Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today's The New York Times carries a story by Clifford J. Levy on the protests in Georgia aimed at kicking out the Bush/Cheney protege Mikheil Saakashvili.

Writes Levy:

"Mr. Saakashvili took office in 2004 after leading the so-called Rose Revolution, which ousted a government with Soviet ties. He pledged to pursue a pro-Western course, distancing the country from Moscow, rooting out corruption and reviving an economy that had fallen on such hard times that electricity outages were frequent in the capital, Tbilisi.

"He says the country has made notable progress under his leadership, and many analysts agree that the economy is far stronger. But his tenure has grown steadily more contentious.

"Former aides have deserted him, and a violent crackdown on a demonstration in 2007 hurt his reputation in Washington, his most important supporter. The ruinous war with Russia has further emboldened the opposition, which contends that he bumbled into a conflict that the country could not win."

Recall it was Saakashvili who ordered the artillery attack against South Ossetia last Summer. The war that ensued between Georgia and Russia left Georgia reeling from the destruction of much of its infrastructure and loss of life. This war was not started by Russia, it was a Georgian attack against the population of a province that is inhabited mostly by Russian emigres. Yet Bush and Cheney and a lot of Republicans including some hapless Democrats blamed Russia and Putin.

If and when the voters in Georgia kick Saakashvili out of office, it will be an improvement and a mark of progress towards peace in the Caucasus. Thank the stars that rational minds in Europe opposed Georgia's entrance into NATO. Otherwise Saakashvili could have conceivably drawn all of NATO's nations into his aggressive war against Russia.

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