Russian and U.S.-backed Georgian forces have killed thousands of civilians as they battle for oil routes and political dominance in the republic of Georgia that was part of the southern region of the former Soviet Union. (Georgia broke away from Russia after 1991.) Fighting began on August 8 when Georgia launched an offensive to regain control of the South Ossetia region from pro-Russian separatists. Moscow responded by sending in troops and tanks and shelling cities.
“War started today,” Russian premier Putin boasted to George Bush at the Beijing Olympics (Bloomberg, 8/08/08). Bush, leader of “the world’s sole superpower,” could only mutter feebly about “supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity.” A day later, 4,000 Russian troops landed in Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian province. Russia’s Black Sea fleet steamed to the Georgian coast threatening a blockade.
RUSSIA COULD GRAB MAJOR U.S. PIPELINE
Putin’s moves in Georgia endanger the centerpiece of U.S. rulers’ efforts to counter Russia’s expanding energy-based imperialism. The new U.S.- and British-financed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, one of the world’s largest, runs through Georgia, skirting South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Opened in 2006, operated by British Petroleum, and owned partly by Chevron, it carries more than one million barrels of Caspian crude per day to Western Europe and the U.S. through the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterrean (see map).
Strategists in the Clinton administration chose the BTC route in order to bypass Russia and Iran. Its Ceyhan terminus sits conveniently close to the U.S. Air Force’s vast base at Incirlik, Turkey. But the U.S. has nevertheless proven supremely incapable of protecting its BTC lifeline. Russian troops reportedly fired on it in Georgia. And Kurdish rebels in Turkey had shut it down temporarily a week before by setting it on fire.
GEORGIA’S EMBATTLED PRESIDENT TOOL OF LIBERAL U.S. BOSSES
The fighting in Georgia is one for control of the world’s energy resources. U.S. rulers’ struggle to control Georgia is aimed at preventing their Russian rivals from replacing the U.S. as the world’s main energy controller. But oil and gas are only part — though a very big part — of an even larger conflict between U.S. and Russian rulers over political and military control of the former Soviet nations now outside Russia.
Expanding NATO throughout the former Soviet bloc and installing a shield of nuclear missiles there, aimed at Russia as well as at Iran, are vital U.S. goals. But ever since they boosted the anti-Soviet “Solidarity” movement in Poland in the 1980s, U.S. rulers, lacking a military home field advantage, have focused on buying elections in the region.
Billionaire swindler and Rockefeller ally George Soros has led the charge, bankrolling anti-Russian, pro-U.S. “color revolutions” in the old Soviet sphere. Its aim was to oust pro-Russian governments in Georgia (its banner was Rose) and in the Ukraine (Orange). Soros helped engineer Mikhail Saakashvili’s 2003 defeat of Georgian president and ex-Soviet Politburo member Eduard Shevardnadze. “It’s generally accepted public opinion here that Mr. Soros is the person who planned Shevardnadze’s overthrow,” the Toronto Globe and Mail said at the time (11/26/03). The Kremlin responded to these U.S. “victories” by curtailing gas supplies to Ukraine and Georgia, which hastened the present crisis.
The U.S. liberal establishment molded Saakashvili. He graduated from Columbia Law School and practiced at the prestigious Wall Street firm Patterson Belknap, which counts the Rockefeller Foundation as a top client. Soros personally presented Saakashvili with his Open Society Award. Consequently, Georgia under Saakashvili proved a staunch U.S. ally, until the Russian onslaught. Georgia just recalled 1,000 troops it had aiding the U.S. in Iraq back to its new home fronts.
NEXT PRESIDENT WILL HAVE TO RESTORE DRAFT
U.S. rulers understand that two-bit proxies like Georgia can’t ultimately prevail in global conflicts with rising powers like Russia (or China). And with the shortcomings of their present “volunteer” military — who enlisted mostly because of economic hardship — U.S. rulers won’t be able to intervene to protect their interests. Therefore, they will need a draft, which will likely begin in the form of a “National Service,” part of which will lead especially working-class youth into the military.
A May 5 report issued jointly by the liberal Brookings Institution and the Army War College concluded that the “impact of fighting long wars using an all-volunteer force needs to be looked at more closely.” Both Obama and McCain will restore a “National Service” draft because, if they don’t, they will be as powerless against emerging imperialist rivals as is Bush.
Desperate for wider wars, U.S. rulers bombard the youth they will soon draft with dead-end, pro-capitalist patriotism. Russian bosses use Nazi-like nationalism, while Georgian misleaders count on meaningless racism and“ethnicity.” It’s all a trap. The only way out of the profit system’s endless wars is a mass communist-led revolution of the working class. This is Progressive Labor Party’s goal.