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Gayle in MD
08-12-2008, 12:58 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-shearer/putins-lesson_b_118295.html

When George W. Bush famously said after his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul," my assumption was that there was a deeper meaning: they spoke as oil man to oil man. Maybe I was being charitable.

Ron Suskind in his new book The Way of the World suggests instead that Bush was speaking
candidly and naively, ignoring the advice of CIA briefers that KGB veteran Putin viewed his job as "seeming like your friend". Seven years later, we know at least what was in Putin's mind. As he watched the United States plunge into two wars, tying up our military might in the Middle East, Putin saw a power vacuum in his neighborhood. Using his oil and gas resources to pressure his neighbors, the Russian leader (President-turned-prime-minister) was playing old-fashioned power politics while his "friend" Bush was trying to remake Arabia.

Now, with Russian troops in the breakaway province of South Ossetia, conservatives (Bill Kristol in the NYT, John McCain on the campaign trail) are calling back memories of 1938 and 1924 -- small European countries calling out in vain for Western help in fending off savage attacks. But what Putin seems to be asking is whether, in fact, the memories being called back are 1919 and 1920 -- when the victorious West humbled a defeated Germany, while breaking up an old empire and (thanks to the British skill at drawing lines on maps) inventing new nations (see, e.g., Iraq). Many nationalities were promised their own countries. Most got them.

So, after the US encouraged the breakup of Serb-controlled Yugoslavia when Russia was weak and humbled, Putin now asserts the notion that the process should continue, and more nationalities -- the Ossetians, the Abkhazis -- deserve self-determination, especially if they want to rejoin the Russian state. And we, obsessed and tied down, are unable to do anything but issue strong statements from Beijing and the secure undisclosed vice presidency.

Watching from the sidelines with interest must be the leaders of the nationality that was promised but didn't get its own country after World War One -- the Kurds. Putin appears to be simultaneously asserting power in his own neighborhood and throwing gasoline-soaked rags into the one we're bogged down in.

This administration came into power saying "the grownups are in charge." But the "grownups" saw Iraq in an ahistorical, ageopolitical prism. Paul Wolfowitz famously testified that Iraq had no history of ethnic conflict. He had it exactly backwards: ethnic conflict had a far longer history in that region that did the concept of "Iraq". Then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice didn't publicly correct him.

Perhaps because the part of the world where she had her academic expertise was Russia.

Gayle in MD
08-12-2008, 01:05 AM
George W is to Georgia As George H.W. Was To Kurdistan:

It's not a perfect analogy, I know, but it's an improvement over the Hitler/Sudetenland meme coming from the knee-jerk-o-cons.

Fred Kaplan at Slate lays out how Bush/Cheney egged on the Georgians to believe that they're de facto members of NATO, that America will protect them against the Russian bear.

When W went to Georgia, he said this to an ecstatic crowd:


The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone. Americans respect your courageous choice for liberty. And as you build a free and democratic Georgia, the American people will stand with you.... [T]he sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia must be respected -- the territorial [sic] and sovereignty of Georgia must be respected by all nations.

If that's what he said in public, what has he been saying in private to Georgian President Saakashvili about the Russian forces that have been encamped in and controlling Georgia's breakaway province South Osettia since the breakup of the Soviet Union?

It's hard not to be reminded of how George W. Bush father, in 1991, notoriously suggested that "the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people... take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside." When the Kurds tried to do just that, and begged for help, the best 41 could offer was an Emily Litella-like Never mind.

I'm not bothered by 41 having an Oedipal thing to work out with 43. I just wish it they could do it around the dinner table, instead of breaking so much crockery on the world stage.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan/george-w-bush-is-to-georg_b_118303.html

eg8r
08-12-2008, 10:26 AM
I was chatting with a coworker about this. I definitely believe the only reason Putin is attacking Georgia is because he probably feels comfortable that the US is all tied up. I think he might be underestimating us and should W decide to do something about it Putin will be very surprised. This notion that we have our whole military tied up in Iraq is pure bogus. The only people I thought believed that were those who actually believed what they read and hear in the media.

eg8r

wolfdancer
08-12-2008, 10:32 AM
Gee, Ed believes we can fight a third war, this time against Russia....I guess instead of rotating the soldiers back home for a rest between combat tours, they could be rotated instead between the wars....
But I hear that we might have maxed out our Chinese credit cards, so who's going to pay for it????

Gayle in MD
08-12-2008, 12:55 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">But I hear that we might have maxed out our Chinese credit cards, so who's going to pay for it????
</div></div>

That is one question that neocon hawks never answer, that one, and anything regarding all the debt we're in, they just ignore that whole issue, yapping about tax breaks, without ever considering how this country is at risk because of our horrendous debts.

And Gee, look at this mess with Russia, after we all know that REagan ended the cold war, LMAO!

We've changed positions with the Russians. Bush flipped us to where they were after their own fiasco in Afghanistan, and the right is still rattling their sabers for more war!

Pure ignorance!

Gayle in Md., we couldn't win a war against Grenada right now.

Gayle in MD
08-12-2008, 12:58 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I was chatting with a coworker about this. I definitely believe the only reason Putin is attacking Georgia is because he probably feels comfortable that the US is all tied up. I think he might be underestimating us and should W decide to do something about it Putin will be very surprised. <span style="color: #000066">Yeah, right! Bush is going to surprise Putin. Gee, I thought he looked into Putin's eyes, and saw his soul. I think Bush might just be the surprised one. </span> This notion that we have our whole military tied up in Iraq is pure bogus. <span style="color: #000066">Yeah, no reason to believe the Joint Chiefs of Staff! </span> The only people I thought believed that were those who actually believed what they read and hear in the media.
<span style="color: #000066">You're hopeless Ed. </span>
eg8r </div></div>