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The U.S. government must now decide whether it will overlook Russia's skirmishes with Georgia

Even though Russia and Georgia have officially signed a cease-fire agreement, the volatile situation between the two nations could jeopardize whether or not NASA astronauts fly to the International Space Station aboard Russian spacecraft in the future, U.S. officials warn.

NASA will be forced to rely on Russian spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS on the Soyuz spacecraft and transport supplies from Earth to the space station once the shuttle is retired in 2010.  The next-generation Orion spacecraft is not expected to be done until 2015, at the earliest, NASA previously said.

"The new challenge we have is that for approximately five years, the plan — which is a very bad plan but is the only plan that NASA and the administration and Congress have approved — is to be dependent on the Russian Soyuz vehicle to get people to and from the international space station," said Tom Feeney, (R-FL).  "And so now, with the political realities with Russia invading Georgia, we have a new wrinkle thrown in."

Furthermore, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D, FL) also said the situation between Russia and Georgia could greatly impact the space cooperation between the United States and Russia.  Without the use of Russian spacecraft after the shuttle is retired, NASA astronauts will be unable to get to the ISS to help finish its construction.

Nelson also pointed out that a U.S. law signed in 2000 directly prohibits the government from entering contracts with any nation that gave assistance to North Korea and/or Iran with any nuclear programs -- Russia has helped the nations with their nuclear programs.  Congress must now either reauthorize the waiver so a transportation agreement can be made, or will uphold the 2000 law and not work with Russia.

So far, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has supported the waiver, though it must now pass the House, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senate.  

The French-brokered cease-fire that has been signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili forces both sides to return their troops to their original locations prior to the skirmishes.  But even with an agreement in place, tensions between the United States and Russia, the two largest contributors to the ISS, remain high.

The U.S. government must now try and determine whether or not it will move forward and pay millions to the Russian government for ferrying astronauts into space, or delay the looming retirement of the space shuttle fleet a few more years.



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By MrJustin5 on 8/19/2008 5:00:06 AM , Rating: 1
Did you even BOTHER to read my article?

MSNBC: Georgia and the Pentagon cooperate closely

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25684774/

Moreover, the very “Rose Revolution” that brought the Harvard trained pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvilli to power in 2003 was wholly aided and abetted by the Central Intelligence Agency.

http://www.infowars.com/?p=3840

In addition, the pro-Israeli news source DebkaFile reports that Georgian infantry units were “aided by Israeli military advisors” in capturing the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali earlier today

http://www.prisonplanet.com/israel-backs-georgia-i...

DebkaFile elaborates on the true geopolitical significance behind today’s events.

DEBKAfile’s geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.

Former Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts, told The Alex Jones Show today that the entire scenario smacked of a maneuver on behalf of the Neo-Con faction controlling the White House, led by Dick Cheney. Roberts said the date was precisely picked due to the distraction of the Olympics and Bush being out of the country.

Both Condoleezza Rice and John McCain have today demanded Russia withdraw its forces from Georgia immediately.

Meanwhile, the U.S. media networks are seemingly more interested in the complete non-story of John Edwards having an affair, while a conflict that could have devastating and thunderous geopolitical consequences fizzes on the verge of explosion.

As of early Friday evening, Edwards’ extramarital shenanigans were dominating CNN and Fox News, while Drudge also afforded the story more prominence that the situation in Georgia, which was also deemed less important than the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

One of our readers contributed the following, which explains in detail exactly what is unfolding.

Most folks on here can not or will not look up the history or facts for themselves …morons..

Those who dont learn from history are destined to repeat it..

In 1992, Georgia was forced to accept a ceasefire to avoid a large scale confrontation with Russia. The government of Georgia and South Ossetian separatists reached an agreement to avoid the use of force against one another, and Georgia pledged not to impose sanctions against South Ossetia.

A peacekeeping force of Ossetians, Russians and Georgians was established at the time. And late in 1992 the OSCE set up a mission in Georgia to monitor the peacekeeping operation.

From then, until mid-2004, South Ossetia was generally peaceful.

In June 2004, tensions began to rise as the Georgian authorities strengthened their efforts against smuggling in the region. Hostage takings, shootouts and occasional bombings left dozens dead and wounded.

A ceasefire deal was reached on August 13, but it has been repeatedly violated.

Tensions in the region soared in 2008 and outbreaks of violence became increasingly frequent in the border area.

Georgia said it was an internal affair as the breakaway republic had never been recognized internationally.

The Georgian side repeatedly insisted the conflict could be resolved without outside interference.

However, early on August 8 Georgia launched a massive military offensive to take control of the republic.

A quote from another Reuters

At an emergency session of the United Nations on Thursday night, Russia failed to push through a statement that would have called on both sides to stop fighting immediately.
Council diplomats said a phrase calling on all sides to “renounce the use of force” had been unacceptable to the Georgians, backed by the United States and the Europeans.

UK Times online:
Mr Saakashvili, a US-educated lawyer who succeeded Eduard Shevardnadze in 2004 and has since tried to align it more closely to the West, compared the Russian action with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and appealed to the outside world to intervene.

“Russia is fighting a war with us in our own territory,” he told CNN as Russian armor rolled into South Ossetia.

“It’s not about Georgia anymore. It’s about America, its values: we are a freedom-loving nation that is right now under attack.


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