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>Obama Won Nothing In Russia

>The Russians Walked All Over Obama In Recent Trip

By Don White
When you go to a country soon after being elected, you don’t give away the store. But that’s what President Obama did. He got nothing, really, for eliminating 500 nuclear warheads from the U.S. arsenal. Russia was going to destroy some old nukes, anyway.

In the following story, in the small bold type I make jabs at our president for failing to watch out for America’s interests. He went to Russia like it would be another chance to shine personally, another holiday for Michelle and the kids, another cake walk to look good amongst the peasants. Well, it backfired and here’s how.____________________

Obama Puts Medvedev Ahead of Putin

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Forget the nuke deal, forget the speech, forget even the Russians’ lack of interest in Michelle: The real surprise of President Obama’s trip to Moscow this week was that he spent most of his time talking to the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, and took only a couple of hours to pay a courtesy call on the Russian prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin.

When you visit the home of a cute girl you hope to date and maybe eventually marry, you don’t spend all your time with the girl’s little brother watching demolition derby. Ignoring the girl on the other end of the sofa gets you nothing. That’s just a metaphor for what Obama did by pretty much ignoring the man who makes most of the big decisions in Russia, Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister and President Dmitry Medvedev’s mentor and strong-arm protector.

This Story

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Almost anywhere else in the world, this sort of thing would be a matter of protocol. Generally speaking, the American head of state spends most of his time with other heads of state when traveling abroad. Exceptions are made for those countries whose heads of state are monarchs or some other figurehead, in which case our president pays a courtesy call and then hangs around with the chancellor or prime minister. If Obama were following that pattern in Russia, he would have spent most of his time with Putin.

Yes, Medvedev is the president and, yes, the Russian constitution gives the president the lion’s share of power. But ever since his profoundly undemocratic election last year (following his selection by Putin and an orchestrated parody of a campaign), it has been abundantly clear that the Russian president is not in charge. After the invasion of Georgia last August, it was Putin, not Medvedev, who appeared on television and negotiated behind the scenes. And during the Ukrainian gas crisis this winter it was Putin, not Medvedev, who spoke for Russia. Those who have watched the two men together generally come away impressed by Medvedev’s exceptional deference to the prime minister. Someone who took part in a meeting with them some months ago told me afterward that Putin did all the talking while Medvedev took notes.

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In recent months, Medvedev has chosen to play a kind of “good cop” to Putin’s “bad cop,” giving an interview to the last remaining opposition newspaper; saying nice things about democracy and electoral reform; even smiling, on occasion, in photographs with foreign leaders. But none of this has resulted in profound changes in foreign policy, economic policy or human rights, leaving most observers inside and outside the country to assume that Medvedev is playing his part in an elaborate public relations campaign.

Isn’t it interesting that Medvedev and Obama seem to be cut out of the same cloth — presidents who seek attention but who don’t really matter too much.

The decision to focus the American president’s visit on Medvedev instead of Putin could therefore be what British civil servants call “very brave,” not least because if you don’t talk to the person who’s really in charge, you can’t expect to get much done.

At last, someone who agrees with me and a score of conservative writers. He didn’t expect to get much done and he didn’t get much done, did he? PR was his aim, but it backfired in Russia when Putin and, I suppose, Medvedev did not allow national television to give him a huge audience and the Russian people were non-pulsed and were not at all excited to see the first black American president and his first lady. “So what, they were saying.”

As I understand it, this decision (to spend more time with Medvedev) was made at least partly on pragmatic grounds: Meetings with Putin nowadays tend to turn into extended rants about Russia’s grievances (this week’s breakfast between Putin and Obama apparently being no exception), which doesn’t leave much time to pursue productive conversation. Putin wasn’t going to get into the subject of Russia’s recent military maneuvering on the Georgian border (thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks began exercising there at the end of June), and Medvedev can’t do anything about it anyway, so the Obama administration seems to have figured that there wasn’t much point in dealing with the issue. Instead, it dealt with less controversial subjects — such as nuclear arms reductions (which were mostly going to happen anyway) and rights for U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan to fly over Russian areas (nice, apparently, but not crucial) — that Medvedev might actually be able to sort out.

But what a great opportunity lost. Obama should have pressed Putin about the joint maneuvers Russian naval vessels have been having with the Hugo Chavez regime just 90 miles off our shores. He wasn’t there sightseeing or to show Michelle and the girls a good time at government expense.

He should also have discussed in no uncertain terms with Putin the massing of troops on Georgia’s borders in June. Now Obama comes off looking weak. It would be easy for the Russian leaders to interpret the lack of special talks with Putin about these subjects must mean Obama doesn’t care if Russia takes over an almost defenseless Georgia — a country that has all along wanted to be member of NATO, a nation that needs America’s help, both physical and moral, to keep Russia at bay. George Bush and the EU including French President Sarkozy were very forceful about the Russian invasion into sovereign Georgian territory, but apparently Obama doesn’t care.

Communication, man! It isn’t always in what you say but in how you act and how forceful you become. And Obama is supposed to be the Democrat’s answer to the Great Communicater, meaning Ronald Reagan? Hardly.

Putin, the strong man of Russia, now has every right to interpret this to mean that he could wrap this slender and naive new president around his little finger any time he wanted and do what he pleased.

That is just the opposite reaction from the one that George Bush gave him. Of course, we must realize that Obama has given other signs of weakness to the Russians, the Chinese, to Iran, and to North Korea — and also to Hamas about his determination to keep the North Koreans out of the South, to retaliate if he hits our territory or a friendly nation’s and to stand by Israel in case of attack. Strong words and a show of determination is needed, and our president once again missed an excellent opportunity.

Instead, he’s paranoid. He wants to “mend fences,” even if he has to criticize our own country as he frequently does.

The upside of this policy is that it might make Medvedev more powerful, though this is a rather naive and forlorn hope. The downside is that Putin might take offense at being ignored. But given that Putin appears to be generally offended all the time, no matter how often or how sweetly U.S. presidents talk to him, this latter concern seems rather beside the point.

In any case, this sort of chilly calculation is preferable to the carefully staged walks in the woods, bear hugs and holiday outings that characterized the Clinton-Yeltsin and Bush-Putin relationships. It also beats the lame “let’s press the reset button with Russia” metaphor that the Obama administration was using in its first few months in office. It’s absolutely true that the worst problems were not resolved this week and that everything hard — from Georgia to missile defense to Iran — has been left aside until further notice. But at least no one is pretending otherwise.

The problem with leaving it ’till later is that often we only get one chance of making impressions.

applebaumletters@washpost.com

>Is Obama a Coward? Why Won’t He Help Iran?

>When 1.5 million Iranians are rioting in the streets of Tehran, what’s the matter with Barak Obama?

“Now’s the time to use your bully pulpit, man!”

Obama is gifted an excellent chance to change a regime without any military action and yet he won’t. He’s frozen to his seat in front of the television, wondering what to do.

Obama was like this when Russia invaded Georgia. John McCain immediately condemned Russia, while Obama said little. Oh, yes, he said “Both sides need to show restraint.” Restraint, when Medvedev’s and Putin’s massive armies wiped out 200,000 innocent civilians in a neighboring foreign country?

The Ruski’s had staged the whole event. They had their armies poised at the border to go in if the Georgian president tried to put down a staged uprising of Russians living in north Georgia. It was a farce, and for the first time in a modern era we saw the ruthfulness of the new scaled back revanchist Russia against a helpless neighbor.

Now we’re seeing the ruthfulness of the Mullahs who have given the incumbent power (despite calling for a recount of the vote. It will be phonied up, you can count on that.), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who knows he did not win the election.
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>How Obama’s Gang Helps Terrorists

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President Obama is busy reversing all of the executive orders of George Bush. Gitmo has already been designated for closing. There will be no more water- boarding or “torture” under the big Obama “Change.”

Wiretapping of known alien terrorists will probably be eliminated next.

Bush kept us safe since 9/11, which is about 8 years, but don’t count on it under Barak “Break The Law” Obama. I only put that “Break The Law” jazz in there because of the three appointments he made that recently backfired. Yes, it’s guilt by association. Three of his appointees have admitted failing to pay their taxes and two of them have declined because of the adverse publicity. But Obama seems to like to be above the law in calling these people to such high offices. Why?

Special interest minorities have gotten to Obama. He does not understand how to lead, least of all how to be commander in chief.

Following a recent interview with the Saudi media, his first to a foreign reporter, he said so many bad things about our current foreign policy that
he burned Iran President Ahmadinejad’s ears so much the Iranian leader quickly demanded America apologize to Iran for interfering in that country’s desire to develop nuclear bombs.

When asked about it, Mitt Romney smiled, saying: “This is part of the on-the-job training for Obama.” He doesn’t know what to say and is a foreign policy disaster. Obama arrived on the Washington scene the least prepared for leadership of any modern-day president. How much of this kind of stupidity do we have to put up with?

We know Obama is far more liberal than Bush. Therefore, he is beloved by Hamas and the Muslim nations including Iran and other terrorist states. By comparison, George Bush was a great commander in chief. When he spoke the world understood, and didn’t dare to attack. Not so, apparently, with Obama.

There is Trouble Ahead
Look for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to make some noise. Don’t think for a minute that he isn’t studying Obama’s every move, every word. Look for him to test this naive young president soon. I predict there will be a major territory grab in the next 90 days by Putin. Mark my words.

Senator (now Vice President) Joe “the lip” Biden made a major gaff when he announced during the campaign that when his boy Obama got elected there would be people out there that would “test” him internationally. It was a typical Biden gaff, but it’s sure to come.

It could come in the Balkans, or there could be more trouble in Georgia, the Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, or Latvia — or even with neutral Finland. A lot depends on whether Obama follows the Bush initiative in placing defensive missile ring in Eastern Europe aimed ostensibly at Iran. But Putin is worried. You saw what he did to Georgia — took away one tenth of their real estate in Osetia and that other province where he had been sending Russian nationals to live for years, just waiting for a young president like Saakashveli to pounce on.

Now he’s got another young president, Obama. Watch for the “pouncc” to begin in late March or April.

>CAUTION: Russia is Arming Venzuela

>By
Don White

September 22, 2008
Washington–An AP headline and story today, taken alone, is innocuous enough. Writer Vladimir Isachenkov tells of how Russia is supplying arms to the militant Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a tit-for-tat show of strength countering America’s food and supply lifts to beleaguered Georgia.
But there is a problem. The amount of military trade with this small country is far beyond that needed to defend itself, so what’s up?

Only the threat of the U.S. intervention in South and Central America has checked Chavez’s imperialistic designs and confined him to his borders. But sources inside Venezuela tell us he has greater aspirations. With big brother Vlad Putin on his side, he could see his dreams come true–and his sights are set on at least out-maneuvering and influencing, if not immediately attacking, countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

With Chavez-friendly Ecuador on one side of pro-American Columbia and his own country on the other, it would not be a difficult task to overcome Columbia even before the U.S. had time to react. If not Columbia first, it could attack Panama and take over the canal, allowing only tankers with Russian oil to pass.

We haven’t done anything to oust Russia from Georgia, and Chavez counting on that to be a signal that the U.S. is too preoccupied in Iraq and Afghanistan to pose a threat to his imperialistic moves.

Russia has been providing Chavez arms since 2005 with $4 billion in fighter jets, helicopters, and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles to mount a war of aggression.

In addition, Hugo Chavez will travel to Russia later this week to enter into discussions on many subjects: First, how to keep America at bay; second, which weak Latin American nation now friendly to the the U.S. could Chavez attack and occupy? And third, he needs Putin’s blessing to show him how he can use the oil card to change the balance of power in the Americas and further weaken America? Both he and Putin understand that oil is America’s achilles heel.

A Russian navy squadron set off for Venezuela Monday, an official said, in a deployment of Russian military power to the Western Hemisphere. If this doesn’t excite anyone else, he scares me. This move is unprecedented since the Cold War.

In his AP story today, Vladimir Isachenkov said the Kremlin recently has moved to intensify contacts with Venezuela, Cuba and other Latin American nations amid increasingly strained relations with Washington after last month’s war between Russia and Georgia. During the Cold War, Latin America became an ideological battleground between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the nuclear-powered Peter the Great cruiser accompanied by three other ships sailed from the Northern Fleet’s base of Severomorsk on Monday. The ships will cover about 15,000 nautical miles to conduct joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy, he told The Associated Press.

The deployment follows a week-long visit to Venezuela by a pair of Russian strategic bombers and comes as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — an unbridled critic of U.S. foreign policy who has close ties with Moscow — plans to visit Moscow this week. It will be Chavez’s second trip to Russia in about two months.

The intensifying contacts with Venezuela appear to be a response to the U.S. dispatch of warships to deliver aid to Georgia which angered the Kremlin. But the Kremlin’s chain needs rattling.

So. . .they are upset because the world, led by America, is up in arms about their recent takeover of a sovereign nation? They shouldn’t be. If Russia expects to work well with the West it must never, never again attack and take over a sovereign nation. But we all know this is just the first step in an aggressive war plan Putin and Medvedev have put into action.

On August 13, 2008, just five days after the start of the Georgian War, I wrote a story about Putin in my blog Political Disconnect, satirizing his imperialistic ways. Part of the headline said: “I Can Haz Georgia?” Thereafter, he stayed in Georgia after attacking a much smaller, less well equipped nation and now, for all intents and purposes, he “Haz” Georgia as the West sits idly by doing almost nothing.

Chavez said in an interview with Russian television broadcast Sunday that Latin America needs a strong friendship with Russia to help reduce U.S. influence and keep peace in the region. “Keeping peace” is a code word for attack. That’s exactly what Putin said he was doing when he went into Georgia–keeping peace between South Ossetia, a province of Georgia, and Georgia. But what business does he have keeping peace in Georgia? Next, he will want to “keep peace” in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Baltic states, European Union, NATO, and the U.S., beware!

In separate comments on his Sunday TV and radio program, Chavez joked that he will be making his international tour to Russia and other countries this week aboard the “super-bombers that Medvedev loaned me,” a reference to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “Gentlemen of the CIA, to be clear, I’m joking,” Chavez said with a laugh.

No he isn’t! Chavez has repeatedly warned that the U.S. Navy poses a threat to Venezuela.

Russia has signed weapons contracts worth more than $4 billion with Venezuela since 2005 to supply fighter jets, helicopters, and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. Chavez’s government is in talks to buy Russian submarines, air defense systems and armored vehicles and more Sukhoi fighter jets.

Russian and Venezuelan leaders also have talked about boosting cooperation in the energy sphere to create what Chavez has called “a new strategic energy alliance.”

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who visited Venezuela last week, announced that five of Russia’s biggest oil companies are looking to form a consortium to increase Latin American operations and to build a $6.5 billion refinery to process Venezuela’s tar-like heavy crude. Such an investment could help Venezuela, the world’s ninth-biggest oil producer, wean itself from the U.S. refineries on which it depends to process much of its crude.

Sechin warned the United States that it should not view Latin America as its own backyard. “It would be wrong to talk about one nation having exclusive rights to this zone,” he said in an interview broadcast Sunday

>Russia Needs a New President

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Moscow demonstrations protesting the 1991 coup

Russia Needs Another Mikhail Gorbachev

I’ve been reading Gorbachev’s book The August Coup, The Truth And The Lessons and I can’t emphasize enough the goodness of Mikhail Gorbachev.
He was heaven-sent, the right man for Peristroika, the right man to extend long-overdue freedoms and self-determination–both political and economic–to the Russian peoples.

Yet as we pause to consider what took place less than a month ago in Georgia, where “foreign” troops of Russia invaded the sovereign nation, of Georgia, I can see how actions by Russian Prime Minister Vladimere Putin and President Dimetry Medvedev have set back the process 30 years.

The book retells a sad time in the times and life of Russia, a fledgling democracy, carved out of a desire by its people to be free. Its people embraced these freedoms, but soon some of its leaders almost took it away in a brazen act of cowardice, a putsch, a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government.

The coup failed, thanks to the resoluteness of Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and others who valued the progress they had made toward carving out a democracy and a free market economy more than a reactionary desire to return to an all-powerful dictatorship known as the Soviet Union. They valued their relationship with the West, particularly with America and President George W. H. Bush, the French, the British, and other European nations. Lucky for Russia, and the world, the good Russians were able to put down the Coup, arrest its leaders and return to “normalcy.”

The coup execution was started while President Gorbachev was vacationing in the Crimea, one day before a crucial meeting called the Novo-Ogarevo process where important agreements would be signed, ensuring the democratization of the nation. At Novo-Ogarevo, the country had arrived at the formula–“a Union of Sovereign States,” as President Gorbachev stated in his memoirs that made up part of the book, “but that too is now in need of reinterpretation.”

The Russian leaders had high hopes for the nation. On page 66 he stated: “… I am quite convinced that the international community will be dealing with a union of sovereign states, with a country in which free democratic states and republics and dozens of nations and national and ethnic groups cohabit voluntarily and with equal rights–acountry in which the most varied cultures and practically all known religions exist side by side and interact, creating a unique cultural and spiritual entity.

“the great Eurasian democracy will become one of the bulwarks of the new world, of its security and of the rapprochement of two continents of building a just world order. The combined foreign policy potential of the new Union will increase thanks to the liberated and original contribution that will be made by the sovereign republics that compose it.”

Gorbachev made special mention that the moral and legal foundation of the Union was the declaration of rights and freedoms of the indivdual, “which was approved by the Congress, and the documents defining the guidelines for the transition period and the principles underlying the new Union . This required that each individual state in this confederacy would respect the territorial integrity of other states.

Then on August 8, 2008, for trumped up reasons, Russia invaded Georgia, a “free country” with well known boundaries and displaced 160,000 Georgians, killed thousands, occupying this country for ten to 14 days. Russia unilaterially declared South Osettia and Abkahzia. both sides were to return their forces to pre-war positions, but Russia has interpreted one of the agreement’s clauses as allowing it to set up 4-mile deep security zones, which are now marked by Russian checkpoints.

In addition, in stark contrast to the spirit of the talks leading up to Georgia becoming a free nation, not only have they been invaded, but Russia has missile sites primed and aimed at Tblisi, capitol of Georgia, presumably as some kind of punishment or deterent to keep Georgia out of the two provinces (which belong to Georgia). The rule of law has been fractured.
Russia is no longer looked at as a democratic, forward-looking country.

The invasion has cast grave doubts about the stability and intentions of the former Soviets who have acted more like Tzarist Russia than a freedom-loving republic which respects the laws and principle of free determination. In fact, they have cast a pall over future EU and US relations with this country that not so long ago held so much promise. Now the so-called republic looks more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

Refugees who were kicked out of South Ossetia fled into Georgia from those zones and said they had been terrorized, beaten and robbed by South Ossetians.

Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Moscow to protest the presence of Russian troops on its territory, saying as the West does that Russia is in violation of the EU agreement.

>Russia Stays In Georgia–That’s An Outrage

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August 12, 2008
Tbilisi, Georgia–Following pressure from the United States and the European Union, Russia has haulted it’s war efforts but troops remain in this sovereign nation, for how long no one knows.

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States of hypocrisy in a tough statement that reflected both the measure of his anger at the West and the U.S. He is upset at America because we invaded Iraq. But there is a vast difference between Russia’s conquests and America’s. We ousted a tyrant and within a short time America will be pulling out our troops without taking anything, including oil revenue, from the Iraqi people. We are an invited guest at this time. Russia is not.

The U.S. has invested billions of dollars in Iraqi infra-structure and security and the money drain from America to Iraq continues despite many conservatives who believe we should exact moneys spent on infra-structure and security from Iraqi oil revenues as pay-back.

America has fought many wars, but has never done so for territorial conquest or to expand our borders. To wit: Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, Germany, Italy, and the whole of Western Europe. On the other hand, Russia, a reduced-size country of about 140 million people, is acting like the bully on the corner stealing candy-pops out of the mouths of children. It has constantly wanted to expand, and for periods of time in its history it has done just that, by bully force.

Since the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviets lost their Baltic provinces and other states such as Georgia surrounding Russia, the Soviets have been angry and have wanted to regain territory. It is my view that this is what this conflict is about and it will be tough to drive Russia out of Georgia. Putin is an expansionist dictator, despite the pseudo-democratization that supposedly took place in Russia. Putin has consolidated power to the extent that he is a dictator without restraint or term limits in a country without freedom of the press, freedom of speech, or really free markets.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said more than 2,000 people have been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, most of them Ossetians with Russian passports. The figures could not be independently confirmed, but refugees said hundreds had been killed.

Here’s the history of what has been called the South Ossetian War:

The 2008 South Ossetia war is a military conflict that started on August 8, 2008 involving Georgia, South Ossetian and Abkhazian secessionists and the Russian Federation.

1. Russian army moved from Abkhazia and took control of a Georgian base near Senaki. 2. Thousands of South Ossetia Civilians fled north following Saturday’s attacks. 3. Russia attacked Tbilisi airport and the Baku-Tbilsi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia are territories within Georgia that declared independence from Georgia and have been acting in a de facto independent capacity since the early 1990s. Neither state has been diplomatically recognized by any member of the United Nations. In the early 2000s, it was reported that 95 percent of population in South Ossetia were Russian citizens. The conflict began on August 8, 2008 after Georgia launched a military offensive to surround and capture the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali immediately after a ceasefire. Georgia claimed to have been provoked by South Ossetian attacks, which South Ossetia denies.

Later the same day, Russia responded by moving its troops across the Georgian border, bringing ground forces into South Ossetia and Abkhazia and launching air strikes on targets elsewhere in the country. The Russian government’s stated justification for entering Georgian territory was to protect its own citizens and to prevent “a genocide by Georgian forces”. As Georgia retreated from its offensive in South Ossetia, it claimed it was defending itself from “Russian aggression.” Georgians killed at least 1000 South Ossetian people before the Russians intervened. Russia responded to the charge in the United Nations, saying Georgia had started the war by conducting a military operation against South Ossetia, which Georgia does not deny. Georgia insisted it had earlier been provoked by attacks by South Ossetian militants, which South Ossetia denies.

Most international observers have called for a peaceful solution to the conflict The European Union and the United States expressed a will to send a joint delegation to try to negotiate a cease-fire. Russia ruled out peace talks with Georgia until the latter withdrew from South Ossetia and signed a legally binding pact renouncing the use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazi.

Both separatist provinces are backed by Russia. Russian officials had given signals that the fighting could pave the way for them to be absorbed into Russia. That’s what Dictator Putin and his puppet president, Demitry Medvedev, want.

Georgia borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia and was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990s.

Ossetians are a disntinct Iranic ethnic group whose origin lies along the Don River. They came to the Caucasus after they were driven out of their homeland by Mongol invasions in the 13th century. Some of them settled in territory now known as North Ossetia, which is now part of Russia, and South Ossetia, which is recognized by all members of the United Nations as part of Georgia. South Ossetia currently has a Georgian ethnic minority of about one fifth (14,000) of the total population (70,000). The region, which is one and a half times the area of Luxembourg[(roughly 6 percent of the total territory of Georgia) broke away from Georgia in the 1991–1992 war (in which more than 2,000 people are believed to have died because, as the BBC says, South Ossetians wanted to unite with the rest of their ethnic group in North Ossetia and did not want to accept being citizens of the Georgian government in Tbilisi. A force with 500 troops each from Russia, North Ossetia-Alania (part of Russia), South Ossetia and Georgia monitored a 1992 truce. Georgia accuses the Russian troops of siding with the separatists, which Moscow denies.

Sporadic clashes between separatist and Georgian forces have killed dozens of people in the previous few years. Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili proposed an alternative peace accord, under which South Ossetia would be given “a large degree of autonomy” within a federal state. The separatist leaders note they want instead full independence.

Restoring South Ossetia and Abkhazia—a region with a similar separatist movement—to Georgian control has been a major goal for Saakashvili since the Rose Revolution. Additionally, since 2002, the U.S. Army has been providing substantial amounts of support and training to Georgia. The Georgian budget contains military costs estimated at just under US$1 billion or about 4.5 percent of GDP (purchasing power parity), while Russian military spending jumped to US$40 billion, with a 16 percent increase over last year. Russia has the largest army in Europe, estimated at just over one million.

The full independence of South Ossetia was supported by 99 percent of South Ossetia’s civil population according to the South Ossetian independence referendum with 95.2 percent of the population participating in the referendum.

Some sources claim that the South Ossetian separatist government is “dependent on Russia”, although these sources do not provide any reliable evidence or reference. These sources also say that the South Ossetian separatist government “is funded by Moscow”, which “supplies two thirds of their annual budget” and the Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom has made “investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars” in South Ossetia.

Author’s note: Gazprom, if you will remember, was an independent company created with private funding in Russia–much of it from foreign banks and people–before Putin nationalized it. So much for private enterprise in Russia. Putin saw a good thing and said, “Mine!” This is just one more evidence of the acquisitiveness and illegitimacy of the Russian leader swine. People who invest in Russia are throwing their money away. If the business succeeds, there’s a good chance Putin will put his hands on it.

Most of the residents of South Ossetia are Russian citizens holding Russian passports: according to the British media source BBC, “more than half of South Ossetia’s 70,000 citizens are said to have taken up Moscow’s offer of a Russian passport.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev states that 90 percent of South Ossetia residents possess them. Russia has argued this justifies intervention to protect its citizens, within its peacekeeping mission.

Let joint American-European arbitors do their work, and they will if Russia allows it. My suggestion to George Bush, as stated earlier in Angstblogger.blogspot.com is that he insist the Russians leave the sovereign nation of Georgia immediately or he will call for an emergency meeting of NATO with the sole purpose of voting on the inclusion of Ukraine in NATO.

This should scare the pants of Putin to the point where he will immediately withdraw his troops and agree to pay war damage reparations to war-torn Georgia.

>McCain On Top Of Georgian Crisis

>Why is it that John McCain is the only candidate calling for Russia to leave Georgia and cease all military actions? Georgia is a constitutionally free country and Russia has attacked oil pipe terminals, airports, and government buildings, killing some 1,500 Georgians along the way.

Georgia has a right to do whatever is necessary to control the property within its borders and assure the freedom of all citizens, whether they still have Russian passports or not.

But I don’t see Obama on top of this. Bush will be all over it as soon as he can pull himself away from the track and field events and return to America. But I would think this is a great opportunity to come knocking on Putin’s hotel room door. They’re both there, George, initiate something, man, and leave a personal message.

What I would do is drop in on him unannounced. Take with you your body guards and when they get inside have them draw their weapons. Putin will do likewise and it will be a crazy standoff. Who’s willing to pull the trigger first. Then squint hard at him, George, and tell him that if you don’t return to your hotel room in ten minutes you have left instructions for Vice President Cheney to have the Airforce drop some bombs on Russian assets. And if that isn’t enough curl up your forehead. Give him that severely worried look. Stare him down. Kennedy did it to Nikita Khrushchev on Cuba, remember, Dude? Kennedy even blockaded Cuba so Russian ships couldn’t come in. Is there any way, George, that we can blockade Russia this time and kick their butts out of Georgia?

Polite Obama-ish language wont’ do it. Maybe we should issue a warning to Putin and then drop a couple of bombs, wiping out some Russian jets and tanks in Georgia. That would deliver the message and the war would end immediately. Where’s the UN and NATO when you need them?

Don’t go through diplomatic channels–it takes too long. By the time they get the message Russia may be annexing the entire country of Georgia. That’s their end game. They saw this coming and Georgia fell for it, mobilizing troops, attacking rebels in South … what’s its name) and now we have an all-out war and only Russia can stop it.

Interesting, Obama says he knows what to do and say at important times. But he’s always a little late. Like the Clinton debates where newsmen always called on her first. His lame answer was mostly, “I agree with everything she said.” It was because he doesn’t know nothin’. He’s stupid as far as foreign affairs are concerned. No, one little trip abroad didn’t educate him. He didn’t even take the time to talk to our injured boys and girls in army hospitals. Too busy seeing the general. What did he learn? Nothing. He was too busy preparing his Brandenburg speech and hobnobbing with the camera crew. McCain was right. He’s a true celeb. But photogenics isn’t what we are voting about come November.

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