Hype On Russia And Georgia
As this scenario has evolved, I've found myself caught up in some of excitement, anxiety, hysteria, what have you.
And I've accepted a few assertions made by various folks at face value.
This morning, I thought I ought to do something out of the ordinary for an American, and look at a map. I'm embarrassed to say that I usually do this first when learning about a country I don't know much about. This time around, I didn't and as a result I wrote a few comments here and there, that are a bit silly in retrospect.
Here's the map from the CIA World Factbook.
The PDF Version is here.
Some folks have told me that you can't trust any of the data on the CIA site. But I think we're fairly safe when it comes to maps.
As you can see in this map, Russia is at the top in the center. Georgia, is just South of it.
From the geography, it's clear that this conflict doesn't influence anything in Afghanistan at the moment. So I had a complete 'foot in mouth' moment on that one.
If Russia wants to supply Iran, the Caspian Sea provides a route for shipping.
As to the theory that Russia is going to use Georgia as a conduit to Iran for military assistance..., I think this is problematic. There are other countries in the way. Turkey is awfully close to where the supply lines would be. At the moment, I don't know that these countries would welcome a Russian supply line running through their countries. But maybe they won't have much to say about it?
The map does make it clear why Kuwait is asking that we not start a war in Iran. They are in a vulnerable position.
UPDATE: I've just learned that Russia has taken out Georgia's oil fields. So maybe this does have an impact on Dick Cheney's prized pipeline through Afghanistan.