Where from here in Georgia

August 12, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Georgia, sadly, is a defeated nation in a matter of days, says Josh Trevino. The task now for the West is to play a significant part in the aftermath. Trevino lists some options.

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Putin’s unchecked aggression

August 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Vladimir Putin and other Russian hardliners have long desired control over pro-Western Georgia. Georgia has much to desire in way of agriculture and landscape, and hardliners never accepted the sovereignty of the nation anyway. Now, they seem intent on making their wish a reality.

As they drop bombs on civilian targets and roll their tanks into Georgian territory, the West seems asleep at the wheel. You have to hand it to Putin, his strategy was brilliant. Build up forces on the border but take no action until the world was distracted. This week we had the opening ceremonies in Beijing, the American Congress is out on a month-long recess and many European parliaments are as well.

A friend of mine — a Georgian native — tells me her family is fleeing the country. All able-bodied men of age are being called up to serve in the conflict. I am told it is a matter of days before the Russians completely decimate everything Georgia has worked so hard to build. My friend thinks the stakes are greater than we understand. “It is the start of a new Cold War, whether the rest of the world wants to recognize it or not,” she said.

Start of a new Cold War or not, it is certainly dangerous and illegal aggression from a regime whose nostalgia for the old USSR is far too great for my taste.

The Georgian President has called for a cease-fire, the West should demand Putin do so as well. Russia’s aggression must be put in check.

UPDATE: Some good perspective from James S. Robbins:

But international umbrage is wasted on Russia. They really don’t care what anyone thinks, and their veto power in the Security Council nullifies the possibility of meaningful U.N. action. Russia used force because they knew they could. No country would intervene militarily to stop them, especially the United States. And this is not because the U.S. is tied up in other conflicts; America would not send troops to that war zone even if we were at peace. There is not enough at stake to risk direct conflict with Russia. Meanwhile Georgia is pulling all 2,000 of its troops from Iraq, with the U.S. providing the rapid airlift, and one hopes we will do more to shore up our Coalition partners, such as give materiel or intelligence support.

Yet, short of fighting, there is a way the United States can take meaningful action. Some argue that the events of the past week demonstrate the unsuitability of Georgia for NATO membership, that the country’s leadership is too erratic and their neighborhood too dangerous. On the contrary, this is a perfect opportunity for the member nations of NATO to show their resolve. At the April 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, the leadership agreed that Georgia would become a member of the alliance. It is critical to honor this commitment, and in fact to put Georgia on the fast track for membership. The member states must demonstrate to Russia that Moscow does not hold veto power over which countries may enter NATO. And this would be a fitting show of gratitude for Georgia’s participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Furthermore, it would cause Russia to think very clearly about the implications of future aggressive moves against Georgia, particularly actions outside the areas already occupied by Russian “peacekeepers.”

That does seem like a viable option. It would have the added effect of infuriating the Russians who have been doing everything in their power to block Georgian membership in NATO. Meanwhile, Jonathan Foreman says the situation in Georgia is a test for the United States.

Today America faces a big test. Will we stand up for Georgia? Or will we betray her in the way that the United States so often betrays its friends and allies abroad?

…As Russian bombs rain down on key Georgian military bases, Ukraine and the Baltic states know all too well that they are next on the list for Russian invasion — probably with the same pretext of protecting Russian citizens — if the Kremlin gets away with crushing Georgia.

UPDATE: Well said by John Hinderaker: “We appear to be witnessing the resurrection of the Brezhnev era. If so, the news is ominous indeed, for if Vladimir Putin looks like the second coming of Leonid Brezhnev, Barack Obama looks equally like the second coming of Jimmy Carter, whom Brezhnev treated as a lackey.”

On Bolton

December 5, 2006 at 8:47 am

Tom Bevan has a great post this morning on the Dems deep-sixing of John Bolton. Despite Bolton’s proven successes at the U.N., Democrats remained bent on destroying him and installing an ambassador with a more “multilateral” approach. Such a nominee would only perpetuate the crooked status quo at the U.N.

Now the talk is turning to who will replace Bolton. George Mitchell is mentioned as a candidate conservatives would be happy with but some expect the Mitchell trial balloon to be designed only to make the eventual nominee look reasonable in comparison. Dumb strategy.

If that is the strategy, start with Santorum and let liberal U.N. lovers go into full moonbattery mode, then move to Mitchell.

Santorum to UN?

December 4, 2006 at 11:36 am

Cornerites are touting the virtues of a Rick Santorum nomination to replace John Bolton at the U.N.

Andrew Sullivan thinks it’s a grotesque idea (shocker).

My two cents: Santorum is too good to get through the nomination process. Senate liberals would not be able to deal with his no-nonsense clear thinking about foreign affairs. That kind of thinking, you know, the kind that boldy and yes, sometimes undiplomatically, calls evil by its name, is considered too combative and too in your face by some of the liberal gatekeepers in the committee that Santorum would have to get out of.

Santorum sees the playing field clearly and did not hesitate in his campaign to warn of a “gathering storm” that Americans must understand and address. His opponent, Senator-elect Bob Casey. Jr. repeatedly said Santorum was just trying to “scare voters.” I fear that this nonchalant attitude infects many of the Senate’s liberals and would make it hard for Santorum to win Senate confirmation.

It would certainly be a fight worth having though.

Giving up on Condi?

November 30, 2006 at 9:22 am

Quin Hillyer is not a happy camper. He says this story in today’s Washington Post is the last straw for Condolezza Rice, as far as he is concerned:

The upshot is this: The very same guy at State (Alberto Fernandez) who went on Al-Jazeera and said that Washington had been arrogant and stupid in Iraq has been named the winner of the Edgar R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy. Tufts University chooses the recipient FROM A LIST OF THREE FINALISTS SUBMITTED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT. Read that again: State actually nominated this guy for this prestigious award and its $10,000 check.

The stakes are high

November 20, 2006 at 11:10 am

Victor Davis Hanson is a MUST-READ today. I won’t even bother lifting any of the text…his column which asks, “Will the West stumble” must be consumed in its entirety. Read the whole thing, understand the stakes.

A receding revolution

November 20, 2006 at 10:09 am

The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes reports discouraging news from the Ukraine:

Two years ago this week, crowds of 500,000 or more - many draped in the orange of pro-West Viktor Yushenko’s Our Ukraine party - started gathering in Kiev’s Independence Square to protest widespread voter fraud by pro-Kremlin presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich. The Orange Revolution’s peaceful civil disobedience led not only to the election’s invalidation by Ukraine’s Supreme Court, but to Yushenko’s election as president in a December runoff.

But, two years on, Yushenko is faltering - badly. Economic growth tops 6 percent, but he hasn’t provided decisive political leadership, advanced integration with the West or implemented a domestic-reform agenda beyond slogans. His approval ratings hover around 10 percent.

Chafee will block Bolton

November 11, 2006 at 3:15 pm

It is hard for me to feel bad about Lincoln Chafee’s loss last week when he wastes no time in reminding conservatives that he is decidedly not one of them:

But Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who was defeated in this week’s election, said he would block Bolton’s nomination.

Chafee, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that he did not believe Bolton’s nomination would move forward without his support.

“The American people have spoken out against the president’s agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy,” the Rhode Island moderate told The Associated Press.

“And at this late stage in my term, I’m not going to endorse something the American people have spoke out against.”

Is there any evidence that Bolton has been anything but productive since he went to the U.N.? No. Bolton has been rock solid, but that matters not to the outgoing liberal from Rhode Island.

Liberal foreign policy

October 31, 2006 at 12:15 pm

The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes previews the potential/likely foreign policy shifts that we can expect from a Congress run by a liberal majority:

On Iraq, many Democrats - led by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) - have said they’d push for an immediate “redeployment” (i.e., withdrawal) of U.S. troops, leaving who-knows-what kind of nightmare behind.

A premature withdrawal would cause unimaginable instability in the Middle East. And there’s no doubt that jihadists would chalk up Iraq as proof positive that terrorism works - adding it to other “successes” in Lebanon (1983) and Somalia (1993).

Worse, an ignominious U.S. retreat would prove to countless other troublemakers that America is nothing more than a paper tiger.

A liberal majority would also drastically change course on North Korea, pushing for direct U.S. talks with dictator Kim Jong Il - despite his recent missile tests and nuclear blast. Caving in to Pyongyang’s demands for one-on-one negotiations would reward its nuclear brinkmanship and blackmail. The lesson wouldn’t be lost on its nuclear kindred spirit, Iran.

Speaking of Iran, it’s not clear what a liberal congressional leadership would do. They don’t seem to say much about it - other than carp about the White House’s multilateral efforts to curb the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions.

But you could clearly forget about missile defenses to protect the homeland and troops deployed overseas. Liberals see such defenses as provocative. (In fact, leaving ourselves deliberately vulnerable to ballistic missiles is truly provocative - and foolhardy.)

What would a liberal Congress propose regarding the terrorists/terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay? Some of these prisoners are so dangerous even their own countries won’t take them back. What of the Patriot Act, Terrorist Surveillance Program or the terrorism-financing surveillance efforts that have been so successful in preventing another attack on the homeland for more than five years?

Here’s a clue: 90 percent of House Democrats voted against the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program; 80 percent voted against the terrorist interrogation bill. All these counterterror programs are at risk if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gets the speaker’s gavel next year . . .