Friday, August 15, 2008

Saakashvili Pushes Back

Two opinion pieces from the Wall Street Journal today. The first from Garry Kasparov. He is now leader of The Other Russia coalition and spoke to how the West has been a source of Putin's "sense of impunity." He raises the point that though Sardozy went to Moscow to broker the first ceasefire agreement Tuesday, it was France that opposed America's push to get Georgia into NATO last April.

The war between Georgia and Russia has some gray areas, such as the past movement into South Ossetia but the leader, Saakashvili is embracing Western style democracy and reaching out to the free world for support. His is an interesting personal story. Educated in American universities and after practicing law in NYC, he returned to his country to work for freedom.

"The conflict also threatens to poison Russia's relationship with Europe and America for years to come. Can such a belligerent state be trusted as the guarantor of Europe's energy supply? Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been derided for his strong stance against Mr. Putin, including a proposal to kick Russia out of the G-8. Will his critics now admit that the man they called an antiquated cold warrior was right all along?"

Kasparov ends with this: "The blood of those killed in this conflict is on the hands of radical nationalists, thoughtless politicians, opportunistic oligarchs and the leaders of the Free World who value gas and oil more than principles. More lives will be lost unless strong moral lines are drawn to reinforce the shattered lines of the map."

Our next President must be a man of sound, timely judgement. Not one who starts out meekly and moves to the moral, right stance. Even President Bush was slow off the mark on this one.

Another good read was one by David Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, The Kremlin's 'Protection' Racket. "Moscow's sudden embrace of a "limited sovereignty" for Georgia doesn't square with Russia's own previous protestations about the sanctity of its sovereignty and stubborn insistence that it was free to act on its own soil as it saw fit. Moscow's concern about alleged atrocities and genocide is also preposterous in light of the Russian government's callous indifference to the very real genocides conducted by its allies in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, and in Rwanda and Darfur -- not to mention Moscow's own exceptionally brutal military campaigns in Chechnya."

Let's not forget Georgia had 2,000 soldiers in the U.S. led coalition when the fighting broke out.

I watched the press conference held by Secretary Rice and President Saakashvili after both Russia and Georgia signed off on the latest agreement - a 6 part ceasefire accord. Rice called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from Georgia. Hasn't happened yet and may not if Russia continues on with this plan. It must have been strange for Rice to get in the middle of all this. She's a Russian expert and now finds her position as one of supporting the other nation in this conflict. The days of President Bush looking into the eyes of Putin and seeing a friend are long gone. They are now the days of what John McCain has said all along - when he looks into Putin's eyes he sees KGB. With the Russian nation flush with oil profits the leadership no longer feels the need to show a congenial facade.

In Tbilisi today, Saakashvili said, "Freedom's light will never die here. 1921 will never repeat here." "I thought former KGB was gone; I was wrong." "I want my country to shine and go back on its feet like never before."

Rice said, "We need international observers here fast." "This is no longer 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia."

The American administration so frequently criticized for unilateral action - seen by supporters as strong leadership and by detractors as Imperial actions - is firmly leading a multinational accord in support of Georgia's continued existence as a free country. Humanitarian missions led by the U.S. military are underway. Who was the first nation called upon by Georgia in their time of need? Yes, it was the United States.

It's always the United States, despite the non-stop declarations of bitter partisans that our country is so 'hated' by Europe and the world. Nonsense.

Rivkin and Casey conclude; "American credibility is very much at stake here. If a true friend of the United States -- an ancient country already twice annexed by Moscow in the past two centuries, a democracy that has enthusiastically reached out to NATO and the European Union, and even sent troops to fight in Iraq -- can be snuffed out without concrete action by Washington, America's friendship will quickly lose its value and America's displeasure would matter even less. The repercussions would be felt world-wide, from the capitals of New Europe, to Jerusalem, Kabul and Baghdad."


Paul is a Hermit said...

Seems, most of all, the men and women in our infantry, tank and artillery units have to be just a little apprehensive and weary, right now. Indeed, time for NATO and "the Free World" to get up off their behinds.

Incognito said...

Europe is too dang scared to ever take action.. Russia is too close and, as you mention, Russia could cut off their natural gas supply and they're done for.

It sickens me that we are called imperialists and no-one says a thing about Russia's imperialist goals. we all know that russia has its sights set on the former Soviet territories.. it's just flexing it's muscles.. the less we do the more they will be encouraged to do more.

have always believed we need to watch out for russia and china.

Debbie said...

I also bet our military are very concerned. We have them delivering food etc. now, but what next. Yes we had some there training troops and I'm hoping they somehow stayed out of the fighting. But we may have to take a stand somehow to back up our words.

Did you read John Bolton's article today?

It's also strange how some people are trying to make this America's fault.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Nikki said...

Great read and very educational. I think Obama in Hawaii and Bush in China both missed the mark....but boy has McCain shone like you said. Maybe that was the plan, to make John look and sound Presidential! Obama looked out of touch and recluse. The silence is deafening so to speak. How can a non conflict persona support a conflict, even if its for a friend. :)N

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

The EU is now deader than a doornail. NATO will be the bones on which any unified Europa is founded. "Old Europe" - like Deutschland and France kinda sorta wanted to tdo the old Warsaw Pact routine at Bucharest in April. New Europe confronted them about hooking up with NATO and they fell right over.

Russia energy monopoly is yet another wonderful reason for Great Satan to get serious and start cranking it out and selling it to a league of democrazies only. Russia is all about the cash - her customers are Europe, if they bail - Vlad will be stymied.

Also, and any detractors are welcome to fire away - all this Bear biz makes a great case for Dr Rice as a VP. Turn loose the preimer expert on the Kremlin would be part of the price Russia has to pay.

Great Essay!