Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the Russo-Georgian conflict.
How Russia's actions have hindered Georgian peace
In response to Charles King's Aug. 11 Opinion piece, "Russo-Georgian conflict is not all Russia's fault": Although the piece provides perspective, I'm still inclined to blame Russia. There have been multiple attempts by the international community along with Georgia to thaw relations between Georgia and the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I'll admit that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's rhetoric has at times been quite inflammatory when speaking about bringing the provinces back into the Georgian fold, but Russia has done nothing but hinder the peace process.
If Russia had acted with some decency years ago, things might have turned out differently, but instead it has constantly halted any attempts to move peace negotiations forward.
For years the Georgians have asked the UN for an international peacekeeping force, but every year the UN issues a statement for their continued support of Russia's peacekeeping efforts. Furthermore, Russia gives Russian passports to Abkhazian and South Ossetian citizens, periodically bans Georgian products, and threatens to shut off Georgia's gas supply. So it is a little fuzzy to me how Russia has been doing a good job with peacekeeping and how they are not to blame for the current violence.
Breakaway states aren't worth war
Regarding the Aug. 12 article, "Roots of Georgia clash": This is just another Kosovo, but with the shoe on the other foot. As per Kosovo, where Serbia fights for a territory they would be better off without, Georgia does the same in South Ossetia and Abkhazia! Unfortunately, the interests of bigger powers are at stake, thus the conflict escalates and all of the locals lose.
US options for engagement in Georgia
In response to the Aug. 13 article, "US limited in Georgia crisis": I disagree that the United States is limited in the Georgia crisis. The primary reasons that Russia invaded Georgia are: It fears Georgia joining NATO, and it does not like pipelines from Central Asia that bypass Russia.
The Russians would not escalate if we had 10,000-20,000 troops in Georgia on a peacekeeping mission. If they did escalate, we would deal with the situation locally, without threatening to extend elsewhere. It would therefore be limited to Georgia, and Georgia would be guaranteed its freedom.
We have a lot of options, and we can force a successful outcome.
Boost rule of law in Georgia
Regarding your Aug. 13 editorial, "Refresh Georgia's Rose Revolution": We have to be careful about supporting a fledgling democracy if, in fact, that democracy is one that violently oppresses political opposition and has restrictions on the mass media.
Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected through democratic process. These are inconvenient facts, but facts nevertheless. The facts about Georgia should not be ignored. We cannot tacitly support displacement of ethnic populations or violent oppression of the political process.
I had a hope that you were suggesting Georgia needed a second Rose Revolution, one that would install a true democratic leader, not the eastern strongman Mikheil Saakashvili.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.