Russia and Georgia, has the Media already blown it?

UPDATE: Georgia is calling for a cease-fire. Russia refuses.

The conflict intensifies between Russia and Georgia, and our media is failing to educate us as to what’s going on. In a rush to cover this as a political football, parsing out every word Senators Obama and McCain are saying on the subject, we have lost the importance of this event in terms of human toll and geo-political implications. 

I consider myself someone that keeps up diligently with the news. I try to follow events around the world as mucha s possible and yet this conflict came out of nowhere to me, if you’re in the same boat take a look at this article from the UK’s Telegraph, they offer a great background piece on the conflict.

An Excerpt:

Since the opening of a major oil pipeline through Georgian territory in 2005, the struggle for influence between East and West has given rise to a new “Great Game”. America’s wish for a Georgian military base, Georgia’s ambition to join Nato and Russia’s fear of encirclement by former satellite republics that are now hostile, all complicate the region’s petty political problems further.

Reading just that paragraph gives this conflict some context and then perhaps we can better understand the statements of Senator Obama and Senator McCain.

Senator Obama released this short first statement:

“I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.”

Senator McCain released this:

 

The news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences of Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave. The government of Georgia has called for a ceasefire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course that it has chosen. 

“I repeat, the government of Georgia has called for a ceasefire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The United States should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council and to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course that it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to asses Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. Finally, the international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia.

The television media has done a particularly bad job summarizing this conflict and the potential responses to it. The Olympic Games, Senator Obama’s Vacation, and the weekend timing are making for a poor media response to this event and allowing for political hyperbole to dominate coverage. We’ll do our best to keep up with this subject. If you come across a good article, or if you have your own perspective please leave it in the comments section.

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Russia at War

thinkPop doesn’t fancy itself a news outlet. But I felt a need to at least post a link to the NY Times on the developing conflict between Georgia and Russia. If any of you have any insight into this conflict leave a comment below…