s happening.

Oil Drum is following this because of the effects that this war is going to have on oil (and natural gas) shipments from the region. Russia is one of the largest exporters of both in Europe and Asia.

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  1. There is simply *no way* that the Russians will sign a cease-fire without having both S. Ossetia and Abkhazia firmly in hand. In fact, I very much doubt if they’ll leave without “regime change” occurring. They’re going to make an example of Georgia for the sake of the other former republics, especially the Ukraine.

  2. What scares me the most is Dick Cheney’s choice of words: if the Russian advance continues it will not remain “unanswered”. The use of that term gives me chills…

  3. Poland is part of Nato now right? And Georgia was in the process of applying for membership. What’s worrying is that Russia might be counting on the fact that we’re no longer in a position to respond militarily (our troops are exhausted) nor could we put together a coalition (our international prestige is at about zero right now.) If Russia had intentions of extending its borders again and bringing for the former Soviet block back into its orbit, this would be the time to do it.

  4. Precisely. Poland? I believe it’s NATO now, but that’s entirely out of scope. If Russia tried anything toward Poland, they’d face a united Europe. Instead, this play ensures that they’ll never have to.
    There’s one tunnel through the Caucus mountains capable f moving heavy hardware and it’s located between…(surprise!)…North and South Ossetia. With S. Ossetia in Russian hands and *especially* with a Russian-friendly government in Georgia, that means the GTC pipeline is effectively Russian property. Thus, Russia controls the flow of Asian oil to Europe at will. Given Russia’s production capabilities and their control of the Asian supply, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Europe driftingmore toward their side of things…

  5. btw, this strategy shows the value of the tactic that the Soviets and Chinese prepared just in case (actually it goes back to the Romans…)–planting pockets of their chief ethnic peoples into the outlying strategic areas. During the time of Empire it helps promote homogenization and assures the home office of loyalists at important points; after Empire it provides for convenient “persecuted minorities” that need “rescuing”.

  6. Re: Europe drifting towards Russia – we’ve seen Russia cutting off the natural gas flow to nations and regions which have “offended” them. And it usually happens in the middle of the winter. I think we’re seeing the second phase of their campaign to have this happen.
    I wonder if Russia subtly encouraged us to move against Iraq, counting on the world’s negative reaction to lower our prestige enough that we’d no longer be able to respond to Moscow’s actions. Or maybe they’re just opportunists…

  7. Derek the Aenglican says

    That wouldn’t surprise me–but historically they’ve been quite skilled at seizing opportune moments… We sure can’t complain about “regime change” without coming off as total hypocrits.
    Yeah, those winter-time “technical difficulties” can be so hard to find and fix… 😉
    Of course, what we’re all concerned about is what this means in terms of Israel and Iran. *If* this pushes Israel towards (their third) pre-emptive strike on nuclear facilities, *if* Iran carries out its threat of closing the Persian Gulf, *if* nuclear Pakistan continues to destabilize, then the world has a nasty set of problems on its hands…

  8. And, as has been mentioned on TOD, let’s not forget China who will see all of this as a huge slap in the face during their big shining moment. They’re gonna be mighty pissed. If I lived in Taiwan, this might be a good time to schedule a long vacation elsewhere…

  9. Christopher says

    Because France is relatively energy independent, they will speak out. Germany, however, is likely to remain muted. Denmark and the Scandinavian nations will likely say something again because of relative energy independence. I imagine that those in the heart of Europe–The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, are deeply troubled. All of this cuts to the core of focusing on renewables and energy independence–post-haste. We ourselves are incredibly weakened at the moment, and not prepared to respond in a strong way to what looks to me like a renewed conflict of super powers, except this time we’re the crumbling Soviet Union. The question remains if we can tighten up and toughen up.
    The Russians have long thought of the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and the Caucuses as their sphere, a part of their Empire, and I never saw them giving that up easily. Their behavior in these two provinces of Georgia has long shown their intentions, imho.
    Now, what really pisses me off was the blather on the progressive news radio this morning that is so anti-war at all that they want to just look the other way at this action because according to them, war is always wrong as our invasion of Iraq demonstrates.
    I’ve never trusted Putin, and the increasing nationalism in Russia, including in the Church, coupled with a surging economy is troubling to say the least.

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