The Collapse of Imperial Day Dreams: Why Cheney Is Travelling to the Former Soviet East Bloc

While George Bush and John McCain are playing a cold-war version of monopoly to try to establish a U.S. military presence on Russia’s borders, and in the process, rally the U.S. electorate behind the Republicans, the Russians appear to be playing economic chess. While we have become military bullies whose diplomacy has devolved to brandishing our mighty imperial status as the only superpower, the Russians are calling for a multi-power world and apparently putting their money where their mouths are. Hat tip to Spengler at Asia Times, Americans play Monopoly, Russians chess"for the analogy.

Hegemon Hold "Em

It is a senseless policy, apparently meant to intimidate Russia, but why? For the sake of perpetuating international tension so as to strengthen the forces that with Cheney and Bush have been promoting constitutionally unaccountable executive rule in the United States?"

William Pfaff, August 19, 2008.

The art of analyzing international affairs is somewhat like discovering new planets. The astronomer notes the behaviors of observable objects; when those objects behave in a manner that other observable phenomena can't explain, the astronomer begins hypothesizing what unseen phenomena may be present whose gravity could have produced an otherwise irrational event.

So it is with the ongoing monkeyshines between Russia and the Borscht Republic of Georgia. Assuming that Georgia is a "rational actor," it doesn’t make sense for it to have invited invasion from Russia by launching an offensive into South Ossetia.

Warm Beer and Cold War

When young Mr. Bush told Vladimir Putin in June 2007 that "The Cold War is over," we couldn't have gotten more surefire confirmation that the Cold War was, in fact, alive and kicking. The recent monkey business in Georgia has been in the pipeline since at least then, probably since much earlier.

Noam Chomsky used the term "Cold War II" in August 2007. I first mentioned it in February of that year (so there, Chomsky, you snoozer). Stephen F. Cohen referred to a "new cold war" in a June 2006 article for The Nation. It's eminently arguable that President Bill Clinton started the second Cold War when he intervened in Kosovo in part to distract the world from his pants-capades.

It has been the Bush administration, though, that has managed to escalate the second cold war by losing the first one retroactively.

Hegemon Hijinks

On Friday August 15 the Bush administration sent Condoleezza Rice to meet with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili as a "show of U.S. support." Yikes. They sent Condi? Talk about giving somebody the goodbye look. If this were a Marty Scorsese movie, Saakashvili would have been sleeping with the fishes come Saturday morning. You'd think Keystone Kondi would have lent sufficient slapstick to the Georgian situation, but no. Adding to the antics, John McCain announced on Friday August 15 that he would send along as his personal representatives Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, the Bea Arthur and Betty White of neoconservatism. Then, to cap things off, McCain himself dropped the atomic punchline: "In the twenty-first century, nations don't invade other nations."

You could hear irony clawing at its coffin lid.

The bananastans are going bananas, Iran's down the can, al Qaeda is a more dangerous enemy than ever and our "victory" in Iraq has gone off in our faces like a joke shop cigar. Less than a decade into the New American Century, young Mr. Bush and the neoconservatives who promised us an empire have squandered everything our forefathers achieved in the America's first two and a quarter centuries as a nation. Yet, incredibly, bewilderingly, stupefyingly, a septuagenarian Senator who steals Christian prisoner stories from Alexander Solzhenitsyn and promises to protract the Bush foreign policy fumble-rama is a viable contender for the presidency of the United States.

We live in hysteric times.

Reality Check: Has George Bush Gone Too Far in Georgia?

It now turns out that ceasfire negotiations for Russian pullback from Georgia were stalled because of the refusal of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili to sign the six-point ceasefire plan brokered by French President Nicholas Sarkozy. According the Guardian-UK, Sarkozy finally agreed to sign opening the way for Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, to also ratify the pact.

Both have now signed on.

Nick Benton's Corner: McCain's Neo-Con Rant on Georgia

Posted with permission from Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press,

McCain's Neo-Con Rant on Georgia

It must be appreciated that the current Russian military operation in Georgia comes in the context of eight years of a profoundly-destructive Bush administration thuggish, unilateralist foreign policy. The reckless Bush policy, including its unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq, has heightened tensions throughout the world and driven angry wedges where bridges could have been built.
Now, Russia is reacting to a perceived threat on its border much as it was accustomed to doing in the old Cold War days. They're not the good guys in this, but it is clear that the U.S. has been the bad guys for way too long.

The Irony Curtain

Vladimir Putin has gone from being Russia's president to being Russia's Dick Cheney. As Prime Minister, he still has all the real power but has shed the accountability that goes with being the head of state. So while Putin is undoubtedly the dastard who decided to put the clobber on Georgia, the guy who has to take criticism for it is Putin's political Pinocchio President Dmitry Medvedev. Being the man in the hot seat sort of makes Medvedev Russia's George W. Bush, except that Bush has never really been held responsible for anything. (Bush is only sixty-something and he's only been on the job for seven and a half years, what do you want?)

What Does Russia Want?

by carol. Originally posted 2008-08-12 09:17:15 -0500

Even though Dmitry Medvedev is now the President of Russia its clear that Vladimir Putin is the real power in that country given the statements made by the Kremlin since the fighting began 5 days ago.

"They had to hang Saddam Hussein for destroying several Shia villages," he said. "But the current Georgian rulers who in one hour simply wiped 10 Ossetian villages from the face of the earth, the Georgian rulers which used tanks to run over children and the elderly, who threw civilians into cellars and burnt them - they are players that have to be protected."

Russia would continue its military operation until “its logical end”.

The Russian Prime Minister blasted the West for continuing to support President Saakashvili despite Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia, which he said “wiped from the face of the earth ten Osettian villages”.

“The scale of cynicism is surprising and the skill to present white as black and black. The trick to present the aggressor as the victim of an aggression and to place the responsibly for the effects on the victims,” Mr Putin said.

Another Side: More on the Georgia Story

map fromGlobal Guerillas

The American stance, condemning Russia for “aggression” against Georgia, is dominating the American news media, but it is useful to look at some more nuanced views of the situation not excluding the placement of missiles on Polish territory despite Russian objections and not excluding the role of American military trainers in building up Ossetian military capabilities. Whatever blame does or does not rightly fall upon the Russian government, it is clear that a renewal of enmity between the U.S. and Russia falls within the Bush/McCain permanent-warfare geopolitical gameplan. Several recent commentaries raise what I consider to be important reasons not to succumb to the Bush/McCain propaganda machine and the U.S. media barrage, both of which seek to demonize Putin.

Border Clash on Georgia/Russian border

update by carol. Originally posted 2008-08-08 12:37:43 -0500; Map image from Global Guerillas

John McCain has again been caught with his hand in the cookie job. One of his top campaign advisors is a lobbyist for Georgia. McClatchy carries the story, by Greg Gordon.

Sending Goods to Iran? Yes we are!

I am always so surprised when I read articles like the following. Why I am so darn surprised...I don't know. Schnoockered comes to mind!!! Can we not stand the truth?

U.S. exports there have risen during the Bush administration