Just wanted to throw this little gem out for the morning, slightly controversial to some I imagine, but it goes like this. There have been some, not just in the comments on this blog, who have mentioned that, in relation to Georgia and the US reaction to it, that it's all about oil pipelines and that if certain parts of Africa had oil we would care more.
This is absolutely right. Of course the strategic interest of an oil pipeline makes foreign policy stances different, and quite right too. Wars and countries with strategic interest but who are not directly involved in the conflict, will always be guided by those interests. People may not like it, they may say it is unethical, but it is the way things are.
Take Iraq and the oil angle. Here we had a dictator sitting on massive reserves who was hostile to the West, who also, quite crucially, and in the unanimous opinion of the United Nations, had a concealed weapons programme (forget whether that judgement was correct or not because it is irrelevant).
At the same time a judgment had to therefore be made upon what the potential threat to the bordering countries of Iraq were in respect of what was considered to be a reality. That judgment will, whether one likes it or not, quite rightly be made in line with the strategic interests of each state individually.
The strategic interests in this respect were obviously oil, and there is nothing wrong with that. It's a natural resource that people need and the possibly of supply disruption will have been a primary consideration by a nation the size and scale of the USA. There is nothing wrong with that all.
So take a look at Georgia. A nation with a dirty great oil pipeline running through being attacked by Russia, a dirty great big country who's economy is based largely on its stranglehold of energy supply, and one which has shown it is happy to use that control to get what it wants by switching off the taps (see Ukraine). What exactly does one expect to happen when that is the reality of the geopolitical and energy situation?
Energy - and its continuing supply unhindered by nations willing to hold it to ransom - is far more important to the world than anything else (unless you're a crazy envirofascist that wishes to live back in the Stone Age). No energy resource would bring economic turmoil, greater impact on food supply; massive slowdown in growth, and would also increase the likelihood of large-scale conflict rather than isolated small scale ones.
A “war for oil” therefore, or supporting the side that has oil you wouldn’t mind buying, is an inherently realistic thing. You may not like it; you may think it is immoral and unethical, but here's the clincher, when you're in a situation and position of power where you have to consider worst case scenarios and the consequence of them, ethics and morality are not by necessity equal to that which is the correct action.