Is Georgia Important?

You won’t often find me quoting the Libertarian Cato Institute line of reasoning, but on the Georgia-Russia conflict I think they are right on the money.

One suspects that the goal of the U.S. venture is not purely humanitarian. The humanitarian justification is likely – at least in part – a cover for an attempt to establish a bridgehead of U.S. military and political influence in Georgia to thwart the advance of Russian power.

If so, the Bush administration is taking an extraordinary risk for very limited stakes. There might be some places in the world that are less relevant than Georgia to the security and liberty of the American people, but it would take a concerted search to find them. The conflict in Georgia is a tragedy with murky roots, and one certainly grieves for the innocent people caught up in the violence. But it will solve nothing for the United States to blunder into that conflict. Bush’s hasty, intrusive humanitarian-aid mission creates precisely that danger. 

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0 Responses to Is Georgia Important?

  1. Hugo says:

    Yaksme, answer’s Yes. For humanitarian reasons; and because she’s a democracy (let’s please take that in JFK’s sense, not Dr. Wilson’s); and because the very important Ukraine and other fledgling democracies and republics in the region look to the U.S. to defend democracy when it is bullied.

    But most importantly Georgia should be important to us at this moment because she is important to Russia’s expansionist plans. The isolationists at Cato are Catatonic on this one, especially in their baseless allegations (pro Putin) that our military is using humanitarian relief missions for military purposes. Long story short, this is so close to the Sudetenland trial zeppelin of 1938 that it seems as though Soviet planners were playing with historical-reinactor video games.

    The similarities are so numerous they’re almost funny. Has the Bear no imagination? Not so much as a little R.E.M. during those long winters? And guess who gets this in HER sleep? Dr. Condoleeza Rice. She trained as a Sovietologist, did her dissertation on Czechoslovakia (my analog), helped negotiate a ban on the type of medium-range missiles the Russians made sure to trumpet Rice’s Georgia visit this week, and she was a pioneer in laying out the complexities of new, potential U.S. alliance relations in post-Soviet Europe. This challenge — to protect the piece while democracy and keeping a weather eye on the Bear — this is the moment for which the lady has prepared herself all her life.

    I know that many of you resent her past decisions and actions, but keep your seats, please, and just watch what this lady is made of.

  2. Hugo says:

    Yaksme, answer’s Yes. For humanitarian reasons; and because she’s a democracy (let’s please take that in JFK’s sense, not Dr. Wilson’s); and because the very important Ukraine and other fledgling democracies and republics in the region look to the U.S. to defend democracy when it is bullied.

    But most importantly Georgia should be important to us at this moment because she is important to Russia’s expansionist plans. The isolationists at Cato are Catatonic on this one, especially in their baseless allegations (pro Putin) that our military is using humanitarian relief missions for military purposes. Long story short, this is so close to the Sudetenland trial zeppelin of 1938 that it seems as though Soviet planners were playing with historical-reinactor video games.

    The similarities are so numerous they’re almost funny. Has the Bear no imagination? Not so much as a little R.E.M. during those long winters? And guess who gets this in HER sleep? Dr. Condoleeza Rice. She trained as a Sovietologist, did her dissertation on Czechoslovakia (my analog), helped negotiate a ban on the type of medium-range missiles the Russians made sure to trumpet Rice’s Georgia visit this week, and she was a pioneer in laying out the complexities of new, potential U.S. alliance relations in post-Soviet Europe. This challenge — to protect the piece while democracy and keeping a weather eye on the Bear — this is the moment for which the lady has prepared herself all her life.

    I know that many of you resent her past decisions and actions, but keep your seats, please, and just watch what this lady is made of.

  3. Hugo says:

    Errata:

    I said “Soviet” planner when I meant to say “Russian”. (‘Excuse me, mein Fuehrer — I, I mean mein President!’)

    And this one got really garbled. Here’s how it was supposed to go: “This challenge — to protect the peace while defending democracy, all the while keeping a weather eye on the Bear — this is the moment for which the lady has prepared herself all her life.”

    [My cast comes off in 48 hours.]

  4. Hugo says:

    Errata:

    I said “Soviet” planner when I meant to say “Russian”. (‘Excuse me, mein Fuehrer — I, I mean mein President!’)

    And this one got really garbled. Here’s how it was supposed to go: “This challenge — to protect the peace while defending democracy, all the while keeping a weather eye on the Bear — this is the moment for which the lady has prepared herself all her life.”

    [My cast comes off in 48 hours.]

  5. Rick Turner says:

    What is it about “democracy” that is so worth defending when it’s been perverted in this country? When a Republican Secretary of State in Florida can flip the results of a national election up side down? When a packed Supreme Court can overthrow the will of a majority of the voters of the United States? When a sitting president can lie his way into a war that benefits his buddies? Is this the kind of democracy that Condi wishes upon other nations? I hope not, but I’m not holding my breath.

  6. Rick Turner says:

    What is it about “democracy” that is so worth defending when it’s been perverted in this country? When a Republican Secretary of State in Florida can flip the results of a national election up side down? When a packed Supreme Court can overthrow the will of a majority of the voters of the United States? When a sitting president can lie his way into a war that benefits his buddies? Is this the kind of democracy that Condi wishes upon other nations? I hope not, but I’m not holding my breath.

  7. Hugo says:

    Rick, I’ll discreetly burp in the direction of your word “packed” to describe the 9 Uberpundits, but other than that it strikes me that something like, or something exactly like, what you name in your litany has happened repeatedly in our culture. And I’ve not had the impression, over the last 50 years, that we really mean “run your democracy our way.” We had formidable Anthros and even Army generals telling our poobahs in the ’50s that such a British model wouldn’t work anyway. I think that we, like Jimmy Carter, are fairly well satisfied to enact an Enlightenment deist’s idea of a Divine Creator: Wind it up and let it run; by which I mean, ensure their self-determination through one or another “certifiable” election (certifiable meaning, rid of enough corruption that you’d lend your name to the certification).

    I mean, we could go into your stuff, point-by-point, and indicate the several precedents for each; it was Jackson and, later, Roosevelt the Lionhearted who tried to “pack” the SCOTUS. You can make a lot of money proving that Katherine Harris, that Parliamentary mastermind, stole the election by swinging Florida; but then we’d have to bring up a number of corrupted Presidential votes, including the Kennedy’s’ lavish and brazen operations in the Primaries and the General (on Barack Obama’s designated “home turf”, even!) And, bless you guys holding out in Santa Cruz, as in Nevada City and a few other garrisons of counterculture, but California was built on war, war profiteering and finance, war manufacturing, war R&D, war-related housing, military bases, returning and deactivating military personnel, war brides, war-based settlement patterns (with “housing” and financial schemes to match), the (first) G.I. Bill, and a youth culture that became a fruitful counterculture by way of its obsession with…a war and its draft.

    So don’t hold your breath for Dr. Rice to pull one out of a hat. I very bloody well understand why you wouldn’t do that. But just don’t be surprised if, by the time she’s through, not only is Georgia more secure in its territorial sanctity, but Russia is a more — not less — welcome member of all that’s important save China.

  8. Hugo says:

    Rick, I’ll discreetly burp in the direction of your word “packed” to describe the 9 Uberpundits, but other than that it strikes me that something like, or something exactly like, what you name in your litany has happened repeatedly in our culture. And I’ve not had the impression, over the last 50 years, that we really mean “run your democracy our way.” We had formidable Anthros and even Army generals telling our poobahs in the ’50s that such a British model wouldn’t work anyway. I think that we, like Jimmy Carter, are fairly well satisfied to enact an Enlightenment deist’s idea of a Divine Creator: Wind it up and let it run; by which I mean, ensure their self-determination through one or another “certifiable” election (certifiable meaning, rid of enough corruption that you’d lend your name to the certification).

    I mean, we could go into your stuff, point-by-point, and indicate the several precedents for each; it was Jackson and, later, Roosevelt the Lionhearted who tried to “pack” the SCOTUS. You can make a lot of money proving that Katherine Harris, that Parliamentary mastermind, stole the election by swinging Florida; but then we’d have to bring up a number of corrupted Presidential votes, including the Kennedy’s’ lavish and brazen operations in the Primaries and the General (on Barack Obama’s designated “home turf”, even!) And, bless you guys holding out in Santa Cruz, as in Nevada City and a few other garrisons of counterculture, but California was built on war, war profiteering and finance, war manufacturing, war R&D, war-related housing, military bases, returning and deactivating military personnel, war brides, war-based settlement patterns (with “housing” and financial schemes to match), the (first) G.I. Bill, and a youth culture that became a fruitful counterculture by way of its obsession with…a war and its draft.

    So don’t hold your breath for Dr. Rice to pull one out of a hat. I very bloody well understand why you wouldn’t do that. But just don’t be surprised if, by the time she’s through, not only is Georgia more secure in its territorial sanctity, but Russia is a more — not less — welcome member of all that’s important save China.

  9. Hugo says:

    And as for Russia’s near-term fate, let’s quote one of Jon’s witty and recent headlines, out of context: “CRUDE FALLS”

  10. Hugo says:

    And as for Russia’s near-term fate, let’s quote one of Jon’s witty and recent headlines, out of context: “CRUDE FALLS”

  11. Rick Turner says:

    Hugo, I do realize that some of this is the “same old.” I was just trying to stay within the experiential memory of folks here. Also, there are some politicians who seem to rise to the occasion, never mind the Mafia helping them get started or whatever, but the current crop inside the Beltway are the biggest thieves and charlatans I’ve seen in my 65 years on the planet. These guys make Nixon look like a Sunday school teacher, Carter look like the most competent president in recent history other than Clinton who looks like a paragon of wisdom and moral fortitude. I long for the days of an Eisenhower.

  12. Rick Turner says:

    Hugo, I do realize that some of this is the “same old.” I was just trying to stay within the experiential memory of folks here. Also, there are some politicians who seem to rise to the occasion, never mind the Mafia helping them get started or whatever, but the current crop inside the Beltway are the biggest thieves and charlatans I’ve seen in my 65 years on the planet. These guys make Nixon look like a Sunday school teacher, Carter look like the most competent president in recent history other than Clinton who looks like a paragon of wisdom and moral fortitude. I long for the days of an Eisenhower.

  13. Hugo says:

    Yeah, Rick, I feel a lot that way too, though I came too late to remember Eisenhower, of whom I read, probably, almost two shelf-feet, many of them his. Were John McCain simply less peripatetic, less twisted-funny, and less Queeg, he could be something like Ike.

    But I think the country really wants — and deserves, and I mean Independents and a lot of GOP and everybody — is (as usual) a Jack Kennedy, whose father was a mafioso, just not an Italian one. JFK was a partly indefensible JFK, but he’s still been the JFK who’s done JFK the best — you know? And Barack and Michele, well.

    Thing about Kennedy was that he carried over Eisenhower’s and Truman’s Communist-Containment-and-Engagement policy (and bequeathed it, posthumously, to Nixon), while constantly feeling for the edges and keeping his ear to the ground and looking at what could be done domestically to deny the Soviets any hope of ultimate economic bragging rights, while simply trying to take care of the expanding public notion of the “US”, the “WE”.

    Those are fine things upon which to spend an incumbency. (Besides, he made the young folk happy and hopeful.)

    But I’m afraid we’re going to have to wait another half-century for that kind of common-sense verve, and agreement to be just happy that we’re Americans.

  14. Hugo says:

    Yeah, Rick, I feel a lot that way too, though I came too late to remember Eisenhower, of whom I read, probably, almost two shelf-feet, many of them his. Were John McCain simply less peripatetic, less twisted-funny, and less Queeg, he could be something like Ike.

    But I think the country really wants — and deserves, and I mean Independents and a lot of GOP and everybody — is (as usual) a Jack Kennedy, whose father was a mafioso, just not an Italian one. JFK was a partly indefensible JFK, but he’s still been the JFK who’s done JFK the best — you know? And Barack and Michele, well.

    Thing about Kennedy was that he carried over Eisenhower’s and Truman’s Communist-Containment-and-Engagement policy (and bequeathed it, posthumously, to Nixon), while constantly feeling for the edges and keeping his ear to the ground and looking at what could be done domestically to deny the Soviets any hope of ultimate economic bragging rights, while simply trying to take care of the expanding public notion of the “US”, the “WE”.

    Those are fine things upon which to spend an incumbency. (Besides, he made the young folk happy and hopeful.)

    But I’m afraid we’re going to have to wait another half-century for that kind of common-sense verve, and agreement to be just happy that we’re Americans.

  15. len says:

    There’s politics then there’s magick.

    Politics is a linear game. For this move, try to get this result. For this choice, try to get this compromise. It’s tedious but it’s how the day to day gets done.

    Magick is non-linear. It is networks of networks, choices of choices. It is the story retold many times that means something different to each set of ears every time. Magick is emotions. Magick scales. Magick has talismans of the heart.

    Math will tell you the ideal density of a guitar’s resonator but almost nothing about why a certain set of fingers at a certain time will make a sound that will cause two people to get married and have kids.

    I know it’s naive, but consider this: Rick may finish up a guitar next week that will be played for the next 300 years. Stradivarius was just feeding his brood but how many stories have been fit to how many rooms from a single collection of glue and wood because he did?

    That’s magick. If you have it, use it. Feed ‘em.

  16. len says:

    There’s politics then there’s magick.

    Politics is a linear game. For this move, try to get this result. For this choice, try to get this compromise. It’s tedious but it’s how the day to day gets done.

    Magick is non-linear. It is networks of networks, choices of choices. It is the story retold many times that means something different to each set of ears every time. Magick is emotions. Magick scales. Magick has talismans of the heart.

    Math will tell you the ideal density of a guitar’s resonator but almost nothing about why a certain set of fingers at a certain time will make a sound that will cause two people to get married and have kids.

    I know it’s naive, but consider this: Rick may finish up a guitar next week that will be played for the next 300 years. Stradivarius was just feeding his brood but how many stories have been fit to how many rooms from a single collection of glue and wood because he did?

    That’s magick. If you have it, use it. Feed ‘em.

  17. Hugo says:

    len,

    “Politics” needs that Magick — needs to be subsumed by that Magick — now, right now, in the worst way, because it is in the worst way and doesn’t know it. And as we all know, that means it’s time to throw on your clothes and HELP.

    Because it really must not remain linear, like entrails removed and stretched straight. Of course we understand that a true musician can take one of Rick’s artisanal instruments and become instrumental in joining a couple for a life of love. We’ve seen it. We know it’s true.

    But the fight is as against a Great Wall: to turn a linear thing on its head, inside out, in knots — to turn it to the Good. It’s not sufficient to satiate the hungry, Len. I’ve seen many, of diverse stripes — Union Rescue Mission, Western Farmworkers Association, Cal-Homemakers, the Salvation Army — do the sing-for-your- supper routine. And that’s great; it leads to physical health, and besides I make a really hearty soup. But you obviously know so well that we’re built for more, for sustenance of the spirit and of the autonomous mind.

    Bring that Magick to bear upon contemporary politics, and I’ll be dependably at your side. With good soup.

  18. Hugo says:

    len,

    “Politics” needs that Magick — needs to be subsumed by that Magick — now, right now, in the worst way, because it is in the worst way and doesn’t know it. And as we all know, that means it’s time to throw on your clothes and HELP.

    Because it really must not remain linear, like entrails removed and stretched straight. Of course we understand that a true musician can take one of Rick’s artisanal instruments and become instrumental in joining a couple for a life of love. We’ve seen it. We know it’s true.

    But the fight is as against a Great Wall: to turn a linear thing on its head, inside out, in knots — to turn it to the Good. It’s not sufficient to satiate the hungry, Len. I’ve seen many, of diverse stripes — Union Rescue Mission, Western Farmworkers Association, Cal-Homemakers, the Salvation Army — do the sing-for-your- supper routine. And that’s great; it leads to physical health, and besides I make a really hearty soup. But you obviously know so well that we’re built for more, for sustenance of the spirit and of the autonomous mind.

    Bring that Magick to bear upon contemporary politics, and I’ll be dependably at your side. With good soup.

  19. Michael Spencer says:

    Here we go again.

    Could it simply be a Bearish response to missiles in Poland? Could someone esplain me why this isn’t the case?

  20. Michael Spencer says:

    Here we go again.

    Could it simply be a Bearish response to missiles in Poland? Could someone esplain me why this isn’t the case?

  21. Hugo says:

    Timing’s off. Russia spent months preparing the invasion.

    The controversy over Poland is due to its vote for inclusion in the U.S. defense shield, which shield the Russians believe will significantly obviate Russian ballistic missiles.

  22. Hugo says:

    Timing’s off. Russia spent months preparing the invasion.

    The controversy over Poland is due to its vote for inclusion in the U.S. defense shield, which shield the Russians believe will significantly obviate Russian ballistic missiles.

  23. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- Michael is right, I think. The missle shield issue, which has been going on for three years, is clearly seen in Russia as “encirclement”.

  24. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- Michael is right, I think. The missle shield issue, which has been going on for three years, is clearly seen in Russia as “encirclement”.

  25. Keith says:

    French energy banker Jerome a Paris says:

    ” US president George W. Bush on Friday warned Russia that ‘bullying and intimidation’ would not be tolerated as diplomatic efforts to resolve the week-old crisis in Georgia intensified.

    The Georgian crisis is fast turning into an opportunity to engage into a large-scale diplomatic/political campaign against Russia. The question is – does this make any sense? If the goal is to make Russia change its behavior, what can the West do to actually make that happen? More generally, what do we want from Russia, and does it make sense?

    ~~~

    So far, nothing in what we’ve seen towards Russia lately makes any kind of sense. Bluster. Sanctimonious bullshit. Mindless invocation of long trashed concepts like “freedom” and “democracy”. Needless provocation. Threats that cannot be backed by anything real. Appeals to higher sentiments. And, above everything, appalling double standards and breathtaking hypocrisy.

    And no hint of any kind of effective realpolitik, even if we can’t get consistency with our professed values. ”

    …much MUCH more: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/16/162535/287/572/568966

  26. Keith says:

    French energy banker Jerome a Paris says:

    ” US president George W. Bush on Friday warned Russia that ‘bullying and intimidation’ would not be tolerated as diplomatic efforts to resolve the week-old crisis in Georgia intensified.

    The Georgian crisis is fast turning into an opportunity to engage into a large-scale diplomatic/political campaign against Russia. The question is – does this make any sense? If the goal is to make Russia change its behavior, what can the West do to actually make that happen? More generally, what do we want from Russia, and does it make sense?

    ~~~

    So far, nothing in what we’ve seen towards Russia lately makes any kind of sense. Bluster. Sanctimonious bullshit. Mindless invocation of long trashed concepts like “freedom” and “democracy”. Needless provocation. Threats that cannot be backed by anything real. Appeals to higher sentiments. And, above everything, appalling double standards and breathtaking hypocrisy.

    And no hint of any kind of effective realpolitik, even if we can’t get consistency with our professed values. ”

    …much MUCH more: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/16/162535/287/572/568966

  27. Rick Turner says:

    The cost of empire is measured in rubles as well as dollars. It still all comes down now to being energy independent. That’s why the Germans are leading the world in converting to alternatives to oil and natural gas. They know too well not to trust the Russians for their fuel. The sooner we can all tell the oiligarchs to get stuffed, the better the world will be.

  28. Rick Turner says:

    The cost of empire is measured in rubles as well as dollars. It still all comes down now to being energy independent. That’s why the Germans are leading the world in converting to alternatives to oil and natural gas. They know too well not to trust the Russians for their fuel. The sooner we can all tell the oiligarchs to get stuffed, the better the world will be.

  29. Hugo says:

    Keith,

    There must’ve been a glitch in the translation from the original French. The third paragraph you quote from Jerome a Paris should begin with the sentence, “So far, nothing in what we’ve seen FROM from Russia lately makes any kind of sense.” Besides, the translation is ungrammatical, redundant and self-contradictory. So I hope you won’t mind if I decline the invitation to click on the link so as to read more.

    Jon,

    Quite so, and the question of NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine has been going on still longer. (Both are now assured by Russia’s brutality.) The shield discussion viz Poland was wrapped up the moment Russia violated Georgia’s borders. I was trying to discourage any further fantasies about U.S. medium range missiles in Poland, a strange gloss on Turkey’s U.S. ballistic missiles that threatened the USSR until JFK traded their removal for the removal of Cuba’s USSR missiles. No similarity.

    It really does take a specialist to diagnose Moscow’s pschopathology at any given moment. Such a caldron of resentment, testosterone, humiliation, arrogance, bloodlust, grandiosity, umbrage, sentimentality, drunkenness…etc.

  30. Hugo says:

    Keith,

    There must’ve been a glitch in the translation from the original French. The third paragraph you quote from Jerome a Paris should begin with the sentence, “So far, nothing in what we’ve seen FROM from Russia lately makes any kind of sense.” Besides, the translation is ungrammatical, redundant and self-contradictory. So I hope you won’t mind if I decline the invitation to click on the link so as to read more.

    Jon,

    Quite so, and the question of NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine has been going on still longer. (Both are now assured by Russia’s brutality.) The shield discussion viz Poland was wrapped up the moment Russia violated Georgia’s borders. I was trying to discourage any further fantasies about U.S. medium range missiles in Poland, a strange gloss on Turkey’s U.S. ballistic missiles that threatened the USSR until JFK traded their removal for the removal of Cuba’s USSR missiles. No similarity.

    It really does take a specialist to diagnose Moscow’s pschopathology at any given moment. Such a caldron of resentment, testosterone, humiliation, arrogance, bloodlust, grandiosity, umbrage, sentimentality, drunkenness…etc.

  31. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- A lot of Russian paranoia, but as any reader of Tolstoy would know, this is not new. Why play into it with phony arguments about putting up useless missles shields that don’t even work on test missles with locator beams on them?

    In the end, Oligarchs like Abramovich have the real power and they just want to be able to be part of the western jet set.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/arts/design/17voge.html

    As Bill Keller put it so well in The Times this morning:
    “The Chinese, in fact, are acting as if they have gotten past the saber-rattling stage of emerging-power status; they lavish diplomacy on Taiwan and Japan, and deploy the might of capital instead. The Russians may be in a more adolescent, table-pounding stage of development, but Mr. Putin, too, prefers to work the economic levers, bullying with petroleum.

    The United States, meanwhile, is mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, estranged from much of the world, and bled by serial economic crises.

    History, it seems, is back, and not so obviously on our side.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/weekinreview/17keller.html

  32. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- A lot of Russian paranoia, but as any reader of Tolstoy would know, this is not new. Why play into it with phony arguments about putting up useless missles shields that don’t even work on test missles with locator beams on them?

    In the end, Oligarchs like Abramovich have the real power and they just want to be able to be part of the western jet set.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/arts/design/17voge.html

    As Bill Keller put it so well in The Times this morning:
    “The Chinese, in fact, are acting as if they have gotten past the saber-rattling stage of emerging-power status; they lavish diplomacy on Taiwan and Japan, and deploy the might of capital instead. The Russians may be in a more adolescent, table-pounding stage of development, but Mr. Putin, too, prefers to work the economic levers, bullying with petroleum.

    The United States, meanwhile, is mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, estranged from much of the world, and bled by serial economic crises.

    History, it seems, is back, and not so obviously on our side.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/weekinreview/17keller.html

  33. Rachel says:

    I don’t think this is that hard to understand. I don’t believe it’s about anything larger geopolitically – in fact I think it’s not dissimilar to the US invasion of Grenada, which is best looked at as something that was largely to do with internal US politics.

    Grenada was useful to Reagan because it helped lift the US out of its post Vietnam, post-Iran funk (“Yeah, we can still kick ass”), and sent a message to its enemies (Cuba). It was a completely disproportionate action, based on a pretext (so-called student “hostages”), that made the USA feel good about itself again.

    The Russians now feel great about their place in the world. It’s restored them to “great power” status, for very little investment. It’s distracted from any number of problems at home. On any level, it’s been a great success for them.

    This is not to say I in any way sympathise with Putin, Medvedev or the Russian position – they are thugs, pure and simple. But Saakashvili handed them a gift on a platter by using military force to solve a domestic criminal problem. The results have been tragic. But as a political issue it has a lot more to do with Russian domestic politics than with US-Russian relations.

  34. Rachel says:

    I don’t think this is that hard to understand. I don’t believe it’s about anything larger geopolitically – in fact I think it’s not dissimilar to the US invasion of Grenada, which is best looked at as something that was largely to do with internal US politics.

    Grenada was useful to Reagan because it helped lift the US out of its post Vietnam, post-Iran funk (“Yeah, we can still kick ass”), and sent a message to its enemies (Cuba). It was a completely disproportionate action, based on a pretext (so-called student “hostages”), that made the USA feel good about itself again.

    The Russians now feel great about their place in the world. It’s restored them to “great power” status, for very little investment. It’s distracted from any number of problems at home. On any level, it’s been a great success for them.

    This is not to say I in any way sympathise with Putin, Medvedev or the Russian position – they are thugs, pure and simple. But Saakashvili handed them a gift on a platter by using military force to solve a domestic criminal problem. The results have been tragic. But as a political issue it has a lot more to do with Russian domestic politics than with US-Russian relations.

  35. Rick Turner says:

    Good point of view, Rachel. It’s the clash of an idiot and a thug. The problem is that it’s the innocent who pay with their lives…as usual.

  36. Rick Turner says:

    Good point of view, Rachel. It’s the clash of an idiot and a thug. The problem is that it’s the innocent who pay with their lives…as usual.

  37. len says:

    It’s about the pipeline. It was designed to go around Russian influence. Control of that flow is vital to Putin.

    Otherwise, he’s rubbing out nose in it to show the neighboring countries not to cozy up to the eagle because it won’t be there when needed.

    Classic mau mau. It works as long as people are afraid. Putin’s strategy is being used to soften them up and get two provinces in the bargain.

  38. len says:

    It’s about the pipeline. It was designed to go around Russian influence. Control of that flow is vital to Putin.

    Otherwise, he’s rubbing out nose in it to show the neighboring countries not to cozy up to the eagle because it won’t be there when needed.

    Classic mau mau. It works as long as people are afraid. Putin’s strategy is being used to soften them up and get two provinces in the bargain.

  39. Ken Ballweg says:

    And now, for a totally different perspective, from (God love us) Patrick J. Buchanan. Here’s his lead in:

    “Blowback From Bear-Baiting 08/15/2008
    Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

    Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.” and “Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

    Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?”

    Here’s the URL:

    http://tinyurl.com/6lblut

    Good old Pat, proving once again that being conservative doesn’t need to mean “blinded by the light.” And Jon, you gotta love the final line: “The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost — in Tbilisi.”

  40. Ken Ballweg says:

    And now, for a totally different perspective, from (God love us) Patrick J. Buchanan. Here’s his lead in:

    “Blowback From Bear-Baiting 08/15/2008
    Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

    Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.” and “Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

    Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?”

    Here’s the URL:

    http://tinyurl.com/6lblut

    Good old Pat, proving once again that being conservative doesn’t need to mean “blinded by the light.” And Jon, you gotta love the final line: “The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost — in Tbilisi.”

  41. len bullard says:

    “…sustenance of the spirit and of the autonomous mind. ”

    There must be a prize for autonomy.

    One of the really neat things about solar coupled to a better battery coupled to an efficient electric motor is the discipline it brings to driving.

    From the time I studied acting to music theory, to zazen to software, the essential problem has been discipline. We used to say that stage magic was the art of misdirecting attention but that real magick is the discipline of directed attention.

    This is where Obama can do magick if he will and McCain is doing it well because he believes himself. McCain is directing or misdirecting attention with his little stories. They hold the listener. It is a very effective spell. Obama talks too long with too many if-thens or switch statements and loses the listener. One can’t tell if Obama believes himself.

    That’s style and it can be learned and polished. Obama is at his best in the big crowd with broad topics. He plays well to the stadium because the crowd has energy to sustain the group mind. McCain plays best to the small room because he is directing them inward and they use their own energy to sustain their own mind. That makes McCain a danger to Obama in the debates. David Gergen is right about that.

    A test of direction or misdirection is if the talk/spell/speech (pick one) creates in the listener a sense of self-empowerment. Obama is leaning too much on the “we can” and not enough on the “you will if try” or some other form that creates in the listener a sense of their own magick.

    I don’t know if Obama can escape his own sense of self-importance, but that will be crucial in the months to come. It isn’t enough to be black, or pretty, or smart. He has to be believable and any actor can tell you that means he has to get out of the teleprompter and be there. The camera instantly outs the falsity of the speech or the moment.

    It isn’t an easy discipline to master but those who do it best listen best. Listening is everything. Timing is everything else.

  42. len bullard says:

    “…sustenance of the spirit and of the autonomous mind. ”

    There must be a prize for autonomy.

    One of the really neat things about solar coupled to a better battery coupled to an efficient electric motor is the discipline it brings to driving.

    From the time I studied acting to music theory, to zazen to software, the essential problem has been discipline. We used to say that stage magic was the art of misdirecting attention but that real magick is the discipline of directed attention.

    This is where Obama can do magick if he will and McCain is doing it well because he believes himself. McCain is directing or misdirecting attention with his little stories. They hold the listener. It is a very effective spell. Obama talks too long with too many if-thens or switch statements and loses the listener. One can’t tell if Obama believes himself.

    That’s style and it can be learned and polished. Obama is at his best in the big crowd with broad topics. He plays well to the stadium because the crowd has energy to sustain the group mind. McCain plays best to the small room because he is directing them inward and they use their own energy to sustain their own mind. That makes McCain a danger to Obama in the debates. David Gergen is right about that.

    A test of direction or misdirection is if the talk/spell/speech (pick one) creates in the listener a sense of self-empowerment. Obama is leaning too much on the “we can” and not enough on the “you will if try” or some other form that creates in the listener a sense of their own magick.

    I don’t know if Obama can escape his own sense of self-importance, but that will be crucial in the months to come. It isn’t enough to be black, or pretty, or smart. He has to be believable and any actor can tell you that means he has to get out of the teleprompter and be there. The camera instantly outs the falsity of the speech or the moment.

    It isn’t an easy discipline to master but those who do it best listen best. Listening is everything. Timing is everything else.

  43. Hugo says:

    “It’s about the pipeline.”

    Len, it’s about a lot of things, ain’t a one-a them good. But I’m really starting to dig what you and Jon and Rick are saying about fighting with Green. That, frankly, is exhilarating. And I could see it working out, too, as long as we don’t forget that it’s nothing less than a fight. It ain’t rubber duckies and daisies in gun barrels, but boy howdy! how beautifully situated is the non-profit and for-profit private sector of the Bear Flag Republic to take the lead.

    The Governor is the only elected state official worth a damn in this, and all he’s got left is his very bully pulpit and a $15 billion dollar sinkhole, since the Legislature and the statewide officers have been very busy bankrupting that nation-state and driving off urgently needed businesses with their utter ignorance of the ramifications of their incessant and uncanny scramble for the Pinata candy — as though it were merely that, and not the People’s treasure. Gov. Schwarzenegger should pin each Democratic legislator, and any similarly afflicted Republicans, to the ground and inject them with pure-form Ritalin.

    He still works out. He could pull it off.

  44. Hugo says:

    “It’s about the pipeline.”

    Len, it’s about a lot of things, ain’t a one-a them good. But I’m really starting to dig what you and Jon and Rick are saying about fighting with Green. That, frankly, is exhilarating. And I could see it working out, too, as long as we don’t forget that it’s nothing less than a fight. It ain’t rubber duckies and daisies in gun barrels, but boy howdy! how beautifully situated is the non-profit and for-profit private sector of the Bear Flag Republic to take the lead.

    The Governor is the only elected state official worth a damn in this, and all he’s got left is his very bully pulpit and a $15 billion dollar sinkhole, since the Legislature and the statewide officers have been very busy bankrupting that nation-state and driving off urgently needed businesses with their utter ignorance of the ramifications of their incessant and uncanny scramble for the Pinata candy — as though it were merely that, and not the People’s treasure. Gov. Schwarzenegger should pin each Democratic legislator, and any similarly afflicted Republicans, to the ground and inject them with pure-form Ritalin.

    He still works out. He could pull it off.

  45. len says:

    ” I could see it working out, too, as long as we don’t forget that it’s nothing less than a fight. ”

    All actors in these narratives are not fighters, Hugo. Some are warriors. Some aren’t.

    I came to this list because Bob Sutor linked to an article about cranky artists. I am a big believer that creators can have more power than fighters. But only if persistence and patience are applied to their art. Force is karma-degrading noise for me. I choose ahimsa because it enables bhakti and this choice makes the voice of the source most clear. For a creator, that voice is most desired .

    Individually we are who yells loudest.
    Communally, we are who yells best. If it is true that we remember some of what we see and hear but all of what we feel then we are a big storage device for emotional events. What affects us emotionally has value and that means art has the power to change us.

    Call it simplistic. I think it essential.

  46. len says:

    ” I could see it working out, too, as long as we don’t forget that it’s nothing less than a fight. ”

    All actors in these narratives are not fighters, Hugo. Some are warriors. Some aren’t.

    I came to this list because Bob Sutor linked to an article about cranky artists. I am a big believer that creators can have more power than fighters. But only if persistence and patience are applied to their art. Force is karma-degrading noise for me. I choose ahimsa because it enables bhakti and this choice makes the voice of the source most clear. For a creator, that voice is most desired .

    Individually we are who yells loudest.
    Communally, we are who yells best. If it is true that we remember some of what we see and hear but all of what we feel then we are a big storage device for emotional events. What affects us emotionally has value and that means art has the power to change us.

    Call it simplistic. I think it essential.

  47. Morgan Warstler says:

    Here’s something weirdly intriguing:

    BIDEN says, ““I left the country convinced that Russia’s invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event to occur in Europe since the end of communism,” said Biden.

    “When Congress reconvenes, I intend to work with the administration to seek Congressional approval for $1 billion in emergency assistance for Georgia, with a substantial down payment on that aid to be included in the Congress’ next supplemental spending bill.”

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0808/Biden_calls_for_1_billion_in_emergency_aid_to_Georgia.html#comments

    —-

    I’m mentioning this to get feedback from you guys on Biden as the VP choice most likely amongst those who know (the reporters who homepage drudge):

    http://drudgereport.com/

    I’d say taken together, this logically leads to 1 of 2 choices:

    1) Biden is not the VP choice.
    2) Obama is about to follow McCain on Georgia.

    What say you?

  48. Morgan Warstler says:

    Here’s something weirdly intriguing:

    BIDEN says, ““I left the country convinced that Russia’s invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event to occur in Europe since the end of communism,” said Biden.

    “When Congress reconvenes, I intend to work with the administration to seek Congressional approval for $1 billion in emergency assistance for Georgia, with a substantial down payment on that aid to be included in the Congress’ next supplemental spending bill.”

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/0808/Biden_calls_for_1_billion_in_emergency_aid_to_Georgia.html#comments

    —-

    I’m mentioning this to get feedback from you guys on Biden as the VP choice most likely amongst those who know (the reporters who homepage drudge):

    http://drudgereport.com/

    I’d say taken together, this logically leads to 1 of 2 choices:

    1) Biden is not the VP choice.
    2) Obama is about to follow McCain on Georgia.

    What say you?

  49. Hugo says:

    len,

    My response to you posted, oddly enough, on Jon’s “Advertising Gem” string. Haven’t a clue how I managed that.

  50. Hugo says:

    len,

    My response to you posted, oddly enough, on Jon’s “Advertising Gem” string. Haven’t a clue how I managed that.

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