Monday, August 11, 2008

Burning Thoughts

Among the words unheard during my time at the lake was "Ossetia." I doubt it was a hot word in most other areas, but in a small tourist town set against a bright red lighthouse and squabbling gulls, the chaos and destruction in Ossetia and Georgia simply didn't exist. People on the main drag yelled into their cells about shopping options while teens sulked in groups, a few good ol' boys in pick-ups blasted contemporary country dreck, and numerous hefty pedestrians slogged along, cramming ice cream and hot dogs into their mouths. That's the beauty of living inside an imperial war state that faces no risk of foreign invasion or occupation (our owners and their employees need no help in tightening domestic control): you can be as oblivious and clueless as your mind will allow. This is not only encouraged, it's practically mandatory for decent citizenship.

In olden times, conflicts like the one in the Caucasus region would be difficult to follow, given the slow, ancient means of information flow. But with the Web, reams of historical backdrop, military analysis, and geopolitical reporting are in immediate grasp, that is, should one desire to know what the fuck's going on. I've been reading various sources, but my main stop in moments like this remains Chris Floyd, who is all over the present madness. What a shock to discover that the "good guy," Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, is an ethnic-cleansing buddy of Bush, citing everything from the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Afghanistan (even though the latter incursion was aimed at crushing the precursors of those the US is currently bombing) to the Martian assault from "The War of the Worlds" in a frenzied effort to get direct Western military assistance to help stem the Russian attack. But it appears that such help is not forthcoming.

Why? As Chris points out, and as anyone who follows this kind of shit understands, the US has no stomach to directly engage a nuclear-armed military state like Russia. We prefer to assault those who cannot defend themselves, and even then, there can be problems, as the Iraqi insurgency and Afghan counter-attacks have shown. And if poor people in slums and the mountains can give the American military fits, imagine what the Russian armored machine would do.

While it's a good and sane thing that the US will not (at least so far) fight Saakashvili's war for him, the larger geopolitical battle goes on. NATO is looking to diminish if not eliminate Russia's influence in the region, of which Saakashvili is a piece, however reckless his recent actions; and then there's the endless war over energy resources, primarily oil, which is global. Of the two candidates for imperial manager, it's McCain who's making the craziest noises over all this. But don't dismiss Obama just yet. While the President-In-Waiting is not prone to immediate, loud hyperbole, he's a master adaptor, and is sliding toward McCain's position which, with his smooth touch, Obama can make his own. Just what we need -- and deserve.