Having pulled back from Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Georgians can now regroup and re-equip. They are in desperate need of two things: weapons to kill tanks, and weapons to kill or deter aircraft and helicopters. We can supply both. The Stinger missile, the bane of Russian Frontal Aviation in Afghanistan, is still the most potent shoulder-fired weapon around. It will cause Russian close support aircraft to keep their distance, or to attack from higher altitude. Providing Georgia with medium-range surface-to-air missiles which can be deployed from Georgian territory proper will further push back their high-altitude aircraft (e.g., Tu-22M Backfires).
Freed from aerial observation and the threat of air attack, Georgian forces could move dismounted over the mountains more readily than Russian mechanized forces can move along the roads. Which means that the Georgians would be free to set up ambushes to block further Russian advances and to interdict their lines of communication. We can provide the wherewithal for them to do this. First, we need to give the Georgians anti-tank mines, and not just any kind, but our latest “smart” off-route mines like the XM93 Wide Area Mine (WAM). These don’t have to be placed directly on the roads, but can be put off to the side, where built-in sensors can detect armored vehicles and launch explosive formed penetrator (RFP) warheads at them.
Second, we need to give them our best anti-tank guided missile, the FGM-148 Javelin.***
Pretty soon, Russian forces will be taking serious casualties. They will have to inject more troops to protect their lines of communication. They will have to get out of their troop carriers and climb up into the mountains, where they will take more casualties from an agile and elusive enemy. They can’t even resort to the time honored tactic of butchering the local population of Ossetia and Abkhazia, since these are now “Russian citizens,” having been granted passports by the Russian government (thereby doing Hitler one better: there actually were Germans in the Sudetenland, but Putin had to invent his downtrodden “Russian” minority in Georgia).
As Russian forces start to bleed, it will be impossible, even in the controlled media of Putin’s Russia, to hide the casualties from the Russian people. They will probably respond to this as they did to the bloodletting in both Afghanistan and Chechnya.
For Christ sakes, can the folks at the Weekly Standard at least have the decency to lie about WMD before spewing this nonsense, or do we no longer deserve any foreplay?
These people are simply insane. These lunatics are openly agitating for a war with Russia for… some shitty little inconsequential piece of land on Russia’s border. Imagine how the United States would react if someone decided to supply a hostile army in Mexico with advanced weaponry in the struggle over the breakaway Republic of Tijuana, and you get the idea. Not to mention, let’s revisit some basic facts:
Russia’s military budget is equivalent to about $40 billion this year, compared to Georgia’s $997 million. Russia has 1.1 million soldiers, Georgia has 37,000. The Russian armed forces have about 6,000 tanks and some 1,700 combat aircraft. Georgia has 230 tanks and 12 combat aircraft.
And those stats are before Putin took his T-90’s galloping through Gori.
I feel bad for the people of Georgia and the Ossetians, who seem like they are locked in one of these fatalistic never-ending ethnic struggles that sometimes seem close to resolution and then inevitably flare up from time to time. But this is really none of our damned business. This is simply insanity speaking. We have no national interest in funding and being dragged into a guerilla warfare with the Russians.
God only knows what the blow-back from this current debacle will be, let alone if we double down with this kind of lunacy.