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Georgia Crisis Turns Dangerous

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    The Georgia Crisis Turns Dangerous by Eric Margolis September 2, 2008 http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis121.html PARIS – Pipsqueak Georgia s
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2008
      The Georgia Crisis Turns Dangerous
      by Eric Margolis
      September 2, 2008

      PARIS – Pipsqueak Georgia's harebrained and disastrous attack on
      tiny South Ossetia has produced a full-blown crisis pitting the US
      and NATO against Russia.

      In an act fraught with danger, US and NATO warships are delivering
      supplies to Georgia, watched by Russian men of war. The US Congress
      may soon vote $1 billion for America's embattled Georgian satellite.
      The western powers have resorted to fierce Cold War rhetoric. They
      are playing with fire. Russia has some 6,600 strategic nuclear
      weapons, mostly aimed at North America and Europe. Besides, the US,
      which invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and whose air force just killed
      90 Afghan civilians, 60 of them children, is in no position to
      lecture Moscow about aggression.

      France's conservative president, Nicholas Sarkozy, blasted Russia
      and will shortly hold a European summit over Georgia in Brussels. As
      usual, the Harper government faithfully echoed Washington's words.
      Poland agreed to emplace a US antiballistic missile system only 184
      km from Russia's border, provoking Moscow's fury. Ukraine and Poland
      are loudly backing Georgia.

      Russia's chief of staff, Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, warns his nation has
      the right to launch a "preemptive nuclear strike" against enemies,
      in line, he tartly noted, with the Bush administration's own

      Topping off this war of words, two of Sen. John McCain's closet
      rightwing allies, senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsay Graham, went
      to Georgia and called for "tough" measures against Moscow. They
      urged isolating Russia for "aggression" and admitting Ukraine and
      Georgia to NATO.

      McCain's allies give a good preview of what his foreign policy would
      look like. Lieberman and Graham, leading proponents of the US
      occupation of Iraq, had the chutzpah to insist, "Russia must not be
      allowed to control energy supplies."

      This ugly mess recalls how the great powers blundered into both
      World War I and II over obscure locales like Bosnia-Herzegovina and
      the Danzig Corridor. The obvious lesson: act with extreme caution.
      But few are listening as rhetoric sharpens.

      The Bush administration – most likely VP Dick Cheney – almost
      certainly planned or knew about Georgia's attack on Russian-backed
      South Ossetia launched under cover of the Beijing Olympics. Whether
      the White House was trying to inflict a quick little military
      victory over Moscow, or whipping up war fever at home to boost John
      McCain's prospects, is uncertain.

      This crisis over a mere 70,000 South Ossetians and 18,000 Abkhazians
      could have been quietly resolved by diplomacy. Instead, the Bush
      administration turned it into a major confrontation by accusing
      Russia of aggression. Washington, which rightly recognized the
      independence of Kosovo's Albanians from Serb repression, denounced
      Russia's recognition of Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence from
      Georgian repression. Meanwhile, Moscow, which crushed the life out
      of Chechnya's independence movement, piously claimed to be defending
      Ossetian independence.

      Things may get worse. The US is pressing Ukraine to join NATO,
      though half of its 48 million citizens oppose doing so. Ukraine's
      constitution mandates a neutral state. Russia allowed Ukraine to
      decamp from the Soviet Union with the understanding it would never
      join NATO, and allow Russia's Black Sea Fleet operate from Crimea.

      Russian political expert Sergei Markov rightly notes that Washington
      and NATO see Ukraine as a rich new source of troops for Iraq and
      Afghanistan, wars from which he says NATO leaders cannot withdraw
      their soldiers without committing "political suicide."

      "Old Europe" is trying to avoid a clash with Moscow, while "new
      Europe" – Georgia, Poland, the Czechs, and Balts – frightened of
      Russia's growing power, eggs on the US-Russia confrontation.

      Not only did the clumsy US attempt to expand its influence into
      Moscow's backyard backfire badly, Washington's childish, petulant
      response is as inflammatory as it is powerless. The Georgian crisis
      and empty threats against Russia have aroused strong nationalist
      passions in Russia, which sees itself increasingly isolated and
      surrounded by the US and NATO.

      Nationalist hysteria, jingoism, and fevered rhetoric are coming from
      both sides. We saw such lunacy before: in August 1914, and September

      Eric Margolis contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media
      Canada, is the author of War at the Top of the World. See his



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