17. 8. 2008 / Uwe Ladwig
The Georgian troops attacked, the Russian troops responded. What happened happened and it was to be expected. Each side interprets the events from their point of view. But it seems to be related to the fact that the lobbyists of the American Republicans need some kind of "threat", a "centre of evil" which allegedly endangers the world, so that the support for their presidential candidate amongst the American electorate would rise. It will be interesting to see how many opinion makers might swallow this strategy.
I know from the reactions of some readers of Britské listy that probably quite a large number of people in the Czech Republic think that every critic of neoliberal economists and American politicians is a communist, or at least is an agent, paid up by the "Soviets". This is why I would like to say that I have never been a communist, I am not paid by the communists and I am actually quite angry with the Russians, for historical reasons - it seems to me that they had far too quickly given up an interesting economic project of linking socialist policies with the principle of democracy in some kind of a "third way". (Yes, I do mean the 1968 Prague Spring; I am an economist and hence I would have been interested to see how the experiment went.) Yes, I am really quite biased against the Russians but I do not think that we have to blame them for all the evil in the world and think that the Americans, on the other hand, are always right.
This is what I have realised after reading various commentaries regarding the situation in the Caucases. I must admit that I am not surprised that the Americans are complaining that the Russians have sent their troops to Georgia. I am convinced that without American promises of support Mikheil Saakashvili would have never sent his troops to South Ossetia.
But George Bush and Condoleeza Rice are - eloquently - silent about this. Nor do they speak in this connection about the fact that they have sent American soldiers to Iraq on the basis of a lie. But what have the Russians done that the Americans have not been doing in Iraq? After all, Russian soldiers had been officially stationed in South Ossetia, on the basis of valid international agreements. Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin had at least theoretically a good reason to protect their own soldiers and the civilians of their own nationality, who live in that part of Georgia.
How should we deal with the USA on the basis of this comparison? How come that the Americans think that people should cooperate with them, since in their view cooperation with Russian is now no longer possible? What the Americans have been doing in Iraq is surely much worse and much more illegal than what the Russians have now done in Georgia.
And how is it possible that some journalists in the Czech Republic and in Germany participate in this hypocritical theatre and applaud Bush and Saakashvili? I am not at all surprised that the American Republicans are doing this. In their game, the only thing that matters is the forthcoming American presidential election. That is why American Republicans are not interested in justice in Georgia. They want to persuade the American voters that world peace has been threatened, not only in the Caucases, but globally. Yes, the Republicans need the "evil Russians" for their presidential campaign, and so the accusations raised against the Russians must be really serious. Interesting how many comnmentators have already swallowed this, hook, line and sinker.
It really looks as though the American Republicans want to destabilise the world for a single purpose: that their candidate would win the presidential election. But sometimes we can see that these professional strategists fail in their designs. Let us take note of Saakashvili's complaint that it is the West European states who must bear the blame for the Russians'intervention in South Ossetia.
For God's sake, Saakashvili, who has destroyed Cchinvali and been murdering civilians there is now complaining that the Russians have prevented him from fulfilling his criminal ambitions. After Saakashvili has raised this objection, those politicians who mistrust the Russians should stop supporting him. It was Saakashvili, who ordered that the civilian population in South Ossetia be murdered. Now he complains that he has been prevented from completing his dirty work. Don't you think that this should be enough for politicians and journalists in the USA and the EU, if they were not hypocrites, to arraign Saakashvili of war crimes?
(For many years, Uwe Ladwig was the economic chief executive of a global electronic firm in Europe. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.)