MONDAY AUGUST 18 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Russia is Insane
(2) Illarionov on Georgia
(3) One Photograph is Worth a Thousand Screams
(4) The Wall Street Journal Stands Up to Russia
(5) Essel on the Journal
(6) McCain: We are all Georgians
(7) How Georgia Can Fight and Win
NOTE: Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on Pajamas Media is up and running. It exposes the stomach-churning lies and utterly empty rhetoric being spewed out by Russian nationals as they scurry to rationalize the Russian invasion of Georgia, in this case one Olga Ivanova writing in the Washington Post. This item occupied the lead position on the powerful Pajamas blog on Saturday, the first time Kim has received that honor and we congratulate her on it.
NOTE: We have a large number of Russian readers, and we’d like to issue them a challenge.
Russia is Insane
“[South Ossetia and Abkhazia] are a part of Georgia and the international community has repeatedly made clear that they will remain so. There’s no room for debate on this matter.”
— U.S. President George Bush, speaking in Crawford Texas on August 16th
“I expect a very fast, very prompt withdrawal of Russian troops out of Georgia. This is an urgent matter. Georgia is a sovereign state and the territorial integrity of the state must be provided for. Georgia will, if it wants — and it does want to — become a member of NATO.”
— German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at the residence of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on August 17th
Even by Russian standards, the level of irrationality in the Kremlin’s behavior over the past two weeks has been breathtaking. And trust us, that’s saying something.
Russia attacked Georgia without, it appears, reflecting for even a second upon the facts that (a) it would look like a fool after condemning U.S. action in Iraq and crushing the separatists in Chechnya or (b) it would polarize the nations of Eastern Europe to a hysterical extent just at the very moment when it was seeking to get them to reject the proposed U.S. missile defense system, driving them into the waiting arms of NATO or (c) it would provoke the world’s most powerful country and its NATO allies into a new cold war, just like the one that absolutely destroyed the USSR or (d) it could even be helping Putin’s arch nemesis, John McCain, come to power.
And then, believe it or not, it got worse.
FinRosForum translates former Kremlin insider Andrei Illarionov from the pages of Yezhedevny Zhurnal, listing the 13 conclusions he thinks should be drawn from Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
1. The war against Georgia was a brilliant provocation carefully planned and successfully carried out by the Russian leadership. The campaign was practically identical to the plan carried out in another theatre at another time — [Chechen warlord Shamil] Basaev’s attack into Dagestan and the beginning of the second Chechen war in 1999.
The Georgian women bury their dead (New York Times)
In Gori, the bodies pile up in heaps in a pickup truck (New York Times)
As Russian tanks roll in, Georgian women beg for mercy (New York Times)
Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.
Two brilliant op-eds from a trio of lawyers writing in the Wall Street Journal show that it, along with the Washington Post, is clearly on the cutting edge of leadership in the new Cold War.
First, David Rivkin and Lee Casey, who served from 2004-2007 as members of the U.N. Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, expose the mafia-style “governance” in Russia that they call “the Kremlin’s Protection racket.”
Russia’s invasion of Georgia will be a defining moment for America’s credibility and global stability. If the Medvedev (or, rather, Putin) regime succeeds in using force to topple a democratic and pro-Western government, based on spurious claims of “protecting” Georgia’s population against its own government, the stage will be set for similar aggression against the other states — from the Baltics to Ukraine — that border Russia but look to the free West. The dangers of the post-September 11 World will be combined with the challenge of a new Cold War.
Making Russia Pay the Price for its Abominable Outrages
by Dave Essel
In my note Three Cheers for Georgia on August 13, I put forward some suggestions for civilised and proper actions that could be taken to bring home to Russia and its people the seriousness of such barbaric behaviour.
I am very pleased to see than no less an organ than the Wall Street Journal is advocating similar ideas in a opinion piece datelined August 15 entitled The Kremlin’s ‘Protection’ Racket by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
John McCain, Republican nominee for President of the United States, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
For anyone who thought that stark international aggression was a thing of the past, the last week must have come as a startling wake-up call. After clashes in the Georgian region of South Ossetia, Russia invaded its neighbor, launching attacks that threaten its very existence. Some Americans may wonder why events in this part of the world are any concern of ours. After all, Georgia is a small, remote and obscure place. But history is often made in remote, obscure places.
As Russian tanks and troops moved through the Roki Tunnel and across the internationally recognized border into Georgia, the Russian government stated that it was acting only to protect Ossetians. Yet regime change in Georgia appears to be the true Russian objective.
Stuart Koehl of the Weekly Standard explains how Russia can be beaten by Georgia on the battlefield:
Conventional wisdom has rapidly hardened around the proposition that there is no practical military response to the Russian invasion of Georgia. In fact, if the Georgians were inclined to fight, there is quite a lot they could do militarily, and in a way that would not directly involve U.S. or NATO forces. To understand how this military option would work, some background is required.