Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 12-Aug-2008
Russian invasion of Georgia continues, objective is not known

Web Log - August, 2008

Russian invasion of Georgia continues, objective is not known

I'm raising the "Conflict Risk Index" for the Caucasus from 2 (medium risk) to 3 (high risk).

This kind of thing was standard operating procedure for the Soviets after World War II.

World War II was particularly brutal for Soviets. Although it was a generational non-crisis war for Russia (the previous crisis war was the Bolshevik Revolution and the massive civil war of the 1920s), it was a particularly brutal war, as Hitler's Germans attempted to eradicate everyone in European Russia.

The "lessons learned" for the Soviets were to repress, quickly and brutally, any neighboring country that might pose a threat. As Ukraine and Georgia move towards joining the EU and Nato, some of Russia's worst nightmares are being realized.

Now Russia is evidently applying these "lessons learned" to Georgia.

The Caucasus <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: Der Spiegel)</font>
The Caucasus (Source: Der Spiegel)

The following has happened:

Late on Monday afternoon, President Bush made the following televised statement:

"I just met with my national security team to discuss the situation in Georgia.

I am deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori, and are threatening the Georgia's -- Georgia's capital of Tbilisi. There's evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city.

If these reports are accurate, these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia. And these actions would be inconsistent with assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before fighting began on August the 6th.

It now appears that an effort may be underway to depose Russia's* duly elected government. Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.

The Georgian government has accepted the elements of a peace agreement that the Russian government previously said it would be willing to accept: an immediate cease-fire, the withdrawal of forces from the zone of conflict, a return to the military status quo as of August 6th, and a commitment to refrain from using force. There are representatives of the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe currently in Moscow seeking Russia's agreement to this peace plan.

Russia's government must respect Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on, and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward resolving this conflict.

Russia's actions this week have raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. These actions have substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world. And these actions jeopardize Russians' relations -- Russia's relations with the United States and Europe. It is time for Russia to be true to its word and to act to end this crisis."

This is definitely a return to "Cold War rhetoric," strongly condemning the Russians. But no military threats are made.

However, he does threaten to damage Russia's standing in the world which, I'm sure, will leave Vladimir Putin quivering in his boots.

The Russian view

A Generational Dynamics analysis of a war cannot be complete without examining the war from both sides. Even when two sides fight in a war, it's often a completely different war to them. This is similar to a married couple arguing about sex, when he's really arguing about money and she's really arguing about his mother.

The Russian view of the conflicting is breathtaking, as you'll see from this video that presents the Russian view of the conflict, accusing the Georgians of committing ethnic cleansing:

I will only quote one portion of the 6:55 minute video.

At the 5 minute point in the video, they play a sound byte from Georgian President Mikhael Saakashvili:

"This has happened before. Russians have brought their tanks into Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, into Afghanistan in 1979. I have to remind you of this in Stalin's Russia."

And now, here's the incredible and amazing response from Russian military analyst Evgeny Khruschchev:

"Well, it's very interesting, if he thinks that Western citizens are totally oblivious or ignorant that Stalin himself was Georgian for God's sake. Why the hell he would have brought up the subject altogether. He was Georgian.

And it was Stalin and his KGB chief [Lavrenti] Beria, these two Georgians, who mutilated all nations of the USSR, including Russians, Georgians, and everybody else.

So I think that those who helped him [Saakashvili] to prepare this speech, his speechwriters, were really just trip over.

The second important point, about Afghanistan. Please, give me a BREAK! Myself as a Soviet Afghan war veteran, it was Brzezinski junior, it was his brilliant information campaign to draw Soviet Union into Afghanistan in Soviet times. And now, in effect, the current Georgian president, he reminds me, [it was that person] who managed to draw the Soviet Union into that conflict, which was totally an internal affair, and he converted the Afghan civil war into the biggest cold war battle, or proxy war between the Soviet Union and the USSR [he probably meant "the US"]. And I hope that those who run Saakashvili that they also remember that he got his law degree in the United States, and I hope he will not wind up as a ?? himself."

In other words, the Russians played no part in the Budapest and Prague invasions, because Stalin was a Georgian!

In fact, Khruschchev actually sees the current invasion of Georgia as getting even for Stalin's atrocities committed against the Russians!

And the Afghan war? Well, that's the fault of "Brzezinski junior," who conducted a disinformation campaign to suck the Soviets into the Afghan war. Who's Brzezinski junior? I'm honestly not sure, but I believe it has to be Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However, Brzezinski has children, and perhaps Khruschchev was referring to one of them.

So the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan wasn't the Russian's fault either! It was the Americans' fault!! Amazing!!

The danger in a crisis era

At the time of the Budapest and Prague invasions, America and Western Europe were in generational Recovery and Awakening eras. The countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Russia, had all had crisis wars in the 1920-1945 period, so they were in Awakening or Unraveling eras. In any case, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it was very unlikely that any of those invasions could have led to a wider war.

But that's not true today. All of these countries are now in a generational Crisis era. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Georgian President Mikhael Saakashvili are both young men, with little fear of the consequences of their actions. Thus, the danger of the current situation spiraling out of control into a larger war is much higher today than it was at the time of the previous invasions we discussed.

Conflict risk level for next 6-12 months as of: 6-Nov-2007
W. Europe 1 Arab Israeli 3
Russia Caucasus 2 Kashmir 3
China 2 North Korea 2
Financial 3 Bird flu 3
Key: 1=green 1=Low risk 2=yellow 2=Med 3=red 3=High 4=black 4=Active

The last time that I changed the Conflict Risk Graphic was last year in November. I raised the Kashmir risk level from 2 (medium risk) to 3 (high risk). I did this because the Pervez Musharraf government in Pakistan was becoming increasingly unstable, and the risk of all out war between Pakistan and India within six months had gotten considerably greater. The epicenter of such a war would be the disputed regions of Kashmir and Jammu.

(Incidentally, I don't have time to write a complete article about it, but the violence is Kashmir between Hindus and Sunni Muslims is still getting much, much worse, following the article that I wrote last week on the subject.)

It's now time to recognize that the Caucasus region is becoming similarly unstable, thanks to the events of the last week.

Quite honestly, when the 2004 Beslan school massacre occurred, I was surprised that it didn't lead to wider violence. Since it didn't, I kept the conflict risk level at 2 (medium risk).

Conflict risk level for next 6-12 months as of: 11-Aug-2008
W. Europe 1 Arab Israeli 3
Russia Caucasus 3 Kashmir 3
China 2 North Korea 2
Financial 3 Swine/Bird flu 3
Key: 1=green 1=Low risk 2=yellow 2=Med 3=red 3=High 4=black 4=Active

But that's now in the past. As long as Russia is crushing a small neighbor during a generational Crisis era, and another small neighbor, Ukraine, is similarly threatened, anything can happen.

I am therefore going to raise the "Conflict Risk Level" for the Caucasus from 2 (medium risk of war within 6 months) to 3 (high risk of war within six months). The new graphic is as shown on the right.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the Caucasus mountain region, which controls many valuable land routes connecting the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, has been the battlefield for many crisis wars between the Orthodox Christian and Muslim civilizations, and between different ethnic groups of the same or different religions for many centuries. A new genocidal crisis war in the Caucasus is coming with absolute certainty. (12-Aug-2008) Permanent Link
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