Latest American Strategies on the Georgian-Russian Conflict

by mgopin on September 12, 2008 · 3 comments

Georgia and Russia

Georgia and Russia

David Ignatius has a sympathetic read on American involvement in Georgia’s decision to attack South Ossetia. Is he right? Not sure. He seems to believe that Georgia’s behavior was not based on American prodding, and that, on the contrary, the Administration was telling him to keep the brakes on. David is an astute, centrist observer with an intelligence background. The problem now is one of radical distrust by any of our allies of a Republican Administration. David writes:

The signal Bush is said to be sending Saakashvili is: “We’re with you. We take your survival and interests seriously. But be smart. Don’t give Russia a pretext.” This go-slow message is in part a reflection of the administration’s frustration that Saakashvili ignored repeated advice over the past two years not to provoke Russia over the disputed regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Having promised Moscow that the United States would restrain Saakashvili, administration officials were chagrined by his Aug. 7 attack on South Ossetia, which they believe was an attempt to create a fait accompli before the Russians could respond. U.S. officials doubt Saakashvili’s claim that the Russians were already moving troops through the Roki Tunnel toward South Ossetia when Georgia launched its attack.

This is fine for David to report, but we have no way of verifying for sure that this Republican Administration did not in fact encourage provocation, commensurate with their militaristic approach to the last eight years. There is only one way for America to be safer right now, to restore its international standing, and to better cooperate on delicate relations with difficult countries like Russia. And that is for an utterly new regime to take over the White House, the National Security Council and the State Department. Only Obama promises that because, despite McCain’s older centrist approach to politics, he has now picked a militant as Vice President, and we have seen what that did under Bush. The world cannot go through this again.

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