Saturday, August 30, 2008

No righteous ones

I was thinking of writing something about the recent conflict in Georgia, but Uri Avnery, of Gush Shalom, said it pretty well already in a very insightful article:

. . .
This is the historical background to the recent spat between Georgia and Russia. There are no Righteous Ones here. It is rather funny to hear Vladimir Putin, whose hands are dripping with the blood of Chechen freedom fighters, extolling the right of South Ossetia to secession. It's no less funny to hear Micheil Saakashvili likening the freedom fight of the two separatist regions to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. ...
I am not entirely certain if the peoples, writ large, of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia actually wanted full independance from Georgia. Everything I've read and heard over the past few weeks seems to indicate that, but I don't have a familiarity with the politics to really tell.

Let's pretend he's not a war criminal

That is, however, the key to the conflict. No matter what a vile, evil, unspeakably brutal murderer Vladimir Putin is, the morality of the enterprise rides on that - if the people of South Ossetia wanted independence, and were indeed being violently oppressed by Saakashvili's army, then all the hand-wringing from NATO is either irrelevance or hypocrisy: they can't castigate Russia for intervening in Georgia when America is sitting in Iraq.

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