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Bluff or Belligerence?
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Russia continues to up the ante in the Georgian affair:
"This is the essence of it," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the army general staff, told reporters at a briefing. He showed maps detailing the proposed Russian positions, one just outside the key city of Gori.

"The president ordered us to stop where we were," he said. "We are not pulling out and pulling back troops behind this administrative border into the territory of South Ossetia."
Now I don't know about you, but I don't see any equivocation or vagueness in the general's statement.

Additionally it has been learned that the Russians plan to man at least eight "checkpoints" within undisputed Georgian territory outside the pro-Russian enclave of South Ossetia.

That's something I figured would happen when I said the Russians would interpret to their advantage what constitutes the "buffer" area under the cease-fire agreement. And I also figured they would continually delay the withdrawal.

Gen. Nogovitsyn also had a few words to say about the then pending missile defense agreement between the US and Poland during an August 15th news conference:
"Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent," Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying.
And today, after the signing, Russia issued a statement composed of equally blunt language:
"It's clear to us, and the American leadership doesn't deny it, that the so-called missile shield in Europe will be widened and modernised. In that case Russia will be compelled to react - and not only by diplomatic protests," the statement said.

The United States is making "ever-clearer attempts to change the strategic balance of forces in its favour and hinder stability and predictability in world affairs."

The statement took particular exception to a U.S. agreement to deploy a battery of Patriot air-defence missiles in Poland from next year as part of the broader deal on missile defence.

"Such a battery can have nothing to do with parrying imaginary Iranian threats," the statement said.
Of course, not one of the missiles, including the Patriots, are offensive missiles. They're interceptors - defensive missiles. It is like Russia objecting to standard air defense missiles that it normally deploys as a standard and routine part of its national defense. Their purpose is no different.

As for their virtual occupation of Georgia and their apparent refusal to move (in contravention of the agreement they signed), this is a pure power play. Russia is going to push the situation in Georgia as hard as they can. First, it embarrasses the US and NATO. Secondly, it continues to teach border countries who the power in the region is.

However, all of this could also blow up (metaphorically speaking I hope) in Russia's face. In the final analysis, this bit of brinkmanship by Russia is a probe - let's see how far the US and NATO are willing to go when confronted by a power who doesn't mince words or actions (for home and border state consumption) and refuses to bend a knee to NATO or the US. Of course, all of this is happening in a place of their choosing and one which favors them, and that's part of the plan as well.

The further Russia gets into this act, however, the harder it will be for it to pull out of it without losing face and power/status among the very states it is trying to impress. Thats where this all gets very dicey.

So, we've had punch and counter-punch. Now Russia is again punching with its declaration today that it isn't leaving Georgia and essentially daring the West to do anything about it.

One has to ask, other than the obvious, why does Russia continue to up the ante (other than the fact they can)? Are they running a bluff to see how far the West will go. Or are we seeing a true act of belligerence which will eventually have to be confronted?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

This is very bad for the Russians, but you’ve got to let Russians be Russians. Occasionally.

Unfortunately, it’s also bad for Georgians.

"The powerful will do as they want; the weak will do as they must."

Long range, however, it looks as though Georgia will retain its core sovereignty (though not Abkhazia and S. Ossetia, or the immediate possibility for same, which is no great international tragedy or affliction upon the sovereign state system).

This standoff has a very pro forma staged chewiness to it.

And unless Putin pulls open the drapes and reveals a fully functioning Soviet bureaucracy in the process of reinstituting itself to its status quo ante, this ain’t no new Cold War.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
One has to ask, other than the obvious, why does Russia continue to up the ante (other than the fact they can)? Are they running a bluff to see how far the West will go. Or are we seeing a true act of belligerence which will eventually have to be confronted?
My answer to that question remains the same: they want to undermine, if not destroy, NATO. That is the alliance that threatens Russia, so that is the pressure point they will continue to attack. Their genius is in the tactics (going after Georgia before joining, before the Ukraine has been brought into the mix, and while the US and it’s military are still editorially disfavored). Their downfall is in the strategy (nobody, outside of San Francisco and possibly Seattle, wants to become a Russian satellite again).

The US may be on the militarily weak side, but we’re still a lot stronger than Russia. Whatsmore, a good deal of Europe is not going to stand idly by while Russia attempts to rebuild its empire. If America is too weak/distracted with Iraq and Afghanistan that we can’t muster sufficient forces to counter Russian moves, there are enough troops in Europe (equipped with American weapons, natch) that can do the job of staring down the Bear.

The real question is, what alliances are the Russians contemplating to counter European and American strength? Does anyone know what’s been transpiring between Moscow and Beijing lately? Not since Kubla Khan has the whole of Asia been united. I can’t help but wonder if the two semi-Communist nations don’t have something cooking.
Written By: MichaelW
they want to undermine, if not destroy, NATO.
Are the Russians really that ambitious?

Frankly, I almost wish they would destroy NATO, so sick am I of the Europeans.

But what the hell would it get the Russians?

Does anyone think that Russia is any shape to engage in "World Conquest"? My impression is that the Russians need drugs to get out of bed in the morning.

On the other hand, it would not be a bad thing if Russia regained an honest portion (forgetting for the moment that with the Russians there’s no such thing as an "honest portion") of their former superpower status. The Russians do vengeance very well (And Bernard Lewis explains it very well in a piece he did for the Wall Street Journal, which I’ll go find if anyone is interested), so if we could do the impossible and get them to be on-the-level (meaning straightforward) with us, they would make a good ally and be amply rewarded for it.

But, hey, maybe what this whole charade is really about. I’d go with "nothing is what it seems to be" for the moment.

Let’s see what the status (e.g., rubble) of certain nuclear facilities are six months from now.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Are the Russians really that ambitious?
I sure think so.
Frankly, I almost wish they would destroy NATO, so sick am I of the Europeans.
I’ve made that argument as well. Unfortunately, reality says that we’ll back Europe no matter what, which pretty much makes us their enabler.
But what the hell would it get the Russians?
Buffers. That’s what they’ve always wanted. That’s what they’ll continually strive to maintain.
On the other hand, it would not be a bad thing if Russia regained an honest portion (forgetting for the moment that with the Russians there’s no such thing as an "honest portion") of their former superpower status.
I sort of agree with that. When the two big dogs are squared off in the ring, it has a way of focusing everyone else’s attention. However, we really don’t want to get into another arms race. Russia really doesn’t want to, seeing as how it broke the camel’s back the last time, but just because we’d win doesn’t mean we want to go through the pain and expense. Some fights are better left for another day.
Written By: MichaelW
Maybe it’s time for Bush to go to Moscow for serious and substantive talks with the Russian government.

During the Democratic National Convention would be best.

Written By: filbert
Interesting how this bio of Gen. Nagovitsyn (from the Lenta. ru translated through Babelfish indicates he’s a pilot, who’s served the bulk of his career in the Far East; Khabarovsk and the Siberian Zone. In other words, he had almost no experience in the quagmires of Afghanistan and Chechnya; before his recent high postings. Which would tend to breed a considerable overestimation of Russian military capabilities, and its limitations:

Chairman of the military science committee of the General Staff of armed forces RF - deputy chief of the general staff Chairman of the military science committee of the General Staff of armed forces RF - deputy chief of general staff since July 2008. Are earlier - the deputy of [glavkoma] of Air Force (2002-2008), which commands of the 11th army VVS and PVO (Air Defense) (2000-2002), chief of staff - first deputy of the commander of the army VVS and PVO in Far East (1998-2000). Anatoliy Alekseyevich [Nogovitsyn] [9], [10] was born on April 29, 1952 in the mudflow Of [baryshevka] Of the [borodolikhinskogo] region of Semipalatinsk region of Kazakh SSR [16], [10]. In 1973 [Nogovitsyn] with the difference graduated from The [armavirskoe] high military air school of pilots, and 1980 [16] - the military command academy PVO of the name of Zhukov [13]. It served in Arkhangelsk in the 10th army PVO and in the Siberian military district [10] on the flying and command posts: it was pilot, craft commander, commander of air squadron, deputy of air squadron, squadron commander, deputy commander of regiment for flight training, regiment-commander, chief of the aviation of housing PVO, deputy commander of housing PVO) [7]. In 1994 [Nogovitsyn] finished the military academy of General Staff [VS], it was after which appointed as the commander of the corps of air defense. In 1995 it held the position of the first deputy of the commander of the 11th independent army PVO in Khabarovsk, in 1998, when were combined VVS and PVO, chief of staff - the first deputy of the commander of the army VVS and PVO in the Far East [16], [10]. In the fall of 2000 lieutenant general [Nogovitsyn] by President’s Decree RF was appointed as the commander of the 11th army VVS and PVO [16]. It communicated that its predecessor at this post Of [uruzmag] Of [ogoev] was discharged in the reserve after the official investigation of " on the facts of the crude violations in the financial-economic activity and of abuse of the official of [polozheniem]" (officially - on reaching of the age limit of a stay on the military service [17], [9]. Soon after the designation Of [nogovitsyna] commanding several combat aircraft Su-24[MR] of the composition of the 11th army (according to others data, Russian fighters Su-24 and Su-27 [15]) knew how to complete the demonstrative circling of the American aircraft carrier Of kitty Of hawk in Sea of Japan [9]. After the month the representatives [Petagona] officially recognized the fact of " conditional of [unichtozheniya]" the American aircraft carrier: it communicated that on October 12,17 and on November 9 the Russian aircraft approached Kitty Of hawk, after flying in all in several hundred meters from the conning tower. Became known and the fact that through several weeks after last circling onboard Kitty Of hawk the alien electronic communication, in which were contained the photographs of the deck of aircraft carrier, supplied with commentaries in the Russian language. Other details did not communicate [by 15]. In January 2002 General [Nogovitsyn] was assigned the deputy of the commander-in-chief of the Air Force RF [13]. Some media outlets then carried it to the number of candidates by the post of [glavkoma] [of 11], [14]. According to some data, the transfer Of [nogovitsina] became possible because of the assistance of Victor Ivanov, who was being herself in that period the assistant of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, of the chairman of the board of directors of the concern PVO of " Diamond -[Antey]". By indirect confirmation of this version of " [Kommersant]" was called that the fact that precisely General [Nogovitsyn] presented VVS in the board of directors of the concern [of 11]. Already after an increase In [nogovitsyna], in April 2002, the audition comission of the Ministry of Defense RF revealed serious lack in the 11th army VVS and PVO, in particular, it was noted that " fuel consumption in this army grew into more than 15 [raz]" , for which to General was declared the severe reprimand [12]. In 2003 To [nogovitsynu] was appropriated the title of colonel general [10], [9]. In July 2008 [Nogovitsin] was appointed as the chairman of the military science committee of the General Staff of armed forces RF - deputy chief of general staff [7] Nikolai Makarov [8]. In August the same year of that of afterward declared by President Dmitriy Medvedev the beginnings of the operation of " on the compulsion to the peace in the zone of the Georgian- South-Ossetian of [konflikta]" [4] (subsequently media outlets spoke about " coercion to [miru]" [5], [6], [3]) [Nogovitsyn] repeatedly came out in the press with the commentaries apropos of the actions of Russian army in the region [1], [2]. [Nogovitsyn] - candidate of military sciences [16], the deserved military pilot RF. It is rewarded with the Orders of the Red Star and " For the servicemen of [zaslugi]" , by medals. It was noted that in the years of service they mastered more than 10 aircraft types, on which it flew on the whole more than 2800 hours [10]. The materials used [1] the substitute of the chief of Russian general staff Anatoliy [Nogovitsyn] refuted information about the fact that the General Vladimir [Shamanov] was assigned to the post of the commander of the group of the Russian troops in Abkhaziya. - Echo of Moscow, 12.08.2008 [2] the Russian troops did not seize the city of Gori. -, 12.08.2008 [3] Natalia [Kostenko], Kir [Latukhina]. In Moscow on business, urgently. - Vedomosti, 11.08.2008. - ?148 (2170) [4] Dmitriy Medvedevs met with Minister of Defense Anatoliy [Serdyukov] and chief of the General Staff Of the [vooruzhennykh] forces Nikolai Makarov. - The President of Russia, 09.08.2008 [5] Dmitriy Medvedev: Russia accomplishes an operation on the coercion to the peace in South Osetia. - [IA] REGNUM, 09.08.2008 [6] Russian peacemakers approached the operation on the coercion of Georgian side to the peace. - Interfax, 09.08.2008 [7] cadre designations. - The Red Star, 04.07.2008. - 115 [8] Nikolai Makarov replaced Yuri [Baluevskiy] at the post of the head of general staff. - RIA of the news, 03.06.2008 [9] I in pilots went… - The radios of Russia, 20.01.2006 [10] [Nogovitsyn] Anatoliy Alekseyevich. - Kommersant, 20.09.2005. - ? 176 (3260) [11] Ivan Safronovs. By central board VVS on

Written By: narciso
URL: http://
There isn’t going to be another Cold War. This is all Realpolitik games and bluster — much of it coming from both sides:
Written By: Scott Erb

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