Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The warmongers have lost yet another war

by Jerome a Paris Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 05:38:51 AM EST

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.

Front-paged by afew



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Georgia says its troops have withdrawn from the breakaway region of South Ossetia and that Russian forces are in control of its capital, Tskhinvali.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Georgia said Sunday it had withdrawn entirely from the separatist enclave of South Ossetia in an effort to stave off all out war, and that Russia overnight had launched major land offensives from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?

Display:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/10/73347/0903/840/565639

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 08:08:27 AM EST
... the Eurotrib version put in the Midnight Oil diary roll.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 11:27:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"After the catastrophic invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the neocons have just lost a third war, in Georgia."

You've forgotten the angloisraelosphere's cute lil' effort in Lebanon?  Weirdly similar conclusion btw.

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 10:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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?

That reminds me of something



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 09:05:41 AM EST
European Tribune - The warmongers have lost yet another war
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 -

Delete "Russia" and insert "Iran", and the result is similar.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 09:31:10 AM EST
There are dead people. Shit has been blown up.

To a neocon, no policy is a failure as long as there are dead people and shit has been blown up.

If you ask a neocon about this, he'll say the US showed Russia that the US means business in the area.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 10:19:04 AM EST
There are dead people. Shit has been blown up.

You forgot to add "profits have been made"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 10:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But they're Very SeriousTM!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 11:52:40 AM EST

First of all, taking Geo-Political or Foreign Policy advice from a Frenchman is akin to taking Social Humanism advice from Stalin.  You people have always been:  A. Cowards  B.  Out of your league.

The US won the Iraq War and will likely destroy the Taliban.  We will have forward deployment bases, housing our advanced weaponry in Iraq and Afghanistan for centuries.  If these are all proxy wars against Russia and it's crazy friends all over the world, I would call our moves (Bush's Moves) genius.

BTW, instead of saying "Neo Con" why not just, be a man, and say what you want to say, "Jew."

Cheers,

Aaron



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:17:22 PM EST
Whoa.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:37:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The email subject line was: "your inane diary".

At least the language is correct and coherent.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was Aaron "a man" enough to actually identify himself?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably a B_ackwater spokesman.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy, crazy people.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:44:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of which, this may only apply to America, but is it possible that the election process itself that we put people through to get in office actually chooses for the most mentally ill individual, people with greed as their major motivator?  Do we need a National Shrink to come on Countdown once a week and give us a quick reading of the week's people/events from a "craziness" prospective?

We may be under the mistaken impression that the entire process of current events represents some form of sanity.

Does ET have a resident shrink?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:53:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is fake.  Somebody from dKos is just jerking your chain.  The spelling isn't nearly poor enough to be that of an authentic winger.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:27:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"social humanism", yea you might have a point. No real winger would have heard of humanism, let alone type it without exploding.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not true, but any serious winger would've known it's called "secular humanism".

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:25:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Das thing is the guy is probably not a winger, and may even be a democrat.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 08:55:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of them can even write fairly well. Its the critical reasoning skills where there seems to be a gap or two.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 05:56:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's not fake. This is a college student (or recent grad).

Super common, if you were French in the US in 2002-04, you got this a lot.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 08:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukuyama, that well-known jewish surname.

But what is this American obsession with religious affiliation ? I only found out that the UK tory politician Michael howard was jewish about 18 months ago depsite his having been around for years. Given his background as a transylvanian emigre my only reaction was to wonder if human blood was kosher.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as he says the right words when he's about to sink the fangs in, it is.

OTOH, if you want to fend him off, don't try the crucifix.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JaP quotes :
You people have always been:  A. Cowards  B.  Out of your league.

I can't really see how "Frenchmen" - or any other people for that matter - can be both cowards and out of their league. I mean, if they are cowards, they run no risk of being out of their league. Right ?

This goes to prove that your correspondent is : A. Out of his league. And there is no need for a B.

by balbuz on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 02:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The funny thing is the guy is clearly engaging in baiting, calling Jerome basically an anti-semite not man enough to be blunt enough so as to be obvious in that anti-semitism, all the while engaging in some rather bigoted rhetoric of his own.

Take the bait, you're a racist. Leave the bait alone, and you let him get away with his own racism.

Common with these clowns. You see this sort of maneouvre often among the keyboard commando corps; it is some sort of passive-agreesive flanking maneouvre.

This sort of bad faith is a typically American rhetorical game.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 08:53:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too funny!

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 08:50:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the guy takes umbrage at imaginary antisemitic dog whistles, all the while starting off his e-mail with an anti-French slur. And a Stalin reference thrown in for good measure. Heh.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:33:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to David McClelland the goal of inner needs for power is to feel powerful. (POWER, The Inner Experience, 1975.)  A way to exhibit power is by affecting others.  This can be accomplished, for instance, by teaching or by criminal means. In many circumstances individuals below the levels of leadership can experience power by identifying with powerful leaders.  

Failure of martial adventures can bring down leaders, as in Argentina after the Falklands/Malvinas war, but not always.  Even in defeat many followers seem unable to find satisfactory alternatives to the inner experiences of power felt during war.  They seek rationalizations for their failures and form a base of support for future war leaders.

Realpolitik involves arousing and directing such energies to the use of force or threat of force to the accomplishment of achievable ends.  Reagan failed in Lebanon but chose a more achievable goal in Grenada.  Success in Grenada masked failure in Lebanon.  That was realpolitik at its ugliest.  The current Bush Administration does not seem to have realpolitik figured out.  They do, however, know how to pose and posture, as Georgan leaders are finding to their sorrow.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:09:04 PM EST
Jerome

Riding the high horse does no good. All of us here know this is part of a failed policy. You can do no more to convince us, as we were already convinced. Why go to dKos and try to piss off the natives? Is it really going to do more than make both sites uncomfortable? All the people who disagree with you are going to see... "blah blah blah I drink the lovely schadenfreude blah blah". Not helpful on the whole.

Realpolitik only works when both sides aren't constantly looking for an advantage. It might work if either side was only seeking an advantage part of the time, but the U.S. and Russian Federation are BOTH trying to win the 'great game' at nearly any cost. It's a time of complete unrealpolitik, so don't be so ready to trust EITHER side!

Dissolve NATO if you really hate the U.S. course so much. Cut off the chunnel, because the U.K. is just as guilty. Do SOMETHING to try and dissuade the warmongers, because all Europe has done so far is either play along or sit on it's collective behinds.

Complaining loudly will do nothing

Kevin

by kevinearllynch (mr_kevinlynch@sbcglobal.net) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 03:30:28 AM EST
You've missed the constant drumbeat of "what is NATO for? , what is NATO for?" around here, haven't you? We'd mostly love to dissolve NATO and stop European governments constantly pandering to the US and instead following an independent and principled foreign policy.

We're quite capable of criticising both the US and Europe.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 03:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coleman

I missed none of it. Do it. Do something! Harsh words won't stop either side from bad actions. Attacking me to make yourself feel better won't change anything, period.

Kevin

by kevinearllynch (mr_kevinlynch@sbcglobal.net) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 01:21:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure that neither Colman nor the entire membership of ET has the power to dismantle NATO.

Otherwise, there would be no NATO.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 02:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This relates to some of the other running discussion themes on ET, namely the democracy gap in EU institutions, and the general disconnect of national political elites from the general population regarding issues of foreign policy.

As in, nobody cares what a bunch of ordinary people say or think.

by Zwackus on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 09:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Following the threads at the GOS, there are less than 10 commenters who disagree with Jerome.  It looks like more because they're pretty strident and persistent.  Those guys hate Russia with a white-hot heat, and any reference to it must be in the context of total evil.
by tjbuff (timhess@adelphia.net) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 09:35:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.russiatoday.ru/news/news/28824/video

The Prime Minister has accused Washington of undermining Russia's attempts to restore peace in the South Ossetian conflict zone. Vladimir Putin said a decision by the US military to fly 900 Georgian soldiers from Iraq back to Georgia showed America was `trying to get in the way'

Do you think WWIII just started?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 07:22:24 AM EST
In the nuclear age we're never more than 30 seconds away.

If the US played a role in this, it may be the first good imperial move the Bush administration has made - get Russia to expend resources on a war with a large potential to expand and drag out.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 01:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/25329.html

Media war against Russia


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 07:50:56 AM EST
Many of the pictures of the "appartment" buildings bombed and burning show the same 2 (3?) nearby buildings that were most likely damaged in the ammunition dump explosion in Gori.
by blackhawk on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 08:02:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely on a blog dedicated to European issues we can avoid having to look at this critical European issue through the neo-con prism.

Of course the neo-cons weren't going to advocate sending the US army in to confront Russia, and if they had would you have given them credit for 'consistency' if they had? If they had urged an all-out conflagration with NATO surely we would call them insane.

Was Georgia really so niave as to rely on WSJ editorials and conservative foreign policy think tanks in making its moves? I doubt it, they gambled and lost and their stupidity does not excuse Russian aggression.

Who cares what the neo-cons were saying, the question is. What's Europe going to do about this?

by lemonwilmot (lemonwilmot at gmail.com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 09:05:17 AM EST
Was Georgia really so niave as to rely on WSJ editorials and conservative foreign policy think tanks in making its moves? I doubt it, they gambled and lost and their stupidity does not excuse Russian aggression.

The head neocon cheerleader is still trying to save Georgia's naïve ass, and he's using a very big forum to make his case:

Op-Ed Columnist - Will Russia Get Away With It? - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

Will the United States put real pressure on Russia to stop? In a news analysis on Sunday, the New York Times reporter Helene Cooper accurately captured what I gather is the prevailing view in our State Department: "While America considers Georgia its strongest ally in the bloc of former Soviet countries, Washington needs Russia too much on big issues like Iran to risk it all to defend Georgia."

But Georgia, a nation of about 4.6 million, has had the third-largest military presence -- about 2,000 troops -- fighting along with U.S. soldiers and marines in Iraq. For this reason alone, we owe Georgia a serious effort to defend its sovereignty. Surely we cannot simply stand by as an autocratic aggressor gobbles up part of -- and perhaps destabilizes all of -- a friendly democratic nation that we were sponsoring for NATO membership a few months ago.

For that matter, consider the implications of our turning away from Georgia for other aspiring pro-Western governments in the neighborhood, like Ukraine's. Shouldn't we therefore now insist that normal relations with Russia are impossible as long as the aggression continues, strongly reiterate our commitment to the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, and offer emergency military aid to Georgia?

Have their been an LTE's written on this topic that could be recycled to respond to this column?

Cynicism is intellectual treason.

by marco on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 09:20:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kristol's piece is one long Godwin.

Op-Ed Columnist - Will Russia Get Away With It? - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

When the "civilized world" expostulated with Russia about Georgia in 1924, the Soviet regime was still weak. In Germany, Hitler was in jail. Only 16 years later, Britain stood virtually alone against a Nazi-Soviet axis. Is it not true today, as it was in the 1920s and '30s, that delay and irresolution on the part of the democracies simply invite future threats and graver dangers?

They will apply this worn-out drek to any situation, any time, to justify warmongering.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Delay and irresolution? From what I recall of history class, The West(TM) was pretty fucking swift and resolute w.r.t. the Soviet Union. I seem to recall that "swift and resolute" meant starting a civil war in Russia. The Tzarists lost. Twice, if you count the revolution as well. Of course, the Kristols of the world might believe that if only The West(TM) had been more "swift and resolute" the Tzarists would have won and Russia would have been a wonderful liberal democracy that respected international law and human rights the interests of its oligarchs.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:33:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain stood virtually alone against a Nazi-Soviet axis

I want to comment on this.

Is Kristol aware, that the Nazis and the Soviets were enemies, not allies? Is he aware, that the Soviet Union had ~ 300 times as many losses in WW II than the US?

And to his appeasement indications.
What would have happened, if GB would have declared war on Germany, instead of appeasing? Isn't it possible, that  the fascists and the democratic countries would have fought war until complete exhaustion, and then the Soviets take over all of Europe? We don't know, but isn't it possible, that Chamberlain rescued the free world, by letting the biests attack each other instead of fighting them both?

Maybe some historic more educated people can comment on that.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:35:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Kristol aware, that the Nazis and the Soviets were enemies, not allies? Is he aware, that the Soviet Union had ~ 300 times as many losses in WW II than the US?

Yes, but he doesn't mind lying about it if it advances his agenda.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please look the following video from minute one to minute 3. At least some 'serious' people seem to know really really little.




Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dragging out Chamberlain and not knowing about the partitioning of Czechoslovakia? That's so pathetic it isn't even funny.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 11:01:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not only pathetic, it extremely weird why they let such a raving lunatic go on TV. Okay, I buy why they let lunatics go on TV, but why one which raves incoherently?

Anyone?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 08:45:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He didn't expect to be called on it. If he hadn't been called on it, he would have just repeated the talking point and gone on to the next talking point.

They aren't arguing. They are advertising. And advertisement works by repetition, endless repetition. One small screwup - even a major screwup like this one - is as unimportant as a faulty transmission of a soap ad. There are thousands of other repetitions to fall back on.

Historical insight (or basic intelligence, for that matter) isn't necessary to spew talking points, and they have better uses for the educated, intelligent cadre, so the idiots get to go on TV.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:38:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's lying by omission.

Between Fall Weiss (Poland - fall 1939) and Operation Barbarossa (USSR - summer 1941), the USSR and Nazi Germany were indeed the next best thing to allied. Of course, just three years earlier, the USSR had been allied to France... And indeed the USSR ended up fighting and defeating Nazi Germany (the British and American effort in the European theatre was... underwhelming, and France had been effectively knocked out in the fall of 1940).

So Kristol is technically correct when he says that there was a Soviet-German alliance in 1940. But incredibly disingenuous at the same time.

And calling it a Nazi-Soviet Axis is the next best thing to an outright lie. The Axis in Europe was the vertical line between Rome and Berlin (AFAIK, Mussolini was the first to use the term Rome-Berlin Axis publicly in a speech in (IIRC) 1937 - the idea was that all of Europe would "revolve around the Axis" between Berlin and Rome). Precisely how Japan got into the Axis is unclear to me, but it's probably a combination of the fact that they were in the Anti-Comintern Pact and the fact that they were "not in the Allies."

But of course, people like Kristol would probably really rather forget the Italian fascists, considering how much the Americans cooperated with them in the postwar years...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you're more than welcome, lw, to write a diary on what you think Europe should be doing about this "critically European issue" -- that you seem reluctant to consider in the light of US foreign policy and of the single most important influence on it through the past eight years.

Perhaps, then, we might understand how it came about that Georgia was not naive, yet gambled and lost out of stupidity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for the invitation but I'm afraid my ignorance would be fairly plain. But I'm perplexed why someone with as much knowledge about the region would spend time explaining why the neo-cons were wrong again. I can't see the relevance unless there is evidence that they acted in reliance on US backing.

As to what Europe, meaning the EU and its constituent nations, should do. Sanctions? A committment to alternative energy? (which I take from Jerome)using the built-in European majority to remove Russia from G8. Putting pressure on Georgia to allow self-determination to its people, while urging Russia to do the same with its regions?

As to Georgia's stupidity. It wasn't stupid to calculate that Russia's response would be limited - that might have been right on the balance of probabilities, the stupidity was in not appreciating the consequences if their calculations were wrong. But I still don't think they expected NATO to come swinging into the region, whatever Kristol was telling them. They were stupid, but not THAT stupid.

by lemonwilmot (lemonwilmot at gmail.com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 11:30:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't stupid to calculate that Russia's response would be limited - that might have been right on the balance of probabilities...

Perhaps, yes, in a parallel universe.

In this one, however, when Russia tells you up front, ahead of time, before you start mowing down S. Ossetian villages, that if you start mowing down S. Ossetian villages, they will retaliate, when Russia makes it as clear as humanly possible to you that it has a previous agreement with S. Ossetia in which they will defend S. Ossetia should you start mowing down S. Ossetian villages, then, in this universe, the balance of probabilities is that Russia will retaliate and do everything in their power to defend S. Ossetia.  

C'mon.  Anyone who's ever taken History 101 knows that when Russia says it will fight back, it does, and they usually do not err on the side of restraint.  I can understand some of the greatest megalomaniacs in history underestimating Russia's will, but Saakashvili?  That has to fall into the category of "THAT stupid."  Or "delusional."  Or "assuming the US and NATO would go to war with Russia on behalf of Georgia."  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 11:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there is one country left in the world that employs Realpolitik, it is Russia. And they seem quite open about it.

With due respect to poemless' anti-war diary, we should all realize that part of the Russian response is revenge for the civilians and soldiers killed in the Georgian offensive in S. Ossetia. (And part of that is sheer political calculation: 1) the residents of S. Ossetia are now fully convinced that Russia is their only friend in the world; and 2) Georgia, Ukraine, Estonia, etc. are now fully apprised of consequences.) As soon as the message is acknowledged and all of the Georgian troops are out of Abkhazia and Ossetia, military action will cease.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 04:17:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"due respect" is unnecessary.  One does not need to condone the loss of life in order to understand and acknowledge the compelling reason for Russia's actions over the past 5 days.  Gorby gets it:

MOSCOW -- The past week's events in South Ossetia are bound to shock and pain anyone. Already, thousands of people have died, tens of thousands have been turned into refugees, and towns and villages lie in ruins. Nothing can justify this loss of life and destruction. It is a warning to all.

The roots of this tragedy lie in the decision of Georgia's separatist leaders in 1991 to abolish South Ossetian autonomy. This turned out to be a time bomb for Georgia's territorial integrity. Each time successive Georgian leaders tried to impose their will by force -- both in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, where the issues of autonomy are similar -- it only made the situation worse. New wounds aggravated old injuries.

Nevertheless, it was still possible to find a political solution. For some time, relative calm was maintained in South Ossetia. The peacekeeping force composed of Russians, Georgians and Ossetians fulfilled its mission, and ordinary Ossetians and Georgians, who live close to each other, found at least some common ground.

Through all these years, Russia has continued to recognize Georgia's territorial integrity. Clearly, the only way to solve the South Ossetian problem on that basis is through peaceful means. Indeed, in a civilized world, there is no other way.

The Georgian leadership flouted this key principle.

What happened on the night of Aug. 7 is beyond comprehension. The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas. Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against "small, defenseless Georgia" is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity.

Emphasis mine.

Could not have said it better myself.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
for me. Your anti-war piece is well-said and always pertinent.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lemonwilmot:
As to what Europe, meaning the EU and its constituent nations, should do. Sanctions?
...
using the built-in European majority to remove Russia from G8.

Not bloody likely. After all, when some other nation that shall not be mentioned by name decided to embark on what was even more clearly an illegal invasion we did none of those things.

Further, why would Europe want to take a confrontational approach to Russia? How would it be in our interest to further alienate them? What possible purpose would that serve?

If we want to live in a world of international law we better start building it. That mean treaties, and long term building of trust. Asymmetrical treatment of display of force by Great Powers amount to little more than taking sides in a petty game of Power. There is precious little to convince me that the United States should be afforded more benefit of the doubt in its wrongdoings than Russia. Thus, with very recent precedents in such matters, I don't see how Europe could take any kind of punitive action against Russia. We could perhaps muster a sternly worded letter, condemning both sides for blah, blah, blah.

For future stability in Europe it may help to quit NATO, kick out American troupes, and assume a position of neutrality with respect to World Military Powers. Other than that, continued trade and economic interdependence with our neighbours, and treating them with respect might be a good idea.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 12:21:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What can Europe do about this? What is "Europe" in the context of this crisis?

If "Europe" means "the EU" then I don't see a whole heck of a lot we can do. We have precious little leverage with Russia, and even less trust. We have zero leverage with Georgia - they're an American client state, why should they listen to the Union?

Realistically, what we have at our immediate disposal is monetary aid and humanitarian aid for the carrot and trade sanctions for the stick.

Russia doesn't need monetary gifts. They may or may not need humanitarian aid, but I'm not sure why they should trust us enough to allow us to dispense it on any useful scale anyway. And there is no reason to employ trade sanctions against Russia - it is not clear that they are the aggressor in this crisis. (And it's not clear that we even have the capability to deploy meaningful trade sanctions against Russia.)

Georgia might need monetary gifts - but I really don't think Europe should make a policy of throwing money at American client states. There are plenty of more deserving recipients. Georgia very probably needs humanitarian aid by now - or shortly will if things continue at the present pace. That should, of course, be granted, regardless of what we might think or not think of the Georgian government. Deploying trade sanctions against Georgia is pretty pointless - they're losing the war badly enough as it is, if they need any more stick in order to reach a negotiated settlement, then trade sanctions are unlikely to be it.

So humanitarian aid to Georgia to attempt to repair some of the civilian wreckage of the war. Same to Russia and South Ossetia, if they think they need it and want to accept it. That would be my recommendation, at least until we have sufficiently hard facts on the ground to start issuing arrest orders for the relevant war criminals.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:28:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rapid - Press Releases - EUROPA - 11/08/08
The European Commission has released €1 million in fast-track aid to help cover the urgent humanitarian needs of thousands of civilians affected by the fighting in the region of South Ossetia and beyond in Georgia. Experts from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) are in the region and are closely following the humanitarian situation.

Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "The European Commission is extremely concerned about the fighting and deplores the loss of lives and the human suffering it causes. We call for an immediate end of hostilities. Thousands of civilians, women and children are caught up in the fighting in and around South Ossetia. Our fast-track funding of 1 M€ is a very first contribution to meet their basic humanitarian needs. Further funds could be released as soon as the assessment of the needs will be finalized on the ground. However, emergency relief teams are only able to operate if all conflict parties respect international humanitarian law. Humanitarian access and safe passage for uprooted civilians and aid workers is crucial."



The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lemonwilmot:
Who cares what the neo-cons were saying, the question is. What's Europe going to do about this?

Nothing very much - in the sense that US foreign policy analysts normally think about this.  The notion that "Europe" should intervene - presumably militarily - when two neighbours fight over territory is in itself a product of an imperialist/militarist mindset (and not just a neo-con mindset).

I am not knowledgeable enough on the local situation to adjudicate on the rights and wrongs of the respect positions of Russia, South Ossetia and Georgia.  Some outside diplomatic mediation to arrive at a negotiated solution is the best we can probably hope for.  Sarkozy may not be everyone's idea of a skilled honest broker, but at least he appears to be trying to dampen down the tensions.

What we have now is a relatively limited regional dispute.  Why raise the stakes and turn this into an issue of nationalist principle of Russia against the World.  That would be playing to the militaristic agenda on all sides

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:45:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neo-con is a slur that is rapidly becoming uninformative, but for the sake of the discussion let's operate on the assumption that some U.S. hawks are pulling the strings in Georgia. This is a win-win for them.

Say Russia would have just let Georgia take South Ossetia. A win, small one,  but still.

Say, as it now seems, Russia overreacts. A big win, they are one big step closer to restarting the cold war. Which would suite some Russians hawks just fine, what I don't understand though is why exactly they think it would work out any less badly for them this time.

There ought to be some kind of recovery therapy for ex-superpowers.

by teme on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 07:10:14 PM EST
Say, as it now seems, Russia overreacts. A big win, they are one big step closer to restarting the cold war. Which would suite some Russians hawks just fine, what I don't understand though is why exactly they think it would work out any less badly for them this time.

if we suppose some neo-con/u.s. hawk conspiracy behind all this, i don't think even those guys are fool enough to think they will making strategic gains against Russia through this fiasco.  more likely, they were thinking short-term and domestic: they wanted to dial up the volume on "national security" just in time to make McCain look like a more serious contender for the U.S. presidency than Obama.

Cynicism is intellectual treason.

by marco on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 07:51:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THE thing the hawks or neo-cons DON'T want is someone like Obama as president.  He certainly doesn't share THEIR values.  They respond on a visceral level to perceived threats.  He is analytical.  They see him as a threat to the very continued existence of the USA, that continued existence being guaranteed only by having ever vigilant hawks in control of the armed forces.  

On a visceral level, they fear and loathe Obama and the possibility that he might get elected.  If Georgian president Saakashvili and/or his newly US trained army, along with an untold number of Georgans, including Osetians and Abkhazians have to be heroically sacrificed to feckless Georgian agression and to the Russian Bear as pawns in the game, that is regretful.  They will remember their sacrifice.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 09:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His positions don't seem to be that far away from what they want: sane (or at least competent) American imperialism.

His advisors on Russia are the same ones that have been selling the "democratisation" during the Yeltsin years. McFaul for one.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He might do for the Demo-hawks, I'll grant you.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 09:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But so far there is no indication that Russia has overreacted.

Newsies on the ground that are neither American, Georgian, Russian or South Ossetian (does South Ossetia have any newsies at all by the way?) confirm that Russia has secured or is in the process of securing South Ossetia, and that Georgian military installations in Georgia proper have been targeted by air strikes.

Various apparatchiks in the Georgian administration and the American press have made wild allegations that Russia has launched a full-scale attack on several fronts and shock-and-awed terror-bombed Georgian cities. But these reports remain unconfirmed, and given where they were originally published, are more than likely to remain unconfirmed.

All in all, the Russian response does not strike me as disproportionate.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be that even the Israelis accepted that an air strike on Iran would be counter-productive and so that move was off the table as an option for raising the national security issue as a way to boost McCain's candidacy.  McCain may be unpopular with the social conservative wing of the Republicans, but he is quite satisfactory to the "national security" wing.

The ugliest synergy possible in this situation would be that both McCain/Neocons and Putin/Medvedev would see an escalation of tensions between the US and Russia as helpful in the short term, say 4 months.  The benefits to McCain and the neo-cons are clear.  For Putin it might be beneficial for longer, I don't have a read there.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 11th, 2008 at 09:47:39 PM EST
Is that 100% true? McCain is a weak old man who looks like he should be on life support in a nursing home. Obama is young, virile, and has cast himself as Jack Bauer more than once. And he isn't selling himself as a dove.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 01:05:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It isn't a question of how OBAMA is portraying himself, less even what he in fact is, but rather a question of how he will be portrayed by his opponents and how he will, in the end, be perceived.  Remember Kerry?  

In wanting to be above it all, inhabiting a new politics in a new arena, he is already being portrayed with his head in the clouds, disconnected from earthly realities, as in the Jib Jab Cartoon.

Nor does it really matter how self-contradictory and self-defeating are the policies recommended by McCain.  If NATIONAL SECURITY becomes the main issue, a whole lot of people will decide their vote on primal and emotional levels and go with the Old Warrior image rather than the Cool Reformer Intellectual image.  That is probably the only thing that could give McCain the election.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:05:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ugliest synergy possible in this situation would be that both McCain/Neocons and Putin/Medvedev would see an escalation of tensions between the US and Russia as helpful in the short term, say 4 months.

yeah, that 'peace dividend' just wasn't putting enough money into the right pockets...

cui bono?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 02:01:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde.fr : Actualités à la Une
Le président russe annonce la fin de l'opération militaire en Géorgie
Le président Dmitri Medvedev a annoncé, mardi, avoir donné l'ordre de mettre fin à l'opération militaire russe "visant à contraindre la Géorgie à la paix", rapporte l'agence Interfax. (AFP et Reuters)

Russian president Dmitri Medvedev announced on tuesday he had given order to end the military operation "aiming at force Georgia to accept peace"

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:05:14 AM EST
There seem to be a rising number of impossible to fix situations in the world.

Many of them share a similar structure: there are various ethnic groups in close proximity, but they don't "want" to live together peacefully. The attitude may not be inherent, but as the result of ethnic baiting by those who have a reason to do so, but delusion still can create "want".

Ethnic Russians living in former Soviet Republics, where they were the dominant force and are now a disliked minority, is one large category. Similar cases exist in the Balkans, many parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Some of these cases have been partially "solved" by ethnic cleansing or reducing the minority to permanent second-class status, but the risk of rebellion always remains.

So, I'm stumped as to what Russia wants. Do they want to restore their power over their former clients? Do the expect Russians to take on key posts in Latvia or elsewhere again?

I'll ask the same question about Darfur, or the West Bank or Kosovo. The attitudes of the various groups just seem such that there is no interest in resolving things.

Since "follow the money" is one of my basic premises, I'll assume that some groups like the current situations, but I don't know who or why.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:00:21 PM EST
So, I'm stumped as to what Russia wants. Do they want to restore their power over their former clients? Do the expect Russians to take on key posts in Latvia or elsewhere again?

I'm in a criminal minority here, but I suspect that Russia wants normalized relations with its neighbors, respect for its people, Nato off its doorstep.  Why people find it nearly impossible to imagine Russians, who posses human dna like everyone else, would want the same things as everyone else, I don't know.  But flip the idea around in your head for a while.  It's so crazy it might just be true.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what "normalized relations" means. No one is threatening Russia. None of it's former colonies are able to stand up to them, militarily or economically.

If these states are treating ethnic Russians poorly then why is it mother Russia's responsibility to intervene?

As for NATO, suppose they swing neighboring states away from Russia, does this present a threat or does it just thwart Russia's ambitions?

I'm not anti-Russian, and I assume no motives for either the leaders or the population, but Russia has an unbroken four hundred year history of empire and one needs to demonstrate that this sense of its own place in the world has changed.

Look at all the criticism the US is getting because of its imperial policies, and these are only about 100 years old. It's not clear who is pushing this either. I don't remember anyone voting to invade: Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Philippines, Vietnam...

Apparently leaders go in the direction they wish, the population be damned.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:37:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one is threatening Russia.  

The US has been threatening Russia since 1989.  (Or since 1917--take your pick.)  

Funding the color-coded revolutions, maintaining NATO rather than dismantling it, adding former Warsaw-Pact nations to NATO, trying to add former Soviet Union nations to NATO, these are all moves in a long-range strategic plan to envelop and subjugate.  

Does Russia have something the US wants?  Yes:  Oil.  But at this stage, even more important than Russian oil is influence over Caspian Oil.  The US wants that foremost.  

You don't have to be Russophile to observe this (I'm not.)  You just have to notice basic strategy.  Knowing US history doesn't hurt either.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 10:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for NATO, suppose they swing neighboring states away from Russia, does this present a threat or does it just thwart Russia's ambitions?

Both?

I don't think you'll find much sympathy for Russian imperialist adventures on ET, but 1) the present conflict can hardly be called an imperialist adventure - at least not on Russia's part - and 2) The West(TM) has precious little credibility to argue the point even if it were, given NATO's behaviour since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

And the blatant displays of hypocrisy that result when European heads of state accuse Russia of adventurism over a decidedly non-adventurist intervention, while at the same time supporting various and sundry imperialist adventures on part of the USA (many of which directly threaten legitimate Russian interests) hurts our credibility, our standing in the world and thus our power.

Look at all the criticism the US is getting because of its imperial policies, and these are only about 100 years old. It's not clear who is pushing this either. I don't remember anyone voting to invade: Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Philippines, Vietnam...

First, I'll PN you on that number. US imperial ambitions go back at least to the first Mexican-American war in the early half of the 19th cent. So make that 150-200 years. At least.

Second, there is one distinct difference between US imperialism and post-Soviet Russian imperialism (with the exception of their Chechnya adventure, which is routinely condemned on ET) is that Russia has pretty much stayed more or less within accepted international law and accepted Western(TM) precedents when carrying out its imperialism.

As far as I'm aware, post-Soviet Russia has not terror-bombed other people's cities (unlike Beograd and Fallujah), has not aided and abetted ethnic cleansing (unlike Palestine and Kosova, and again with the exception of their Chechnya adventure, which is routinely condemned), has not launched wars of aggression (unlike Afghanistan and Iraq and again keeping in mind that Chechnya is a black exception to this rule), and so on and so forth and et cetera. (Soviet imperialism is, of course, a whole 'nother ball game; that was fully as bad as US imperialism. But the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore.)

Now, that does not excuse Russian imperialism, or make Russian imperial ambitions non-existent, but it does explain the difference in the volume of the criticism directed at it.

Oh, and of course it should be mentioned that the commercial press does enough criticism of Russia that even people who rely virtually solely on ET for their news are bound to hear of it anyway, so ET can hardly be faulted for omitting it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 10:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think of what you're arguing, and then ask yourself how the folks in Cuba and Venezuela would think about it? What goes for Georgia et. al., goes for America's near abroad as well. People have mentioned US actions in Central America - but judging by the views on Russia, they presumably believe that while they might have been a bit ugly at times, the states of Latin America should understand that adopting a geopolitical stance in opposition to the US will have nasty consequences, and have only themselves to blame.
by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 07:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Mexico were to court a military alliance with Russia and then proceed to invade an autonomous, US-aligned region on the border to Texas whose independence were guaranteed by the US (and bomb US peacekeeping troops in the process), then yes, of course the US would be justified in responding with sufficient force to repel the aggression.

Or, to take a slightly more real-world example, if Serbia were to invade Kosova and bomb Camp Bondsteel, the EU would indeed be justified in responding with sufficient force to end Serbian aggression. "Sufficient force to end Serbian Aggression" does not, however, include terror-bombing Beograd.

But there is a world of difference between this scenario and toppling moderately social democratic governments in Latin America at the behest of various US-based transnational companies and replacing them with unreconstructed fascists.

For what it's worth I would even say that taking various hostile actions (short of war, however) against Cuba was justified while they were playing host to Soviet rockets aimed at the US. What's not OK is keeping Cuba in thumbscrews after the rockets have been taken away. (And of course the same goes for Poland and the missile defence system strategic radar installations.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 11:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I case you didn't notice, I said in a couple places that Georgia's actions were stupid, and didn't particularly object to Russia's counterattack, to the extent it was limited to retaking and strengthening its hold on the autonomous regions. On the other hand, your comparison of the missile shield with the Cuban Missile Crisis seems a bit off base. The US is not stationing nukes in Poland, and the USSR did have military bases in Cuba during the Cold War.
by MarekNYC on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 12:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if a missile shield would actually work, it would be just as bad as nukes - arguably worse, even, because it would allow the US to use nuclear first strikes with (military) impunity, whereas more nukes would at this point merely be ridiculous overkill.

But we know it won't work in the first place, which makes it awfully suspicious. Going through that much foreign policy hassle just to get a site for a pork barrel project? I wouldn't be willing to bet money against it, but I wouldn't be willing to bet money on it either.

But of course you're right that absent strategic weapons - all kinds of strategic weapons - the "Cuba justification" breaks down. I agree with you that military bases from a power you don't like are not in and of themselves sufficient reason to give an independent country grief.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:07:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but I suspect that Russia wants normalized relations with its neighbors, respect for its people, Nato off its doorstep.

and some of those neighbours would like the same but they're just going to have to deal with having Russia on their doorstep whether they like it or not. To the extent that two cases are different its because Russia has more oil and more tanks. That's it.

by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 07:17:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The most revealing part about news reports is to remove any indication about which leaders and which countries are involved

Then you remove the dates and the years.

It's the same old macho story that has brought such misery to the planet for how many thousand years?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:35:45 PM EST
as you say, revealing.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 10:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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