Sunday, October 19, 2008

Russia Is Peace-Loving, Has No Territorial Ambitions: and Georgia is America's Fault

It's a little like when the fellow who trampled his neighbor's peony patch, when he says, "I won't never do nuttin' like that again." He's either
  • Giving an honest assurance
  • Trying to deceive with a double negative
  • Or uttering an unsophisticated, bald-faced, lie

Russia Has No Territorial Ambitions: Good News, if True

The Russian deputy to Vladimir Putin, Sergei Ivanov, said that Russia has entirely peaceful intentions. Russia has no intention of re-conquering its Soviet-era territories.

And, he's sticking to the story that it's Georgia's fault that Russia invaded Georgia last August. I'll say this: blaming Georgia for Russia's invasion makes a little more sense than blaming President Bush. Although the 'Bush made Georgia make Russia invade Georgia so that McCain would get elected' idea that Putin proposed toward the end of August had the virtue of being one of the more entertaining conspiracy theories I've read.

The Times Online (UK) article quotes Mr. Ivanov:
  • " 'We are not aggressive,' Ivanov said in an interview. 'We have recognised the territorial integrity of all former Soviet republics. That was in 1991. Russia, of course, has no territorial ambitions regarding any former Soviet countries.
  • " 'We are not going to start a war or attack any country. Right now, in fact, Russia isn’t fighting any war at all. If you analyse how many wars the United States and Britain are fighting, it’s quite different.' "
That standard-issue swipe at the imperialistic, militaristic, Yankee aggressors - and their British stooges - aside, that's a very hopeful statement. As quoted, it's a fairly plain statement that Russia isn't planning on being forced to roll into Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, and other parts of the Soviet empire, and take over: for their own good, of course.

I suspect that the probably-unexpected fuss over Russia's invasion of Georgia may have made an impression in the Kremlin.

I rather hope so. Much as I sympathize with Russia's comparative lack of deep-harbor ports, I think that the age of military empire-building has passed.

There are, however, more tolerant views. Boston University's Professor Andrew J. Bacevich said that we should be understanding about Russia: all that Russian leaders want is a little empire to call their own. Professor B. has, incidentally, recently published a book, "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."

More Good Words from Russia: We Will Negotiate with Ukraine

Meanwhile, BBC News reports that the Russian fleet will move out of Ukraine's Sevastopol port facility in 2017: if the Ukrainian government asks them to. Sergei Ivanov said so.

And, reading the BBC article, I learn that Mr. Ivanov is holding on to some of the it's-America's-fault line. Apparently, the American government is to blame for arming Georgia. Russia told America not to, and see what happened.

And, Mr. Putin's Dog is Doing Fine

Meanwhile, the new Russian equivalent of the GPS system tracked the movements of Mr. Putin's black Labrador, Koni. The test, broadcast of Russian television, was a success.

That isn't related to Mr. Ivanov's assurances that Russia isn't building an empire, and that Georgia is America's fault, but it's one of the few news items I found this weekend, about Mr. Putin, Mr. Ivanov, and Russia, from American news sources.

I'm Not Reassured: But This is Good News

For now, I'm cautiously hopeful that Russia isn't planning to re-conquer its Soviet-era empire. I think it's quite possible that western Europe, and the United Nations, raising such a fuss over its invasion of Georgia may have made a difference in Russia's foreign policy.

Or, maybe Russia isn't anywhere near as subtle and sophisticated in dealing with little countries on its borders as its fans seem to imagine.

Some previous posts on this topic: In the news:

2 comments:

Henning(i) said...

You might enjoy this one, too, if you know some German or get a translation.

Greetings,
Henning

http://caucasus-pictures.blogspot.com/2008/08/ursache-und-wirkung-im-kaukasus.html

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Henning(i),

Thank you! I used a translator: and did enjoy that post.

I'm repeating that URL, as a link (http://caucasus-pictures.blogspot.com/2008/08/ursache-und-wirkung-im-kaukasus.html), since I agree that the determinedly tounge-in-cheek post is worth sharing.

A sample, from the Google text translator:

"...The impatience of the Kremlin that its peaceful policy was not sufficiently appreciated or is against the backdrop of domestic incidents to the Georgian border during the last 13 years only too understandable...."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

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