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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/7/12

Clinton Pledges Increased Military Assistance to Georgia for New Conflicts

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Russia was not long in reacting to Clinton's pronouncements.

The following day Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accused the U.S. of "fueling the revanchist aspirations of Tbilisi," demonstrating that Washington had "failed to learn lessons from the August, 2008 events in the Caucasus."

In regard to Clinton's announcement that the U.S. was stepping up training of the Georgian military, the U.S. Marines Corps has been training the country's armed forces since 2003. Two months ago 300 U.S. Marines were in Georgia to lead the two-week Agile Spirit 2012 military exercise. In July of 2008 1,000 U.S. Marines led the Immediate Response 2008 exercise in Georgia, which ended on July 31, a week before Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia. American troops and equipment remained in Georgia during the ensuing war with Russia and U.S. military aircraft flew 2,000 Georgian troops back from Iraq to join the hostilities.

In reference to the above, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement added:

"It was the active encouragement from the U.S. and other Western states, commitments about accepting Georgia into NATO and the massive supply of armaments from abroad that formed a sense of all-permissiveness and impunity for Mikheil Saakashvili, which pushed him to commit a criminal adventure in South Ossetia. At the time we had to bring the aggressor to his senses.

"There is a sense of deja vu today. High-ranking U.S. officials are again making loud statements about supporting Saakashvili, repeating verbatim false theses of his propaganda about "Russian occupation of Georgia'."

The day after Clinton's departure from Georgia, Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia Batu Kutelia said that the decision to expand military cooperation between the U.S. and his nation was reached at the one-on-one meeting of presidents Obama and Saakashvili in the Oval Office of the White House in January of this year.

Emphasizing that Pentagon experts and advisers were involved in what he listed, Kutelia said:

"The main objective is to modernize the armed forces up to modern standards so that they can cope with the challenges we face. Defenses on the principles of territorial defense will be developed with the help of the U.S. side. Clinton noted several components. First of all, air and sea control, which is one of the main challenges for us, the war with Russia in 2008 clearly demonstrated it. Modernization of the fleet of helicopters is also important, because it will increase the mobility of our armed forces and will be one of the most important elements in ensuring the principle of territorial defense. The preparation of our officers and the armed forces to the standards of the 21st century was also noted, and she mentioned this particular phrase."

On the same day Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze told journalists that "The U.S. will provide assistance to Georgia to improve [its] defense capability, which implies such areas as control of air space, development of helicopter flight capacity, development of engineering capabilities and training of Georgian units to conduct defensive operations."

The Georgian - and American - definition of defense has already been commented upon and is evidenced by the war against South Ossetia and the deployment of U.S. Marines Corps-trained Georgian troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

In recent months speculation has been rife, including a statement to the effect by former Georgian president Shevardnadze, that Washington intends to employ military assets in Georgia for an attack against Iran. Adding to the Saakashvili regime's arsenal and emboldening the reckless American client with carte blanche backing will threaten peace even beyond the Caucasus.  

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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