August 11, 2008

"This war did not begin because of a miscalculation by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

"It is a war that Moscow has been attempting to provoke for some time. The man who once called the collapse of the Soviet Union 'the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century' has reestablished a virtual czarist rule in Russia and is trying to restore the country to its once-dominant role in Eurasia and the world. Armed with wealth from oil and gas; holding a near-monopoly over the energy supply to Europe; with a million soldiers, thousands of nuclear warheads and the world's third-largest military budget, Vladimir Putin believes that now is the time to make his move."

Writes Robert Kagan.

125 comments:

Blue Moon said...

Wish I could have heard the conversation between W and Putin.

W: "So, uh, how's the invasion going..."

Putin: "Not bad... I've been meaning to tell you... your surge is looking pretty good right now."

W: "Yeah, well... uh, you know, uh, would have been nice if y'all hadn't invaded Georgia."

Putin: [shrugs] "Hey, these drummers are something huh?"

Stupe said...

Russia has been financially backing Iran for some time.

China is funding North Korea, and we can see evidence their Communist propaganda all over the Olympics broadcast.

Russia and China are the enemies they always were, and detente is a complete illusion put forth, mostly by liberal Democrats who believe in surrender and lie down.

AlphaLiberal said...

Robert Kagan is one of the leading neocons who got us into this morass we are now in in Iraq. he has blood on his hands.

He deserves no credibility.

vbspurs said...

Historians will come to view Aug. 8, 2008, as a turning point no less significant than Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Russia's attack on sovereign Georgian territory marked the official return of history, indeed to an almost 19th-century style of great-power competition, complete with virulent nationalisms, battles for resources, struggles over spheres of influence and territory, and even -- though it shocks our 21st-century sensibilities -- the use of military power to obtain geopolitical objectives. Yes, we will continue to have globalization, economic interdependence, the European Union and other efforts to build a more perfect international order. But these will compete with and at times be overwhelmed by the harsh realities of international life that have endured since time immemorial. The next president had better be ready.

A rather gloomy prediction, flaked with hyperbole about "The Return of History", but one which rings true because of Russian expansionist traditions in their own backyard.

The problem, unlike Chechnya, is that Georgia is much more closely tied to the Russian motherland.

The Sudetenland analogy is problematic, because the Nazis later overran ALL of Czechoslovakia (former provinces of Austria-Hungry, not Germany) and their impetus was ethnic, not regional.

This is actually more like Mexican-American war, where Mexico (irate they lost precious northern territory) invaded us with 2000 soldiers to regain the lost territory of Texas. Previously, Texas had been its own republic, which had established foreign relations with Great Britain, amongst others.

Zachary Taylor, later President, successfully beat the Mexicans back in a stunning victory.

BTW, then Representative Abraham Lincoln voted "no" to the US declaring war on Mexico. His famous words, in challenging the official US line that American blood was shed in an unprovoked attack by the Mexicans, was "show me the spot".

Caveat: He was concerned that Texas would become a slave State.

I don't think any such noble aims guide any politician in this conflict.

Cheers,
Victoria

Blue Moon said...

Pretty funny Stupe - what should be attack first, the oil pipelines in Russia or the factories outside Shanghai that make all the cheap goods we buy at Walmart?

vbspurs said...

Austria-Hungry...time for a Turkey snack.

AlphaLiberal said...

Kagan apologizes for ethnic cleansing: Ethnic cleansing in Iraq is really "neighborhood consolidation."

Randy said...

If there must be a claimed historical parallel, may I suggest The Winter War?

Mojave Joe said...

"Weak Western diplomacy and lack of transatlantic unity failed to prevent an avoidable war. Only strong transatlantic unity can stop this war and begin to repair the immense damage done. Otherwise, we can add one more issue to the growing list of this administration's foreign policy failures."

Asmus and Holbrooke in today's WP.

AlphaLiberal said...

Joe Klein observes the neocon war hysteria is being wound up again:
It's Raining Nazis--Continued

He sums up by saying:
"But it is important, yet again, to call out the endless neoconservative search for new enemies, mini-Hitlers. It is the product of an abstract over-intellectualizing of the world, the classic defect of ideologues. It is, as we have seen the last eight years, a dangerous way to behave internationally. And it has severely damaged our moral authority in the world...I mean, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after Abu Ghraib, after our blithe rubbishing of the Geneva Accords, why should anyone listen to us when we criticize the Russians for their aggression in the Caucasus?"

Stupe said...

According to the Kremlin, it's not a real war until they employ nukes.

This war is nothing but preface and bravado.

Walmart/Globalization is not Detente. And, people are going to find that out when you look outside and see black helicopters aimed in your direction.

In the meantime, keep enjoying the glorified Iron Curtain parade masquerading as an Olympics.

Seven Machos said...

This is a war that marginally affects American interests. Since we have no dog in this fight, the administration has handled it the right way by condemning the aggression.

And so, Blue Moon, that's probably about how the conversation went. What can any American president do when two sovereign nations go to war that the United States doesn't have a vital interest in? I'm sure Obama would use his celebrity status to end the hostilities.

By the way, where are all the war protesters? For such a fascist regime, the Bush administration sure is lenient when it comes to drooling leftist morons making parades.

Seven Machos said...

I saw them black helicopters once when I was huntin'.

Paddy O. said...

Victoria, I don't think the 'return of history' comment is as much hyperbole as a pointed reaction to Fukuyama's 1989 declaration of the end of history as democracy took root:

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

This contention has been struggling of late and no matter how this Georgian war continues I think Kagan has a strong point. It's not so much, of course, the return of history as the re-assertion of history that seems to happen after long periods of peace in which we are lulled into thinking that humanity has actually advanced.

History continues with humanity restrained or unleashed in its brutality. Here in the West we have developed this expectation of restraint even in war that is not in the least shared by other countries such as in Africa or Asia or maybe even those who straddle Europe.

What this becomes is still to be discovered, whether the restraint of the West has, in fact, a potent force that does not depend on full on military response. That's the goal, of course, for Russia to stifle itself, after expected saber rattling.

We hope and pray that many, that Europe, can continue in the illusion of humanity's advance. That means humanity's evil is yet restrained a little long.

Georgia is not at the beginning or at the end of history it seems, but at the crossroads. Democracy is not the final expectation of humanity. It is, instead, the constantly struggled for hope.

Of course, maybe this means a Russia expert might again be necessary in the White House...

Simon said...

My reaction to Kagan's piece is, as I said here, that he begs but doesn't answer a critically important question. He says that "a geopolitical power struggle has emerged between a resurgent and revanchist Russia on one side and the European Union and the United States on the other," but why is the United States on the other side of this supposed power struggle, if indeed there is one? Are we? Should we be? Even if you think the answers to these questions are easy, they're questions that merit conscious consideration. I can't help but wonder why it better serves the interests of the United States - surely the only valid touchstone for American foreign policy - to be at odds with Russia than friends.

AlphaLiberal said...

Robert Kagan quotes:
"It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world."

Robert Kagan, one year after the invasion of Iraq:
"What's more, there are hopeful signs that Iraqis of differing religious, ethnic, and political persuasions can work together. This is a far cry from the predictions made before the war by many, both here and in Europe, that a liberated Iraq would fracture into feuding clans and unleash a bloodbath."


Shortly after the invasion:
"The weapons were there. Someday we'll find them or we'll find out what happened to them. "

"Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find -- and there will be plenty. "

"Can the Bush administration follow its brilliant military campaign in Iraq with a smart political and diplomatic campaign after the war?"

And, now he urging us to get in the middle of this fighting between Georgia and Russia. Listen to Fred Kagan at our peril.

Seven Machos said...

Here's some free advice for Georgia: get some important allies first before you go flouting your huge neighbor. See, e.g., Fidel Castro.

Blue Moon said...

Seven:

Time was that we would have a dog in the fight, he was once a proud, stately, dog. His name was Promoting Democracy Worldwide. Now, he is old, mangy, and we're just hoping he won't poop all over the rug or hump someone's leg in public. When we have nice Chinese and Russian businessmen over for tea and hookers, we don't want the dog to embarass us in front of the nice guests.

vbspurs said...

Paddy, I agree with your statements, and share your earnest prayers.

Just to say that it's conventional wisdom that Fukuyama is now considered the loser to Huntington's winner -- whilst these zero-sum games versus historians are laughable in themselves, perhaps at least for now, that is right.

Well, off to work out. Catch you all later!

Seven Machos said...

Come on, Blue Moon. Know thyself. Were you for the project for democracy in Iraq? No. But now you are for the vital project for democracy in Georgia?

The fact is, you are for whatever would hurt the Bush administration.

A second fact is, these democracies we promote are secondary to a more important thing: American interests. It's really very wonderful, that peaceful, wealthy democracies tend to result when the United States gets involved in other countries. But it is and always has been a byproduct of the promotion of American interests.

And, Moon, just so you know, at the end of the day Democrats are most concerned with American interests, too. They just tend to go about it stupidly.

Simon said...

AlphaLiberal said...
"Robert Kagan quote[]: 'It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world.'"

That's precisely the quote I had in mind but couldn't quite reach - thanks. How can Kagan at once believe this and unquestioningly assume that if "a geopolitical power struggle has emerged between a resurgent and revanchist Russia on one side and the European Union ... on the other," that the United States should automatically be on the side of the latter?

Outis said...

Zachary Taylor, later President, successfully beat the Mexicans back in a stunning victory.

Successful in one sense: We did manage to steal half of Mexico. (And as P. J. O'Rourke has noted, we stole the half with all the paved roads.) In another sense it was the worst war we've ever fought: The casualty percentages were the highest we've ever endured. About one sixth of all our troops died, most from disease.

Incidentally, US Grant, who fought in the Mexican American War thought it an unjust war. He later wrote, "For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory."

Richard Fagin said...

Sen. McCain had it right about Putin. "I look into his eyes and I see a "K", a "G" and a "B."

Outis said...

In any event, what Russia is doing now is no different from what we did in Kosovo: Using ethnic rivalries to carve chunks out of a state we don't like. This kind of ethnic determinism is bad for stability, but no one paid that any mind in 1998.

mark said...

The dog we have in this fight is a Western-aligned and democratic Georgia - one that helps rather than hinders our interests, whether in war on terrorists, regional stability, or energy access. Russia has been looking for a suitable time and place to punish Georgia for all this, and looks like they have found it.

Plus this is payback to the West over Kosovo independence, and a little test of the extent of Russia's energy supplies-based control over Western Europe.

Also don't discount political struggle between Medvedev and Putin, with the latter deciding to show who the top dog is. They are already at odds over faux-judicial attack on a large coal and steel company, Mechel, which Putin would like to take over for his own portfolio.

We aren't going to go to the mat with Russia over this militarily, but kicking Russia out of G8 and other Western institutions is long overdue.

Blue Moon said...

Seven:

Dude, relax. Bush is gone in 6 months. My point is that we used to talk a great game about promoting democracy -- both Dems and the GOP did. But, because we have mortgaged our economic well being to the Chinese, Russians and Saudis, we can't be about the ideals that we used to be about. Could we have done Kosovo in this environment? I don't think so.

Just cuz I'm for Obama doesn't mean that everything I say about Bush is meant as kneejerk criticism. Our hands are tied -- I read today that everytime a new administration takes over there is a hoard of american businessmen telling us to chill out about Taiwan and relax our security guarantees to them. I think it sucks, but this is the world we live in.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

Fair enough Blue Moon. My apologies.

Mark -- Georgia is a NATO applicant. Why hasn't it been accepted?

Trooper York said...

Since the Russians gave up being commies and left it to college professors and the Democratic party who cares if they take over a bunch of pissant countries. Let’s cut a deal and make an exception for Poland and the Czechs and let those rock and roll Russian gangsters take over the rest of that disgusting fucking European Union. Who does it hurt? Not us. Our future is in the Pacific. Let ‘em rot. Let Russia duke it out and nuke it out with those crazy ayatollahs. In fact I would pay to see them take over France. That would be cool.

Blue Moon said...

Seven:

Because our european "friends" are afraid to antagonize Russia I believe. Sure would hate to see what would happen if Russia was antagonized.

Seven Machos said...

I'm not here to defend the pussies who head up the EU. However, I do note that the very existence of the entity antagonizes Russia.

The Drill SGT said...

This is a serious matter for the US, but critical for the EU and they are gutless B-Crats. Putin wants to crush Georgia, and install a puppet regime. That has 2 consequences.

1. It puts the "fear of the bear" back into the countries of Eastern Europe and demonstrates to them that the US is a feckless ally.

2. It puts a strangle hold on EU energy imports. Their primary sources were the Russians and a single non-russion pipline that runs through Georgia.

If the world is going to do something, the EU has to get some backbone. If the US tries to lead this, it's Cowboy Bush time again. We don't have any immediate critical national interest here, just support for Democracy. The EU has a critical interest and they will use their useless "soft power" stuff and "hard diplomacy" (shades of Obama) it will fail miserably.

when putin destroys democracy in Georgia and he will, he will next turn to the Poles and the Czechs to get them to rethink the missle defense agreement. Next it's Ukraine where he will oust the government there, then on to the Baltic republics

Bad time for the world, disaster for the EU, not so hot for the US and a potential game changer for the US election.

LarsPorsena said...

"Successful in one sense: We did manage to steal half of Mexico.

Phooey!!! Mexico didn't own anything..it belonged to the Indians. We beat them (Mexicans) for the right to fight another series of campaigns against the Commanche, Kiowa, Apache, et al.

As for the casualites, they are in line for any war of that duration during the first half of the 19th century.(see Crimea, Amer. Civil War)
As for the Grant quote..at Appomatox his ice-breaker with Lee was to chit-chat about the good old days of the Mexican campaign.

Grant didn't lose any sleep over his days under Winfield Scott,

Sloanasaurus said...

Kagan is right, this is a serious situation and one that we need to take a stand on. We need to support these democracies not give them up. We can start by sending weapons to Georgia so she can defend herself. If we don't, the Ukraine and the baltic countries will be next.

We need real leadership from the west, someone to call Russia what it has become - an aggressive evil dictatorship. Who will do it? Will Bush? Maybe McCain. Obama is hiding under a rock.

SteveR said...

Now that Sen. Obama has put an end to race baiting, it seems that calling someone a "neocon" is the easiest way to claim the moral high ground.

Seven Machos said...

I am also not here to defend Putin. However, time will tell if he is out to install a puppet regime or merely prevent Georgia from ruling disputed territory. If his aims are what he says his aims are, and nothing more, then Russia has a non-illegitimate national beef.

Richard Dolan said...

Stories like this show the lefties at their idiotic worst. You see that here in the chortling of those who imagine that the story is about Bush and his supposed failures. A variation on that theme is offered by Joe Klein, helpfully quoted by AlphaL: "after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after Abu Ghraib, after our blithe rubbishing of the Geneva Accords, why should anyone listen to us when we criticize the Russians for their aggression in the Caucasus?"

The "anyone" Klein is referring to is just himself and people who think like him. Putin, for one, could not care less about Abu Ghraib, except perhaps to wonder at the foolishness of those who see it as some watershed event in the history of torture (a subject about which Putin & Co. knows a thing or two).

In the same vein, Holbrooke suggests that "[o]nly strong transatlantic unity can stop this war and begin to repair the immense damage done." Perhaps he means "stop it" in the same way that "strong transatlantic unity" has stopped, say, the Iranians from pursuing a bomb. Holbrooke's use of Russia's attack on Georgia to mount his own pathetic and gratuitous attack on Bush must be his idea of how one goes about improving his chances of being O's Sec'y of State. (The sad truth is that Holbrooke may well be right.)

Putin is a thug -- a skill he learned well in the KGB -- and couldn't care less about "strong transatlantic unity." Indeed, if it had any substance behind it, he would quite plainly regard it as a strategic threat. Having taken the Europeans' measure in Kosovo/Bosnia in the '90s and Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan more recently, he knows that the European end of "strong transatlantic unity" is all talk, no action. Nor, given the Europeans' dependence on Russian oil and gas, need Putin worry about economic sanctions or pressure, which in all events the Europeans would not invoke.

Putin has his own agenda, for himself and Russia, and means to accomplish both. Like the Iranians, he might respond to pressure, but "strong transatlantic unity" of the diplomatic sort isn't the sort of pressure that will stop him from doing what he intends to do any more than it has the Iranians. Without the possibility that his intransigence will be met with unacceptable costs, there is no chance that Putin will be dissuaded from pursuing the desired end, which seems to be a subjugated Georgia reduced (at best) to the status of Russian vassal state.

I doubt that, in the short run, there is any way to force Putin to stop the attack on Georgia. Bush is in no position to do anything about it on his own; the Europeans are incapable of taking action; and the only other possible player (the Turks) hvae their own agenda in the Transcaucasus. Of course the Russian agression should be condemned in the strongest terms, and it would a scandal in itself if "strong transatlantic unity" on the diplomatic front were not forthcoming to condemn the Russian action. But it is an insult to one's intelligence to suggest that a diplomatic gab-fest, unsupported by the realistic possibility of sanctions or worse, will get the Russians to pull back or could have persuaded Putin not to launch this adventure in the first place.

Seven Machos said...

P.S. -- I don't see the need for American involvement. There are some parallels with Taiwan here, just for example, but the United States had a great deal to do with causing Taiwan. We owe it to that nation for historical reasons to defend it.

The same cannot be said for Georgia. At all.

Trooper York said...

"It puts the "fear of the bear" back into the countries of Eastern Europe and demonstrates to them that the US is a feckless ally."

No, it should put "fear of the bear" back into those cheese eating surrender monkeys’ hearts and maybe they will shut up and kiss our ass like they should. America has no permanent allies, only permanent interests. Screw the Frogs and the Krauts, they were never dependable allies. Let's cut a deal with the Bear and take care of our real friends like Poland and the Czechs and the Bulgarians. The ones that stood with us when we needed them. Not the ones that pissed and moaned and protested the "Great Satan." You know those countries where those poor tourists had to pretend to be Canadians. The rest of those euroweenies can go fuck themselves.

Seven Machos said...

Trooper York is my fucking hero.

The Drill SGT said...

7M said...However, time will tell if he is out to install a puppet regime or merely prevent Georgia from ruling disputed territory. If his aims are what he says his aims are, and nothing more

You must have missed these points:

1. they rolled 150 tanks into Georgia. Thats a Russian Tnk Division

2. They invaded the other breakaway province and have almost cut Georgia off from the Sea.

3. They bombed the Capital and the airport there. The same one we are flying into, bringing the 2,000 Georgians home from Iraq

4. The Russian UN guy has demanded that the democratically elected Georgian President step down and a "caretaker" government be formed. "Lublin Poles" anyone?

EnigmatiCore said...

AlphaLiberal,

Other than disliking the author of your article, is your point that Georgia had it coming to them?

Trooper York said...

“Putin is a thug -- a skill he learned well in the KGB -- and couldn't care less about "strong transatlantic unity." Indeed, if it had any substance behind it, he would quite plainly regard it as a strategic threat. Having taken the Europeans' measure in Kosovo/Bosnia in the '90s and Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan more recently, he knows that the European end of "strong transatlantic unity" is all talk, no action.”

Absolutely right. He is a bizness man who will be happy to cut a deal where he gets what he wants. They aren’t commies anymore, they are gangsters. Cut up the pie and tell him:"you can dip your beak but these Polack here...hey these guys are with us. They are friends of ours. But those scumbags with the berets and those big mouths Gunther Grass tin drum lederhosen muthafuckers, hey knock yourself out.

Blue Moon said...

Re Trooper: I was studied abroad in the early 90's and NEVER did I understand the cowards amongst my fellow countrymen that put the maple leaf on their backpacks. If they hate you solely because you are american, then why do want them to like you in the first place?

EnigmatiCore said...

"after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after Abu Ghraib, after our blithe rubbishing of the Geneva Accords, why should anyone listen to us when we criticize the Russians for their aggression in the Caucasus?"

After listening to you criticize the US for everything under the sun, why are you now defending Russia rather than criticizing it? Is it because of their stellar record when it comes to human rights and their history of peace and love and general all-around cuddliness?

Seven Machos said...

Drill Sarge -- well, there you go. I'm wrong. Still, there's not a lot the United States can do.

The Drill SGT said...

Let's cut a deal with the Bear and take care of our real friends like Poland and the Czechs and the Bulgarians.

Trooper, while I like some of your post, where would you stack the Georgians as friends knowing that their 2,000 soldiers were the 3rd largest force in the Iraq MNF.

PS: OT: Stalin was a Georgian

PPS: Mark had it right up thread. Payback for Clinton/Bush on Kosovo

Seven Machos said...

Come on, whatever this is, it's not payback to the United States. This is Russia invading a country for Russia's Russian reasons.

I hate this psychobabble stuff. It's like the idea that Bush invaded Iraq to prove to his father how tough he is. No. That's Oliver Stone crazy.

Get a-hold of yourselves, people. This is just a war.

Trooper York said...

You are right Drill Sgt. We have to stand by those guys. So like I said lets make it right. It was like when Feech Lammana stole all the cars from the wedding guests of the dentist guy in Tony Soprano's card game. Feech was just like the Russians. Tony said "look he's with us. Give him back his car and you can have the rest." Lets do some reapolitek here and make a trade. Let him leave the Georgians alone and we will give him France, Germany, the Dutch, those nasty Scandis and I will even throw in Manny Rameriez.

The Drill SGT said...

Interesting thought. Heard anything from Cindy Sheehan, ANSWER, and the rest of the "anti-war" Left?

Oh, it's only US wars that are immoral? Commie wars are just actions by the State in defense of the People?

Trooper York said...

PS: OT: Stalin was a Georgian

So did Jimmy Carter. All the big time commies come from there.

Seven Machos said...

Can you imagine the Russian Cindy Sheehan? Camping out beside Putin's dacha?

Hilarious.

But don't worry, anti-war protesters. You are so brave. You are speaking truth to power.

Trooper York said...

That's right. I want to see Susan Sarradon waving her tits outside the Russian embassy toot sweet.

blake said...

Don't we all?

madawaskan said...

However -- just as at NATO, which has scheduled talks with Russia for Tuesday -- those discussions are likely to be complicated by Germany's reluctance to endanger its strong commercial ties with Russia.

Germany is already Russia's number one trading partner, with an annual turnover of $53 billion (34 billion euros). Germany also depends on Russia for oil and gas, and the countries are building a joint pipeline for future deliveries under the Baltic Sea.

Around 4,500 German companies have set up shop in Russia and constitute a key part of the economic relationship between the two nations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had planned to travel to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday for talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Those talks had been scheduled before the current round of fighting erupted.

www.dw-world.de

Well grrreeeaaat here is the German "stance"....

Trooper York said...

It's a wide stance.

Revenant said...

why is the United States on the other side of this supposed power struggle, if indeed there is one? Are we?

That's an easy one: we're in NATO. Things that threaten NATO members are automatically our problem, whether we'd like them to be or not. If Putin has imperial aims (and he does), that means there's a very real risk of the United States getting dragged into a European war again. Basically, we have to be involved in checking Russian ambition if only to make sure that it doesn't eventually overstep itself and trigger a NATO war.

Should we be? Even if you think the answers to these questions are easy, they're questions that merit conscious consideration.

The question of whether or not we ought to be in NATO is a good one, and one I wish we WOULD have. I disagree strongly with the Clinton and Bush strategy of bringing more and more nations into NATO; in my opinion, we should be looking to leave it ourselves. I don't know about you, but I don't see the value in being legally obligated to war with Russia over, say, Estonian independence.

Steven said...

The logistics of armored warfare (especially in the case of the Russian armed forces) are such that Russia had to start taking operational actions to invade Georgia prior to August 6th in order to roll the fifty tanks in that they did on the 8th. Which is to say, Russia was in the physical process of invading Georgia before any of Georgia's "provocations" in South Ossetia. Russia had planned to invade Georgia on August 8th long before any of its "peacekeepers" were harmed (if, indeed, any actually were).

The real Georgian "provocation" that resulted in this attack was getting a promise of future NATO membership back on April 16th of this year. That put pressure on Russia to resolve the situation in their own favor before Georgia would actually be behind the NATO security umbrella. Mid-April to early August would have been sufficient time to move assets properly and update invasion plans. August 8th specifically was probably chosen because many key world leaders would be in China, both jet-lagged and distant from their key security advisers.

With that in mind, it is highly likely that Georgian spies in North Ossetia got wind of the Russian preparations, and Georgia attempted to seize South Ossetia so they could shut down the invasion route (a relatively easily blocked road through the mountains). It was the best chance Georgia had of keeping its independence. In practice, it seems the odds were a bit too long; it turned out to be beyond Georgian capabilities to seize South Ossetia fast enough to preempt the Russian invasion.

Now, what can we actually do about this? Nothing. Georgia, as a practical matter, is Russia's to do with as it wishes, since there is no Western interest strong enough to justify war with Russia. Economic sanctions at best will be symbolic, because Europe will still need to import Russian natural gas.

The strongest reaction available would be to bring Ukraine into NATO before the end of the month; a trilateral Poland-US-Ukraine defense treaty would be second. If neither of those, then there is an implicit grant to Russia of the "near abroad" as its sphere of influence, and we can expect to see Russia's neighbors turned into satellites.

Whether that is something to be avoided or not is, of course, a policy question. Leaving Ukraine out to dry while taking concrete action to reinforce our commitment to the Baltics is a strategically sound solution; it all depends on how much we consider ourselves morally committed to Ukranian democracy.

(A failure to concretely reinforce the Baltics would bring our commitment to NATO into question, and would seriously weaken the United States internationally. Whether or not expansion of NATO to the Baltics was wise, we're stuck with it.)

madawaskan said...

Well ya...
Straddle this Merkel-

NATO or you in or are yunes out?

Seems like they're all for it when it's convenient.

France-I think Sarkozy might be better than the old Mitterand.

They've been doing some good things in Djibouti

Outis said...

Mexico didn't own anything..it belonged to the Indians. We beat them (Mexicans) for the right to fight another series of campaigns against the Commanche, Kiowa, Apache, et al.

Ah, so you are in favor of ethnic determinism. When Mexico starts reclaiming those lands what will you say then?

As for the casualites, they are in line for any war of that duration during the first half of the 19th century.

And you think that is a good thing? Incidentally, both the Crimean War and the US Civil War took place in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. Hell, even the much-maligned Wikipedia gets that much correct.

As for the Grant quote..at Appomatox his ice-breaker with Lee was to chit-chat about the good old days of the Mexican campaign.

Yeah, there's nothing so much fun as discussing the time one in six of your men died from disease. Fun for the whole family!

Trooper York said...

"A failure to concretely reinforce the Baltics would bring our commitment to NATO into question, and would seriously weaken the United States internationally. Whether or not expansion of NATO to the Baltics was wise, we're stuck with it."

I thought we were already so hated in the rest of the world that nothing we could do would matter? Didn't President Bush destroy our standing amongst all those fine upstanding socialist cheese eating monkeys so that an American can't hold his head up anymore? We can't get their esteem back by going to war now can we? I mean it's not like they have something we need. Yeah, yeah Georgia has oil and all, but NO WAR FOR OIL. And if the tanks keep rolling into Berlin and Paris, well so what? They all know better then we do anyway. We have plenty of pastry chefs and dancing masters. They really don't have anything we want. Let's get our people out of there and close our bases in Germany and what not. It is just too big an imposition on those peace loving euroweenies.

Let the last American army guy out of Europe close the lights and let them figure it out down there in Brussels. (Where Brussels sprouts came from, those bastards).

TitusCrossmen said...

This was Bill Clinton's fault.

Also, George Bush looked in Putins eyes and saw a good guy. So if saw a good guy I am ok with it.

But we obviously need to attack. I am ready. Lets bring it on. I am getting a hard on just thinking about it.

Fred Kagan is fat and not very attractive but other than that...love him.

Revenant said...

Ah, so you are in favor of ethnic determinism. When Mexico starts reclaiming those lands what will you say then?


Something along the lines of "how the hell did we lose a war to MEXICO?".

Paddy O. said...

"This is Russia invading a country for Russia's Russian reasons."

Spot on.

Russia is making a go of it when they can. Kosovo isn't the cause, it's a justification for what history has always included.

Big countries like to swallow up little countries. Good big countries then let the smaller countries lead themselves after an election. Bad big countries like to claim that the land invaded was always historically part of the big country.

veblenschild said...

as obama's mentor used to say "SMASH ON VICTORY-EATING RED ARMY"

madawaskan said...

Troop-

Ya but what about those pesky Brits?

And actually the Eastern Europeans show promise...

We were in the process of pulling up stakes in Germany and moving out that way anyways-which if you listen to the press -probably forced the russians to attack a sovreign nation...

Trooper York said...

As a Irishman, I have to say that perfidious Albion will take care of itself. They invented the "Great Game" and they know how it is played.

They just went from a king to a pawn. Tough tittie as they say in the Pamela Anderson video.

(actually it's rubber titty but you know what I mean).

Middle Class Guy said...

I'm with Trooper. I will add that we should only support countries that have great food, good people, and make good booze, beer, and wine. The French are vastly overrated on all accounts and they stole most of their classics from other cultures anyway. Who ever heard of Georgian food? The Russians have good food and Vodka. They like to eat, drink, and have a good time. What is wrong with that? All those Georgians know how to do is drill for oil. They don't bathe often either.

Those Georgians have been provoking this for sometime so let them get run over. Putin and company can also run over a few other countries while he is at it.

madawaskan said...

Trooper-

Ya I know what that means but I'm off to go google "albion".

Hopefully I don't end up where I tend end up after googling some reference of yours-

Tai swear words or old porn actresses ...

mark said...

Seven,
Regarding Georgia's NATO application - Germany was strongly against it. Can you guess which German ex-chancellor is a handsomely compensated advisor to (or maybe even on the board of) Gasprom? Can you guess which Russian president is the chairman of that board?

mark said...

Who ever heard of Georgian food? The Russians have good food and Vodka. They like to eat, drink, and have a good time.

Actually, the best Russian food comes from Georgia. If you've never been invited home "to meet mama" (s mamoi poznakomlyu) in Georgia, you don't know what good food, drink, and good time are. Come to think of it, maybe that's why Russians invaded..

But bombing residential sections and appartment buildings won't get them invited "to meet mama."

The Drill SGT said...

Steven is correct.

The Russians don't attack anybody from a standing start. Their logistics model looks like a snake. Coil up, fix everything, overload on fuel and ammo, strike, strike, strike, out of stuff? coil up and restock, repeat till done.

Simon said...

mark said...
"Can you guess which Russian president is the chairman of th[e Gazprom] board?"

Actually, I can't, seeing as how the Chairman of the Gazprom board is Viktor Zubkov, who has never been President of Russia.

P. Rich said...

"That's right. I want to see Susan Sarradon [sic] waving her tits outside the Russian embassy toot sweet."

No doubt she would be invited in for some vodka, caviar and a nookie fest in the back room on an army cot with the entire security apparat. She would enjoy the experience. Hollywood would make a film memorializing the brave deed. She would receive a Woman of the People (aka Academy) Award. Life would be good in Lala land. Althouse could take pictures of the mid-town tunnel and make cutting comparisons. OK. Better stop now.

Crimso said...

"I don't know about you, but I don't see the value in being legally obligated to war with Russia over, say, Estonian independence."

No, but you can damned well bet that the Euros see the value in the US having such an obligation.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If there must be a claimed historical parallel, may I suggest The Winter War?

Pergaps however, the Finns did a pretty good job of tearing the Red Army a new asshole even though they ended up having to agree to a negotiated peace treaty and giving up a chunk of territory.

Georgia on the other hand is crying uncle after 2 days and there isn't a whole lot stopping the Russians from taking Tbilisi if they want to. I won't be the least surprised if they do and either demand or simply do a regime change for Georgia. Its not like we or anyone else is going to do anything.

LarsPorsena said...

"Steven is correct.

The Russians don't attack anybody from a standing start. Their logistics model looks like a snake. Coil up, fix everything, overload on fuel and ammo, strike, strike, strike, out of stuff? coil up and restock, repeat till done.

Yep!!
This also means the our national intelligence agencies missed the signs. Not reassuring at all.

Seven Machos said...

Mark -- You make my point. All of this is a European thing, between Russia and Georgia, and, if you want, Germany.

Sad -- especially in light of Georgia's commitment to the War in Iraq -- but certainly not our issue militarily. It seems like the political leadership in Georgia made a series of unwise decisions.

Paddy O. said...

It seems like the political leadership in Georgia made a series of unwise decisions.

Chief of which was remaining next to Russia. Never a good policy historically.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But, because we have mortgaged our economic well being to the Chinese, Russians and Saudis, we can't be about the ideals that we used to be about. Could we have done Kosovo in this environment? I don't think so.


Why not? Kosovo wasn't bordering Russia, we were trading with the Chinese back then too and even bombed the shit out of their embassy for good measure too. If you remember, the Chinese and Russians vehemently protested Clinton's illegal war and he just flipped them the bird while he attacked a sovereign nation that posed no imminent threat to the US.

Are you suggesting that if our 'economic well being' wasn't mortaged to the Chicoms, Russians (that's a new one) and Saudis, that we'd be flying sorties over Georgia? If not military action, what makes you think Putin/Medevev wouldn't flip the bird to Bush the same way Clinton did over Kosovo?

Revenant said...

It seems like the political leadership in Georgia made a series of unwise decisions.

That assumes that there's something Georgia could have done to avoid being invaded. I'm not sure what that would have been.

Steven said...

Trooper York --

I didn't say anything about moral authority because it's the sort of argument that's hard to prove. I addressed credibility, by which I meant pure power-politics "demonstrated willingness to use force to defend declared interests". None of Stalin's crimes hurt the USSR's credibility on issues like whether he'd fight to keep Poland in the Soviet orbit, nor did Jim Crow make anybody doubt our willingness to defend France from the Red Army.

Now, given that:

Georgia was not explicitly under U.S. protection, so our credibility is not as much on the line as it would be in the Baltics. Further, there is no practical way for the U.S. to intervene short of threatening nuclear war. There's pretty much no way to extract a good ending from such a threat. So, Georgia is a write-off, in practical terms.

(Why are our options so limited? The Russian Black Sea Fleet means any assistance to Georgia would have to go overland via Turkey, and thus Turkey gets to decide what Georgia gets. How much provocation is Turkey willing to give Russia? I don't have a good idea. But whatever gets to Georgia will be decided by Turkey's evaluation of Turkey's interests, not the U.S.'s opinion of what should happen in Georgia.)

That brings us to Ukraine. If we extend a formal guarantee to Ukraine, then we are saying, "Sure, we can't do anything about Georgia, but that doesn't mean we're declaring the Near Abroad as a whole Russia's private sandbox." If we don't, we are saying, "We might huff and puff about it, but the Near Abroad is Russia's sphere of influence, and we aren't getting involved."

The later message, however, might be considered to include the Baltics, which were annexed to the USSR even though we never recognized the annexation. But in the Baltics, we have official commitments. If we even appear to be backing down on that, we will be probed everywhere else we have commitments, to see if we "really" mean them, and that will be expensive at the least and bloody at worst. So if we appear to back down in the slightest in the Baltics, it will hurt us everywhere.

So, if we do effectively cede the Near Abroad to Russia as a sphere of influence, we still have to do something to make it clear the Baltics are not included . . . . or else the U.S. winds up getting battered around the edges, expensively.

That's all minus any moral content or consideration, like keeping promises or upholding democracy or the rest. Not that morality isn't an important consideration; it's just that we've spent the last three thousand years proving debates about moral questions don't produce universally-accepted answers.

So:

1) Russia deliberately invaded Georgia in an act of premeditated aggression, independent of any recent Georgian provocations.

2) There is nothing the U.S. can really do about #1.

3) The U.S. will either follow up by doing something that indicates we are not hanging the Baltics out to dry, or else the U.S. will face a thousand small but collectively troublesome attacks as our commitments are probed.

garage mahal said...

That assumes that there's something Georgia could have done to avoid being invaded. I'm not sure what that would have been.

Not invade South Ossetia by force knowing you be crushed?

Revenant said...

Not invade South Ossetia by force knowing you be crushed?

How exactly does one go about "invading" one's own country? South Ossetia is an internationally recognized part of Georgia. If we sent troops into Texas to put down an insurrection, would that be an "invasion"?

P. Rich said...

Send in a couple of SEAL team and 100 Spec Ops guys including a dozen snipers or so. Then do a fly-over with B-2s, carpet bombing the Russian colums with those cute distributed munitions we used on Iraqui tanks. They'd never even detect the planes. Take out everyone over the rank of Lt. (or Russian equivalent). They'd be pleading to surrender in a week. That's a WW II military they have, and an inferior one at that.

Cedarford said...

Seven Machos said...
Fair enough Blue Moon. My apologies.
Mark -- Georgia is a NATO applicant. Why hasn't it been accepted?


Because most of Europe told the American neocons that they wanted no part of a comittment to fight and die for a nation in the Russian sphere of interest with aggressive land claims against autonomous areas inhabited by Russian citizens.
Thus, Georgian membership in NATO was veto'd by Germany in the lead with other NATO nations hardly accepting the neocon's postition - and membership will be veto'd in the future, assuming the Russians do not install Putin's puppet as the new leader after Saakashvili's disastrous decision to start a war.

================

Revenent - "I don't know about you, but I don't see the value in being legally obligated to war with Russia over, say, Estonian independence."

Estonia is a bad example. It was never part of the Russian Empire until recent times, same with Poland - while Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine were for centuries. The former were historically independent from Russia, the latter, part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union and certainly in the Russian sphere of interest..

George Wahington warned us of entangling foreign alliances of the sort that swept Europe through interlocking committments obligating war when national interests had no such imperative - into the WWI slaughterhouse. Or Britain and France foolishly obligating themselves into war over Polish control of the German city of Danzig. "We gambled that Hitler would back down." "We Germans gambled that WWII would be prevented when you failed to war over a matter of Danzig because it was not a vital interest...then you did declare WWII started and we had no choice but to fight 100% for victory..."

Fortunately, the main European players have learned caution more than the American neocon saber-wavers who want young men, none from neocon families - to die for their vision of aggressive Westernizing right through Russia's sphere of interest in former Soviet, Russian Empire States - right up to Russia's borders.

Seven Machos said...

You mentioned those dastardly neocons, Cedar. Good. That's a good start. But, really, isn't international Jewry also to blame? That's your calling card, after all.

Trooper York said...

Steven I really respect your measured and insightful analysis of this matter. All of what you say is very true.

But since I specialize in insane ranting and jocularity, I ask you this question: So what?

All those euroweenies want is for the United States to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. The Bear was sleeping and they thought they could harangue us and tell us to go screw. That we were cowboys. That we didn’t understand the nuances. That there was a global test of worthiness that we are failing. That we should work thought the United Nations. Use sanctions. Send Inspectors. Blah, blah, blah, so forth and so on.

But the Bear woke up and started knocking over the garbage cans and now he’s looking at the picture window in the TV room.

I say you know what? Let’s try it their way. Let’s listen to the impassioned please of Hollywood himbos like George Clooney and commie professors in their corduroy jackets with the elbow patches. NO WAR FOR GEORGIAN OIL. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE.

The Russians will deal if we put it to them right. They are gangsters. They know the rule is might make right. They won’t screw around if we tell them certain things are important. It’s just that those goddamn euroweeines are not. We don’t have to get into with the Russkie’s to save their sorry asses. Let ‘em role those tanks all the way to the English Channel. Those Russkies gangsters want the same stuff we want. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. We should just make a deal with them. We can be the Cowboys here in the Western Hemisphere. The Chinese can have Asia. And the Russkie’s can be the Cowboyski’s out there in weenie land.

And the French and the Germans and the Dutch and the bureaucrats in Brussels can roll up that nuance it stick it right up their ass.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Not invade South Ossetia by force knowing you be crushed?

Well said garage, well said. I mean the stupidty of Saakashvili think that he could exercise control over his own country. Just like a dumbass girl dressing like a slut and getting gangbanged. What did she think was going to happen to her?

Seven Machos said...

Another thing I want to add: in the run-up to the Iraq War, and since if I recall correctly, we've seen Europeans by the thousands protest our war.

Where are the protests against this war? Come on, dudes. This is an easy one. Russia isn't even a bunch of commies set out to perfect the world. The astoundingly wrong and stupid way you characterize American capitalism? They actually have that kind of economic and political system over there.

Get off your pimply asses International Answer! The world needs you now.

The Drill SGT said...

All those euroweenies want is for the United States to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. The Bear was sleeping and they thought they could harangue us and tell us to go screw. That we were cowboys. That we didn’t understand the nuances. That there was a global test of worthiness that we are failing. That we should work thought the United Nations. Use sanctions. Send Inspectors. Blah, blah, blah, so forth and so on.

Trooper in his classic method captures why all this may be a disaster for the EU and Obama. That "Soft Power plus Hard Diplomacy hasn't phased the Koreans, or the Iranians, or the Russkies. One could argue that McCain was wrong on Iraq, but got the surge right, but who cares declare victory and pull out. After all, if the situation was so good, who needs a ballsy POTUS anyway.

So now it's 3 AM like Hillary said... and the phone rang. Obama blew the call, McCain looks presidential, and Obama looks like the rookie he is, and hard diplomacy is going to find a KGB guy running Georgia by the end of next week. McCain is going to be running "Bear in the Woods" ads and American voters are going to remember why a POTUS matters and why speeches to 200,000 Krauts who want to sell the Georgians out for some barrels of Russkie Oil don't keep the bear safely in the woods and not in your kitchen opening up the meat tray.

The Russians rather than Maliki may be electing the Next President. His memorable line doesn't sound like a Bush third term.

I looked into Putin's eyes and I saw three letters, K...G...B!

expect to see that ad running by Friday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAVlaIJWP-Q

The Drill SGT said...

For the lazy

Simon said...

Quoth Putin, on America seemingly siding with Georgia: "The cold war has long ended but the mentality of the cold war has stayed firmly in the minds of several US diplomats. It is a real shame." Discuss.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Trooper in his classic method captures why all this may be a disaster for the EU and Obama.

Maybe but I've seen enough comments in the last few days on how this would have never happened if McBushitlerburton hadn't squadered all our goodwill by invading Iraq. I'm quite sure Bambi and Co. will be doing their damndest to spin it that way too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Simon sayeth:The cold war has long ended but the mentality of the cold war has stayed firmly in the minds of several US diplomats. It is a real shame." Discuss.

President George Bush: How the hell could Putin be so stupid? I said I saw his soul in his eyes and he celebrates by shooting up Georgia. Is the man deranged? And where the hell is he? In the old days if a Russian dictator did something that embarrassing he'd have a good sense to defect. Christ, I miss the Cold War.
(Bejing Royale, 2006)

ricpic said...

Our rulers can't be bothered to stop the Mexican invasion but they're hot to trot to tell Russia, a nuclear power, how to conduct itself in its backyard? Sheesh!

Randy said...

Senator Obama continues to be lucky. The 3AM phone call came while he was on vacation. If his luck holds, the dirty little war will have ended, the democratically elected government of Georgia overthrown, and his foreign policy advisers singing from the same page in the song book before he returns so that he can play "would've-could've-should've" with some semblance of believability. He won't have that excuse once he's President of the United States, but, hey, on-the-job training is what it's all about. The hokey pokey, indeed.

Seven Machos said...

I disagree that Obama is lucky. What he seems to be promising is something on the verge of Warren G. Harding, only in the happy and calm future. The more people see that there are very serious foreign policy issues on the horizon, the more they will gravitate to someone who knows what he is doing.

garage mahal said...

How exactly does one go about "invading" one's own country? South Ossetia is an internationally recognized part of Georgia. If we sent troops into Texas to put down an insurrection, would that be an "invasion"?


South Ossetia is nothing like Texas.

Saakashvili is either stupidest leader of a country you could have, or he was told he would receive support. Now both Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be forever lost to Georgia.

Revenant said...

South Ossetia is nothing like Texas.

South Ossetia is part of Georgia, under Georgian sovereignty. Texas is part of the United States, under US sovereignty. The parallel is obvious.

Now both Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be forever lost to Georgia.

They would have anyway. Putin invaded because he wanted the territory. He guessed, correctly, that we wouldn't fight to defend Georgia; NATO sent that signal quite clearly when it denied Georgia membership. Blaming Saakashvili is silly; he just had the misfortune of being in charge of Georgia when Russia decided to invade.

Randy said...

Now both Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be forever lost to Georgia.

At the moment, it appears that Georgia is lost to Georgia.

As to the other, Saakashvili is either..., he well could be the former but it is just as likely that he will either be dead or in prison in Moscow within the week.

Randy said...

Blaming Saakashvili is silly; he just had the misfortune of being in charge of Georgia when Russia decided to invade.

Precisely. Any excuse would have done and this one has done well indeed.

Simon said...

Revenant said...
"South Ossetia is part of Georgia, under Georgian sovereignty."

Given that "[a] part of it has been de facto independent from Georgia since it declared independence as the Republic of South Ossetia early in the 1990s," aren't you begging the question of what it means to be under Georgian sovereignty? Paging HLA Hart...

garage mahal said...

Saakashvili dispatched an ill-prepared military in an all out attempt to resolve a dispute in a disputed territory by force. Russia's response was illegal and brutal, my point is he knew that response would be coming, and immediate, and stupidly engaged anyway.

Randy said...

Saakashvili dispatched an ill-prepared military in an all out attempt to resolve a dispute in a disputed territory by force.

Did he now? Is that a fact?

Russia's response was illegal and brutal, my point is he knew that response would be coming, and immediate, and stupidly engaged anyway.

That's probably true, although it is not yet clear that he had a choice in the matter. A good case could be made that the Russians seized on the latest in a series of minor disputes instigated by Ossetian separatists to bring about that which has happened.

Randy said...

The more people see that there are very serious foreign policy issues on the horizon, the more they will gravitate to someone who knows what he is doing.

Don't you think most people will think "Thank God we're not going to war with the #2 nuclear power in the world over some tiny country I've never heard of?"

rcocean said...

"Right here let me make as vigorous a plea as I know how in favor of saying nothing that we do not mean, and of acting without hesitation up to whatever we say. A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far.” If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power. In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting, and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words, his position becomes absolutely contemptible. So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power." - Teddy Roosevelt.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

Now General Sherman knew how to deal with Georgians. He burned and pillaged his way through Georgia until he got to Savannah. There he found good food, good booze good architecture, and people who liked fine living. He let them be.

Middle Class Guy said...

Sherman never got to burn and pillage Plains though. Pity. A lot of grief could have been saved in the future.

vbspurs said...

his foreign policy advisers singing from the same page in the song book before he returns so that he can play "would've-could've-should've" with some semblance of believability.

Randy wins the thread.

blake said...

Don't you think most people will think "Thank God we're not going to war with the #2 nuclear power in the world over some tiny country I've never heard of?"

I think most people have heard of Georgia. It was in that Beatles song. Plus, the lights went out there one night, I've heard.

losergrrl said...

Someone should rate modern wars like movies, perhaps 5 stars.

The Iraq War gets one star. Terrible direction, and it's far too long.

The Faulkland War gets five stars! THAT was a war! Who knew a Victorian period piece would be so successful? Bravo!

I give this little Georgian War three stars. It's another period piece. But if you're going to have European civilians fleeing an invading army, for goodness sakes, have them in cloth caps and shawls jammed on a poplar-lined road with carts, donkeys and bicycles. And you really should have Focke-Wolfs and Messerschmidts buzzing them. The cinematography is terrible, too. Everyone knows that refugees flee in grainy black-and-white. The Dictator responsible also must have a proper moustache, and not be some clean-shaven Gollum look-alike. Nevertheless, this looks to be a tolerable summer entertainment. History buffs will be especially pleased, except, of course, for the inauthentic costumes and make-up

Fen said...

AlphaLiberal: Joe Klein observes the neocon war hysteria is being wound up again:
It's Raining Nazis--Continued. He sums up by saying:
"But it is important, yet again, to call out the endless neoconservative search for new enemies, mini-Hitlers -


Typical. I don't know why I expected these pages to be filled with outrage from the "anti-war" Left. They're still playing with their BDS toys. What a bunch of posers.

Fen said...

Don't you think most people will think "Thank God we're not going to war... over some tiny country I've never heard of?"

Like the Sudetenland?

Revenant said...

Given that "[a] part of it has been de facto independent from Georgia since it declared independence as the Republic of South Ossetia early in the 1990s," aren't you begging the question of what it means to be under Georgian sovereignty?

Is that really the standard we want to use for sovereignty? If the only test is whether or not you can maintain military control of a region then that would imply there's no such thing as an "invasion"; if you can't keep control of the territory, it isn't really yours.

Revenant said...

Like the Sudetenland?

Yes. Let the Europeans solve these problems themselves for once. Two European World Wars is enough.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Saakashvili dispatched an ill-prepared military in an all out attempt to resolve a dispute in a disputed territory by force. Russia's response was illegal and brutal, my point is he knew that response would be coming, and immediate, and stupidly engaged anyway.

Well done again garage. Blame the victim. Hope to God Almighty you're never picked for a jury on a rape trial. I imagine you'd be wondering what the victim was wearing at the time.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yes. Let the Europeans solve these problems themselves for once. Two European World Wars is enough.

While I agree with you, the problem is that somehow we always seemed to get dragged into it one way or another. Considering we were officually neutral in the last two world wars, it didn't seem to prevent us from getting dragged into it.

That said IMHO, I don't think we'll see a war in Europe anytime soon. For starters you need to have an armed forces capable of waging one. France and the UK are the only ones who still have the ability to project military power internationally, the Germans to a very limited extent and then they simply don't have a military of any appreciable size to make much of a dent. I daresay if the Deutsches Heer decided to do a repeat of 1939, they'd probably get rolled.

The Russians on the other hand still maintain a pretty powerful war machine although they figured out that they can get Europe to piss their pants by simply shutting off the oil and natural gas supply for a couple of weeks.

Paco Wové said...

"Hope to God Almighty you're never picked for a jury on a rape trial. I imagine you'd be wondering what the victim was wearing at the time."

Probably a "Bush for President" t-shirt.

Paddy O. said...

Here's one response:

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland is more likely to agree to host a U.S. missile shield after signs Washington is ready to meet Polish demands for enhanced military cooperation, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.
ADVERTISEMENT

"I will not announce a success before the ink is dry but the information we are getting makes the acceptance of my government's demands by the U.S. more probable than only a few weeks ago," Tusk told a news conference.

He said Polish demands for a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland and commitment to boost Polish defenses as part of the deal were taken more seriously by the United States in view of the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

U.S. negotiators were due in Warsaw on Wednesday for the next round of talks on the shield, which Washington wants to deploy in central Europe against ballistic missiles that could be fired by what it calls rogue states.

The United States wants to deploy 10 rocket interceptors in Poland and a radar in the neighboring Czech Republic as part of the missile shield.

The Czechs have already signed up to the radar but the negotiations with Poland have been dragging on for months since Donald Tusk took over as prime minister in November from his pro-U.S. conservative predecessor.

reader_iam said...

The hokey pokey, indeed.

Uh huh. Song of the season.

Revenant said...

While I agree with you, the problem is that somehow we always seemed to get dragged into it one way or another. Considering we were officially neutral in the last two world wars, it didn't seem to prevent us from getting dragged into it.

We didn't get "dragged into" WW2 -- we were attacked by a participant in it, after which another participant in it declared war on us. As for WW1, we could have sat that one out entirely. We joined in because we wanted to, not because either necessity or national interest required it. It would probably have been better for everyone if we hadn't, since without the promise of a huge supply of fresh American troops the victors probably wouldn't have been in a position to force the WW2-inducing provisions of the surrender agreement.

Fen said...

Like the Sudetenland?

Yes. Let the Europeans solve these problems themselves for once. Two European World Wars is enough.

That only works if you're prepared to concede that America's interests end at her borders.

I am likewise weary of the US playing global cop and then getting stabbed in the back by our "allies"...

Do we have any interests in that region of the world? If so, we should either protect them, or retreat behind our walls and let the world fall where it may. Either or. Because these half-measures only combine the worst aspects of both policies.

Revenant said...

Of course our interests don't end at our borders, but the amount we spend protecting Europe greatly exceeds the benefit we get from them being so protected. Especially since they can defend themselves.