Sunday, 10 August 2008

What To Do About Georgia?

The end of the Cold War was supposed to herald a new era of peace for Europe. We found ourselves in a world where the Russian Federation was reliant on international aide to help its people pull themselves out of poverty and a large number of eastern European countries looked to western Europe as its chosen partners in a free and fair trading world.

Having relied on our aide to improve the lot of its people, Russia suddenly discovered just how rich in natural resources it is in a world where raw materials, particularly oil and gas, are very often better than hard currency. With this realisation it has reemerged as a world superpower.

Russia has rearmed its armed forces with the very best equipment money can buy and has vastly increased their numbers - back to cold war proportions. It has become aggressive in the way it deals with its neighbours, particularly those who look to the west for protection, making them pay a heavy economic price for commodities.

And now we find that Russia is prepared to attack, with lethal force, neighbouring countries who have internal regions who look to Russia as a historic ally when the rest of the country looks to the West as its future.

Georgia has made it clear they see their future as part of the European Union. Its internationally recognised boundaries include the region of South Ossetia, who are in dispute with this national policy as they see their historic link as being loyal to Russia. In recent years the South Ossetian regional administration and the Georgian government have conflicted over the future of their region, with South Ossetia seeking independence and closer ties with Russia.

The Georgian government believe South Ossetia is a sovereign part of Georgia and set about reestablishing their grip on power in their country by sending in Georgian armed forces to a part of their country - only to be faced by an invading Russian army determined to see South Ossetia given both independence.

And what is the international communities answer to an attack by Russia on a sovereign nation state? Quite simply we verbally condemn their action but appear unwilling, or unable, to do anything about it!

Tonight we find that Russia has blown up, and sunk, a Georgian missile ship and continues with air strike in Georgia far beyond the boundaries of South Ossetia. It appears Russia is determined to destroy Georgia and ensure its supremacy in the region is reestablished by demonstrating its ability to deliver overwhelming force to anyone prepared to frustrate its will.

So tonight it becomes clear the international community is impotent in the face of Russian military might and that Gordon Brown and his government are truly on holiday from everything, including any ability to demonstrate leadership on the international stage.

I believe the United Kingdom should send a Royal Navy task force to ensure Georgia is able to receive goods by sea and that we should offer our Royal Air Force to protect Georgian international airspace from incursions by Russian military planes. If the Russians engage with us they are engaging with a NATO signatory and we will embarrass the Bush administration into getting off their back sides in Beijing and helping the people of Georgia who gave him a hero's reception when he toured their country. President Bush promised the USA would preserve the integrity of Georgia and is failing its people every second he delays in stopping Russia's aggression.

Too many civilians have died as a result of Russia's aggression and this has to stop now. I say the UK should show a lead on the international stage and not wait for a bigger world power. Too much is at stake and too many peoples lives depend on us now!

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