So a cease fire seems to be holding, at least for the moment, between the Russians and the Georgians. I wrote a little blurb about the conflict last Friday, mostly because I thought it kind of ironic that war was breaking out on the first day of the Olympics (which I'm still naive enough to still kind of consider a celebration of international peace and cooperation). Anyway, some joker over at CNN linked my blog as an opinion relating to their news coverage, and the next thing you know, I have a number of angry Russians criticizing my view of the conflict.
Well, the whole Russia/Georgia/South Ossetia thing still seems pretty complicated, but the comments on my blog post got me thinking about how the same world event can look very different to people who are getting different media coverage and analysis of the same series of events in different parts of the globe. To some degree, we're all just the proverbial ants reporting back on what an elephant looks like- each of us has a different viewpoint, and we're all just seeing bits or pieces of the whole (and different media outlets may have an agenda in deciding what to show or not show you).
Anyway, it also struck me that the people who were commenting on my blog, although argumentative (which is ok), all seemed to have an interest in reassuring people that their country was doing the right thing. Everyone wants to be seen as being on the defensive- Georgia wants to be seen as merely defending its homeland and Russia wants to be seen as defending South Ossetians. And the fact that everyone wants to be seen as being on the defensive- this is a good thing!! There was a time when powerful countries didn't really care about doing the "right thing" or about justifying their actions, and just steamrolled over smaller countries if they decided that they wanted to annex their territory. The ideal of growing a glorious empire ever larger was enough justification for powerful countries to do bad things once upon a time.
So I'm glad that we've reached a point where we seem to be somewhat on the same moral footing and where countries at least care how the rest of the world is going to perceive their actions (I mean, I know that countries are often still duplicitous, but at least they're bothering to try to cover up their bad acts). All of this is encouraging in terms of the ongoing development of a worldwide system of laws and morality which seeks global stability and peace as its ultimate goal.
Anyway, the Russians have stopped shooting. I think now it's time for the Georgians to give more serious thought to the independence of South Ossetia or else provide a compelling reason for not doing so. It appears that the majority of South Ossetia wants independence, so it's probable that armed separatists will continue to be a problem in the region. And if the Georgians are going to continue to engage in military operations against these separatists, then the Russians are probably going to insist upon maintaining a peacekeeping force in the region. In short, the South Ossetian independence issue could easily contribute to an ongoing, perpetual state of near war between these two countries, and I don't really think that's good for anyone (plus, we've already got the whole North/South Korea thing going).
I think that if the Russians could offer something to the Georgians that might help the Georgians to save face a little, that Georgia might just let South Ossetia have its independence (no, I'm not sure what- some kind of oil deal or some other lucrative contract for Georgia? I don't know. There's gotta be something)
Jeez, I'm really rambling. And I'm busy. Bad combination.