“Its military has been disorganised”

What a great way to explain something. How very vague, how slightly terrifying, how specifically non-commital. Such were the words of Dmitry Medvedev (Guardian) describing the situation in Georgia, in which one tiny, flawed but fledgling democracy has been swiftly and severely thwacked by the biggest country in the world. Georgia’s military operations to quell separatist intent in two of its districts has been met with a ridiculously large-scale show of force from Russia, backing up the South Ossetians, resulting in death and misery all around. Happy days.

So cue lots of ‘how balanced is the media’ speculation, a lot of ‘you started it’ finger-pointing, a lot of posturing and comment. It’s always difficult to get a balanced view, especially on the internet. The Guardian article did point to one (translated) blog from a South Ossetian separatist, however, which is a tack that few seem to have been following, except perhaps the always varied and moderate views of the type of people that comment on online newspaper articles (really just half a step above the mind-boggling inanity of youtube commenters. The Times highlights what the more conspiracy-minded would see as the real issue, the supply of wealth and power via oil pipelines. The Indie profiles the disastrous reign of Georgia’s president Saakashvili, describing their own disbelief at his claims just 10 weeks ago that Russia’s next step could be to bomb Tbilisi.

So why am I, a nobody blogger whose last post was about Metallica, interested? I don’t know really. I find the whole concept of powers raising up and dying down bewildering, like it’s something completely out of my understanding – I guess it really is. I find it also indicative of the ghoulish fascinations of people at large, whether they’re the ones in power making these sweeping moves on ‘behalf’ of a large majority; or whether it’s me following with fascination the developments, and hardly noticing that the main story is really an increasing death toll, souls being ushered into the Who-knows-where. The gap, it seems, between the understanding of the ordinary folk and the chess-moves of those in power seems ever widening, particularly in Russia, where you have a frankly scary not-so-unseen hand behind the new president. I wonder what the people of Russia think about all this? Are they those appalled at Mother Russia’s overreaction and none-too-subtle opening gambits to a coup? Or are they those who pine for the good old days, when the great bear was no man’s fool, and when incurring Russian aggression meant you knew exactly what was coming to you? I wonder if when people look back at events like Hungary in 56, the Prague Spring, the insidious puppetry of East Germany or the stamping down in Chechnya, they have nostalgia or revulsion? I’m pretty certain there are people in this country who pine for Empire, who rue the day the crown gave away her dominion.

Quite why these grandiose thoughts afflict me now, I couldn’t tell, but there you go. I wish good luck to not the Georgians, the Ossetians, or the Russians, but anyone trying to stop these machinations of war.


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