Saturday, August 09, 2008

Georgia & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

James Traub has an excellent article in the Sunday Times with the obsequious title "Taunting The Bear." In an elaborate & richly detailed piece, Traub keeps inserting the subtext implied by the title---Georgia should just assume the position and accept its role as a vassal state. Forget about NATO membership or a democracy based on western values. The US has more important fish to fry---like submitting itself to the UN & an international polity led by EU-nuch "international partners."

George Kennan, whom I met in his Princeton home & had cocktails with,[ Arthur Schlesinger Jr. style], reminiscing about his foreign adventures, had the Russian mentality & its implacable aggrandizing hostility firmly in perspective & his short description of this international tyrant still holds true today:
This new round of bellicosity struck Georgians as frighteningly familiar. Alexander Rondeli, the director of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, recited to me a thought he attributed to the diplomat-scholar George F. Kennan: “Russia can have at its borders only enemies or vassals.” Here, for him, was further proof, as if it were needed, that imperialist expansion and brute subjugation are coded in Russia’s DNA. The Georgian elite came to view Russia as an unappeasable power imbued with the paranoia of the K.G.B., from which Mr. Putin and his closest associates rose, and fueled by the national sense of humiliation over Russia’s helplessness in the 1990s. “You should understand,” Mr. Saakashvili said, mocking the Europeans who urge forbearance on him, “that the crocodile is hungry. Well, from the point of view of someone who wants to keep his own leg, that’s hard to accept.”

The hapless EU-nuchs are symbolized by German Quisling Gerhard Schroeder who is now Putin's houseboy & live-in chambermaid. The other whimpering cowards on a continent that used to count in world affairs will predictably cower in unison.

Of course, the US has a very large stake in the region, both in the Middle East Levant & in Azerbaijan/Kazakstan & their rich energy reserves:
Marshall Goldman, a leading Russia scholar, argues in a recent book that Mr. Putin has established a “petrostate,” in which oil and gas are strategically deployed as punishments, rewards and threats. The author details the lengths to which Mr. Putin has gone to retain control over the delivery of natural gas from Central Asia to the West. A proposed alternative pipeline would skirt Russia and run through Georgia, as an oil pipeline now does. “If Georgia collapses in turmoil,” Mr. Goldman notes, “investors will not put up the money for a bypass pipeline.” And so, he concludes, Mr. Putin has done his best to destabilize the Saakashvili regime.

The EU-nuchs keep temporizing with Saakashvili, Georgia's US-educated and beleaguered president. Meanwhile, the US is virtually headless while its feckless POTUS winds down his second term & prepares to ride out of town into the sunset.

Putin has certainly chosen the right time to strike, while the world gazes awestruck at another more successful dictatorship in Beijing as it pulls off its coup de theatre. Meanwhile, Robert Kagan has the best perspective & Obama's boy-Friday echoes the theme, though sotto voce:
People of all political persuasion now seem to get it about Russia. In “The Return of History and The End of Dreams,” Robert Kagan, the neoconservative foreign policy expert who is advising John McCain, writes of Mr. Putin and his coterie: “Their grand ambition is to undo the post-cold war settlement and to re-establish Russia as a dominant power in Eurasia.” Michael McFaul, a Russia expert at Stanford who is advising Barack Obama, also views Russia as a premodern, sphere-of-influence power. He attributes Russia’s hostility to further NATO expansion less to geostrategic calculations than to what he says is Mr. Putin’s cold war mentality. The essential Russian calculus, he says, is, “Anything we can do to weaken the U.S. is good for Russia.”

Energy is the one Achilles Heel that Putin discerns in the American armor, and along with his US allies Pelosi & Reid & the Gore-bot brigades, America will be weakened as we fail to exert our right even to drill in our own sovereign landscapes.

No wonder Putin thinks the USA is a rotten fruit ready to drop off the tree! The fruit is also wormy, which helps him in his plans to reassert Russian ascendancy over Eurasia.

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