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09 August 2008


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5th generation is the one Rice and Medvedev yelling at each other on global news while nobody cares and the war rages on.

Incidentally, I wonder if Pentagon really believes on this 5th generation idea and was training Georgia's troop on anti insurgency preparing for Chechnya situation. (saw some pictures floating around. completely silly)

But Russia having deep connection in there decides clown show time is over. They want the whole thing back before bigger NATO scheme enters georgia.

Russia really needs to wants georgia coast to control entire oil supply line (actually just georgia's big oil port) This way they can control Ukraine and black sea. They are having trouble making Ukraine to renew the black sea navy base contract.

The balkan game is very ancient. the little conflicts and wars are all dating back to medieval time. Both WWII started in that area because bunch of super power thinks they know what they are doing...then get sucked into giant ever expanding conflicts.

Just watch, the Balkan will make Sunnis-Shia conflict in Iraq created by state dept. clown looks like second grade drama night.

Btw, I think Ukraine is gone. the PM-president installed by Bush regime change project won't last much longer. And Russia seems serious about regaining control of black sea.

505th PIR

Warfare since it's inception in the time before recorded history has been the ultimate Human activity since the stakes are higher than any other.

It is reasonable to believe that combatants use the most useful tools at hand and reason would dictate that one uses the tool that causes the most mission specific pain to the adversary at the least cost to the friendly force.

A person cuts down trees with chainsaws and cuts butter with a butter knife for obvious reasons. When tanks, massed artillery and aircraft are the best way to get something done they will be used. Likewise, more subtle tactics/kit are used where they are a better choice.

In the case of the Georgian-Russian conflict now unfolding there is urgency and urgent means are now being used.

On the broader topic it would seem that a military able to project force at all levels and with the leadership and doctrine to ratched up and down that which is required is a better military than one skewed one way or the other.

The Russians are doing this right now! This conflict with Georgia seems to be a brilliant example of Maskarova. The S. Ossetian "resistance" led by Russian special ops has entrenched and then purposefully become an intolerable irritant to the Georgians. The Georgians take the bait and use a conventional force to consolodate their semi-autonomous breakaway state. The Russians spring their trap (their 58th Army and supporting elements are conveniently massed for an instant assault/relief mission).

All of this dovetails nicely into the long-term Kremlin plans for the reconsolodation of the empire Ivan Terrible began those centuries ago. The collapse of the Soviets was a great exhale of empire, they (Russia) are earnestly beginning to inhale again.


I just heard that on NPR: Army Focus on Counterinsurgency Debated Within

The article's bottom line is that voices in the army, here in the field artillery branch, are pointing out that the focus on counterinsurgency is atrophying the traditional skills required in the artillery, to the extent that artillery units, as far as I understand, aren't combat ready as artillery any more.


Terrifying. The Russians will not back down on this. The Georgians are fighting a true 'existential war.' We have a pair of warmongers in the White House with no political controls on their lame-duck days. Oil is involved. Echoes of the Cold War. Ye gods. Please don't let Tom Clancy be the new Nostradamus. I don't mean to be so alarmist, but can anyone see a way out of this that isn't cataclysmic?

Patrick Lang


My post was on the "military art" aspects of the new war in the Caucasus.

This situation has a "Guns of August" smell to it. The US effort to push the NATO alliance farther and farther east toward Russia has been reckless. Russia is an immature state given to chauvinist imperialism. What else was their history made up of before the Bolshevik period? Are they different now?

Let us hope that cooler heads in Washington and European capitals will find a diplomatic solution to this foolishness before the train runs off the track. pl


"The S. Ossetian "resistance" led by Russian special ops has entrenched and then purposefully become an intolerable irritant to the Georgians. The Georgians take the bait and use a conventional force to consolodate their semi-autonomous breakaway state. The Russians spring their trap (their 58th Army and supporting elements are conveniently massed for an instant assault/relief mission). "

Its the part of "the Georgians taking the bait" I really do not understand at all. I quite simply do not understand their projected-outcome calculations: Did they think that Russia would back down? Or that NATO would come rushing to the rescue? As for the Ossetians being "intolerable irritants", the bombs that have been going off recently have been going off in Ossetia and Abkhazia, not in Georgia. And the set piece assault on Ossetias capital shows long premeditation, as does the fact of the coincidence with the Olympics. The 58th Army is not invisible, with acess to US satelites the Georgians must have known what they were facing. We basically have the Georgians doing a classic setpiece attack on a russian enclave, wich the russians have already said they would use as a counterweight to Kosovo. If anyone thought that Putin would stand under the Russian flag in Bejing and back down, then they must live in a alternative world.

Condoleeza is officially supporting the Georgians anyway, their national integrity is of course so much more worth than Serbia. And US warplanes are getting ready to ship the georgians into the warzone, aiding and abetting one side in the conflict. Is this some sort of sick joke, a poke in the eye to all russian nationalists? At the exact moment that prez. Bush and mr. Putin met in Bejing? Que pasa?

But Ormolov, I refuse to believe that the US will become directly involved with this. Its logistically impossible.


Confused ponderer: You might want to check out the writings of Col Gian Gentile (ret) on the issue, he is one of the foremost critics of the COINdinistas.



ok, so you've been proven exactly right about fourth-generation warfare, immediately after you've been proven exactly right about oil prices.

With that kind of track record of accuracy in prediction, you'll never make it in the political pundit business! You need to make some colossal blunders before anyone in the MSM is going to take you seriously enough to offer you a New York Times columnist gig!

Bill Kristol's job is safe as long as you keep making sense...

Duncan Kinder

My post was on the "military art" aspects of the new war in the Caucasus.

This has been but the first act of our play.

As I recall, Russian tanks once rolled into Afghanistan and into Chechnya. Yet that did not thereby conclude those matters.

And I have heard that one of the actual uses Russia has for South Ossetian is that it is some sort of bandit lair where transnational criminals can carry on activities as they will. Which suggests that the current "war" between Russia and Georgia may actually be a Godfather-style shoot out between the Russian and the Georgian mafiyas.

If this matter gets wrapped up in the next few days/weeks, we'll never know. But if the matter turns into something like, say, what is now happening in Mexico, then the 4th Generation war fellow will have something to say.

Clifford Kiracofe

Tanks and jets seem pretty conventional to me. Use of Cossack (Don, Terek) "volunteers" very 19th century indeed.

Per military art: I read somewhere recently the South Ossetians have better weapons,leadership, and morale than the Georgians.(???) Order of battle for the opposing sides, anyone? Good place for Russians to test out the RPG-32s?

Per geopolitics, IMO, this relates to the Brzezinski geopolitics circa 1979: support anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan, support destabilization of the Caucasus...with Saudi wahhabi help targeting Chechnya and Daghestan etc. Just what were those roving Tabligh Jamaat (from Pakistan) teams doing in the Caucasus in 1979?

In Zbigs "The Grand Chessboard" we find Georgia on a map (page 124) projection as part of the "Eurasian Balkans" with Zbig emphasizing in the text the hydrocarbon dimension.The pipeline thing and all that is in this picture and is explained by Zbig on pages 144 and 145...ah yes, hydrocarbons.

The new Cold War with Russia has been under way in US circles both Republican and Democrat for a while. What is McCain saying on Caucasus? What is Obama saying? Obama is advised by Zbig...


Hey, isn't it relevant to point out that South Ossetia sees itself allied with North Ossetia? Which is in Russia?

The Ossetians don't want to be Georgians. That much is crystal clear.

And then the Georgians bomb their regional capital. Friendly gesture that.

And the US and Israel are going to support the Georgians.. big time.

Already 70% of the Georgian budget is used on its military. Very progressive regime, that.


Ormolov wrote:

" I don't mean to be so alarmist, but can anyone see a way out of this that isn't cataclysmic?"

Yes. Let the law of 'gravity' work within its natural boundaries. And be thankful---all things relative---that Georgia is not a member of NATO. And feel sad for the average Georgians, and other citizens of direct area, caught in the middle of this. And as the Col noted, root for 'cooler heads' because I suspect the Bush Admin has led US has schemed its way, once removed, into another box canyon.

It will be interesting...and illuminating, to see how the Obama and McCain camps spin this. This will be a real test of leadership for them. It is a sideshow in this drama, for now, anyway, but keep an eye on that.



Thanks. You are correct, I figure. In the ashes of Iraq we have a safeguard against WWIII: insufficient troops for a third front. But it begs a further question-- will the White House allow Georgia to fall? Weren't elements within the Pentagon, specifically the Air Force, clamoring for air assaults on Iran? I know no one will want to directly engage even a weakened Russia, but what other options will our doddering Cold Warriors have?

Me? If I'm in charge it's appeasement and diplomatic overdrive. But will Rice use her long-neglected language skills and sweet talk the Kremlin? Would we allow all that oil to get away? I just don't see it. And barring that, I don't see any other avenues toward peace. Am I wrong, and too alarmist, to see Putin on one side and Cheney & co. on the other incapable of backing down?

Your point, however, speaks directly to Col. Lang's 5th Generation warfare posting. In the absence of conventional forces on our side of the conflict (notwithstanding Georgia's small army) what will the days ahead bring? Tblisi needs to find some common ground with Nasrullah and Hezbollah a few thousand miles south in Lebanon. It's time for them to learn the art of asymmetrical conflict from the current masters of the form. I know that's specious, but I don't believe Col. Lang's hope for 'cooler heads' will prevail. Waking up pessimistic on the West Coast this morning...

David Habakkuk


The Russians have no interest whatsoever in trying to conquer the whole of Georgia. This would simply saddle them with an intractable irredentist problem.

They have very strong interests in preventing the forcible reincorporation into Georgia of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the populations of both of which have no more desire to be in Georgia than the Kosovo Albanians had to be in Serbia.

Likewise, they have an overwhelming interest in preventing a united Ukraine becoming part of NATO. There are also strong emotional elements. Kiev is where Russian Orthodox culture started. And the Russians have many dead in the Crimea.

The reckless policy of NATO expansion threatens a civil war in the Ukraine -- which would be a total disaster for Europe.

Ukraine as a coherent nation is almost as much of a fiction as Iraq as a coherent nation.

My sister in law comes from the West Ukraine. When we were in Kiev for her marriage several years ago, she time and again addressed people in Ukrainian.

On every occasion, they replied in Russian.

This does not mean that the inhabitants of Kiev want reunion with Russia. The inhabitants of the Crimea, however, are liable to be a very different story.

Ukrainian nationalists are trying to create a sense of Ukrainian identity by portraying the famine in the Eastern Ukraine as genocide committed by Russians against Ukrainians.

This is false -- the Georgian Joseph Stalin was no respecter of national distinctions in his war against the peasantry. And it has caused intense antagonism among Russians.

One would have thought their Iraqi experience would have taught Americans -- and Brits -- not to play with fire.

But it seems some people never learn.


Anybody knows if the georgian troop transported from Iraq arrived yet? The russian systematically bomb airports and seaports.

I wouldn't be surprised if they take over Poli soon enough. Only 60 miles down road from Abkhazia.

It's surprising how confused Condi is. She is still waiting for UN to resolve anything. By tomorrow , nobody will be answering phone in georgia. (Putin is being very clever invading Georgia on weekend-Olympic. everybody is busy screwing around baby sitting Bush in Beijing.)

So this was how much she prepared to defend that shiny Baku pipeline after pissing off Russia? nice.

Russia is going to want Kosovo, Ukraine and black sea back.


Abkhazia moves to flush out Georgian troops


He said that Abkhazia had to act because it has a friendship treaty with South Ossetia.

Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up ties with Moscow. Russia has granted its passports to most of their residents.

Shamba said Abkhazian forces intended to push Georgian forces out of the Kodori Gorge. The northern part of the gorge is the only area of Abkhazia that has remained under Georgian government control.

Georgia's Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said that Georgian administrative buildings in the Kodori Gorge were bombed, but he blamed the attack on Russia.

In 2006, Georgian forces moved into the upper part of the Kodori Gorge to root out members of a defiant militia. Georgia later established a local administration made up of people who fled the fighting in Abkhazia.


I guess giving Kosovo independence wasn't such a good idea afteral, if one can't defend, Iraq and Caspian region.


Col. Lang,
Any chance we might see some successful light infantry tactics by the Georgians against the Russian armored column--they seem to be pretty strung out due to the paucity of roads. . . .

Clifford Kiracofe

A Russian perspective on military dimension:


You're quite right of course, PL, that this is a conventional war. The reason is that 90% of the South Ossetian population are said to have Russian passports. There is no possibility of a guerilla resistance, once, and if, the Russians succeed in taking control of the territory.

The Brits are already comparing the war to the retaking of the Falklands (!).

If the Russians make no mistakes, and if they limit themselves to occupying South Ossetia, as I imagine with "Marshal" Putin in the field, this will be the perfect conventional war.

There could be a cease-fire from tomorrow evening or so (Sunday). The Russians should have achieved their military objectives by then - occupying South Ossetia. They have superiority, and "Marshal" Putin is in the field. Depends on whether the Russians are having trouble in the mountains. Could be why the 76 Airborne Brigade is being brought in, but more likely they are there to occupy mountain points quickly. The Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, is undefendable by street-fighting, as the population is not pro-Georgian.

No point on either side in going on. The Russians want to have it all over soon. They will not annex South Ossetia - that would be provocative. Depends on when the hawks in Tbilisi are ready to give up. They would be wise to do so; otherwise they will spend the next few weeks watching Georgian cities reduced to rubble for no reason.

The consequences will be that South Ossetia will be somewhat more independent than before. Abkhazia too. Saakashvili will disappear in a few months; the failure is catastrophic. Russia will have gained a victory, and thus be better placed in international politics. The US will have failed to defend an ally, and that is the most serious of all. For the politics of the Middle East. I can just imagine the jihadis in Iraq and Afghanistan thinking that US power has its limits; it is possible to win.

Clifford Kiracofe

One can certainly use Col. Lang's point on utility of anthropology and ponder this map of the Caucasus:

1. And:
"The people of the Caucasus, many of whom adhered to ancient traditions and were resentful of outsiders' attempts to control them, were perhaps the most troublesome subjects of Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union that succeeded it. Stalin – whose father was reputed to be Ossetian – in 1922 divided control over Ossetia between the Georgian and Russian Soviet republics, a move which angered Ossetians and prompted occasional protests over subsequent decades. When the South Ossetians attempted in 1989 to reunite with ethnic kin in Russian-controlled North Ossetia, the Georgian nationalist Zviad Gamsakhurdia marched supporters into the region to confront the secessionists."

3. Per military situation, lot's of "old fashioned" armor:
"A column of 150 Russian tanks and other military vehicles entered South Ossetia yesterday after Georgian troops launched a major offensive to retake control of the area from Ossetian rebels late on Thursday night." same url as above.

4. Some Russian airstrikes reportedly rather close to the BTC pipeline...a message?

5. Zbigniew Brzezinski as a consultant for British Petroleum worked on the BTC project, as I recall.

6. Some data on BTC at:



Funny! I was thinking the same thoughts.

This is worth a read but in a more serious vein.



"The US effort to push the NATO alliance farther and farther east toward Russia has been reckless."

Not any more reckless than spreadin' democracy in Iraq.

Let's see who would I bet on in a chess match between Bush and Putin... Oh yea Putin will get what he wants.

War isn't evil in the Decider's mind so Georgia really doesn't concern him--let the games continue, W is partying, do not disturb.


It seems Russia made a proposal to Condi on Ukraine and Georgia.

If Condi wants georgia so bad, how come she is so unprepared defending it?

Somewhere in Ukraine Tymoshenko is wondering if Condi going to save her from big bad russians when the time come.


During a March 19 meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Bush announced that the United States will push for Georgia to begin the NATO Membership Action Plan — the first step to join the alliance — at the April 2 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. The announcement goes directly against Russia’s desire to keep NATO and the West out of its periphery while it works to consolidate control over the former Soviet states.

Russia wanted to make a deal on the issue March 17, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with their Russian counterparts Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Moscow proposed that if the United States backed away from proposed NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, Russia would stop causing instability in Ukraine’s transit of natural gas to Europe and also in Serbia and the newly independent Kosovo. But no deal seems to have been reached, since Bush’s announcement came just two days after the United States and Russia discussed the topic.

Now Moscow has two very volatile potential responses on the table: moving troops and possibly recognizing Georgia’s secessionist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These actions not only could completely destabilize Georgia, but also could also spark a war between the small Caucasian country and its large neighbor.


Gori. (georgia is practically sliced in half now)


As Russia widens its war with Georgia beyond the separatist territory of South Ossetia, the city of Gori, famous for being the birthplace of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, has been hit the hardest. The civilian casualty toll is climbing, and anyone with the means is leaving.

nice map


SubKommander Dred

Symbolism, while often hyped, can be important. I mention this because every time speech by the Georgian President I have seen broadcast since this war started shows the both the Georgeian standard as well as the flag of the EU (a circle of stars on a blue banner) placed prominently behind him. Is he counting on the EU (and NATO) to pull him out of the fire on this? That is certainly the impression I'm left with.

SubKommander Dred


Conventional fighting with Russia on any scale is not thinkable since they have taken on the Western doctrine of the cold war: facing conventional inferiority, they plan to use a nuclear first strike to halt any successful advance against them.

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