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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

8/22/2008

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia Flag.jpg

Owing to the neglect of our defences and the mishandling of the German problem in the last five years, we seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feeling is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a little later, on even more adverse terms than at present ... Winston Churchill in a letter to Lord Moyne, 1938

Western Europe can accept at least part of the blame for Vladimir Putin’s strategic ruthlessness. Nearly a year ago Western Europe dragged its feet in allowing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, partly as a result of Putin applying oil-supply-related pressure to the Germans.

No surprise there. Western Europe prefers incessant bureaucratic quibbling to action, or even real diplomacy, anymore. So Putin rightly figured that, having been denied current membership in NATO, Georgia’s chance of successfully calling on Western Europe for defensive help was minimal to nonexistent.

As for America, President Bush has a dangerous habit of trusting world leaders exponentially more than he should. He calls Putin his ‘friend’. I suggest that Putin is no one’s friend, unless it is to his political advantage. Bush has been played like a violin, and only belatedly is he becoming angry and suspicious to the degree that he should have been long before this invasion.

Putin has Europe over a barrel (of oil), and, as a result, their leadership is willing to allow worthless pieces of paper, signed by a man who has no intention of abiding by the promises contained therein, to forestall any real action to defend Georgia – not realizing that Georgia is simply the first in a series of Putin-envisioned dominos, many of which will probably fall before the Europeans get their act together and genuinely attempt to stop the toppling.

By then Europe will not only find itself over a barrel; it will find itself entirely energy-dependent on Russia: the makings of a political extortion nightmare of unimaginable proportions.

Ralph Peters, author of Wars Of Blood And Faith, The Conflicts That Will Shape the Twenty-First Century, observes:

The determination, especially in Western Europe, to minimize the importance of the rape of Georgia -- Putin's actions amount to nothing less -- is gratingly reminiscent of the cries of "Why Die for Danzig?" that echoed in Britain and France in the late 1930s. And, while politicians and pundits will do their best to minimize the perception of a military threat from the new Russia, it bears remembering that, in 1930, the German Reichswehr had 100,000 men and equipment hardly fit for a playground, yet, a mere ten years later, the Wehrmacht had millions of men under arms, the best weaponry in the world, and most of Europe under its boot-heels. While it may be unhelpful to be an alarmist, it's even less useful to be willfully naïve.

Reading the beginning of the NATO reaction to Russia’s invasion provides us a realistic glimpse into the extent of the organization’s impotence. It is unclear exactly who – Russia or Georgia – is at fault. And delicate words such as ‘situation’ and ‘loss of life’ abound, rather than the more accurate ‘invasion’ and ‘murder’.

Nor does NATO impose any real punitive action. As a matter of fact, the only ‘action’ (if one wishes to stretch the meaning of the word) taken is the cancellation of an upcoming NATO Council-Russia meeting.

Putin must be quaking in his boots.

Matthias Döpfner, CEO of Axel-Springer, one of the largest newspaper publishing companies in Europe, sums up the Western European reaction quite accurately:

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewellery when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbour's house. Appeasement? That is just the start of it. Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Eastern Europe cannot afford to be so naïve, or to allow their perceptions and responses to be so oil-dependent. They have longer, and more painfully personal, memories regarding Russian aggression. As a result, they are not rolling over and playing dead as are the Western Europeans. The Baltic Republics, Ukraine and Poland are expressing solidarity with Georgia. Ukraine has told Putin that his fleet runs the risk of losing its Crimean base, and they are threatening to hand over to the West two ex-Soviet radar installations. And Poland has suddenly agreed to America’s terms regarding a missile defense system, of which Ukraine has now also asked to be a part.

History has taught them well. The Baltics, Ukraine and Poland are beginning to experience nightmares in which they are in Russia’s crosshairs, and, in the background, Western Europe and the U.S. are sitting in plush upholstered chairs, at a long, highly-polished conference table, debating over the wording of potential sanctions/threats of military intervention/expulsion from international organizations. The bickering is beautifully scripted and open-ended.

Depending on America’s, and Western Europe’s, response over the next few weeks -- whether we allow Georgia to become a Russian satellite -- Eastern European leaders may be forced to rethink their instinctive turn toward the West. We may well betray their trust.

In which case, no one – not America nor any nation of Western Europe – deserves to wear the title ‘leader of the free world’. The ‘free world’ will be leaderless, and less ‘free’ with each new notch carved on Putin’s belt. Not to mention the inevitable emboldening of Islamic fascists, Iran, North Korea, China, and other avowed enemies of liberty -- although all such tyrannical regimes/movements have been continuously emboldened since America’s last genuine leader left office in 1989.

Twenty years adrift exacts a terrible price.

Now envision President Barack Obama occupying the White House in five months and the nightmare ratchets up to a level far beyond human comprehension.

~ joanie

66 comments:

brityank said...

I don’t think the next few years will be kind to the Western Powers, as it seems the socialist “bread-and-circuses” positions of their administrations has blinded their populous to the potential failures of their politics. There’s little concern in the coffee shops or around the water coolers for other than the latest gossip from Hollyweird, or the antics of the latest ‘Reality’ show — none of which I’ve ever watched.

I’ve seen socialism closer than most here, but it was still somewhat muted in Britain when my family made the break for a freer life. Where do I point my kid to now that the level in play here in the US is where Britain was in the Fifties?

Anonymous said...

Your knowledge of history and ability to use it to understand today's issues is impressive.

Anonymous said...

I am living in Poland and I thank you for this writing.

Smokin' Joe said...

While BHO is unsuitable in so many senses of the word, his alternate waiting in the wings is married to a former POTUS who disappeared behind the Iron Curtain when we were enemies.

On the other 'side' we have one who leans Socialist, whom I have no faith in to muster the forces of freedom to take a stand, on paper or in the field.

Although he has stated the conflict against terror will be ongoing, I am not sure the full scope of the enemy is readily apparent.

It is the same enemy who was backing the forces who shot him down and imprisoned him, back for another run at the brass ring.

no_way_a_liberal said...

You have a way with words that is unmatched on the internet. You can give Geroge Will or Charles Krauthammer a run for their money with your insight.

As for NATO, can you say UN Security council?

betty boop said...

Georgia is simply the first in a series of Putin-envisioned dominos, many of which will probably fall before the Europeans get their act together and genuinely attempt to stop the toppling.

Exactly right, joanie-f! The writing's already on the wall. Consider that Putin's little farce in Georgia began when Russia started issuing Russian passports to ethnic Russians who were citizens of Georgia. Then they fomented civil strife, giving Russia the flimsy pretext of having to "defend Russians" against the non-Russian locals, which in their mind justifies (the extremely well-prepared) military invasion.

We are already seeing Putin doing likewise in the Crimea today -- issuing Russian passports to ethnic Russians living in this Ukrainian enclave. Consider that Act I of five acts....

Jeepers, I hope it's not "reactionary" to simply observe that it makes absolutely no sense for the United States to provide security guarantees (backed up by American blood and treasure) to countries that find it in their interest to collude with the Main Aggressor we are committed to defending them against. This ought to be a no-brainer.

calbrindisi said...

The President and others are always talking about how we have to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I can't think of a better example of why than this one. It makes people look the other way when their supply could be cut off.

Hitler didn't have oil as a weapon. Some of the most evil empires in the world now do.

Brad Zimmerman said...

As for America, President Bush has a dangerous habit of trusting world leaders exponentially more than he should. He calls Putin his ‘friend’.

President Bush is an idiot. He and his father undid all the progress Reagan made, with the help of Bill Clinton of course- which is exactly why every tinpot dictator across the world is flexing their muscles.

Anonymous said...

Now envision President Barack Obama occupying the White House in five months and the nightmare ratchets up to a level far beyond human comprehension.

McCain has pulled ahead by 5 pts. in the latest Zogby poll. It looks like America is waking up. Let's hope they stay awake another 2 months. I agree that McCain is trouble, but Obama hates America. There's a difference in degree.

robmaroni said...

Well done as always!

cw-patriot said...

Beautifully said, as always, betty. And, as always, you are more aware of what is occurring in this extraordinarily important 'event' than is 99.9% of the American public.

Before leaving the subject of citizen ignorance and apathy, let me tell you something I did today that added to my discouragement in that regard ...

My husband and I are very interested in seeing the movie I.O.U.S.A. – a critically-acclaimed documentary that focuses on examining our ever-growing national debt, and the impact it will eventually have on our republic. It was just released so we have been attempting, in various ways, to find out where it is playing. Of course, since it is a hard-hitting story regarding something about which every American should be deeply concerned, its release appears to be very limited. As a matter of fact, we have visited numerous movie websites, including the producer’s own, and have been unable to discover the theater closest to us that is showing it (We are willing to travel a significant distance).

In the process, I have come across listings for probably twenty-five different movies that are showing within a fifty-mile radius of our house, hardly any of which I have heard about, and absolutely none of which I would want to see – even if they were playing in my front yard, admission were free, and I were carried from my house into my theater seat (and offered free buttered popcorn).

Bread and circuses, anyone?

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Thanks for the kind words, No Way a Liberal. :)

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Well said, Smokin' Joe.

I've often wondered how a man who was imprisoned for five-plus years in a hell hole like the Hanoi Hilton could emerge from that experience and still be willing to compromise with evil. One would think that he, more than anyone, would understand the deadly danger in that.

Jeremiah Denton, after enduring a similar fate in Vietnam, became a staunch conservative, maintained that philosophy in the senate, and is still unwilling to compromise with evil (whether within or outside of our borders) when he comes across it.

Unfortunately, McCain is running for president, and Denton was defeated in his first re-election bid. Such is modern American politics.

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Thank you for your excellent insights, as always, brityank.

I believe the ‘bread and circuses’ mindset that you reference is the greatest enemy of the Western world today. If our ignorance and apathy were able to be turned around, all of our internal and external enemies could be defeated or kept at bay.

But, as you observed, most Americans (and Western Europeans) are more concerned with the accumulation of creature comforts, and the ability to be entertained, than they are with learning from history and instilling a knowledge of it in their children.

Sad days are ahead for what’s left of the ‘free world’.

Stay well and vigilant ...

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

President Bush is an idiot. He and his father undid all the progress Reagan made, with the help of Bill Clinton of course- which is exactly why every tinpot dictator across the world.

Spot on, Brad.

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

The Ruskies are gonna play this for all this is worth - panic and uncertainty is great for oil prices..
And they know they can do whatever the hell they want. Who's gonna stop 'em?

lori_gmeiner said...

From an article in The Economist entitled "How to Contain Russia":

They know that the West will not fight for the territorial integrity of Georgia, a trisected statelet of only 4m people in the faraway Caucasus. They also know that they will face no serious economic punishment. As a collective, NATO may huff and puff, but the cold fact is that many of its big members need a lot of business with Russia to continue. Germany and others in Europe need to keep buying Russia’s oil and gas. America needs Russia, too, in order to secure vital foreign-policy objectives of its own, such as preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

They have us all over a barrel alright, but letting them have their way with Georgia will only make the barrel bigger.

marcus aurelius said...

If we want to limit Russia's military conquests, we need to limit their ability to have unfettered access to the warm water ports in the Black Sea. So far, we're not doing that, and I doubt that we will.

daveburkett said...

As usual, awesome analysis backed up by historical facts, Joanie. Bravo!

cardcarryingmember.vastrightwingconspiracy said...

Now envision President Barack Obama occupying the White House in five months and the nightmare ratchets up to a level far beyond human comprehension.

Watching the Dem Convention this week, with all the talk about how they care about the country and the common man, is going to be a real test for those of us who understand their goals. God help us, and the rest, of the world if he wins in November.

carol musselman said...

Depending on America’s, and Western Europe’s, response over the next few weeks -- whether we allow Georgia to become a Russian satellite -- Eastern European leaders may be forced to rethink their instinctive turn toward the West. We may well betray their trust.

Yep. And Taiwan's days are numbered too. America and Europe are cowards, just like your Dopfner quote states. The free world isn't doing what it should to insure freedom, not only in other parts of the world, but inside their own borders.

Shamyl said...
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cw-patriot said...

I never asserted that ‘Georgia’ is a race. Nor did anyone else here.

Georgia is a sovereign republic.

sovereign: adj. -- independent of outside authority; not governed by another country

republic: noun -- a form of government in which the people or their elected representatives possess the supreme power


I assume, from your arguments, that you also believe that Hispanics in America’s southwest have every right to declare that region of America their own, and break away. They have, after all, occupied the area longer than we have, and many have expressed a desire to do just that.

Similarly for the American Indians?

As for your assertion that the Russian army came in to ‘defend the Ossetians’ national aspirations’, you are ascribing to the Russians entirely too much nobility of action.

If you believe Russia’s invasion has nothing to do with oil, extortion, and expansion of power, and if you believe this aggression will be contained within the borders of Georgia, you are sadly mistaken. (See Russia’s threat to Poland after Poland signed a treaty with the U.S. regarding a missile defense system.)

If you believe that this occupation of a sovereign republic has anything to do with ‘humanitarian’ or freedom-to-make-one’s-own-choices aims, your naivete is showing.

And do you justify the brutality and barbarism being rained down on innocent Georgians – who have no association with the Abkazians and the Ossetians – by the ‘noble’ Russian army that is simply there to ‘defend the Ossetuans’ national aspirations’?

It appears that you may be spending too much time with people who bear no allegiance to our republic (to put it mildly), and maintain an unwavering allegiance to another.

End of debate, on my end. Others here may be willing to continue.

J.M. said...

If you believe Russia’s invasion has nothing to do with oil, extortion, and expansion of power, and if you believe this aggression will be contained within the borders of Georgia, you are sadly mistaken. (See Russia’s threat to Poland after Poland signed a treaty with the U.S. regarding a missile defense system.)

_______________


Russia today has become more powerful relative to Europe than it has been since Napoleon, a situation that is all but certain to make the Europeans less willing than the United States to challenge Russian policies. Energy may accomplish for the Russians what the Soviet and Russian armies by themselves could not....

From The Russian Power Play on Oil and Natural Gas Reserves

J.M. said...

The same people who own the Anti-Georgian propaganda site “war.georgia.su” (note the “.su”) also own “armenia.su” and “azerbaijan.su”.

Vlad isn’t done yet.

Anonymous said...

sovereign: adj. -- independent of outside authority; not governed by another country

republic: noun -- a form of government in which the people or their elected representatives possess the supreme power


Bingo!

Shamyl said...
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Shamyl said...
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cw-patriot said...

It appears that you may be spending too much time with people who bear no allegiance to our republic (to put it mildly), and maintain an unwavering allegiance to another.

TYPICAL PAT BUCHANAN COMMENT.

WHEN PAT BUCHANAN ARRANGED FOR REAGAN TO VISIT THE SS CEMETARY IN GERMANY--AND RAN INTO FLACK OVER THAT

HIS 'ANSWER' WAS EXACTLY WHAT YOU JUST WROTE ABOVE.

PAT BUCHANAN SAID THAT ANYONE WHO WAS AGAINST PRESIDENT REAGAN VISITING THE SS CEMETARY WAS NOT LOYAL TO THE US.

LOL

____________________________

Look up 'non sequitur' (AKA 'apples vs. oranges') and get back to me when you've absorbed the meaning, and its application to your so-called 'argument'. It's laughable.

Shamyl said...
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Shamyl said...
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stonemason said...

Shamyl,

Setting aside the origins of Georgia, how about responding to the claims Joanie made about Russia's REAL reasons for invading, and the strategic dangers for the whole of the western world of letting them have their way, and expanding their imperialism?

Shamyl said...
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Shamyl said...
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stonemason said...

Ask cw why she will not respond to my bringing up of the US actions in raping Orthodox Christian Serbia's Kosovo and delivering it to the muslim Albanians.

Maybe because that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with our response to this Russian agression. The Clinton administration was another era and the circumstances involved in that atrocity bore no resemblance to Russia's actions here.

You have a one track mind. And you still haven't answered my question about Russia's REAL reason for invading Georgia and the ramifications it will have for the entire western world.

You are SETTING ASIDE the most important aspect of this tragedy.

And claiming that Joanie KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT the origins of Georgia is going beyond the pale. You are an arrogant SOB.

cardcarryingmember.vastrightwingconspiracy said...

Shamyl,you can selectively ignore parts of the arguments set forth here that you don't want to respond to, but when someone else doesn't address every single part of your statement, it is because they "know nothing about" what you are talking about.

You're borrowing a page from the liberal playbook. If you can't argue the facts, resort to insults.

I second the "arrogant SOB" comment.

Shamyl said...
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Shamyl said...
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stonemason said...

I happen to be aware of everything you have stated in your posts, and then some. And it's the "and then some" that you refuse to acknowledge.

Again: Are you justifying Russia's attack on Georgia, and Russia's designs on the oil and gas pipelines to the west, because of Georgia's tumultuous history?

Did Russia have the authority or the right to invade a sovereign republic? For the purposes of extorting western Europe because of the stranglehold Russia will have on oil supplies? For purposes of expanding the empire? Does Russia give a damn about Georgia's history, other than how it helps to increase its own dominion?

The eastern European countries that are siding with Russia are mostly doing so out of the old, 1930s philosophy, "Please eat me last!"

George Bush and Condoleeza Rice, and Clinton's past crimes, have nothing to do with Russia's invasion of Georgia.

And your insinutations that people who disagree with you are somehow ignorant of the facts that you have at your disposal are getting really old.

I repeat: You are arrogant. And that's not "ad hominem." Talk about the pot and the kettle!

Proudpodunknative said...

Yeah, because there was upheaval and civil war in Georgia's past, the West should allow Russia to flex its muscles in the region, gain control of vital oil pipelines to the West, blackmail Western Europe, and start absorbing satellite countries again.

The only reason Russia set up "peacekeepers" in those regions, and provided official Russian passports to citizens in Ossetia, was to further Russia's strategic and geographic interests.

Since the 1980s Russia has been phobic about independent nations on its borders. It's now taking small steps to absorb them. And, by referring to Georgia's history, some people are being brainwashed into believing Russia's actions are justified.

Talk about a specious argument!

Anonymous said...
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Shamyl said...
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Proudpodunknative said...

Your use of the standard leftwing ploy of attacking the 'mental' status of whoever does not agree with you is not impressive.

You're damn right I "don't agree with Russia." I had grandparents in Ukraine 75 years ago.

As for labeling people "leftwing," I'll let the readers here decide whose arguments today fit that description. You are a shill. I don't understand what you're doing at a conservative weblog.

Oops! I left myself wide open for the "ad hominem" label....

Luis said...

I am slightly hesitant to post a comemnt on this very well written article, in the light of all the comments that precede it !

However here goes- and please keep in mind I have just returned from a week in Moscow and my in-laws are both Russian and Ukrainian (real life does not always put families entirely one side or other of international borders.

I do feel it is possible to take issue with the leadership of Saakashvili in his recent brave/foolish assault on Tskhinvili. I also realise that the Caucasus as a whole is very troubled. Chechnya includes Islamic extremists and as recently as 2004, 300 Russian children died as a result of terrorism and some incompentence at a school in North Ossetia (Beslan). Therefore permit the Russians to be a little jaded about this region.

All Russians, Ukrainians and all other nationalities of the Soviet Union were also governed by a rather infamous Georgian, Joseph Stalin whose statue still looks over the town square in Gori and past which Russian tanks rumbled last week.

Therefore this is a truly messy and complicated region.

That said I do realise there is a bigger agenda here and Russia needs to know for certain at what point the West will step in an prevent its advances.

As someone who has been exposed to different sides of this argument but remains concerned about the liberty of Eastern Europe in general, I would say the Western response has been rather loud but rather hollow so far.

The real wake up call and the real issue to me is that even in the 21st Century military force can prove decisive and not only for the "good guys". All nations that value freedom therefore need to focus on the weakened and overstretched nature of their armed forces and seek to address that first.

Only then can we set meaningful boundaries to Russian expansion as well as other emerging threats.

Until then I am sorry to say that those with real power in Moscow will be fairly unconcerned about Western "concerns". After all we continue to pay Russia's bills every time we drive our cars or heat our homes (at least in Europe)

These are worrying times. Thank Joanie as always for your insight.

I will continue to read all the views expressed here with interest.

Anonymous said...
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Milhailovitch said...
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cw-patriot said...

All --

Russia has bristled over Georgia's growing ties with the West, its application for NATO membership, and the oil pipeline. So Russia ratcheted up its support of the separatist regions in Georgia, issued Russian passports to many of those separatists, and stationed its own ‘peacekeepers’ in those regions to monitor the situation. The pre-planning for this invasion was exquisite. And anyone suggesting that it was a natural turn of events is living in a dream world.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia would not have sought autonomy from Georgia were it not for covert Russian support for the separatists since the early 90s. Russia supports the separatist movements in both and Russian forces are stationed in both.

Russia has felt threatened by Georgia’s overtures to the west, and, combining this with its desire to expand its dominion and control the oil and natural gas flow to the west, no other reason is necessary for the recent invasion.

As for Serbia/Kosovo ...

I hate what the U.S. did in Serbia. I was horrified at the Clinton administration’s policy. I am equally disgusted with Bush’s and Rice's policy regarding Kosovo’s independence. Clinton was a bastard. Bush is an idiot. And Rice is attempting to rival Albright in sheer incompetence.

Kosovo is historically the heart of Serbia. When Muslim Albanians flooded into Kosovo after World War II with an extremely high level of illegal immigration and high birth rates (hmm ... sound familiar?), and the KLA began their aggressions against Serbs, the Albanians claimed persecution when the Serbs fought back in self defense. Clinton listened, and, in combination with his need to shift the focus from his domestic crimes, intervened ... resulting in the long-term repercussions that even he couldn’t envision. But Bill Clinton’s actions in Serbia do not grant eternal carte blanche to do what the Russians are doing.

Applying ‘precedent’ in a situation like this may be morally justified, but it is suicidal. Georgia is related to our, and Western Europe’s, national security interests. Kosovo was not. Doesn’t justify what was done there. Merely a statement of fact. The barbaric, and idiotic, decisions made by past and present American presidents do not diminish that fact. The people of the West must look beyond the garbage their leaders often attempt to pass off as prudent, consistent policy (the most recent abhorrent examples of which have been caused by American presidents who were more interested in ‘wag the dog’ politics, and one-world-oriented policies) to their own survival.

I care about the lack of principled leadership by every president who has been in office since the late eighties. They have spat on, and showed a cavalier indifference toward, Americans every bit as much as they have spat upon the oppressed of other nations.

When I interpret the actions of a world leader as scheming to expand his sphere of influence by concocting a reason to invade a neighboring nation, and planning to take charge of extremely strategic energy pathways under the guise of protecting the voices of an oppressed people, I am not obligated to consult the history books, or today’s newspaper, to see whether there are similar sovereignty/humanitarian ‘precedents’ during which my nation’s leaders responded differently than they are now.

Modern America’s leadership is fickle, hypocritical, self-serving, and, for the most part, disinterested in morality or consistency. They are more interested in promoting a global government, and amassing personal power. Whether the Bush administration’s decisions follow a similar or different set of rules than those made by the Clinton administration generally depends on which way the wind is blowing.

This isn’t a question of hypocrisy, or morality. It is a question of survival. What is occurring in Georgia is a threat to the security of the West and an example of Russian aggression. And we in the West, in large part as a result of the past twenty years of national ‘leadership’ gone astray, are looking down a long tunnel, at the end of which lies our extinction. Call it self-serving it you like (you’d be right), but avoiding that abyss is just about the paramount consideration in my opinion of any world event – including one in which Russia is seeking to obtain a stranglehold on energy supplies.

This is not really about Georgian freedom or Georgian sovereignty. It is about Caspian oil. And Russia’s goal in this invasion has absolutely nothing to do with righting any wrongs that have been perpetrated on the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and everything to do with expanding her sphere of influence, and obtaining the ability to dictate to the West. Oil and natural gas are the definition of wealth and might. And he who controls their flow wields unmitigated power.

I have little time for those trying to justify the Russians' behavior, or for people still fighting the Kosovo war.

First_Salute said...

One of the purposes of "sports," is to provide a venue for the hormones that rage over tribal differences; that venue falling under the principle of the rule of law - that the game have rules, that the rules be set and agreed to before the game starts, and all agree that, if and when the game starts, that principle applies for the duration of the game --- that the rules will not change, and the rules cannot be changed, until after the game concludes.

Part of what we call history, what we mean by history, is our study of what happened and "who struck John" - by turning back the clock, past-ward thru the events of the game.

That study itself, becomes a game, a contest among historians, who delight in arguing their point, at the point, where they stop the re-winding clock.

Yet, entering into *that* game, includes the right of other historians to grasp the clock and re-wind it some more ... and suddenly, there you have it, an argument at point X, then finds itself defeated by simply re winding the clock to point X-1 (that's "x minus one" for those of you who have seen too many sci-fi movies).

Now I'll add to the above, this story from timesonline.co.uk: http://tinyurl.com/6qzqo2

I think it is interesting, because it is written by somebody who has "been there" (in the general theatre of conflict, which is the arena in which the arguments preceding mine, are playing), and the author has some insight, related in the story.

One in particular, stands out for me, because of what I learned some years ago during the cold war:

"Stalin drew the borders of the Soviet republics to ensure Georgia contained autonomous ethnic entities, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Adzharia, through which Moscow could keep Georgia in order."

Perhaps Stalins gets too much credit, because his practice of bottling oil and water and leaving others to struggle with the problems of marketing and using it, was as old as the hills being fought over ... while commercial interests are also struggling to keep business going.

When, all Stalin did was borrow from history, an observation, that to control people and control the overall region, he could rely upon "The Bickers" to fight about their differences, like oil and water, so that he could use martial and police power "to rescue them" in their view while exercising authoritarianism, and usually quite brutally, FROM HIS VIEW.

His desire, to be in control.

It is a practice of regents, and probably old Machiavelli (sp?) has it in ink.

What I know of it, in particular, my interest, was how Stalin set up, not only "the Palestinians," but also "the Jews" --- he actually supported BOTH, oil and water in a bottle, in order to leave such problems to "the West," knowing, Stalin did, that "the West" would argue over the commercial aspects, given that for the most part, "the West" was the new world, a departure from the norm for Stalinist brutal police state thuggery of the old ways.

Stalin knew well, because he was born and raised on one of "the world's" oldest trade routes, that terrorism is the oldest of economic means.

For example, if your mountain pass (A) to the sea port "sees" a decline in traffic (for which you have previously been richly rewarded in your charging fees for "safe transit") ... then elsewhere, your neighboring tribe and it's mountain pass (B), becomes the object of interest to "warring factions" (oil and water), as you, you clever self important-tate, you have engineered such un-happiness on racial and tribal lines, knowing that "the unrest" will slow up trade travel thru mountain pass B ... and sure enough, suddenly your revenues from *your mountain pass A* are "experiencing improvement."

At which point, if you are ambitious, you use that collateral as proof that some big power should loan you more money, and so on it goes, and it was, and it continues over the millenia.

Stalin "knew well" that "the West" would fall all over itself, as it sought its own trade routes around the Soviets and the inefficient burdens of communism/socialism, yet through regions mired down by warring factions.

He knew enough about "the West," that there were and would be enough "power brokers" who would fool themselves into thinking that somehow, always it is that somehow ..., such warring factions can be controled by making deals. Certainly, there are times when deals have been made, and there is relative peace, allowing trade.

Yet that is nothing for the kind of Stalinists whose ambitions lean more toward authoritarian power than money and power; wherever they see a problem for their own "economies," and so again, they apply the oldest of economic means and ratchet-up" the problems between the warring factions of mountain pass B - that would be "the Palestinians" in this corner, weighing in at ___ tons of trouble v. "the Jews" in that corner weighing in at ___ tons of trouble.

Along came, because of so much trouble at mountain pass B (generally on the eastern shores of "the Med," more attention being paid to mountain pass C (the Balkans) and mountain pass D (the southside of the Caucasus Mountains) --- more attention being paid, BOTH by the brutal Stalinist police-state dictators "in the former Soviet Union" as the competitors among commercial interests of "the West."

Pick whatever you want, of oil and water, be it tribal conflicts, racial conflicts, or religious conflicts, the brutal Stalinist dictators use the readily available useful idiots to champion such causes to excess thought-less-ness and repeatedly bloody endings ... at some point of time on the clock ... over which such matters remain unsettled, and the warriors will fight anew.

For "the West," these problems are agonizing.

For the brutal Stalinists - and fans of brutal Stalinism - it is something "to cheer about," and so, now ...

Where are you sitting, you might ask yourself?

-

First_Salute

cw-patriot said...

Luis,

I have read your response here, as well as your essay on your own blog, and I am literally overwhelmed with the extent of your knowledge on the subject, and your ability to connect dots that many of us aren't even aware exist.

Thank you so much for your contribution here, and for your thoughtful, well-reasoned essay on London Calling. Your perspective is compelling.

I need to digest both before responding. Such is the depth of your eloquent arguments.

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Thank you, First_Salute, for your in-depth historical analysis!

I am running on fumes, having had a very full day, so will respond as soon as I have time to do a response justice -- hopefully tomorrow.

~ joanie

ronitafromdallas said...

A simple question for those who are bringing up Kosovo:

if the U.S. had not attacked Kosovo, would Russia have not attacked Georgia?

Answer that they would not have and you need a reality check.

Anonymous said...

Russia invaded Georgia in order to gain control of Caspian oil resources because their own oil resources, a major part of their exports, are being rapidly depleted.

Russia’s decision to go to war against their much smaller and weaker neighbor was all about oil. It didn’t have anything to do with Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, Sierra Leon, Paraguay, Tonga, New Zealand, Cambodia or anything else.

Ellwoodlee said...

When I interpret the actions of a world leader as scheming to expand his sphere of influence by concocting a reason to invade a neighboring nation, and planning to take charge of extremely strategic energy pathways under the guise of protecting the voices of an oppressed people, I am not obligated to consult the history books, or today’s newspaper, to see whether there are similar sovereignty/humanitarian ‘precedents’ during which my nation’s leaders responded differently than they are now.

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barry up the road said...

Another insightful and excellently done piece Joanie.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You do good work.

Shamyl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cw-patriot said...

"Shamyl" --

I suspect that it has been your sickening personal attacks and unwillingness to at least acknowledge honest debate from other points of view that have had you banned from countless other sites over the years. And no, I'll not defend or criticize the other posters resorting to calling you an "arrogant SOB". That label pales in comparison with the leaps you make regarding other posters' supposed ignorance, and the derisive laughter you employ when commenting on their posts.

You have been posting here, on and off, under various assumed names, for a long time. And yet, in all of that writing, I have yet to read a post of yours that says anything positive about anything written here, other than your own omniscient preaching. Your condescension, derisive tone, and attributing disgusting allegiances to posters whose opinions do not agree with yours, are appalling. That none of the dozens of regular posters here ever has a worthwhile idea that sparks a supportive response from you speaks volumes about your godlike point of view.

Once again, I suggest that you take your arrogance, condescension and closed-mindedness elsewhere. I allowed your return on this thread because I suspected that you might have a great deal of knowledge to share on this particular subject and might have been able to educate some of us – myself included.

People do not respond well to teachers whose primary aim is their own elevation, and who treat with derision those whose knowledge may be faulty, or less expansive. In that regard, you appear to be a very slow learner.

Once again, readers here will have to do without your contributions. I respect their dignity far more than I do anything you might add.

~ joanie

robmaroni said...

Sorry you had to do this Joanie, but you were patient.

daveburkett said...

Sorry you had to do this Joanie, but you were patient.

Ditto Joanie.

kathymlynczak said...

Luis,

Your comments from your personal and informed perspective are much appreciated. I will be sharing them with others.

Anonymous said...

The Bear is Fishing

LouBarakos said...

This is a great thread with lots of information. I'm sorry you had to ban someone, Joanie but I know you must have had good reason.

I don't think most Americans have any idea at all what is going on between Russia and Georgia, or what the history is of that region. They're too busy following the exploits of the Hollywood crowd, or (less likely) the lies being perpetrated at the convention in Denver.

We're going to pay a terrible price for our ignorance.

lori_gmeiner said...

Russian-backed paramilitaries 'ethnically cleansing villages'

Luis said...

Joanie,

Thank you for your kind comments.

May your blog continue as a forum for intelligent debate rather than name calling- I am sorry you had to ban someone today.

My concern is that the West's current approach lacks some consistency. Of greater concern is the fact that the West has precious little spare capacity to challenge agression it wants to challenge. This would seem to me to be the biggest issue in advance of setting meaningful "red lines" for Russia and others.

Luis

cw-patriot said...

First_Salute:

I appreciate your references to the perspective of historians being dependent upon just how far they suppose it relevant to turn the clock back. Very interesting! (Which explains, in part, why math is so much more enjoyable than history in some respects. Beginning one’s deliberations with a set of axioms that require no explanation or proof is so much less subjective.) :)

Pick whatever you want, of oil and water, be it tribal conflicts, racial conflicts, or religious conflicts, the brutal Stalinist dictators use the readily available useful idiots to champion such causes to excess thought-less-ness and repeatedly bloody endings ... at some point of time on the clock ... over which such matters remain unsettled, and the warriors will fight anew.

Seemingly over-simplified, it really isn’t. And doesn’t history repeat itself ad infitnitum, thanks to the clever tyrants and the eternal overabundance of useful idiots.

Thank you for the interesting (an overused adjective, to be sure – yet entirely appropriate in this case), insightful commentary. Beautifully done.

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Thanks for the kind comments, Barry.

~ joanie