What About the Ossetians?

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The present round of hostilities began on August 8, when Georgian troops launched an operation to regain control of South Ossetia. Missiles fired from a position near Ergneti, above, were aimed at the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.Writes Sheldon Richman in an insighftul piece: What About the Ossetians?

If Russia exited Georgia — as it should — and the Bush administration dropped its wish to expand NATO to Russia’s border — as it should — there would still be an issue to be dealt with: the secessionist ambitions of the majority in South Ossetia — the Georgian military response to which was the immediate cause of the current war. They are the forgotten party in the current conflict. When President Bush says the “territorial integrity of Georgia” must be respected and GOP presidential candidate John McCain declares, “Today we’re all Georgians,” they are putting politics above justice.

A tank turret lies inside a building where it was hurled during fighting this month in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital.One need not side with Russian Prime Minister Putin, a cynical opportunist if ever there was one, to understand that the Ossetians south of the Russian border are an aggrieved party. Defenders of liberty will sympathize with the Georgian victims of Russian brutality, but they should also champion the cause of the brutalized Ossetians, who (like the Abkhazians) demand independence from Georgia.

Richman is right: “the Georgian military response to … the secessionist ambitions of the majority in South Ossetia … was the immediate cause of the current war”; and, “Defenders of liberty … should … champion the cause of the brutalized Ossetians, who … demand independence from Georgia.”

As I predicted here, the neo-connish libertarians are blaming it on the Russians and opposing Ossetian independence in the name of “territorial integrity”.

3:59 pm on August 27, 2008