Tag Archives: rhetoric

Special Extra — Biden on Russia

Uh-oh, Russia.  Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has chosen U.S. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate. Biden is chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and obviously has been selected to give Obama foreign policy chops he was lacking.  Here are Biden’s views on Russia’s attack on Georgia, from the Financial Times on August 12th (in another statment on August 18th, he bluntly accused Russia of lying about Georgian atrocities and its general intentions in the country)

Russia Must Stand Down

Despite Russia’s overwhelming advantage in size and firepower in its conflict with Georgia, the Kremlin may have the most to lose if the fighting there continues. It is too soon to know with certainty who was responsible for the initial outbreak of violence in South Ossetia, but the war that began there is no longer about Georgia’s breakaway regions or Russian peacekeepers.

By acting disproportionately with a full scale attack on Georgia and seeking the ouster of Georgia’s democratically elected President Mikheil Saakashvili, Moscow is jeopardising its standing in Europe and the broader international community – and risking very real practical and political consequences.

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Kagan on Georgia

Writing in the Washington Post Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of The Return of History and the End of Dreams, issues another clarion call of warning that the New Cold War with Russia is at hand:

The details of who did what to precipitate Russia’s war against Georgia are not very important. Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia? Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.

The events of the past week will be remembered that way, too. This war did not begin because of a miscalculation by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. It is a war that Moscow has been attempting to provoke for some time. The man who once called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century” has reestablished a virtual czarist rule in Russia and is trying to restore the country to its once-dominant role in Eurasia and the world. Armed with wealth from oil and gas; holding a near-monopoly over the energy supply to Europe; with a million soldiers, thousands of nuclear warheads and the world’s third-largest military budget, Vladimir Putin believes that now is the time to make his move.

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