Tag Archives: editorial

EDITORIAL: Russian Roulette

EDITORIAL

Russian Roulette

“Let him first respect his own signature.”

That was French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, talking last Saturday at a meeting of the European Union in Avignon, France.  He was talking about the “president” of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, calling him worse than a liar, someone who signed a formal written promise and then broke it.  Kouchner says that Medevedev has violated at least half of the key terms he agreed to in a France-brokered ceasefire which sought to resolve the Georgia crisis.  For a diplomat from any country, much less France, to use language this stunningly tough (this, indeed, larussophobian) is sure and certain proof of just how utterly Russian foreign policy has come a cropper.  Even though Russia hasn’t used nearly as much military force in Georgia as the U.S. did in Iraq, and hasn’t deposed the country’s ruler as the U.S. did, the world’s reaction has been wholly different. Russia has been villified and condemned, and now stands in exactly the position it wished to place the U.S. in when it opposed U.S. action.  This is neo-Soviet failure, laid bare.

Writing in the Moscow Times on Monday Richard Hainsworth, CEO of RusRating, a Moscow-based credit rating agency, scathingly condemned the barbaric behavior of the Russian government during the Georgia crisis.  He began this way:

When Russian troops moved into Georgia, foreign investors moved out and the Russian market plummeted. When U.S. troops moved into Iraq, foreign investors hesitated but the U.S. market barely blipped. Is this a double standard? Not really.

Why not?  Because of simple fact that all the world, but not Russia, clearly understands.  As Hainsworth puts it: “Russia’s actions in Georgia were unpredictable and unexpected. Its aims and goals — starting with official pronouncements and ending with its actions on the ground –were difficult to disentangle.”  In other words, the manner in which the U.S. and Russian governments behave is as different as night and day. Hainsworth explains:

Whatever the reasons or motivations for Russia’s invasion into the sovereign territory of another country, investors were not prepared for this unpleasant surprise. Their investment models did not include this factor. When U.S. troops go anywhere, they are accompanied by journalists, news conferences and public warnings. Investors may not like a military conflict and they may be severely damaged by it, but they are prepared.

Russia hides from the truth.  It lies, and it gets caught in lies.  People who have money on the line don’t like this kind of behavior.  They don’t mind the use of military force, they understand its going to happen.  But they want it to be done in a manner that is predictable and reasonable, mature and responsible.  For all the criticism of U.S. president George Bush, as the American saying goes “money talks and B.S. walks.”  The international markets had no real problem with the Iraq invasion, but they were appalled by what Russia did in Georgia because Russian actions made it clear:  Today it’s Georgia, tomorrow it’s you.

As MT columnist Alexei Bayer has written: “Mark Twain remarked that history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes a lot. If so, recent events in Russia are starting to rhyme with some of the worst pages of the country’s history.”

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EDITORIAL: Russians Bashing Russia

EDITORIAL

Russians Bashing Russia

The United States gave it to Russia with both barrels over the weekend.

With U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Ukraine and loudly denouncing Russian aggression and imperialism, the U.S. warship Mount Whitney sailed into the Georgian port of Poti with relief supplies even though it is still being held by Russian stormtroopers. It was an in-your-face moment Russia was just as helpless to do anything about as was tiny Georgia when Russian tanks rolled in.  How does that feel, Russians?  “President” Medvedev whimpered: “I wonder how they would feel if we now dispatched humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean, suffering from a hurricane, using our navy.”  Maybe they’d feel like sinking those ships, and do it — except that the U.S. hasn’t really rolled tanks into any Caribbean countries lately, has it? But if that’s how you think about the Whitney, Dima, excellent. Mission accomplished. So go ahead, Dima, sink the Whitney and block its delivery of humanitarian aid if you have the guts and the ability. Show the world what Russians are made of. And while you’re doing that, ask yourself how Russia would have felt if America behaved in Chechnya the way Russia has behaved in Georgia.  Ask yourself why U.S. warships are in the Black Sea, where they weren’t in July. But Medvedev wasn’t pondering those questions, nor did it appear there was any connection whatsoever between his brain and his mouth.

We have to admit, it’s rather startling to see the whole world — including many Russians themselves (Putin even lost his title of Russia’s sexiest man to, of all people, Boris Nemtsov) – talking about Russia in exactly the way we have been doing ever since April 2006 when this blog was founded (even far off Australia is considering repudiating its deal to sell uranium to Russia; it should do so). Then, we stood virtually alone in the world sounding the clarion call of warning.  Now, we’re conventional wisdom, even in Russia.

Let’s take a look at what three Russians are saying about their country these days.

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EDITORIAL: Russia, Sicker by the Minute

EDITORIAL

Russia, Sicker by the Minute

Russian officials have said Michael Lee White was a U.S. agent involved in the recent fighting between their troops and Georgia. They claim to have found the Army veteran’s passport in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia. But in his cramped teacher’s apartment at a business college in southern China, the American said Wednesday that he’d never been to Georgia. When the five-day war was raging last month, White said, he was in his hometown of Austin, Texas, caring for his sick father. The CIA denied that White was working for it. White thinks the passport the Russians have is one he lost during a flight from Moscow to New York in October 2005. White said he reported his lost passport and was given a new one the same year. “It still seems bizarre that they would make accusations like that with so little evidence,” said White, a soft-spoken English teacher. Russian officials have suggested that Americans directly supported Georgia’s Aug. 7 assault on South Ossetia, which is backed by Russia. Russian Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, showed reporters a copy of what he said was White’s passport Aug. 28. He said it was found in a basement among items that belonged to retreating Georgian soldiers.

– The Los Angeles Times, September 4th

Russia is a sick society, and it is getting sicker by the minute.  And we don’t mean physically sick, although Russia is about as ill in that manner as you can get, with the average male not living to see his sixtieth year and pandemic crises in AIDS, smoking, drinking and all manner of accident fatality.  What we’re talking about is between the ears:  Russia is a mental case.

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EDITORIAL: Serge Schmemann Blows it (Again)

EDITORIAL

Serge Schmemann Blows it (Again)

We’ve pointed out the malignant activities of Russophile scum bag Serge Schmemann, editorial page editor of the International Herald Tribune on several prior occasions.  We’re not the only ones who see the gaping flaws in Schmemann’s “analysis” of Russia by any means, and now the New York Times itself (IHT’s parent) has caught him in the act.

On August 22nd, Schmemann penned a book review for the Times headlined:  “To Russia with Love.”  The book was an account of a Soviet spy named Cy Oggins.  In it, Schmemann claimed that Oggins had been executed by Stalin because the dictator believed he had been “turned” by the West.  False.  In fact, Oggins was killed because he new too much about Soviet espionage to be repatriated. Schmemann also misspelled the name of Oggins’s wife and published a photograph with an erroneous caption claiming a mugshot was dated to the night of Oggins’s execution.  The Times was forced to append an embarrassing correction of this set of three shamelessly sloppy errors by its own editor. Think Schmemann insisted on apologizing for his profusion of gaffs? Think again. If the editor is this bad, can you imagine the quality of those Schmemann hires and supervises? We hardly dare to try.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg as far as the accuracy of Schmemann’s review is concerned.

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Special Extra — EDITORIAL: Sarah Palin for Vice President

The worst nightmare Vladimir Putin will ever have

The worst nightmare Vladimir Putin will ever have

EDITORIAL

Sarah Palin for Vice President

Last night, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, gave one of the most breathtakingly inspirational political speeches in American history at the Party’s National Convention in Minnesota.  Leader of a state with massive untapped fossil fuel resources, as part of that masterful performance she declared:

With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.

She spoke of John McCain as being among those who “have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome.”

When the Republican primary season was just beginning, we endorsed John McCain for the Republican nomination without hesitation, and when he got it we ethusiastically endorsed him for the presidency. Our blog is now honored to carry his campaign badge in its sidebar.  His choice of Governor Palin, by far the most qualified of all the four major-party candidates in the race as the only one who has ever held elected executive authority, stands as one of the most brilliant political moves in the history of the presidency, and we endorse her for vice president without reservation. When we think about a sexist pig like Vladimir Putin being forced to sit across the table from a President Palin, a person he can never possibly hope to comprehend, we quite literally get goosebumps.

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EDITORIAL: Vladimir Putin, Unmasked at Last

EDITORIAL

Vladimir Putin, Unmasked at Last

We confess that, though we have been predicting it for years now, it has happened sooner and more spectacularly than any of us dared dream. 

Vladimir Putin has been unmasked and stands naked before the world. The $1 billion aid package for Georgia that the U.S. government has just announced is unmistakable proof that the world now clearly sees Putin for what he is:  evil incarnate.

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EDITORIAL: Words Americans Live by, Which Russians Should Learn

E pluribus unum -- From the many, one.

E pluribus unum -- From the many, one.

EDITORIAL

Words Americans Live by, Which Russians Should Learn

Time and again over the last two centuries, malignant dictators of every stripe have calculated that Americans will not fight, that they are a soft people used to comfort and will not stand for principle against the determined onslaught of fire and steel.

Each and every time, those dictators have been proved wrong.  Each and every time, the United States has seen the dictator into his grave, obliterating his nation and rewriting the history of the world.

In this past century alone, the efforts of the United States have laid low Japan, Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Japan and Germany today are prosperous, happy nations that bear no resemblance to the maniacal dictatorships that challenged the United States and were destroyed by it.  And the United States bestrides the world like colossus.  Most recently, the United States was able tgo project its awesome military power to the other side globe and crush tyrranical regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan — projection of this kind of military power is something Russia has never accomplished once in its entire history, and cannot even dream of attempting. Little wonder Russia’s autocrats became so nervous about it.

But it now appears that the job in regard to the USSR was not completed.  The United States, it now seems foolishly, accepted the surrender of the USSR on highly favorable terms for Russia rather than physically liquidating it’s malignant regime when it had the chance, as had been done in Japan and Germany.   Once again, the forces of venal dictatorship, of haughty childish contempt for American values and indeed for the value of individual human life itself, rise beyond a new Iron Curtain. Once again, ignorant gray little men in lonely towers imagine they can bring down the United States with their furious hatred and delusional arrogance. Once again they believe that no nation can stand behind values like freedom and democracy when fire and steel are flying.

Little do they understand the mighty American people and the principles that guide them, which are consistently expressed throughout American history. Let’s remember them now:

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Special Extra — EDITORIAL: Vladimir Putin is Insane

No, you're not seeing things. That's really the then-"president" of Russia Vladmir Putin lifting a little boy's shirt in broad daylight and kissing his stomach.  Note the reaction of the kid at the left.  Just one of many head-scratching moments from Tsar Putin, and nothing compared to Georgia.

No, you are not seeing things. That is really the then president of Russia Vladimir Putin lifting the shirt of a little boy in public, in broad daylight, and kissing his stomach. Note the reaction of the kid at the left. Just one of many head-scratching moments from Tsar Putin, and nothing compared to Georgia.

EDITORIAL

Vladimir Putin is Insane

In his defense, defeat this wide and deep, humiliation this brutal and complete, might drive anyone berserk.

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EDITORIAL: Dmitry Medvedev, Shameless Liar

Lies and the lying lRussian "presidents" who tell them

Lies and the lying Russian presidents who tell them

EDITORIAL

Dmitry Medvedev, Shameless Liar

Without even attempting to garner support for such a move among other nations, much less in the United Nations, Russia has unilaterally recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  A united Europe has rallied to condemn the outrageous unilateralism, the valiant Chancellor of Germany speaking out loudest of all.  Across the Atlantic the reaction was just as grim — the Bush administration called Russia’s action “appalling” and said it “puts Russia of course in opposition to a number of Security Council resolutions to which it is party.”  The U.S. Secretary of State said that “the U.S. regards Abkhazia and South Ossetia as ‘part of the internationally recognized borders of Georgia’and will use its veto power in the Security Council to block any Russian attempt to change their status. This simply will be dead on arrival.’”

Meanwhile, Russia still refuses to recognize Kosovo even as it asks the world to recognize Ossetia! But the only international entity to recognize Russia’s decision was the Hamas terrorist movement. That’s a new low in neo-Soviet humilation. On top of that, even pro-Kremlin Russians admit that Putin’s war had obliterated the Commonwealth of Independent States, which Russia did not allow to play any role in the crisis but of which both Russia and Georgia are members.  Like Russia’s recognition effort, the CIS is now DOA, and with it goes Russia’s ability to influence the member countries.  And for the rotten cherry to top off this massive cake of disgrace and failure, even Russia own Shanghai group of nations has rejected its mandhandling of Georgia, as we report below. Compared to Vladmir Putin’s ham-handed mishandling of Georgia, George Bush’s actions in Iraq make the American president look like Winston Churchill.

And then there’s the hypocrisy!  Do you dare to imagine, dear reader, how Russia would have reacted if the United States had unilaterally recognized Chechnya as independent as soon as fighting broke out there, and then moved in with troops and American passports, as Russia has done in Ossetia?  One sees this type of mind-boggling hypocrisy only from Russians.

And the precedent! What will Russia now say when various aggrieved regions of its own begin to agitate for independence, and when NATO begins to support them?  It seems that no matter how you look at it, Putin has created a total nightmare for Russia both domestically and internationally. And for what? What has Russia gained? Nothing.

Ascending to new levels of heinous neo-Soviet dishonesty in a speech to the nation explaining the government’s position, Russian “president” Dmitry Medvedev lied shamelessy.

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EDITORIAL: Lonely Russia

Economist)

Russia is all alone now (Source: Economist)

EDITORIAL

Lonely Russia

For a third time in as many weeks, Russian “president” Dmitry Medvedev has broken his word. 

Three times he has told the world that Russian forces would leave Georgian territory in response to the united demand of the entire civilized world, and three times they have ignored his words, including written promises.  Now, the New York Timesreports that Russian troops are remaining in control of key ports and roads in Georgia proper and concludes: “Despite the French-brokered cease-fire framework that Russia accepted, it is striving to maintain considerable economic and military pressure on Georgia, a close ally of the United States. The ultimate goal, it seems, is the ouster of its president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is detested by the Russian leadership, and the installation of a government that it considers less hostile.”

Let’s be clear.  The expectation of the the outside world is that Russia would leave Georgian territory entirely, restoring the status quo ante from August 6th.  But even if Russia somehow claims a need to remain in Abkahzia and Ossetia to protect minorities there, and lied about agreeing to that demand, it is entirely outrageous for Russia to even consider leaving one single soldier in Georgia proper, outside the disputed territories. Yet, that is exactly what Russia is doing, clearly attempting regime change in a U.N. member state whose elected leader has been recognized by the entire civilized world.

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Special Extra — EDITORIAL: Khodorkovsky Surrenders

EDITORIAL

Khodorkovsky Surrenders

“I’m not going to return to the oil and gas business or seek a review of the unjust decisions concerning Yukos after being set free. I will devote myself to humanitarian projects and, most importantly, my family.”

– Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to his Chita parole board, August 21, 2008

Another one bites the dust.

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EDITORIAL: Putin, Enemy of Markets

The Russian stock market tracks the Georgia crisis

The Russian stock market tracks the Georgia crisis

EDITORIAL

Putin, Enemy of Markets

The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday:  “Russia stocks slumped badly Tuesday as concerns over the continuing Georgia crisis fueled investor pessimism . . . .  The dollar-dominated RTS index sank 5.2 percent to 1,685.6 points, its lowest since November 2006, while the ruble-denominated MICEX Index dropped 6 percent to 1,361.54 points, its steepest fall in almost seven months.”

As the chart above clearly shows, between August 6th, when Russia invaded Georgia, and August 10th, when it agreed to a ceasefire at the urging of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, the market lost over 10% of its value.  It then recovered on news that the country would stop fighting, only to plunge again when it became clear that Russia had no intention of keeping its promise to Sarkozy, as world condemnation escalated.  Informed investors understand the basic reality:  The Russian market is a hollow fraud, utterly dependent upon the fluctuating market for crude oil, with no normal foundation based on diversity and consumer production.  On top of that, Russia is governed by a rogue regime capable of seizing assets and starting unwinnable wars at the drop of a hat, isolating Russia from world markets and terrorizing businessmen of all stripes.

The Motley Fool gets it:  “With all that’s occurring in Russia these days, I’m wondering how long it’ll be before Western investment in that nation grinds to a halt.”  They say Russia is now an “investment gulag.”

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EDITORIAL: Thanks, Mr. Putin

EDITORIAL

Thanks, Mr. Putin

We have to deny Russian strategic objectives, which are clearly to undermine Georgia’s democracy, to use its military capability to damage and in some cases destroy Georgian infrastructure and to try and weaken the Georgian state. We are determined to deny them their strategic objective. We are not going to allow Russia to draw a new line at those states that are not yet integrated into the trans-Atlantic structures. This is a very dangerous game and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider. This is not something that is just cost-free. Nobody needs Russian strategic aviation along America’s coast.

– U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, en route  Monday to an emergency session of NATO to address Russian aggression in Georgia.

We are making a list, and checking it twice. So many people need to express their heartfelt thanks to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Georgia.  Here’s our top-ten list.

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EDITORIAL: Is Dima Medvedev a Liar, or Simply an Idiot

The glorious Russian army takes the surrender of yet another powerful enemy in Georgia

The glorious Russian army takes the surrender of yet another powerful enemy in Georgia

EDITORIAL

Is Dima Medvedev a Liar, or Simply an Idiot

Russia’s so-called “president” Dmitri Medvedev told the President of France his troops would stop fighting a few days after they invaded Georgia with no warning to the international community, much less to Georgia.

Instead of doing so, they then plunged deeper into Georgia, threatening the capital, and blew up the main railway line linking the country east to west. 

The world became furious, and demanded that a ceasefire be imposed.  Medvedev signed a second agreement, pledging to begin withdrawing his forces on Monday.  But the New York Times reported early Tuesday morning Moscow time that, once again, Medvedev was not true to his word.  The paper wrote:

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EDITORIAL: Русский пофигизм

EDTORIAL

Русский пофигизм

Today we report on Русский пофигизм (ROO-skee pa-FIG-eezm), or the Russian national attitude that “I couldn’t care less.” It’s a useful explanation of how Russians can do something so utterly insane as to install ballistic missiles in Ossetia, SS-21 “scarabs,” which can be fitted with AA60 nuclear warheads (we reported this last week, and this week confirmation is breaking across the world’s media in shock; last week, though, some said Russia would never do anything so crazy). And also of why Russian “president” Dimitri Medvedev could conduct himself in such a manner as to cause the U.S. Secretary of State to call him a liar (she declared on Sunday’s Meet the Press in regard to Medvedev’s prior promise of a ceasefire: “Well, I just know that the Russian president said several days ago Russian military operations would stop. They didn’t. This time I hope he means it. You know the word of the Russian president needs to be upheld by his forces.”)

Russia has already destroyed its positive relations with virtually every country on earth, and now it is seeking to make things even worse, potentially leading to a nuclear apocalypse, just to further its crass imperialistic designs. Exactly, in other words, what happened in Soviet times.

How can Russians do such things, and how can other Russians let them get away with it? At least one part of the answer is Русский пофигизм.

If you are a Russian living in Russia aged 37 years, it’s quite likely that your father is dead. If he had you two years after graduating college at 24, that would make him 61 years old at present — and most Russian men don’t live that long.

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EDITORIAL: The Day of Reckoning in Georgia

EDITORIAL

The Day of Reckoning in Georgia

Under Siege

Under Siege

As was inevitable, the dispute between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia has finally exploded. Georgia predicted this long ago.

Russia’s hypocrisy in the matter is truly mind-numbing.

Where Chechyna is concerned, Russia demands that the outside world not only refuse to provide any tangible support for the breakaway region, it insists that we not even offer any criticism of Russia because it is a “domestic” matter and none of our business. Yet, where South Ossetia is concerned, Russia feels it has the right not only to provide support for the rebels but to invade the region with regular Russian army forces in a naked act of territorial conquest. Apparently, Russia sees no inconsistency between these actions and its Chechnya policy whatsoever, a duality of truly Soviet proportions.

NATO had the chance to forestall any armed conflict by decisively admitting Georgia as a member, but it dithered and mumbled and put it off until later. Seeing this, Russia believed it had a free hand to invade with massive force, and did so. Georgia, of course, responded by seeking to liquidate the Russian forces, as any nation would do when its territory was invaded, and now Russia is seeking to use the Georgian response as an excuse to impose the same type of control over Georgia proper as it had during Soviet times.

The world must act immediately and forcefully to dissuade Russia from its fanciful notions of neo-Soviet imperialism. Russian forces have only barely been able to keep the lid on Chechnya (we’ve documented many instances of ongoing violence both there and in Ingushetia). Georgia is a far harder target than Chechnya and Russia’s imperialistic advances can only result ultimately in disaster in the long term. Russia’s stock market took a 6.5%, $57 billion loss on news of the Russian incursion. Even worse, Russia’s image is permanently destroyed now, as it has laid bare before the world its naked, bullying imperialist aggression — and in so doing wiped out any moral high ground it may have claimed to exclude the West from involvement in its own breakaway region.

But in the short term, the domino principle applies. Let Russia get away with annexing part of Georgia, it will take the rest. Permit that, and Ukraine is next. After that, who knows where the bloodlust of Russia’s KGB regime will end. Writing in the Telegraph Robert Parsons, international affairs editor of France24 TV, states: “This is no longer about a tiny country way off most people’s radar. Georgia’s fate is about the future world order, Europe’s place in it and persuading Moscow to desist from the brutish behaviour that has marked its recent foreign policy.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeze Rice gets it. She stated: “We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia’s territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil.” Former U.N. Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke gets it too: “They have two goals. To do a creeping annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and, secondly, to overthrow Saakashvili, who is a tremendous thorn in their side.” Even Barack Obama gets it: “As I stated in April this year, I am committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. This commitment has long been a fundamental building block of U.S. policy, and it will not change under the Obama administration. I also affirm Georgia’s right to pursue NATO membership. This aspiration in no way threatens the legitimate defense interests of Georgia’s neighbors.”  Now it’s time for President Bush to be heard (he recently snubbed Putin by refusing to meet with him in Beijing at the Olympiad, a powwow Putin had bragged would occur).

Russia opposes even economic sanctions against Iran, demanding negotiation. But when Georgia is at issue, Russia is entitled to immediate resort to military action. This is neo-Soviet hypocrisy in its full horror.

It. Must. Be. Stopped.

As Poland did in World War II, as Czechoslovakia did during the Cold War, the valiant people of Georgia are painting an indelible image in blood of the monstrous KGB regime that wields power in Moscow. Now, at last, that monster is laid utterly bare before the eyes of the world.  The warning call has been sounded for many years now, but so many have paid it no heed.

We. Must. Act. Now.

Watch the President of Georgia discussing the Russian attack here on CNN.