Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Almost 3AM - Update

Obama has finally figured out that Russia is the aggressor and adopts McCain's position calling for Russia to withdraw ground forces from Russia. He has also clued into the cease-fire. "For many month I have warned that there needs to be active international engagement to peacefully settle the disputes over South Ossetia." Hmmm. I've heard the Global Citizen call for international engagement in all kinds of things, but this is the first time I've heard him mention Ossetia.

We should also convene other international forums to condemn this aggression to call for an immediate end to the violence and to review multi-lateral and bi-lateral arrangements with Russia including Russia's interest in joining the World Trade Organization.

Oooo ... multi-lateral and bi-lateral, that must be super duper diplomatic. So ... Russia invades a small democratic neighbor, and in response, we should consider letting them join the WTO? Forgive my lack of nuance, but WTF? Also, according to Obama, Russia's behavior is "wholly inconsistent with the Olympic ideal." For real, Russia, if you're going to go and invade neighboring democracies -- don't do it during summer vacation! "Michelle is going to be, like, so pissed if I make this press conference longer than five minutes." [Okay, I made that one up.]

McCain presents a lengthy review of Georgia's history and attempts to put the recent crisis in a larger context:


9min 13sec is an awfully long time for me to pay attention to anything, and the salmon colored tie and powder blue shirt are definitely making me wonder, if he's not senile, could he possibly be color blind? I also don't understand the point of going to the UN Security council when Russia has a veto over any putative action; however, McCain's past advocacy of a League of Democracies and calls to exclude Russia from the G8 appear impressively prescient given its recent aggressive behavior. Either of these two organizations might have given us a multi-lateral platform from which to exert diplomatic pressure as opposed to the UNSC in which Russia has veto power or the continually ineffectual EU. McCain may not be the hip candidate, but he does come out looking like the informed one.

Our handling of Georgia is an important test for the United States. Putin is likely to be sublimely unconcerned with international opinion, and Russia's natural gas and petroleum reserves make economic sanctions an empty threat. However, a limp response by the US risks emboldening Russia to expand its ambitions to other former Soviet Republics and eastern European satellites meanwhile encouraging any wanna-be's like Venezuela and Iran to make power and territory grabs of their own. Recent history is full of examples where the appeasement of dictatorial ambitions only allows conflicts to fester precipitates a broader crisis.

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