Read ’em in full.
Having overestimated the power of the Soviet Union in its last years, we have consistently underestimated the ambitions of Russia since. Already, a great deal has been said about the implications of Russia’s invasion for Ukraine, the Baltic States and Europe generally. But few have noticed the direct strategic threat of Moscow’s action to U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Kremlin is not about to reignite the Cold War for the love of a few thousand Ossetians or even for its animosity toward five million Georgians. This is calculated strategic maneuvering. And make no mistake, it’s about countering U.S. power at its furthest stretch with Moscow’s power very close to home.
Let’s be clear: For all that US commentators and diplomats are still chattering about Russia’s “response” to Georgia’s actions, the Kremlin spent months planning and preparing this operation. Any soldier above the grade of private can tell you that there’s absolutely no way Moscow could’ve launched this huge ground, air and sea offensive in an instantaneous “response” to alleged Georgian actions.
As I pointed out Saturday, even to get one armored brigade over the Caucasus Mountains required extensive preparations. Since then, Russia has sent in the equivalent of almost two divisions – not only in South Ossetia, the scene of the original fighting, but also in separatist Abkhazia on the Black Sea coast.
The Russians also managed to arrange the instant appearance of a squadron of warships to blockade Georgia. And they launched hundreds of air strikes against preplanned targets.
Every one of these things required careful preparations. In the words of one US officer, “Just to line up the airlift sorties would’ve taken weeks.” …
I lack sufficiently powerful words to express my outrage over Russia’s bloody cynicism in attacking a small, free people, or to castigate our media for their inane coverage – or to condemn our own government’s shameful flight from responsibility.
Just as Moscow has reverted to its old habit of sending in tanks to snuff out freedom, Washington has defaulted to form by abandoning Georgia to the invasion – after encouraging Georgia to stand up to the Kremlin.
Reminds me of 1956, when we encouraged the Hungarians to defy Moscow – then abandoned them. And of 1991, when we prodded Iraq’s Shia to rise up against Saddam – then abandoned them. We’ve called Georgia a “friend and ally.” Well, honorable men and states stand by their friends and allies. We haven’t. …
For the democratic world, there will be no easy recovery from the chilling spectacle of Georgia’s 2,000 or so troops pulling out of Iraq to go join their own country’s desperate defense. The message so far is that America will ferry them home, but while Georgia rallied to the defense of freedom in Iraq, none of Georgia’s erstwhile allies will risk taking up arms to help the Georgians against a Russian onslaught. …
China’s Communist rulers, while basking in the glow of their Olympics bash, are surely checking the tea leaves for what this might presage about U.S. support for another U.S. ally: the democratic Republic of China on Taiwan. If the U.S. will not stand up to North Korea, will not stand up to Iran, will not stand up to Russia, then where will the U.S. stand up? What are the real rules of this New World Order?
Apart from Afghanistan and Iraq, the main rule right now seems to be that while anti-democratic bullies do the shooting, everyone else does a lot of talking and resolving. …
Diplomacy and soft power have their place. The U.S. cannot and should not go to war with every nasty regime on the planet. But when too many thugs cross too many lines and get away with it, the rules of the entire global game start to shift. The diplomacy that has been billed by the administration as such a prudent and successful means these past few years to deal with threats from North Korea, from Syria, from Palestinian terrorists, from Iran, as well as ugly moves from Russia itself, has paved the way for this Russian invasion of Georgia. If, with the exceptions of Afghanistan and Iraq, America no longer dares to unholster its guns to face down real threats, expect to see a lot more shooting, and a lot more casualties on our side.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.