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A Blast in the Oblast

 by Steve Payne

Author says: what if the South Ossetia War of 2008 had escalated into a great power confrontation? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

On August 8th 2008,

Please click the icon to follow us on Squidoo.on this day President Dick Cheney ordered a surgical strike on a tunnel connecting Russia with the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia which at the time was full of Russian soldiers and military hardware.

Until 1989, South Ossetia was a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, an Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, South Ossetians declared independence from Georgia, proclaiming the creation of a "Republic of South Ossetia". The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and retaking the region by force. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia would occur on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.

After the second attempt at independence in 2004, peacekeepers from both Russia and George were present in the region, a dangerous deployment which sowed the seeds for a wider conflict. And so inevitably for their third (and final) attempt at independence, the South Ossetians decided to go for broke, by throwing in their lot with the resurgent Russian Federation. Problem was that whilst Russia slept, Georgia had joined NATO.

The conduct of the war would no longer be decided by South Ossetians and Georgians, nor by George W. Bush who had been assassinated in 2006. Instead the South Ossetia Conflict would become a periphery war, a flash point in the wider struggle to enlarge NATO eastwards. Because an oil revenue windfall had enabled the Russian Federation the luxury of rediscovering its chauvinism, and by 2008, NATO expansion was a threat to global security. A clash of authority was approaching and the Kremlin was already threatening to close US Bases that had been established in the Caucus region during the Gulf War. In short, the situation could be compared to a matchbox waiting for a spark.

And the spark came soon enough. Following a summer of escalating tension, on the 6th August, Georgian forces re-invaded the territory and Russian troops mobilized in support of the South Ossetian separatist forces. A pre-emptive, retaliatory strike was widely expected. In fact, a direct military response from Washington had been all but inevitable since the US suspended the NATO-Russia Council, the primary forums for bilateral interaction on security issues.

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Squidoo, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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