Update on Alternate Views: American Support to Georgia Losing Traction

In an op ed piece in the New York Times Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union supports the actions of the present Russian government.

Right now Democrats and Republicans seem to be in broad agreement on a bellicose posture against the Russian intervention. In my view, only after the election, should the Democrats win, will we see a more realistic approach by the U.S.government. In my opinion the U.S. today is not in a position to heft much weight against the desire of our allies to remain on good terms with the Russians. If John McCain is elected, I fear that he may well bring us to WWIII.

Senator Biden made a bellicose statement on returning from Georgia as reported by Jonathan Weisman in the Washington Post, I believe that a more realistic assessment of the dangers of fostering a new cold-war stance in the U.S. will prevail after the election. Here is a quote from Biden taken from the article:

"I left the country convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event to occur in Europe since the end of communism. The claims of Georgian atrocities that provided the pretext for Russia's invasion are rapidly being disproved by international observers, and the continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region. The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region," Biden said in a statement.

A.P. reports that the Europeans are unwilling to go beyond a verbal posture, in fronting the Russians. Considering that they view Russia as a valuable trading partner this should come as no surprise.

The arch-conservative Patrick Buchanan takes an isolationist stance. While normally I would discount what he has to say on anything, I came on an analysis piece, Who Started Cold War II? by him that I think is well worth reading. Here is a short excerpt:

The American people should be eternally grateful to Old Europe for having spiked the Bush-McCain plan to bring Georgia into NATO.

Had Georgia been in NATO when Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia, we would be eyeball to eyeball with Russia, facing war in the Caucasus, where Moscow's superiority is as great as U.S. superiority in the Caribbean during the Cuban missile crisis.

On August 18, The Diane Rehm show featured an interesting discussion.

The U.S., Russia, and Geopolitical Power
The conflict in Georgia has inflamed simmering problems in the U.S.-Russia relationship. A look at how the two nations are positioning themselves in the Caucasus and beyond, and where the balance of global power may be headed.

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State

Dimitri Simes, president, The Nixon Center

James Kitfield, senior correspondent, "National Journal" magazine

Simes made the strong point that in actuality Southern Ossetia had not been a part of Georgia since the break up of the Soviet Union. Since that time they apparently have been a de facto country separate from Georgia, even though Georgia was recognized by the U.N. as having sovereignty. The Russians had been officially designated as "peacekeepers" in the area, following upon of past military skirmishes.

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