Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 2008 - BACK IN THE USSR

Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on my
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are boys
Back in the USSR
- John Lennon & Paul McCartney

JOHN O'SULLIVAN has a great piece in the NY Post that neatly details the situation

Continued media analysis of the Russian war with Georgia headlines the news, and rightly so. This is big news with dark implications for not only the former Soviet Republics on its border, but for Europe, the U.S. and the world at large.

Putin’s Russia has been allowed to engage in significant bad behavior like providing assistance to Iran, curtailing freedom of speech, and stealing the investments of western companies in partnerships like Yukos with not one voice raised. Like any delinquent child, why should it think anyone would raise a protest now, especially when it has its hand squeezing Europe’s energy artery.

George Friedman of has an excellent perspective on the events of the past few days, and an excellent explanation of the why and how.

The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia.
It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery. This, as we have argued, has opened a window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power. The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public. They did that Aug. 8.

Meylik Kaylan in today's Wall Street Journal add's another historical perspective to the story, and it's implications:

Between Russia and Iran, in the lower Caucasus, sits a small wedge of independent soil -- namely, the soil of Azerbaijan and Georgia combined. Through those two countries runs the immensely important Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which delivers precious oil circuitously from Azerbaijan to Turkey and out to the world. This is important not just because of the actual oil being delivered free of interference from Russia and Iran and the Middle East, but also for symbolic reasons. It says to the world that if any former Moscow colonies wish to sell their wares to the West directly, they have a right to do so, and the West will support that right. According to Georgian authorities, Russian warplanes have tried to demolish the Georgian leg of that pipeline several times in the last days. Their message cannot be clearer.

Besides their own pipeline, Georgia and Azerbaijan offer a fragile strategic conduit between the West and the "stans" of Central Asia -- including Afghanistan -- an area that the Soviets once controlled in toto. We should remember that an isolated Central Asia means an isolated Afghanistan. Look at the countries surrounding Afghanistan -- all former Soviet colonies, then Iran, then Pakistan.

The natural resources of Central Asia, from Turkmenistan's natural gas to Kazakhstan's abundant oil, cannot reach the West free of Russia and Iran except
through that narrow conduit in the Caucasus. Moscow's former colonies in Central
Asia are Afghanistan's most desirable trading partners. They are watching the
strife in Georgia closely. It will tell them whether or not they will enter the world's free markets without a Russian chokehold on their future -- or, whether they, and their economies, are doomed for the foreseeable future to remain colonies in all but name. And it won't be long before Moscow dictates to them exactly how to isolate Kabul. Moscow is perfectly aware, even if we are not, that choking off the bottleneck in the Caucasus gives Iran and Russia much say over our efforts in Afghanistan.

In Iraq too, the Kremlin's projection of power down through Georgia will soon be felt. Take another look at the map. If Russia is allowed to extend its reach southwards, as in Soviet times, down the Caucasus to Iran's borders, Moscow can support Iran in any showdown with the West. Iran, thus emboldened, will likely attempt to reassert itself in Iraq, Syria and, via Hezbollah, in Lebanon.

James Lewis Has some insight into the Democrat's Nemisis; it's Savioritis Pestis

Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad, said the sly old Greeks. The madness they were thinking of was hubris, of course, "overweening pride," which was destined to bring forth the divine revenge of Nemesis. The Greeks believed in hubris and Nemesis because they saw a lot of egomania in their world.
American politicians are trying to catch up with the ancients. The Democrats are infested with hubris like lice on a mangy dog. It's not just one swelled-head politician; it's a whole parade of them.

Orwell's children are now grown up. John Edwards situation is being treated as a sex scandle by the's not. It's a truth scandle. Bruce Walker has an interesting perspective on Orwell's prediction of an "Oceania" where "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength." It seems that we may be it's citizens

Orwell gave us the slogans "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength." These days the chic Left takes these two slogans of Oceania very seriously. They will always tell you what eternal and unchangeable truths you must accept this week, this day, this hour. Any ear attuned to the constant buzz of its propaganda machine can listen to today's version of history or the hourly report on transcendent values by just staying very close to Academia, Hollywood, mainstream media, Democrat leaders, or any other interchangeable parts of the chic Left. So, in John Edward's mind, he probably was not lying about an affair.

Who would you want to spend time with

Bookworm examines a press account of the personal offices created by Barack Obama and John McCain, and sees telling evidence of their respective characters.

One is a mensch, the other a product. Obama's office is immaculate and
beautiful. It is also devoid of substance, showy, self-involved and
cold....If Obama’s office speaks the truth about the man, he is truly the
post-modern candidate: all style and almost no substance. McCain is everyman
— smart, loyal, deeply connected to people, and honorable.


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