Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Russian prime minister and still prime mover, Vladimir Putin has evoked the very language of George Bush's "War on Terror" in justifying his invasion of Georgia. I have followed the recent news reports closely, visited a few discussion groups, read a few background articles and looked over a few maps of the Republic of Georgia, the breakaway region of South Ossetia and Russian North Ossetia. Who is aggressing? & Who is defending? Who is terrorizing whom?
Southern Ossetia is suddenly a region threatening to produce a Cold War style showdown between Mother Russian and NATO gunslingers - it's also a region that Google hasn't even gotten around to mapping properly . It doesn't always take a spectacle of 9/11 proportions to suck the world into a dark vortex - Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was less than a bit player on the world stage before June 1914. But it does take a world class leader to diffuse potential global nightmares.
And so now we have Dick Cheney giving Putin and Russia stern warnings over aggressive foreign policy. Bush (of Guantanamo Bay and CIA prison infamy) lobs in a few warnings of his own - before getting back to the business of prodding China over human rights violations. Credibility is not just seriously lacking, it is non-existent. Perhaps, Russia is justified in its actions. Or perhaps the Kremlin is touching the match to another Balkans type conflagration. Perhaps this conflict is something in the middle. The only certainty is that the USA cannot fully exercise its Superpower muscle in brokering an honest peace.
McCain was immediately tough and essentially told Putin to "back up his tanks." But this statement is at odds with McCain's endorsement of the world wide War on Terror. We have given the Russians a complete playbook, one that McCain has signed off on, for justified invasions of troublesome regimes.
Ironically, Barrack Obama is the candidate positioned to look into the soul of another world leader, tell him to "back up his tanks" - and not flinch.