Open thread: War with Russia edition

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The Moose Mom has just demonstrated her foreign policy prowess in an interview with ABC. If Russia invades another country (um, they already have), we should go to war with them. Sweet.


Well, she should know. She

Well, she should know. She lives right next door to them, after all. Duh.

Off to Russia with Love by Sara Georgia

Well, she should know. She lives right next door to them, after all. Duh. * Linda

Right! In fact I am on the way to Alaska with a rubber raft canoe from SportTown Wars Inc. The first thing that I am going to do is stuff her Council of Foreign Affairs ass in the raft with a large Male Polar Bear in heat.

I hope Henry Kissinger is her first mate! Off to Alaska!


is a hobgoblin which rarely preys on Republican national candidates' minds.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty clear binary set situation. Since Georgia is not a NATO member, we are flexible in how we respond to its border disputes with Russia. However, in the unlikely event that Georgia were to be admitted to the NATO alliance, then our strategic options would vanish. We would be obligated to respond with military force. To do otherwise would reduce NATO membership to a meaningless piece of paper.

Yep, war with Russia over South Ossetia. That matches my definition of insanity in foreign relations. If it doesn't equate to insanity in the judgment of John McCain and Sarah Palin, that should alarm any thoughtful and informed voter.

The problem is that the typical McCain voter may think that the Russia-Georgia dispute involves keeping Comrade General Shermanski from marching through Atlanta.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

Geography test

is more like it. You don't have to be stupid not to know where Georgia is, or what the Georgia-Russia dispute is about. Just uninformed on a relatively obscure dispute on the other side of the globe. And Americans are notoriously bad at geography and world history. That's why McCain and Palin can get away with statements that are so alarming--or so obviously full of hot air.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

No kidding

Imagine if Dan Besse were the candidate for Lieutenant Governor in November. Think about what that would have meant for the environment. For the politics of reason.

We need to get you elected to something big, Dan.


Doubts about Dole?

Russia is not a third world

Russia is not a third world country and not someone we would go to war with. I honestly cant believe folks like Palin are that dumb. Surely they must be acting it or is it just bluster.

Obama said one month ago

Obama said:

Going forward, the United States and Europe must support the people of Georgia. Beyond immediate humanitarian assistance, we must provide economic assistance, and help rebuild what has been destroyed. I have consistently called for deepening relations between Georgia and transatlantic institutions, including a Membership Action Plan for NATO, and we must continue to press for that deeper relationship.

McCain also backs NATO membership for Georgia. As does Biden. So it's unanimous. NATO was originally put together to contain Soviet expansionism and worked pretty well.

And being a member of NATO means that your allies comes to your assistance if you're attacked. 'Cause it's a military alliance. That's how they work. If Obama and Biden don't know that then they're the ones who are woefully ignorant. I think the main difference is that Obama/Biden would admit Georgia to NATO as window dressing while McCain/Palin might actually mean it.

Q: To what extent should the Soviet bloc reassemble itself before we start any effective opposition? Georgia. Ukraine. Estonia. Lithuania. Latvia. Poland. Romania. Bulgaria. Hungary. Czechoslovakia (two countries now). Part (all?) of Germany. More...?

How many countries are invaded before something is done? I know the Marxists are longing for the good old days of Joe Stalin, but a lot of us don't miss them.

Like the guy in the Fram commercial said, "You can pay me now or you can pay me later". Hint: now is cheaper.

Before something is done?

Like what, LB? Exactly what is the something you would like to see done? Should we stop the holy war on terror and redeploy our armies from Afghanistan and Iraq to the border with Russia? Should we drop a few tactical nuclear weapons on Moscow, you know, just to get their attention?

Just what is the "something" you think should be done, Mr. Breath? Which American city are you willing to "pay now" with?

Be specific, Mr. Breath. Tell us exactly what you and Shotgun Sarah would do to mount what you consider "effective opposition?"

And then play it out so we can get your own, personal take on what the beginning of World War III would look like. Come on. Let's hear it.


Doubts about Dole?

great talking points

For Democrats.

Please, please, please--let McCain come out during the campaign saying war with Russia over South Ossetia is a good idea. If that doesn't demonstrate to a large majority of Americans that he is a hot-headed, unacceptably dangerous man to elect as president, I can't imagine what would.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

I want to buy some Russian Treasury Notes now?

Like the guy in the Fram commercial said, "You can pay me now or you can pay me later". Hint: now is cheaper* Locomotive Breath

Dear Fire Breather!

Are you aware that Russia holds 55 billion dollars in United States Treasury Notes. The 6 th largest investor in the World for American Debt. Before you start another neo-con war, don't you think we should pay them off now as you say?

Oh! Never mind! We are broke but with your republican neo-con thinking........just print mo money is the answer! Right?

You don't have to take my

You don't have to take my word for it. Here's an analysis from that Republican bastion the NYT.

Analysis: Palin and Foreign Policy

Michael R. Gordon, the chief military correspondent of The New York Times, offers this quick assessment of how Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska addressed major foreign policy questions in the interview that was broadcast Thursday night on ABC News.

On her support for Georgia-Ukraine membership in NATO: Ms. Palin reiterated a view long-held by Senators Obama, Biden, McCain and Clinton. They all voted in April for a Senate resolution calling for Georgia and Ukraine’s admission in NATO, a popular stance with Americans of Eastern European background and perhaps a geopolitically wise step as well. Senators Biden and McCain co-sponsored the resolution and Mr. Obama put out a press release at the time hailing its passage. After Russia intervened in Georgia in August, Mr. Obama reaffirmed his support for Georgia’s bid to join NATO in a statement issued from Hawaii. (Just as Senators McCain, Obama and Biden also supported Kosovo independence.)

Article V of the NATO treaty stipulates that an attack against one should be considered an attack against all. So in that sense, Georgia and Ukraine’s admission into NATO would make it possible that the United States would come to their defense in the event of a Russian attack, which is why some NATO members have been less enthusiastic about extending membership to these nations. Ms. Palin’s comments on this simply reaffirmed the obvious. No news here, though she spoke more bluntly than others might have.[my bold]

And you are by now perhaps aware that ABC edited Palin's remarks severely to make a longer fairly thoughtful response say what they wanted her to say. The response they deleted is in bold.

GIBSON: Let’s start, because we are near Russia, let’s start with Russia and Georgia.

The administration has said we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

PALIN: First off, we’re going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak with him the other day and giving him my commitment, as John McCain’s running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia. And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable and we have to keep…

GIBSON: You believe unprovoked.

PALIN: I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there. I think it was unfortunate. That manifestation that we saw with that invasion of Georgia shows us some steps backwards that Russia has recently taken away from the race toward a more democratic nation with democratic ideals. That’s why we have to keep an eye on Russia.

And, Charlie, you’re in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They’re very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

What media bias? You've been suckered but I'll bet you don't care.

And if you want to talk about the financial side of things: Russia investors flee after conflict . Guess who's going to take the bigger hit? It's not the U.S.

Maybe if we just give them Georgia without complaint that'll be all they want and we'll have peace in our time.

On a side note....

If you watch it online you see the full interview, which is what I did. I don't like it when the media takes snapshots of conversations on either side.

I need to go back through this thread, but I think you are misunderstanding at least my position. I think we need to stand up for Georgia, but it shouldn't have come to this and I'm not sure HOW we are going to stand up to Georgia.

This was the deadliest year for us in Afghanistan and we only control about 1/4 of that country.

Pakistan is losing more ground to the al Qaeda bases and safe zones, so we've started attacking INTO Pakistan.

Iraq is still a joke, those who haven't been killed or who have had to flee the country as refugees live in walled off enclaves. There is no peace, just lines in the sand.

If we want to do something about Georgia, which will probably lead to a real world war with Russia, then we better set up a big-time draft and but quick.

Bush has painted us into this corner. We should have been working behind the scenes all along with NATO to stop Russia - instead of looking into his eyes and giving him a big fat kiss.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

They're all wrong,

but McCain is more wrong than the others. By elevating Randy Scheunemann to the top of his foreign policy staff, a lobbyist who has been paid $200,000 by Georgia to advocate on its behalf, McCain has proven that he (like his VP Palin) has either no concept of what a "conflict of interest" is or simply doesn't care, and also doesn't care that people know about it.

That is not an attribute that the leader of the free world should have, frankly, and will raise doubts about any support McCain voices for other nations and leaders moving forward. Or at least it should.

As far as the specific question of Georgia's inclusion in NATO, there are several reasons why this is a bad idea. First off, there has been a conflict with South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) since the breakup of the Soviet Union 16 years ago, and Georgia has had no success at reconciliation whatsoever. Indeed, two years ago, South Ossetia held a referendum and 95% of the population voted for independence from Georgia.

Secondly, there are some serious and heretofore unanswered questions about the nature of the Georgian political apparatus itself, from the way it took power in the Rose Revolution to the suppression of freedoms today, and not just in the way it deals with the intransigent South Ossetians. Peaceful protesters have been periodically jailed and held incommunicado, independent (non-state) media stifled, etc. The status of Democracy is in question.

But back to the lobbying, and how it has affected the opinions of our leaders re Georgia. Scheunemann has been working both sides on this, and (not surprisingly) oil has played a major role in this formula. In addition to being paid by Saakashvili to use his influence to sway Congress, Scheunemann has also been working for U.S. firms to secure Georgian oilfield leases:

McCain's senior foreign policy and national security adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is listed as a member of Worldwide Strategic Energy's executive team in a pre-prospectus obtained by Majikthise.

This document was circulated to prospective investors in 2007, according to the source who provided the document.

From the document itself:

Geopolitical risks have often caused the hydrocarbon development opportunities in these regions to be overlooked or underdeveloped. Through our strong business and political ties, WSE has the unique ability to navigate the geopolitical spectrum and inherent risks associated with these politically complicated and sometimes misunderstood countries of the world outside of the traditional means of most firms, as well as with the “turbulent suppliers” of oil to the western world including the Persian Gulf and various Latin American nations.

By utilizing our strong business and political connections, WSE will be able to capitalize financially by continuing to offer geopolitical and business development assistance to a host government while acquiring leases and lease options. The lease-holding governments will issue the leases and lease options to WSE based on our significant knowledge of both the energy and political worlds. By doing so, the lease-holding government will receive the additional benefit of our strong business and political knowledge in the U.S. and around the world, while at the same time still receive the usual royalties associated with passing on a hydrocarbon field to a developer. This arrangement will be a win/win for the oil lease-holding country, the field developer, and WSE.

Randy Scheunemann is a registered representative of the Government of Georgia in the United States. Accordingly, Mr. Scheunemann has developed a very close relationship with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and many senior Georgian officials. The WSE team has also begun negotiating possible deals with the Georgian state-run oil company, National Oil Company of Georgia, to assist in the development of Georgia’s hydrocarbon industry.

This Russia/Georgia/South Ossetia issue is extremely complicated, and preserving the status quo may be the only way to avoid a military conflict among neighbors that could easily spread to other countries in the region. And our involvement can only exacerbate the situation, even if we didn't have a desire to profit from the venture. But you factor American interests grabbing oil leases into the picture, and you've got war on a scale that we haven't seen in decades.