Towards World War

This British newspaper gives a full, detailed account of what Russia is doing to Georgia, including some agonizing photos: Georgia ‘overrun’ by Russian troops as full-scale ground invasion begin.

With reference to one of the comments on the related post yesterday, the only ones hungering for war are the Russians. The question should be, how to prevent war. Is there a way besides meaningful deterrence? Now that Europe has adopted pacificism, as far as I can see, and the USA is tied down in Iraq, I don’t see anyone checking Russia.

There ARE some non-military options in dealing with Russia: the West could recall its ambassadors; freeze Russian assets and bank accounts (which are considerable); stop trade, including buying Russian oil (which would send our prices soaring).

But we are now in very dangerous territory with old-fashioned war possibly on the horizon.

Consider this: The Baltic states are members of NATO. By the terms of that treaty, an attack against one member is an attack against all, and all other members are obliged to go to war to defend each signatory. If Russia, emboldened by its action against Georgia and the West’s inaction, now decides to invade Estonia, a NATO member, do you really think the rest of NATO would come to its defense and go to war with Russia? Would the USA? But to abandon treaty obligations would be illegal and immoral. NATO was designed precisely to contain Russia, and soon it–and we–may be faced with fulfilling its purpose.

Yes, I know we all isolationists now, fearing foreign entanglements as the father of our country advised, but are we not obliged to fulfill our NATO commitments? What do you think we should do if Russia invades Estonia?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Matt

    As a nation, we currently have no will or ability to enforce the treaty anymore, so I suppose the honest thing to do would be to withdraw from NATO before Russia invades Estonia.

  • Matt

    As a nation, we currently have no will or ability to enforce the treaty anymore, so I suppose the honest thing to do would be to withdraw from NATO before Russia invades Estonia.

  • WebMonk

    I think that the “what if” scenario of Russia invading Estonia is pretty remote. While we (and other nations in NATO) don’t want to get into a war with Russia over Estonia, Russia likewise doesn’t want to get into a war with NATO nations over Estonia. Only if Russia is VERY sure that NATO wouldn’t actually go to war, would Russia go into Estonia.

    NATO isn’t something that countries, especially the US, just pull out of willy-nilly. Neither is it something that the member countries can ignore. As much as the countries may be reluctant to go to war, I am quite sure that they would still go to war as the treaty requires. Russia realizes this, and won’t do such a blatant challenge to NATO at this point.

  • WebMonk

    I think that the “what if” scenario of Russia invading Estonia is pretty remote. While we (and other nations in NATO) don’t want to get into a war with Russia over Estonia, Russia likewise doesn’t want to get into a war with NATO nations over Estonia. Only if Russia is VERY sure that NATO wouldn’t actually go to war, would Russia go into Estonia.

    NATO isn’t something that countries, especially the US, just pull out of willy-nilly. Neither is it something that the member countries can ignore. As much as the countries may be reluctant to go to war, I am quite sure that they would still go to war as the treaty requires. Russia realizes this, and won’t do such a blatant challenge to NATO at this point.

  • Carl Vehse

    Georgia’s effort to join NATO (which likely would have been successful) is one reason for the Soviet… I mean Russian invasion.

    Now, Georgia’s joining NATO anytime soon is not likely, especially if Putin can force Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili out and install a puppet regime in his place.

  • Carl Vehse

    Georgia’s effort to join NATO (which likely would have been successful) is one reason for the Soviet… I mean Russian invasion.

    Now, Georgia’s joining NATO anytime soon is not likely, especially if Putin can force Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili out and install a puppet regime in his place.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Not all of us are pacifists. And we may surprise ourselves with the extent of our abilities if need be.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Not all of us are pacifists. And we may surprise ourselves with the extent of our abilities if need be.

  • Don S

    Carl is right — it is the fact that Georgia attempted to join NATO, and was put off, that most likely prompted Russia’s attack now. With Bush or McCain as president, the U.S. will fulfill our obligations to our NATO partners. Who knows whether we would with Obama as president — he is captive to a very strong anti-military faction in his party which would almost certainly not support war even to fulfill our treaty obligations.

    Who knows, as well, whether any of the other NATO treaty partners would contribute more than a token effort to defend a NATO country which was invaded. Recent history would not give me comfort if I were Estonia or another of the eastern European NATO signatories.

  • Don S

    Carl is right — it is the fact that Georgia attempted to join NATO, and was put off, that most likely prompted Russia’s attack now. With Bush or McCain as president, the U.S. will fulfill our obligations to our NATO partners. Who knows whether we would with Obama as president — he is captive to a very strong anti-military faction in his party which would almost certainly not support war even to fulfill our treaty obligations.

    Who knows, as well, whether any of the other NATO treaty partners would contribute more than a token effort to defend a NATO country which was invaded. Recent history would not give me comfort if I were Estonia or another of the eastern European NATO signatories.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding
  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding
  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    And another, sane analysis from a blogger who has been to Georgia recently:

    http://notesfromacommonplacebook.blogspot.com/2008/08/tragedy-in-georgia.html

    Note this one comment: “But as is always the case, governments don’t suffer, people do.”

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    And another, sane analysis from a blogger who has been to Georgia recently:

    http://notesfromacommonplacebook.blogspot.com/2008/08/tragedy-in-georgia.html

    Note this one comment: “But as is always the case, governments don’t suffer, people do.”

  • Bass

    As a middle-aged WELS Lutheran, ex-Marine, and Obama supporter, thanks (I guess) for so chillingly confirming the realization that finally compelled me to leave the GOP – that the ‘pro-life’ party is really the party of perpetual war.
    Why is war with Russia (the height of insanity during the Cold War) so attractive now? To provoke nuclear annihilation once and for all? To teach Putin a lesson? To defend the Georgians? They, by the way, don’t seem to have totally clean hands in this matter. The Hitler references notwithstanding, this is not Nazi Germany invading Poland all over again. And, if Georgia is not in NATO, how does attacking Russia fulfill our obligations to our NATO allies?
    The pro-Iraq war supporters on this blog sometimes used the “just war” argument (wrongly, in my opinion) to justify that invasion. Can anyone explain how attacking Russia would be a “just war”?

  • Bass

    As a middle-aged WELS Lutheran, ex-Marine, and Obama supporter, thanks (I guess) for so chillingly confirming the realization that finally compelled me to leave the GOP – that the ‘pro-life’ party is really the party of perpetual war.
    Why is war with Russia (the height of insanity during the Cold War) so attractive now? To provoke nuclear annihilation once and for all? To teach Putin a lesson? To defend the Georgians? They, by the way, don’t seem to have totally clean hands in this matter. The Hitler references notwithstanding, this is not Nazi Germany invading Poland all over again. And, if Georgia is not in NATO, how does attacking Russia fulfill our obligations to our NATO allies?
    The pro-Iraq war supporters on this blog sometimes used the “just war” argument (wrongly, in my opinion) to justify that invasion. Can anyone explain how attacking Russia would be a “just war”?

  • eric

    It looks like Estonia is already standing up to Russian aggression.
    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/08/civilge-the-geo.html

    This could give Putin grounds for attacking Estonia. Would this get NATO off the hook, because Estonia egaged in assistence to a non-member?

  • eric

    It looks like Estonia is already standing up to Russian aggression.
    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/08/civilge-the-geo.html

    This could give Putin grounds for attacking Estonia. Would this get NATO off the hook, because Estonia egaged in assistence to a non-member?

  • WebMonk

    Bass- where are you getting the idea that people here are looking forward to a war with Russia? Has someone said going to war with Russia is something they want or that it would be a good thing?

    I haven’t heard anyone say we should declare war over Georgia, or that there’s some sort of Just War rationale for doing so.

  • WebMonk

    Bass- where are you getting the idea that people here are looking forward to a war with Russia? Has someone said going to war with Russia is something they want or that it would be a good thing?

    I haven’t heard anyone say we should declare war over Georgia, or that there’s some sort of Just War rationale for doing so.

  • Don S

    Yes, Bass, I don’t see anyone advocating that we enter the fighting in Georgia.

    I was glad to see that the U.S. committed aircraft and pilots to ferry Georgian military personnel from Iraq back to their home country so that they could defend their families and homeland. I think this was a reasonable, measured, and courageous act on our part.

  • Don S

    Yes, Bass, I don’t see anyone advocating that we enter the fighting in Georgia.

    I was glad to see that the U.S. committed aircraft and pilots to ferry Georgian military personnel from Iraq back to their home country so that they could defend their families and homeland. I think this was a reasonable, measured, and courageous act on our part.

  • Bass

    Really?
    Certainly and thankfully not everyone has advocated war, but some of the comments here and under the heading “Russia Goes to War” describe the need to engage Russia militarily.
    What did you mean by fulfilling our obligations to NATO allies or enforcing the NATO treaty? Were you suggesting strongly worded letters to Putin or a boycott of Russian vodka? No, because you mocked diplomacy and derided Obama for being controlled by the anti-military (not anti-diplomacy) wing of his party.
    I submit that a fair reading of several comments suggest the writers were anticipating US military action. That’s their right. But with a cease-fire now in place, apparently, such talk must seem a little nutty. But you can’t deny it was said, can you?

  • Bass

    Really?
    Certainly and thankfully not everyone has advocated war, but some of the comments here and under the heading “Russia Goes to War” describe the need to engage Russia militarily.
    What did you mean by fulfilling our obligations to NATO allies or enforcing the NATO treaty? Were you suggesting strongly worded letters to Putin or a boycott of Russian vodka? No, because you mocked diplomacy and derided Obama for being controlled by the anti-military (not anti-diplomacy) wing of his party.
    I submit that a fair reading of several comments suggest the writers were anticipating US military action. That’s their right. But with a cease-fire now in place, apparently, such talk must seem a little nutty. But you can’t deny it was said, can you?

  • Carl Vehse

    Bass, no one on this thread or the “Russian goes to war” thread has advocated “war with Russia” over their invasion of Georgia. As for talk you claim “must seem a little nutty”, perhaps it’s from some other voices only you can hear.

  • Carl Vehse

    Bass, no one on this thread or the “Russian goes to war” thread has advocated “war with Russia” over their invasion of Georgia. As for talk you claim “must seem a little nutty”, perhaps it’s from some other voices only you can hear.

  • Eric

    Now if we could just get Obama to declare a ceasefire in his party’s war against the unborn…

  • Eric

    Now if we could just get Obama to declare a ceasefire in his party’s war against the unborn…

  • Bass

    Ah, Carl, the voice of reason. Thank you.
    I was misled by comments such as this one (#10) under “Russia goes to war.”

    “If we’re not willing to take any military action in Georgia…Let’s give some Cubans American passports and then, in order to protect them, invade Cuba, overthrow the commie regime, and set up an American puppet government. Or we could try Venezuela. At least we can claim we have the Monroe Doctrine on our side”

    You peacenik, you.

  • Bass

    Ah, Carl, the voice of reason. Thank you.
    I was misled by comments such as this one (#10) under “Russia goes to war.”

    “If we’re not willing to take any military action in Georgia…Let’s give some Cubans American passports and then, in order to protect them, invade Cuba, overthrow the commie regime, and set up an American puppet government. Or we could try Venezuela. At least we can claim we have the Monroe Doctrine on our side”

    You peacenik, you.

  • Eric

    I’m sorry if comment #14 sounds harsh, but I’m tired of Democrats railing about how Republicans love war and are currently supporting war against a country that is far from innocent, when the Democratic party supports the “convenient” killing of truly innocent unborn children. It is such a paradox, it’s almost unbelievable. Sorry…I know it is off-topic.

  • Eric

    I’m sorry if comment #14 sounds harsh, but I’m tired of Democrats railing about how Republicans love war and are currently supporting war against a country that is far from innocent, when the Democratic party supports the “convenient” killing of truly innocent unborn children. It is such a paradox, it’s almost unbelievable. Sorry…I know it is off-topic.

  • Carl Vehse

    Not so far off topic, since abortion is another type of invasion and murder.

  • Carl Vehse

    Not so far off topic, since abortion is another type of invasion and murder.

  • Carl Vehse

    I was misled by comments such as this one (#10) under “Russia goes to war.”

    You were not misled except by yourself.

  • Carl Vehse

    I was misled by comments such as this one (#10) under “Russia goes to war.”

    You were not misled except by yourself.

  • Harry

    Bass

    This is only the beginning of Russia’s attempt to put back together the old Soviet Union. This may be 1938 all over again.

  • Harry

    Bass

    This is only the beginning of Russia’s attempt to put back together the old Soviet Union. This may be 1938 all over again.

  • Anon

    The thing to do is not to wait. Elements of the North Atlantic Fleet should seek berthing in the ports in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The Ukraine should be put on the fast track to NATO membership. EU forces should be based in the central European nations that were formerly under the Soviet boot (not on the border, but as tripwires with teeth). This should be done quickly, and clearly as a response to Putin’s (Not Russia’s) naked aggression. If we cause Russia economic hardship, that will simply harden the Russians against us – and against our missionaries. Lutherans presently still enjoy religious freedom in Russia (and good relations with the Patriarch in Moscow), we ought to preserve that. Instead, clear geopolitical actions showing will and preparation against further wars of conquest on the part of the KGB should be made, and in the ways that the Cheka/nomenklatura axis understand.

    The strategic value of the invasion of Georgia was to control all pipelines into Europe. It is a strike against Europe, and only indirectly against the US. Perhaps Europe can rise to the occasion.

    Bass, Correct, this isn’t National Socialist Germany invading Poland, it is the invasion of the Sudetenland, including the same excuse.

    Russia has already engaged in cyberwar against Estonia.

    The party of continual war is the Democrats, if you will examine closely, Bass. The US was at war with Iraq throughout the 8 years of the Clinton administration, using up our stock of cruise missiles whenever that would do to shift headlines here, as well as siding with the Muslims in the Balkans, invading Haiti and Somaliland. How quickly we forget and believe the propagandists.

  • Anon

    The thing to do is not to wait. Elements of the North Atlantic Fleet should seek berthing in the ports in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The Ukraine should be put on the fast track to NATO membership. EU forces should be based in the central European nations that were formerly under the Soviet boot (not on the border, but as tripwires with teeth). This should be done quickly, and clearly as a response to Putin’s (Not Russia’s) naked aggression. If we cause Russia economic hardship, that will simply harden the Russians against us – and against our missionaries. Lutherans presently still enjoy religious freedom in Russia (and good relations with the Patriarch in Moscow), we ought to preserve that. Instead, clear geopolitical actions showing will and preparation against further wars of conquest on the part of the KGB should be made, and in the ways that the Cheka/nomenklatura axis understand.

    The strategic value of the invasion of Georgia was to control all pipelines into Europe. It is a strike against Europe, and only indirectly against the US. Perhaps Europe can rise to the occasion.

    Bass, Correct, this isn’t National Socialist Germany invading Poland, it is the invasion of the Sudetenland, including the same excuse.

    Russia has already engaged in cyberwar against Estonia.

    The party of continual war is the Democrats, if you will examine closely, Bass. The US was at war with Iraq throughout the 8 years of the Clinton administration, using up our stock of cruise missiles whenever that would do to shift headlines here, as well as siding with the Muslims in the Balkans, invading Haiti and Somaliland. How quickly we forget and believe the propagandists.

  • The Jones

    Russia is the same story under different regimes. Aggressive, expansive, and militaristic state with either Authoritarian Tsarist, Authoritarian Communist, or Authoritarian Democratic/Oligarchic governments.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Time to start Britain and Russia’s “great game” again. Except now we have a distant U.S. and a lackluster NATO. Good luck with that coming Crimean War, NATO.

  • The Jones

    Russia is the same story under different regimes. Aggressive, expansive, and militaristic state with either Authoritarian Tsarist, Authoritarian Communist, or Authoritarian Democratic/Oligarchic governments.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Time to start Britain and Russia’s “great game” again. Except now we have a distant U.S. and a lackluster NATO. Good luck with that coming Crimean War, NATO.

  • WebMonk

    Bass, about your understanding of comment #10 in “Russia goes to war” – I think your sarcasm sensor is busted.

    There were a few things in that portion of the post – sarcasm, derision and humor. The thing that was missing is called seriousness.

    No one here is advocating jumping into a war with Russia, and there are a number of suggestions how the US can meaningfully respond short of war. Apparently you’ve ground your axe and are using it on some straw men before tossing them to the wolves while having and eating your cake.

    (Just in case you have more broken sensors – those mixed metaphors were a bit of sardonic levity. That’s about as good as I can do at 2:30 AM.)

  • WebMonk

    Bass, about your understanding of comment #10 in “Russia goes to war” – I think your sarcasm sensor is busted.

    There were a few things in that portion of the post – sarcasm, derision and humor. The thing that was missing is called seriousness.

    No one here is advocating jumping into a war with Russia, and there are a number of suggestions how the US can meaningfully respond short of war. Apparently you’ve ground your axe and are using it on some straw men before tossing them to the wolves while having and eating your cake.

    (Just in case you have more broken sensors – those mixed metaphors were a bit of sardonic levity. That’s about as good as I can do at 2:30 AM.)

  • surfergal

    The US doesn’t have the resources/manpower right now to be in Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia. We could probably afford to provide aid to NATO countries, but can’t do all the fighting alone-which is what always happens. I’m sure Russia knew that too, before they invaded Georgia.

  • surfergal

    The US doesn’t have the resources/manpower right now to be in Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia. We could probably afford to provide aid to NATO countries, but can’t do all the fighting alone-which is what always happens. I’m sure Russia knew that too, before they invaded Georgia.

  • WebMonk

    surfergal, you’re exactly right.

    It’s an election year.
    The Olympics are going on.
    We’re deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan (though levels aren’t as high anymore).
    Iran is a concern.
    The public is tired of military action.
    Few in the US care about Georgia, despite being an ally.
    Georgia reacted poorly, giving Russia an excuse.

    Yeah, Russia made a very shrewd decision about doing this now.

  • WebMonk

    surfergal, you’re exactly right.

    It’s an election year.
    The Olympics are going on.
    We’re deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan (though levels aren’t as high anymore).
    Iran is a concern.
    The public is tired of military action.
    Few in the US care about Georgia, despite being an ally.
    Georgia reacted poorly, giving Russia an excuse.

    Yeah, Russia made a very shrewd decision about doing this now.

  • Joe

    I think a good response would be to admit Ukraine into NATO immediately. Russia would not have attacked Georgia if NATO would have let them in last year. All the German and French hand wringing about not wanting to provoke Russia lead to Russia having no fear or hesitation about taking action in Georgia.

  • Joe

    I think a good response would be to admit Ukraine into NATO immediately. Russia would not have attacked Georgia if NATO would have let them in last year. All the German and French hand wringing about not wanting to provoke Russia lead to Russia having no fear or hesitation about taking action in Georgia.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Webmonk – Fact check:

    Georgia started the latest set of events by pouring troups into the region, knowing the Russians are there, but gambling on them not doing anyhting, what with the Olympic Games and all. That was a huge tactical mistake. It is however quite possible, if not probable that the Russians played the game that way, hoping the Georgians would commit said error. It is what our ancestors called “The Great Game”. And everybody plays it, the US as well. And as the quote said – it is the citizens (Georgians, Ossetians, Russians) who suffer, not the governments.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Webmonk – Fact check:

    Georgia started the latest set of events by pouring troups into the region, knowing the Russians are there, but gambling on them not doing anyhting, what with the Olympic Games and all. That was a huge tactical mistake. It is however quite possible, if not probable that the Russians played the game that way, hoping the Georgians would commit said error. It is what our ancestors called “The Great Game”. And everybody plays it, the US as well. And as the quote said – it is the citizens (Georgians, Ossetians, Russians) who suffer, not the governments.

  • Joe

    Double check those facts. I have been trying to figure out who started this latest escalation. What is clear is that Georgia started a large scale military operation in South Ossetia. But I have been trying to figure out why.

    From what I could find, Georgia claims that the separatist troops began shelling ethnically Georgian villages killing 20 or 30 people and their attack was in response to that. I read a few other articles that made reference to the separatists engaging in harassing operations for a week before Georgia attacked. One military analyst concluded that Georgia was baited into this. Anyone else been able to figure this out?

  • Joe

    Double check those facts. I have been trying to figure out who started this latest escalation. What is clear is that Georgia started a large scale military operation in South Ossetia. But I have been trying to figure out why.

    From what I could find, Georgia claims that the separatist troops began shelling ethnically Georgian villages killing 20 or 30 people and their attack was in response to that. I read a few other articles that made reference to the separatists engaging in harassing operations for a week before Georgia attacked. One military analyst concluded that Georgia was baited into this. Anyone else been able to figure this out?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I heard Richard Holbrooke say the same this morning on C-Span: that Russia had given Russian passports to South Ossetians, identifying them as Russian citizens, and pledging support in their struggle against Georgia.
    Also, at this link is a laundry list of Russia’s provocative actions:
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/255/story/47631.html
    among them:
    * Russia’s..political and economic pressure included closing its border with Georgia, suspending air and transportation links, imposing an embargo on Georgian agricultural exports and allowing Russian banks to operate “virtually unregulated” with unlicensed Abkhazian banks.
    * [S]enior Russian military officers operated with the separatists’ military forces.
    * Russia…shot down an unmanned Georgian surveillance drone, sent heavy combat troops with artillery as peacekeepers to Abkhazia and dispatched military personnel to repair a rail line without Georgia’s permission.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I heard Richard Holbrooke say the same this morning on C-Span: that Russia had given Russian passports to South Ossetians, identifying them as Russian citizens, and pledging support in their struggle against Georgia.
    Also, at this link is a laundry list of Russia’s provocative actions:
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/255/story/47631.html
    among them:
    * Russia’s..political and economic pressure included closing its border with Georgia, suspending air and transportation links, imposing an embargo on Georgian agricultural exports and allowing Russian banks to operate “virtually unregulated” with unlicensed Abkhazian banks.
    * [S]enior Russian military officers operated with the separatists’ military forces.
    * Russia…shot down an unmanned Georgian surveillance drone, sent heavy combat troops with artillery as peacekeepers to Abkhazia and dispatched military personnel to repair a rail line without Georgia’s permission.

  • Unmei

    It seems like the whole incident is similar to the first Gulf War. Georgia sent troops somewhere they shouldn’t have, and Russia drove them out. Have they been a bit heavy handed about it? Probably. That doesn’t make Georgia any less stupid for provoking them.

  • Unmei

    It seems like the whole incident is similar to the first Gulf War. Georgia sent troops somewhere they shouldn’t have, and Russia drove them out. Have they been a bit heavy handed about it? Probably. That doesn’t make Georgia any less stupid for provoking them.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Unmei: Our state dept.–one of the most feckless in history, no doubt–has been warning Georgia for months not to take Russia’s continued baiting.
    They did, however, and without consulting American military trainers in their own country.
    Georgia did not provoke; Georgia WAS provoked. Their stupidity was in biting at Russian bait.
    And so much for Condoleeza Rice’s much-vaunted expertise in Russian affairs.
    This is a travesty on all fronts: our influence on our ally’s actions, our intelligence of Russian military maneuverings, our ability to respond meaningfully, etc. etc. etc.
    But it’s not a result of Georgia’s provocation.
    It’s not the Soviet Union anymore, or czarist imperial Russia; but it’s not an ally or a partner or a party that in any way shape or form shares our interests, let alone our regard for law, human life, or peace.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Unmei: Our state dept.–one of the most feckless in history, no doubt–has been warning Georgia for months not to take Russia’s continued baiting.
    They did, however, and without consulting American military trainers in their own country.
    Georgia did not provoke; Georgia WAS provoked. Their stupidity was in biting at Russian bait.
    And so much for Condoleeza Rice’s much-vaunted expertise in Russian affairs.
    This is a travesty on all fronts: our influence on our ally’s actions, our intelligence of Russian military maneuverings, our ability to respond meaningfully, etc. etc. etc.
    But it’s not a result of Georgia’s provocation.
    It’s not the Soviet Union anymore, or czarist imperial Russia; but it’s not an ally or a partner or a party that in any way shape or form shares our interests, let alone our regard for law, human life, or peace.

  • Don S

    Unmei @ #29, are you equating Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia with Saddam Hussein’s actions in invading Kuwait? Seriously?

  • Don S

    Unmei @ #29, are you equating Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia with Saddam Hussein’s actions in invading Kuwait? Seriously?

  • Martin

    I go further and note frankly the similarity between Russia’s actions in Georgia with ours in Iraq. We had no right to invade Iraq and have caused havoc in doing so.

  • Martin

    I go further and note frankly the similarity between Russia’s actions in Georgia with ours in Iraq. We had no right to invade Iraq and have caused havoc in doing so.

  • Carl Vehse

    We had no right to invade Iraq and have caused havoc in doing so.

    Here’s where you are wrong.

    And if Congress (now under demonrat control) thinks the U.S. should get out of Iraq immediately, they can require it under the War Powers Act of 1973 (Pub.L. 93-148).

  • Carl Vehse

    We had no right to invade Iraq and have caused havoc in doing so.

    Here’s where you are wrong.

    And if Congress (now under demonrat control) thinks the U.S. should get out of Iraq immediately, they can require it under the War Powers Act of 1973 (Pub.L. 93-148).

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Martin: Go ahead and note the similarities, then, instead of simply saying they’re there.
    What UN consultation did Russia undertake, what case to the international community did they make, what warnings did they offer to Georgia, what conditions did they stipulate–witnessed by the rest of the world–that might prevent invasion, before they invaded?
    Maybe you’re right: except for those things, they’re just alike.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Martin: Go ahead and note the similarities, then, instead of simply saying they’re there.
    What UN consultation did Russia undertake, what case to the international community did they make, what warnings did they offer to Georgia, what conditions did they stipulate–witnessed by the rest of the world–that might prevent invasion, before they invaded?
    Maybe you’re right: except for those things, they’re just alike.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Martin: Last night on “The Daily Show”, there was a clip of the US ambassador to the UN, saying that Russia must realise it is no longer ok to invade another country and attempt a regime change in Europe. I kid you not. The “in Europe” was just too much. So its ok in the Middle East, Africa, Central America, the Carribean – but not in Europe. Hmmmm.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Martin: Last night on “The Daily Show”, there was a clip of the US ambassador to the UN, saying that Russia must realise it is no longer ok to invade another country and attempt a regime change in Europe. I kid you not. The “in Europe” was just too much. So its ok in the Middle East, Africa, Central America, the Carribean – but not in Europe. Hmmmm.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    The Scylding:
    See above at #34. While you’re at it, you might remind the Daily Show as well.
    Being clever is not nearly the same, and hasn’t nearly the same benefit, as being informed.
    This is just what I meant by people being informed only and moved only by their ideology, not so much by facts, and not knowing the difference.
    Thankfully, the same was said this morning on C-Span by Bing West.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    The Scylding:
    See above at #34. While you’re at it, you might remind the Daily Show as well.
    Being clever is not nearly the same, and hasn’t nearly the same benefit, as being informed.
    This is just what I meant by people being informed only and moved only by their ideology, not so much by facts, and not knowing the difference.
    Thankfully, the same was said this morning on C-Span by Bing West.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    PS–What allies did Russia take with them into Georgia?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    PS–What allies did Russia take with them into Georgia?

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Susan: Of course there are differences. But taking the comment as is, it is a very curious, and also hilariously funny one in its “I’m covering my butt” mode.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Susan: Of course there are differences. But taking the comment as is, it is a very curious, and also hilariously funny one in its “I’m covering my butt” mode.

  • Martin

    Susan, I appreciate your comments; in my view the similarities actually favor Russia, not the US. America used brute force to bring about regime change in Iraq, which posed no imminent threat. Even Russia hasn’t gone that far in Georgia.
    We have caused the deaths of thousands and thousands of Iraqis and caused massive damage to the native Iraqi Christian population. Sure, we also photographed our troops handing out candy to the Iraqi children, many made orphans by our invasion. But we had no right to invade. (What did we say in Vietnam, we have to destroy the village to save it?)
    None of that means that we can’t rightly condemn naked aggression when it occurs elsewhere, but we Americans must stop doing our share.

  • Martin

    Susan, I appreciate your comments; in my view the similarities actually favor Russia, not the US. America used brute force to bring about regime change in Iraq, which posed no imminent threat. Even Russia hasn’t gone that far in Georgia.
    We have caused the deaths of thousands and thousands of Iraqis and caused massive damage to the native Iraqi Christian population. Sure, we also photographed our troops handing out candy to the Iraqi children, many made orphans by our invasion. But we had no right to invade. (What did we say in Vietnam, we have to destroy the village to save it?)
    None of that means that we can’t rightly condemn naked aggression when it occurs elsewhere, but we Americans must stop doing our share.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I can’t help what ignorance people operate out of (and informing yourself through media of like mind is only informing one’s ignorance), but we have not used our ‘brute force’ against the citizens of Iraq. Not as a policy, and not in the instances so many have been accused, and consequently acquitted, of.
    Russia did not seek sanctions from the UN against Georgia, and certainly didn’t gain them as we did.
    Russia didn’t ask for and get debate on the matter from elected representatives, take a vote, and do nothing until that had been accomplished, and by a landslide vote.
    It’ll be interesting to see what brave Russian politicians rise to denounce their government’s actions, in the face of international condemnation or a public’s weariness with the war.
    And it’ll be interesting to see what brutality Russia purports they’ve saved the Georgians from, and what government they hope to set up to replace the democratically ‘imposed’ Georgian gov’t., how soon elections are re-instated (blue fingers and all).
    And, sorry, but even with the Daily Show joke explained to me, I fail to see the humor. Humor works when it’s based in truth, not in ignorant acceptance of alternative reality.
    Color me not laughing.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I can’t help what ignorance people operate out of (and informing yourself through media of like mind is only informing one’s ignorance), but we have not used our ‘brute force’ against the citizens of Iraq. Not as a policy, and not in the instances so many have been accused, and consequently acquitted, of.
    Russia did not seek sanctions from the UN against Georgia, and certainly didn’t gain them as we did.
    Russia didn’t ask for and get debate on the matter from elected representatives, take a vote, and do nothing until that had been accomplished, and by a landslide vote.
    It’ll be interesting to see what brave Russian politicians rise to denounce their government’s actions, in the face of international condemnation or a public’s weariness with the war.
    And it’ll be interesting to see what brutality Russia purports they’ve saved the Georgians from, and what government they hope to set up to replace the democratically ‘imposed’ Georgian gov’t., how soon elections are re-instated (blue fingers and all).
    And, sorry, but even with the Daily Show joke explained to me, I fail to see the humor. Humor works when it’s based in truth, not in ignorant acceptance of alternative reality.
    Color me not laughing.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Susan: Don’t take everything in the media as truth. The Daily Show was a clipping of a real, live statement, not an invented joke. Why did he add “in Europe”? Because it makes the statement not binding on US actions elsewhere. That was funny. I have not defended Russia – merely pointed out that this is not a simple situation. And that finger pointing is an exercise fraught with danger (and irony). But personally, I think the situation is less like Iraq, and more like Kosovo. As a good friend of mine pointed out, both Russia AND the US flipped on their positions over Kosovo.

    “Ignorant acceptance of alternative reality”. Really. It is funny how the rhetoric comes out when one is trying to point to the fact that every story has 2 sides (and sometimes more). The best thing one can do is to take all media reports with a pinch of salt, including CBS, CNN, FOX, CBC, BBC, Al-Jazheera, SABC, etc etc. And for politicians, left, right or centre, you need a whole cup full.

    Our kingdom is not of this world.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Susan: Don’t take everything in the media as truth. The Daily Show was a clipping of a real, live statement, not an invented joke. Why did he add “in Europe”? Because it makes the statement not binding on US actions elsewhere. That was funny. I have not defended Russia – merely pointed out that this is not a simple situation. And that finger pointing is an exercise fraught with danger (and irony). But personally, I think the situation is less like Iraq, and more like Kosovo. As a good friend of mine pointed out, both Russia AND the US flipped on their positions over Kosovo.

    “Ignorant acceptance of alternative reality”. Really. It is funny how the rhetoric comes out when one is trying to point to the fact that every story has 2 sides (and sometimes more). The best thing one can do is to take all media reports with a pinch of salt, including CBS, CNN, FOX, CBC, BBC, Al-Jazheera, SABC, etc etc. And for politicians, left, right or centre, you need a whole cup full.

    Our kingdom is not of this world.

  • Martin

    Susan, not to belabor the point, but much of the evidence about Iraq that our gov’t brought to the UN, and used to persuade our allies and ourselves, was false – and our gov’t knew it.
    Our chief problem as Americans (and American Christians) is that we swallow whole our own propaganda. If we would admit that our invasions of other countries, e.g., Iraq, Panama, Mexico, Hawaii, etc., are the same power grabs that we condemn other countries for doing, we’d be halfway up the road to preventing more of them. Instead, we wrap it all in the flag, put yellow stickers on our cars, and boast about our morality.

  • Martin

    Susan, not to belabor the point, but much of the evidence about Iraq that our gov’t brought to the UN, and used to persuade our allies and ourselves, was false – and our gov’t knew it.
    Our chief problem as Americans (and American Christians) is that we swallow whole our own propaganda. If we would admit that our invasions of other countries, e.g., Iraq, Panama, Mexico, Hawaii, etc., are the same power grabs that we condemn other countries for doing, we’d be halfway up the road to preventing more of them. Instead, we wrap it all in the flag, put yellow stickers on our cars, and boast about our morality.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Don’t forget Canada, 1812 ;)

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Don’t forget Canada, 1812 ;)

  • Martin

    Canada, indeed. Sorry.
    And since WW2, the US has used various means to make regime changes about 30 times in 3d-world countries. We’re the post-WW2 economic superpower, and those regime changes, while causing enormous problems to those for whom we were ostensibly “spreading democracy,” did enhance our economic status.

  • Martin

    Canada, indeed. Sorry.
    And since WW2, the US has used various means to make regime changes about 30 times in 3d-world countries. We’re the post-WW2 economic superpower, and those regime changes, while causing enormous problems to those for whom we were ostensibly “spreading democracy,” did enhance our economic status.

  • Don S

    Martin @ 42 — “…much of the evidence about Iraq that our gov’t brought to the UN, and used to persuade our allies and ourselves, was false – and our gov’t knew it”

    Wow, that is quite an accusation. Our gov’t knew it? At the time? And your proof for that is……….?

    So where does the U.S. rank in terms of horrible, oppressive, evil regimes in world history, in your opinion?

  • Don S

    Martin @ 42 — “…much of the evidence about Iraq that our gov’t brought to the UN, and used to persuade our allies and ourselves, was false – and our gov’t knew it”

    Wow, that is quite an accusation. Our gov’t knew it? At the time? And your proof for that is……….?

    So where does the U.S. rank in terms of horrible, oppressive, evil regimes in world history, in your opinion?

  • martin

    Don S-
    You know as well as I that the sources that answer your first question are plentiful and easily found.
    As for your second question, I don’t know. To say that the US violates its professed ideals is not to say it’s the worst nation in world history.
    It’s just to say that it violates its professed ideals.

  • martin

    Don S-
    You know as well as I that the sources that answer your first question are plentiful and easily found.
    As for your second question, I don’t know. To say that the US violates its professed ideals is not to say it’s the worst nation in world history.
    It’s just to say that it violates its professed ideals.

  • Don S

    No, Martin, I don’t. At least not reliable and unbiased ones which point to real evidence. DailyKos does not count as a source.

  • Don S

    No, Martin, I don’t. At least not reliable and unbiased ones which point to real evidence. DailyKos does not count as a source.

  • Martin

    Don S -
    I’ve never read DailyKos, but I also don’t listen to Rush or Hannity. I suspect you’ll find a reason to reject any news source I cite, but start by reading Knight-Ridder’s reporting beginning in ’03.
    But what it boils down to the lie that was sold to the American people that invading Iraq was somehow directly related to the attacks on America.

  • Martin

    Don S -
    I’ve never read DailyKos, but I also don’t listen to Rush or Hannity. I suspect you’ll find a reason to reject any news source I cite, but start by reading Knight-Ridder’s reporting beginning in ’03.
    But what it boils down to the lie that was sold to the American people that invading Iraq was somehow directly related to the attacks on America.

  • Martin

    Don S -
    I stand corrected. Start with Knight-Ridder’s reporting beginning in early ’02. It’s obtainable online.

  • Martin

    Don S -
    I stand corrected. Start with Knight-Ridder’s reporting beginning in early ’02. It’s obtainable online.

  • Don S

    Sorry, Martin, not gonna bite on that one. It was the UN that condemned Saddam’s actions, not just the U.S., and the particular issue was Saddam’s failure to permit required UN inspections related to WPM, not 9/11. No one in the Administration ever asserted a direct link between Saddam and 9/11. And you have no evidence whatsoever that the Administration knew at the time that the intelligence(not just American, but British as well) it was relying on was faulty with respect to WPM.

    The link that was made to terrorism was forward-looking — what Saddam could do in the future in terms of accommodating Al Qaeda if he were not brought to task and held accountable.

  • Don S

    Sorry, Martin, not gonna bite on that one. It was the UN that condemned Saddam’s actions, not just the U.S., and the particular issue was Saddam’s failure to permit required UN inspections related to WPM, not 9/11. No one in the Administration ever asserted a direct link between Saddam and 9/11. And you have no evidence whatsoever that the Administration knew at the time that the intelligence(not just American, but British as well) it was relying on was faulty with respect to WPM.

    The link that was made to terrorism was forward-looking — what Saddam could do in the future in terms of accommodating Al Qaeda if he were not brought to task and held accountable.

  • kerner

    Martin:

    Again I enter a conversation late. You act like our willingness to effect “regime change” is something new and different. The United States only exists at all because it insisted on “regime change” for itself. Since then, the U.S. military has effected “regime change” as a matter of policy in 1). Mexico ca. 1840, 2) Cuba (and Puerto Rico) 1898 3) The Philippines 1898, 4) Panama 1900, 5) Germany 1918, 6) Austria 1918, 7) Turkey 1918, 8) Italy 1944, 9) Germany again 1945, 10) Japan 1945, 11) Serbia and Kosovo ca. 1996, to name just a few. Others have mentioned Hawaii and numerous Latin American countries. I think we were involved in Haiti at one point. I suppose you could say we had a lot to do with bringing down Vichy France. There are the various Native American tribal governments to consider. It might be stretching the point, but the 11 Confederate states thought THEY were sovereign until we effected “regime change” in them by military means.

    When you consider this list, I think most people would agree that it was sometimes a good idea to effect “regime change”, other times maybe not so good.

    While we are about it, this is how all powerful nations become powerful. The Germans effected “regime change” in France. We (among others) changed it again. The European colonial powers effected “regime change” all over the third world. Russia is a geographically big country today because it absorbed all its neighbors. China effected “regime change” when it overran Tibet 60 years ago. We changed the regime in Korea in 1945, but then (in conjunction with the Soviets and the Chinese) created 2 countries where there had formerly been one (although it had been a colony of Japan). Then we changed the regime in North Korea ever so briefly until the Chinese changed it back again. Israel changed the regime in what had been up till then been called Palestine in 1948, and took over portions of what were then Jordan and Egypt in 1967. When you think about it, the Native Americans were fighting among themselves and effecting “regime change” on each other before the European colonists arrived, as had the Asians and Africans and pacific islanders.

    The reason I bring all this up, is because, particularly in 1941, for example, or 1861, we were very much wrapped up in our morality, perhaps more so than now. And we as a nation benefitted spectacularly from fighting those wars, and we inflicted horrible death and distruction on our enemies and claimed it was for their own good as well as ours. Are you saying we should have ignored the Nazis, or let the slave states form their own country? Was it wrong to change their regimes and kill all those people, just because the United States benefitted?

    The point I’m making here, is that you have bought into your own propaganda as much as anybody here. The fact is that every war this country has fought could have been avoided. Every one required some moral justification (some justifications were more credible than others) to get the American people to sign onto them. And the United States had something to gain from every one of them.

    If you admit that it was ethical to use naked agression Nazi Germany or separitist Virginia, your complaints about our other uses of force cease to be about ethics, only about judgment.

  • kerner

    Martin:

    Again I enter a conversation late. You act like our willingness to effect “regime change” is something new and different. The United States only exists at all because it insisted on “regime change” for itself. Since then, the U.S. military has effected “regime change” as a matter of policy in 1). Mexico ca. 1840, 2) Cuba (and Puerto Rico) 1898 3) The Philippines 1898, 4) Panama 1900, 5) Germany 1918, 6) Austria 1918, 7) Turkey 1918, 8) Italy 1944, 9) Germany again 1945, 10) Japan 1945, 11) Serbia and Kosovo ca. 1996, to name just a few. Others have mentioned Hawaii and numerous Latin American countries. I think we were involved in Haiti at one point. I suppose you could say we had a lot to do with bringing down Vichy France. There are the various Native American tribal governments to consider. It might be stretching the point, but the 11 Confederate states thought THEY were sovereign until we effected “regime change” in them by military means.

    When you consider this list, I think most people would agree that it was sometimes a good idea to effect “regime change”, other times maybe not so good.

    While we are about it, this is how all powerful nations become powerful. The Germans effected “regime change” in France. We (among others) changed it again. The European colonial powers effected “regime change” all over the third world. Russia is a geographically big country today because it absorbed all its neighbors. China effected “regime change” when it overran Tibet 60 years ago. We changed the regime in Korea in 1945, but then (in conjunction with the Soviets and the Chinese) created 2 countries where there had formerly been one (although it had been a colony of Japan). Then we changed the regime in North Korea ever so briefly until the Chinese changed it back again. Israel changed the regime in what had been up till then been called Palestine in 1948, and took over portions of what were then Jordan and Egypt in 1967. When you think about it, the Native Americans were fighting among themselves and effecting “regime change” on each other before the European colonists arrived, as had the Asians and Africans and pacific islanders.

    The reason I bring all this up, is because, particularly in 1941, for example, or 1861, we were very much wrapped up in our morality, perhaps more so than now. And we as a nation benefitted spectacularly from fighting those wars, and we inflicted horrible death and distruction on our enemies and claimed it was for their own good as well as ours. Are you saying we should have ignored the Nazis, or let the slave states form their own country? Was it wrong to change their regimes and kill all those people, just because the United States benefitted?

    The point I’m making here, is that you have bought into your own propaganda as much as anybody here. The fact is that every war this country has fought could have been avoided. Every one required some moral justification (some justifications were more credible than others) to get the American people to sign onto them. And the United States had something to gain from every one of them.

    If you admit that it was ethical to use naked agression Nazi Germany or separitist Virginia, your complaints about our other uses of force cease to be about ethics, only about judgment.

  • Anon

    Martin,
    When we quit bombing Iraq from afar as the Clintons had done for eight years, it was because they had repeatedly violated the cease-fire and the UN requirements, with war as the pre-programed – by the UN – response. How quickly we forget.

    Georgia had a democratically-elected government. Iraq was a dictatorship which fed people into tree-chippers alive, used chemical weapons on its own subjects, and had torture chambers and death camps. I am one who thinks that that makes a difference. We were indeed seen as liberators in Iraq, and still are, except by the fanatical jihadist irregulars (usually trained and armed by either Syria or Iran).

    And the evidence was true, and we knew it. The Russians and the Brits who gave us the information knew it. We saw the convoys taking the WMDs into Syria and Lebanon just prior to the invasion, we found nerve gas, we found the tons of high-grade uranium ore. We knew Saddam had been taunting us for years about making the atom bomb. We knew that Iraq had tried to assassinate the president, we probably know that Iraq shot down Flight 800. And we were in an on-going state of war, and had been since GW1, and Iraq was violating the cease fire. Do they not teach history anymore? Do people have zero knowledge of international law and customs anymore?

    Don, some people apparently believe leftist propaganda without any memory or critical thinking.

  • Anon

    Martin,
    When we quit bombing Iraq from afar as the Clintons had done for eight years, it was because they had repeatedly violated the cease-fire and the UN requirements, with war as the pre-programed – by the UN – response. How quickly we forget.

    Georgia had a democratically-elected government. Iraq was a dictatorship which fed people into tree-chippers alive, used chemical weapons on its own subjects, and had torture chambers and death camps. I am one who thinks that that makes a difference. We were indeed seen as liberators in Iraq, and still are, except by the fanatical jihadist irregulars (usually trained and armed by either Syria or Iran).

    And the evidence was true, and we knew it. The Russians and the Brits who gave us the information knew it. We saw the convoys taking the WMDs into Syria and Lebanon just prior to the invasion, we found nerve gas, we found the tons of high-grade uranium ore. We knew Saddam had been taunting us for years about making the atom bomb. We knew that Iraq had tried to assassinate the president, we probably know that Iraq shot down Flight 800. And we were in an on-going state of war, and had been since GW1, and Iraq was violating the cease fire. Do they not teach history anymore? Do people have zero knowledge of international law and customs anymore?

    Don, some people apparently believe leftist propaganda without any memory or critical thinking.

  • Anon

    Oh, and don’t forget the intercontinental cannon that was being built in Iraq, or the threats against Israel. Don’t forget the Osirak raid in the previous years.

  • Anon

    Oh, and don’t forget the intercontinental cannon that was being built in Iraq, or the threats against Israel. Don’t forget the Osirak raid in the previous years.


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