Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Georgia/Russia Conflict Lecture

A lecture put on this month by the International Students for Social Equality, affiliate of the worldwide Socialist Equality Party, addressed the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia with particular attention paid to the role of the U.S. in instigating the conflict, as well as the its increasingly biased news media coverage. According to the speaker, Georgia's provocation of Russia can only be explained by the United States' (with extensive economic and military ties to Georgia) "deliberately seeking a major escalation of tensions between Russia and the West." He looked for confirmation in the form of the recent missile deal with Poland, claiming it is "clearly directed against Russia, not Iran or North Korea, and would give the U.S. first strike nuclear capability without Russia retaliation."

Some audience members found the inclusion of instances of recent U.S. hypocrisy irrelevant to the discussion, but it did elicit laughter when the speaker quoted President Bush and John McCain on the matter, stating, “Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state...such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century,” “ the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.” While the speaker did raise some thought-provoking points about the political/economic divisions among Russia, ex-Soviet nations, and Eastern Europe and the role of Western powers, some found his speech overly biased or sensational in light of the his self-proclaimed political affiliation.

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