Identify the nationality of blog commenters by careful textual exegesis. Careful: they may be using fake names!
From the comments at a Daily Telegraph story ("Keep the Bear in its Cage"):
I feel compelled to comment on the lack of balance in the reporting of the recent conflict in Georgia. It has been suggested that Russia is returning to Cold War behaviour and that its military action in South Ossetia is similar to that undertaken previously in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. I would suggest that the West's ill considered reaction is more typical of Cold War era belligerence.
It will be recalled that during the 1990s, the West enthusiastically supported the secession of the constituent republics of Yugoslavia, then a sovereign state and recognised as such in international law. However well intentioned, this policy undoubtedly contributed to the appalling violence that followed. Furthermore, in 1999, NATO undertook military action against what was left of Yugoslavia in defence of Kosovan national aspirations, despite the fact that Serbia & Montenegro had not threatened any other sovereign state and notwithstanding that Kosovo had been part of Serbia for centuries. This was followed earlier this year by the immediate and overwhelming recognition of Kosovo's declaration of independence.
South Ossetia has voted twice for independence from Georgia and desires unity with (Russian) North Ossetia. The Ossetians have as much right to their independence and national identity as the people of Kosovo and to protection against Georgian aggression.
Russia's response to the situation in South Ossetia is no different to that which NATO undertook against Serbia & Montenegro in relation to Kosovo. To demonise Moscow's reaction as old style Russian/Soviet imperialism is hypocritical and dishonest. The Kremlin would have considerable justification in considering that the West is guilty of double standards if we fail to respect South Ossetian national aspirations and oppose Russian support of these.
We (the United Kingdom that is)may have had our differences with Russia in the 19th Century and with the Soviet Union in the 20th. Nevertheless, on the three occasions in the last two hundred years when we have faced a real threat to our national survival; from Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, Russia has been in the same situation and turned out to be a staunch ally. A more constructive approach from the West could have the same outcome.
Posted by Simon Williams on August 14, 2008 6:31 PM
I doubt that "Simon Williams" is really a Briton. Some Russians are smart-unscrupulous enough to pose as Westerners on Western web pages (and sadly few are smart-generous enough to understand the West's real motives). Note the deliberate "We (the United Kingdom that is)..." Sure, "Simon," whatever you say. (The Kosovo/Georgia analogy many other reasons, among other things, because NATO did not insist on the removal of Milosevic after the war in Kosovo: we just pushed the Serbs out of Kosovo, and the Serbs took him down themselves.)
This also doesn't sound like a Briton talking:
Stuck in the sixties. We believe in Liberty and Freedom, but not for Russia, it must be in a cage.As for kicking Russia out of G8 or trade associations, well Britain and America should be kicked out then.Whenever we invade or bomb foreign countries,that's good according to the Telegraph. When others do it it's terrible. This is the hypocrisy and stupidity of the Telegraph.Try seeing things from someone else's view, otherwise you'll always be a small minded, pitiful,bigot.
But the "cage" is Russia's borders, which Russia's troops can stay inside of thank you very much. In that sense, the Western democracies are happy to be "caged." The "liberty and freedom" the West enjoys does not consist in the liberty and freedom to invade small countries, but civil liberties and free elections. In that sense, it is Putin, not the West, that is keeping Russia in a cage.
The commenter's misreading of the Telegraph headline is ingenious. I don't think a Briton would be smart enough to invent this particular sophism. Russians, meanwhile, hear stuff like this all the time from their state-run media.
But hey, I could be wrong.