Archive for September 4th, 2008

The War in Georgia

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

On July 24, the Economist published an article that China and Russia had finally concluded the last of their border disputes. In particular, in order to conclude this treaty, Russia gave up it’s territorial claims with nothing in apparent return from the Chinese. It’s one of those small items that makes you wonder, “What was behind this? What if it really has global significance?”

I read the article with interest since Khabarovsk was one of the main cities for Vladivostok Computers, my entrepreneurial attempt to sell computers in the Russian Far East that succeeded for three years before dying out in a series of financial and political problems. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Khabarovsk.

It seems clear in retrospect that that Russia concluded these talks to ensure that China would have no reason to complain about Russia’s treatement of Georgia in the upcoming two weeks.

While I am not generally a fan of Dick Cheney, his current mission in Georgia and Ukraine seems to strike the proper response to Russian adventurism. This adventure was pushed soley for domestic political approval of Putin’s non-democratic regime, much as China’s over-the-top Olympics was done to ensure continued approval of that population for their non-elected government.

With regard to Presidential politics, the Georgian War points up the differences in the candidates. Obama wanted all parties to stop, talk and work things out diplomatically in a European-style fashion, much as the EU did and the Wall Street Journal appropriately derided (see the article, “Stop! Or We’ll Say Stop Again!” here). McCain pushed for immediate, significant outreach to Ukraine and the Baltic States as the most appropriate response. Point for McCain, and a serious one at that.