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Neocons are people that see danger everywhere and seem to crave military solutions in all cases. They endlessly blather about how we need to stand firm against bullies or other threats (Russia being near the top of the list), and protect our brave allies on the front lines, and along with them, democracy, freedom and our honor. They mock cowardly European who think appeasement (read - any diplomacy) might have a chance. They fuel conflicts and perpetually tout military options.

And yet, whenever given the opportunity to stand up to their words (and sent other people to fight, of course, they don't do that themselves), the results are surprisingly poor.

After the catastrophic invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the neocons have just lost a third war, in Georgia.

Georgia 'pulls out of S Ossetia'

Georgia says its troops have withdrawn from the breakaway region of South Ossetia and that Russian forces are in control of its capital, Tskhinvali.

A government spokesman told the BBC it was not a military defeat but a necessary step to protect civilians.

Right. That's what you say when ... errr, let me see ... oh yes ... when it is a military defeat.

Georgia Pulls Out of South Ossetia

Georgia said Sunday it had withdrawn entirely from the separatist enclave of South Ossetia in an effort to stave off all out war, and that Russia overnight had launched major land offensives from the north and west of the country.

Russia said it was checking whether Georgian forces really were pulling back from positions they occupied. One Russian military commander told the Interfax news agency that he saw no signs of a Georgian withdrawal.

Georgia withdrew its troops "as part of a very conscious decision by the Georgian government to end this spiral of violence," said Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili in a phone interview. She said Georgia had delivered a message to Moscow asking for a ceasefire, but had yet to receive a response.

"Please stop shooting."

Even the WSJ, home of Georgian president Saakashvili for an endless series of editorials urgin the West to stand firm to Russia, is backing down:

War in the Caucasus

"War has started," Vladimir Putin said yesterday as Georgian and Russian forces fought over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. War is certainly what the two countries have seemed to want for some time, and the chances of avoiding a drawn-out conflict now are slim.

It's unclear at this stage which side is more at fault for the current fighting. Georgia says it moved on the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali yesterday after rebels there broke a cease-fire. But President Mikheil Saakashvili has long pledged to retake South Ossetia and another separatist area, Abkhazia, and may have underestimated Moscow's reaction.

(...)

Perhaps Mr. Saakashvili finally snapped and acted first here, as the Kremlin insists. If so, it was a huge mistake, as he has picked a fight with a much larger opponent and damaged his country's chances of joining NATO. The West may support Georgia's territorial integrity, but no one wants war with Russia.

Oh, now they tell us. After telling us how Russia was behaving aggressively, threatening democracy in various countires bordering it, and how it was vital that we support these countries, including my military means (isn't that what Georgia joining NATO was about - about "attacking one is attacking all"?), they tell us that we don't want war with Russia?

Is it because Russia, after telling us what would be considered a casus belli by them, actually acted on such announcements, called Saakashvili's bluff and responded with overwhelming force, kicking his ass, and by proxy, that of his gung-ho advisors in the WSJ and other neocon nests?

We don't have to approve Russia's policies to note that it has been consistent and unsurprising for anyone who bothered to listen to them (something neocons don't seem to do, except to find proofs of hostility to justify their own macho posturing).

Even granting that Russia has conducted an aggessive, outward bound foreign policy (as opposed to the kinder version that says they are simply reacting to Western provocations) towards the former Soviet Republics and beyond, this whole episode should disqualify the neocons from ever speaking about foreign policy again - they claimed the need for strength, the need to call Russia on its imperialism, the need to beef up the military of the threatened countries and to support them with the full force of the alliance of democracies - and they dumped Georgia at the first opportunity, after Russia showed it was actually serious about fighting when it got under way?

We get the worst of both worlds: military build up, diplomatic tensions and deep mistrust within (former?) allies in the West, and defeat when the inevitable confrontation happens.

Either Russia is a real danger, and we need consistent policies to address that (including, I might add, serious policies to reduce our energy use, given that Russia is the largest energy exporter and can, supposedly, cripple us with the "energy weapon" beyond the traditional military invasions and irredentism) or it is not, and we need to start talking with them and listening to them - and maybe avoid things like bringing our soldiers to their borders, cancelling unilaterally treaties signed with them, and endlessly calling them an enemy.

Either we actually do realpolitik, or we don't. Realpolitik is meant to be distateful, but effective. What we have now is certainly distateful, but effective is the last word that can be used to describe it. Beyond the loss of credibility I discussed yesterday, losing wars and having cities in allied countries flattened out can hardly be considered great successes.

What saddens me the most is that neocons still get taken seriously by the Serious People inside the beltway and elsewhere, and still get to influence policy.

If impeachment is off the table, could at least tar and feathers be brought back into fashion for a few of these people?

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:04 AM PDT.

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  •  Now the question remains (43+ / 0-)

    Will Georgia lose Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Russia could leave troops to "secure the border".

    Putin has said that the status quo is not coming back. And he wasn't talking about the band.

    •  The sad answer (72+ / 0-)

      is that we will have very little say on what happens now: the Russians will decide what happen, and they have the power to make it stick.

      This is what's most amazing about the neocons: despite all their talk about the need to have power and be willing to exercise it (cf the "Europeans are from Venus, Americans are form Mars" jibe, the "the world is a dangerous place and someone has to do the dirty work of securing it"), they are surprisingly incompetent at actually doing it.

      In fact, their macho posturing on everything means they are chewing more than they can, and are powerless even when they pretend to play power games.

      It's pathetic.

    •  "Will Georgia lose Abkhazia and South Ossetia? " (8+ / 0-)

      Sadly, Georgia lost them already, in the early 1990s, when instead of autonomy, ethnic minorities got oppression.

    •  Neocons don't read history. (6+ / 0-)

      Several history based problems.

      1. Many modern nations outside the New World are made up of a sometimes very large group of ethnically identified and linguistically identified people who do not always share the same interests.

      Iraq is a good example of a political nation with boundaries, whose ethno-linguistic and religious boundaries were not considered when it was set up by the victors of WWI to punish the Turks (remember them as a world power?) who had sided with the Germans, so that it includes a number of disparate and historically mutually hostile groups involuntarily tied together, none of whom was consulted about the borders (which left Kurds divided among several different jurisdictions)  and each of whom believes it has the right to autonomy and independence as we now talk about it. Scotland and Ireland as to the UK are two more familiar ones. Belgium, which is threatened with breakup between Flemings and Walloons, is another.  Serbia and Kosovo are another, both swept up in Yugoslavia which crushed all dissent, but then dissolved and left a mess of smaller groups behind who didn't ever and don't now think much of one another and don't want to be dominated by those guys over there, just across that hill or river, who don't share religion, culture or ethnicity with their group. And all of whom have been where they are since forever or close to it. We all remember the massacres in a lot of directions which resulted until a lid was forced onto that one.

      News reports available  also make mention of 'bandits' groups of armed fighters who raid and kill and steal among these groups, and 200,000 "Georgians" who were apparently chased out of Abkhazia and are now refugees from intracommunal problems, but not problems directed to Russians or Russia. Compare Chechnya where the same situation confronted the Russians and they were in fact the bad guy outsiders according to the locals. They also had 'bandits' who were very similar.

      Some of the larger nations, such as Russia with this and China with Tibet, have had periods when they claimed or actually possessed the right to rule these disparate groups and territories (Russia had a treaty with Georgia in 1783 which was abated when Russia annexed Georgia in 1810, as part of its empire building, for example). When the annexed thereafter obtained independence, this caused to arise in the larger nation an urge to reclaim what they believed was legitimately theirs to control, improperly autonomous for a time. So the theoretically anti-imperialist China invaded Tibet, because it could call it an internal issue, since Tibet once was and therefore infinitely hereafter was a part of China although it had been an independent nation and a regional power in the 1400's. Russia has some of these same issues with Georgia, aided and abetted by the problem that Georgia itself, when annexed, was made up of several of those desirous-of-autonomy groups.

      And then one must take into account the tendency of entire groups voluntarily or involuntarily to hit the road and colonize places they had not been before, which puts Russians and a lot of others where they didn't use to be, but are now thanks to Uncle Joe or others who saw relocation as a means of weakening the moved and making them dependent on, in his case, Moscow - this, too has a long history which includes the Romans and the Norman Kings of England who internally colonized Wales that way shortly after 1105. The Chinese are also trying it in Tibet and tribal ares in their south.

      The current Georgian mess has as two of its components the inclusion of several desirous-of-autonomy ethno-linguistic groups, and a huge nation on its northern border which used to control Georgia and does not understand the legitimacy of the independence for a time of that place acquired by the wrongful and wicked mess of the 1990s. This is not to say that Russia is wicked to do this, or at least more wicked than others who have also done it to do this, only to say that is not unique or the first to do so.

      1. As a result of the independence of Ukraine, Russia has lost practical control of an ice-free port on the Black Sea, something which it has considered essential since Ivan the Terrible and you might understand if your entire Euriopean coastline other than rivers froze solid every winter. Their  major port was in Crimea, now part of Ukraine. As part of this, Ukraine has purported to cancel port privileges for the Soviet fleet which was sent to missile-wave off the coast of Georgia and shell Georgia's uncontested port on the Black Sea. Abkhazia in particular, one of the rambunctious provinces of Georgia, has a very nice chunk of Black Sea waterfront and conveniently is composed in no small degree of one of those groups bundled unhappily in with other groups in Georgia.
      1. Russia is hard at work taking as close to exclusive control as it can of the Eurasian oil and gas supplies to give it serious practical leverage over Europe not obtained by military force. A major new pipeline runs from the Eurasian fields to the Black sea. Yes, somebody tried to bomb it in the current imbroglio. NYT says they missed.
      1. Georgia wanted to join NATO, which would mean the possibility of troops and bases pointing at Moscow. A stone cold enemy well financed and all that, right on its literal border where it had not been before. We don't like this idea in Cuba either.

      On the other side, Georgia does not have a big defensive capacity, and having 2,000 of their troops conveniently on stand in Iraq and not at home where they could resist what is happening, was a good opportunity, with an outside time line on it, which made sooner better.

      - - -
      None of these factors were created or taken into account by the neocons, who apparently seemed to think that whatever 'nation' had independence had it forever without the right of anyone to do anything about it, either by influence or force, the inalienability of which could be successfully invoked and defended by a few ill chosen words. They do not appear to have learned anything from the Kosovo mess or the attitude Russia took on that, although Serbia has no common border with Russia. This one does.

      They also didn't listen when the military told them it was stretched too thin as it was and wouldn't have the ability in men and supplies to respond to additional problems given the irrational commitment made to Iraq, any balance sucked up in Afghanistan.

      So we have the current mess, about which the US has no resources to do something militarily to help its 'democratic' 'friend' Georgia, at least the government in Tblitsi,  and apparently no real understanding of why there might have been historical problems with the current situation from the Russian point of view or the point of view of some of the other Georgian groups who saw Kosovo and said 'why not us?", problems which were not invented by Putin at all.

      The only good thing about this is that perhaps the neocons will be somewhat dampened in their enthusiasm for going after Iran, since they may in fact recognize they don't have the capacity to act here either. Maybe. The silver lining here is very thin.

      •  russia has access to the black sea coast line... (0+ / 0-)

        right now.  you can look it up on google maps.

        the 2014 winter olympics will be held there.

        From Europe? Join the fun at the European Tribune!

        by hesk on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 02:01:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As far as I can see from the maps, the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hesk

          area including Sochi is a mountain range on the coast, which is not the same as a reliable port. The only good Russian port which shows up on maps is Taganrog (sp) which is on an arm of the northeast corner of the Sea of Azov, a problem as the Sea of Azov has a reported depth of from three to fifty two feet, insufficient for a great deal of modern deep water shipping. Fine if you are a Viking or can ship all you must send in canoes,  but nobody is these days. Oil tankers have problems in three to fifty two foot depth waters. Warships do. Most modern commercial ships do. The deepwater ports the Russians used to rely on were in Crimea, all of which is now part of Ukraine.

    •  No, the question is (0+ / 0-)

      will Georgia exist in another year?

  •  We Don't Need Much of Georgia (15+ / 0-)

    Just a tiny sliver that allows us to get Caspian zone oil to the Black Sea without having to traverse Russia or Iran.

    "Truck Stop Women," a New Film By Phil Gramm and John McCain.

    by bink on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:12:22 AM PDT

  •  No G8 for Russia (6+ / 0-)

    ......sounding even more silly...

  •  Short version (33+ / 0-)

    Putin plays a hell of a poker hand.

    Neocons can be counted on to lose a game of "go-fish".

    I'm relieved this episode of brinksmanship appears to be drawing down.

    Searching for corrupt, lobbyist loving John McCain?

    by Lisa Lockwood on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:15:40 AM PDT

  •  This diary is a crock (8+ / 0-)

    Nothing but apologetics for Russian aggression that is plain as day. Russia just invaded Abkhazia, which was not involved in the Ossetia situation.

    And the whole affair has nothing whatever to do with neocons. This is just more narcissistic gibberish -- yeah, it's all about us.

  •  US & Israel are backing Georgia (10+ / 0-)

    It won't work. Russia will crush Georgia. It will do so to protect its interests and to show anyone in the region that it means business. I wonder if Russia will take control of the pipeline networks that traverse Georgia. I might happen if the situation continues to deteriorate.  

    •  Does Putin Have to Let the Sword Drop? (8+ / 0-)

      I don't think so ...

      He can just slowly tighten and loosen the vise as serves his interests.

      Russia has a whole lot of options here.

      The U.S. and Georgia have few.

      Let's face it.  This country is situated directly between Russia and Iran.  Our interests really don't stand much of a chance there.

      Russia can and I guess will nibble away at Georgia for as long as it wishes.

      "Truck Stop Women," a New Film By Phil Gramm and John McCain.

      by bink on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:27:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Neocons or not; US involved or not---Ruissia (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego, LordMike, csquared

        expanding it's territory is NOT a desirable thing.  Can we assume that Putin will not again try to "help out" some other neighbor who is not happy??

        The White House will be The People's House--B.Obama

        by Phil S 33 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:26:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We don't have to encourage it either. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LordMike
        •  Russia isn't after more territory (5+ / 0-)

          This was a game of chicken. Russia didn't want to go into this, because they want the status quo. They don't want to absorb south ossetia, they just want them to be a permanent thorn in the side of the Tiblisi government. This way Moscow can exercise some influence over Georgia. It's a mafia-like sort of extortion. But Georgia has been playing the same game. They are crawling up America's ass to get military equipment before some of our own Iraq soldiers do.

          This Georgia brazenly confronting Russia, which is bad enough. But then, a military offensive on the South Ossetian capital forced Russia's hand. They invaded to force Georgia to withdraw and restore the political situation to the way it was a week ago.

        •  Whaa??? (0+ / 0-)

          Whydid you assume Russia is expanding its territory?

          They want autonomy for areas, where 90% are Russians and have Russian passports to boot. Is that too outrageous? What would happen if some one invaded Puerto Rico and killed 2000 people? How would US react to that?

          Russia stated, they want a clear separation between S Osetia nd Abhaisa and Georgia, thats all. How is it different from Kosovo? Are we expanding US into Kosovo now?

          •  I realize suddenly everyone's an expert (0+ / 0-)

            on the Transcaucasus, so I hate to be a pain in the ass by actually asking people to stick to the facts, but can I get a source for your claim that "90% are Russians"?

            According to the wikipedia article on South Ossetia,

            The present composition of the population is unknown, although according to some estimates there were 45,000 ethnic Ossetians and 17,500 ethnic Georgians in South Ossetia in 2007.

            Out of a total population of 70,000, by my math that's about 64% Ossetian and 25% Georgian, leaving 11% "other" as the most who could possibly be ethnically Russian.

            If you're talking about the ethnic Ossetians who have been given Russian passports so that Russia can subsequently claim they're merely protecting "their own people" (a neat little trick used repeatedly throughout history to justify wars of expansion, including by the Nazis in the Sudetenland and the United States in mid-19th century Texas), well then that takes you up to AT MOST in the neighborhood of 75% claiming Russian "allegiance," since I doubt very much many of the ethnic Georgians, some of whom were themselves were victims of ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Abkhaz, can live as a small minority in a majority Ossete region -- especially considering that the Ossetes' hands are hardly clean when it comes to recent allegations of perpetrating ethnic cleansing against others in the region.

            And I would underscore that virtually all of this can be traced to deliberate policies of "divide and conquer" by Great Powers -- first, Russian Tsars and Ottoman Sultans, later the Soviet Union, and now by the Russian federation (and by idiotic neocons in the U.S.), designed to play off and exacerbate ethnic tension to increase their own power.  To pretend that the Russians are innocently and nobly stepping in because they so hate to see ethnic hatred boil over on the fringes of their empire is a bit... umm... naive, to say the least.

            I don't mean to suggest that any of this is anything less than a massive tragedy all the way around, nor to suggest that Ossetes do not have very valid grievances -- but to pretend that the Russians are merely nobly stepping in to

    •  Hopefully not... (9+ / 0-)

      Russia will crush Georgia.

      So far, Russia acted with some restraint, and refrained from doing truly irreversible things (like carpet bombardment of civilian targets). I fervently hope it stays this way - not just for the sake of Georgia, but  for Russia's sake as well.

  •  Wow, the first U.S. president to lose three wars (20+ / 0-)

    moderation in everything ... including moderation

    by C Barr on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:24:42 AM PDT

  •  Permanent world majorities don't work either. (7+ / 0-)

    They though that using America's good name would allow them to steal the world.
    Pinky and the Brain came up with more plausible schemes than the neoclowns.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:25:02 AM PDT

  •  The issue with the West is pipelines. (23+ / 0-)

    Western involvement with Georgia is about pipelines.

    If this were Rwanda or North Korea or Dafur, the West would not care...well we know...

    The neocons are asses, but the fact that the neocons have power is all about an indolent lifestyle on the part of the indolent west.

    I hear all the time from people who say nuclear energy is dangerous because of the risk of war - although this risk is apparently trivial - compared to the reality of dangerous fossil fuel war - which hardly ever stops.

    Let's be clear.   The guys flying those planes into buildings were Saudi Wahabis funded by oil money.   It follows that Afghanistan was a fossil fuel war.

    Iraq...well...

    I repeat:  We may wish to blame the neocons but there is a larger public that allowed these people to have power in the first place.

    It's almost useless to talk about it at this point.

    I think I'll go back to reading the visionary French proposal to produce a few hundred tons of denatured U-233 from its plutonium.  

    You know, in your country you have people who are thinking about the energy supplies of your great great grandchildren.  

    •  Oil kills, nuclear heals? I like it! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NNadir

      I definitely agree with the former - but I also think that we need to figure out how to use the breeder technology that you mentioned in your comment about France.

      It looks like France is going to have to figure it out for us, while we fight more oil wars, build SUVs and remove our mountaintops to get at the precious coal inside.

      •  In fact, the U-233 schemes are international in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, R Rhino from CT4

        scope.

        Everyone who is literate about nuclear energy is recognizing that this very old idea - the first commercial nuclear reactor in the United States operated for a time on U-233 - is the best idea, bar none, in energy.   However full exploitation of this system involves time.   This is a physics constraint and nothing can be done about it.

        But the materials involved are measured in kg, and this speaks to the enormous energy density of nuclear energy, the density representing the root reason why nuclear energy is superior from an environmental standpoint to all of the alternatives.

        To do this - get sufficient U-233 to give our descendents a decent shot at a decent life - we need to get at and consume the world's reserves of plutonium.    I personally know that plutonium can be managed, and managed well, and I believe we will need to continue to make it for many thousands of years - if we are not rendered extinct from dangerous fossil fuel waste before then.

        In general most of the papers on this topic of U-233 - and I've been going through a lot of them in the last few weeks - are French, Chinese, or Japanese, but other countries, including some officially anti-nuke countries like Germany and Italy have authors working on this technology.

        The Americans are largely bystanders because we are lead by people who couldn't care less about the future.

        There is a very beautiful French paper on this topic that is really viewing how much U-233 we can accumulate by the end of the 22nd century.   This is what all energy conversations should involve, our responsibility to future generations.   It was a true pleasure to read that work.

        •  In many many ways. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Overseas

          The Americans are largely bystanders because we are lead by people who couldn't care less about the future.

          They only think of the next election.  It's all about winning and not about actually running the country.  

          They see me trollin'. They hatin'

          by obnoxiotheclown on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:22:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What do the French do with the nuclear waste? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LordMike, R Rhino from CT4

          The big issue in the US is what to do with the waste. What does France do? Seriously, I have no idea.

          •  They recycle it, mostly. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jerome a Paris, LordMike

            The matter is very technical, but on a planetary scale the matter of so called "nuclear waste" is trivial and unimportant.    Used nuclear fuel is the only form of energy waste that can be contained indefinitely.   In fact it is the only form of energy waste that is not waste at all.

            The point of my comment is that used nuclear fuel is a resource, the most important one available to humanity.

            The serious matter, the toxic matter, is that nobody has any idea of how to deal with dangerous fossil fuel waste.

            Dangerous fossil fuel waste kills about 2 million people per year, and that's NOT counting the effects of climate change.

  •  Russia is claiming genocide (4+ / 0-)

    and I think they have a very valid point.

    The neocons also lost the war in Lebanon. That's three.

    The Justice Department is no longer a credible defender of the rule of law or the Constitution.

    by Overseas on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:32:30 AM PDT

  •  My Russian neighbor (31+ / 0-)

    My neighbor in Paris is Russian.  His grandfather was a general in the Tsarist army, so his family fled from the communists to Paris.  He follows all the politics of Russia and Putin (who he thinks is a criminal and a murderer) and I asked him what was going on in Georgia.

    He said, "it is very sad.  It is to control the oil.  The US should not have built pipelines through Russian territory.  What if Russia had built pipeline taking Mexican oil away from the US.  It is the same thing."  

    •  This game is sadest for Georgians and Ossetinians (5+ / 0-)

      The US built the pipeline through Georgia because the only alternative (and shorter) routing was through Russia, and they can't bully Russia. So this was a very blatant step to deal Russia out.

      This is a game of chicken, undertaken when the US was feeling blustery and in no mood to negotiate. Now the tables have turned. The bluff has been called, the US is powerless to respond, and the real victims here are the "hosts" of this particular power game. They're the ones who are receiving the craters and the fractured skulls.

      Time will tell what degree of involvement the US had in encouraging the Georgian offensive. One wonders whether they intentionally sent them into a death trap. Did the US not realize that Russia would have to react? Not likely, imho. I really don't understand this yet, because the offensive seems totally irrational and nobody wins.

      Or what am I missing? What do we have to gain from this?

      •  Irrational encouragement (12+ / 0-)

        The Telegraph in the UKis reporting that it is already suggested Bush encouraged the irrational offensive.

        Mr Saakashvilli may also have banked on support from his closest ally, US president George W Bush, whose administration is said to have given tacit support for a Georgian assault on South Ossetia in the believe that the territory could be recaptured within 48 hours.

        But as events have unfolded differently, Washington has offered Georgia - one of the largest contributors of troops in Iraq - little more than lukewarm vocal support.

        In a demonstration of the fact that Georgia could be abandoned by its chief ally, President Bush warmly embraced Mr Putin at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing on Friday.

        With the West apparently unwilling to participate in a proxy war with Russia at a time when relations with Moscow are already highly strained, Georgia now faces potential isolation in its conflict with its giant neighbour.

        •  Two rumors must be tracked down now: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lump1

          -- that Saakashvili's invasion was greenlighted by Bush and Cheney (which seems all too possible, given their role in encouraging Olmert's foray into South Lebanon to "destroy" Hamas);
          -- that Saakashvili has had a heart attack and flown to Turkey for treatment (i.e., that Saakashvili has been overthrown in a coup).

          We can't expect our courtier media to take interest in either of these, much less investigate them honestly. So it's up to us bloggers, especially those of us who can read the foreign press, to take the lead.

  •  The neocon military standpoint... (9+ / 0-)

    ... is all about kicking the small guy who can't effectively fight back.  It's precisely why BushCo went into Afghanistan and Iraq, but carefully steered away from North Korea (after some extended saber-rattling).

    Iran, I think, is right on the borderline (both tactically and geographically), and that's why the neocons continue to try to rile shit up with that country (faked terrorist threats attempting to reprise the Gulf of Tonkin incident, etc.).

  •  Enter Barack Obama (13+ / 0-)

    we need to start talking with them and listening to them - and maybe avoid things like bringing our soldiers to their borders, cancelling unilaterally treaties signed with them, and endlessly calling them an enemy.

    we need consistent policies to address that (including, I might add, serious policies to reduce our energy use

    Thank God the neo-cons failed with only a thousand or so deaths this time.  I hope they burn for every single needless killing.  I hope the fools in D.C. are done being amused while people die.

    •  thanks for the quotes, Karma f All (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tgs1952, Karma for All, Matt Z

      the skeptic in me needs all the bolstering it can get to be assured that Obama will not succumb to business as usual.  Your quotes of Obama's statements went a long way.  Can you provide links, please?

      •  I'm sorry, these are not Obama's statements (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman, Sharon in MD, Matt Z

        they are Jerome's, I'm offering Obama as the answer...should have been more clear.

      •  Here's what Obama says that encourages me: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gustogirl, DBunn, R Rhino from CT4

        Not about strategy with Russia, but diplomacy in handling Iraq:

        Finally, we have to realize that the entire Middle East has an enormous stake in the outcome of Iraq, and we must engage neighboring countries in finding a solution.

        This includes opening dialogue with both Syria and Iran, an idea supported by both James Baker and Robert Gates. We know these countries want us to fail, and we should remain steadfast in our opposition to their support of terrorism and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But neither Iran nor Syria want to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region – and within their own countries.

        And so I firmly believe that we should convene a regional conference with the Iraqis, Saudis, Iranians, Syrians, the Turks, Jordanians, the British and others. The goal of this conference should be to get foreign fighters out of Iraq, prevent a further descent into civil war, and push the various Iraqi factions towards a political solution.

        Make no mistake – if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken. It is in our national interest to prevent this from happening. We should also make it clear that, even after we begin to drawdown forces, we will still work with our allies in the region to combat international terrorism and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is simply not productive for us not to engage in discussions with Iran and Syria on an issue of such fundamental importance to all of us.

        This brings me to a set of broader points. As we change strategy in Iraq, we should also think about what Iraq has taught us about America’s strategy in the wider struggle against rogue threats and international terrorism.

        Many who supported the original decision to go to war in Iraq have argued that it has been a failure of implementation. But I have long believed it has also been a failure of conception – that the rationale behind the war itself was misguided. And so going forward, I believe there are strategic lessons to be learned from this as we continue to confront the new threats of this new century.

        The first is that we should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force. In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies; movements that continue today. This doesn’t mean abandoning our values and ideals; wherever we can, it’s in our interest to help foster democracy through the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal. But even as we provide such help, we should be clear that the institutions of democracy – free markets, a free press, a strong civil society – cannot be built overnight, and they cannot be built at the end of a barrel of a gun. And so we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of – especially freedom from want and freedom from fear – do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots; they are only realized once the personal and material security of a people is ensured as well....

        ...The final lesson is that in an interconnected world, the defeat of international terrorism – and most importantly, the prevention of these terrorist organizations from obtaining weapons of mass destruction -- will require the cooperation of many nations. We must always reserve the right to strike unilaterally at terrorists wherever they may exist. But we should know that our success in doing so is enhanced by engaging our allies so that we receive the crucial diplomatic, military, intelligence, and financial support that can lighten our load and add legitimacy to our actions. This means talking to our friends and, at times, even our enemies.

        http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/...

        •  Pre-presidential run speech on energy/security: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DBunn

          At home, fighting that enemy won't require us to build the massive war machine that Franklin Roosevelt called for so many years ago, but it will require us to harness our own renewable forms of energy so that oil can never be used as a weapon against America...

          http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/...

        •  ughh. please clap. Tinkerbell is dy i n g (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ArtSchmart

          Back to not encouraged AT ALL that Obama offers any new attitudes or perspectives.

          •  Yeah, because he was obviously echoing the neo- (0+ / 0-)

            cons.  

            •  forgot <eyeroll>... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Vicky

              there's more available about Obama's penchant for diplomacy and understanding that far surpasses any other candidate in foreign diplomacy.  Feel free to look yourself next time instead of showing up, asking, then stamping your feet.

              •  ouch (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gogol

                My bad.

                The way I see it, it's not my job to accept what the candidates tell me I should except -- the "sit down, shut up" version of political activism.  

                I see my role in a democracy as being able to -- by arming myself with information -- and empowered to -- by insisting on and exercising my right to speak rationally -- to shape and influence the way I want the people who lead my country to act.

                I don't like Obama's positions on foreign policy.  Yes, indeed, they're better than McSame's, but that's not good enough.  And if Obama wants my vote he will have to earn it by being more responsive to what I think is just and in accord with American Constitutional principles.  And if I have to stamp my feet to get attention to induce Obama or anyone else to listen and change their policies, then stomp I will, and I will do so in tribute to the thousands of US soldiers who will spend the rest of their lives wheel-chair bound because poorly conceived policies sent them  on a fool's mission, and nobody objected.

                •  Stamping feet referred to your rudeness when what (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DBunn, happymisanthropy

                  I posted didn't automatically satisfy your doubts.  There's plenty more out there, go have a peek.  

                  Even the most casual observer of the presidential campaign knows that Senator Obama is a fervent believer in engagement and diplomacy even with our enemies let alone with countries like Russia. Senator Obama has voiced his concern about internal political developments inside Russia, but also affirmed that "The United States will need to work with President Medvedev on a range of issues of common concern, such as preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists, addressing Iran's nuclear ambitions, reducing our nuclear arsenals and securing stable supplies of oil and gas from Russia." It is Senator McCain who wants to kick Russia out of the G-8, not Senator Obama.

                  http://www.thenation.com/...

                  The reactionary response to Obama's foreign policy positions isn't just you...but if you look a little you will see that it's not just "a little" better than McCain.

                  •  please don't call it "rude" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    adrianrf

                    I tried hard to use humor to signal dissatisfaction.

                    Furthermore, I think the rhetoric has to change.  The US public debate has been "Luntzed;" it's going to take some time to dial it back to something more honest and more reflective of what I think represents American values.  For example, this statement:

                    Senator Obama is a fervent believer in engagement and diplomacy even with our enemies let alone with countries like Russia.

                    What if that said:

                    Senator Obama is a fervent believer in engagement and diplomacy even with black people let alone with countries like Israel.

                    How would that go over?  Why is it so essential to define people as "our enemies?" Is Russia some sort of pariah, compared to our own high moral behavior? To pointedly suggest that someone out there occupies a moral plane far beneath our own  and that we somehow have the right to demand that they conform to a set of values that we regularly disregard perpetuates the neocons's deliberate angry, belligerent view of the world, and that version of American foreign policy has to be, in Hillary's words, obliterated.

                    Zoroastrianism holds three principles:  Good thoughts, Good words, Good deeds.  The words reflect the thoughts-- if Obama uses arrogant words, it suggests he harbors arrogant thoughts.  If he harbors arrogant thoughts, he cannot possibly perform deeds that are not likewise arrogant.

        •  It is so refreshing - (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vicky, Karma for All, Overseas

          almost novel - to hear an American politician who has obviously given THOUGHT to problems and solutions of the world today...

          •  what politician was that? (4+ / 0-)

            This includes opening dialogue with both Syria and Iran, an idea supported by both James Baker and Robert Gates. We know these countries want us to fail, and we should remain steadfast in our opposition to their support of terrorism and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But neither Iran nor Syria want to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region – and within their own countries.

            this clip suggests to me that Obama does not understand the nature of the Iranian people at all, and he buys into a flawed win-lose paradigm -- "Iran wants US to fail" -- I don't think that's true.  Iran may, indeed, want US to mind its own business; seems to me Iran has a point there.

            Make no mistake – if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken. It is in our national interest to prevent this from happening. We should also make it clear that, even after we begin to drawdown forces, we will still work with our allies in the region to combat international terrorism and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is simply not productive for us not to engage in discussions with Iran and Syria on an issue of such fundamental importance to all of us.

            If Obama believes this crap he's drinking Knesset Koolaid.  Iran is not/has not attacked Israel; to the extent that Israel's territory has been defined by international boundaries, Israel has NEVER been challenged by Iran.  Israel encroaches and occupies the territories of others, and Iran funds resistance to those land grabs.  Obama needs to be sufficiently intellectually honest enough to realize how the man-on-the-street and US taxpayer sees his tax dollars being spent, on Israel, to support Israel's incursions on territory that belongs to others.

            Iran declares and insists that it wishes to enrich uranium; it is entitled to do so.  It is not interested in developing weapons of mass destruction.  Israel, on the other hand, has painted itself into a corner of depending on weapons of mass destruction.  If Obama really means that he intends to "prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction," then he'd better start by HALTING the mammoth transfer of US funds to militarize Israel, and DEMAND that Israel submit its nuclear arsenal to NPT.

            There's more, but I suspect you get the point.

            •  He's trying to assuage heavy Israeli lobbies. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              R Rhino from CT4

              It's called politics.

              If you can't see the difference between what he is saying and the Bush administration..maybe you need to study American politics a little more.

              •  I maintain (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                esquimaux, adrianrf, creamer

                that Obama has a unique moment to push back against the influence of the Israel lobby.  

                Moreover, I also believe that doing the right thing is frequently the successful thing to do.  And it is impossible for me to rationally sustain the position that increasing military aid to Israel is moral, strategic, in the interest of the United States, or even helpful to the people of Israel.

              •  Assuage: def: appease (0+ / 0-)

                assuage

                   

                as·suage
                Function:
                   transitive verb
                Inflected Form(s):
                   as·suaged; as·suag·ing
                Etymology:
                   Middle English aswagen, from Anglo-French asuager, from Vulgar Latin *assuaviare, from Latin ad- + suavis sweet — more at sweet
                Date:
                   14th century

                1 : to lessen the intensity of (something that pains or distresses) : ease <unable to assuage their grief> 2 : pacify, quiet <vainly strove...to assuage an implacable foe — Edward Gibbon> 3 : to put an end to by satisfying : appease, quench <assuaging his thirst>
                synonyms see relieve

            •  I'm with you to a point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              creamer

              in that I believe many of our problems in the Middle East are directly attributable to our policies with Israel, past and present - and especially to our money pipeline gushing toward Zion.

              Obama is not going to get elected saying that in this country.  However, he might be able to bring it to our collective blockheaded attention once he does engage in dialog with nations we have been trained to consider our enemies.  

              The thoughfulness I attribute to Obama isn't best demonstrated in the quote above - I reference his insightful Philadelphia speech on racism as a rather good example.  But for the quote above:

              This brings me to a set of broader points. As we change strategy in Iraq, we should also think about what Iraq has taught us about America’s strategy in the wider struggle against rogue threats and international terrorism.

              Many who supported the original decision to go to war in Iraq have argued that it has been a failure of implementation. But I have long believed it has also been a failure of conception – that the rationale behind the war itself was misguided. And so going forward, I believe there are strategic lessons to be learned from this as we continue to confront the new threats of this new century.

              The first is that we should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force. In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies; movements that continue today. This doesn’t mean abandoning our values and ideals; wherever we can, it’s in our interest to help foster democracy through the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal.

              But even as we provide such help, we should be clear that the institutions of democracy – free markets, a free press, a strong civil society – cannot be built overnight, and they cannot be built at the end of a barrel of a gun. And so we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of – especially freedom from want and freedom from fear – do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots; they are only realized once the personal and material security of a people is ensured as well....

              ain't bad.

              It isn't for Obama to push back against AIPAC in the middle of an election.  Americans need to become more educated about the issues in the Middle East and the grievances and injustices suffered by so many over there.  

              That's your job, and my job to slowly, inexorably open our fellow American's eyes so they are able to hear the truth when it comes at them from our leadership. And all our angst on this progressive blog isn't going to get us there...  It's our unique moment, too.

  •  Did Chimpy look Putin in the eye? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Sounds like Putin spat in the Chimp's eye.

  •  I see danger everywhere, too. (12+ / 0-)

    Most of it coming from reactionary blowhards whose own asses are never on the line for the wars they so enthusiastically foment.

    I also see opportunity everywhere.  For example, knowing that there's a Presidential election coming up in Iran in mid-2009.  

    Now, the U.S. can either work overtime to moderate its saber-rattling (which in recent weeks the US and UK have done) and work together (and with Japan, a huge trading partner with Iran) to cultivate ties with moderate elements in Iran . . . and in doing so de-legitimize Ahmadinejad and his allies and encourage the election of more moderates, or it can buckle to the war-monging of the NeoCons and initiate an unnecessary, deadly and more regionally destablizing attack on Iran -- and in doing so drive a stake through the heart of any hope for moderates coming to power in Iran in 2009.

    I apologize if this appears "Off Topic" to the Russo-Georian War, but the overarching point applies:  those bent on war, no matter what, will look to find excuses for it.  Those bent on advancing, truly advancing, a nation's interests will look to find ways other than war to do so.  

    It's a little amazing to me that two nations (Russia and Georgia) filled to the brim with people who eat/sleep/breath chess seem to only understand the pugilistic sports as the instructional metaphor from which to draw most all lessons for international relations/action.

    As for the U.S., we have both poker players, and thuggish dumbasses, who vie to shape our foreign policy.  See where the thuggish dumbasses have gotten us over the past 7 years.

    bg
    _____

     

    "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

    by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:05:21 AM PDT

    •  P.S. - re: Iran (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, wu ming

      Summing up a point made above...

      What the next U.S. President says, in his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2009, regarding Iran can (and likely will) have a great influence on that election.

      bg
      _____

      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:10:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Afganistan redux for Russia? Or are local (0+ / 0-)

    population sufficiently pro-Russia to make this a civil war? This could tie up Russian resources for quite some time. We may see another western proxy war here.

    The fault with Limbaugh lies not within the lard but within ourselves

    by the fan man on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:07:08 AM PDT

    •  you didn't read much about what's going on, uh? (9+ / 0-)

      Russia's ground troops are only in south ossetia (voted 97% for integration in Russia) and Abkhazia (dunno if they voted, but same feelings, by the look of it).
      Russia actually saved their skin, back in 1990-1994, when they tried to go their own way and the Georgian Nationalists came to crush them and murder them. they want Russia (strange, i know, but hey.. to them, Georgia is worse).

      •  We may still see a western proxy war unless (0+ / 0-)

        Russia takes all of Georgia.

        The fault with Limbaugh lies not within the lard but within ourselves

        by the fan man on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:03:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not really likely. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hornito, Judgment at Nuremberg

          I mean, really. on the other hand, Russia recognising S.O and Abkhaz independence, just to tweak the west's nose over Kosovo.. That's quite likely.

          On April 21, Mr. Saakashvili called the Russian leader to demand that he reverse the decision [possible Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia]. He reminded Mr. Putin that the West had taken Georgia’s side in the dispute. And Mr. Putin, according to several of Mr. Saakashvili’s associates, shot back with a suggestion about where they could put their statements. Mr. Saakashvili, prudent for once, shied from uttering the exact wording, but said that Mr. Putin had used "extremely offensive language," and had repeated the expression several times.

      •  That 97% number... (0+ / 0-)

        ...has me very suspicious. You almost never see those kind of numbers unless the election is unopposed, or there's only token/joke opposition, or there's a lot of external pressure to adopt one side (a la the Austria plebiscite).

        Can anyone shed light?

      •  During Soviet Union (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IM

        abkhazia voted by 52% to REMAIN in the Soviet union rather than be part of independent Georgia.

        that number has grown since conflict of early 1990's have led to most ethnic georgians fleeing abkhazia.

        Cicero : If you're going to back a policy do it wholeheartedly. You'll win no points for timidity.

        by PoliMorf on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:46:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The enemy of my enemy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Overseas, MichiganGirl

        is my friend.

        it's just brutal realpolitik.

        the ossetians prefer the russians to the goergians

        George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

        by nathguy on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:47:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dude, Georgia aint no Afghanistan (5+ / 0-)

      This is not meant as a slight to Georgians, but that country can be conquered and held. Throughout the course of recorded history no country has even been able to conquer & hold Afghanistan. It's the the ultimate graveyard for imperialist egomaniacs.

      Donate to the ACLU. Stand Up for Justice In The Military Commissions Proceedings

      by Valhalla on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 12:58:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This from the NYT today (8+ / 0-)

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The neocons are faced with a reality that they have denied for so long... (Emphasis mine)

       Russia’s emerging aggressiveness is now also timed with America’s preoccupation with Iraq and Afghanistan, and the looming confrontation with Iran. These counterbalancing considerations mean that Moscow is in the driver’s seat, administration officials acknowledged.
       "We’ve placed ourselves in a position that globally we don’t have the wherewithal to do anything," Mr. Friedman of Stratfor said. "One would think under those circumstances, we’d shut up."
       One senior administration official, when told of that quote, laughed. "Well, maybe we’re learning to shut up now," he said.

    It would appear as though perceptions held dear by some concerning the shape of the world has changed.  
    Given this administrations track record the probability that they  will make one or more huge blunders seems likely.  The larger question remains how many others will join them.

    •  preoccupation (5+ / 0-)

      Brings to mind the 1956 Suez crisis and the Hungarian uprising when the Soviets crushed a revolt while England , France & Israel were engaged in seizing the Suez canal from Egypt. just sayig

      •  I am reminded (9+ / 0-)

        of what could charitably be referred to as overextension.
        It would appear as though there are some folks that have started to believe their own lies and have come face to face with the unforgiving reality called objective circumstances.  
        The idea that the United States is the lone super power with unmatched and unlimited military capacity has been fractured.  Now that it has been others may well be emboldened to take action that would not have been considered just last week while the capacity for diplomacy has also been laid bare.

      •  Good point, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        paul94611

        Weren't we also preoccupied by pipelines?

        •  Pipelines... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northanger

          Long term commercial & security agreements, greater numbers of yeas over nays on matters of national & international concern and so very much more.
          Pipelines is a part of it, but as Jerome a Paris so ably pointed out yesterday the ones on Georgia have been a settled matter for some time now.  
          I am referring to the many small and mid sized relationships and activities to which are general commitments that are now being reassessed by various parties now that the ability of those on the US side of these agreements to meet their obligations, either explicit or implicit is under question.
          On further consideration it should come as a moment of clarity for some in the administration that there are others that hold the "strongly worded letter" with the same regard as they do.  Even if its source is the administration itself rather than an outside entity.  Now the shoe is on their foot and it appears that it has been slipped on while the administration not only was quite unawares, but now finds that it will be hard to shake it off.
          Most interesting indeed.

          •  LOL, Strongly Worded Letter™ (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            paul94611

            So true. My pipeline comment was referencing Jerome's previous diary in response to danmac's comment about the "1956 Suez crisis":

            The reason the current conflict is not about the oil is because, now that the pipeline is built, that game is, in effect, over. Now, the only thing that could stop the flow of oil is, other than localised attacks (like the one conducted by the Kurds, something that has long been expected, and which was mitigated by building the pipeline on a route that avoids kurdish territory) would be for Russia to actually invade all of Georgia and physically take control of the pipeline, ie an outright act of war not just against Georgia, but also against the US.

            The reason for that is that, as part of the process to put in place the pipeline, Georgia invited the US military to set up a base on its territory, near the route of the pipeline. Thus, any attack on the pipeline by Russia would become an attack on the USA.

            I agree with all your points about overextension &c, especially the quote you highlighted from the NYT - priceless.

    •  Bush & Cheney = Abbot & Costello (0+ / 0-)

      But one of them is categorically insane.

      "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

      by ezdidit on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:48:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Neocons are liars firt and foremost (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, tobendaro, NearlyNormal

    followed by being investors and greedy fucking bastards.

    They are truly NAZI's.

    They are responsible for the deaths of uncounted numbers of innocent people and there is nothing to horrible to befall this sort of human scum.

    The least we could do would be to arrest them.

    No - I don't care what for. Plant marijuana on them and tase them to death.

    That's legal and acceptable here.

    •  The "S on my keyboard is wearing out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phil S 33, NearlyNormal

      from typing "bull hit all the time.

    •  don't think neocons are Nazis (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PoliMorf, sfgb, ArtSchmart

      Nazis were German nationalists; they at least had a vision of a homeland that they were defending.

      neocons are not nationalists, they are angry and impotent men with too much time on their hands.  They should be put on an island and made to forage for their daily bread rather than being allowed to sit on their ever fattening asses and scribble for a living while being paid by billionaire fantasy killers like Richard Mellon Scaife.

      •  The NAZIs were capitalists (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, Judgment at Nuremberg

        They wanted to control all the  money and they are known to have dstolen vast amounts of money and valuables.

        The Necons use and have fanned fascist American nationalism and have pined for a "New Pearl Harbor" to alow their agenda to roll forward - and it happened.

        They encourage torture and the use of torture techniques known to have been used by the NAZIS.

        I can go on.

        They are fucking NAZI's - by any other name. Same shit, different pile.

        •  It's not N.A.Z.I. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PoliMorf, Gator Keyfitz, ArtSchmart

           "Nazi" is not an acronym.  It's from the first two syllables of the German word "national", where the "ti" is pronounced "tsi" -- "zi" spells "tsi" in German.  
            The official name of the Nazi Party was the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei: "National-socialist German Worker(s') Party".  It was abbreviated NSDAP.
            The use of the shortened form "Nazi" was as if English-speakers were to call a National this-or-that Party "Nashies".

        •  . (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PoliMorf, Vicky, Tam in CA, ArtSchmart

          I hold an extremely unpopular view:  I believe it might be important to understand what motivated the Nazis -- or at least the vast German populace -- to act as they did.  I think it's important to understand what could possibly cause large numbers of people to come so thoroughly unhinged.  I do not subscribe to Freudian/Calvinist notions of man as evil beasts held in check by outside forces, etc.  I think people react to threats or perceived threats, and that people in mobs who are fed propaganda for long enough react with a rage that is equal in force to the fear that was engendered in them by the propaganda.  This weird theory of mine makes me very fearful of what the near future holds for the American people, who are gradually awakening to what the neocons -- from Cold War to Reagan to Bush -- have perpetrated on the American polity.

        •  The Nazis were FASCISTS. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Judgment at Nuremberg

          US firms profited from Germany's arms build up and the Bush family was involved. The torture methods were borrowed from the Communist Chinese, by the way.

          Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by number six on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:22:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nazi's weren't capitalist - they were veterans (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LaFajita

          As correctly pointed out, Nazis were basically NATIONAL socialists as opposed to INTERNATIONAL socialists (i.e. communists).  The German capitalists liked Nazi anti-communism and thought they could use the Nazis to gain power and crush the communists, but they got eaten by the Nazis.

          The really dangerous bit about Nazism and Fascism (not the same thing) is that both were initially led by WW I veterans who felt very strongly that the civilian leadership had let down down the soldiers, taken advantage of their patriotism and sacrifice.  When the veterans returned from the front, they had no jobs and the economy was a mess, while the rich enjoyed the Roaring Twenties.  Now does that not sound scary.

          γνωθι σεαυτόν

          by halef on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:23:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  nothing "socialistic" other than a name (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            esquimaux, LaFajita, R Rhino from CT4

            And you should know that calling something the "Democratic Republic of Isstupidstan" does not make that country either a republic, or democratic.

            fact does not require fiction for balance

            by mollyd on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:13:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was more than just in name (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gator Keyfitz

              By no stretch of the imagination can the Nazis be called free-marketers.  They did not espouse collectivisation as the Bolsheviks did, but did move toward a more regimented economy with heavy public sector investment (Autobahnen) and a focus on  collectivising and mobilising workers and rural labourers (the Kraft durch Freude programme and so on).  Certainly, it can be argued whether this was out of ideological commitment or as a preparation for war, but the fact remains.

              Italian Fascism had a longer pre-war career, and there the economic policy was even clearer (called la terza via or the Third Way - eat your heart out, Tony).

              γνωθι σεαυτόν

              by halef on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:15:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  By no stretch of the imagination... (4+ / 0-)

                ...can capitalists be considered free marketers.  That's why we have anti-trust laws and such.  As for how the capitalists were treated by the Nazis, I'm at a loss to see how I.G. Farben, Bayer, Porsche, Krupp, Daimler, etc. etc., etc. suffered much.

                •  Not that i disagree... (0+ / 0-)

                  We seem to opening a third front.  I G Farben was a Nazi-inspired cartel of the chemical giants BASF, Höchst etc, not a voluntary cartel.  There was no doubt an unholy incestuous relationship between "capitalists" and Nazis, but it was still the Party running the show (and not, as today in the US, the military-industrial complex running the government).

                  γνωθι σεαυτόν

                  by halef on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:33:06 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I.G. Farben... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    IM

                    ...was formed in 1925, under Weimar, and was merely a formalization of a syndicate that formed during WWI.

                  •  Pro-Busssines does not equals free-market (0+ / 0-)

                    You should not retcon the ideology of todays capitalist to German parties sof the twenties.
                    Th german right was traditionally: - pro private property - pro business
                    and therefore - anti free trade and protectionist - pro trusts - anti consumer

                    German farmers and the german heavy industry were traditionally protectionist. The more export oriented industries were pro free trade. SPD and left liberals were free traders, but of course the SPD was back then not in other aspects pro free-market.

                    So the pro private property and also pro state intervention econmic policy of the NSDAP was very much in the tradition of the german right.

  •  So how do these lessons apply to... (4+ / 0-)

    ....the U.S. in Afghanistan, the NATO intervention in Kosovo, and Clinton's Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign on Iraq in 1998?

    What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    If the problem is the voluntary use of military force-- and not, say, the voluntary use of military force by foreign countries and/or a major party we can't stand-- we should say so clearly and demand that leaders of parties that supposedly represent us study war no more.

    Or, put another way, escalating the war in Afghanistan is not a peace plan.

    This nicely summarizes what's wrong with American political life today. (Source)

    by GreenSooner on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:11:01 AM PDT

  •  political apathy disorder. nt (3+ / 0-)

    This country has it. Bad.

    We have forgotten how to assemble. Therefore, we have forgotten how to be free.

  •  Bush administration called the Russian response (16+ / 0-)

    "disproportionate".

    Yep, the Russians actually put in enough troops to finish the job unlike who?

    The Georgian government has been encouraged to undertake this adventurism by our ridiculously adventurist reactionaries in Washington.

    At least they didn't call out NATO to support Georgia.  That would have been the end of US military alliances and we would be totally on our own (with Poland and Lithuania to back us up).

    I long for the good old days where church was the place where we sang hymns and slept. (After Paula Poundstone)

    by captainlaser on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:23:18 AM PDT

  •  blame Bush (3+ / 0-)

    The world's leader is a very weak substitute teacher--and in the class, boys will be boys.  In finace Bush withdrew regulators and we're moving into a great depression.  Same story--predators and greedy profiteers.  Eight years is a long time to have a shitty sub, 12 years is the total school career--McCain would complete the destruction.

  •  And McCain's top foreign policy advisor... (4+ / 0-)

    ...was a lobbyist for Georgia.

    (Which explains the Old Fart's bellicose rhetoric.)

  •  More on McCain's war lust and corrupt advisor (4+ / 0-)

    When the North Caucasus slid into war Thursday night, it presented John McCain and Barack Obama with a true "3 a.m. moment," and their responses to the crisis suggested dramatic differences in how each candidate, as president, would lead America in moments of international crisis.

    While Obama offered a response largely in line with statements issued by democratically elected world leaders, including President Bush, first calling on both sides to negotiate, John McCain took a remarkably — and uniquely — more aggressive stance, siding clearly with Georgia’s pro-Western leaders and placing the blame for the conflict entirely on Russia.

    The candidates’ stances also reflected their broader goals in the region. Obama, Rhodes noted, has argued that the American interest in controlling nuclear material in the former Soviet Union and in other national security concerns means that the country should maintain a constructive relationship with Russia, even when Russia mistreats its population and threatens its neighbors.

    McCain, meanwhile, has offered more sticks than carrots, and suggested that Russia will respond primarily to American toughness and resolve. He’s also called for Russia to be expelled from the Group of Eight industrial nations, a move unlikely to be supported by its other members, but one that makes his disapproval of Russia’s conduct very clear. Friday, as the crisis unfolded, he reiterated that stance.

    The conflict in Georgia also brought attention to another complicating feature of McCain’s campaign: His ties to Republican operatives with extensive lobbying practices. Scheunemann was, until earlier this year, registered to lobby for the government of Georgia.

    http://www.politico.com/...

  •  Tar & Feathers - the Perfect Gift! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, mollyd

    What could be more symbolically appropriate for the people who are the willing tools of Big Oil, and who have turned Federal agencies into Turkey farms?

    Tar and Feathers would certainly look good on Karl Rove. And, after the truckloads of lipstick they've been putting on policy pigs, it's long past time for a fashion change.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:44:07 AM PDT

    •  is there some substitute for feathers? (0+ / 0-)

      Simorgh gave one of his feathers to Sam and told Sam that if he ever got in a difficult place, to burn the feather, and Simorgh would come and rescue Sam.  Feathers are salvific and warming; neocons do not deserve feathers.

  •  There is nothing to see here, move along (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    R Rhino from CT4, Losty

    The Georgians timed their attack perfectly. The Olympics and John Edwards pretty much mean that most of the US does not have a clue what happened and is perfectly primed for a campaign of misinformation. I expect more noise about offshore drilling and pipelines to combat the threat of Russian imperialism.

    •  The Georgians timed their attack perfectly? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PoliMorf, happymisanthropy

      Vlad Putin was waiting to crush them. Like a middle linebacker who knew exactly where the running back was going.

      And also, everything in the world revolves around American media narratives.

      Just as soon as the Ossetia war broke out, McCain canceled a trip to Atlanta . . .

      by Bill White on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:28:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt they knew (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judgment at Nuremberg

      JE was going confess on the news .

      prob thoughtthat since Moscow is on vacation with Putin in China that they could make a quick grab though.

      Cicero : If you're going to back a policy do it wholeheartedly. You'll win no points for timidity.

      by PoliMorf on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:52:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ehmm, not so I think. McCain is going to try to (0+ / 0-)

      play this big time next week, and depending on how the Russians continue to carry on at this stage, it may help him regardless of what exactly is the timeline of events/how states and the UN ought to have reacted initially. McCain will say something like this.....

      "When Senator Obama was content merely to call for an end to hostilities and for "Talks", I spoke out against Russia in strongest possible terms.....indeed whilst the White House, the EU, and everyone else was playing a softer line, I was the only one who stood up to Russia.....and look I was right....see what they have done/are doing.....When I was acting with good judgment and foresight in standing up to the Russians, my opponent was attacking me because one of my staff has previously some experience of Georgian/Russian relations......my friends, once again, senator obama would rather win an election, than do what is right to safeguard US and World security."

      Of course this is something of a distortion, however I guarantee you that this is the sort of thing they will say.....and this will become an issue, if not next week, then in the near future. McCain will not pass up what he will see as an opportunity to contrast himself with Obama on a 3 am issue such as this.

  •  This wasn't appeasement was it? (0+ / 0-)

    I hope not...the neocons would never do that!

    All I want is....Impeachment followed by Imprisonment!

    by Temmoku on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:46:03 AM PDT

  •  Serves the west right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolita, michlawa2

    They backing Kosovo's separation from Serbia.  They have no business complaining when Russia does the same thing in Georgia.

    Shill, Shill, Shill.

    by Paleo on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:46:45 AM PDT

  •   Realpolitik as practiced by Metternich... (4+ / 0-)

    ...in the Nineteenth Century laid the groundwork for Twentieth Century's world wars, the bloodiest in history. It is small surprise that the American Metternich Kissinger and his want to be Neo-Cons are arrogant and stupid enough to be creating a new record blood shed this Century...but never theirs of course.

    Would that Henry had done his thesis on Gandhi and Leo Strauss and he had never immigrated.

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:48:01 AM PDT

    •  Realpolitik as practiced by Biismark (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PoliMorf, IM, halef

      could not hurt right now.

      Life is not about joy and happiness. It is about duty and responsibility.

      by Void Indigo on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:51:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I though the Germans lost WWI and II... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and a hundred million were slain.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:53:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Now that's "Blood and Iron" for you. (0+ / 0-)

          The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

          by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:54:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That was not Bismark n/t (7+ / 0-)

            Life is not about joy and happiness. It is about duty and responsibility.

            by Void Indigo on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:16:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I most certainly was (0+ / 0-)

              In a meeting with legislators in late September 1862, Bismarck made a statement which would become notorious.

              "The great questions of the day will not be decided by speeches and resolutions of majorities... but by blood and iron."

              Otto von Bismarck 1862

              Because of that statement and his aggressive stances he was know as the Iron Chancellor.

              Ad he certainly laid the ground work for WWI. And yes, I know all about the "Dropping of the Pilot" political cartoon and the circumstances that engendered it. He and Metternich before him (after the Congress of Vienna as the "Coachman of Europe)" did much to create the circumstances that led to the great world wars in the next century. "Realpolitik" may have unified Germany but it also in the end destroyed her and millions with her.

              You’d teach your grandmother to suck eggs n/t

              The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

              by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:07:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Bismarck died in 1898 (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PoliMorf, gaianne
        •  Bismarck "We are satisfied" (5+ / 0-)

          Bismarck was very much a realist and felt by 1890 that Germany had all it needed.

          γνωθι σεαυτόν

          by halef on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:28:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Classic imperialist move (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bobjack23, R Rhino from CT4

              That's the way the British managed to create a global empire: alternations of war and peace.  You make war -- seize territory -- then stop, claim to be "satisfied", and digest.  Wait just long enough for people to get comfortable with the new situation and think that they can get along with their new neighbors.  Then, on some flimsy provocation, attack again.  Now the carrot, now the stick.  It's a recipe for world domination.

              Germany was only going to be "satisfied" until the next opportunity for easy pickings came along -- it didn't matter whether Bismarck or Wilhelm II or someone else was at the helm.  Had there been no First World War, it could have been something else: rebellions in Austria or in Russia, for instance.  Don't trust "satisfied" imperialists.

            •  Helmuth Graf von Moltke may have died in 1891 (0+ / 0-)

              ..but it was his plan and a gaggle of Bismark influenced Prussian, "Junkers" that launched WWI.

              The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

              by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:14:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  PS (0+ / 0-)

                Von Schlieffen, became Chief of the German General Staff in 1891, at the time of von Moltke’s death came up with the technical/tactical implementation of von Moltke’s ideas and submitted them in 1905 and those plans were implemented in 1914 sans the "strong right wing"

                The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

                by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:23:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Bismarck's "realpolitik" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bobjack23

          Included:

        *1864. A pointless and stupid war over Schleswig-Holstein, partly German, partly Danish territories held by a branch of the Danish royal family.  They were swallowed up by Prussia, naturally.

        *1866. A pointless and stupid war with Austria for nothing more than bragging rights to being the biggest power in Germany.  This war resulted in the destruction of the only existing pan-German national organization, the German Confederation.  It also gave Prussia the chance to swallow up Hanover, a large German state more or less corresponding to present-day Niedersachsen.

        *1870-1871. A bloody, unnecessary, and artificially-created war (much like the Iraq war) with France.  Despite having won a major military victory in less than two months from the start of the war (again like Iraq) the Prussian forces settled in for the occupation and slow strangulation of France over the succeeding year, resulting in repeated revolutions and destruction across France.  Bismarck built his new "German Empire" (read: Prussia + smaller German satellite states) on the blood of the French.

        If this is Realpolitik, we could do with less of it.

        •  There are many ways to read history... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gaianne, IM, Gator Keyfitz

          ... and yours is the viewpoint of the established imperialists France and Britain resenting the a competitor.  You're not entirely wrong, just biased.

          γνωθι σεαυτόν

          by halef on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:07:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Policy becomes "realpolitik" only if it works (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, WIds

          And usually the statesmen most confident they're masters of realpolitik turn out to have been deluded incompetents-- like our PNAC neocons.

          I do see Bismarck as relevant here in one limited sense. His commitment to "restoring the Alsatians to the German nation to which they belong, even against their will" is probably close to the logic of Saakashvili, resorting to force to resubjugate South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

          But Bismarck could at least argue that his Alsatians "belonged" to the Reich by virtue of their German language and German culture. Saakashvili can't even make that argument in regard to the Abkhazians and Ossetians.

  •  US military trainer:"We're giving them the knife" (8+ / 0-)

    One of the U.S. military trainers put it to me a bit more bluntly. "We’re giving them the knife," he said. "Will they use it?"

    This statement, referring to the training and equipping of the Georgian army by the US, is to be found in this article from a week ago, called "Did the U.S. Prep Georgia for War with Russia?"

    But even this is even feigned innocence. We knew exactly what Georgia meant to do with that knife we gave them. That's why we gave it to them.

  •  We've lost... (8+ / 0-)

    ... the moral, ethical, and political authority these past eight years - to do anything about this.

    If anything, the Chinese must be looking at this and saying: "well, if they won't stop Russia, then they surely aren't going to stop us when we crack down in Tibet, Hong Kong, and elsewhere.  Let's dominate!"

    •  "We" never had any moral authority (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom

      The Russians would need to do an enoumous amount of killing in Goergia to even begin to approach "our" record in Iraq.

      "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

      by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:29:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  will be interesting to see comparison of tactics (0+ / 0-)

      in Kosovo and Ossetia

      http://www.nato.int/...

      http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/...

      And the Danube bridges at Novi Sad

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      The NATO bombing left the city without all of its three Danube bridges, communications, water, and electricity, which severely impaired the day to day living of the residents of Novi Sad. All bridges were not rebuilt before 2005 and one of the rebuilt bridges is only a temporary solution. Some residential areas were damaged by cluster bombs

      http://www.emperors-clothes.com/...

      •  Why Novi Sad? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MindRayge

        "Novi Sad residents point out that the irony that Novi Sad was so heavily targeted by NATO also lies in the fact that during the time of the bombing, the city was ruled by the local Democratic Opposition, which was against the regime in Belgrade. Therefore, the citizens of Novi Sad were not able to understand why they had to pay so large price for the events in Kosovo, which were not caused by them."

        NATO claimed the bulk of its targets were in Kosovo and southern Serbia.

        http://www.nato.int/...

        The execrable Thomas Friedman said at the time "You want 1389?  We'll give you 1389."  Even if you don't support Milosevic, it seems.

  •  Entire Russian policy a failure (9+ / 0-)

    The effort to push NATO right to the Russian door, and build anti-missle systems where Russia close to Russia, had increased Russian paranoia and insecurity.  Rather than working with Russia, U.S. foreign policy has gone out of its way to alienate Russia.

    Shill, Shill, Shill.

    by Paleo on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:51:01 AM PDT

  •  They haven't lost a thing (7+ / 0-)

    They got a war started to feed the military industrial complex. That's what it's about. That's what it's always about. And in that respect, neocons continue to win - over and over again.

    Change the media ownership laws and reinstate the Fairness Doctrine

    by moosely2006 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:52:19 AM PDT

  •  Shut down the US military base in Georgia (3+ / 0-)

    And stop all military aid to that country. If our government was really interested in the security of the American people, this is what it would be doing.

    "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

    by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:52:42 AM PDT

    •  yeah?! It's bad enough we have to abandone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike

      our ally but we should also shamelessly tuck our dicks under our ass as we do it huh?

      •  One would hope (8+ / 0-)

          That the United States would not follow a foreign policy based on "showing dick".

        •  Well one would also hope that when the US (4+ / 0-)

          says it will do something it has some credibility.  We led Georgia to believe they were under U.S. protection when that is clearly not the case.  

          Now the comment is the U.S. would be wise simply to abandon an important ally...that's no wiser foreign policy.  

          Perhaps we overreached in going after former Soviet satellites but this is chess afterall.  You're really going to resign so quickly?  

          I don't want to have a World War over S. Ossetia don't get me wrong.  The comment is basically to give Georgia to the wolves though.  That can't be wise either.  

          •  "We" have done enormous damage Georgia's people (2+ / 0-)

            If, as I suspect, the Georgian government moved against South Ossesia based on encouragement from US neoconservatives and some expectation that the word of the US government is or ever was worth anything, there is more blood on on "our" hands.  

            "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

            by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:11:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As was done and will continue (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chimpwatch

              to be done to the naifs who do not see that they are pawns in a wider propaganda war. Shi'a Iraqi's ? Kurds? Afghans? Anyone? This has been going on since the Nixonites realized that the way to win ,and LOSE control ,is to control the message, which they have done very effectively, with virtually no-one even noticing that they have been being fed pablum and flavor-aid for breakfast,lunch and dinner, with a midnight snack of self-serving lies and nationalistic flag waving. They have captured the tribalism quite well,tyvm, and are using it to great effect. Keyboard media is making a difference,to be sure, but compared to the vast and moneyed opposition, well,we are a pesky gnat that can be fed, or swatted down, depending on the irritation factor.

          •  We promised to protect Georgia? (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think selling weapons or offering trainers is promising to protect them no matter what they do.

            When did the US promise to protect Georgia against Russia exactly?

            01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

            by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:15:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps the bait (0+ / 0-)

              of NATO membership? A sort of implicit promise,not to be acted upon, in case of real conflict of course.

              •  The US is unable to promise NATO membership (0+ / 0-)

                I doubt that Georgia was unable to understand that.

                It is amazing, right now I am listening to the President of Georgia on CNN describing where the Russians are on a map.

                He is asserting that Russia is dropping bombs on cars with people who are on 'holiday'!

                He is saying this is all about 'American values' and since the US is so powerful, they should have the ability to use it's leverage to stop Russia. And he will consider asking for US troops, but did not ask yet.

                wow....

                01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

                by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:56:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  oh dear (0+ / 0-)

                  he seems to be very confused. And I know that the US is unable to promise much of anything these days, that doesn't mean that some people aren't confused. :)
                  After all, holiday-makers can't be 'combatants', right?
                  Do you see any support for this mythical 'leverage'? Oh dear.
                  I guess this is what I meant by people seeming to believe in empty promises. Is he that deluded?
                  Oh wait, lots of Amerkuns think the same way.....

                •  Silly Georgians (0+ / 0-)

                  Americans only believe that crap when it comes from our own government.

          •  I see no need to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fixed Point Theorem

            honor commitments made by Bush and Cheney on the sly and without our consent. That includes their conquest and occupation of Iraq.

            Georgia is not going to be thrown to the wolves. But neither are we going to support it in self-defeating military aggression and ethnic cleansing.

          •  In chess you abandon losing positions (0+ / 0-)

            unless you opponent is MUCH dumber than you are.  

            Generally you just can't afford to waste the material and initiative.  

            Yes, abandoning allies is bad:  Which is why you don't make promises you can't (or don't intend to) keep.  

            Once you burn down a few friends, THAT game is over.  

            Neo-cons understand none of these things.  They make their "own reality."  Which is possible at all only because their propaganda machine is so total--but only inside the English speaking countries.  In the rest of the world it is worth absolute zip, but they don't understand that either.  

            The US now has just about two options--cede gracefully on this episode and pretend it is all for the best, or launch global nuclear war.  Which option do you think has the smaller downside?  

        •  But we do. (0+ / 0-)

          All the time.  

          They see me trollin'. They hatin'

          by obnoxiotheclown on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:31:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Gangster regime in Georgia is not my "ally" (5+ / 0-)

        Nor is the gangster regime in Russia. We have enough problems with our own gangsters in Washington.

        Shut down all US military facilities in Georgia. Discontinue all military "aid" to the Georgian regime.

        US imperialism does not benefit me or anyone I know.

        Let's take the dick out of US foreign policy, and invest in our own schools, health care, public welfare, and infrastructure.

        "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

        by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:06:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  hmmm, I am still (4+ / 0-)

        looking around for that defense treaty that makes Georgia our ally.  I probably won't find it though since my research skill are not good enough to find the other one ratified in Congress that makes Israel our ally.

        The only thing I could find was something on Taiwan and NATO, but in regards of NATO, France and my new home of residence Germany just rejected treaty admission of Georgia.

        It looks just like a Telefunken U47...you'll love it! - with leather...?

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:55:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Significant and Enduring damage"??? (8+ / 0-)

    Just browsed an AP article, and this quote got me...

    To Paraphrase.. The US says Russia should stop or risk "Significant and enduring damage to the relationsip with US".  

    link

    Don't know whether to laugh or cry..  Don't they own a decent amount of our forex reserves?  Between them and China, There goes that stunning dollar rally we're having, while we go broker with all that wonderful paper our Wonderful Fed and Treasury(tm) has now...

    Can anyone be this stupid?

  •  How Pathetically Simplistic !!!! (8+ / 0-)

    Have you heard about the ethnic cleansing of Abkhazia under Russian oversight?

    Have you heard about the Chechen Wars?

    Have you heard about Nogorno-Karabakh?

    From the days of Imperial Russian conquest of the Caucasus through the period of Soviet rule and deportations of entire peoples to the post-Soviet collapse, Russia has maintained a heavy hand in the region.

    IT IS FAR, FAR MORE THAN POST COLD WAR STAND-OFF BETWEEN THE U.S. AND RUSSIA.

    What about the ethnic cleansing of 250,000 Georgians, Greeks, Armenians, and others - not to mention perhaps 30,000 killed - in the Abkhazian War?  What about the half million refugees, 50,000 deaths, and the obliteration of Grozny in the CHechen Wars?  Or was Anna Politkovskaya murdered for nothing? And what about the continued Russian presence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?  Again, a war marked by mass murder and ethnic cleansing.

    No, Russia is not responsible for each and every genocidal act; however, Russia clearly uses these conflicts to destabilize post-Soviet regimes and to extend its power.

    What a friggin' simplistic diary.

  •  Major offensive now underway (8+ / 0-)

    in Abkhazia.  Guardian UK reporting approx. 1000 separatists assaulting Georgian positions in the gorge with the help of Russian airpower pummeling them.

    Ukraine, also on Moscow's shitlist, is getting frisky now saying that Russian ships off the coast of Abkhzia may not be allowed to return to Svestopel, home of Russia's Black Sea fleet, which is on Ukrainian territory, until the conflict is settled.

    Probably just Ukrainian posturing in support of Georgia, but points out easily how this could get out of hand.

    16:05 CET

    It looks just like a Telefunken U47...you'll love it! - with leather...?

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:05:49 AM PDT

    •  Where exactly ARE our troops.... (2+ / 0-)

      Any in Abkazia?  Ossetia?

      Have we pulled them out yet?  For that matter, what about Ukraine?

      •  We appear to only have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        a small contingent in the area South near Tbilisi.  Since the exercises ended last month, I would imagine those 1000 Marines have probably redeployed, but am not sure.

        I would also reasonably speculate that our military and civilian presence there is probably locked-down and restricted to quarters and that the military attache has also probably told the Russian where they are at to avoid them being targeted accidently.  That would make common sense and would be prudent, imo.

        I am sure they are no where near the fighting but may have witnessed air power knocking out some Georgian military targets.

        It looks just like a Telefunken U47...you'll love it! - with leather...?

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:22:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I thought we still had some 2000 US nationals... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jeffersonian Democrat

          ....there?

          In fact.....

          Among them are about 130 trainers — mostly American military personnel but also about 30 Defense Department civilians — in the country assisting the Georgian military with preparations for deployments to Iraq.

          Though I imagine they are not going to be sending any more troops to Iraq any time soon.

          01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

          by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:25:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This will play out in Ukrainian politics (2+ / 0-)

      and sharpen the differences between the Polonicized western nationalists and the more culturally Russian Ukranians of the east.  

      It's going to take time for them to either develop a third way or tear apart in perpetual conflict.

      The most successful war seldom pays for its losses. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Judgment at Nuremberg on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:11:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's call it what it is (3+ / 0-)

    and always has been. War mongering, now taken up by the NeoCon set, is psychosis — mental illness. So of course it ultimately leads to failure. Only when there is a universal rejection of war, an absolute and unyielding repudiation of militarism, can we begin the healing process that we need in order to survive and thrive as a species on a very stressed planet.

    "True peace is not merely the absence of tension -- it is the presence of justice." MLK

    by dhaemeon on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:07:45 AM PDT

  •  Reckoning time between our puppet in Tbilisi and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gaianne, Mumon

    his own people coming soon - but not to a screen near you, if you live in the US...

  •  Tar is petroleum based (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mumon, Jerome a Paris, Matt Z

    Could we use honey instead?  Oh, wait. . .the bees are still dying?  Um, could we use high fructose corn syrup instead?  What? All the corn is being used for ethanol production?

    Damn.  Just use the tar. . .

    Are you sure about that?

    by no ideologue on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:24:12 AM PDT

  •  Realpolitik need not be distasteful (2+ / 0-)

    If it's done with integrity, and with concern for, you know, the people of the countries, rather than your cronies.

    Unfortunately when the term was coined by Kissinger, "the people" were not even an afterthought.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:24:42 AM PDT

  •  US Military Intervention (3+ / 0-)

    A great diary! But one of the problems, in my opinion, is taking Russia’s part in a conflict when US public opinion against Russia on all issues is strong, dating back to Cold War days. I believe nothing is going to change those attitudes at the present time. The media in some countries belonging to the European Union, including the venerable BBC, have also been adamantly against Russia in its dispute with Georgia, quoting the Georgian president’s statements like the gospel.

    Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili appears not to have been happy that Georgia’s bid to join NATO – one of his main political goals -- was put on ice a few months ago. He appears to have chosen the opening of the Olympics in China, with its call for peace during the games, to refocus international attention to Georgia, which had been out of the news in recent months. He also appears to want the US government (Georgia’s friend) and NATO to go to war to settle Georgia’s score with Russia. Demonstrators in Tbilisi have spelled out a huge sign in candles on the pavement saying "Stop Russia." In English. There are no doubts about who the message was intended for.

    Saakashvili is not the only one who wants to settle scores with the Russian Federation, the successor of the Soviet Union. The president of Estonia, Toomas Henrik Ilves, who like Saakashvili has been courted by the White House, wants to take revenge on Russia for Soviet policies against Estonia. He arrived in the US as a small child with his Estonian parents and grew up on the East Coast. He was a US citizen for most of his life, until he renounced his citizenship after settling in Estonia. Ilves and Estonia also deserve to be watched.

    I still do not think the possibility of US military intervention in the Russian-Georgian dispute is out of the question. In my opinion, US intervention ultimately depends on what the US government thinks it has to gain from such action.

    •  Pray hard... (4+ / 0-)

      I doubt the US will - and even if Bush wanted to, I don't think he can.  Georgia is far away from anything, and Turkey will not let the US use Incirlik for any adventure like that.

      There is some strong neocon link to Georgia which I don't fully understand yet, but for now, it looks like a classic case of the neocons pushing poor Georgia out there to bait the bear, and the bear just snapped.

      γνωθι σεαυτόν

      by halef on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:33:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The estonian president is not stupid.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, dmnyct, Jampacked

      ...they know that the Russians will invade them at the drop of a hat now...  After all, no one is stopping them here, why would they not invade and return the baltics to SSR status?

      I hope he's not that stupid!  Thank goodness, the Baltics are part of the EU, otherwise the Russians probably would have annexed them already...

      The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

      by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:04:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting facts buried in AP article (13+ / 0-)

    As news of the conflict broke, Jim Heintz of the AP wrote an analysis that I saw in the WP: Georgia makes a power play and a big gamble

    I thought it was good overview of the situation and had some facts that I've not seen discussed elsewhere. Two graphs jumped out at me.

    First, there was this (emphasis added):

    Earlier this year, NATO quashed Georgia's drive to get a so-called road map for alliance membership amid alarm that President Mikhail Saakashvili was backtracking on democracy with his violent suppression last year of opposition rallies.

    Violent suppression of his political opposition? And while John McCain's main foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, was on Saakashvili's payroll. This seems to be a story worthy of some more research and reporting.

    And then there was this graph that seemed to explain the neo-con interest in Georgia:

    Besides being important to Georgia as a matter of national pride, Abkhazia [Georgia's other separatist region] also includes more than half of Georgia's Black Sea coast and is believed to have significant oil reserves.

    When a neocon says it is not about the oil, it is ALWAYS about the oil.

    Cheers

    Time to clean up DeLay's petri dish! Help CNMI guest workers find justice! Learn more at Unheard No More.

    by dengre on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:33:11 AM PDT

  •  This is an eastern European conflict (10+ / 0-)

    that goes back several hundred years.  

    The US is just a player on the sidelines, like all of Europe.

    We know the history - Georgia broke away from Russia after the fall of the USSR.  Hell, alot of former republics within the USSR did the very same thing.  

    Thats only one point.  Another is that Georgia and South Ossetia were not a part of Russian until annexation in 1801, or so.   Both regions were autonomous before the annexation.  But, it was the disintegration of the USSR that was the tipping point that resulted in what we are watching today.

    Nationalism is the issue here.  

    Georgians and South Ossetians are both very proud peoples.  The South Ossetians were given much free rein to do as they pleased under the USSR, despite the official lines of governance coming from the USSR indirectly through the state government of Georgia.

    So, when Georgia left the USSR, South Ossetia wanted to do just the same.  However, this is where it becomes sticky.  Russia granted 90% of the South Ossetian people Russian citizenship.  Which is one line of defense the Russians are using - "we're definding Russians in South Ossetia".  That's a big problem not only for Georgians, but for the South Ossetians and Russia's neighbors, as well.

    You see, the South Ossetians aren't Russian. They speak their own language, they're a completely different people from the Russians ethnically, and the only thing that bridges Russians with South Ossetians is the common border they share.  

    To further my point why Russia is the main culprit is that since the 19th century up to today, Russia has used these border republics for it's own purpose; whether it be for defensive measures or economic measures.  

    This is a grab for power by the Russians in hopes that they can control energy transportation, but also increase their sphere of influence in areas they once controlled.

    You should all remember that when the USSR broke apart the Russian leadership didn't want to lose areas of control in the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkmenistan, and the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.

    That being said, this conflict is about reaffirming Russia's influence over that region and the other former republics of the USSR.

    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

    by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:34:27 AM PDT

    •  Georgia ain't in Eastern Europe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tgs1952, gaianne, Fyodor

        Just sayin'.

      •  I beg to differ since what you stated (0+ / 0-)

        is disputed by many.  

        "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

        by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:24:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Many" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tgs1952, gaianne

            The many people without access to maps, I suppose.  

            We really need Miss Teen South Carolina to help out here.

          •  Indeed, because if you want to consider (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dmnyct

            it Asia, fine by you. But, I don't see you offering any substantive references to back your claim.

            Just sayin'.

            Indeed, at the very least, it should be considered transcontinental, residing on the border between Europe and Asia; at best, it should be considered European due to cultural, economic, and political reasons.

            "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

            by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:47:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't try telling the Georgians... (0+ / 0-)

              ...they aren't Europeans.

            •  "Europe" is an entirely arbitrary concept, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerome a Paris

              constanly redefined according to political expediency.

              There is no European continent, although it's possible to speak of a European "subcontinent" of Eurasia. there's never been a lasting consensus as to where in the east "Europe" ends. The eastern frontier of "Europe" has variously been set as the Vistula, the Don, the Volga, or the Urals, depending on the course of colonization and attitudes towards Russia and whether it should be denied membership in "European civilization."

              I've never seen any explicit identification of the southern Caucasus with "Europe," except by Russians in the late 18th/early 19th centuries when they claimed their annexation of the Caucasus was bringing the Caucasian people the fruits of European civilization.Meanwhile many Western Europeans denied Russia was part of Europe; they insisted it must be an Asiatic despotism.

              Nor can you use religious affiliation to show the Caucasus is European. Right next door to Orthodox Christians (Ossetians, Georgians) live Muslims (Chechens, Daghestanis).

              •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

                And to reiterate my point above, "Nationalism is the issue here.".  

                Don't forget the Indian subcontinent!

                /end friendly snark

                "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

                by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:32:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gaianne

        Georgia ain't in Eastern Europe
        Just sayin'.

        I'm tellin' y'all, it's north of Florida!

      •  Interestingly (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gaianne, Fyodor, kalmoth, 4Freedom

        Georgia, like Azerbaijan, chose an Asian international phone code, whereas Armenia took a European one.

        •  Indeed. (0+ / 0-)

          Meanwhile, Kazakhstan chose to continue using Russia's country code of +7 despite declaring independence from Russia.

          I get your point, but international phone codes aren't necessarily bound to following the ITU-T standards, since they are after all recommendations.

          "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

          by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:16:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ?? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrblifil, IM, LanceBoyle

      You see, the South Ossetians aren't Russian. They speak their own language, they're a completely different people from the Russians ethnically, and the only thing that bridges Russians with South Ossetians is the common border they share.

      First of all, they DO speak Russian. And yes, they do have their own language (and indo-european language of the INdo-Iranian variety) just like North Ossetians. And of course North Ossetia is part of Russia. Indeed, most Ossetians from the conflict zone are escaping to North Ossetia - Russia.

      •  The dominant language spoken by the majority (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris

        of South Ossetians is Ossetian.  

        Of course, Russian is spoken by some in South Ossetia.

        As an administrative language used by government and other institutions.

        "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

        by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:10:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Okay then the UN can do a referendum in South Oss (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chimpwatch

          and see if your premise is true.

          What is telling is that the South Ossentian refugees are fleeing into Russia, not looking for "safety" in the aggressor country, Georgia.

          The most successful war seldom pays for its losses. - Thomas Jefferson

          by Judgment at Nuremberg on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:18:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  hush. (4+ / 0-)

            he's a georgian apologist :)
            Notice that he didn't mention once, in his timeline, georgia's really bloody repression of S.O's separatism, in 1991. Which just might explain some of the most recent hard feelings ossetians harbor toward Georgia and it's nationalism.

            •  I certainly don't support Russia, thats for sure. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              unfounded

              For very serious reasons. Energy oligarchies, lack of fundamental human and civil rights, corruption within government, the killing of journalists, the dismantling of a free press, the list is long and it's getting longer everyday.

              As I said in my first post, this is about nationalism and the proud peoples of Georgia and South Ossetia.

              That being the case, if you fail to realize how giving citizenship to a people as Russia did with the South Ossetians is fundamentally one of the most egregious and explicit forms of undermining another country and it's sovereignty, then I really have nothing left to discuss with you, since I would surmise that you must be a Russian apologist.  :)

              If Russia had been able to maintain the policies under Gorbachev despite the economic problems they were faced with after the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the USSR and it's transformation into the CIS, then you'd likely not have Vladimir Putin running the show - which in my point of view is very troubling, indeed.

              "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

              by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:45:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Every one of these sins (5+ / 0-)

                -- energy oligarchy, corruption, suppression of civil liberties and human rights, killing journalists, nationalist irrdentism-- has also been committed by the post-Soviet Georgian governments under Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze, and Saakashvili.

                There is no good guy in this fight, and it would be insane for the US to get involved.

                •  I never advocated for US involvement. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  unfounded

                  And you have to admit a country the size of Russia with it's economic, political and military power has much more potential to bring instability to a nation or a region than does say Georgia.

                  That said, I agree with your assessment that neither country is innocent.

                  "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

                  by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 02:18:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Vanishing the Ossetians (0+ / 0-)

                    You ignore the perspective of the Ossetians. From their perspective Georgia is the Goliath and they are David. What about their right of self-determination.

                    The S. S. R. Georgia seceded from the Soviet Union based on the right of self determination. So far so good. But why can't the A.S.S.R. South Ossetia secede too, based on the principle of self determination?

                    That is the question and this question was posed already in 1990 and it has not been answered till today.

                    No you can answer that only republics can secede. Fine. A bit abritray but at least a guideline.

                    But in this case the autonomous province of Kosovo can`t be independent either.

              •  how is giving those who *ask* (0+ / 0-)

                citizenship a passport

                one of the most egregious and explicit forms of undermining another country and it's sovereignty

                ??
                Are you claiming that those dastardly cunning israelis, by giving an israeli passport to all the jews who want one, are undermining other countries and their sovereignty?

          •  Ossetian language and political affiliation (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IM, kalmoth

            One of the South Ossetians' long-standing grievances against Georgia was Georgian government restrictions on using Ossetian in their schools and public life. South Ossetians had not been citizens of the Georgian state until 1922, when Moscow set up the Georgian SSR as a Soviet republic and assigned South Ossetia to Georgia as an autonomous oblast'. In 1990, taking advantage of the disintegration of the USSR, the Georgian Supreme Soviet voted to nullify South Ossetia's autonomous status. That sparked the war still being waged today.

            As for referenda, the South Ossetians twice voted for independence, but the Georgian minority boycotted the elections and Tbilisi therefore argued the results were illegitimate.

            •  While I agree that what you have stated is true. (0+ / 0-)

              I find that considering the time frame when the Georgian Supreme Soviet made their decision (1990) that one would have to look at the greater picture - the stability of the Caucasus region.  

              There was great turmoil there and elsewhere within the USSR and it's difficult to deny that allowing a further breakdown of stability, what with the erosion of the USSR just reaching it's zenith at the time, was a good thing, both diplomatically and militarily.

              To be honest, I'd rather see everyone enjoy self-determination, but should it happen when the outcomes could be detrimental for those other than those seeking self-determination.

              That's geopolitics for you.  

              On a similar note - I just have to state once again that no party was innocent and when you have seats of power in the hands of crooks, organized crime gangs, and the like, this is the end result.  

              "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

              by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:29:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Suddenly withdrawing autonomy (0+ / 0-)

                from the South Ossetians while their Northern Ossetian kinsmen continued to enjoy autonomous status within the Russian Federation would seem to me to be a very destabilizing action on the part of the Georgian government. The South Ossetians certainly saw it as such.

                The Russians have not been the only ones with irredentist ambitions and the willingness to ride roughshod over minority nationalities. The Georgians have been guilty of this, too, and the US has no business encouraging them in it.

                •  True. But, look at the US and its own expansion. (0+ / 0-)

                  Where we have done the very same thing to the indigenous tribes that lived here before the white man took over using Manifest Destiny as rationale to legitimate our taking lands that were clearly not ours.  

                  Its deplorable, but "That's life" as Frank Sinatra would sing.

                  "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

                  by Casey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:21:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  For those who like to read between the lines (5+ / 0-)

    Hint: a conflict that smolders for a long time, and breaks out occassionally, is very good for arms sales. Beneficiaries: people like the Carlyle Group. Buy low, sell high.

  •  You mean, choose your battles, choose your wars? (3+ / 0-)

    Neocons put a lot of stock into attitude, that is, pretend that you can fight everywhere, everyone.  I suppose it's related to WILL, and the shit they spoonfeed to the electorate that no war is lost except at the ballot box with a stab in the back.

    "For a man who will turn 72 this month, he's a surprisingly immature politician--erratic, impulsive and subject to peer pressure"-Newsweek.

    by Inland on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 07:38:39 AM PDT

  •  Just as N. Korea understood China couldn't help (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJB, LordMike, 4Freedom, LaFajita

    against the U.S., Georgia et. al. is going to learn that no one is going to help them against Russia.  They better learn quickly.  

  •  Conflict with Russia is inevitable (6+ / 0-)

    this week it's South Ossetia, I am sure at some point it will be something else. The Russian elite needs external conflicts to legitimize its power. It's a shame, because I know a lot of people who have visited Georgia recently. It was becoming a semi-normal country that was integrating into the West, despite its baggage. Now, all of that is lost. Our friend on the way to Tbilisi is stuck in the Prague airport.

    •  Randy Scheunemann deserves some (much?) blame (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, Fixed Point Theorem

      Link:

      But the sound of sabers rattling is music to the ears of Randy Scheunemann, the McCain campaign's senior foreign policy and national security advisor. A long-term confidant of the candidate, Scheunemann also supports a very tough stance toward Russia. Unlike McCain, until very recently he was paid to support that stance. McCain, already under fire for the role of lobbyists in his campaign, is taking his foreign policy advice from someone who was a paid lobbyist for former Soviet Bloc countries that are wary of Russia, and seems to advocate those policies the countries and their former lobbyist want. Notably, McCain supports a quick expansion of NATO, and Scheunemann has already helped two former Soviet satellites gain admission to NATO and has worked on behalf of two others.

      Until early this year, Scheunemann was simultaneously working for the McCain campaign and as a lobbyist for a shifting menu of Eastern European and former Soviet Bloc countries with NATO aspirations. Some, including Georgia, have chilly relations with Russia. At various times from 2001 through early this year, Georgia, Latvia, Romania and Macedonia paid Scheunemann and his partner, Mike Mitchell, more than $2 million. Much of Scheunemann's work focused on paving the way into the NATO fold. Two of Scheunemann's clients, Latvia and Romania, were admitted to full NATO member status in 2004, after which they ceased paying him.

      Yes, Vladimir Putin is a predator however our neo-cons in Georgia were breathtakingly stupid.

      Just as soon as the Ossetia war broke out, McCain canceled a trip to Atlanta . . .

      by Bill White on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:33:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  American elite need conflict to legimize power (5+ / 0-)

      It sounds like the Russian elite and the American elite have much in common.

      "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

      by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:51:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Russian elite (3+ / 0-)

        copy the American elite. This Ossetia "crisis" is a copy of the Kosovo crisis with the motive to annex those provinces.

        •  Foolish consistency . . . . (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IM, chimpwatch, 4Freedom

          While Russia has in current times a political  relationship to Serbia, the two are nowhere near geographically or culturally or ethnically contiguous.  Georgia shares a long border with Russia, in a neighborhood much given to guerrilla and bandit conduct, such as the entire Chechnya mess. An experience one suspects the Russians do not wish to repeat.
            In many ways, all of the Caucasian republics share some of the perennial warlike cultures in a way Old Russia does not. One of the things they  legitimately do not want is any of those exporting their unhappiness to Old Russia in the way Al Quaeda is exporting its unhappines in our direction. The last thing they need is an all out Yugoslavian style ethnic cleansing civil war directly on their borders, among people none of whom will listen to them with attention, and all of whom may export it to them.
             A commenter above also pointed out that South Ossetia was an autonomous jurisdiction called an oblast only  geographically located within Georgia before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and that its incorporation as an integral part of Georgia is a serious and very recent innovation. We here don't follow that sort of detail, but there, everyone does and acts on it.

  •  Great job, Jerome (5+ / 0-)

    Because, while I just learned of the conflict yesterday, I was throughly confused as to what was up and what was done, and who was right and who was wrong. If what you say is correct or, even better, accurate, that Georgia withdrew from the so-called separatist republic to avoid war with Russia, then I finally understand what happened. As you say, it seems Georgia, at the urging of the White House and others, provoked Russia to attack, and when Russia responded, Bushco cut and run.

  •  Oh so now we know what Putin was saying..... (7+ / 0-)

    ...to Bush at the Olympics: "Thanks for talking the Georgians into putting 2000 troops in Iraq. Made it sooooo much easier."

    Please don't tell me you feel sorry for Ben. Ben is a well cared for dalmatian and has not been harmed by my political views.

    by Bensdad on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:17:29 AM PDT

  •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

    this whole episode should disqualify the neocons from ever speaking about foreign policy again - they claimed the need for strength, the need to call Russia on its imperialism, the need to beef up the military of the threatened countries and to support them with the full force of the alliance of democracies - and they dumped Georgia at the first opportunity, after Russia showed it was actually serious about fighting when it got under way?

    Being delusional requires the ability to lie both to yourself and others.  The neocons /  their authoritarian followers will just make excuses for their wrongness / gullibility as they have always done.

  •  IF past history is prologue, then (5+ / 0-)

    it would seem that the US started this war as well, because many understand the color revolutions in the former Soviet republics to have been provoked and/or at the behest of the CIA. In fact, I believe the CIA publicly takes credit for their 'revolutions,' which actually only sought access for MNCs (i.e. the American, British and French, etc. kind) to foreign markets to the disadvantage of the indigenous people. I believe the same occurred in S America, and is now, if not always was, going on in Africa. Disgusting. Will Obama change any of it?

    •  The blessed Guan Yin has a thousand arms (0+ / 0-)

      bearing gifts for humans who ask for them for good purposes but even she doesn't use all of them in the same month. O only has two. At some point, somebody is going to have to whisper  'priorities', a thought which never makes any true believer  not at the top of that list happy, but please think about that.

  •  I wonder what the naysayers that show up (7+ / 0-)

    to criticize Jerome would think if, lets say, Russia or China suddenly decided to build a military base in Venezuela?  After all, the US has far flung military bases and installations all over the world.  It could equally be justified as a measure to protect Venezuela's sovereignty against US aggression.

    I think it safe to say the naysayers would have six kittens.

    "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins." Cheyenne

    by maracatu on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:40:09 AM PDT

  •  Win One For The Flipper, Georgia (7+ / 0-)

    "Both George Bush and John McCain have visited Georgia, made glowing speeches praising Saakashvili and were rewarded with the Order of St George."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/10/georgia.russia

    Mikheil W. Saakashvili is pulling back to the Iraq / Pakistan Border.

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:44:02 AM PDT

  •  So Bush's ignorance is contagious? (5+ / 0-)

    Can we quaranteen him for the next few months? Will his ideology ever go away? I feel as if this man has caused enough world wide damage to last at least the rest of my lifetime.

    •  they have only five months to realize all of (4+ / 0-)

      their idiotic dreams of power and war and whatever, and not enough time to have to live with or even hear about  the consequences, consequences they do not admit exist until forced by events. I don't think so. Heck,  the reason they want to give away off shore leases and change the enviromental rules all at once, after years of doing nothing is to give as much of the national future and the national patrimony to their supporters before Bush, and therefore them, are gone, and can't do it anymore. They don't have time to think anything through, even if they were capable of doing it correctly.

  •  If they work at it, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gaianne, revgerry, michlawa2

    they might lose the Cold War, post-victory. If anyone can do it, Dubya can.

    tragically un-hip
    ..- .... --..-- / --- -.- .-.-.-

    -5.88, -6.82

    by Debby on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:45:04 AM PDT

  •  You know the hands on the domesday clock is (0+ / 0-)

    probably going to move to 2 minutes now

  •  Bill Kristol / Grover Norquist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judgment at Nuremberg

    Guess which one smells worse than the other.

    It will take decent Republicans long dormant and utterly flaccid to see to it that these assholes shall be run out of DC on a rail.

    PNAC -- R.I.P.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:46:10 AM PDT

  •  2001: Bush Admin Calls Planet "Irrelevant" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpwatch
    1. Planet is well underway correcting Bush Admin.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:46:12 AM PDT

  •  China will have the most medals,,,US most golds (0+ / 0-)

    But Russia will win the Olympics :)

  •  Many questions to resolve (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, sockpuppet, LordMike, Losty

    Such as, with Georgia pulling out, how far into the vacuum will Russia push?  Russia has already insisted on complete Georgian withdrawal before it discusses a cease fire.  Other than the naval squadron, what activity is there in Abkhazia?  Will Saakashvili fall, and who would take the reins?  And what intelligence/pledges was Georgia acting on when it invaded?

  •  Do the math (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris

    It takes 66 (2/3 majority) Senators to vote for impeachment conviction that will remove a President from office. Currently we have 49 Democratic Senators so we would need all 49 Democrats plus at least 17 Republican/Independent Senators in order for impeachment to work. Sorry to break it to you, but that is, sadly, just not going to happen. Our Founding Fathers intentionally made it very difficult to push for impeachment.

    The area I fault Democratic leadership for is not the impeachment area because, as I just explained, it would have never passed, but rather in that they were too quick in removing it as a threat. Although I am not sure how much of a threat it would have been because the neo-cons know the "Congressional math" as well as anyone else. Either way I don't think it really made much of a difference. With control of the House and 50/50 split in the Senate, political deadlock was always the "realpolitik" situation.

    As for Georgia; yeah they gambled and lost. What did you expect? Georgia is small and poor and Russia is big and powerful.  

  •  An unprovoked war by a great power on a lesser (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RyoCokey, papermoon

    and the warmongers LOSE? How did the warmongering russian government LOSE?

    Or are you going to blame the Bush for the war?

    •  Bush? No! Randy Scheunemann? Yes! (3+ / 0-)

      Wikiepdia on Randy Scheunemann

      And a Salon link:

      But the sound of sabers rattling is music to the ears of Randy Scheunemann, the McCain campaign's senior foreign policy and national security advisor. A long-term confidant of the candidate, Scheunemann also supports a very tough stance toward Russia. Unlike McCain, until very recently he was paid to support that stance. McCain, already under fire for the role of lobbyists in his campaign, is taking his foreign policy advice from someone who was a paid lobbyist for former Soviet Bloc countries that are wary of Russia, and seems to advocate those policies the countries and their former lobbyist want. Notably, McCain supports a quick expansion of NATO, and Scheunemann has already helped two former Soviet satellites gain admission to NATO and has worked on behalf of two others.

      Until early this year, Scheunemann was simultaneously working for the McCain campaign and as a lobbyist for a shifting menu of Eastern European and former Soviet Bloc countries with NATO aspirations. Some, including Georgia, have chilly relations with Russia. At various times from 2001 through early this year, Georgia, Latvia, Romania and Macedonia paid Scheunemann and his partner, Mike Mitchell, more than $2 million. Much of Scheunemann's work focused on paving the way into the NATO fold. Two of Scheunemann's clients, Latvia and Romania, were admitted to full NATO member status in 2004, after which they ceased paying him.

      Just as soon as the Ossetia war broke out, McCain canceled a trip to Atlanta . . .

      by Bill White on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:25:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Georgia started the war. (5+ / 0-)

      And Bush and the American neoconservatives have blood on their hands for encouraging Georgia's gangster regime to start a war, providing Russia's gangster regime with the necessary pretext to expand it.

      Bush and the neocons have lost yet another war that they started.  

      "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

      by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:26:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unprovoked???? (7+ / 0-)

      I think the denizens of Tskhinvali have already disagreed

      Alisa Mamiyeva, 26, a teacher at the arts lyceum in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, said: "I came in the boot of a car. Georgian snipers were firing at us from the forest. I heard the bullets hitting the chassis.

      "My brother stayed to fight. Our grandparents' home was turned to rubble. We don't know where they are. Nothing is left of their village. It was totally destroyed by rockets and tank fire."

      Anatoly Gabarayev, 65, a registered schizophrenic who lived alone in Tskhinvali, stood waiting near a bus with two crumpled plastic bags at his feet. "It's a living hell there," he said, looking blankly into the distance. "I got out this morning. A friend found me and brought me out on the back of his motorbike. I was already waiting for death in my basement. The city is in ruins. There are bodies lying in the street."

      He added: "All I have left is the clothes I'm standing in and these two bags. My house was wooden; it was turned to splinters by the shells. I climbed out of the ruins. I don't know where I will go. I don't know what to do."

      Aelita Dzhioyeva, a lawyer who fled South Ossetia on Thursday, said she had managed to call relatives in the city on their mobile phones. "The situation is dire," she said. "People have no water, no electricity, no gas and no food."
      She added: "My relatives told me Georgian soldiers burnt to death a family of seven people in their apartment. An 18-year-old boy who climbed out into the street for a few moments was shot dead by a sniper."

      Nearby stood Gennady Dzhioyev, 38, unemployed. He said: "My cousin came from Dmenis village last night. He got two bullets in the back. We're going to go there and slaughter the Georgians like the fascist pigs they are. If the Russians let us we'll smash them all the way to Tbilisi. We are a warrior race, we know how to fight."

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

      It looks just like a Telefunken U47...you'll love it! - with leather...?

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:16:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What the hell? (7+ / 0-)

    So.....while following this story on Wikipedia (the only Western medium that seems to be doing a decent job on this), I found this tidbit:

    Russian soldiers captured group of american mercenaries on territory of South Ossetia. Group was captured near of Zare village. Beside this, Dmitry Medoyev has already reported that among the corpses in Tskhinvali several bodies of black people who fought on the side of Georgia were found.

    The cite for this is this. It's in Russian (which I don't read), and the Babelfish translation is as follows:

    In South Osetia the American mercenary is undertaken into the captivity
    06:51 "Izvestiya"

    In South Osetia is seized into the captivity the group of the Georgian demolishers, among whom is located the citizen of the USA, [afroamerikanets]. About this reports "ossetic radio".

    Group is delayed in the region of the settlement charges, which is located on "the road of life" - To [zarskoy] road.

    It is assumed that the citizen of the USA - one of the instructors of NATO. At the given moment it is crossed into Vladikavkaz for explaining all circumstances of its presence in the territory of republic South Osetia.

    As notes "[Rosbalt]", previously [yuzhnoosetinskiy] plenipotentiary in RF Dmitriy [Medoev] already reported that among the corpses in Tskhinvali were discovered several bodies of dark-skinned people, which warred on the side of Georgia.

    Propaganda? Anyone know more?

  •  You are Right (4+ / 0-)

    This has neo-con written all over it.

    Saakashvilli, launches an offensive, and then ends up begging on CNN for support.

    Devoted to achieving Nato entry for Georgia, Saakashvili has sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan - and so clearly felt he had American backing. The streets of the Georgian capital are plastered with posters of George W Bush alongside his Georgian protege. George W Bush avenue leads to Tbilisi airport. But he has ignored Kissinger's dictum: "Great powers don't commit suicide for their allies." Perhaps his neoconservative allies in Washington have forgotten it, too. Let's hope not.

    Like Galtieri in 1982, Saakashvili faces a domestic economic crisis and public disillusionment. In the years since the so-called Rose revolution, the cronyism and poverty that characterised the Shevardnadze era have not gone away. Allegations of corruption and favouritism towards his mother's clan, together with claims of election fraud, led to mass demonstrations against Saakashvili last November. His ruthless security forces - trained, equipped and subsidised by the west - thrashed the protesters.

    Mark Almond, history lecturer at Oriel College, Oxford.
    Plucky Little Georgia?

  •  Tar and Feathers! (0+ / 0-)

    Oh God, I hope Jenna and Barabara don't come ten years later trying to finish the war their dad chickened out of....

    The Permanent Republican Majority lasted about as long as The Thousand Year Reich

    by lawnorder on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:19:54 AM PDT

  •  Perfect excuse now (0+ / 0-)

    for US troops to stay longer in Iraq.. The Georgians have to leave to go fight the Russians, so the US will have to fill the void of those troops.

  •  Georgia has called for a cease fire!! (9+ / 0-)

    Thank God!  Hopefully, the Russians will accept... (I doubt it, but maybe they will)....

    I'm so mad at the Bush administration for pushing Georgia into provoking the Russians... they've put all of Eastern Europe at risk with their reckless action...   We look like total fools and the Russian imperialists now know they pretty much have free reign east of the Urals.  Remember, Russia is run by the same types of people that Bush and Cheney are...

    As if the Bush administration couldn't fuck up foreign policy any worse!

    Sadly, we lost an ally this week... and the Georgian people probably lost their freedom and independence.

    The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

    by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:31:57 AM PDT

    •  When you say that Russia has the same folks (4+ / 0-)

      running the country, you forget to mention that it is even worse because they will act whereas Bush and Co. waffle and stop short of real action. Russia will continue to expand its influence in the region and in Europe for the next 5 years at least, I doubt even a President Obama could turn enough attention to Russia to curtail its expansion thanks to all the domestic shitstorm Bush has left the next guy.

      •  Who cares? Let's dismantle our empire. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fixed Point Theorem

        Really, we need to dismantle the US empire, not worry about the expansion of another empire.

        Imperialism benefits elites at the expense of everyone else. Let's focus our attention on demilitarizing US society, slashing our parasitic military-industrial complex, and dismantling our own empire. The Russians and their neighbors can work things out for themselves.

        "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

        by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:17:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the people in Eastern Europe.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jampacked

          ....may disagree with you... They are VERY worried about the Russian empire, with good reason... just look at history...  That's the reason why the warsaw pact crumbled and NATO expanded.  The new NATO nations BEGGED to be in it!

          The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

          by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:32:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Iranians are worried about US expansionism (2+ / 0-)

            Frankly, I'm more interested in dismantling the bloody, murderous US empire than in provoking nuclear war to forstall your fantasy about Russian expansionism. We have neither the wisdom, the power, nor the moral authority to protect Eastern Europe from a largely fanciful Russian threat.

            Dismantle NATO, slash the parasitic US military-industrial complex, shut down all 800 foreign US military bases, and demilitarize. Invest in the American people, and stop murdering foreigners as an expression of our nobility and exceptionalism. Eastern Europeans are capable of looking out for themselves.  

            "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

            by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:41:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fantasy???? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dmnyct

              We're seeing it in play right now?  Do you think Georgia will remain independent after this?  The best they can hope for is to be a Russian puppet state after it is all said and done...

              "Eastern Europeans are capable of looking out for themselves.  "

              Well, obviously they can't 'cos they are getting crushed at the moment... thanks for hanging my family, many who are still there, out to dry under russian totalitarianism and tyranny...  

              Dismantling NATO would be disastrous for europe in every way... Russia would just march through unopposed...

              Perhaps you've forgotten Soviet atrocities... or maybe you just don't care...

              The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

              by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:55:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The more I think about it the more it makes my... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dmnyct, kindofblue

              ...eastern european blood boil (we are an emptional people)

              If you think russian expansion is "fantasy" than you slept through your world history classes.

              Russia has always been an empire, it will always BE an empire!

              The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

              by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:59:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The US has been an empire for 100 years (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Fixed Point Theorem

                It is proving to be as bloody an empire as any in history.

                It's time to dismantle it, and to demilitarize. Eastern Europeans can look after themselves.  

                "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

                by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:21:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's not even close... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...Russia's been an empire for 1000 years and much bloodier... Bush may be bad, but his nickname isn't "the impaler" like one particular Russian leader...

                  Our empire sucks compared to theirs... we don't actually make any money off of it, and we really have very little control over our spheres of influence...  the russians... they know how to run an empire!  Their history makes Bush look like Ghandi....

                  So, if you want to consign hundreds of millions of people to slavery, that's your business, but it's not a Democratic value.

                  The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

                  by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:27:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Warsaw Countries v. Georgia, Who Got Mauled? (4+ / 0-)

            You don't see Poland, or Slovakia..or Lithuania...trying to pick a military fight with Russia. I mean, they have an idea of what Russia can do when it has been given just an excuse. Russia will protect its interests--regardless of who you are. It's not that Russia is imposing its will as an increasing empire, it's just a matter of fact that they have so much land, about like what 1/6 of the entire world's surface, and their national borders touch so many other countries, that they have no choice but to meet every threat with a hard fast fist. We look from the United States with distain, but we have two peaceful borders (Canada and Mexico) and others like (France (near Canada), Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda and Russa) which are separated by water.  If we had a border as long as Russias, and we had let's say Mexico shooting down plane (which we fly over lots of borders), what would we do? Regardless of whether we were justified in doing so.  

            However, Eastern Europe are not idiots. They might want NATO membership, but they're not just waiting to pick a fight with the Russian Bear. Funny how that is appropriate. Bears will leave you alone if you are not a threat--but once you are a threat, they will hound you until you're mauled.  Unfortunately, Georgia just got mauled.

        •  Well, theres no many objections to that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unfounded, dmnyct

          I don't know where to start. First of all if we dropped all our responsibilities (call them whatever you want) abroad we would leave a huge power vacuum filled by who knows what (it depends on the region). Secondly, there are quite a few legitimate governments that ask for and depend on our assistance (and yes, some illegitimate ones). Third, whether or not we are looked upon favorably in every place we have members of our military, the chances are that U.S. forces help to add stability because it means that a country is friends with what is (for now) the only super power, keeping aggressive nations in check is a real motivation to have a presence abroad, no matter how badly the Bush government has flummoxed our image and the 'threat' that those forces are supposed to represent.

          •  The US is not a force for good in the world. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fixed Point Theorem

            Just ask the 3 million dead Vietnamese we liberated during the Vietnam War, the one million Central Americans murdered in our proxy wars in the 1970's and 80's, and the one million dead Iraq's freed from tyranny in "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

            Oh that's right. You can't ask them, because they're dead.

            We need to invest in the American people and stop slaughtering foreigners to prove how exceptional and moral we are.

            "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

            by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:54:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're neglecting the succeses (0+ / 0-)

              We may not be universally good but there are definitely a great many instances where without American presence or assistance regions would cease to function or move forward. You cannot just withdraw from the world, neglecting the countries that we buy our goods from or who border extremist regimes like Russia is just handing over our fate to others. That doesn't mean that the U.S. needs to have a hand on the wheel, what I'm saying is that we should sponsor 'good' or progress where it exists, and actively keep at bay malevolent forces... those that the U.S. mistakenly sponsored in the instances you mention. We haven't always acted the right way, but we do do it on a consistent basis and once the dunce president is gone I suspect we will see more positive than negative coming from those investments.

              •  US slaughters, but it's always a "mistake" (0+ / 0-)

                The millions of people slaughtered by our CIA/military and the democratic governnments overthrown or subverted don't really count, because our intentions were good. We are "exceptional," the indespensable "superpower." That's really all that counts.

                "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

                by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 02:58:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What counts is that we do the right thing now (0+ / 0-)

                  Absolute power corrupts absolutely, so the saying goes, and the U.S. is no exception, I never said we were saints I am just saying that we need to act responsibly here and now.

          •  Stability in Eastern Europe (3+ / 0-)

            is coming from EU membership, not NATO membership. As is growing prosperity.

            •  The prosperity you're correct about (0+ / 0-)

              But given that Russia's proved it'll invade neighbors at the drop of a hat?

              Maybe let the eastern europeans speak for themselves about how much they like NATO membership.  Stability includes a level of confidence in future peace.

              •  Russia has not protested (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                IM, unfounded, Fixed Point Theorem

                countries joining the EU. It has protested countries joining NATO. One is not theatening to them.

                But I have no doubt that Russia will not attack any EU country. I'm not certain that Russia would not have intervened in Georgia even if it were a NATO member.

                •  Certainly europe is a diff category (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jerome a Paris

                  And NATO, until this week, was an anachronism from the cold war that I held at the level of debate about ABM systems..  silly penis measuring contests.  Like NATO would ever be employed or like an ABM system matters a whit if Russia's launching nukes.

                  Until this week, that is.  Russia's invading Georgia proper as we speak...  they can't be doing that shit.  Not that we're in a position to do anything about it.  But we need to find a way to discourage nations just invading an annexing chunks of their neighbors.  

    •  Freedom and independence? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, chimpwatch, Bensch

      and the Georgian people probably lost their freedom and independence.

      How did that happen. Russia isn't trying to conquer Georgia. But i wouldn't expect to see any ceasefire. Georgia invades south ossetia, gets a bloody nose and calls for a ceasefire.

      Russians are not going to end this without making Saakashvili pay for his mistake.

      •  Yep... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and it upsets me to no end that Bush encouraged him to fall in this trap!

        The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

        by LordMike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:33:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LordMike

          For some reason i believe he was told to go ahead with his plan. Perhaps Washington, perhaps not. But i don't think he acted without someone showing him the green light.

        •  LordMike, I share your concern about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gaianne

          the peoples of Eastern Europe, but as long as NATO is enslaved to the interests of US neocons (hopefully this will no longer be the case if Obama wins) the worst possible way they could pursue secuiry is to let themselves be dragged into NATO and used as pawns to provoke the Russians-- as befell the poor Georgians this weekend.

          The former Warsaw Pact nations and the former European republics of the USSR should be admiited instead into the EU, and the EU should form its own collective military security organization excluding the US and replacing NATO, which has outived the prupose enuncciated in its charter.

          Can you imagine how the Poles or Ukrainians could prosper if they were not involved in a military union the Russian perceived as directed against themselves, and weren't required to go into hock to the Americans purchasing expensive weapons systems they would dread being used?

  •  Georgia (5+ / 0-)

    Jerome the neo-cons are bellicose because it energizes their base. Their base wants to use military force all over the map too. Big,tuff, Americans like to fight, don't ya know? That bullshit works with these cretins. You'd think after Iraq they'd hide their faces in shame. Hopefully the independent voters see thru the warmongers, otherwise God help us.

  •  The UN unable to even release statement (0+ / 0-)

    During the previous three meetings, the council was unable to find consensus with the United States and Britain strongly backing the pro-west Georgian government and Russia responding that it was only reacting to the attack by Georgia.

    More details here:

    With explosions all over Georgia, Russian and U.S. representatives were similarly downbeat on the chances for the Security Council to adopt the three sentence statement they've spent two days and nights negotiating. Facts have changed too quickly on the ground for the draft press statement, submitted Thursday night by Russia, to have much chance of passing. Outside the Council chamber, a well-placed diplomat clutching a Blackberry told Inner City Press that the conflict's impact on the BTC pipeline is the talk of oil-trading circles. The T in the middle is Tblisi, Georgia's capital.

    01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

    by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:47:52 AM PDT

  •  Maybe now we will learn to stop fucking w/Russia (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Calamity Jean

    I doubt it though. The neoconservatives have not demonstrated a capacity for learning from experience.

    "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

    by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:59:07 AM PDT

  •  The Georgian president just (4+ / 0-)

    listed a reason why Russia bombed them:

    Because of some Americans leaving over there.

    This guy is unbelivable. What an asshole.

    The Low Road Express: So low, an ant would be too big for it.

    by sluggahjells on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:59:49 AM PDT

  •  Russia won battle, lost the war. (6+ / 0-)

    Similar to US invasion of Iraq pushing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, Russia's invasion of Georgia will remind Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan that Russia is a threatening neighbor with a bad history and worse current government and that they better saddle up and be vigilant.

    It also exposes Russia as a repressive, militarist regime similar to 1930's Germany that uses manufactured border wars to cover for a corrupt government at home.

    •  Georgia's government is equally corrupt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fixed Point Theorem

      Let's not romanticize a gangster regime just because it happens to be a US client state.

      "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

      by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:12:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope. But misses point of who "won". (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Casey, dmnyct, WilliamTell

        Georgia is much more democratic than Russia...

        Georgia is not perfect, but it is not a dictatorship. Its leadership does not peddle a phoney ideology, such as the Kremlin's mishmash of Soviet nostalgia and tsarist-era chauvinism. It has a thriving civil society, vocal opposition and ardently wants to be in the EU and Nato. Moral grounds alone would be enough reason for supporting it against Russian aggression.

        ...but that misses the point of the diary and the comment which was about who wins, who loses.

        Russia was already the de facto occupier of Georgian territory in South Ossetia, now Russia is forced out in the open with a full scale invasion and occupation. Russian's neighbors and Western Europe will be forced to confront the fact that Russia is an aggressive and unreliable partner.

        Georgia can rightfully play the aggrieved nation occupied by Russian troops under orders from the oil oligarchs in Moscow to control oil and gas supplies to the West.

        •  The US isn't "democratic" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gaianne, Fixed Point Theorem

          Not by a longshot. We have murderers and torturers running our federal goverment, people who have urinated on our constitution, and you lecture us about how Russia isn't "democratic?" Our current president was appointed by five right-wing criminals sitting on the US Supreme Court.

          Let these people solve their own problems, and let's demilitarize and democratize our own society.  

          "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

          by chimpwatch on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:46:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not Democratic? (0+ / 0-)

            Chimp, If this country was not Democratic, how the hell do you think you would still be alive.

            If what you say was true, some shock troops would have dragged your chimp out of your secure bed and take you away.. Never to be seen or heard of...again..

            If what you say was true, DKos would have been shut down and all of us would be on a train to dry hot place. some would be hiding for their DKOS lives.

            Lastly, if this country was not Democratic, Senator Obama would not even have a here to run for President.  Well he is and America is a Demcratic nation.  A Free Democratic Nation.

            Lets all do a sing along.. God Bless America, Land that I love.. Stand beside her, and GUIDE her..

            Need I say more..

        •  nope, there will be *no* (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gaianne, IM

          occupation of Georgia proper. S.O. and Abkhazia, on the other hand, may be formally recognized by Russia (payback for Kosovo), with, say, a defense agreement.

          •  Russia has invaded and occupies Georgia. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Casey, dmnyct

            "no occupation of Georgia proper." That is the lie put out by the Russian oil oligarchs and Russia apologists.  Ossetia is part of Georgia just as Chechnya is part of Russia. Russia has invaded and occupies part of Georgia.

            "payback for Kosovo"

            No comparison to Kosovo which was created as part of the break up of Yugoslavia just as Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia itself were defined during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

            •  well, the ossetians (6+ / 0-)

              don't want to be Georgians. They seem to think they have suffered enough under their yoke, and want to break free.
              A quick reminder: Ossetia wasn't a part of Georgia until 1922, when the soviets redrew the maps, and adjoined S.O to Georgia as an independant oblast.
              In 1990, when Georgia broke free from the USSR, the goergians decided to revoke all that autonomy. S.O. said "fuck that, we're going our own way", which the georgian nationalists didn't like one bit. So, for two years, Georgian soldiers and irregulars killed, raped, burned who- and whatever they could find in S.O. The ossetians survived because, first the north-ossetians (russians, by the way) went to their help, and then, the russians got involved, sent some help, and in the end brokered a cease-fire. At the CIS request, a peacekeeping force, under russian command, with russian, georgian, and a few other countries soldiers, was set up. And was still in place until a few days ago, when a georgian nationalist decided to make good on his campaign promises, and tried, with a (not!!) cunning bum-rush, to retake the whole of it. Smashing a city to pieces in the process, killing about 1500 people with artillery and massive BM21 bombardment.
              I guess according to you, all russia should have done is send a stern letter or two.

              •  Well...the Chechens don't want to be Russians. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dmnyct

                Russian invasion of Georgia has the same justification that Hitler's invasions of Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia had in the 1930's

                Russia wishes to re-establish its Imperial and Soviet empire via manufactured border wars with its former colonies.

                Additional motiviation for the oligarchs who run the Russian fascist state is that Georgia provides the only oil and gas route for the other former Russian colonies to export oil to the West.

                Russia now occupies and controls those pipelines.

                •  Slovakia is not an manufactured country (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kalmoth

                  Look that is nonsense. Back in early 1939 Hitler used the slovakian nationalist movement to break up the C. S. R.
                  But that didn't mean then nor now that the Slovaks or Slovakia were manufactured. The Slovak nationalist existed. They thought they used Hitler and up to point they did.
                  And Slovakia now happily exists breaking away like Georgia did break away in the early nineties.
                  Ossetia was not so lucky. And it did throw itself in the arms of Russia in the early nineties. But Ossetian nationalism is real and you can't wish it away.

                  For all his faults Putin inherited the problem: In the early nineties he sold real estate to foreign investors in Leningrad, probably not even dreaming about Ossetia.

                  •  Since you feel Hitler's Czech invasion justified (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dmnyct

                    I can see why you would feel Russia's Georgian invasion is equally "justified". Russia, like Hitler's Germany, used the pretext of protecting its "citizens" in the other country as a reason to invade and occupy another country.

                    •  Slovakian and Ossetian nationalism (0+ / 0-)

                      Slovakian  and Ossetian nationalism are per se not worse or inferior to czech or georgian nationalism.

                      So you deny the right of existence of Slovakia now? I thought that is only p. c. to do this to Israel.

                      Or do you want to claim that the "Ossetians" do not exist and are only a figment of the imagination of russian propaganda? Like the "palestinians"?

                      All I said is that the legitimate national aspirations of the Ossetians are indeed used by Russia, using the example of Slovakia in 1939. They are still legitimate and real, your greater georgianism notwithstanding.

                      •  Correct. German and Russian invasions not right. (0+ / 0-)

                        German invasions of Czechoslovakia in the 1930's and Russian invasion of Georgia of 2008 are both raw aggression and empire building by fascist states using nationalism for domestic political use and to gain economic assets of other countries.

                        Both Nazi Germany and Fascist Russia use the pretext of protecting their "citizens" living in those other countries.

        •  there are phony ideologies all over the place (0+ / 0-)

          Some reported that Saakashvili is a Stalin's admirer, and he definitely crushed opposition protests, and introduced a one party state.

          Some kind of national grandeur and rooting out unreliable and compromised (all non-cronies, that is) is probably the ideology, because it is a rather popular mix.  Definitely present in Poland (albeit the most ardent proponents of it were recently defeated in parliamentary election, introducing a police state in the middle of EU is not easy).

    •  This war wasn't "manufactured", it was started by (3+ / 0-)

      Georgia.

      The countries will be reminded that they'd be better served if they quit cozying up to the neocon Americans and stay neutral.

      The most successful war seldom pays for its losses. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Judgment at Nuremberg on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:28:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does Russia really care if the world thinks of (0+ / 0-)

      them as a:

      repressive, militarist regime similar to 1930's Germany that uses manufactured border wars to cover for a corrupt government at home.

      Now that they are flush with oil money, they are starting to rebuild their brand as a "great power" again and I don't think they care as much about how the world thinks about them.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:48:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right (0+ / 0-)

        The government does not care, but I think the Russian people do.  I don't think many ordinary Russians really realize how much their image has changed in the world in the last four years.  I was in Russia in May for the first time in three years, and told my Russian friends that I had been sorely tempted not to visit, given the extreme deterioration in the relations between Russia and the West and my own sense of how undemocratic the country had become.  They were pretty astonished at this revelation.

      •  do the Irish care what the rest of Europe thinks? (0+ / 0-)

        Apparently, only to the degree of being irritated if foreigners complain about being inconvenienced by the Irish.

        Of course, it comes more naturally to larger nations, like Russians or British.  But who is number one (in not caring what the rest of the world thinks)?

    •  More reason to see a defeat for the US, because (3+ / 0-)

      it reminds Western Europeans and Eastern Europeans of the huge risk in trying to expand NATO. The Americans will loudly insist otherwise, but it's now bcoming clear that maintaining neutrality is a safer way for post-Soviet states to manage their relations with Russia then getting enlisted as proxies/pawns in the Americans' Great Game with Russia.

    •  Tuscany (0+ / 0-)

      on this you are most certainly correct.

  •  Quibbling (3+ / 0-)

    Neocons are people that see danger everywhere and seem to crave military solutions in all cases.

    Minor quibble:  They crave military solutions alright.  They invent danger to justify blowing shit up.

    "I'm not negative - I'm ANGRY!" -- Howard the Duck

    by Roddy McCorley on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:03:43 AM PDT

  •  No Pullout (4+ / 0-)

    [Georgian Minister] Yakobashvili refuted the reports of a Georgian pullout, saying the troops were merely "regrouping" and "improving their positions". Published: 08.10.08, 17:26

    Ain't that something, chutzpah.  I fear that the Georgian government is ready to sacrifice this proud country as a proxy in a new cold war.  Jerome you nailed it and while I have been unkind to you in the past, kudos this time as we should remember that

    On November 13 [2006], the Central Election Commission of South Ossetia announced the results of the referendum. 99% of voters have supported the independence, and the turnout amounted to 95.2%. wikipedia

    .
    and that

    South Ossetia is inhabited mostly by ethnic Ossetians who speak a language remotely related to Farsi. BBC

    Hal C.

    •  The key (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IM

      is that the historic borders of South Ossetia and the borders of the de facto independent state of South Ossetia are not the same.

      There are ethnic Georgian towns in the south   near the battleground Georgian city of Gori that have long been under Georgian control.

      These towns are the new trip wire.  When Georgia says it has withdrawn from South Ossetia, do they mean the old Soviet borders or only that territory controlled by the Ossetian gov't.  Conversely, when the Russians push the Georgians out, out from where exactly.

      The other trip wire is the 2000 Georgian troops in Iraq that the US is flying home to fight.  If the Russians shoot them down....

      Hal C.

  •  To be completely fair.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Casey, dmnyct, csquared

    Russia did a full scale invasion of a patch of land which most international states recognize as Georgia.

    Why I bet you'd stick your head in the fire if I told you you could see Hell. -Otis B. Driftwood

    by Koldun on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:30:19 AM PDT

    •  mischaracterization (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IM

      They mantain sort of puppet regime, simular to what our allied democratic Turkey does in Cyprus.  And NATO in Kosovo.

      And the puppet is popular, because Georgia is not an attractive state for them.

      Georgia wanted a blitzkrieg, and Russia responded.

      I would not generalized too much.  Shaakashvili appears to be a nut, the rest of power politics in the region seems a wee bit more rational.  Armenians and Azeris at least do not shoot at each other, and Iran graciously plays the trusted neutral party --- and provides the precious land connections for Armenians and Azeris (who need it for an enclave).

    •  yeah, but Kosovo (0+ / 0-)

      Same thing there.

      And about twenty other places where the same thing has happened without international condemnation.

      Look at these people! They suck each other! They eat each other's saliva and dirt! -- Tsonga people of southern Africa on Europeans kissing.

      by upstate NY on Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 07:43:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  of course bush encouraged this war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpwatch

    KBR needs some new contracts

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:45:50 AM PDT

  •  It must make Europeans feel vulnerable. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dmnyct

    And is this really in Russia's best long term interests?

  •  Good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpwatch

    Another good post from the best writer on Daily Kos.

  •  It's hard for US to defend Georgia's position (4+ / 0-)

    If it's OK for ethnic Albanians in Kosovo to vote to break away from Serbia, how can it be not OK for ethnic Ossetians to vote to break away from Georgia?
    After reading about how pathetically poor Ossetia is, with no industrial base, little agriculture, and an uneducated workforce, why is Georgia even bothering to keep it? It must be strictly an ego trip, hardly worth going to war over. Kosovo had some historic resonance to Serbs, which made the Serbian stance easier to understand. But what does Georgia gain from Ossetia, other than poking the bear in the eye?

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. - John Stuart Mill

    by vulcangrrl on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:05:52 AM PDT

  •  Timeline is as follows ----- (10+ / 0-)

    In your words Jerome:

    Is it because Russia, after telling us what would be considered a casus belli by them, actually acted on such announcements, called Saakashvili's bluff and responded with overwhelming force, kicking his ass, and by proxy, that of his gung-ho advisors in the WSJ and other neocon nests?

    Russia called an emergency Security Council meeting (the first one) right after midnight on Friday morning, asking the Council to demand that Georgia stop its offensive on the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali.  They would not.  They did however express that all sides work the conflict out through diplomatic means, not through violence.  Russia was furious that the US instead focused on telling Russia to respect the territory of Georgia.  A second emergency meeting was held 12 hours later, where still there was no action taken.  Russia didn't wait around, they didn't want to, and they didn't feel they needed to.

    The timeline (as I have seen it so far) is this:

    President Mikheil Saakashvili, acted on his public vows to control S. Ossetia.  It was a military move, the proof is that the capital is devastated.

    Russia goes to the UN, not Georgia, Russia, and says it demands that it stop, it military offensive.

    Security Council says we won't demand Georgia to stop the offensive.

    Russia says it will have no other choice but to counter.

    Everyone says yeah right.

    Russia counters.

    President Mikheil Saakashvili, says oh Fuck!

    People lay dying in the streets.

    Here are the summaries of the emergency UN meetings and 3 articles by the AP and AFP and Reuters, covering them.  Read them!

    http://www.un.org/...
    http://www.un.org/...
    http://www.reuters.com/...
    http://afp.google.com/...
    http://ap.google.com/...

  •  It's a stretch to say (4+ / 0-)

    that the Georgian military marches to the drumbeat of the WSJ or Cheney and Co.  Therefore, it's a stretch to say that inept neocon foreign policy had much to do with the inevitable outcome of fighting between behemoth Russia and the Georgian nation of about 4 million people.  If I step into a boxing ring with Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, I can pretty much expect an ass-kicking.

    No amount of realpolitik was likely to prevent Russia from opposing the invasion of an enclave where 90% of the residents hold Russian passports.  It's naive to think otherwise.  I suppose realpolitik could have prevented Georgia from trying to join NATO, but I don't see how denying NATO membership in an attempt to appease the Russians enhances NATO's position as a military deterrent.

    I suppose realpolitik could have prevented Georgia from trying to retake what it viewed as a breakaway Ossetian province, but again, I don't see how appeasing the Russians helps convince them to not be bellicose towards their neighbors.

    As for sending Western military support to Georgia, that is just an absurdity.  Even if we had some spare combat brigades to commit to the fight (we don't, thanks to that neocon fiasco in Iraq), we'd have been fighting the Russians on their turf, with some really daunting logistics.  In short, we'd lose.  I fervently hope the author does not believe that backing Georgia militarily is a good idea (the article suggests the neocons should have followed through with military force).

    Certainly Russia is an aggressive state, and certainly we need a consistent foreign policy approach to dealing with her.  However, I'm not convinced that helping fledgling democracy Georgia quell Ossetian self-determination is representative of what we ought to stand for.  Show me that a majority of Ossetian people want to be a part of Georgia, and there might be an argument in favor of military intervention.  However, that is clearly not the case.  I do not want us to become the overprotective big brother to yet another nation that uses our protection to engage in local bullying (Isreal).

    If anything, it appears that the neocons had a very rare spark of common sense in keeping us out of this fight.  A "damn them if they do, damn them if they don't" call to blame the neocons for everything (including male pattern baldness and halitosis) just cheapens the very real arguments against neoconservatism.

  •  Best case / worst case scenario (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vicky

    This is from the Guardian.

    The scary thing is that the Worst Case scenario has already started to happen now that there are Russian troops in Abkhazia.  


    What is the best-case scenario?

    If Russia is serious about its peacekeeping role in the region, it will do no more than push Georgian forces out of South Ossetia and attempt to return to the status quo before fighting broke out last week.

    This will not be easy, however. On the one hand, South Ossetians are devastated by the destruction of their capital, Tskhinvali, and the estimated loss of 2,000 civilian lives and are highly unlikely to want to be part of Georgia now. On the other hand, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says Russia has lost its neutrality and become a party to the conflict. Perhaps the best Georgia can hope for is that Moscow annexes - or, from the South Ossetian point of view, embraces - the territory into the Russian Federation.

    What is the worst-case scenario?

    The conflict could widen. Already Georgia's other separatist region, the Black Sea enclave of Abkhazia, is mobilising and soon Tbilisi could find itself fighting on two fronts. Other small nations could become involved in a broader Caucasian war.

    Ridiculous as it sounds, Chechnya has offered to send peacekeepers to Georgia and Russia's Cossacks are also volunteering to go to the front. The Kremlin could take advantage of the chaos to try and overthrow the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, whom it has hated since the 2003 Rose Revolution.

    Some Russian officials are calling for a Hague-style tribunal at which Saakashvili would be tried as a war criminal. Georgia's own hard-won independence could be at stake if Russia imposed a puppet regime in Tbilisi.

    And the very worst-case scenario?

    The conflict spreads further still, bringing in former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, which - like Georgia - aspires to Nato membership, and Kazakhstan, which is loyal to Moscow. The war in Yugoslavia would pale beside any war among former Soviet republics. The only thing worse than that would be the military involvement of the west, which looks unlikely, given Europe's dependence on Russian energy and America and Britain's commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    •  Hard to see how SO doesn't end up joining Russia. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IM, dmnyct

      for the same reason Russia fought so fiercely just a few hundred miles away in Chechnya, and for the same reason the precedent of Kosovo is such a fundamental affront to the very existence of Russia:

      Russia, few Americans realize, is very much a multi-ethnic empire, and cannot afford to tacitly endorse the principle that ethnic minorities can go their own way and secede to form an independent nation, without risking being ripped apart by similar nationalist aspirations across the Russian federation.

      It's one thing for the Kremlin to encourage a "reunification" of the South Ossetes with their North Ossete-Alan cousins under the umbrella of the Russian federation -- but a de jure independent South Ossetia would be an infinitely worse result, from a Russian geopolitical standpoint, than would have been the case if Georgia had succeded in clamping down on Ossetian separatism and had the Russians not intervened.

      Which leaves three possibilities: (i) a return to the status quo ante (autonomous Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and a hostile anti-Russian regime in Tbilisi), (ii) de jure annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia, or (iii) leaving Georgia's current borders unchanged but a de facto reabsorption of Georgia into the Russian sphere by replacement of Saakashvili et al with pro-Russian puppet regime.

      It's hard to see (i) coming to pass -- if they were prepared to accept such a result at this point, why would Russia have bothered intervening in the first place?  Neither (ii) nor (iii) seem like very good results from the standpoint of global stability -- regardless of your feelings about Putin and Saakashvili.

      This is going to get uglier before it gets better.

  •  Neocons unqualified, disqualified. Yes. (0+ / 0-)

    Neoassholes. is what they are.

  •  What clout do we have? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom

    After hauling 180,000 troups halfway around the world to overthrough a 2-bit dictator in a grudge match, what right do we have to protest Russia taking care of it's own backyard?  

    born in elizabeth, nj feb. 7, 1953 to joseph and virginia

    by BiPoLaR bEaR on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 12:45:06 PM PDT

  •  Where are the good guys? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpwatch, 4Freedom

    What's depressing about all of this is there are no good days. Putin & Medvedev are no saints. But they had some legitimate motivation for their actions. Where is our legitimate motivation?

    Donate to the ACLU. Stand Up for Justice In The Military Commissions Proceedings

    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 01:01:13 PM PDT

  •  Once Bush et al get to the point (0+ / 0-)

    where they are able to evoke images of  Chamberlain/Hitler appeasement they've won more than half of their battle.  

    And they're already almost there, as demonstrated by some comments here which suggest the danger of 'giving in to aggression' or some such thing.

  •  This is utter nonsense from start (5+ / 0-)

    to finish.

    Russia has invaded a sovereign state.  Their support of the separatists is tantamaount to the support of Chechen rebels.  Not only that, Russia is currently pushing beyond the separatists regions.  Russia is a consistent violator of international norms.  It keeps its troops (without authorization) in Georgia and Moldova.  Not to mention its criminal acts of assassinations on foreign soil.  The proper response is to kick Russia out of G-8 and to invite Goergia and Ukraine into NATO forthwith.  Russia would never have attacked a NATO member-state.  

    Nor should Russia be given any say over the fate of independent countries like Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, or anyone else.  If Russian opinion was wanted, those countries would ask for it.

    •  Don't know if this comment counts as trollish... (0+ / 0-)

      it is borderline, so I won't use the donut. Moreover, I will specifically refrain from rating this comment in view of my dislike of the author. However,  Hunter's Lore of Trolls specifically mentions...

      • [...] thread spamming. Zero them out. Especially if a user is posting the same comment to multiple threads. The cause may be just; the behavior isn't.
      • Proven-false information, conspiracy theories, or debunked talking points.

      •  Feel free to show any proven (0+ / 0-)

        "false information."

        Everything stated above is true both as to fact and as to law.  Russia unlawfully keeps troops in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Trans-Dniester.  Russia unlawfully kills people on foreign soil via radiocative poison, in the process endangering hundreds of bystanders.  Russia is a consistent human rights violator in the Caucaus (see Chechnya) as well as in other regions (see, e.g, Nord-Ost).

        •    (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IM

          Feel free to show any proven
          "false information."

          Glad to oblige. Feel free to blindly disregard and to respond with another Russophobic non-sequitur. Mind you... there is plenty Russian government has to answer for - to the world and to Russia's people, but  there is a certain difference between real issues and knee-jerk Russophobia that you and the likes of yours espouse.

          Russia unlawfully keeps troops in South Ossetia

          Let's just examine this statement, shall we?

          The monitors patrol independently and in co-operation with the tripartite JPKF (comprising one battalion each of Georgian, North Ossetian and Russian peacekeepers, under Russian command and joint supervision by the JCC). They establish contact with military commanders of the peacekeeping forces within the zone of conflict and gather information on the military situation. They monitor alleged and actual violations of the Sochi ceasefire agreement, helping to call attention to the possible political implications of specific military activity.

          From the current OSCE Mission to Georgia statement.

          The commander of the JPKF is appointed by the Russian side. Currently this position is held by Maj. Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov. The JPKF consists of the three battalions. Each of the three sides – Georgia, Russia and Ossetia - is authorized to have a maximum of 500 servicemen in their peacekeeping battalions. However, the sides are also allowed to deploy additional 300 troops with the permission of the JCC.

          Currently, the zone of the JPKF’s responsibility includes a total of 140 Ossetian and 130 Georgian villages. In practice, the JPKF’s activities are mainly concentrated in the Conflict Zone, which includes an area within a 15-km radius from the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. JPKF’s headquarters is located in Tskhinvali. The Russian peacekeepers in the area have about 10 checkpoints in the conflict zone.

          According to the JCC agreement of July 6, 1992, the duration of presence of JPKF is defined by the Heads of States of Russia and Georgia. "The JCC offers its proposals over this issue to the Heads of States," according to the July 6, 1992 JCC agreement.

          From Georgia Daily News Online (the site is now under cyberattack, cached version here).

          ДУМА ПРО СЛОНИКА

          Слоника замучили
          Кляті москалі
          Похилився хоботом
          Слоник до землі
          "Прощавай же Україно,
          Ти ж мій рідний краю!
          Безневинно молоденький
          Слоник умирає!
          Гей! Гей!"

          Юрко Позаяк. 1998

          •  Each side is authorized to (0+ / 0-)

            keep up to 500 troops.  Just last month however, Russia sent about 2000 troops belonging to Ministry of Rail Roads.  That is in clear violation of the agreement.  In addition, Russian contingent generally exceeds the 500 soldiers it is permitted. And, of course, no one authorized Russia to send additional troops into South Ossetia or Abkhazia within the last week, or to open fire on Georgian ships in Georgian territorial waters.

            In short, my statement is entirely correct.

            •  2 typos (0+ / 0-)
              1.  The first number should have been 200 (there is an accidental extra zero).
              1.  The railways troops were in Abkhazia not South Ossetia.  (Which of course does not change the fact of illegal presence in Georgia).
              •    (0+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                Hidden by:
                Drgrishka1

                Здається, лиш недавно
                Ми разом сіли пить,
                А вже надворі осінь.

                (Yurko Pozayak, Alcoholic hokku)

                Methinks, but lately
                We all sat to drink
                But lo - autumn has arrived.

                My translation cannot do justice to Yurko's poetry.

            •  Source? (0+ / 0-)

              In addition, Russian contingent generally exceeds the 500 soldiers it is permitted.

              Anyway, I am done arguing with you, best of all to you, whatever blows your goat, have a nice day.

      •  It's not trollish (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kalmoth, chimpwatch, diranuk

        It's not an incorrect description (although it is somewhat partial) of what Russia did, and the prescriptions are consistent.

        But it makes my point: the neocons were pushing for the same proposals, but somehow did not get around to getting them through. We'll never know if it would have been enough to protect Georgia's territory, but at least it had a more realistic chance than the egging on (and then abandoning) of Saakashvili that we've seen. Neocons are incompetent fools, claiming to playing power games while obviously not doing anything when it would actually matter.

    •  This is utter nonsense. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gaianne, IM, kalmoth

      The Georgian government has invaded South Ossetia (whether you think it should belong to Georgia or not) - they have bombed the capital and caused massive civilian deaths.

      AFTER that, the Russians have reacted to that invasion. The time line is undisputed here.

      Admitting Georgia into NATO now means getting ready for war with Russia. US obviously does not have the capacity to do that satisfactorily (the current two wars, against much weaker enemies, seem to occupy much of US capacity). So Georgia has just kicked the door shut for an admission into NATO.

      •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

        South Ossetia is part of Georgia.  Georgia thus could not have possibly "invaded" it.  It "invaded" it no more than Russia "invaded" Chechnya.  

        Nor did anyone authorize Russia to "react" to internal Georgian affairs.

        Admitting Georgia into NATO would prevent any future Russian attacks.  Russia would never have attacked a NATO member-state.  In the meantime Russia ought to be punished economically.  For starters, its membership in G-8 should be revoked.  Second, any exceptions to the visa regimes for movement of people between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad should be suspended.  

        •  If somebody bombs a city and sends tanks in (0+ / 0-)

          it is called an invasion - especially if that guy did not have his troops in the city and region before. Georgia got thrown out of South Ossetia in the early nineties, after they revoked the regions autonomous status which it had under the Sowjet rule.

          Also Russia does not need any authorization to defend her peacekeepers, when they are attacked - as they were. It would be ridiculous if self-defense needs a mandate.

  •  Did Russia forget about the UN? (0+ / 0-)

    How come they didn't hold an emergency meeting of the Security Council to get a UN mandate?

    Or, is only the US required to pursue such formalities?

    I guess it's Bush and Cheney's fault after all.

    •  Heh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nicta, chimpwatch, MichiganGirl

      Or, is only the US required to pursue such formalities?

      NATO didn't have UN mandate to attack Serbia (during the Kosovo crisis). The US did not have a mandate to invade Iraq.

      Apparently only Russia needs such mandates, others can freely invade and kill.

      •  Actually it's probably more like this: (0+ / 0-)

        Actually it's probably more like this:

        The Neo-Conservatives can start any war they want in the Middle East so long as it favors their special intrests. They can also try to undermine Putin's rule in Russia to try an save the "Oligarchs" who refused to heed Putin's warning of, "Make as much money as you like but stay out of politics." It would seem these madmen don't care how many countries they destroy or how many of their fellow human beings they get slaughtered including America or Americans to achieve their dreams of an empire.

        It has now come to a point where these fools are a real danger to most of us and even themselves and need to be dealt with before they manage to blow up the world with their blind ambition, arrogance and limitless greed.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 04:28:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Russia convened an emergency meeting... (10+ / 0-)

      of the UN Security Council as soon as the Georgian troops started shelling Tskhinvali. Here's the summary.

      8 August 2008

      Security Council
      SC/9417

         Security Council

         5951st Meeting (AM)

         SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS EMERGENCY MEETING IN RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN FEDERATION’S

         
         REQUEST AS CRISIS ESCALATES IN SOUTH OSSETIA, GEORGIA

         

         At the request of the Russian Federation, the Security Council convened an emergency meeting early this morning on the mounting crisis in South Ossetia, Georgia, where reportedly dozens of people have been killed or wounded and hundreds more uprooted from their homes.

         Last night, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation explained, just hours after reaching agreement on talks to resolve the escalating South Ossetia conflict, Georgian military divisions had begun a "treacherous and massive" attack against Tskhinvali, the region’s capital.  The Georgian authorities had used the military option despite diplomatic efforts by Moscow, Tbilisi, Tskhinvali, Washington, D.C., and others.

  •  U.S. needs to be much tougher with Russia (0+ / 0-)

    Bush is an idiot, and his cluenessness is catastrophic for the U.S.

  •  Czechoslovakia in 1968 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    takeiteasy

    I'm old enough to remember how our country had to sit and watched Soviet tanks roll into Prague in late August 1968. You see, we were a bit preoccupied at the time with another hopeless war that had bogged down our military and stretched it to the breaking point. A war funded by deficit spending that would result in the recession that was the backdrop for many of us who came of age in those days.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  •  The Stinging Truth... (0+ / 0-)

    Deep down, the neocons know what they've to our military, thye know we're stretched thin, but it's their whole argument.

    So for all their demonizing/labeling Democrats as socialists  & communists- And all the "stand up for freedom" slogans-

    They'd rather pick on easy targets like Iraq.

    Also, NOT ONE Republican has criticized Georgia for withdrawing from Iraq to fight a more important war.

    How's that different from us withdrawing from Iraq, to fight the more important war in Afghanistan?

  •  Diarist declares "mission accomplished" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fstlicho, takeiteasy

    Declaring a winner or a loser in a war that just started isn't wise. Ask Bush and his hasty "Mission Accomplished" verdict.

    •  Mission is accomplished: Georgia has been shown (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpwatch

      to be a paper tiger, US has been demonstrated to leave its cronies alone. A powerful lesson for all surrounding countries. And South Ossetians appreciate Russian protection so no guerilla war of native restistance fighters against the occupation is to be anticipated (that could only have happened if the Georgians had been successful).

      •  All the South Ossetians (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        diranuk

        I have heard or read quoted have condemned Russia for decimating their houses, destroying their livelihoods and killing their families - even those who oppose Georgian rule.

        We should be very, very careful not to replace one set of propaganda with another, just because the second batch fits our wishful thinking about the world.

        The people always lose in war. There are no victors among the victims.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:08:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama should end his vacation. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    takeiteasy

    It sucks and the guy deserves the time off.  But the country could use his steady hand and intelligent leadership skills right now.

    "Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." ~Voltaire

    by The BBQ Chicken Madness on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 02:58:08 PM PDT

    •  The guy needs the time off. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bronx59

      He can't use his leadership skills here because he has no mandate (yet).

      •  If not because he might help... (0+ / 0-)

        But because it's pretty easy to foresee campaign ads in September from the McCain campaign:

        Narrator:  While Russia was bombing their grossly outmatched neighbor, Georgia, Barack Obama took a vacation.  Sunning in the tropics is more important to Obama than the brutal conquering of a US ally.  His priorities are clear, freedom and country come in second.

        Now, dumb that down to a 3rd grade reading level...and you have a very effective national security ad.

        And what's his response going to be?  "I needed the time off"?  "I couldn't do anything as a candidate"?  Neither is an effective defense to that ad, and the fact that you'd be on defense in the first place is already bad.

        "Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." ~Voltaire

        by The BBQ Chicken Madness on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:12:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My Policy on Georgia and South Ossetia (0+ / 0-)

    In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

    So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

    As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

    Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

    The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

    Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

    Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

    --George Washington, Farewell Address, 17 September 1796

    •  Founding Fathers were idiots (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fixed Point Theorem

      this is at least the contemporary conservative position.  And idiots on everything.

      Foreign policy.

      Religion.

      Human rights.

      All those pernicious legacies to undo!

      Granted, they got certain things right, like slavery, no universal ballot, no gay rights, but  alas, we cannot bring them back.

  •  That's odd, I thought Russia *had* won (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dmnyct, takeiteasy

    But I gather only Americans can be warmongers, right?

    On to Darfur, where the warmongers are again losing, right?

    "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

    by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:34:49 PM PDT

    •  Problem not (0+ / 0-)

      I don't see your problem with Darfur. Sudan is just doing what Georgia has just tried with South Ossetia: Restoring the writ of the central government in a an unruly province.
      Don't you respect the sovereignity of an independent country?

      •  That's putting a rather nice gloss on genocide. (0+ / 0-)

        "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

        by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 04:16:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hyperbole (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WilliamTell

          I don't think what Georgia is trying to do in South Ossetia is genocide. I have to admit 1500 civilian dead show a bit generous  interpretation of collateral damage by the georgian government.

          •  Darfur, homes (0+ / 0-)

            "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

            by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 04:24:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Putin's numbers, no less (0+ / 0-)

            Surely Vladimir appreciates you doing him this solid.  And perhaps peace has returned to Chechnya as well?

            "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

            by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 04:33:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So? (0+ / 0-)

              There are at least some hundreds deads in South Ossetia, that much is true. And if you demand the independence of Chechnya, why not South Ossetia or Abkhazia ?
              One should at least try to follow some principles regarding seperation or non-seperation.

              •  True, though the Russian position on the present (0+ / 0-)

                conflict "officially" is that they were acting to protect Russian citizens from imminent peril, not that they were acting in support of a separatist claim per se,

                •  The russian imperialism (0+ / 0-)

                  or whatever you may call their questionable cuurent foreigen politics, does not negate the ossetian right to self determination. And the russians and ossetians are are after all just defending the status quo of a a cease-fire negotiated in the early nineties.

                  •  I understand your point, however, i was merely (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    fstlicho

                    pointing out, that the present official reason for use of force is to protect Russian citizens. There are legal reasons for adoption of this posture, given that the status of Ossetia is currently the subject of an international agreement.Mere breach of that agreement may not of itself found a basis in international law for the use of force. It may therefore be cleaner from a legal point of view to seek to justify the current action on the grounds of protection of Russian citizens. Though I concede that even here there will be debate about the circumstances in which a state is entitled to use force in such a context, and the matter is complicated when they proceed, as they appear to be doing at the moment, to continue with an occupation/attacks on undisputed sovereign Georgian territory.

                    Unfortunately the security council really dropped the ball on this one by failing to arrive at an agreement on Friday.

                    •  The oldest trick in the book (0+ / 0-)

                      Now I understand you. You actually think this helps the russian legal position?
                      I don't think so. You can't just export your sovereignty with your citizens. Embassies, bases by treaty, ships on high sea, yes but not mere citizens.

                      On the other hand that was exactly the pretext the U.S. used in Grenada and Panama: protection of citizens.

                      In the middle ages, when you wanted to start a war but lacked a proper pretext, you wanr always complain about the mistreatment of your merchants in foreign lands.

                      •  I agree with you that it is a trick, of sorts (0+ / 0-)

                        however as you say they will point to other precedents The peculiar position of the territory, as distinct from the "citizens" complicates the matter, legally speaking. It is cleaner and simpler to say you were acting to protect a large number of your citizens.

                        Mind you, the Georgians have arguments which would arguably provide them with a stronger basis for the actions they took, since if it is true, as they say that, Ossetian forces were shellingGeorgian villages in Georgia proper, as well as attacking government controlled villages in Ossetia, then the former at least, if not the latter, would have provided a basis for their use of force.....that is if they needed one other than by virtue of the exercise of sovereignty in an internal sense, as distinct from self-defence, from an "external aggressor".

                        However the legal complexity of the this situation pointed to the need for at SC resolution on Friday, which it failed to agree, precisely because of disagreements over whether Georgia could be commanded not to use force, as I understand it. So the need for the resolution to overcome the legal complexity to provide breathing space, was stymied by that very legal complexity.

              •  Not my point (0+ / 0-)

                My point is that the Russian line is quite often full of crap and we'd do well to remember that.  A few years back they'd convinced themselves that Latvia was Enemy Number 1.  Seems to be a rotating gig.

                "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

                by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:51:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  How about self-det for North Ossetia? (0+ / 0-)

                If you're game for the South, I'm game for the North.  Think the Russians will be hip to it?

                "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

                by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:52:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No (0+ / 0-)

                  On the other hand, the north doesn't demand independence. They seem to be content with their autonomy: even Tatarstan is nowadays, perhaps Russia is doing something right.

                  •  Precisely why the endgame worries me... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    diranuk

                    There's no way this ends with a de jure independent South Ossetia, as long as Russia has anything to say about this (as, of course, they will) -- Russia could never possibly endorse the principle that an aggrieved ethnic minority has the right to secede from an established nation-state, because it would risk ripping the Russian federation apart.  (i.e., if it's good enough for the Ossetes, why not the Tatars, or the Mari, or the Udmurts, or, well, the Chechens...?)

                    It's one thing for the Kremlin to encourage a "reunification" of the South Ossetes with their North Ossete-Alan cousins under the umbrella of the Russian federation -- but a de jure independent South Ossetia would be an infinitely worse result, from a Russian geopolitical standpoint, than would have been the case if Georgia had succeded in clamping down on Ossetian separatism and had the Russians not intervened.

                    Which leaves three possibilities: (i) a return to the status quo ante (autonomous Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and a hostile anti-Russian regime in Tbilisi), (ii) de jure annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia, or (iii) leaving Georgia's current borders unchanged but a de facto reabsorption of Georgia into the Russian sphere by replacement of Saakashvili et al with pro-Russian puppet regime.

                    It's hard to see (i) coming to pass -- if they were prepared to accept such a result at this point, why would Russia have bothered intervening in the first place?  Neither (ii) nor (iii) seem like very good results from the standpoint of global stability -- regardless of your feelings about Putin and Saakashvili.

                    This is going to get uglier before it gets better.

                  •  But surely they're just as entitled (0+ / 0-)

                    Hardly seems fair to give the South Ossetians the benefits of sovereignty, while packing their northern kin away in the new Tsarist empire.  

                    "There will always be two different views / Of the same thing, baby / Too many views with loaded pride." - The Fixx

                    by fstlicho on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:18:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Yay for Tar and Feathers!! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." Howard Zinn

    by Chilean Jew on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:58:38 PM PDT

  •  Lies: the real problem with getting to the bottom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, RandomActsOfReason

    of the current conflict is that every single one of the parties is lying.

  •  Your best diary every, jerome (0+ / 0-)

    And I have liked a lot of them.

    Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.

    by eparrot on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 05:57:55 PM PDT

  •  No victors among the victims n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WilliamTell

    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 06:09:09 PM PDT

  •  A Thought about this war mongering (0+ / 0-)

    those Russian Citizens in south Ossetia want their independance, The Russian Government gave them Russian citizenship just to keep the Georgia Government from maintaining control over the Ossetia people. The got the Georgia Government upset and protested to the UN.  but the Russians knew this and did it anyway.

    Don't get me wrong here The Georgian government haven't been so cool about their reasons when it comes to Ossetia. They were wrong to start this conflict which should have been done through the UN.  (like this is going to help)

    A little flash back:

    Going back to 1938, Hitler did the same thing in The Sudetenland which was an area of Czechoslovakia where ethnic Germans formed a majority of the population. Hitler demanded Sudetenland be annex to Mother Germany. the Threat of war force the European powers to appease Hitler and UK PM Chamberland said, he can trust Hitler and "now they can have peace in our time".

    The rest is history..

    the history of these this past event, there is some similarities, but why does Russia (Putin) wants to stir the mix here.. Like Hitler, Ossetia has oil pipe line which feeds Turkey and Europe (NATO)... Get the picture..

    Putin and Ex KGB chief, believes and wants Russia to become the old Soviet power of the Cold war. he has both the oil and the pride of the Russian people to bring back the Empire.

    He's also created a large following of Russian Youth, to learn and develop a core group of future RED guard and expansion of his once Soviet empire.

    I suggest you take a good look at some of the Russian websites, very eye opening.

    I must also warn everyone here that the Chinese and Russian intelligence have been using WebSpy's to way in a anti-War, anti- involvement agenda. Their here and they know you all don't want War.

    Hey, you do not have to believe me. the internet is full of BS and truth. Just read your history, read and learn about ITT's (International Tyrants and Terrorist).

    I'm not trying to scare anyone here, I pray this does not escalate to the next step.

    Europe does not want a European war again, so don't expect them to get involved, but expect them to appease Putin. This is not over... Peace

  •  Beware of liberal chickenhawks. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    indycam

    Yes, there are chickenhawks that lurk and post on this website. People who claim to be humanitarian, courageous and even patriotic despite the fact that they view war as the only solution to international relations and would never serve in those wars themselves.

    They care not for trade, diplomacy or peaceful humanitarian aid. Instead, they would rather export war to the rest of the world under the misguided impression that it can actually improve our lot in life. What's wrong with peaceful solutions? They don't believe in peace, that's why.

    These gutless, closet Republican chickenhawks compassionate patriotic warriors tell the rest of us, from the safety of their sheltered suburban gated communities and their keyboards, that we're obligated to use our military to babysit and dominate protect the rest of the world. We're obligated to intervene, dare I say meddle, because they believe in American exceptionalism.

    In their eyes, not only are American military adventures morally pure, but so are America's selected "allies". The world is black and white and somehow the United States is the champion of democracy and human rights. Bleh, nothing could be further from the truth...

    What really makes these pro-war liberals so amusing is that like their Republican brothers and sisters, none of them are willing to risk their own lives in any capacity. Most of them, at least. None of them would ever dare think about being aid workers, Foreign Service Officers or especially joining the military.

    Alas, they have this idea that they're "fighting the war on the homefront". They think that throwing crumbs money at causes they refuse to get involved in and supporting their favorite politicians and celebrities suffices for getting their hands dirty and putting their money where their mouths are.

    I hold all chickenhawks, both liberal and conservative, to join the military since you truly believe that war is the only and best solution to the world's problems. They feel that the U.S. military is the best provider of that solution, yet they refuse to contribute to the wars they crave.

    You would think that if they were truly liberal, that they would want to use war as a last resort and if and only if our national security was threatened. You would think that they would respect the sovereignty of other nations.

    Add to this their lack of any comprehension of international relations. They only go off their ideologies and whatever the Democrats and/or Republicans tell them. They don't stop to think that the situations in other countries and regions are more complicated than mere cases of genocide or oppression. Take a long hard look at Iraq and Afghanistan and you'll see how naive American idealism can't do shit to "fix" their problems.

    By their standards, there's no good reason for why other nation's shouldn't invade the United States in the event that it commits major crimes against humanity or lives up to another nation's illusions and priorities. Shit, if the United States began deporting Mexicans at population transfer levels, then by means we should be invaded by the European Union, Russia and/or China since sovereignty doesn't really exist.

    Despite what these pro-war assholes tell us, their "noble causes" are the same as the Republicans: to project American power and push a cyncial geopolitical agenda. None of them will ever risk their lives in any wars nor admit that fact.

    There's better ways to help the world. Send in the Peace Corps, not the Marine Corps. Accept refugees from every trouble spot in the world. Engage in diplomacy and trade negotiations.

    War is a terrible thing that should rarely be necessary. It can't and often doesn't solve our problems. No side in any war is pure, whether it is local, regional or international. The United States has no place nor any right to dominate the politics and direction of the rest of the world.

    In other words, it would be complete waste to get involved in the South Ossetia War. Neither Russia nor Georgia is pure in this conflict. We will never know what's best for either side. If Russia invaded Alaska or the Aleutian Islands, then that would be a good reason to go to war with them. However, this isn't a good reason. This conflict isn't our problem.

    @ iRobert and chike if you're here: In the event our country does get militarily involved in the South Ossetia War, I expect you war-monging assholes to enlist and go fight in a conflict you feel soooo strongly for. Why not? You love war and want to save the rest of the world at gunpoint anyway. Now's your chance!

    Then again, you two are much too cowardly, cynical and hypocritical to do that. Gotta aim low, right?

    Oh yeah iRobert, why don't you stick to shoving 6 Twinkies in your mouth instead of painting yourself as some cosmopolitan war hero. We need you to talk less anyway. It's not like you would put your money where your mouth is...

  •  You don't know much about conservtives: (0+ / 0-)

    Placing any of this mess on conservatives, or "neo-cons" whoever they are, is laughable.  First of all, Bush isn't a conservative.  Conservatives deplored the Clinton/Bush policy of bombing Serbia and then supporting independence for Kosovo. That's the root of this, but I don't expect you to review recent history when you can erroneously demonize a political philosophy about which you obviously know little or nothing.  The U.S. and Europe have wrought this idiocy:  Europe by not preparing for war because peace through strength is so last century and by not solving their own backyard conflicts.  And the U.S. is to blame for protecting the ungrateful, socialists in W. Europe and supporting a break away country in the Baltics.  So, here we are.  We either support independence or we don't.  Does South Ossetia have the right to break way from Georgia?  According to the U.S. it does, because we have supported such against the wishes of Moscow and Belgrade in Kosovo.  The Soviets, er, Russians still have their own sphere of influence.  Oops, I just exposed myself as one of those right-wing warmongers who laments the fall of the Iron Curtain because it just isn't any fun not having our nukes pointed at women and children in foreign countries.

  •  The warmongers.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...are the Russians, who invaded Georgia.

    And it doesn't take a "neocon" to recognize that fact.

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