Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I get the impression that the West's condemnation of Russia for recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abhkazia has more to do with deep seated fears that almost any country in the West could be subject to independence movements by their own minorities wanting to break away. Here Russia has signaled that it will recognize such movements, at least in other countries, maybe not in its own. All the huffing and puffing of Bush, Cheney and Rice seems totally unrelated to spreading "democracy," one of Bush's favorite words.

If Bush wanted to pursue democracy, instead of telling Russia it had to recognize Georgia's "territorial sovereignty," Bush would be pressing both Putin and Saakashvili to sponsor a referendum in both Abhkazia and South Ossetia for the purpose of ascertaining the will of the people. That would be true democracy in action. But Bush and his cronies send in war ships carrying "relief" cargo to Georgia's ports, obviously intending to show Russia that Bush is not afraid to use military force.

There are still some five months left in Bush's term, so anything can happen between now and then. But don't underestimate the Bush danger. Bush could stumble into a serious shooting confrontation with Russia just as he and the other European leaders who support him stumbled into the Georgia mess by failing to understand the repercussions of Russia's concern about the West recognizing the independence of Kosovo a few months ago. Bush also bears responsibility for Georgia's initiation of the conflict by telling that hot head Saakashvili that the U.S. would back him up vis-a-vis Russia, the implication being with war planes and tanks.

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