Thinking Like A Russian About Croatia 1995 And Georgia 2008
I hadn`t realized before how much the American-encouraged attack by Georgia on Russian-backed South Ossetia in 2008 looks to the Kremlin like the same playbook as the two American-planned Croat offensives against the Serb breakaway Krajina republic in Croatia in 1995. The second American-planned offensive by the Croats, Operation Storm, was the biggest land battle in Europe since 1945.
It`s hard for Americans to remember all the times our side has militarily pushed around other sides. But the Russians remember, so it`s worth it to recall how similar Croatia in 1995 and Georgia in 2008 look to the Kremlin.
Slavic Orthodox Serbia is a sort of mini-Russia that was at the core of a sort of mini-Soviet Union called Yugoslavia. So, Russians paid a lot of attention to what happened to Serbia in the 1990s, just as they did in 1914 when the Czar destroyed his dynasty in defense of Serbia.
Also, parts of the U.S. government didn`t tell other parts what they were up to. The U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, for example, appears to have been sincerely appalled by the huge ethnic cleansing by Croatia, but he wasn`t kept in the loop of planning the offensive. Or something.
There was a UN ban on arms shipments to participants in the Yugoslav wars, so with official U.S. military involvement blocked from active involvement, the Croat government hired Military Professional Resources, Inc. of Alexandria, VA, which employs retired U.S. military officials to advise countries okayed by the U.S. government. Most notably, MPRI employed General Carl Vuono, who had been U.S. Army Chief of Staff from 1987-1991 (i.e., during Desert Storm; i.e., he knows what he`s doing). Supposedly, Gen. Vuono was just in Croatia in 1995 to advise the Croatian army on how to “transition to democracy” and subjects like how to fight AirLand Battle 2000 never came up. I mean, if you were a Croatian general intending to open a front 390 miles long, why would you ask one of the main architects of Operation Desert Storm for tips and pointers on how to fight Operation Storm? You`d ask him for advice on democratic transitioningness instead. And the similarity of names of the operations is just a coincidence.