Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Condi Gets It Wrong, Again

At one time Russia was an Empire, then it was a Hegemony, then it was broken, and then came oil. Big oil prices, Russia with lots of oil, lots of money for military. Now Russia has a long history of xenophobia and paranoia regarding the West. Not all of that is the result of propaganda, Napoleon and Hitler came from the West and there have been plenty of historical examples of the other making real problems for Russia. Nationalism has been a reality of Russia for a very long time and the time since the fall of the USSR has been ... humiliating. It doesn't take expertise in Russian history and sociology to know this, just paying a bit of attention will do.

Not too long after Putin demonstrated that Bush couldn't really see his soul in his eyes and also refused to intervene in Iran BushCo started poking the Russian bear. Now poking sticks at bears is a bad idea if the bear is loose and you don't have a big gun to back up your puny stick. The purpose of NATO was to have that big gun regarding that bear; the Russians and everybody else knew it. There is a difference between an economic union like the EU and military alliances like NATO and there should be no confusion. The EU enhances the economic and political health of its member nations. NATO is about military protection from ... Russia. NATO has cooperated in military actions outside Europe, for instance Afghanistan, but it is not a world military alliance. The US has been pushing NATO closer and closer to Russia's borders and they don't like it.

The US has a demonstrably unsuccessful ABM program that it is trying to put on Russia's borders, supposedly in regard to Middle Eastern terror states. It doesn't work reliably and the Russians don't like it, big surprise. BushCo has kept pushing it in the face of Russia's objections, which aren't really unrealistic in regard to Russian history. The real trump card in this mess is that there are no credible threats in the Middle East making such a deployment necessary. It looks a lot more like pointless poking at the bear.

Georgia, S Ossetia, and Russia all have a difficult relationship and it dates back quite awhile. S Ossetia, a pretty small place, has made itself pretty clear that it doesn't care to be Georgian and Georgia has made itself pretty clear that it doesn't care to let loose of S Ossetia. Most S Ossetians have Russian passports indicating a preference for Russia and Russia for many reasons, including nationalism and border cushion likes that fine. Enter BushCo and NATO being proffered to Georgia along with military training and equipment aimed at the propaganda aspect of 2000 Georgian troops in Iraq. BushCo led Georgia to think it was important to the US.

Now exactly who is it that is supposed to be an expert in things Russian? Condi Rice. Condi was lately in Georgia and shortly there after they started shooting at S Ossetia and apparently Russian peacekeeping troop. I don't propose that she was stupid enough to tell them to do it, but I don't think it is in the least unreasonable to think she told them how important they were. This woman was the NSA head when September 11, 2001 happened ("no credible threat") and she was the NSA head when George II half-assed Afghanistan, and she was NSA head when smoking guns were mushrooms and Saddam had WMDs and had a hand in Sept 11 attacks. She was Secretary of State when Israel made a spectacular mess in Lebanon and drumbeats of Iranian War began. It doesn't hurt to remember that Iran made itself useful in our aborted Afghani campaign. Now she seems to have had a hand in the Georgian mess.

Now in regard to Russia I'm sure they take a certain amount of glee from our Afghanistan/Iraq quagmire. I'm very sure they don't like our approach to Iran. I'm real sure they haven't liked being jabbed at on their own borders. Nobody would like that, not the US, not Russia, not anybody. Russia is historically very antsy about its borders and that is not exactly specialized knowledge. Either Condi has had a hand in this stupidity or BushCo is ignoring her - and there is no sign of that. I've heard she's a pretty good piano player...

I'm pretty tired of the US being made an international pariah with domestic and international actions that only a few would have dreamed possible a dozen years ago. I am considerably less happy to be a part of those actions. I am extremely tired of militaristic misadventures being the hallmark of this administration, their idiocy is getting a lot of people killed and maimed around the world.

(oh for god's sake, I just heard a clip of Condi asserting the sovereignty of Georgia) [has she heard of Iraq?] Oh crap, the US media is banging the Russia is evil drum. This is a hell of a lot more complicated than that.

Now that BushCo has managed to stir up trouble with Russia we need to... Do exactly what? We don't have any big guns. The military is bogged down and nearly broken. Our economy is in tatters. Cheney and McHero are ranting away, economic sanctions, ditching Russia with G8, oh we'll punish them... I guess neither of them think gasoline prices are high enough. Did somebody forget about oil and the rather large amount of oil and natural gas Russia exports? Who loses in an economic set to? I have to wonder just how stupid Republicans propose to be and just how badly we get to suffer for it? It's enough to make you wish Babs had told GHWB, "NO!" one night...

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