Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008 - "A Cat is A Cat"

Sixty years ago, the Russian cat played with Berlin, Europe, and the US. The totalitarian KGB rulers are cats, and they're doing what cats do. The real question is whether Europe, NATO, and the U.S. are mice.

So far the response from the U.S. and Europe has been tepid, but the former Soviet vassal states seem to have greater backbone and no wish to see any vestiges of the dark power of Russia resuscitated. Where's Gandolf when we need him?

As usual, the Russians say one thing and do another. Here are the Russian troops that "aren't" in Georgia Georgia.

John McCain gave the speech that President Bush should have.

The world has learned at great cost the price of allowing aggression against free nations to go unchecked. A cease-fire that holds is a vital first step, but only one. With our allies, we now must stand in united purpose to persuade the Russian government to end violence permanently and withdraw its troops from Georgia. International monitors must gain immediate access to war-torn areas in order to avert an even greater humanitarian disaster, and we should ensure that emergency aid lifted by air and sea is delivered.

We should work toward the establishment of an independent, international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions, and stand ready to help our Georgian partners put their country back together. This will entail reviewing anew our relations with both Georgia and Russia. As the NATO secretary general has said, Georgia remains in line for alliance membership, and I hope NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine.

At the same time, we must make clear to Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world. The U.S. has cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Russia, an important step in this direction.

The Georgian people have suffered before, and they suffer today. We must help them through this tragedy, and they should know that the thoughts, prayers and support of the American people are with them. This small democracy, far away from our shores, is an inspiration to all those who cherish our deepest ideals.

As I told President Saakashvili on the day the cease-fire was declared, today we are all Georgians. We mustn't forget it.

U.S. Launches Airlift to Aid Georgia

We've started the process, but it will be interesting to see how the Russians react to our actions. This is a game of "Chicken", and we can't afford to blink. The consequences will be severe and far-reaching.

The Wall Street Journal has a good team working on this airlift story; JOHN D. MCKINNON and NEIL KING JR. in Washington and MARC CHAMPION in Tbilisi, Georgia
Charles Krauthammer has an excellent recommendation for what can be / should be done"

What is to be done? Let's be real. There's nothing to be done militarily. What
we can do is alter Putin's cost-benefit calculations. We are not without resources. There are a range of measures to be deployed if Russia does not live up to its cease-fire commitments:

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 dictatorship long made Russia's presence in this group of industrial democracies a farce, but no one wanted to upset the bear by expelling it. No need to. The seven democracies simply withdraw. (And if Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, who has been sympathetic to Putin's Georgia adventure, wants to stay, he can have an annual G-2 dinner with Putin.) 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, Belarusan 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.

President Bush could cash in on his close personal relationship with Putin by sending him a copy of the highly entertaining (and highly fictionalized) film "Charlie Wilson's War" to remind Vlad of our capacity to make Russia bleed. Putin would need no reminders of the Georgians' capacity and long history of doing likewise to invaders.
Bush needs to make up for his mini-Katrina moment when he lingered in Beijing yukking it up with our beach volleyball team while Putin flew to North Ossetia to direct the invasion of a neighboring country. Bush is dispatching Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to France and Georgia. Not a moment too soon. Her task must be to present these sanctions, get European agreement on as many as possible and begin imposing them, calibrated to Russian behavior. And most important of all, to prevent any Euro-wobbliness on the survival of Georgia's democratically elected government.
We have cards. We should play them. Much is at stake.

Michael Ledeen in National Review paints a dramatic perspective on the situation and it's potential ramifications.
...................if we do not draw the line at Georgia, we will have to draw
it in some other place, and “it doesn’t get any easier down the road with any
other border or country.” Again, this underestimates the importance of our
unwillingness to realize the broader significance of the liberation of Iraq and
Afghanistan. I think it’s clear that our failure to draw the line at Syria and
Iran surely encouraged the Russians to go forward in Georgia. Putin must have
reasoned that, if we wouldn’t aggressively punish the Iranians and the Syrians
for killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, we would certainly not risk
American lives for Georgian territory. And he was clearly right.

The lesson will not be lost on any American friend or ally, from Israel to Egypt, Morocco, and India, from Colombia to Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.The real context of the Georgian operation is global, just like the true context of the Middle East war.

The jihadis, for example, are desperate to convince would-be followers that
there is really nothing to fear from America, that when push comes to shove the
Americans will not stand and fight. A successful Russian humiliation of America
in the Caucasus echoes throughout that world, and helps draw the painful sting
of the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The likes of Venezuela’s Chavez will find it
easier to convince Latin American leaders that they’d better side with him (and
his Cuban, Russian, and Iranian allies) than with the American paper tigers.

Finally, there is the question of method, and the world’s reaction to it. I hope
we will not hear too many sermons on the inappropriateness of military action
after the Georgian invasion. My unscientific perusal of the Western punditocracy
suggests that most of the deep thinkers are full of admiration for Putin’s decisive actions. No big antiwar demonstrations (the Europeans are on vacation and Code Pink, in response to a query, said their resources were limited and they needed to concentrate on Iraq, heh). This should not surprise us. It is not only the hypocrisy of the anti-Bush brigades here and abroad that motivates such open appeasement; it’s human nature seen plain.

As Machiavelli says, in his brutal summary of the consequences of victory and defeat, “if you are successful, people will always judge the means you used to have been

Comrade, don't believe any of the above; read the truth here in Pravda, you're source of all truth and knowledge:

USA shows its meanness again as Russia mourns victims of genocide
Source: Pravda.Ru

Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili accepted the cease-fire conditions
for the zone of the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia and signed the
document, which had been coordinated Tuesday between the presidents of Russia
and France. “We have coordinated the text of the entire document with President Saakashvili and introduced certain corrections,” Sarkozy said after the talks with Saakashvili in Tbilisi late Tuesday.

The document will be presented for the meeting of foreign ministers of all 27 countries of the European Union. “The ministers will approve the document, it will become a resolution and will have legal force,” the French president said.
As for the corrections introduced in the document, Sarkozy said that they had withdrawn the part about the international discussion of the future political status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Instead, Sarkozy and Saakashvili emphasized the need to conduct international negotiations to guarantee stability and security in
these two regions of Georgia. “We are signing this document about the basic principles under the conditions of the humanitarian catastrophe. The most important aspect of the document is to cease fire. The regulation process should be initialized,” Georgia’s President Saakashvili said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hopes that the Russians will stop military operations, the scale of which does not match the circumstances, as she said in an interview with ABC.
Condoleezza Rice stated that Moscow’s integration in world’s biggest institutions was at risk because of the armed conflict. “The Russians have said that they do want to be a part of that prosperous and forward-looking international community, and frankly they are doing great damage to their ability to do that," Rice told ABC. "There are any number of opportunities for Russia to reverse course and to demonstrate that it is trying to behave according to 21st century principles," she said. "But, I can assure you that Russia's international reputation and what role Russia can play in the international community is very much at stake here."

Rice stated that the time, when the world would have to deal with the consequences of what happened in South Ossetia and Georgia, would come, although she did not specify what consequences Russia may eventually face.
The US Secretary of State repeated several times that Russia had a lot to lose, including its international reputation and its role in the international community.

Condoleezza Rice’s anti-Russian remarks became yet another demonstration of double standards of the Bush’s administration in terms of sovereignty and territorial integrity, ITAR-TASS reports.

Washington blatantly ignored these principles several months ago, when it recognized the independence of Kosovo, an inseparable part of Serbia. However, it just so happens that the US administration sees the sovereignty principles highly important when it comes to Georgia. Rice particularly stated that since South Ossetia and Abkhazia sit within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia, any regulation of conflicts must be based on the territorial integrity of Georgia.

In the meantime, Russian President Medvedev signed a decree to declare August 13 the mourning day in Russia in connection with the humanitarian catastrophe in South Ossetia. “Despite the agreements on peaceful regulation of the situation in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and contrary to the UN Charter, Georgia’s armed forces illegally invaded the territory of South Ossetia on August 8, 2008. Using aviation and heavy artillery, the armed forces of Georgia attempted to seize South Ossetia, exterminating its civilians. Georgia has thus committed genocide of the South Ossetian nation, destroyed the city of Tskhinvali and other settlements, which resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe in South Ossetia,” the decree runs. “In addition, Georgia attacked the military contingent of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, which was deployed in the region in accordance with international agreements to normalize the situation in the area of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. This is classified as an act of aggression as per resolution of the UN General Assembly of December 14, 1974,” the document says.

My wife and I are traveling to New Jersey and Connecticut for the next five days to see kids and grandkids, and attend a family wedding celebration. The weather's not going to be great, but who cares? We're planning on having a great time.
For those who are reading these posts, we'll probably be off-line for a few days.

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