Friday, August 15, 2008

Follow the Leader

Well, yes. Obviously, the Russians are without a doubt engaged in bullying tactics against Georgia, though not nearly as barbaric as their bullying of Chechnya a decade ago, which Washington conveniently ignored. The Russians are bullying Georgia just as Georgia bullied Ossetia.

It’s called “realism,” George. You know, like...

...rushing jet fuel to Israel to facilitate its bullying of Lebanon during its summer 2006 invasion or

...arming the Ethiopians for their onslaught against the Somalis or

...invading Iraq and occupying it until it opens its oil industry to foreign control or

...making war on the city of Fallujah or Marine Patrol In Fallujah

...firing missiles into destitute tribal regions of Pakistan or

...supporting the Colombian army’s campaign against the FARC even as Colombia’s rich landowners swallow up more and more of the poor peasants’ land or

...fomenting a coup against the democratically elected leader of Venezuela or

...carrying out a campaign of economic warfare andU.S. Revokes Visas Of Fulbright Scholarship Winners From Gaza collective punishment against the people of Gaza or

...threatening a country with “all options” because it asserts its legal right to develop the same nuclear technology that you have already provided to other regional powers.

When a nation considers itself to be the model for the world, when a nation considers itself to be exceptional, then that nation has an obligation to think about the precedents that it sets by its own behavior. In recent years, the U.S. has established some precedents that Georgians and Russians are now following; unfortunately, many more are likely to follow these precedents in the future. That is your legacy, George.



War in Georgia Shows U.S. Foreign Policy Is a Bust
MWC News - A Site Without Borders - - Monday, 18 August 2008

U.S. policy created a moral-hazard problem. In other words, the Bush
administration’s words and deeds almost certainly emboldened the Georgian
government with respect to South Ossetia and Russia, encouraging it to take
measures it probably would not have taken otherwise.

As we saw, it was a major miscalculation. Saakashvili may have been counting on U.S. support, but what could he possibly have hoped for? The U.S. military, spread thin already in Iraq and Afghanistan, has no forces to spare. But even if that were not the case, did Saakashvili really think the United States and Europe would go to war against Russia? Memories of the bloody 20th century are too fresh in Europe to make that a realistic expectation. It is one thing to invade and occupy Iraq,
quite another to take on Russia. It was out of the question.

The Bush administration, then, made implicit — and perhaps explicit — guarantees to the Georgian government it was in no position to back up.

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