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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Emerson issues statements on hostilities in Georgia

Only hours ago, David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement on the continuing hostilities in Georgia:

“I am very concerned about the expansion of hostilities well beyond the region of South Ossetia. Rather than acting as a neutral peacekeeper, Russia has escalated the hostilities through its attacks on Georgian towns and cities outside the conflict zone. Canada calls on Russia to respect Georgia’s borders and to desist from any further encroachment on Georgia’s territorial integrity.”

In a statement on Friday, Emerson said:

“Canada is gravely concerned about the recent violence in South Ossetia, and we deplore the casualties that have resulted. We call for an immediate halt to the hostilities and strongly urge all parties involved to display restraint in words and deeds, and to respect national boundaries.”

What remains unclear to me is whether or not Canada is prepared to recognize South Ossetia as an autonomous republic after the region voted twice massively in favour of independence in September and November of 2006.

Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia does not "respect national boundaries," which Emerson calls for, and does not support the moral right of secession.

Ludwig von Mises, one of the founders of the free market Austrian school of economics, wrote in 1919 that "no people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want."

Is Georgia's unwillingness to let South Ossetia form its own "political association" dragging the world into another senseless and avoidable conflict?

Russia should stay out of Georgia, and Georgia should stay out of South Ossetia.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 10, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink


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As usual the west only hears what the media wants to report with whatever slant they wish to impose. Better we should do a little research to hear the other side such as Here http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/25329.html and Here http://tskhinval.ru/english/
Perhaps Canadian politicians should do likewise.

Posted by: Charles | 2008-08-11 1:52:21 AM

And check out this piece that I wrote.
Don't forget the chronology of events -- Georgia opened fire on what it considers to be its own citizens midnight Thur/Fri. Russians took a while to get there.
Lots of links.

Posted by: Armstrong | 2008-08-11 5:07:41 AM

This is unreal. Russia intervenes in Georgia's affairs over and over and over again, and Matt gets upset when Georgia says enough is enough?
Matt, would you have been so gung-ho for the Confederacy in 1861?
Why are the "libertarians" on this site so willing to condemn the actions of democratic nations (Georgia, the US) while trying to explain away or excuse the actions of dictators and terrorists?

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2008-08-11 5:08:01 AM

Oh, please Russia set this up long ago. Have its proxy in Ossetia push Georgia into action, so that Russia can invade Georgia. Cute.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-11 10:06:58 AM

D.J., I have no dog in this fight. I'm just trying to assess the situation objectively. Do I have my facts wrong?

The people of South Ossetia voted twice to separate and have been operating semi-autonomously since 2006. They have a legal and moral right to secede. Russia has provided welcomed support to the unrecognized republic. You can call this interference, but it was not an act of war against Georgia. Giving guns and passports to South Ossetia is not interfering with Georgia’s affairs because the region no longer considers itself to be part of Georgia.

Georgia has refused to recognize the region as autonomous and initiated the aggression to regain control. Russia intervened to help a new ally and will do doubt take advantage of the situation to flex some muscle and expands its territory. It’s a terrible and sad situation that will no doubt escalate and lead to the death of lots of innocent people.

Georgia has made great strides in increasing her economic freedom and attracting foreign investment. (I would prefer to live and invest in Georgia over Russian and South Ossetia, for what it’s worth.) But it was Georgia’s refusal to allow South Ossetia to secede that triggered this conflict. The people of South Ossetia have loyalties to Russia, which is not the type of political association I would choose, but it is still their democratically expressed choice.

Georgia has made a mistake and Russia is going to take bloody advantage of it.

As I wrote in my post, Georgia should stay out of South Ossetia and Russia should stay out of Georgia. I hope it's not too late for cool heads to prevail.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-11 10:15:22 AM

The world was safer and more stable before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Reagan was wrong. Look around for a moment, and see if you can find one thing to prove me wrong.

A great many people in this world are incapable of living in a democracy. They're just not rational. Russia is at least three generations away from understanding democracy, and there's no way that place will hang on that long. The middle east will NEVER achieve democracy. They don't even want it. They're too backward to make their own decisions.

We should not promote democracy in the world. It's been what kept us above the crowd for a couple of centuries. It's what kept us ahead of the rest of the world in technology, quality of life, and security. The developing countries are now serious competition for energy, and even food. Our generous aid has allowed them to become overpopulated, and wasteful.

Reagan was wrong, so was Bush. We've opened the door, and we'll never get it closed again.

Posted by: dp | 2008-08-11 10:43:16 AM

"Russia should stay out of Georgia, and Georgia should stay out of South Ossetia." - Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, time to love one another right now....

Matthew, this is where the school yard of nation states isn't compatible with libertopia. Despite Von Mises' praxiological wisdom and wishful thinking, they don't voluntarily cede lands and people. Liberation usually gets very messy. I don't know that much about this situation but I have trouble thinking Russia is morally equivalent to Georgia.

If the West doesn't put adequate pressure on Putin to cool it, his ambitions will be reinforced. I suspect that the humiliation of the breakup of his beloved USSR plays heavily in his motivations.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-08-11 10:51:09 AM

The world was safer and more stable before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Reagan was wrong. Look around for a moment, and see if you can find one thing to prove me wrong.

Posted by: dp | 11-Aug-08 10:43:16 AM

It wasn't more stable, it was just less pronounced where the proxy wars were fought for both sides.

On average I don't think the situation has changed one lick for the people caught between the two grind stones.

As I wrote yesterday: The West had the chance to bring Russia into the fold and prevent this kind of shit from happening again, but Friedman'nites and Western conquerors wanted the spoils of the cold war and prevented this from happening.

BTW, after the SU decided to dissolve, the then Soviet Ambassador is known to have said: "We just did the worst thing we could have ever done to you Americans: We took away your enemy."

He was right as the last 20 years have shown all too clearly.

Here's an interesting interview, the "juicy" parts, btw, start ~2:30 in:



South Ossettia was pretty much left to their own devices since the mid '90s, not since 2006, they had a second referendum back then but it didn't really change the status.

The commentary in the western media is almost funny (if it wouldn't be so sad), how many have supported the independence of Kosovo as they tried to break away from the "Russian Influence" but now that someone decides to NOT want to be part of the West we (the west) try our hardest to prevent this from happening.

Hypocricy at it's best. No wonder other parties don't trust us.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-08-11 11:55:40 AM

Mathew, your brain must hurt when you are a Libertarian. It's pretty simple. Russia had events come about so they could invade Georgia.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-11 1:24:43 PM

The U.S. just wants to divide the world into small pieces. Yugoslavia and USSR have alredy been shredded, next on the way are Russia and China. Faramir, what events are you talking about???

Posted by: firefang | 2008-08-11 1:43:17 PM

Faramir wrote: "Russia had events come about so they could invade Georgia."

Does that mean Georgia didn't initiate force against the autonomous region of South Ossetia, a region that voted twice to separate with very large popular support?

If Georgia was being baited by Russia -- and I have no reason to doubt you on this, Faramir -- then Georgia should have shown restraint in not taking the bait. Invading South Ossetia was wrong. Invading South Ossetia and drawing Russia into war was wrong and reckless.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-11 1:56:50 PM

Where do all your Russkie apologists come from. Traitors to your home nation Canada.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-11 2:42:05 PM

Come on, Faramir. I haven't read a single comment on this threat yet that supports Russia's attack on Georgia.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-11 3:01:32 PM

OK, Matt, so why are always so uptight about the ChiComs but just can't get all worked up over Russian human rights abuses?

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-11 4:14:31 PM

Faramir, I'm deeply concerned about human rights abuses in China and Russia. Why would you think otherwise?

When it comes to China, I happen to think the country is moving in the right direction, toward greater economic freedom and a greater respect for human rights. (They are moving faster on the former than on the latter.)

Russia, regrettably, seems to be moving in the wrong direction, towards an illiberal ultra-nationalist, state capitalist system.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-11 4:35:01 PM

Faramir, I'm deeply concerned about human rights abuses in China and Russia. Why would you think otherwise?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 11-Aug-08 4:35:01 PM

Just curious (I think with DJ's postings and Adam's the answer is sort of self evident, but I am curious anyway): How do you feel about the West comitting human rights abuses? Specifically the rendition flights, Gitmo etc.?

Is that something you are "deeply concerned" about as well? Or do you consider this the "price some have to pay for our freedoms"? And if the latter: When would it become a concern to you?

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-08-11 9:18:08 PM

Snowrunner -- I'm very concerned about human rights abuses in the West. In fact, I hold the West to a higher standard as it is the guardian of our (classical) liberal tradition.

I don't believe in military tribunals, torture, warrantless arrests and wiretaps, etc. It all violates the rule of law.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-12 1:20:13 AM

Matthew Johnston, you should read the history book for better understanding situation. Could you indicate the years when Ossetia and Abhazia were in Geogia for the last century for example? The right answer - never. There was no country "Georgia" before the death of Soviet Union. Abhazia and Ossetia were in Soviet Union, but of course for administrative porposes they were combined in one region and Georgia was the largest of them. After dearth of SU, georgia wants its independence, but Ossetia and Obhazia wished to be with Soviet Union. Gergia wanted this territories and began to force them with army but lost that war in 1992. From that time Abhazia and Ossetia are independent but they were not "recognized" by international community, I dont know why, just paper work obviously. So about what "territory integrity" US talking about. Geogia just want revenge for the lost war of 1992 and some NEW territories de facto, but legaly it is not so clear thats the problem...

Posted by: Pavel | 2008-08-12 5:19:09 AM

I'm very concerned about human rights abuses in the West. In fact, I hold the West to a higher standard as it is the guardian of our (classical) liberal tradition.

I don't believe in military tribunals, torture, warrantless arrests and wiretaps, etc. It all violates the rule of law.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 12-Aug-08 1:20:13 AM

That begs then two more questions:

1. Why is there not a peep on the Western Standard about this? Neither on this blog nor in the main site (as far as I can tell).

2. Why does it seem that peopel affiliated with the Western Standard (be it Shotgun or blog) seem to be more concerned with what happens in China and get free reign to advocate torture, oppression etc. without the owner / senior editor coming down on them?

The message that the Editorial policies (and yes, I have read your mission statement, but electrons are cheap) seem to scream is very simple: We good, everybody else bad.

Don't you think it would make for a better world if the West would not only claim to have the moral highground but actually occupy it? Why this obsession in the Western Standard with China and Russia and everything else to justify the Wests own absues but narely a word about the Wests own shortcomings?

Put your output where your mouth is, is all I can say here, until then all you do is talking the talk, but nothing else.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-08-12 8:40:40 AM

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