Thursday, August 14, 2008

European Moral Weight: Good for About 36 Hours of Appeasement

It seems that as long as you keep repeating the word “peacekeeper” and make it so that their governments don’t have to do anything, Europeans will quietly fall into line.

Troops waved at journalists and one soldier shouted to a photographer: "Come with us, beauty, we're going to Tbilisi!"
After doing a nice job of buying the Russian narrative, and ignoring the state-sponsored propagandized uniformity of thought that it came out of Russia with, critic tried to make hay of the EU “brokering a peace” between Russia and Georgia immediately, as though the Russians’ behavior could be programmed or their motives trusted. It was broken within hours.

Buffoons. The Russians permitted the Europeans to show up and seem like statesmen because it bought them more time, and gave them a way to sanitize their image. Since then they broke the deal and rolled deeper into Georgia, within one hour’s drive of Tbilisi.

People ratting on about how this was intended as a slap against the US have lost their marbles. The thrust of the opposition to Georgia taking part in the NATO Membership Action Plan were Germany and France. THAT is what gave the Russians the sense that a disagreement on the issue within the NATO states would give them enough time to take a bigger bite out of Georgia, a nation they’ve been chipping away at since they moment they both got their freedom from the Soviet Union.

What can the US do about it, knowing that Europe see no problem with these modern-day echoes of the invasion of Sudetenland?:
South Ossetia is not, as some have suggested, tit-for-tat payback for American and European recognition, over Russian objections, of Kosovo's independence from Serbia. Russia has been "at war" with democratic Georgia for some time. Driven to distraction by Mr. Saakashvili's assertiveness and Georgia's desire to join NATO, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first tried to bring the country to its knees through economic warfare beginning in 2005. He cut off access to Russian markets, expelled Georgians from Russia, quadrupled the price of Russian energy to Georgia, and severed transport links.

Georgia failed to collapse. To the contrary, it has flourished: After the Rose Revolution of 2003 ended the corrupt reign of Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister, Georgia instituted far-reaching reforms to its governing structures, cleaned up the endemic corruption that infected every facet of pre-Rose Revolution life, and found new markets for its products in Turkey and Europe. It persevered with some of the most profound and thorough economic and pro-business reforms ever undertaken by a developing country -- slashing taxes and government regulations, and privatizing state-owned enterprises. All of which is reflected in Georgia's meteoric rise on the World Bank's Doing Business indicators. The irrelevance of Russian economic sanctions to Georgia made the ideological challenge that the Rose Revolution posed to Putin's vision of Russia even more profound.
The real payback for Moscow's decision to invade Georgia should be the sweet revenge of a strong, prosperous and fully independent Georgia. Building on the strides Georgia has already made, Brussels and Washington should give Tbilisi a clear road to NATO and EU membership.
The question put to the US by the same Euro-natters that would find any sort of action by America “frighteningly aggressive” is that America HASN’T acted boldly. Well – where IS Georgia anyway? On America’s immediate neighborhood? If not, why the childish demands and goading from critics in Europe about what others should/shouldn’t/are/aren’t doing?

The Russians could just as easily toy with the sovereignty of EU member states and potential ones too. So what exactly are they going to do about it?

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