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  • Morning Bell: Why Georgia Matters

    Details on the current state of Russia’s invasion of Georgia are still hard to verify at this point. The last 12 hours have seen news of both a claim by Russia that it has stopped the violence, but also many reports that Russian forces continue to push deep into Georgialooting, burning and killing innocent Georgians along the way. What is becoming more and more clear, however, is that this Russian invasion had been planned for some time and that the scope of its objectives extends well beyond the disputed South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions.

    There are multiple reports out this morning that the Russian attack on Georgian sovereignty began well before violence erupted in the South Ossetia region between Russia and Georgia. According to the New York Times, security experts in the U.S. were tracking Russian cyberspace attacks against Georgia weeks before the first bombs fell. The attacks fit into a well-established Russian practice of cyber-warfare, which it has also used against former Soviet possessions Lithuania and Estonia.

    Heritage senior research fellow Ariel Cohen enumerates Russia’s far-reaching goals of the war on Georgia:

    1. Expulsion of Georgian troops and termination of Georgian sovereignty in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
    2. “Regime change” by bringing down President Mikheil Saakashvili and installing a more pro-Russian leadership in Tbilisi.
    3. Preventing Georgia from joining NATO and sending a strong message to Ukraine that its insistence on NATO membership may lead to war and/or its dismemberment.
    4. Shifting control of the Caucasus, and especially over strategic energy pipelines, by controlling Georgia.
    5. Recreating a 19th-century-style sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union, by the use of force if necessary.

    Recent events show the Russians are well on their way to accomplishing all of these objectives. Georgian troops have already been expelled from South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the recent cease-fire agreement provides no mechanism from expelling Russian troops and allowing international peacekeepers into the region. Russia continues to refuse to deal with the democratically elected Georgian president, and it has suggested he be removed from office for committing alleged war crimes, the same way the West removed Russian ally Slobodan Milosvic from power. The Russians have also succeeded in shutting down the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, the only pipeline system linking former Soviet republics with the West.

    The only thing possibly more disturbing than Russia’s bullying is the American’s left callow and insouciant reaction to it. Vacationing from Hawaii, Barack Obama issued an extremely weak call for “restraint” and then went body surfing. Obama has since followed John McCain’s leadership on the issue, but other liberals continue to to believe that as long as actual tanks aren’t invading former Soviet republics, concern about Russia’s growing sphere of totalitarian influence is completely unwarranted.

    One silver lining out of the conflict has been the solidifying solidarity between the former Soviet republics. Last night the the leaders of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuanua, Latvia and Estonia all joined Saakashvili for a rally before thousands in Tblisi, Georgia. There is much the U.S. and Europe can do to communicate to Moscow that this aggression will not stand. The United States, its allies and other countries need to send a strong signal to Moscow that creating 19th-century-style spheres of influence and redrawing the borders of the former Soviet Union is a danger to world peace.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Morning Bell: Why Georgia Matters

    1. Jim Delaney, Rochest says:

      I say "escalate" diplomacy by dispatching VP Cheney to Tbilisi to be the eyes and ears of President Bush and to more convincingly express America's support for this loyal and valient democratic ally. Anything less against the Russian thuggery will be useless. What a tragedy for democracies everywhere. The UN's paralysis also underscores the need for a "League of Democracies" to act as an effective deterrent to Georgia-like, et. al. aggressions. Russian imperialism is on the move and it has to be effectively stopped.

    2. Joanne Conrad, Genes says:

      Have heard conflicting reports re the BTC

      pipeline: one that they "missed," and

      another that there is another pipeline that the US helped construct. This issue

      is unclear to me.

    3. sgt.red.blue.red says:

      This action by the soViets will lead to an election of McCain, but whether he will do anything positive to stem the tide is another matter.

    4. Jim Delaney, Rochest says:


      Sure hope you're right! But, I fear the American electorate is awash in Obama kool-aid. With common sense nearly dead and buried here, I am not as hopeful as you are.

    5. Charlie Spencer, Dan says:

      If Russia is going to play this game then NATO should allow Georgia and Ukraine to join. This smacks of post WWI Europe. Had the appeasers in European capitols contained Hitler we might have avoided WWII.

      Also I tink that President Bush's announcement today that American planes and ships would be delivering humanitarian aid to Georgia is a good move. It shows that we are going to help an ally and sends a strong message to Russia that we are not affraid to put troops into the region.

    6. C.Barlow, Elsah IL says:

      This Russian invasion is a wake up call. The U.S.A has given and given to strengthen other countries who are becoming stronger than it is now. Beware of creating power seeking allies who are but wolves in sheep clothing. Russia and China are benefiting from our stupidity. Time to reevaluate and strengthen our own country. Stop giving and build up our defenses and economy!!!

      Time also to vote for a new Congress that represents the people and not their own interests.

    7. Michael T. Packard says:

      The only non-violent way to stop the escapades of little Adolf Putin is to send a platoon of escorts along with a several dozen high ranking US executive branch and Congressional members, volunteers to be sure, into harm's way and dare THEM to stop or violently escalate their war to international proportions. I "volunteer" one of our congressional delegation here in Utah.

      Adolf Putin does not even have the "justification" that his long-dead fraternal twin had at the beginning of WWII. Putin is merely coming to the rescue of an enclave of its own occupiers left over from the Soviet Gory Days of post WWII.

    8. Gipper, Columbus, Oh says:

      It is extremely troubling that a free country is invaded by a former oppressor, and the world sits on the sidelines throwing empty diplomatic "warnings" at the aggressor. I find this particularly troubling that America is choosing to participate in the sterile UN-style approach (faux condemnation coupled with ambivalence, followed by studies and reports into what happened). One has to ask, are we a beacon of freedom to the world, or an impersonator of a beacon of freedom when it's convenient or serves our interest. It is improbable that Russia will stand down after they have been given such great latitude. Will we sit by again and watch the rebirth of the Soviet empire? We cannot wait for, or rely on the leadership of Europe or the United Nations, since they sold out years ago. It's time for America to take leadership in world affairs again. Contrary to what the Democrats in America and the liberals of the world say, America still is the last great hope for the world. It's time to recage the tyrants of the world…again!

    9. vicki, marco island, says:

      What will we do if Comrade O gets elected? I can't even imagine. It just is too frightening.

    10. Dave, laguna niguel, says:

      Goes to show you, once a communist, always a communist! Funny how the US has always been called "imperialists" by the ignorant koolaid drinking anti-war libs in this country, yet we have NEVER seized and kept ANY territory, unlike Russia and China! Do you few REAL Americans remaining NOW KNOW WHO THE ENEMY IS?! Its a very easy answer..LIBERALS who have weakend this country to the point we can hardly stand up, destroyed our economy, destroyed our ability to produce energy for the "engines" which run our entire country, destroyed the morality of our children, destroyed religion in our schools, destroyed our criminal justice system making our police the "real bad guys" so now we have criminals and illegals running wild in our streets killing innocent citizens in every state, destroyed the FAMILY by pushing the joys of homosexuallity down our throats(when we already accepted gays), I mean really we could continue for days! Time to root out and kick out EVERY leftist moron, including the whacked out left wing agenda driven news media in this country which REFUSES TO GIVE US THE TRUTH! OBAMA?! This name should still be an unknown! No experience, no history except writing books about the joys of socialism/Marxism, completely childish and stupid ideas, a whitey hater, an America hater along with his wife(her as First Lady? God help us!). As an American I simply can not believe what has happened to the democratic party! Islam was hijacked by the terrorists, and the democrat party has been hijacked by the communists with whom we have been at war with for YEARS, and now they want to put a communist in the white house!!! Whats next, PUTIN for VP?

    11. bonae, cedar says:

      Yet we understand that it was Georgia that first attacked with military force.

      A cyber attack is inconsequential and insufficient reason to launch a military operation, if it were, we would be at war with China. Certainly Russia must respect Georgia's Sovereignty and should immediately engage US Diplomats over those matters. The matter of first military strike and action to commence hostilities must be analysed by all Parties to the Conflicts evidence, which may be corrupted by delays of international peacekeepers to the areas suggested by France as EU leadership. There are broad allegations of involvement of 'English Speaking Advisors', this must be clarified if the presence of mercenary advisors were present in Georgia's forces. The rhetoric needs to subside and the FACTS of the Case need to be brought forward by all sides. Contingency planning for Stability of the Georgian Government and Safety of Civilian Populations must be immediately brought forward by all interested parties.

      A status quo should be established without further incursion and subsequently maintained by agreement of the interested parties.

      Georgian and Russian military records of August 1 through 7 should be turned over to the International Court. Not to adjudicate immediately in the Cloud of War but to provide reasonable documentation of the widely contested series of events and parties involved in the conflict. Which will inevitably involve many years of legal debate.

      A public list of Death Toll Identities on all sides. We would certainly question any alegation that the US would be involved in such a sloppy operation and that US defense of the people of Georgia should occur as part of a request by Russia. To calm things down and cooperate to assure stability of Geogia's sovereignty in its distress, even if error in judgement of it's own leadership was the cause behind the conflict. An error in judgement does not preclude the loss of sovereignty of the people of Georgia.

      In this the International Community must look to Russia to immediately set a responsible example if their allegations of first strike on Russian Citizens is truly the cause behind the incursion into Georgian Territory. If Russia does not comply with this, it is reasonable to believe that their statement on the series of events may more likely be propaganda. This may be equally true of Georgia.

      In my opinion on the matter.

    12. Jim Delaney, Rochest says:


      Sure hope you're right! But, I fear the American electorate is awash in Obama kool-aid. With commonsense nearly dead and buried here, I am not as hopeful as you are.

    13. Jim Delaney, Rochest says:

      Bonae Cedar,

      From all that I have read, unprovoked S. Ossetian rebel attacks on Georgia–not the preliminary Russian cyber attacks on Georgia– precipitated the crisis. When Georgia quite properly responded, Russia invased, which, of course, was RTussia's plan from the all along. In hindsight, Georgia's defensive response to S. Ossetian attacks can be said to have been a very unfortunate "miscalculation" as Georgia unwittingly fell in the Russian trap. Make no mistake: the imperialist Ruskies orchestrated the crisis. I am pleased to see that Pres. Bush is dispatching "on-going" humanitarian aid to Georgia. Short of military intervention, not much else we can do. But, really, wouldn't it be great if the President would dispatch VP Cheney as well? We can be buoyed by the fact that so many of the former republics, Poland and the Czechs have stood solidly alongside their Georgian brothers. In the long-run, could it be possible that blockheaded Russian bear may have also miscalculated. Here's to Ukrainian membership in NATO.

    14. John in Arkansas says:

      Is it me or has anyone else noticed that the so called separatist are in fact members of an Islamist group. Maybe the Russian are being played by the separatist into starting this incursion into Georgian Territory.

    15. Eileen, Mobile, Al says:

      Vladimir Putin is an evil, manipulator SOB and of course the Time magazines 2008 Time 100, he came in 2nd, Obama came in 3rd. That should have been a warning, if Time is declaring his greatness by having an article written about him by Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Just two issues with that are he is a dictator who is a ruthless, tyrannical, politician and former KGB agent. Who can clearly kill you where you stand?

      He was also involved in the FBIs Robert Hanssen, who was the top counterintelligence agent who was charged with compiling a database of Soviet intelligence for the FBI. He was supposed to have provided information to Mr. Putin about KBG agents who had turned and were working for the FBI, these KBG agents were eventually murdered for their treason. Another name also came up was that of Boris Yuzhin. Personally, I have always distrusted him. He’s certainly one of the names that appears to want to control the world; and, the best way for him to do that is to control the world’s oil. He could be working with Hugo Chavez in order to accomplish that so long as they can destroy the United States in the process. What a great guy, can we send Bill Clinton to speak with him? May he’d keep him, take him hostage, one could always hope.

      A good question to ask is where is the United Nations, handing out another sanction?

    16. sgt.red.blue.red says:

      Jim Delaney of Rochester NY: check out this link!:

      From The TimesAugust 15, 2008

      …from Times in UK:


      excerpted from above link:

      Kremlin dusts off Cold War lexicon to make US villain in GeorgiaCharles Bremner in Moscow

      Russians were told over breakfast yesterday what really happened in Georgia: the conflict in South Ossetia was part of a plot by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, to stop Barak Obama being elected president of the United States…"

    17. Ron Kalmeta Memphis, says:

      I Only Have One Thing To Say.WHAT WOULD REAGAN DO?

    18. sgt.red.blue.red says:

      Ron Kalmeta; RWR would sell em' or give the Georgians whatever it took to expel the soViet interlopers.

      I new some Kalmetas who lived one block over from me on Poinciana.

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