Friday, February 19, 2010

Saakashvili, Republicans: Strung Out or Just Crazy?

Russia Today ponders whether Georgian president Saakashvili is on drugs or is just crazy.Meanwhile American republicans, who may or may not be crazy or on drugs or both, advocate sending more arms to Georgia. A conservative (in the real sense) website, The National Interest looks at the ramifications:

"Senator Richard Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has proposed that the United States and Europe rearm the country of Georgia. The result would be to increase the chances of renewed conflict with Russia.

Georgia well illustrates the plight of small, divided states with large, assertive neighbors. Independence and freedom are hard to maintain. Georgia spent centuries as part of the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union. Even today Georgia exists in the shadow of a hostile Moscow.

However, Tbilisi shares another trait with many small, divided states—brutish nationalism. The status of ethnic minorities, such as the Abkhazis and Ossetians, has varied over time. Even the Mensheviks, who ran Georgia for a time after the Russian Revolution before being overrun by the more ruthless Bolsheviks, abandoned their more liberal principles when dealing with non-Georgians. Many Abkhazis and South Ossetians understandably do not want to be ruled by Tbilisi today.

The result is a geopolitical mess, but one with little relevance to America. During the Cold War no one suggested that the status of Georgia mattered to U.S. security. Georgia was listed as a “captive nation” in a 1959 congressional resolution—along with Turkestan, Armenia, Idel-Ural, White Ruthenia, Cossackia, and Tibet. Washington issued the usual platitudes about their plight, but there was no pretense that America ever would go to war in their defense. So it should remain with Georgia today."

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