In all the furor over Russia’s invasion/liberation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which President Bush labeled as “bullying” Georgia, I cannot help but wonder what citizens in a series of countries around the world think.
It is all just too ironic. There is little that is unique about our invasion and occupation of Iraq. The war there echoes a series of previous interventions of various sorts, ranging from support for right-wing dictators and multinational corporations, engineering coups d’etat, proxy wars, and direct intervention in a list of countries too long to name.
Russia’s response appears to protect its own citizens (whose status Russia guaranteed when the Soviet Union collapsed) and to send a message about the encroachment of NATO and the placement of an anti-missile system the Bush administration implausibly claims as a defense against Iran. It reaffirms, for those who did not really believe it, that Russia has regained military power.
While some say the Russian logic mirrors that of NATO intervention in Kosovo, I’m thinking more of Grenada, a tiny island in the Carribean, which the United States invaded, ostensibly to rescue students at an American University who were never under any real threat. As Lorne Gunter wrote in the Edmonton Journal, “Just as America’s invasion of Grenada in 1983 was a signal that the U.S. had shaken off its post-Vietnam lethargy, Russia’s invasion of its southern neighbour is likely a sign it is over its chaotic, criminal post-Soviet phase.”