I don't think it matters whether trying to hang on to the prizes of past
expansionism constitutes an act of imperialism today or not, really. I
reckon we might be missing the point of all this!
I don't reckon Russia can win this war, and I don't reckon it could ever
have thought it could. Sure, it's always handy to tell other seccessionists
in other areas that there'll be a ghastly price to pay for trying it on (or
support others, as some Chechens did the Dagestanis); and sure, war's a
great way to get the elite's outrageous corruption off the front pages; and
sure, war is good for cohering a grumbling populace, across class lines,
behind the banner in volatile times. But what a war of this sort is not, is
a good idea in its own terms. After all, oil sourcing will be as fraught
after this as it was before, and the chances of further terrorist acts
shan't be diminished one iota either.
I'm sure some brave mujihadeen types are digging in at Grosny for the last
big show, but I'm equally sure the balance of the Chechen guerilla force is
a long way away. That's the nature of the guerilla, innit? Not to get
caught in decisive pitched battles against overwhelming forces? When the
masonry stops smoking and the bodies stop rotting, there'll still be a
significant guerilla presence and, if anything, it'll have a more
sympathetic milieu within which to swim around and reproduce. And Russia is
certainly in no position to garrison Chechnya with thirty or forty divisions
for the foreseeable future. Nope, western mediation was always gonna be
quietly invited in to do the dealing that would allow a 'peace-with-honour'
scenario for Moscow. I reckon they'll flatten what's left of Grosny to make
their point, and then allow themselves to be talked out of the ruins of
Chechnya. I give it three weeks, meself. The weather gets very nasty after
that, for one thing.
So I reckon this war is very much about the now - and an issue so pressing
as to make the likely longer term price one worth paying. And thus do I get
back to my opening paragraph. Is it A, B or C? Or a combination. Or
something else altogether? Mebbe setting up a succession in Moscow?
Installing a pro-Muscovite/West puppet government so that Chechens will be
too busy with a civil war to organise against their oppressors? Moscow
joining the West in some global putsch against Islam - Chechnya but a
All very risky plays, for mine - but then mebbe the situation is so fraught
that big risks are tenable. [Even a possible post-bellum popular revulsion
against Moscow which might (just might) help foster some class solidarity
with left-inclined malcontents in Eastern Europe - I can't see any ensuing
between Russian workers and Chechens for a generation or so - anti-Chechen
racism is rife in Russia, I'm told).
Anyway, when was the last time demonstrably resolute guerillas with reliable
sources of munitions and moral support in the region and significant support
among the people, were decisively beaten on their own patch?
What's going on here? And what is it pointing at?
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