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>Fred Makes Sense About Georgia

>I’m posting part of a report written by former Senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson, a possible running mate for John McCain. If you want to read it in its entirety, as it appeared in Townhall, click the link at the end and leave a comment. I suspect many of this blogs readers are not living in the U.S. and it would be neat to see the diverenge of opinions about whose at fault and who started this Georgian War.

Dangerous Times In Georgia
Demand Serious Leadership

My mind goes back to August 2002 in Tbilisi, as I visited Georgia with John McCain. I remember it feeling rather dark and secretive, with the former-Soviet Union’s heavy hand still making its presence felt. President Eduard Shevardnadze, formerly Soviet minister of foreign affairs, presented a friendlier face to the United States, but was beset by economic problems and corruption charges. At the time I did not fully appreciate the power of the democratic impulses that were just beginning to bubble up and would lead to the democratic Georgian government we now see threatened.

What has happened in Georgia since that time should not be surprising to anyone. Certainly Russia has tried to pretty itself up: it renamed the KGB and even gave its 21st century strongman Vladimir Putin a new title.

But for some time we’ve seen Russia sliding back to its authoritarian comfort zone. Murder, imprisonment and property confiscation are back in vogue for any perceived troublemaker. Former Soviet provinces have faced all forms of intimidation, from thuggish trade shakedowns to cyber attacks that shut down communications with the outside world. And whether a former satellite like Poland or a longtime western ally like Germany, Russia has made overt threats over plans to bring eastern European countries into NATO or to deploy a U.S.-provided missile defense system.

Russia is not above using anything at its disposal to make its point. It is a wealthy nation, built on a petro-economy that provides oil and gas to dependent European nations, which are petrified of having their energy supplies disrupted and are now in their own economic doldrums.

Given all this, Russia’s incursion into Georgia is a logical extension of Putin’s autocratic words and deeds and Russia’s regional ambitions…
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