China and Russia are poised to turn the eastern hemisphere into a battle ground. While Georgia and Taiwan are different in that Georgia is a sovereign country and Taiwan is not recognized as an independent state by the U.N. However do have one thing in common (besides being political backwaters most “cosmopolitan” or “progressive thinkers” do their best to ignore. Both countries sit next to superpowers (or would be superpowers).
Russia has seen a resurgence as of late. With oil revenue coming in, Russian leadership has seen fit start bullying the neighbors:
Russia’s Gas Strategy: Turning Up the Heat on Ukraine
By Peter Zeihan (excerpts below)
The Ukrainian Keystone
From the beginning, the natural gas spat has been about much more than a few (billion) dollars in annual energy sales. This squabble is over the orientation of Ukraine between West and East, and ultimately over the ability of Russia to regenerate its geopolitical fortunes.
Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution” was a seminal event in the Russian mind — a jarring development that ranks second only to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Russians view the Soviet collapse as the day they lost their empire, and they fear that history may mark the Orange Revolution as the day that Russia degraded past the point of no return.
Simply put, with Ukraine in its orbit, Russia maintains strategic coherence and a chance of eventually reattaining superpower status. Without Ukraine, Russia’s status as a regional power grows tenuous, and the issue of Russia’s outright disintegration leaves the realm of the ridiculous and enters the realm of the possible.
This is not about money; it is about control and survival.
Prior to the Jan. 1 shutoff, the Europeans had become complacent, unappreciative of the scope of their dependency upon Russia or how much they have taken a “friendly” Moscow for granted…
Okay, so Russia cut off natural gas to Europe over political problems. No shots, no aircraft flying over each others borders. The author states that the gas flowed during the coldest years of the Cold War. So this Georgia thing (despite the passive movie-of-the week coverage it is getting) is a BIG DEAL. As Russia expands to fill the (perceived) vacuum left by the U.S. While the west talks Russia is on the move. They may have been on the move for months, according to Brian Whitmore at Radio Free Europe. (H/t: In From The Cold.)
Taiwan has seen arms shipments, key to their defense, blocked. Politicians do not want to offend the Chinese.
These two countries are crazy ex’s out to make sure their girlfriends do not stray:
Armed Negotiations: It Ain’t Over ’til the Fat Russian Lady Sings Source: The Castle ARRgG h/t: Brad
Russia seeks to go back to the 1980’s:
Russia warns of response to US missile shield
Aug 20 01:42 PM US/Eastern
Poland Signs U.S. Missile Shield Deal
MOSCOW (AP) – Russia says its response to the further development of a U.S. missile shield in Poland will go beyond diplomacy.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the U.S. missile shield plans are clearly aimed at weakening Russia.
The U.S. says the missile defense system is aimed at protecting the U.S. and Europe from future attacks from states like Iran.
The United States and Poland signed a deal Wednesday to place a U.S. missile defense base just 115 miles from Russia’s westernmost fringe
However Israel is helping Georgia. 9source: wired.com)
The two countries have been doing military hardware deals for almost seven years, “following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businesspeople,” Ynetnews notes. “The fact that Georgia’s defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation.”
“His door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel,” the source said… “The deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the defense minister’s personal involvement.”
Former Israel internal security minister Roni Milo was one of the people who pushed those deals along. He “conducted business in Georgia for Elbit Systems,” according to Ynetnews. “And with his help Israel’s defense industries managed to sell to Georgia [drones], automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rockets.”
At least one presidential candidate is on the case.
Mr. McCain has called for expelling what he has called a “revanchist Russia” from meetings of the Group of 8, the organization of leading industrialized nations. He urged President Bush — in vain — to boycott the group’s meeting in St. Petersburg in 2006. And he has often mocked the president’s assertion that he got a sense of the soul of Vladimir V. Putin, who was then Russia’s president and is now its prime minister, by looking into his eyes. “I looked into his eyes,” Mr. McCain said, “and saw three letters: a K, a G and a B.”