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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 15-Aug-2008
Questions from readers on the conflict in Georgia

Web Log - August, 2008

Questions from readers on the conflict in Georgia

Some technical issues about generational theory and the Caucasus.

"Strange but you start the recital with no mention of the Georgians striking first. Read the LA Times for the true historical record. They refer to it as a military blunder. One's dislike of Putins Russia (which I share) does not give us license to rewrite the historical record."

I make no attempt to give every detail of every battle. Also, at the time I wrote that article, there was no confirmation of any of Russia's claims. Even today, the Russian claims of Georgian "ethnic cleansing" have not been confirmed. However, for that particular article, the most relevant fact is that the Russians are ACCUSING the Georgians of "ethnic cleansing," and I did mention that, because that perception is highly relevant to the article.

"The truth will prevail as events unfold. The genocide, war crimes and violations of international law by Georgian troops during their surprise attack will resolved in a court of law. There are hundreds of civilian victims who are ready to testify."

Well, we'll have to see how the investigations proceed. But I'm not so sure that "the truth will prevail." As I'm always pointing out on this web site, certain perceptions will prevail, but they may or may not have anything to do with the truth.

"Had Georgia actually been part of the EU, I doubt the conflict with Russia would have got even close to breaking out."

This is an interesting point, but things are a lot more complicated than that.

Georgia has been lobbying to become a member of the European Union and/or NATO. It's widely believed that if Georgia had become a member, then Russia would never have invaded Georgia, since that would have forced a military response from Europe.

Therefore, goes the reasoning, let's admit Georgia to the EU or Nato, to prevent a future conflict.

The problem with that reasoning is that it would probably backfire. Depending on which side you favor, Georgian President Mikhael Saakashvili either "stands up to the Russians" or "purposely provokes the Russians." However, Saakashvili's actions are restrained because he's a small, lone country. But if he could count on the backing of EU or Nato, then he would be free to take far more provocative actions. Sooner or later, he would do something so provocative that the Russians would respond militarily anyway, and then there would be a much larger war.

Remember that World War I began because of interlocking treaties. Germany had no intention of going to war with France, but they were forced to do so because of a treaty with Austria. If Georgia were part of Nato, then a small war would spread to a big war very quickly.

"[With regard to a bigger war between Georgia and Russia] 5M vs. 116M: The Georgian-Russian war you refer to will be very brief. Probably on par with the war against the Chechens. But if it were expanded to include Ukrainian-Russian and Baltc-Russian, then it gets more interesting."

The relative populations and power of the combatants does not determine how long a war will last, or how savage and bloody it will be. What matters most is whether or not it turns into a generational Crisis war.

The 1960-70s American war with Vietnam was won by the North Vietnamese, who had a smaller population than America, because it was a Crisis war for the Vietnamese, but an Awakening era war for the Americans. The Americans crippled themselves politically, as often happens during an Awakening era war, while the Crisis era Vietnamese fought savagely and ruthlessly.

Russia's 1990s war with the Chechens (people of Chechnya) was not a Crisis war, because Chechnya was in a generational Unraveling era. Chechnya's last crisis war was Stalin's massive relocation of Chechens to Kazakhstan and Siberia, starting in 1944.

I don't want to go too deeply in the weeds here, because this is a highly technical subject within generational theory, but in simplest terms: Russia is a huge country, with many ethnic populations, and it's possible for such a large country to have separate generational timelines for the different populations. For the Russians and the Georgians, the last Crisis war was the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the subsequent series of civil wars in the 1920s. But for the Chechens, the last Crisis war was Stalin's savage relocation of the Chechens after WW II. So, in the 1990s, Chechnya was in a generational Unraveling era, and so the Chechen war didn't spiral into a crisis war. But a war today between Georgians and Russians is much more likely to do so, because both countries are deep into generational Crisis eras.

(For information about generational Awakening and Crisis eras, see "Basics of Generational Dynamics.")

"It looks like the world war will have a different line up than you have been proposing...."

I assume that you're referring to my previous statements that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, Russia will be allied with America and the West. That is still true, irrespective of any Georgian-Russian conflict, should it occur.

Russia's crisis wars have ALWAYS been with the Asians -- the Mongols, the Turks, the Muslims. One of the most interesting findings of generational theory is that Russia has had three major wars with Europeans, but they were all non-crisis wars. They were the Great Northern War, 1700-1720, when Sweden invaded Russia; the Napoleonic wars, when France invaded Russia in 1812; and World War II, when Germany invaded Russia. All three of those wars were non-crisis wars for the Russians, but occurred during major crisis wars for the Europeans (the War of the Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic Wars, and World War II, respectively). And Russia won all three of those wars in pretty much the same way: Let the invading enemy go deep into Russia, where the frigid Russian defeated the invaders.

Bringing this back to today, it's possible that Europe and America will support Georgia in a civil war against Russia, but when difficult choices have to be made in the Clash of Civilizations world war, Russia and the West will side with India and Japan against China and Pakistan. (15-Aug-2008) Permanent Link
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