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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.
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).
UPDATE 8/12/2008 9:30 am:
Per The Independent UK—Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier today that he had ordered an end to military operations in Georgia. But Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze told Reuters that Russian jets were still targeting civilians.
UPDATE 8/11/2008 8:18 AM:
Here’s a link to a post which illustrates McCain’s prescience on Russia and Putin as far back as 1999 (two video embeds)
UPDATE 8/10/2008 5:32 PM:
From the NY Times, here is a summary that seems to provide some glimpse into Russia’s objectives…
A column of Russian forces was also seeking Sunday night to enter Georgian territory from Abkhazia, another separatist enclave to the west, and Abkhaz fighters were massed at the boundary line, an Abkhaz official said in an interview.
The advance appeared to answer the question on which the conflict had been pivoting: Would Russia simply occupy the two separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or would it push into Georgia, raising the possibility of a full-scale invasion?
Gori, about a 45-minute drive south from the capital of South Ossetia, Tskinvali, sits in a valley that is the main route connecting the east and west halves of Georgia.
Mr. Utiashvili said the Russians were “trying to cut the country in half.” He said that if they tried to occupy Georgia, “there will probably be guerilla warfare all over the country.”
In Washington, American officials reacted with deepening alarm to Russia’s military activities on Sunday. Georgian troops had tried to disengage, but the Russians had not allowed them.
“The Georgians told them, ‘We’re done. Let us withdraw,” one American military official said. “But the Russians are not letting them withdraw. They are pursuing them, and people are seeing this.”
Additionally, it was reported that last night that Russia was bombing the Tbilisi International Airport and today is bombing a military airport at Tbilisi.
Read the article at Daily Mail Online UK.
For my money, Col Peters usually does a pretty darned good job of summing up a military situation.
In today’s NY Post, he gives us his take on what Russia is up to in Georgia. Excerpt and link…
What just happened? The Kremlin decided it was time to act, since Georgia was only growing stronger under its democratically elected government. Although NATO has been hemming and hawing about admitting Georgia, the Russians didn’t want to take any chances. (Just last month, 1,000 US troops were in Georgia for an exercise.)
Calculating that the media and world leaders would be partying in Beijing, the Russians ordered North Ossetian militiamen, backed by Russian “peacekeepers” and mercenaries, to provoke the Georgians earlier this month.
Weary of the Russian presence on their soil, the Georgians took the bait. President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered his US-trained military to respond.
That was the excuse the Kremlin wanted. Immediately, a tank brigade from Russia’s 58th Army (the butchers of Chechnya) crossed the international border into Poland – sorry, I meant Georgia.
How do I know that the Russians set a trap? Simple: Given the wretched state of Russian military readiness, that brigade could never have shot out of its motor pool on short notice. The Russians obviously “task-organized” the force in advance to make sure it would have working tanks with competent crews.
Otherwise, broken-down vehicles would’ve lined those mountain roads.
The Russians planned it. And they hope to push it to the limit.
From the campaign trail, Obama has postponed his Hawaiian vacation and will fly to Atlanta to meet with Governor Sonny Purdue so that he might get a first-hand look at this attack on the U.S. mainland.
Additionally, he has called on President Bush to put the National Guard Units of all 57 states on full alert.;-)
Georgia’s Interior Ministry spokesman says that Georgian forces have shot down two Russian combat planes as violence escalates in the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
Russia has sent 150 tanks and armored vehicles into the territory as what started as a regional conflict between Georgia and separatists threatens to build into all-out war.
Continue reading at FoxNews.com
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