Steve Sailer writes: Would the New York Times blithely report “preventing Arab nationalism is a centerpiece of the foreign policy of Israel, which invaded Egypt and Syria in October 1973 largely to forestall that possibility”? Or would the editors reject that as technically accurate but tendentious description intended to mislead from the question of which side first rolled into the Sinai and the Golan Heights on Yom Kippur?
The border between South Ossetia and Georgia had had international observers stationed on to report if somebody crossed the the border in force and ruined the erratic peace that had more or less prevailed for 17 years. Late on August 7, 2008, the international observers reported that the Georgia Army was sending tanks across their line.
In general, the 2008 war of Georgia invading South Ossetia followed by Russia invading Georgia was a lot like the Yom Kippur War of 1973 of Egypt invading the Sinai followed by Israel invading Egypt, except that:
– South Ossetia had been de facto separated from Georgia for almost 3 times as long as the Sinai had been separated from Egyptian control following Israel’s invasion and military conquest of the Sinai in 1967.
– South Ossetia had never been under the control of independent Georgia (unless perhaps around 1920), with South Ossetia asserting its independence from Georgia at the same time as Georgia asserted its independence from the Soviet Union, while Egypt had non-controversially ruled Sinai for many years before 1967.
– South Ossetia’s independence appears to have been supported by the indigenous South Ossetians, while the small number of indigenous inhabitants of Israel-occupied Sinai definitely didn’t prefer Israeli rule.
– Georgia had been actively backed by a superpower — the US had invited Georgia to join NATO in the spring of 2008 (much to the dismay other NATO members) and Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia on August 7, 2008 was a follow-on to the Georgia’s war games with 1,000 visiting American troops from July 15-30, 2008. In contrast, Egypt had kicked its Russian advisers out in 1972.
Also, in 1973 the Israeli military was dug in on the east bank of the Suez Canal in the Sinai, so that the Egyptians’ initial battle of simply getting their army over the Canal and into the edge of the Sinai was quite heroic, as was Ariel Sharon’s improvised counter-invasion across the Canal into Egypt proper.
In contrast, the Russians had little in the way of military forces in South Ossetia, but the inept Georgians failed to secure their priority of shutting off the tunnel from Russia. The confused Russian response was blundering as well but at least they got through the tunnel into South Ossetia.
Egypt didn’t invade Israel proper in October 1973, it invaded the Sinai Peninsula. Similarly, Syria invaded the Golan Heights. In response, Israel not only drove the Egyptians once again out of Sinai and the Syrians out of the Golan Heights, but invaded and occupied sizable chunks of both Egypt and Syria that it hadn’t already occupied (eventually giving them up after much shuttle diplomacy).
But you would recognize how tendentious it would be for someone to report in an aside:
“preventing Arab nationalism was a centerpiece of the career of Ariel Sharon, who invaded Egypt on October 18, 1973 largely to forestall that possibility.”
You would be pointing out that twelve days before Sharon crossed the Suez Canal on 10/18/73, the Egyptians had crossed the Canal on 10/6/73.
“there was never any danger of Georgia actually invading Russia.”
Despite Israeli panic, there was never any danger that the Egyptian Army would somehow fight its way across all the rugged land that had taken Moses 40 years to cross and invade Israel proper. (In fact, the Egyptian war plan was to simply to cross the Suez Canal and win one battle over Israel.)
In 1973, the US not only massively airlifted weapons to Israel, but escalated the nuclear war alert status to scare the Russians into staying out.
* Steve, you are just plain wrong on the Egyptian Plan for the Yom Kippur War, moreover how desperate it was for Israel, and how close the Egyptians came to wiping out Israel short of a last-ditch Samson in the Temple nuclear response.
In short, though Arafat had no plans destroying Israel (he didn’t think it possible), his generals gambled that it was indeed possible. And they came very close — the Israelis were totally caught by surprise, and took heavy casualties. The Egyptians came close to breakthrough in the Sinai, the major reason they stalled was simply outrunning supplies particularly gas. The Egyptian Army did not have enough fuel trucks to move fast enough while the Israeli Air Force was focused on the Syrians.
Indeed the battle plan was conceptually brilliant — divide the Israelis who had superior air forces and land forces, so that they could not concentrate fire upon one adversary in turn. The mistake Sadat’s generals made was not understanding that the low training and logistical resources could not maintain the tempo needed for success. Thus the Egyptian tank forces were literally out of gas and their troops gassed from continual fighting just when Israel recovered to focus most of their force upon them.
That was nothing like the Russia-Georgia War. Which had a tiny nation up against a very, very large one with nuclear weapons. Instead of a huge nation with no nukes up against a tiny one with nukes. There was not much danger of Russia simply nuking Georgia in desperation; while there *WAS* danger of Israel feeling existentially threatened in nuking both Syria and Egypt.
* Anyone notice how the NYT; DC Post and other official MSM organs display a much stronger anti-Russian slant in their foreign policy coverage than they ever did collectively during Stalin’s regime; the Cold War; Gorbechev’s era; etc. How is it that such diverse Soviets as Stalin and Gorby are much more revered among the official left even today than Putin? I don’t entirely understand it. I mean, until Putin arrived on the scene and particularly over the last ten yrs or so, from about the 1930′s all the way to Yeltsin’s regime (ca.2000?) the USSR/early Russian Federation was pretty much treated quite favorably in the MSM especially when compared to the likes of Reagan and other perceived US “warhawks”. How is Putin any more a monster (either in kind or degree) than Stalin and the others that followed him, even including up to Yeltsin? Theories may abound but not sure there’s a satisfactory explanation as of yet.
But with Putin, the MSM have finally found a Russian leader that they clearly despise. Unfortunately the exact reasons remain unclear.
* Putin’s outlook appears to be post-Soviet in that he seems to stress more of a nationalist, somewhat open to official displays of traditional religion, and not pro-LGBTWWT, etc. but even those things don’t fully get to the heart of the matter. Perhaps the liberal-progressives along with their neoconservative allies turned on Putin in particular and Russia in general because of the formers throwing out of globalist oligarchs who helped to weaken Russia economically in the years post-USSR. In other words, had the Russian Federation from the onset had a strong willed leader with a nationalist outlook who closed its borders to global oligarchs, perhaps Russia wouldn’t have been in the economic doldrums it found itself in during the late ’90′s. I mean, is Borris Yeltsin really recalled today with much fondness in Russia for being a great leader? Seriously? Yeltsin was very much appreciated and respected by the Western globalist elites, much the same way as was Gorbechev, but how do the ordinary Russian masses view Yeltsin today?
Also, does anyone know how Gorbechev is viewed today right now in Russia? Not among the Western global elites, but among the Russians themselves? How is he recalled in Russia?