The Council Has Spoken!

The Watcher’s Council has announced its picks for the most outstanding posts of the preceding week. The winner in the Council post category was The Razor’s post, “Russia—the New Cold War”, a sober take on the situation in the Caucasus with which I’m in substantial agreement. Second place honors went to Wolf Howling for “What Does Biden Offer to Obama?”.

The winning non-Council post was Michael Totten’s “The Truth About Russia in Georgia” which I honestly can’t say I agree with. A better title for this post might be “The Truth About the Georgian Government’s Position on Russia”. Second place honors went to Seraphic Secret’s “The Terrorist is Still Dead”.

The complete results are in the Council’s new digs found here.

3 comments… add one
  • AMac Link

    I’ve contributed quite a lot to Totten’s comment thread, focusing mainly on the narrow version of the question of “who started it?”

    In my opinion, the answer to the broadly-framed question is clear. The Russians had been ratcheting up anti-Georgian tensions for years, months, weeks, and days prior to August 7. He had been hoping that one of his provocations would goad Saakashvili and his young, rash, inexperienced team into taking an overt military step. Putin’s patience was rewarded in spades at 11:30pm on that evening, when Saakashvili ordered Georgian tanks northward from Gori to Tskhinvali.

    The Georgian contention is that their offensive was a response to Russian moves, particularly the transit of hundreds of armored vehicles of the 58th Army through the Roki Tunnel (the sole all-weather connection between Russian North Ossetia and Georgian South Ossetia).

    Thus, in my opinion, the timing of the start of the Russian transit of the tunnel is critical to the credibility of the Georgian narrative of events.

    The latest twist is the news that Der Spiegel is to publish a story on Monday, claiming that OSCE observers in the South Ossetia joint peacekeeping force have reported that the Georgian jumpoff from Gori to Tskhinvali preceded the Russian sortie through the tunnel.

    From a Serbian website (of unknown (to me) reliability):

    The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has accumulated evidence pointing to “numerous wrong decisions” made by Georgian leaders that led to a military crisis with Russia, Der Spiegel said on Saturday.

    In a report to be published in its Monday edition, OSCE military observers in the Caucasus described detailed planning by Georgia to move into South Ossetia which contributed to the crisis, the German magazine said.

    The report also backed up Russian claims that the Georgian offensive was already in full swing by the time Russian troops and armored vehicles entered the Roksky Tunnel, on the border with Russia and South Ossetia, to protect its peacekeepers and the civilian population [sic].

  • My own view on the “who started it?” debate is that the debate itself is largely beside the point. Russia will continue to be the Russia that it has been for the last several hundred years for the foreseeable future. Expecting it to be otherwise is highly unrealistic, heedless even.

    An armed confrontation between the nationalist government of Russia and the nationalist government of Georgia that came into power with Saakashvili was inevitable.

    My concern about Michael is the same as I had about his reports from Iraqi Kurdistan: I have the distinct feeling that he’s being rolled and he’s feeding the line he’s being fed right to the rest of us. I think that he either needs more background on the places he’s reporting on or less biased informants.

  • Ah I read that embarrassing piece of juvenile whanking. There you have it on all his Middle East “reporting” – Totten is gullible fool who does not know what he doesn’t know, and worse, has an uncritical tendency to pick sides, perceived underdogs, and then become the conduit.

    Of course he’s being rolled, the only question is, is he actively aware of that, or it he a pure dupe.

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