Randy Black writes: I would caution Mendo Castro Henriques against putting too much credence in the writings of retired General Odom. The saboutme man (Odom) said in the New York Times in 1999: "Some leaders in Moscow, generals as well as nationalist politicians, may see the war (in Chechnya) as a chance to reassert Russian control over the entire Caucasus. But the economic implications for Russia are devastating. A war of even a few months would cost more money than Russia will get in loans from the International Monetary Fund this year.
Perhaps the war will fizzle out. Maybe the generals will run out of energy and resources. If it continues, however, a prediction Mr. Shevardnadze made in 1993 may prove all the more relevant. Angered that Russia was aiding the secessionist movement in the Abkhazia region of Georgia, he warned Boris Yeltsin that the strategy would backfire, fragmenting the Russian Federation. Soon enough, the Russians lost control of Chechnya. This time, they may risk losing a lot more.
(Russian still controls Chechnya in 2005. Georgia is relatively stable.)
In the fall of 1998, Mr. Odom argued against IMF loans to Russia on the pretext that they could never pay back the loans. (They did, years ahead of schedule)
In his numerous writings, Mr. Odom claims that the USA cannot ever establish any form of democracy in countries it occupies. (Do Germany and Japan come to mind? It occurs to me that the USA continues to occupy both nations and that "forms" of democracy continue to flourish therein.)
Don't misinterpret my comments, I'm simply passing along facts. Mr. Odom is obviously an experienced and smart guy, but like many others, he offers opinions as do psychics. Some of his prognostications hit the mark. Other do not.