Sunday, August 17, 2008


The more I look at the situation in Georgia, the worse it looks. It looks distressingly as though Russia is setting itself up to take over the country: they've destroyed the main cross-country rail line, they're encamped on the major east-west highway, they're 20 miles from the capital. And all this despite the fact that they say they've withdrawn and are observing the brokered ceasefire.

The Economist this week has an excellent briefing article on the situation, The scripted war, which I highly recommend, it gives detailed background on how this all came to be.

And the real problem is: if Russia chooses to go in and take over, and ignore all the remonstrations from the U.S. and the E.U., there's no way to stop them, short of open war. And nobody wants open war with Russia.

The Economist's recommendations run to economic sanctions and public shaming. I hope they work. I hope someone tries them.


  1. This is the clearest evidence, so far, of the disastrous effect which our Iraq adventure has had on our standing among the family of nations. In 2000, if Russia had tried this maneuver, they'd have been shamed by the world community, and THEIR credibility would have been shattered. But now that America no longer can claim a moral right to criticize, we're impotent.

    What's good for the goose.

    It's very frustrating to sit by and watch this happening. Our first impulse is to demand that the Russians get their butts back into Russia. But that's certainly what most of the rest of the world must have felt when we "scripted" OUR invasion of Iraq. Our justifications to the United Nations must have looked just as phony then to them, as Russia's excuses do now to us. Both adventures revealed the respective selfish and dishonest character of the two majors.

    Worst of all, there's no turning back. It will take another 15 to 20 years to build our cred back up to the level that would allow us to express justifiable indignation at territorial aggression(s) like this one.

    The most we can hope for, is that things don't get too far out of hand.

    Will China take back Taiwan; develop "spheres of influence" in Africa and South America? Will Russia re-occupy the Ukraine, Chechnia, the Balkans, Latvia-Lithuania-Estonia? One thing for sure: The U.S. won't have much to say about it if they do. If you had asked a Neo-Conservative if our moral credibility was important when Iraq was being contemplated, they would probably have scoffed; after all, oil is oil. But now they might not be so sure. Every precipitous act has consequences. This is just another tragic effect of the Republican administration's policies of the last 8 years.

    And McCain isn't just a Bush clone. He's his own version of a terrible, uninformed, impulsive, belligerent tyrant, anxious to become the next "war President" who sells his political capital on the open market to the highest bidder.

  2. I wonder if you could argue that, if we had never invaded Iraq, Russia would not have invaded Georgia. Probably not, since the initial aggressor here was Saakashvili, also trying to get back "his" breakaway regions; and I have an evil feeling he barged ahead because some idiot in the Bush state department gave him the idea that we would back him with force.

    I think the best thing Bill Clinton said last night was this:

    People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.