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No Georgian Kekkonens In Sight (2)

August 14, 2008

McCain’s Dose of Political Viagra: A New Cold War With Russia

The situation between Russia and Georgia has a long complex history, one that exploded once again in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As in such situations, many questions remain concerning just how and why this mini-war started and what has been the US role in these events.

For example…
• Although the United States has put a considerable amount time and energy into training the Georgian military, the State Dept. had urged Georgian President Mihkeil Saakashvili not to initiate military action against Georgia.
• Although Saakashvili was warned not to attack South Ossetia, he might have concluded that once military operations were initiated that the US would offer military support (which did not happen)
• US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, whom Bush has ordered to go to Tbilisi seemed somewhat confused at her press conference in Washington raising questions as to whether the U.S. State Department even had prior knowledge of the Georgian military actions. It suggests, once again, that the U.S. military takes actions of which the State Department is not always aware. Given the large scale US military missions in Georgia, it is virtually impossible that the Defense Dept, and the Vice President were unaware of Georgia’s military intentions
• While questions remain as to just how deeply involved was the Bush Administration in the planning and execution of the Georgian military foray into South Ossetia, what is much clearer is the political campaign to vilify and isolate Russia in the wake the Russian-Georgian clash in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Most of the Civilian Casualties Killed by Georgian Militias

Today, one of Denver’s local papers shows a front page photo of Georgian civilians running from Russian tanks. It will evoke a justified wave of sympathy for the innocent Georgian civilians caught up in the fighting. But no photos or articles about those South Ossetian civilians massacred by the invading Georgian military are there to balance them out. Nor will there be. For the public relations campaign to be successful, all the blame – or the overwhelming amount of it – for crisis must be placed on Russia. Sympathy is being whipped up for the Georgians, the `little nation’ once again oppressed by its big neighbor with its wacky neo-con president president who provoked the crisis in the first place being cast as Georgia’s `David’ facing the Russian Goliath. Please. John McCain is on the attack, calling the Russian incurision into Georgia as the most significant crisis since the end of the Cold War and CNN shamelessly gives Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili full use of its airwaves to give his spin to events. No Abkhazian, South Ossetian or Russian will get similar access – if any at all. So once again we’re been set up, softened up, manipulated by a media that doesn’t exactly lie, but only gives a loaded version of the stiatuon. .

Little is made of the fact that it is the Georgians that initiated military actions and that the overwhelming number of the 2000 civilian casualties were not caused by Russian air bombing but by out of control Georgian militias attacking South Ossetia. Nor do we hear anything – or hardly anything from the Abkhazians and South Ossetians who see, not Russia, but Georgia as the aggressor. Already, virtually no comment explanation that Russians give are viewed with any credibility. Sergie Lavrov might as well be Ahmadinejad talking.

It is especially touching to to note how George Bush and John McCain who have trampled and re-invented international law defending the administration’s actions in Iraq, are now imploring the Russians to respect it and the UN Security Council in Georgia. It will be interesting to learn – and some day we will perhaps – if these militia’s had US commanders or advisors (either from the U.S. military itself or from private militias like Blackwater) and what, if any role, the many Israeli military advisors played in the Georgian offensive.

US Claims of Military Support Hollow

Concerning the war on the ground – in a few short days, the Russian Army and Air Force made mincemeat of the US-Israeli trained Georgian army. It is not unlike what happened to all those US, Israeli, Saudi, and Egyptian trained militias in Lebanon that Hezbollah wiped out in a matter of hours. Overnight, Georgian military preparedness collapsed as half the army deserted by foot back into Georgia. Not a pretty site. While I have no doubt that Russian aerial bombing has caused civilian casualties, even mainstream American media admits that the main focus of the Russian military offensive was Georgia’s military structures. Not much left of them now.

And the Russian military successes in Georgia showed to all of Eastern and Southern Europe just how hollow were the US claims of military support. The Bush Administration claims of standing behind Georgia have proven laughable. Yes, Bush is standing behind Georgia, some 6,000 miles behind it. Having once again encouraged (in one way or another) a Middle Eastern ally into action and then leave them dangling by their tootsies so to speak (the Kurds in Iraq many times, the Iraqi Shi’ites, more recently US allies – those little half-assed right-wing miliitias in Lebanon expecting US help), now the Bush Administration launches a global propaganda campaign to cover up its own failures.

And it is a loud one.

John McCain’s New Leae On Life: Reshaping the fear factor

But all this has given John McCain a new lease on life .

McCain has found himself in a tizzy as the American electorate seems more interested in ending wars that getting into new ones. The old lines, that we are winning the war in Iraq, that Ahmadinejad is someone akin to Genghis Khan, just weren’t striking home. For all the propaganda the American people are fed, they still are against the war in Iraq and opposed to the US taking military action against Iran. The problem is that McCain is getting no traction for his pro-Iraq-war-bomb-Iran stance. He has not been able to play the fear factor – so critical to Bush’s two presidential bids – successfully. For McCain, whose militarist streak matches that of Bush, this is serious indeed.

But now perhaps McCain has found his portion of political viagra by taking the old Soviet threat out of the closet, dusting it off and setting it in motion once again. Certainly, the evolving global campaign against Russia is already reminiscent of Cold War anti-Soviet campaigns of past eras. Unable to whip up support for John McCain’s Iraq or Iran policies – which boil down to Cheney’s interpretation of eternal war in the Middle East – the Republicans, looking for a springboard to get McCain’s flagging presidential bid off the ground, have shifted gears.

The Georgian-Russian crisis over Abkhazia and South Ossetia thus provides McCain with a golden opportunity. Why not resurrect the old anti-Soviet threat – slightly revised and polished up for modern audiences? Behind the overblown – and not credible – US support for Georgia – is the shadow of a US-Russian military confrontation that brings with it the threat of escalation to nuclear war. So once again the United States is willing to play high stakes poker with the fate of the earth and as it has done so often on the past, transform U.S. supported military aggression into `victimhood’.

So let the sabre rattling begin. And it has begun.

News that the Russians brought SS-21 missile launchers with them into S. Ossetia to counter any US conventional air bombings suggest a very serious Russian response. It seems Saakashvili is doing what he can to draw the United States into the military aspect of the confrontation.
Although the Bush Administration denies it, Saakashvili claims that the US military now controls Georgian airspace. Certainly in response to US pressure, Ukraine is talking about limiting Russian naval access to its Black Sea ports.

And now the queen of contemporary diplomatic clowns, our own Secretary of State and Chevron board of directors member, Condoleeza Rice, who has supported every diplomatic twist in Bush’s policies for eight years in her different capacities will see what poisonous magic she can sew. And that is what is happening with a willing media once again, going out of its way to pitch in. A major political campaign, another American jihad, is in the making, this time targeting Russia. The idelogical groundwork for war is once again being laid. But this time , Bush is toying with a more formidable adversary. Russia is not Grenada. Images of Stalin and Hitler have already appeared, talk of sanctions, threats to kick Russia out of the Group of Eight, etc. Pathetic attempts to compare Georgia with Afghanistan will follow. John Hagee and the messianic lobby are are getting really excited, and AIPAC is already upset that all this could prevent the United States from attacking Iran.

McCain’s goal is to put pressure on Obama to to join in the frenzy, and in so doing, to compromise the Democrat’s presidential bid. It just might work.

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