What are you hiding in Ossetia, Mr. Putin?
“There is, unfortunately, a silence and darkness with respect to the international monitors that has descended on South Ossetia. The solution is hardly to keep monitors out of South Ossetia. Russia has an obligation, since it controls this territory, to let in international observers.”
— U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried to reporters at a security conference in Helsinki, December 5th
Why is Vladimir Putin’s government refusing to allow international observers to view conditions in Ossetia? Is it afraid that observers would see horrific violation of human rights, pogroms being carried out against innocent ethnic Georgians to drive them from their homes and “cleanse” Ossetia of their presence?
And why, may we ask, is President-Elect Barack Obama silent about this outrage? Where is his professed concern about social justice and international law? As we reported earlier this week, Obama finally broke his silence on Georgia with an interview on Meet the Press, but his remarks were devoid of commentary on Russia’s current obstruction of inspectors and its attempt to annex Georgian territory. He merely condemned Russia’s military attack on Georgia proper, labeling the G-8 member a “bully.”
The Putin regime is attempting to blackmail the West by refusing to permit the defense of human rights in Ossetia until it is recognized by the West as a new country — something it knows full well the West will never do. Even if there were no cleansing going on on Ossetia, it would be quite telling that the Kremlin feels the only way it can win international recognition is through insidious blackmail and intimidation — the Kremlin knows it doesn’t have a policy leg to stand on.
Russia obstruction is not only occurring on the ground in Ossetia, but also in the corridors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe where Reuters reports that “diplomats said differences with Russia were mainly to blame for derailing attempts to agree on a joint declaration setting out the organization’s mission.” Even though Russia attempted to claim that leaks from the OSCE’s investigation of the war in Georgia favored Russia’s version of events, Russia is stubbornly refusing to cooperate in authorizing the OSCE’s charter.
Again we ask: What are you afraid of, Mr. Putin? What are you hiding?
Again we ask: Why are you silent, Mr. Obama? Is this an indication of the leadership we can expect from you when you take power? Are you, too, planning to look deeply into the eyes of Vladimir Putin?
If so, we are in for a long cold war.