Tuesday, May 31, 2005
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Among the things I never thought I'd see
It's very easy to get jaded if you study international relations -- the powerful tend to triumph over the less powerful with regularity, and small states are the playthings of bigger powers. So when thhe ordinary rules of world politics don't hold -- say, the first Lebanese elections free of "Syrian domination," it's worth savoring.
Which brings me to Alex Rodriguez's story in today's Chicago Tribune:
posted by Dan on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM
I would personally wait to see the agreement implemented before drawing any sweeping conclusions. If memory serves, Russia has also agreed to withdraw its troops from Moldova, and yet they remain.....posted by: SDP on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
One suspects that cost cutting had at least a little to do with the Russian withdrawal. In addition, three-thousand “troops” can quickly become three-thousand “hostages” depending on the tactical layout.
In many of the cases the U.S. troops stationed overseas, have their “rent” paid for by the host country. In this case the Russians would either have to fly/ship in supplies, or pay very high local rates (if the Georgians allowed that). Even as much money as the U.S. is willing to spend, we usually put our bases in “friendly” countries, which at least in theory are cooperative: of course we do have Guantonimo Bay.
Out goes one powerful neighbor and in comes another, more distant "neighbor". What's so surprising? Where's the triumph for the small state over the big state?
"The American military has been training and equipping the Georgian army since the spring of 2002.
Having trained three battalions of Georgian soldiers, US military instructors were due to leave in March.
Georgia's new president-elect has set the removal of Russian troops still based in the country as a major priority for his government.
On Saturday the US ambassador to Georgia said they had decided to continue training the Georgian army in a full-time programme.US 'security guarantee'
During the Soviet era, Krtsanisi military base outside Tbilisi was home to the Red Army.
Now it is US soldiers who are in charge and, according to the US Ambassador in Tbilisi Richard Miles, they are in Georgia to stay.
In 2002 the Bush administration set up an 18-month, $65m programme aimed at training and equipping Georgia's impoverished army."
Does the opening of the BTC pipeline have anything to do with the pullout of Russian troops? It might not, but the incident deserves further inquiry.
"In Georgia the obstacles were more complex than in Azerbaijan. Thus the "Rose Revolution" of late 2003, getting rid of Edward Shevardnadze to the benefit of young, photogenic, American-educated and American-aligned Mikhail Saakashvili. The small matter of defending BTC from attacks of alleged al-Qaeda-related Chechens holed up in the Georgian mountains remains. But at least protection at the end of BTC in Ceyhan in Turkey is guaranteed: it's not a coincidence that the pipeline ends right next door to the massive American airbase at Incirlik."
also of note are the stakeholders in the pipeline, none of which are Russian:
"To understand the scope and ambition of BTC, one must visit Villa Petrolea, the Baku headquarters of BP. The BTC's major shareholders are BP (30.1%) and the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR (25%), followed by Unocal (US, 8.9%), Statoil (Norway, 8.71%), Turkish Petroleum (6.53%), ENI (Italy, 5%), TotalFinaElf (France, 5%), Itochu (Japan, 3.4%), ConocoPhillips (US, 2.5%), Inpex (Japan, 2.5%) and Delta Hess (a joint venture of Saudi Delta Oil with American Amerada, 2.36%)."posted by: No von Mises on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
"Out goes one powerful neighbor and in comes another, more distant "neighbor". What's so surprising? Where's the triumph for the small state over the big state?"
posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
Also humbling to see former baseball stars reduced to scribbling for the Chicago Tribune. Type it, A-Rod, type!posted by: thibaud on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
No van Mises:
I agree that this is part of the fall-out from the opening of the BTC -- fall-out which is going to continue for a while ...
Mark Buehner (sorry I mis-spelled in other comment):
Are you sure those two kinds of marriage are mutually exclusive :-) ???
Kind of re-inforces my reluctance to use metaphors when it comes to politics.
A bit surprised you think the Lebanese elections mean very much -- all the structural problems in Lebanon still remain ...
Remember -- it's the society, NOT the election --
a point we seem to have FAILED to understand very well in Iraq ...posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
Its the difference between an arranged marriage and marrying for money.
Not a big difference if you still get abused.posted by: MGE on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
Also humbling to see former baseball stars reduced to scribbling for the Chicago Tribune. Type it, A-Rod, type!
I knew A-Rod was good, but who knew he had writing talent, too? I guess that's why he gets $18M.posted by: Independent George on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
elections impact societies.
See Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in Americaposted by: liberalhawk on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
"It's very easy to get jaded if you study international relations -- the powerful tend to triumph over the less powerful with regularity"
"and small states are the playthings of bigger powers"
Ignore the last part of (but maybe not) that is what has happened here. The powerful ALWAYS triumph over the less powerful, because power is expended locally not globally.posted by: Tim on 05.31.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
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