[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/18/art.gori.gi.jpg caption=" The city of Gori, Georgia is still under Russian control."]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Russia says it's started its withdrawal from Georgia, but there's no indication that that's actually happening.
The Kremlin said yesterday that it had agreed to the troop withdrawal as part of a cease-fire agreement. But Russia's president Dmitri Medvedev hasn't specified how fast it will happen, or how many troops they're talking about. Instead, he said troops would withdraw to South Ossetia and a so-called "security zone" around it... whatever that means.
You gotta love the Russians. The city of Gori is still under Russian control. And the Russian military has apparently been moving launchers for short-range ballistic missiles into South Ossetia – even as they promised to start pulling troops out. They've also been carrying out bomber training missions over the Black Sea. And there are reports Russian soldiers destroyed a key railroad bridge just outside Tbilisi, cutting off East-West transportation routes throughout the country.
The U.S. and Europe are wary of what exactly Russia is up to in Georgia. There are serious political and military implications in all of their actions here.
A U.S. official says they've seen "no rapid pullback" so far, and describes the situation as "status quo." The White House keeps talking tough, saying that Russia needs to start the withdrawal "without delay”, but it doesn't appear Russia is paying much attention to what Washington has to say these days.
The Pentagon sees all this as a signal from Russia that it considers its sphere of influence to include Georgia and neighboring regions like Belarus and Ukraine. It's a way of Russia flexing its muscles, if you will. And so far the rest of the world can't do much about it.
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Georgia, what are Russia's intentions?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Robert from Greensboro, N.C. writes:
Russia is sending a clear signal that they will not sit idly by while former breakaway republics are courting a relationship with NATO and missile batteries are placed on their doorsteps. Russia seems to be struggling for relevance and grasping at their glory days of power. A place the U.S. could easily find itself unless we get our own house in order.
Mike from Syracuse, New York writes:
Russia really has no intentions with Georgia other than to use it as a warning to the west and eastern Europe. They are telling us to stay out of their backyard, and keep NATO out too. Europe is so dependent on Russia for energy that they will toe the line. With the EU or NATO there's not much we can do alone. Pretty good play by Moscow. For a cheap invasion, they altered the strategic balance.
It's pretty obvious that Russia wants to control its neighboring nations. Deep paranoia created by centuries of history marked with invasion and destruction is hard to dispel from any nation, much less Russia. The old fears are still there. That being said, now is a good time to make really nice with the Chinese – we need the Dragon to counter the Bear.
I don't think Russia has any intention of leaving Georgia. They will continue their simple nods at our paper mandates until they have completely absorbed that nation. Why? Because we are to over extended and dependent on international opinion to stop them. I'll sleep well knowing that we the people have squandered our moral authority in this world bringing democracy to a people that don't want it, while a nation that had the courage to take it is being destroyed.
Kevin from Sparks Nevada writes:
Go right through it! Seems pretty obvious, they’re going straight to Iran to back them before Israel has a chance to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites. It’s a direct route from Russia to Iran. They could have 100 missiles ready to go in no time.