Zoink! Russia Takes Abkhazia, South Ossetia

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The European Union, NATO, and Georgia are accusing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev of annexing the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, occupied after last summer's war five-day war with the former Soviet republic. The Telegraph has details:

Moscow's move, which drew swift international condemnation, comes amid fears of a new crisis in East-West relations following the expulsion from Brussels of two Russian diplomats to Nato who were accused of espionage.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, signed two pacts giving Moscow formal responsibility for the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two Georgian provinces which have declared independence from Tbilisi…

After defeating the Georgian army within five days, Russia defied international opinion by recognising the sovereignty of both "states", a move followed only by Nicaragua. The West maintains that both provinces lie on sovereign territory.

In a separate story, the Telegraph provides details of the European Union's angry—and toothless—response:

Karel Schwarzenberg, the Czech foreign minister and current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, attacked the plan saying it violated last year's Russia-Georgia peace agreement. "Russia is changing the situation on the ground the whole time. We cannot consider them a reliable partner," he said

"We get this unexpected news that means that any hope for trust, which is vital, was destroyed." Mr Schwarzenberg expressed anger at the failure of Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, to inform the EU of any developments or Moscow's intentions at a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

An EU statement has expressed "deep concern" at the Russia's assumption of control of the protection of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Contributing editor Cathy Young on why the war in Georgia wasn't as "unprovoked" as many first believed.

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  1. Sorry but the US and many of the NATO countries changed the rules when they recognized Kosovo.

    Also I thought that Reason was for self determination but it seems like you are supporting the decisions of Stalin when he made Abkhazia and South Ossetia part of Georgia instead of what the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia want.. Are there any other of Stalin’s decisions that Mr Moynihan wishes to support, how about reconstituting the Soviet Union?

    Also its seems strange that Reason mag which so often sneers at US borders seems so interested in Georgia’s borders

  2. Fuckin’ Russkies.

  3. the Telegraph provides details of the European Union’s angry-and toothless-response

    Of course it’s toothless. They’ve got a welfare state to pay for, how can you expect them to defend themselves too? Besides, they know we’ll do that for them.

    Reason mag which so often sneers at US borders seems so interested in Georgia’s borders

    Just run-of-the-mill left wing stuff. Everyone’s borders matter unless it’s the US, which is evil and unworthy of being defended by definition. I mean why should the US have any borders in the first place?

    And now for the rebuttal, where Lefties protest such an unfair accusation, claiming that they never said any such thing, but simultaneously implying it with everything else they say.

  4. And here is Greenwald’s thorough response to Ms. Young’s misguided essay.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/10/25/georgia/index.html

  5. More stories about Russia! And beauties. More stories about Russia and beauties. Thank you.

  6. Russia’s motives are hardly an interest in Ossetian self-determination. It’s their resurgent imperial ambitions playing out here.

    Newly flush with oil wealth and harboring a grudge and a bad case of empire envy, they want to throw their weight around a bit.

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better too. But hopefully the fall in oil prices will put a damper on things for a bit.

  7. You can always count on Cathy Young to knock Russia.

    Do I think that the Russians are innocent waifs in this affair? Of course not. However, Young is just rehashing the talking points. Ditto for Moynihan.

    BTW, how often does Moynihan blog about the teritorial sovereignty and integrity of say, the Cherokee Nation? Or the Shawnee Nation? Or the Arapahoe Nation? Or the Confederate states? Or the Phillipines? Or Panama? Or the Seminole Nation? Or Vietnam? Or Iraq? Or Iran? Or Palestine?

    Both Moynihan and Young are not credible.

  8. I’m surprised at how little notice and official response this developing story has generated. I’ve been following closely for a while, and it’s clear Russia is itching to move and a lot of people are struggling behind the scenes to avert an invasion.

  9. The Kosovo analogy isn’t 100% on. After all, Albania or some other state didn’t annex Kosovo following their secession from Yugoslavia/Serbia.

    But I agree in principle to self-determination, and don’t have any problem with Abkhazia/South Ossetia joining Russia.

    Fine. But the concern is that this power play is a precursor to going after less compliant targets. After all, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia was ethnically German and, IIRC, welcomed the 3rd Reich. If “The Sound of Music” is any indication, Austria didn’t put up much of a fight, either.

    But then there was that nasty business about invading Poland and France. The Georgians, Romanians and Ukrainians are worried that Russia won’t stop at taking back its Sudetenlands.

  10. Unfortunately, when we finally get to a case where the Sudetenland analogy actually is apt, it has become so overused that nobody is going to pay any attention to it.

    libertymike, the reason they are commenting is not out of some sense of outrage over violations poor little Georgia’s territorial integrity. The issue is the resurgence of an authoritarian Russia as a world power and the geopolitical ramifications of that. We should all be concerned about what’s likely to happen in the world if Russia in it’s current shape becomes a formative player. Not exactly likely to lead to more liberty for anyone.

  11. Not agreeing on borders is one thing. Disagreing on which areas are independent countries is an entire new level. This is getting sad.

  12. Who needs teeth when American welfare can get you the best blender dollars can buy?

  13. Wow, back in the day, this would have been a 100+ comment flame war.

  14. Both Moynihan and Young are not credible.

    Maybe so, but I think, not for the reasons you list.

    With the exception of a very brief few seconds in history, Russia has never been ruled by anything but tyrannical monsters. So beating on Russia may sound like “the same old talking points”, but those talking points are based on lots and lots of history.

  15. It’s no surprise that Russia is doing what it’s doing. Or that Russia’s going to get really pissed (read: at minimum very hard to get along with) if the Ukraine actually does integrate into NATO to any significant degree.

    Russia needs its border states to make for a good buffer around its heartland, which would otherwise be militarily near-indefensible. Russia always has, and for the same reasons always will, be trying to grab chunks of eastern Europe.

    Kind of like how the US gets really pissed about Cuba. A hostile naval force stationed in Cuba could block trade, or at least nicely harass it, in and out of the Gulf of Mexico. Consider what that really means, with the Mississippi basin running right through there. You could hamstring a giant fraction of the US economy. We tolerate Cuba only because we can prevent the build up of a significant foreign naval force there.

    Not that Russia has that level of trade going on, but they’re naturally going to care about protecting their own borders and they’re big enough to do something about it. Everybody else just ends up being pawns.

    But this doesn’t sit well with either libertarian or liberal philosophy, both of which refuse to face the realities of international affairs.

  16. “””””””Fine. But the concern is that this power play is a precursor to going after less compliant targets. After all, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia was ethnically German and, IIRC, welcomed the 3rd Reich. If “The Sound of Music” is any indication, Austria didn’t put up much of a fight, either.

    But then there was that nasty business about invading Poland and France. The Georgians, Romanians and Ukrainians are worried that Russia won’t stop at taking back its Sudetenlands.””””””‘

    Here I am behind the times again, I thought we had ended the threat of the “New Hitler” when we stopped Saddam from taking over Kuwaitt and made the world safe for Hereditary Dictatorship. We then stopped Saddam from using his deadly non-existent WMD’s from attacking the US and stopped the Saddam supported terrorism by giving freedom to Iraqis so they could terrorize each other by blowing each other up by the thousands

    Then it was Ahmadinejad as the “New Hitler” a man who is President of a country which is so terrible that for decades the US and Israel worked to have regime change, who is so evil that he calls for regime change in the US and Israel.

    Now it’s the Medvedev and Putin tag team about to take over the Sudetenland again.

    I better check, maybe there are some “New Hitler’s” under my bed since they seem to be popping up all over the world. Remember every year is 1938, every situation is the Sudetenland, every leader you fear or hate is the “New Hitler”.

  17. We all know that Russia’s actions are far from altruistic. However, their earlier recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s independence was still the right action. It has been clear for nearly 20 years than the Ossetians and Abkhazians have no interest in being a part of Georgia.

    National leaders talk a lot about self-determination, but only support it when that self-determination is in the best interest (as determined by the leader) of that nation.

  18. Both Moynihan and Young are not credible.

    Because a holocaust-denying 911-truther like Libertymike has any business judging the credibility of someone else…

  19. Why don’t I have a subscription to Reason anymore? Why do I rarely view Hit and Run nowadays?

    M-i-c-h-a-e-l M-o-y-n-i-h-a-n!

    Nothing changed on the ground, Mike. This is de jure recognition of what has been de facto reality for over a decade. Your headline is inflammatory and unrealistic.

    Moynihan’s presence here does a lot to validate Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimando’s complaints about Reason as a bastion of thinly disguised neocons.

  20. Incidentally, Moynihan, what do you want the EU to do? What options do they have that aren’t “toothless?”

    How about this option: the EU will announce it will draft armchair warriors of any nationality to go to war to defend the Georgian borders Stalin drew, and then they will draft you?

  21. there’s some show on IFC airing tonight that’s all about the Georgia/Russia conflict!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoAPBalvdGs

  22. The magic word that you utter when you steal something to make it right, isn’t it spelled “Yoink” “Zoink” is what Shaggy says

  23. Moynihan’s presence here does a lot to validate Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimando’s complaints about Reason as a bastion of thinly disguised neocons.

    I’ll assume that by “neo-con” you mean “one of those people who believe the US should be the world’s police dog”.

    In which case, both Right and Left have neo-con leanings. The Right generally wants to do police actions that they at least attempt (with varying degrees of success) to connect with a legit national interest. The Left generally wants to do police actions that involve absolutely no legit national interests.

    Either way, it’s really hard to argue that Reason has shown anything like a consistent neo-con bent.

  24. Cue Europe’s newly discovered admiration for America and affirmation of the trans-Atlantic alliance in 3, 2, 1 …

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