This is a republication of a post authored by Andrew Korybko, which was first published in Substack. It has been adapted with full permission obtained from the author.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of Russia’s five-day-long peace enforcement mission against Georgia that began on 8 August 2008 following former President Saakashvili’s decision to have his forces attack Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia during the middle of the night on the same day as the start of the Beijing Summer Olympics. Those two regions used to be autonomous parts of Georgia but were subsequently recognized as independent by Moscow after the end of the conflict that Washington provoked Tbilisi to initiate. Despite having happened almost a decade and a half ago, its lessons are still relevant in the present, especially in the context of the Ukrainian Conflict.

The first thing to learn is that both conflicts are part of the same American grand strategy of waging proxy wars against Russia in an attempt to contain it. Georgia was chosen as the first experiment in this respect because of its 2003 Color Revolution as well as its two previously mentioned hitherto unresolved territorial disputes that could be manipulated to indirectly harm Russian interests. While Ukraine also experienced a Color Revolution the year later in 2004-2005, it didn’t yet have any territorial disputes that could be exploited to that proxy war end. Furthermore, its large Russian minority population impeded the progress of the pro-US authorities’ pro-NATO/anti-Russian path.

Kremlin in the background of the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge. PHOTO CREDIT. Kremlin is the seat of Russian presidential power.

GONGO and Information Warfare

By contrast, Georgia didn’t have any prominent minorities who could play that moderating role after the country’s US-backed regime change. This meant that the South Caucasus state was able to become the first place where the US attempted to build a so-called “anti-Russia”. Washington leveraged its extensive network of government-organized NGOs (GONGOs) to accelerate the shift in popular perceptions away from regarding Russia as an historical partner and towards viewing it as an irreconcilable enemy. In connection with that, the false narrative was spun that Russia was “occupying” Georgian territory despite Tbilisi previously authorizing its peacekeeper deployments there.

A Russian amphibious infantry fighting vehicle in South Ossetia. PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia.

This information warfare campaign was designed to precondition the public for what ultimately turned out to be their US-backed authorities’ American-supported surprise attack against Russian peacekeepers on the eve of the Beijing Summer Olympics. The timing was chosen to put additional pressure on Moscow to unilaterally concede on its objective national interests in the conflict out of fear of breaking the so-called “Olympic truce” and thus generating negative publicity from the US-led Western Mainstream Media, but the rising Eurasian Great Power held its ground and proudly defended international law.

In full accordance with the right to self-defense, it responded by engaging Georgian forces and militarily coercing them into peace. This also served the purpose of defending the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia who were targeted by Tbilisi’s attacks and previously sought to separate from Stalin’s homeland after fearing that post-communist fascist forces were preparing to ethnically cleanse them after the USSR’s collapse. Georgia is much smaller than Ukraine and its forces didn’t have anywhere near as much time to prepare for the conflict like Kiev’s did, which explains why Russia’s August 2008 peace enforcement mission only lasted five days while its special operation in Ukraine is going on six months.

Proxy Warfare

About the most recent conflict, it’s now possible to see how it represents the continuation of the US’ grand strategic goal of containing Russia through proxy warfare along its periphery after having had one’s memory refreshed about the Georgian Conflict. Just like in that South Caucasus state, the US also overthrew the Ukrainian government, and not once, but twice, with the last coup occurring in February 2014 after the spree of urban terrorism popularly known as “EuroMaidan” overthrew its democratically elected and universally recognized leader. Kiev then spent the last eight years delaying the implementation of the Minsk Accords to prepare for war exactly as former President Poroshenko recently admitted.

Instead of waiting for Kiev to launch another full-scale offensive on Donbass that would cede the military momentum to it and thus force Russia to respond from a comparatively disadvantageous position, Moscow struck first in order to avert the coming conflict after first recognizing the independence of the Donbass Republics days prior. The US didn’t expect that to happen, though it nevertheless still prepared for that scenario, hence the information warfare campaign that preceded the onset of its special military operation warning about a so-called “Russian invasion”. That, however, was nothing more than gaslighting to reverse the roles of victim and villain in that conflict it provoked.

To explain, just like the US manipulated Georgian perceptions through its vast GONGO network after the 2003 Color Revolution there, so too did it do the same in Ukraine after the 2014 one in that other former Soviet Republic. The difference between these two information warfare operations was that the Ukrainians are closer to Russians than Georgians are, which made it comparatively more difficult to turn them against their brothers. For that reason, the US went all-out in pumping Ukrainian society full of historically revisionist fascist propaganda since there was no other way that it could even stand a chance of succeeding in turning its people against Russia unless it resorted to such radical measures.

That explains why Ukraine was ultimately a more successful anti-Russian project than Georgia ever could be since the US’ fascist propaganda campaign in the former manipulated false perceptions about World War II and prior in order to turn a sizeable percentage of the population into Neo-Nazis or at least sympathizers of their cause. That in turn directly resulted in Kiev resorting to the militarization of residential areas and subsequent exploitation of civilians as human shields in a desperate bid to stem Russia’s military advance exactly as Amnesty International recently proved, which is why its progress has been slow but steady unlike the quick five-day campaign to force Georgia to peace 14 years ago.

There’s another major difference between these two conflicts in the military sense that deserves to be touched upon, and that’s the inability of the US-led West to indefinitely perpetuate a proxy war on Russia through Georgia owing to obvious geographic reasons. Ukraine, meanwhile, abuts several NATO states, which have established multiple rat lines for running weapons and fighters into that former Soviet Republic. In a sense, the US-led NATO proxy war on Russia should have in theory begun in Ukraine and only then expanded to Georgia upon its potential success, but this wasn’t possible for the earlier mentioned reason related to the Russian minority impeding their pro-US government’s plans. However, what the USG could count on was regional buy-in from countries that neighbor Ukraine. This need for regional buy-ins in order to host operational centers near the theaters of conflicts has been discussed previously in these 3 posts:

Failed Bear Trap

For the previously described reason, the inverse of what should have happened from America’s grand strategic perspective is what ultimately occurred: Georgia was used as the first so-called “bear trap” instead of Ukraine, but it failed and that’s why the US spent the subsequent years preparing for the second scenario. Tbilisi didn’t succeed in pushing Moscow out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia under false pretexts through the pre-Olympic sneak attack that Saakashvili was ordered to carry out because it was based on the miscalculation that Russia was either too weak to defend itself or didn’t want to risk jeopardizing its newly improved relations with the US-led West by doing so.

A similar miscalculation occurred with respect to Ukraine wherein the US-led West didn’t really think that Russia would respond to Kiev’s impending offensive against Donbass, let alone preemptively by seizing the strategic initiative in launching its special military operation literally a day or two before Washington’s proxies were supposed to commence their American-backed one. This goes to show that its strategists still don’t truly understand Russia, ergo why they made two major mistakes in a row that ultimately spelled the defeat of their respective proxy wars for containing that Eurasian Great Power. The Ukrainian Conflict admittedly still grinds on, but the writing is on the wall about how it’ll end.

Takeaways

Reviewing the insight that was shared thus far in this analysis, a few trends stand out the most. First, the US consistently sought to contain Russia through proxy means along its periphery by exploiting territorial disputes to that end. Second, each planned provocation was preceded by a US-backed Color Revolution that led to an unprecedented information warfare offensive intended to manipulate the perceptions of their puppets’ people in order to turn them against their historical Russian partner. And third, the military dimension of these plots was premised on the false expectation that Russia wouldn’t directly react, which was proven wrong in both instances.

With this insight in mind, there’s no doubt that the American grand strategy is to contain Russia through the proxy war means that were described as proven by a comparison between the Georgian and Ukrainian Conflicts. Seeing as how the US rarely ever learns its lessons in spite of its many failures across the decades, it can therefore be predicted that it’ll attempt to hatch more such schemes across the former Soviet space in the coming future, most likely in Central Asia. Be that as it may, Russia is certainly prepared for this since Afghan-emanating terrorist threats actually catalyzed closer integration between it and its regional partners, which should enable Moscow to preemptively avert the next such plot.

Similar Posts

Have a Comment? Post it here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.