Tuesday, 12 August 2008

South Ossetia

I have a generally very low opinion of the Russian government, but I'm disconcerted to see that it appears to be in the right (and the Georgian government in the wrong) in the conflict over South Ossetia.

As far as I can tell from reading up quickly about the situation, South Ossetians are historically distinct from Georgians and have for years been operating unofficially as a separate country, with a large majority in favour of independence from Georgia.

Recently Georgia attempted to assert its claim to South Ossetia by military force: which was not only morally wrong (in my opinion) but also pretty stupid, given that many people in South Ossetia hold Russian passports, that Russia has previously shown interest in the place, and that Russia's army is many times bigger than Georgia's.

That Georgia is now suffering in the conflict seems entirely the fault of its own foolish government.

It's geographically unfortunate that South Ossetia takes a sizeable and inconvenient bite out of central Georgia: Georgia without South Ossetia is a rather odd shape. However, if the South Ossetians don't want to be part of Georgia, I don't see why they should be.

It seems hypocritical for the US government to complain about Russian aggression, when Russia can claim to be supporting the right to self-determination in South Ossetia just as most Western countries are doing in Kosovo.