One of France’s most iconic cars, the Citroen 2CV, is celebrating its 60th birthday this October. The BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby in Paris has been looking at how this vehicle revolutionised the French motor industry.
French press back Georgia deal but see EU divided
Hackers fan conflict between Russia and Georgia The three biggest euro economies contracted between April and June, raising fears the eurozone is heading towards recession.
Georgia’s inter-ethnic wounds will take years to heal
How Russians view the world’s reaction to war in Georgia
Victorious Russian military losing propaganda war
Missile deal with US will strain Russia-Poland ties
While seeing or analysing the historic dynamics of the European integration-cum-enlargement, we fairly undersatnd the fact that the Europaen project having gained many of its proclaimed achievements, yet faces the gigantic challenge to make certain convergences between the domains of EU’s trannsnatioanlly dominated policies and the Peoples’ incorporated objectives. The future of Europe after its sixth enlagrement
Over the last few days, my post linking the Georgia / Russia dispute over South Ossetia into the politics of energy supply has received a sizable amount of traffic, largely thanks to the funky pipeline maps I dug out. As such, I thought I’d try and get some more detail and – thanks to the University of Texas’ superb online map resource, now I’ve found an ideal one. It dates from 2001, so is slightly out of date, but still – it gives a rather good idea of what’s at stake in the entire Caspian / Black Sea region – as well as showing just why Georgia’s so important. Click on the image below to have a look at the full-sized version (Warning – it’s 2.5 megs, so not good for dial-up…)
From the press conference held by Condoleezza Rice this afternoon on the South Ossetia situation:
“the way that Russia has brutally pushed this military operation well beyond the bounds of anything that might have related to South Ossetia calls into question Russia’s suitability for all kinds of activities that it has said that it wants to be a part of…
I’m going to France because we support very strongly the European presidency, which is France, in its mediation efforts. I think it’s best that those mediation efforts now be in the hands of the French. We’ll continue to support those…
Yes, OK. We get it. You guys have a big, powerful army and you aren’t afraid to use it.
That’s meant to discourage eastern European countries – all of whom have less then pleasant memories of armies from Russia invading, looting, raping, pillaging and occupying them for the last several centuries – from looking to NATO for help and signing up to the proposed US missile defence shield how, exactly?
Sure enough, Poland’s now signed up to the American scheme.
America Watches the War in Georgia with Dumb Goggles – by Mark Ames
Five days after Georgia invaded and seized the breakaway separatist region of South Ossetia, sparking a larger-scale Russian invasion to drive Georgian forces back and punish their leaders, Russia surprised its Western detractors by calling a halt to the country’s offensive. After all, the mainstream media, egged on by hawkish neocon pundits and their candidate John McCain, had everyone believing that Russia was hellbent on the full-scale annihilation and annexation of democratic Georgia.Up until now, this war was framed as a simple tale of Good Helpless Democratic Guy Georgia versus Bad Savage Fascist Guy Russia. In fact, it is far more complex than this, morally and historically. Then there are two concentric David and Goliath narratives here. The initial war pitted the Goliath Georgia-a nation of 4.4 million, with vastly superior numbers, equipment and training thanks to US and Israeli advisers-against David-Ossetia, with a population of between 50,000-70,000 and a local militia force that is barely battalion strength. Reports coming out of South Ossetia tell of Georgian rockets and artillery leveling every building in the capital city, Tskhinvali, and of Georgian troops lobbing grenades into bomb shelters and basements sheltering women and children.
Is the United States Poking the Bear? – by Keith Porter
"At my house, when one of the kids deliberately does something known to antagonize another family member, we say they are "poking the bear." Today, with U.S.-Russian relations at a state of high tension over the Georgia conflict, the United States might have just poked the bear. "An agreement to place American anti-missile interceptors in Poland was announced yesterday even though the Russian are strongly opposed to the deal. According to the BBC, "The US says the system will protect itself and Europe against long range missile attacks by ‘rogue
states’." On the other hand, "Moscow has said the project would upset the military balance in Europe and warned it would have no choice but to point its own missiles at the installations." So maybe the timing of this agreement announcement is coincidental. The deal with Poland has been in the works for some time. But it could also easily be a U.S. attempt to make sure the Russians know America still has friends in the region.
Note EU-Digest: It is amazing to see how the EU is "asleep at the wheel" letting themselves be taken into an extremely dangerous political situation as to their relationship with the Russians and Americans……………….
So, despite the apparent truce following Moscow’s insanely over-the-top response to Georgia’s silly South Ossetian venture, it sounds like Russia’s still “peacekeeping” in Georgian territory. This is otherwise known as “invading a sovereign nation just for the hell of it”.
Here’s a handy solution to all our problems: Georgia – stop playing the victim, you brought it on yourself; Russia – stop acting like a dick.
More bad news for Georgia on the war’s second front: Rebels from Abkhazia, the country’s other breakaway province, have entered Georgia proper and planted a flag in an attempt reclaim what they say is historically Abkhazian territory. The Abkhazians met no resistance and mocked the retreating Georgian troops, saying they had received "American training in running away."………….
As if Georgia didn’t have enough to deal with, yesterday the country’s cities and transportation routes completely disappeared from Google Maps. Reportedly wanting to keep its cyber territory conflict-neutral, Google removed all of Georgia’s details from its maps, making the war-torn nation look like a ghostly white blob flanked by Russia and Turkey. Georgia, though, isn’t the only country going blank on Google: neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan–who have their own ongoing terrorital dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region–are coming up empty too.
The economy of the Eurozone is shrinking: according to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), for the first time since the introduction of the euro the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 15 member countries sunk by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2008. Is Europe facing a recession?
The war in the Caucasus is over. Moscow ordered a stop to all fighting, and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has agreed to an EU peace plan after talks with EU Council President Nicolas Sarkozy. What should Europe do next?
In an interview, embattled Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says Russia intends to occupy Georgia and overthrow his government. And he claims Moscow’s real target is the United States, Europe and NATO.
Key quotes from the main players during the developing conflict between Russia and Georgia in the country’s breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Source: Institute for the Study of War
• Russia has announced a unilateral ceasefire because its operations have achieved their aims.
• Medvedev and Sarkozy have drafted a document that encapsulates all of Russia’s demands in return for a ceasefire—but not a final settlement, which must still be negotiated. Sarkozy is discussing that deal with Saakashvili right now.
Developments in Georgia over the last five days raise several questions. For which miscalculation were the Georgian troops who entered South Ossetia paying the price?
Pipeline politics threatens Georgia’s future
Putin’s invasion of Georgia is unforgiveable. But let’s face it: the West helped to provoke Moscow’s aggression.
This week polit.ru will largely be focusing on the war in the South Caucasus, which has already spread outside South Ossetia. Even events which are not directly connected with it will be inevitably seen through this prism.
There was no formal declaration of war in the South Caucasus. The situation just kept switching from cold to hot and back again, and the war started during one of the hottest moments. This was war in the simplest sense, that is to say systematic military operations directed towards achieving certain goals which are usually outside the military sphere. Those who confront one another in war do not always have all the features of statehood (for instance in civil war, wars of "national liberation", anti-terrorist or terrorist wars).
The Kremlin has laid down a challenge to the west, stamping its authority back on the Caucasus and showing that it is the dominant partner in the region
Cyberspace Barrage Preceded Russian Invasion of Georgia – by John Markoff
Weeks before physical bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace.Researchers at Shadowserver, a volunteer group that tracks malicious network activity, reported that the Web site of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been rendered inoperable for 24 hours by multiple D.D.O.S. attacks.
doctorfaustus writes "I first picked this up in bits and pieces last week off Daily Rotation. A more in-depth story is available at ZDNet, which reports ‘a week’s worth of speculations around Russian Internet forums have finally materialized into a coordinated cyber attack against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure. The attacks have already managed to compromise several government web sites, with continuing DDoS attacks against numerous other Georgian government sites, prompting the government to switch to hosting locations to the US, with Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs undertaking a desperate step in order to disseminate real-time information by moving to a Blogspot account.’
When a few years ago Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at NYU and one of the chief proponents of citizen journalism, tried to describe the fundamental shift in the balance of power between the media and the public caused by blogs and other forms of user-generated content, he famously spoke of "the people formerly known as the audience". "[They] are simply the public made realer, less fictional, more able, less predictable", he stated in a rather solemn tone.
The simmering conflict that erupted last Thursday when Georgia suddenly sent forces to retake South Ossetia will likely revive debate over whether to admit a country like Turkey into the European
Allow me to summarize the ongoing drama in the Caucasus. The conclusion is clear and obvious. Russia will remain influential for a long time to come.
If Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili sees the end of the war, it will be fairly difficult for him to lead Georgia as president. The Georgians should no longer have to pay for Saakashvili’s miscalculation.
The Georgian-Russian conflict, which began in South Ossetia, with a population of 70,000 — and the end of which will hopefully come soon — has the potential to disrupt all regional and even global balances.
The war that erupted when, on the morning of Aug. 8, the Georgian Army entered South Ossetia, which unilaterally declared independence, wages on. For this reason, the South Ossetia issue entails some treatment.
Richard Holbrooke and Ronald D. Asmus: Moscow’s behavior in Georgia poses a direct challenge to European and international order. Georgia deserves our solidarity and support. Only strong transatlantic cooperation can put an end to this conflict and begin to repair the immense damage done.
The tension between Georgia and Russia that has led to war is the second sign that the balance of power in the Caucasus, as well as around the world, will be modified through armed conflict. As you may recall, the first sign was the war between the US and Iraq.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s decision to send troops into the breakaway region of South Ossetia was a gift for Russia. Moscow had been provoking him to make such a move for months following the Bucharest NATO summit in April, when Georgia failed to receive a much-desired Membership Action Plan but were crucially promised membership eventually.
The South Caucasus Pipeline, which transports Azerbaijani natural gas through Georgia, has been closed temporarily due to the recent fighting
These words are being written when the Russian-Georgian war appeared to shift momentum from the escalation of 11 August 2008 to the announcement on 12 August of a halt to Russian military operations. It is too soon at the time of writing to say that this shift is genuine or definitive; nobody knows where things will stand even in a few hours’ time. The terms of the deal to end the war proposed by Moscow, and discussed between the Russian and French presidents (the latter representing also the European Union) on 12 August, suggest that this may only be the beginning of the end – if that.
The outcome of the conflict with Russia could severely weaken the president’s five-year domination of Georgian politics. If he is blamed for precipitating the crisis, people could turn against him
Moscow has been entirely proportionate in its military response to Georgia’s attack on Russian citizens, writes Sergei Lavrov
TBILISI, Georgia, Aug. 12 — On the first day of the war, as he spoke on television about his country’s attempt to retake a breakaway territory, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had a little smile on his face.
The Bush administration suggested yesterday that an apparent cease-fire in Georgia came about because Moscow feared it would be banished from Western-dominated international economic and political institutions if it did not stop its "aggression" in the former Soviet republic.
With Russia and Georgia apparently agreeing to a cease fire, a reporter looks back at the lingering images from the bloody conflict.
The operation initiated by Georgia in an effort to preserve its territorial integrity and maintain constitutional order took on another dimension with the involvement of Russia; there is now the danger that the war may spread all over the region. Meanwhile, Abkhazia attacked Georgian units stationed in the Kodor Valley, which Georgian forces have occupied since 2006. With South Ossetia’s official call for Russian help, the war to maintain constitutional order has turned into a South Ossetia-Abkhazia-Russia war against Georgia.
Over at the Atlantic Community, I’ve raised the question about the possible trans-Atlantic divide over the response to the Georgia/Russia conflict.
(Former German Foreign Minister Fischer’s piecein Die Zeit also illustrates some of the real divergences in perspectives.
Now that we have the news that French President Sarkozy, having met with Russian President Medvedev, has unveiled a plan for restoring peace to the Caucasus. It is not clear whether Washington will like provisions four–
Be tough or go easy?
EUROPEAN foreign ministers are meeting today to discuss the Russian-Georgian conflict. Analysts across the region are doubtful that they will reach an easy agreement on how to respond. This is a shame: the current crisis could arguably be Europe’s moment to pull together and speak with one voice, particularly given the holes punched in America’s credibility by recent events.
Michael Ledeen at The Corner:
What’s the difference between our invasion of a sovereign nation and continuing to occupy it for 6 years and the annexation of the Sudetenland? Including the paralysis of the so-called Western World in the face of deliberate, systematic military conquest.
When it comes to the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament it’s silly season all year round (not just in August). This time it’s news that 80m2 of the roof inside the plenary chamber of the Strasbourg building has fallen in – although no-one was inside at the time. Have a look at the video below, and there are news reports in German from nachrichten.at and Tagespiegel. Jan has more on his blog.
Brussels, Aug 13 (DPA) The problem with trying to understand European Union (EU) jargon is that half the time you need a political dictionary, and the other half you need a map.
On the northern side of the dual carriageway leading from Brussels towards Zaventem Airport there’s an enormous no-mans land. A billboard resplendent with an artist’s impression dotted with light, glass and smiling people announces this is to be the site of the new NATO Headquarters, due to be opening in 2012.
Survey shows optimism has plummeted this year as the global economic slowdown and rapid input price inflation has depressed the business outlook
BRUSSELS – The European Union’s core countries these days, besides the original six founders, are the 15 member states that make up the European Monetary Union. They have converging economies and coordinated monetary and fiscal policies. The big outsider is the United Kingdom. NEW YORK — Standing with Slobodan Milosevic 13 years ago on the veranda of a government hunting lodge outside Belgrade, I saw two men in the distance. They left their twin Mercedes and, in fading light, started toward us. I felt a jolt go through my body; they were unmistakable.
Some of our regular readers may have remembered that in a recent post, we mentioned that we were undertaking a digital audit of MEPs. The poor FH souls whose job it was audit all 785 MEPs will go down in history for their services to digital (thanks Jez, Ed, and Karen!).
Anyway we have looked at every MEP to see how they are doing on websites, blogs, facebook wikipedia and so forth. This post will look at the intrepid MEP bloggers. And here they are the key stats:
Calling in the Metric Martyrs
To understand what the conflict in Georgia has signaled for the future, we should return to earlier this year and read carefully into Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s statements in which he strongly objected to Kosovo’s independence.
Rwanda’s government has levelled grave accusations against France: according to an investigation by the Rwandan Justice Ministry, French soldiers actively participated in the genocide of 1994 in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed during confrontations between Tutsis and Hutus. At the time the French army had set up a protection zone in Rwanda under UN mandate.
I came across Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski at Bodrum Airport. We talked for a while. He said Kosovo, which recently declared its independence, serves as an example for Ossetians.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to military operations in Georgia on Tuesday after five days of fighting, saying Russia’s military objectives had been achieved.
Carla and Sarko meet the Asians
FASCINATION with Carla Bruni has jumped the Atlantic: France’s first lady graces the cover of September’s Vanity Fair, which features a lengthy article on her life pre- and post-marriage to Nicolas Sarkozy. The magasine notes that she has embraced her new role with a passion that eluded the former Mme Sarkozy. "I am looking for something useful to do," Ms Bruni tells the interviewer. "I get piles of information about what I could do for culture, for children, education, unhappy situations. But I need to study. I don’t want to make the wrong move, and I don’t want to go up against my husband."Perhaps she has found her calling. Now comes news that she will soon be playing a slightly delicate diplomatic role. On a day
|BRUSSELS — Anyone reflecting on the value, weight, and relevance of today’s European military forces for global affairs needs to keep two crucial questions in mind: Where do we want to go? What do we want to achieve?
BRUSSELS – Anyone reflecting on the value, weight, and relevance of today’s European military forces for global affairs needs to keep two crucial questions in mind: Where do we want to go? What do we want to achieve?
A poll by Opinion Research Corporation finds a strong majority of Americans support missile defense, as reported by Market Watch:
A national poll released today revealed that 87 percent of the American Public believes that the United States should have a missile defense system. The public survey showed that 58% of the American Public thinks that there is a real threat from missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction and that missile defense is the preferred option over pre-emptive military action or diplomatic efforts for dealing with the proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction by nation states.
In response to questions from the cafebabel.com network from Berlin to Istanbul, the president of the European commission on the Irish ‘no’ vote, future EU candidates and why ‘Europe is not Brussels’
The centre-right’s electoral victory in April was due to the 8% of votes won by the Northern League, which now counts four government ministers. The right-wing party criticise the Lisbon treaty and policies towards the Roma, which Brussels defines as discriminatory
The embers of the five-day war between Georgia and Russia of 8-12 August 2008 are not quite extinguished, but the ceasefire agreement skilfully negotiated by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and agreed with his counterparts Dmitri Medvedev (Russia) and Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgia) gives hope for an end to this intense, destructive and tragic conflict.