The Day of Reckoning in Georgia
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.