As this shit gets thrown back in our faces:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized the United States for viewing Georgia as the victim, instead of the aggressor, and for airlifting Georgian troops back home from Iraq on Sunday.
“Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages,” Putin said in Moscow. “And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed ten Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds – these leaders must be taken under protection.”
Meanwhile, the poor bastards in Georgia can’t figure out why we have not come to their aid:
As a column of soldiers passed through Gori, a black-robed priest came out of his church and made the sign of the cross again and again.
One soldier, his face a mask of exhaustion, cradled a Kalashnikov.
“We killed as many of them as we could,” he said. “But where are our friends?”
It was the question of the day. As Russian forces massed Sunday on two fronts, Georgians were heading south with whatever they could carry. When they met Western journalists, they all said the same thing: Where is the United States? When is NATO coming?
Not anytime soon, it appears:
American diplomats have conceded that there are few options for dealing what President George W Bush has branded a ‘dangerous escalation’ by Russia and ruled out military intervention on behalf of Georgia.
There was more to this article when I read it this morning and bookmarked it, it appears to have been rewritten since. Regardless, there is no sign that help will be on the way anytime soon, and if Georgia feels used, they should. Why exactly have we been using Georgia as a proxy to irritate Russia, why have we been pushing for their admittance into NATO, and why may we have done this:
Mr Saakashvilli may also have banked on support from his closest ally, US president George W Bush, whose administration is said to have given tacit support for a Georgian assault on South Ossetia in the believe that the territory could be recaptured within 48 hours.
But as events have unfolded differently, Washington has offered Georgia – one of the largest contributors of troops in Iraq – little more than lukewarm vocal support.
In a demonstration of the fact that Georgia could be abandoned by its chief ally, President Bush warmly embraced Mr Putin at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing on Friday.
With the West apparently unwilling to participate in a proxy war with Russia at a time when relations with Moscow are already highly strained, Georgia now faces potential isolation in its conflict with its giant neighbour.
It seems to me Matt Yglesias is asking the right question:
So if I’m in the Georgian government and I see that by far the largest and most powerful NATO country wants us to be a member — wants to extend an Article V security guarantee to us even though they are well aware that this will infuriate Russia and that we have ongoing disputes with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia — then maybe I reason that if our ongoing disputes with Russia over Abkhazia or South Ossetia heat up, that the U.S. will be willing to intervene. After all, if the U.S. isn’t willing to intervene on our behalf in case of a heated up conflict with Russia, then why is the U.S. eager to support our bid for NATO membership?
Now of course it turns out that the U.S. — quite properly — has no particular desire to intervene on Georgia’s behalf in their quest to regain control over their breakaway provinces. But given that we don’t want to back Georgia in these situations, then why were we so eager to support Georgia’s bid for NATO membership? John McCain’s top campaign officials on national security issues, Randy Scheunemann, actually worked as a lobbyist for the Georgian government so that’s his excuse for not thinking this through more thoroughly. But how about everyone else?
The answer, of course, was provided the other day by Daniel Larison. Georgia is just a pawn in our game:
There is a basic problem with having all these satellites whose interests we are supposed to protect. U.S. interests will often require our government to raise the hopes of small nations, only to dash them when our real priorities conflict with lending support to them. At the same time, to the extent that our government takes these obligations to numerous satellites seriously it requires compromising or limiting our ability to pursue policies in the American interest.
Saakashvili thought he was a player in the game, when really he was just the ball. In fact, because of our possible behind the scenes antics, not only may we have falsely emboldened the foolish leader of Georgia, we may be responsible for a large part of the perception of him in Russia:
Second, if Russia really is entering Georgia in force, it’s about to become a different sort of game altogether. Russia has no reason to do that unless it’s gunning for regime change. Attacking Gori is right at the bleeding edge of plausible self-defense; Gori is near the border, and has been the forward base for Georgian operations in South Ossetia. But going beyond Gori, landing forces on the Georgian coast, or attacking in force out of Abkhazia, would be something else again.
There are undoubtedly plenty of people in Moscow who’d like to try. Russia’s leaders view Saakashvili as obnoxious and dangerous: for American readers, it’s sort of like how conservative Republicans feel about Fidel Castro. You know how, for fifty years now, a certain minority of Americans have entertained fantasies about landing in Havana and slamming that sonofabitch up against the wall? Like that. Except the Russians have the power to actually do it.
At any rate, if you have any up to date news or links, post it in the comments. Right now, it appears that the Russians are still pretty much copying the Bush administration of DWTFTW, and they will stop when they are finished. Meanwhile, we don’t have much we can do about it, other than a laughable UN resolution. Again, I am not familiar with this region or the politics and just trying to piece together a picture of what is going on from what few blogs and news sources there are out there that are reliable and functioning as more than a propaganda organ for either the Russians, the Georgians, or Americans with their own agendas. If any of this stuff is way off base or inaccurate, let me know.