Heckuva Job Bushie
Joseph Galloway has written a thoughtful overview of the situation in Georgia and the broader implications for McClatchy today:
Although Vice President Cheney bravely rattled a sword or two and George Bush was talking a little tougher to his old soul mate Vlad the Impaler, the simple truth is that there's not a damn thing we can do about the Russian invasion and perfidy short of nuking them. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made it amply clear that we aren't going to do that, or much of anything else beyond sending some humanitarian medical aid and supplies for the Georgian refugees.
The Georgian government made two mistakes — it took the Bush administration's rhetoric seriously and it ignored the Russians' bluster — and now both the Georgians and the world had best brace themselves for further Russian military action, economic pressure and diplomatic chicanery.
The opportunity to punish the Georgians is simply too tempting for Russia to ignore, so Putin will drag them back into Moscow’s orbit, if not Moscow’s ownership, and thus fire a warning shot across the bow of other breakaway republics that are considering membership in NATO or otherwise thumbing their noses at Putin.
Washington can respond only with tough talk. We can threaten to punish the Russians by expelling them from the International Monetary Fund and the Group of Eight wealthy nations, but with a fat bankroll bulging with Arab-size oil earnings, the Russians don’t really need to care about this.
If there's any silver lining to these dark clouds, it might be that Bush and Cheney will be so preoccupied grumbling at Bush’s buddy Vladimir and issuing empty threats that they won't have time to issue other threats or take some irrational action against the Iranians.
Things have truly come to a sorry pass when both our military and our diplomatic threats are as empty as our national treasury, and the Russians of all people can afford to laugh them off.
This is why most people over the age of nine learn that issuing a bunch of threats and failing to carry them through --- or following through and failing to succeed --- is a recipe for people to stop taking you seriously. Bush and Cheney (and now McCain) have made a fetish out of sabre rattling for the past eight years and the results have been, shall we say, less than stellar. The US has shown that its volunteer military, while valiant, is undermanned and overstretched, its intelligence services are willing servants of political manipulators and its leadership is dishonest, immoral and incompetent. It's understandable that somebody out there would think that now is the time to make a move. That it would be Bush's soul brother Pooty-poot was entirely predictable.
BTW: I'm really glad to see Eventheliberal Michael O'Hanlon all over television again. I fully expect that he'll be calling for nuclear war any day now.