“Words” may matter to Obama because he’s a Harvard-trained lawyer who can use them to find a “nuanced” way out of sticky situations, but Putin has demonstrated powerfully by his rape of poor little Georgia that “words” only matter where there is rule of law.
Obama will go to Putin’s knife fight armed with a book of poetry. If he becomes our champion, we deserve what we get.
Ralph Peters covers this matter nicely in THE PEACE-AT-ANY-PRICE PERIL (NYPost).
In my opinion, Col. Ralph Peters has been offering the best summaries of the Russia-Georgia situation and continued to do so yesterday in the NY Post. As much as I agree with Col Peters that Russia is the clear winner, it is important to note that there is a silver lining to this catastrophe in the Caucasus.
If Putin had waited until after the 2008 Presidential Election, Obama’s chances would have been much greater and a much weakened U.S. would have worked to Russia’s advantage as they continue to reign in their democracy loving neighbors. Lucky for the West and for McCain, Putin and Russia will be major issues in the campaign from here on out–creating a leadership vacuum tailor-made for McCain.
Thanks “Pootie-Poot” for at least one not-so-small favor.
Here’s excerpt and link to the article in yesterday’s Post…
Russia won. Diplomacy failed. No state or alliance will reverse the decision. When President Bush spoke out strongly on Friday, Moscow ignored him: Words mean nothing to Prime Minister Putin, a man who regards all compromise as weakness.
Instead of backing down, Russia suggested that Poland might become a nuclear target for agreeing to host our defensive missile system.
Russia is really on a roll! This excerpt and link from AP via the J Post…
A top Russian general said Friday that Poland’s agreement to accept a US missile defense battery exposes the country to attack, pointing out that Russian military doctrine permits the use of nuclear weapons in such a situation, the Interfax news agency reported.
The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.
Poland and the United States on Thursday signed a deal for Poland to accept a missile defense battery as part of a system the United States says is aimed at blocking attacks by rogue nations but that Moscow claims is aimed at weakening Russia.
“Poland, by deploying [the system] is exposing itself to a strike – 100 percent,” Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying.
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Krauthammer provides what he believes are our options in Real Clear Politics this morning…
1. Suspend the NATO-Russia Council established in 2002 to help bring Russia closer to the West. Make clear that dissolution will follow suspension. The council gives Russia a seat at the NATO table. Message: Invading neighboring democracies forfeits the seat.
2. Bar Russian entry to the World Trade Organization.
3. Dissolve the G-8. Putin’s dictatorial presence long made it a farce but no one wanted to upset the bear by expelling it. No need to. The seven democracies simply withdraw. Then immediately announce the reconstitution of the original G-7.
4. Announce a U.S.-European boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. To do otherwise would be obscene. Sochi is 15 miles from Abkhazia, the other Georgian province just invaded by Russia. The Games will become a riveting contest between the Russian, Belarusian and Jamaican bobsled teams.
All of these steps (except dissolution of the G-8, which should be irreversible) would be subject to reconsideration depending upon Russian action — most importantly and minimally, its withdrawal of troops from Georgia proper to South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The most crucial and unconditional measure, however, is this: Reaffirm support for the Saakashvili government and declare that its removal by the Russians would lead to recognition of a government-in-exile. This would instantly be understood as providing us the legal basis for supplying and supporting a Georgian resistance to any Russian-installed regime.
UPDATE 8/13/2008 3:22 PM
Condi Rice just announced in her press conference covered by Fox that SecDef Gates has stated previously that the U.S. has no intentions of “taking control” of ports and airports through which aid will flow. It appears that Saakashvili was mistaken (or at least guilty of wishful thinking) in his earlier announcement.
Original Post — August 13, 2008…1:22 pm
Just in from Reuters, according to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the humanitarian aid from the U.S. will mean that…
Georgian ports and airports will be taken under the control of the U.S. defense ministry…
I’ll believe this when I hear it from the WH, Rice, or Gates.
Just as Obama’s glow from his “endorsement” by Nuri al-Maliki had begun to fade, along comes Putin to remind voters what a dangerous place the world really is–and that putting a very junior Senator at the helm would be insanity.
Before Obama’s 200 national security advisors could reach consensus, the voters were also reminded of McCain’s long-standing admonition that he didn’t see Putin’s soul when looking into his eyes–he saw the letters “K-G-B.”
And as for Obama (in the words of Rich Lowry in Real Clear Politics)…
the Bush and Obama statements in the immediate wake of the crisis could have been issued by a joint campaign. Bush’s spokeswoman urged “all parties,” both Georgians and Russians, “to de-escalate the tension and avoid conflict.” Obama declared that “now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint.” In their implied moral equivalence, these reactions were a little like urging the Kuwaitis to de-escalate with Saddam’s Iraq in August 1990
Putin might as well have uploaded an ad for McCain on Youtube. Here’s Lowry’s take on McCain’s history with Russia and Putin…
McCain’s proposal from a few months ago to boot Russia from the G-8 has gone from seeming needlessly provocative to practically prescient. Together with the surge in Iraq, the Georgian crisis is the second strategic matter on which everyone else has followed the senator’s lead.
McCain warned of Russian designs on its “near-abroad” when Boris Yeltsin was still in power, and advocated the enlargement of NATO into Eastern Europe — as a way to cement those countries into the West and check Russian adventurism — years before the Clinton administration adopted it as policy.
McCain’s judgment benefits from years of marinating in national-security issues and traveling and getting to know the key players; from a hatred of tinpot dictators and bloody thugs that guides his moral compass; and from a flinty realism (verging at times on fatalism) that is resistant to illusions about personalities, or the inevitable direction of History, or the nature of the world.
Here’s a link to an earlier post which illustrates McCain’s prescience on Russia (Youtube video embed’s from 1999 & 2000).