How prepared are we???

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How prepared are we???

(I know I have brought this up before but....)
What are we going to do when one day, we officially run out of oil and gas?
Are we prepared (as a society) to handle the economic meltdown.
What are your thoughts, if any?

Peak Oil

Petrostrategies

With the amount of money that we are spending to continuley produce ICE's it should be turned around to produce
EV's.

keyboardguy1
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Re: How prepared are we???

Personally, I don't really think that I want to be around when that happens. For years now, we've had a political machine in power that has encouraged the "I have the God-given right to waste as much energy as I choose to" way of thinking. Talking ecology is now regarded in many circles as a "you telling me what I can or cannot do" issue. I do see some hope on the horizon, though.

New technology always leads the way. New battery technology that extends distances before charge and makes charging itself quick and painless, will, in my opinion, spell the beginning of the death knell of the internal combustion engine. Soon, in my lifetime, many different kinds of vehicles will become the "average Joe's" Tesla roadster at a much more affordable price. Once that begins to happen, the corporate conglomerate types will want a piece of the action via mass production, and real competition will drive the costs down even further. hope to live to see this happen, and I believe I will.

On another ecological front, there is a new solar photo-voltaic technology that is going to reduce the cost of solar electric power immensely in the next few. There is a patented technology that allows panels to be created like newsprint--printed on a roll and achieving higher energy rates per square foot. This is going to drive down the cost dramatically if we can just get people to stop being so stupid and believe in it. Right now, if I could install a 8KW system on my house here in Fort Lauderdale, my electric bill would be less than ZERO; in fact, allowing me to sell excess back to the grid. Right now, such a system would cost me about 35K even after a 20K state rebate and a 2K federal one. If that comes down to 10K it would be a done deal for me and lots of other people.

So, I guess part of me would be frightened if I knew I would be around long enough to see all the mayhem (I'm 57).
But, the real nature of things makes necessary something dramatic to change people. I'm hoping that advancing technology wins out before the oil runs out.

racermike39
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Re: How prepared are we???

"Personally, I don't really think that I want to be around when that happens"

Ever watch the movie Road Warrior? Watch it again, then follow it up with T2.

The best thing anyone can do is every day try and reduce your dependancy on energy sources that are traded as a comodity, and controlled by industry giants.

If you no longer need or have what everyone else is fighting over, then no worries right?

Then use your set up to help teach others how to wean themselves. Equipping yourself with experience and knowledge will put you in a position to set an example and educate others. What has gotten us into this predicament has been greed and the hunger for wealth and power. The only way to undermine and change that philosophy and way of life is to share what we learn.

So how prepared are we? "WE" defined as the USA, are NOT prepared at all. Very few actually are. I suspect if the "valve" was turned off tomorrow, most would be preparing with guns and ammo, and fighting over what little remains in storage tanks.

If the valve were turned off tomorrow, It would take me a few months to get myself off the grid, and charging my EV's, storage batteries etc. This must be in place when such an event happens, because the the cost of electricity will sky rocket. "Off the grid living" would have to be in place to maintain anything close to the life style we now have.

Mike.

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reikiman
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Re: How prepared are we???

Personally, I don't really think that I want to be around when that happens. ... So, I guess part of me would be frightened if I knew I would be around long enough to see all the mayhem (I'm 57).
But, the real nature of things makes necessary something dramatic to change people. I'm hoping that advancing technology wins out before the oil runs out.

I think you understand the problem.. there's a looming disaster and our society is facing a choice of which way to go through the disaster. There's the Mad Max scenario or there's other scenarios such as better technology will save the day. Starhawk's book _The Fifth Sacred Thing_ goes over a variant of the Mad Max scenario, FWIW.

I don't think you get to choose whether you live through it or not. The time of its occurrence is largely chosen by technical things like the quantity of oil etc. But the choices we and our society make are a large part. Inaction is one choice to let the status quo continue.. or more positive choices can be made.

They say that Einstein said about Nuclear weapons that the quality of thinking which created the problem (of nuclear weapons) is not sufficient to solve the problem (of nuclear weapons).

In hindsight I think perhaps the nuclear control regime was a partial transcendence of the thinking Einstein mentioned.. but GW Bush with his policies towards nuclear weapons are a reversion to the old way of thinking. Likewise it seems in the 1975-1982 period (in the U.S.) there was more consciousness towards the oil supply issues, but after prices returned to "normal" the pressure was off and people were able to go back to sleep -- on this issue.

During my Prague trip (I normally don't watch TV) I had the BBC and CNN World News reports on a lot and was shocked at the level of denial about oil issues. Both networks had many stories about the shockingly high gas prices (uh.. the leading stories were of course earthquake and cyclone disasters) and how those prices were damaging the economy or some such. In one show the announcer in a very steady voice decried how we all ignored the problem for 30+ years and I thought.. hey, guy, where were you in those years. Why didn't you do your job and air some journalism on this problem?

Some of the oil peak people are saying the world is already past its oil peak, that the peak occurred in November 2005. They point to how the Saudi's have, since then, had falling production. Except I recently read an article comparing theories between whether the Saudi's have been reached their oil peak, or whether they are merely holding back production for market manipulation ... in any case, the oil peak scenario dictates that after the peak there is inevitably a falling in production. Since Nov 2005 the events have fit this scenario. And clearly if production is falling because of real reasons (not market manipulation) while demand is rising, Economics 101 theory says there will inevitably be a price increase just like the one we're seeing right now.

All that's a long way to saying ... perhaps... perhaps the time is now. Perhaps the crisis is at our feet right now and it is up to us to choose what to do?

Or maybe not.

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Re: How prepared are we???

keyboardguy1 wrote

Personally, I don't really think that I want to be around when that happens

See this is what I mean when I asked, how prepared are we??? (but I know what you mean...)
I personally believe that most of us out there are not prepared for when the dramatic changes will occur.
Actually if you "practice what you preach" ie; riding electric vehicles or taking other means of transportation.
Gradually society will get used to it. Folks out there already have been doing this for a long time.
I know I am prepared and then again I am not, I do use my car everyday because of a long commute between work and school.I'd like to invest in an EV that can get me both range distance of what I travel each day, but just don't have the $$$. I am supporting myself financially and a certain family member (my dad), and I get freaked out everytime the fuel prices rise. Regular is now $4.23 in the bay area. Soon i'll be paying $100 for a full tank of gas for one week.

For years now, we've had a political machine in power that has encouraged the "I have the God-given right to waste as much energy as I choose to" way of thinking. Talking ecology is now regarded in many circles as a "you telling me what I can or cannot do" issue. I do see some hope on the horizon, though.

Right, because we have created this problem and now at the last minute we scrambeling around to find out how we
can cope with our future loss.

Mik
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Re: How prepared are we???

Do you think what this guy writes is true?

Armada on the way to blockade Iran?

http://europebusines.blogspot.com/2008/08/massive-us-naval-armada-heads-for-iran.html

Mr. Mik

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boyelectric
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Re: How prepared are we???

Holy cow. I do not like where this is going.

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Re: How prepared are we???

Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) is going down - being attacked by US-backed Georgia; I've been receiving reports since this afternoon. But, once Russia gets settled in there, Georgia's gonna get spanked hard.

People/governments are pissed, all over the world. I wonder why.

And the US seems to be connected to every conflict.

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Re: How prepared are we???

On yahoo news, posted just 10 minutes ago:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/georgia_south_ossetia

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Russia to halt aircraft and missile attacks and withdraw combat forces from Georgian territory. Rice said in a statement the United States wants Russia to respect Georgian sovereignty and agree to international mediation.

Rice sure has some grande juevos... rancheros, no? If that's not a "do as I say, not as I do" statement, I don't know what would be! LMMFAOROTGDD!

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sparc5
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Re: How prepared are we???

Arctic Fox,

You're not seeing the bigger picture. Russia is picking this moment to attack because they know the the US doesn't have the man power anymore to stop them. With the US bogged down in two wars this was an opportunity too good to pass up.

Watch the other former soviet nations freak out in the coming days at Russia's indifference to world opinion and disregard of sovereignty. We still have yet to see Russia put boots on the ground in Georgia.

What can the Americans do? Russia has been publicaly cooperating with Iran on nuclear issues, not so much because they want to see a nuclear Iran, but more because they'd like to see the US get drawn into more conflict, plus it's payback for the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Iran doesn't want to get into a conflict with the US as much as they want a bargaining chip preventing another Suni government in Iraq. After a 10 year war Saddam started with Iran, I can't blame them. Should the US invade Iran, Russia can flood Iran with weapons, and the US will have no way to fight back at Russia.

Checkmate.

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Re: How prepared are we???

Dude. You made me double check my sources.

Russia is NOT attacking Georgia, but acting on protective defense. US-backed Georgia is staging an invasion into Russia-controlled South Ossetia in an attempt to capture "rogue" states in that area, hoping to gain more US control under NATO's shadow.

So once again the "US" is picking fights. And once again the US is going to be handed back their teeth in a bag.

That's like having Colorado declare it's a Communist state (within the US!), then launch an attack on Wyoming in hopes of absorbing that area as a larger piece of the Pinkos Movement. It's not going to happen. And in this case with Georgia versus Tskhinvali, like I said before; once Russia gets positioned, US support or not, Georgia's gonna get beat down.

Не бороться с Матерью России.

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Re: How prepared are we???

-in-the-USS-Back-in-the-USS-Back-in-the-USSR.jpg

AND, this just in...

"Georgia faces a humanitarian catastrophe," Georgian Interior Ministry official Shota Utiashvili said.

L!O!L! If you can't play with the big dogs, you should've stayed on your porch!

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Re: How prepared are we???

I know the president of the USA can only be re-elected once, but I wonder if there are any loopholes.....

A) Can Bush put elections on hold if he causes enough trouble to impose martial law or such a thing in the USA?

B) Can he claim that the first period in office was not the result of a valid election and that therefore he should stay on?

What other stunt could this cowboy try to pull off?

Mr. Mik

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reikiman
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Re: How prepared are we???

A) Can Bush put elections on hold if he causes enough trouble to impose martial law or such a thing in the USA?

Read: On delaying the national elections (2004) ... Pretty much what you suggested was floated as a possibility in 2004. There were several of the punditry wondering out loud in an ominous fashion, what would we have to do if there were a terrorist attack on election day? Would we have to cancel the election? etc..

If you're a proper student of the conspiracy theorists you'll have heard them suggest there doesn't have to be a real threat in order for the government to take action. This has happened before and it will no doubt happen again ... It's called a "False Flag" operation where you paint some ship or something with another country's flag, and make an attack using that thing, making it look like that other country did it, and then you can phony up a "we wuz attacked" scenario and fight under that pretense. This is essentially the argument of the 9/11 truth movement people, that those attacks were faked and we've been duped ever since. I don't really know if that's true but we have certainly been duped a lot by this administration ever since, and they have certainly leveraged that attack to the hilt to drive a very scary agenda, and the extent to which they've trampled our laws, laws they swore to defend, wouldn't make me very much surprised to see these people stage some kind of false terrorist attack so they can declare martial law and suspend the constitution etc ...

B) Can he claim that the first period in office was not the result of a valid election and that therefore he should stay on?

Heh..

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Re: How prepared are we???

So once again the "US" is picking fights. And once again the US is going to be handed back their teeth in a bag.

No way man. This is a result of the US not being there as a credible deterrent anymore. We were in Georgia arming and training their soldiers to contain Russia. The plan in Georgia was to build a oil pipeline under the Caspian sea, it's the only way to bypass Russia. Ossetia is blocking that path and they want in on the deal, but know they can't stop Tbilisi's brute force with America's backing. Russians have a long memory, they remember what happened in Afghanastan with the US support.

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Re: How prepared are we???

OMG! You're messing with me, right? Where are you getting your information from, Faux News?

Let's start over and take it slow.

1). Who do you think started this latest aggression?

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Re: How prepared are we???

Don't insult me. I only watch Fox News when I want to feel a false sense of wealth and virtue about our country after a news overload. Try listening to the podcast "Democracy Now" so often they bring you news and sources no one else will. Tell me what you think. It's depressing as all hell though. For my non-partisan news I subscribe to the free startfor.com intelligence reports. They had been predicting this exact conflict ages ago when Georgia was off the radar for most news agencies.

Russia would have not stepped into this conflict if Georgia was still being supported by the US. Yes, Georgian troops entered S. Ossetia. Yes, Georigans were trained and armed by Americans, a partnership I first became aware of five years ago when I was traveling down there. No, the US and NATO were in no position to intervene thus didn't! Russia's message to all the other former soviet block countries is, "Cooperate with the West, and there is a price to pay. Our military is back, and we'll use it, and use it more unless you elect someone we like as president."

It will be interesting to see what Poland and Czech republic do regarding missile defense talks with the US.

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Re: How prepared are we???

Georgia really "belongs" to Russia. Russia allows them to have their sense of Americanism as long as they don't interfere with the rest of the area - ie, start invading neighbors in the name of democracy/freedom. South Ossetia has decided they would prefer not to associate with western culture and are still considered to be Russian citizens (with Russian Passports) although their homes reside inside *still* US-backed Georgia.

Sissy-boy president of Georgia wants to flush out the Communists from "his country" thinking if his forces encounter any resistance, the US and allies will fully support him. This flushing out of Russian peoples turned into a bloodbath of genocide. Over 2000 dead and an entire city completely destroyed BEFORE Russian forces could get into position as protection for the area. Russian forces are now in position, have retaken what's left of the city of Tskhinvali, and are on active military bombing runs on key locations within Georgia as proper retaliation and Georgian submission. These key locations are areas that do/may pose threats; waterways, airports, government offices, etc. All usual places targets neutralized in any military conflicts.

Georgia military forces retreated to outlying areas which their president said was an act of good faith to stop "Russian aggression". This is NOT an act of good faith, but a regrouping/reorganizing since they got their butts handed to them on a plate. If Russian forces were to leave now, Georgian troops would try this BS again, just much more quietly next the time, probably mass killings in the night.

If your neighbor came into your yard, told you to go back where you came from, slapped your wife and kicked your dog... would you just stand there and ask him to stop? Or would you grab a baseball bat and chase him back to his house, waiting in his yard? I know what I would do, and I think Russian forces have the same idea. Russia does not play these stupid political games like the US does. Like a mosquito, you can't just wave it away, you're going to have to squash it. Russia is now squashing the mosquito.

Georgia troops: killed 1500-2000 civilians (at least fifteen military, one jet). They targeted anything and everything that moved, even took hostages.
Russian troops: killed 20 civilians, 300 military, 12 tanks, 1 bomber jet, and successfully bombed several key targets resulting in no casualties.
(these are the last numbers I've seen)

Even now, Georgian military is still bombing the city, mainly at night, from their "act of good faith" positions, and snipers are still taking out civilians and wounded!

Interesting:

"An unexploded cluster bomb of non-Russian design outlawed in 100 countries was found in one of the destroyed houses of Tskhinvali", reports the OSInform News Agency.

I wonder where that came from. Hmmm.... which country was the last one to use outlawed weapons in a conflict? Here's a hint: Beograd

I did see the video of the BBC news reporter whose vehicle was thought to be targeted (but not hit) by three Russian air-strike missiles. That would have been a real bad move for Russian forces - BUT, 1) this reporter was right on the front lines at the time, 2) the fighter pilot came in real low possibly for further identification (making sure the BBC convoy was not a military convoy), and 3) the missile strikes were way off - if the fighter pilot had intended to target the vehicles, he would not have missed. yet as usual, the US-backed news reports make this look like the Russians are the aggressors. Russia knows what it's doing and is in full control of the situation.

Also, US-backed Ukraine mentioned not letting the Russian Navy fleet back into its leased ports. LOL - I suppose UA forgot that Russia still supplies them heat in the winter. :)

This whole thing smells like Bush once again!

Sgt. Troy Barlow: Great! A ... tank! That should send us on our way.

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Re: How prepared are we???

Do you think what this guy writes is true?

Armada on the way to blockade Iran?

http://europebusines.blogspot.com/2008/08/massive-us-naval-armada-heads-for-iran.html

The guy at the quoted link claims that the conflict in Georgia is only a planned distraction, to keep Russia busy whilst an armada is heading for Iran...

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Re: How prepared are we???

Russia knows what's going on.

My thoughts on that is if the US attacks Iran, Russia will have a show of muscle flexing by moving troops and warships into the area in close proximity to the US fleet. China may do the same. Russia will not actively interfere with the confrontation, but will back China's moves 100%, should China decide to play into this chess game (doubt they will either as China's military is now primarily based on defense). Keep in mind; both China and Russia have eyes and ears all over the place , I'm sure from here to the moon. (WalMart security cameras?)

Russians insist that they have developed a plasma based system that allows them to stealth any aircraft and a recent incident where Russian fighters were able to appear unannounced over a US Navy carrier battle group tends to confirm their claims.

Go Nikola Tesla!!

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Re: How prepared are we???

{Rated: "Mature, Violence"}

Georgia military are the ones who look like thugs acting like they own the place. Russian military are the ones in proper fatigues. Later in the video, news reporters (the real thugs) with security escorts and one peacekeeper in standard UN blue ID vest with a video camera.

As you can see, Russian soldiers won't put up with mouthy BS from anyone and eventually take down and arrest the real aggressors. Reporters show up after the confrontation (hear one person yelling, "Friend, friend!"), but Georgia soldiers still cuffed on the ground. Looks bad toward Russian military if you were the reporters, showing up after the situation.

No shots fired.

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Re: How prepared are we???

There is one question I've been trying to find out, and getting nowhere. Why did Georgia pick now to invade those regions? It doesn't make any sense. They all know they can't fight Russia alone, it's suicide. Were they expecting NATO help? Were they provoked? I have some reports saying they were, but not exactly how. The Georgian president wrote a piece in the WSJ saying Russia was "effectively annexing another of our separatist territories."

Don't kid yourself arctic fox, Russia is the grand master at geopolitical chess. They all play the great game, spies, wars, revenge, interrogation, negotiations with terrorists. Russia has traditionally been less restrained by laws and political opposition then the US has, but with Guantanamo going strong, I must say "traditionally" instead of "is". Russia says they're doing this to protect their people, but everyone knows full well it's because they are fulfilling a longtime wish to control the Caspian sea oil route that bypasses Russia and goes to Turkey and serves Europe.

I looked at the futures market. There has been no upwards trend in betting on an Iran air strike.

I talked to my Russian friends, they're with artic fox saying it's an act of aggression by the Georgia desperately wanting to join NATO and the EU while Bush is still in office. They blamed Bush alone for all of this. I still fail to see where Bush did anything to provoke this. He was a protector of Georgia for years, but all for nothing. It's another negative consequence to the Iraq/Afghanastan wars.

I talked to my Lithuanian friend, she's as clueless as everyone else wondering about the spark which started this. She said there is an old saying, "Where there is Russia there is tanks."

I looked at the US embassy website, they're busing citizens out of Tbilisi to the Armenian capital. Nice place to live really. It's south ossetia in the news now, but remember north ossetia? That's where the Chechnyians entered a school and used the children as hostages. Nice part of the world.

Fox, I speak Russian, (remember I PM'ed you a month ago asking if you had any association with Russia?)
That video you posted- It's mostly not in Russian. The guys in the film saying something like "learn how to talk" and the Russian is like "how can i talk to you" and then some cursing the Russian guy pushes the Georgian and his friends stand up for him and then starts a fight. When they talk trying to settle a (serious) argument, there's the stupid double of some lady in the background babbling really fast in a language I don't understand. It mostly feels like both sides are hot headed morons.

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Re: How prepared are we???

Why did Georgia pick now to invade those regions? It doesn't make any sense. They all know they can't fight Russia alone, it's suicide. Were they expecting NATO help? Were they provoked? I have some reports saying they were, but not exactly how.

................................
................................

I still fail to see where Bush did anything to provoke this. He was a protector of Georgia for years, but all for nothing.

He might have made promises!

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Re: How prepared are we???

THE RUSSO-GEORGIAN WAR AND THE BALANCE OF POWER

By George Friedman

The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery. This, as we have argued, has opened a window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power. The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public. They did that Aug. 8.

Let's begin simply by reviewing the last few days.

On the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, forces of the Republic of Georgia drove across the border of South Ossetia, a secessionist region of Georgia that has functioned as an independent entity since the fall of the Soviet Union. The forces drove on to the capital, Tskhinvali, which is close to the border. Georgian forces got bogged down while trying to take the city. In spite of heavy fighting, they never fully secured the city, nor the rest of South Ossetia.

On the morning of Aug. 8, Russian forces entered South Ossetia, using armored and motorized infantry forces along with air power. South Ossetia was informally aligned with Russia, and Russia acted to prevent the region's absorption by Georgia. Given the speed with which the Russians responded -- within hours of the Georgian attack -- the Russians were expecting the Georgian attack and were themselves at their jumping-off points. The counterattack was carefully planned and competently executed, and over the next 48 hours, the Russians succeeded in defeating the main Georgian force and forcing a retreat. By Sunday, Aug. 10, the Russians had consolidated their position in South Ossetia.

On Monday, the Russians extended their offensive into Georgia proper, attacking on two axes. One was south from South Ossetia to the Georgian city of Gori. The other drive was from Abkhazia, another secessionist region of Georgia aligned with the Russians. This drive was designed to cut the road between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and its ports. By this point, the Russians had bombed the military airfields at Marneuli and Vaziani and appeared to have disabled radars at the international airport in Tbilisi. These moves brought Russian forces to within 40 miles of the Georgian capital, while making outside reinforcement and resupply of Georgian forces extremely difficult should anyone wish to undertake it.

The Mystery Behind the Georgian Invasion
In this simple chronicle, there is something quite mysterious: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? There had been a great deal of shelling by the South Ossetians of Georgian villages for the previous three nights, but while possibly more intense than usual, artillery exchanges were routine. The Georgians might not have fought well, but they committed fairly substantial forces that must have taken at the very least several days to deploy and supply. Georgia's move was deliberate.

The United States is Georgia's closest ally. It maintained about 130 military advisers in Georgia, along with civilian advisers, contractors involved in all aspects of the Georgian government and people doing business in Georgia. It is inconceivable that the Americans were unaware of Georgia's mobilization and intentions. It is also inconceivable that the Americans were unaware that the Russians had deployed substantial forces on the South Ossetian frontier. U.S. technical intelligence, from satellite imagery and signals intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, could not miss the fact that thousands of Russian troops were moving to forward positions. The Russians clearly knew the Georgians were ready to move. How could the United States not be aware of the Russians? Indeed, given the posture of Russian troops, how could intelligence analysts have missed the possibility that the Russians had laid a trap, hoping for a Georgian invasion to justify its own counterattack?

It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes. The Georgians rely on the United States, and they were in no position to defy it. This leaves two possibilities. The first is a massive breakdown in intelligence, in which the United States either was unaware of the existence of Russian forces, or knew of the Russian forces but -- along with the Georgians -- miscalculated Russia's intentions. The United States, along with other countries, has viewed Russia through the prism of the 1990s, when the Russian military was in shambles and the Russian government was paralyzed. The United States has not seen Russia make a decisive military move beyond its borders since the Afghan war of the 1970s-1980s. The Russians had systematically avoided such moves for years. The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.

If this was the case, then it points to the central reality of this situation: The Russians had changed dramatically, along with the balance of power in the region. They welcomed the opportunity to drive home the new reality, which was that they could invade Georgia and the United States and Europe could not respond. As for risk, they did not view the invasion as risky. Militarily, there was no counter. Economically, Russia is an energy exporter doing quite well -- indeed, the Europeans need Russian energy even more than the Russians need to sell it to them. Politically, as we shall see, the Americans needed the Russians more than the Russians needed the Americans. Moscow's calculus was that this was the moment to strike. The Russians had been building up to it for months, as we have discussed, and they struck.

The Western Encirclement of Russia
To understand Russian thinking, we need to look at two events. The first is the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. From the U.S. and European point of view, the Orange Revolution represented a triumph of democracy and Western influence. From the Russian point of view, as Moscow made clear, the Orange Revolution was a CIA-funded intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, designed to draw Ukraine into NATO and add to the encirclement of Russia. U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire.

That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO's expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic -- and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union.

The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia's national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion -- publicly stated -- was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia.

The second and lesser event was the decision by Europe and the United States to back Kosovo's separation from Serbia. The Russians were friendly with Serbia, but the deeper issue for Russia was this: The principle of Europe since World War II was that, to prevent conflict, national borders would not be changed. If that principle were violated in Kosovo, other border shifts -- including demands by various regions for independence from Russia -- might follow. The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia's requests were ignored.

From the Ukrainian experience, the Russians became convinced that the United States was engaged in a plan of strategic encirclement and strangulation of Russia. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia.

Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo. If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship. Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy. This was important for internal Russian political reasons, but the second motive was far more important.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster. This didn't mean that he wanted to retain the Soviet state; rather, it meant that the disintegration of the Soviet Union had created a situation in which Russian national security was threatened by Western interests. As an example, consider that during the Cold War, St. Petersburg was about 1,200 miles away from a NATO country. Today it is about 60 miles away from Estonia, a NATO member. The disintegration of the Soviet Union had left Russia surrounded by a group of countries hostile to Russian interests in various degrees and heavily influenced by the United States, Europe and, in some cases, China.

Resurrecting the Russian Sphere
Putin did not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do two things. First, he had to re-establish the credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in the context of its region. Second, he had to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meant nothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confront and defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S. support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under American protection. Georgia was the perfect choice.

By invading Georgia as Russia did (competently if not brilliantly), Putin re-established the credibility of the Russian army. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value. This lesson is not for American consumption. It is something that, from the Russian point of view, the Ukrainians, the Balts and the Central Asians need to digest. Indeed, it is a lesson Putin wants to transmit to Poland and the Czech Republic as well. The United States wants to place ballistic missile defense installations in those countries, and the Russians want them to understand that allowing this to happen increases their risk, not their security.

The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack. This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk.

The Russians also know something else that is of vital importance: For the United States, the Middle East is far more important than the Caucasus, and Iran is particularly important. The United States wants the Russians to participate in sanctions against Iran. Even more importantly, they do not want the Russians to sell weapons to Iran, particularly the highly effective S-300 air defense system. Georgia is a marginal issue to the United States; Iran is a central issue. The Russians are in a position to pose serious problems for the United States not only in Iran, but also with weapons sales to other countries, like Syria.

Therefore, the United States has a problem -- it either must reorient its strategy away from the Middle East and toward the Caucasus, or it has to seriously limit its response to Georgia to avoid a Russian counter in Iran. Even if the United States had an appetite for another war in Georgia at this time, it would have to calculate the Russian response in Iran -- and possibly in Afghanistan (even though Moscow's interests there are currently aligned with those of Washington).

In other words, the Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn't all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow. As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it.

The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia's public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened -- it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com.

Copyright 2008 Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

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ArcticFox
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Joined: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 14:08
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Re: How prepared are we???

100% BS from a biased US Republican reporter who is known to be against all Communism and is still living in the cold-war era.

I have never seen so many lies, hidden agendas, media manipulation and censorship for anything in my entire life as I've witness on this military conflict. If you're quick, you'll get the real story about what's going on before it's pulled. There is so much BS build up by western supporters that I almost can't begin to show examples because I really don't know where to start.

Here's one; Georgia claimed Russian troops had move tanks and troops into Gori and were taking over the city. At that same time, independent reporters inside the city said there were NO Russian military in the city, in fact there wasn't anyone - all the people evacuated the city the night before. US intelligence with satellites, spy planes, UAFs also reported the same - there was no military movement inside Gori.

These same reporters that were inside Gori also told of seeing images of bombed and burning buildings on the news that were supposedly caused by these Russians on the same day the city evacuated... and while the reporters were still in the city! Apparently the Russians have invisible tanks and new stealth bombs that can destroy buildings without making a sound and cause fires in home without smoke, because if this did happen, the reporters that where there saw and heard NOTHING!

Now the US and allies want to "punish Russia" for "invading Georgia". What another pile of excrement by Bush. 1) Russia didn't invade Georgia, it's the other way around, 2) you're going to punish Russia? LMMFAO! Russia doesn't care. This conflict doesn't concern the US. Bush has no credentials and never has any idea as to what's going on around him.

So I guess we're back to the cold war again? Pinko Commies gonna git ya!

Sheesh.

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