Ben Sweeney’s Weblog

Got a Fulbright, living in Georgia for a year.

About My Last Post

My last post seemed a little melodramatic. I don’t think that there is an impending risk of war here, it is just something we talk about a lot. Many of my expat friends lived through the last conflict here, and it was an incredible emotional burden for them. It turns out that they were in very little danger, but at the time, they had no idea what was going on. My Georgian friends also went through incredible emotional stress, with some even fighting in this August conflict. As a result of this, it is something that people are constantly worry about and it is a common subject of conversation, where people can air their conspiracy theories, or even rational thought out ideas, based on incomplete information and the unstable situation here.

I do think there will be some kind of conflict with Russia at some point. I am not sure when, or how big it will be, but I don’t think the conflict is completely resolved. There are reports of instability in the regions, notably between Ossetians or Abkhaz against Russians. The Abkhaz ran away from Georgia because they wanted to protect their culture and independence, but now they are afraid that Russia will absorb them and erase their uniqueness. Furthermore, it seems to me that neither the Russian nor the Georgian government are totally rational, in a way that their goals are directly opposed to each other.

One theory about war is as follows. Right now in Russia there is incredible instability in the North Caucasus , similar to the conflicts in Chechnya, but across a wider geographical swath. (Besides this, there are big fears that Russia is going to have widespread civil unrest because of the economic crisis.) Anyways, this theory on war is that the situation in the North Caucasus will keep heating up (as it looks like it will), and eventually the Russian supply lines to Tskinvali and South Ossetia will get blocked. At this point, Georgia, Russia, or the Ossetians might do something stupid and the conflict could explode again.

As I mentioned in the previous post, there are plenty of other theories of when this is going to happen. We’ll see. As much as I talk about it, I am not taking it too too seriously, and am not losing any sleep.

Written by bensweeney

December 30, 2008 at 5:25 am

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