Sunday, August 17, 2008
CAUCASUS: THE POWDER KEG
AUGUST 2008 (IPS) - The Caucasus is today a major theatre of the Cold War II, which involves the long-term encirclement of Russia-India-China in order to control Eurasia through the eastward expansion of NATO and the westward expansion of AMPO, the U.S.-Japan security system, writes Johan Galtung, a professor of Peace Studies and founder of TRANSCEND, a peace and development network, and author of "50 Years: 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives," TRANSCEND University Press, 2008.
The United States is pressing for Georgian membership in NATO, thereby coming even closer to the Russian heartland. This idea was rejected at the latest NATO meeting this spring, but not in principle.
The Red Army functioned as the lid on the cauldron of the Soviet Union, and when it was removed, it boiled over. Georgia is the same. With the lid gone, Abkhasia and South Ossetia (and the Muslim Ajar) seceded. The most viable option may be a Caucasian Community, comprised of the four entities.
Peace in the Caucasus implies disinviting the big powers and engaging in integrative Caucasian policies. The present policies lead away from peace. A Georgian government trying to gain popular support by reclaiming "lost" territories, hoping for some kind of U.S. support, has already aggravated the situation -- possibly leading to a major confrontation. Some statesmanship, please.
/NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, CZECH REPUBLIC, IRELAND, POLAND, UNITED STATES, OR UNITED KINGDOM/ (END/2008)