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The USA in action

By M. Alkhazashvili
Friday, August 15
The Russian aggression against Georgia was expanding and looked as if it would never stop. This created great pressure for Georgia, because initially the international community limited its reaction to mere expressions of concern. Its resistance was only verbal.

Russia does not recognize moral values. It only recognizes action. First its aggression was described as defending South Ossetians, then as defending Russian peacekeepers, then as helping citizens of Russia. Then it decided to change the Georgian leadership. It bombed the non-combatant civilian population whilst it played with words by telling the rest of the world about ‘democratic’ principles.

It took several days [perhaps it was a weekend!] for the West to realize that Russia’s aggression was not directed only against its tiny neighbor. It does in fact target world democracy as a whole, the West, the USA.

So at last the US has started taking practical steps.

Russian analysts and political decision makers thought that with the USA involved in two conflicts, in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would not have either the desire or the potential to assist Georgia in any effective way and would thus abandon it. Russia would then defeat Georgia, establish a puppet regime favorable to it and kick America and its interests out of this region.

Russia decided to smack Georgia to make a statement to the West, and to Ukraine and every other former Soviet satellite. The Baltic countries escaped the shocking collapse of the Soviet Union and rushed under the NATO umbrella but Russia has always sought to ensure that other former Soviet republics would have no desire to conduct independent policy. We remember that ex-President Putin the Terrible described the collapse of the Soviet Union as a “historic tragedy” and spoke of his “mission” to reestablish something similar. If Russian plans come to fruition it will become the only significant power in the region, dominate every other country as it did in the past and remain the only supplier of gas and oil to Europe, thereby maintaining a tool with which to blackmail and threaten the West.

Luckily for Georgia the democratic world took very prompt and serious steps to stop the aggressor. First there was President Sarkozy’s visit, followed by the arrival of the leaders of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Finally we saw the statement of US President Bush and the press conference by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In just two hours US military transport delivered the first consignment of humanitarian assistance to Georgia. This will be followed by others: the US has promised to send a convoy of ships loaded with aid. The US has also committed itself to military assistance for Georgia.

Secretary Rice clearly explained to Russian journalists that this is not 1968, when the Soviets occupied Czechoslovakia. Of course Russia was not happy to hear this. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Georgia “America’s virtual project.” Secretary of State Rice protested against such labeling of a democratic country.

Official Russia’s unwavering stance is stimulating the EU and NATO to take a more active stand in supporting Georgia. Russian analysts however are taking contrary positions over the conflict. Some of them attack the US and its current and historic position. Others conversely claim that Moscow fell into a Caucasian ‘trap’ put there by the US, and is therefore partly to blame for its own coming misfortunes.

The temptation to spank little Georgia was too great for Russia to resist. Russia took that step and will now has to pay for it.