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On the other hand, the portrayal of Russia as expecting the Georgia attack and as having a long and well planned response I find credible and logical. The Russians are not guiltless in this whole thing, so it is entirely within reason that they also receive their lumps in the press.
The NATO split is understandable considering that Western Europe is almost entirely dependent upon Russia for energy needs - so it likely to prefer soft talking diplomacy and less aggressive action. Eastern European countries have had decades of experience with Russian bullying so they are scared to death. Mind you, I don't believe World War III is quite the right answer either. I have always felt that isolating Russia outside of NATO and surrounding it with NATO allied countries is a lousy strategy bound to cause this kind of trouble eventually.
All in all I pretty much got what I expected from the press so it wasn't particularly egregious. Maybe I've just become jaded.
I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
By Sunday and Monday, when the situation was starting to get serious, I don't recall any mention of the role of Georgia in starting the conflict. It is all Russian aggression against Georgia. Not until mid-week did I see critical coverage of the role that the Bush Administration and John McCain had played in encouraging Georgia. And still the preponderance of the coverage seems to be on Russia's actions. There is a lot more condemnation of Russia's "disporportionate" response than there is to that to which what they were responding.
First impressions can be lasting. I suspect that not many US citizens became aware of the situation until Sunday or later. By that time their first impressions didn't likely include the fact that Georgia set off this round of trouble.
The neo-cons schemes blow up in their faces, they are shown by the facts to be incompetent and impotent and yet they are not called on it. It seems to me that what coverage there was of Georgia's role was the minimum possible so that US news organizations could say: "well, we did cover it." That is not good enough for me.
"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
This is a common misconception in the US.
Western Europe has been taking a soft approach towards Russia for decades, and you should read up about de Gaulle's France not systematically pointing its missiles at the USSR, or Willy Brandt's "Ostpolitik". That was in the 60s, for God's sake, way before Russia would sell us any energy.
It's just not written in stone that Russia should be fenced off, and we have learnt over centuries that playing the bully just does not pay in the long run - and this, the US public and politicians will eventually learn it as well.
It's just too bad they cause so much misery in the meantime.
My personal view is that today's Russia would be a far more natural, reliable and peaceful partner than the US, which are just bad news, whatever they do and where ever they go on the world stage.
Western Europe is almost entirely dependent upon Russia for energy needs
This is simply not true. Russia currently provides 25% of Europe's gas imports (which themselves represent about half its consumption)(note that the numbers can change significantly depending on whether you count Norway as in "Europe" or not, as it is not in the EU) and probably a smaller fraction of its oil.
The gas is a bilateral inter-dependency relationship, which had been stable for the past 40 years (until London started interfering).
Oil is a global market and Russia is only one potentially unfriendly supplier out of many.
Worries about energy dependency tend to look at future trends, whereby oil and especially gas demand goes up while domestic supply shrinks and Russian exports are expected to fill in the difference. So dependency might become an issue only if we continue our (insane) current policies.
In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
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