Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Quiet Aggression

Russia has quietly expanded their territory at the expense of Georgia:

Late on 10 July, after a year of relative calm, Russian forces resumed their ‘border demarcation’ activities along the South Ossetian administrative boundary, installing large signs reading ‘State border of the Republic of South Ossetia’ about 1.5 kilometres deeper into Georgian territory than previously, just two kilometres from Georgia’s major East-West Highway.Not only did this land grab disrupt the lives of villagers, whose households ended up overnight inside Russian-controlled territory, a kilometre-long section of the BP-operated Baku-Supsa oil pipeline now lies outside of Tbilisi’s reach. With Western attention focused elsewhere, Georgia has again been left on its own to grapple with a major challenge.

More from that source here.

We need to arm and train the victims and potential victims of Russian aggression. If we don't help them while they are willing to resist, eventually they will lose hope that they can resist.

And then they won't.

Here are two portions of a report on Russia's military that summarize Moscow's military capabilities:

Both in terms of troops and weapons, Russian conventional forces dwarf those of its Eastern European and Central Asian neighbors (see Table 1), many of which are relatively weak ex-Soviet republics closely allied with Moscow. ...

Russia's vast nuclear arsenal remains on par with the United States and is the country's only residual great power feature, according to military analysts.

I'd add that Russia's special forces deserve mention. The near bloodless seizure of Crimea was impressive.

But between nukes and Spetsnaz, Russia is limited to beating on weak powers--which conveniently are what border Russia right now, giving Putin options for aggression.