Thursday, August 14, 2008
UC is back (but so is the USSR)
My summer hiatus included a self-imposed news blackout... or at least, I didn’t follow news too closely. In place of news, I focused on Montana’s high prairie and mountains, and I can’t say I regret it. I’ll likely post a few photos soon. But first, the Russian invasion of Gruzhya (Georgia) is screaming for comment.
The general line in the U.S. press seems to be that Saakashvili went too far and provoked the Russian siloviki into attacking. Most of the experts and commentators on NPR’s various news shows have taken this line. But in fact, the Russians began "softening up" Georgia, via cyberattacks, well in advance of the Georgian advance into South Ossetia, as this Unian story makes clear. It’s obvious that these attacks were on behalf of the siloviki government; the idea that criminal gangs did this on their own is silly. Criminal gangs don’t waste effort on endeavors that don’t pay.
The Russians ought to be made to pay a high price for this brutal aggression. Unfortunately, America has lost its moral authority, is militarily overextended, and broke (thanks George). Western Europe is chicken. Eastern Europe is too weak to do anything. So these Russian сукини дети are getting away with murder, ethnic cleansing, and the destruction of liberty and independence in Georgia. Freedom is the rest of the FSU is threatened, and the Soviet, er, Siloviki, client regime of Iran is no doubt emboldened.
Analysts are quick to point out that in fact there is little the West can do. What??? How difficult would it be to do a "Rainbow Warrior" on the Moskva? For that matter, the USN is perfectly capable of sinking the entire Black Sea Fleet. This ought to be done; better such a defanging than leaving the Russian regime unscathed and ready next to destroy Ukraine’s independence. [Quick, see Footnote One.]
Ah, such reverie. well, at the least, why can't we return to the G7? Putin and co. have no business here. They are thugs, and civil discussion is beyond them. They understand strength and force, and little else. An early punishment would have a salutory effect. Putin ought not get away with this crime, and kicking them out of civilized circles would be a start.
The real danger, and importance of this issue, is this: the Siloviki are cobbling together an anti-American and anti-Western Eurasian alliance, one that includes Iran and China. Such an alliance would be fundamentally illiberal and destructive of civilization - on the wrong side of the 0 to 1 Kardashev cusp. But unfortunately, the West seems unwilling to do a thing about it.
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Footnote One: after being taken to task by Nathalie Vogel, I hasten to add this is poorly written and not what I was really trying to say. The situation does not warrant war, and I don't seriously believe the West ought to be sinking the Black Sea fleet. I suppose I could rewrite this post, but don't want to be accused of Stalinist "airbrushing." So I'll just leave it and admit I misspoke (OK, OK, Nathalie, I surrender, it's a dumb comment.)
Footnote Two: Comrade Putin’s lapdogs at the "Mises" Institute are yapping to defend the Russian aggression. здесь , здесь, и здесь. Note that these intellectual thugs term the Russian invasion of Georgia a "civil war" (in the second link).
Comrade Lew has been a friend of Putin for some time, so it’s no surprise. I guess the invasion is another "great sign that Russia is moving toward more freedom." Ugh.
Please do not interpret this as an hostile question, but, why should the US intervene?
Isn't this a situation that the UN should handle?
I agree that unilateral U.S. action is not really the answer, particularly with this administrations disastrous and destructive foreign policy record. I doubt the U.N. will be of any use, as Russia is on the Security Council, and China is also likely to block any action.
More important is the European reaction, which mostly means NATO, OSCE, EU, etc. The U.S. should take the lead there, because Europeans are unlikely to do so. Unfortunately, the Atlantic alliance is not in good shape, because of the bellicosity of the Bush administration.
Charles, you are getting carried away here. God knows I have clear views on who started what, when and I am not an appeaser.
Nevertheless, I suggest the usual thing: lean back, re-read your statement and get yourself of coffee:
this is the Moskva, ok? http://bp1.blogger.com/_MTE3roZy35A/R4oc6jf3ZTI/AAAAAAAAB1k/FwtKgssJQFE/s1600-h/Russian+Navy+Moskva+And+NATO+Ships.jpg (b-t-w from the excellent site @
This is the Rainbow Warrior: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/assets/graphics/rainbow-warrior
Now, you want a Rainbow Warrior action? You must be kidding. How many operatives would you need? And besides, you are aware that the two officers in question got caught , then arrested and then trialed for operating on quasi ALLIED ground. Imagine, if this had happened on non-allied ground.
So what you want is send people, on non-allied soil (as in violate the sovereign territory of a nation) to sink the huge Slava. All this without the non-allied country to a) notice the presence of these people...(trouble...as in you need native speakers...they need an exit strategy) And without the non-allied country to b) react to the attack on one of their battleships...You realize that this would be by international law, a casus belli?
Right...I suggest two coffees now... Reverie it is not, it is rather a nightmare. At any rate, this is not the way civilized nations act, Charles. NV
I actually did not mean the comment about the Moskva to be a policy recommendation, but an expression of my annoyance and anger, hence my referral to "reverie." So yes, I was indeed kidding. For one thing, I've previously stated the circumstances under which war is justified, and this doesn't meet any of them.
Mostly, I would just like to punch Putin in the nose. Of course, this also would prove to be a poor idea in reality... but that's what you get when you're living on coffee.