September 17, 2008

In what respect, Mikheil?

During her interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin described Moscow's action against its onetime subsidiary state Georgia last month as "unprovoked."

She went on to suggest that had the former Soviet republic been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at the time, America would have "perhaps" found itself at war with Russia.

Fortunately for the Alaskan governor, Gibson changed the subject before Palin could address exactly what the potentially disastrous implications of such a conflict and its escalation might be.

Senator John McCain, who hopes to ride the coattails of Sarah Palin's own extravagantly outsized ambitions to the U.S. presidency, unequivocally supported Georgia's leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, pronouncing then, "We're all Georgians today."

Comes now a lengthy report in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel revealing the spectacular naïveté of both Republican candidates' irresponsible politicking along with their ill-informed saber-rattling.
According to this [NATO] intelligence information, the Georgians amassed roughly 12,000 troops on the border with South Ossetia on the morning of Aug. 7.

At 10:35 p.m. on Aug. 7, less than an hour before Russian tanks entered the Roki Tunnel, according to Saakashvili, Georgian forces began their artillery assault on Tskhinvali.

The intelligence agencies conclude that the Russian army did not begin firing until 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 8 [and] did not begin marching through the Roki Tunnel until roughly 11 a.m. This sequence of events is now seen as evidence that Moscow did not act offensively, but merely reacted.
As noted previously, Saakashvili's escapade was in the works long before August 7, according to his former defense minister.

And there's quite a bit more to it than that, obviously, as evidenced by Der Spiegel's rightfully inquisitive headline:

Sarah Palin also mentioned that she'd once spoken to Mikheil Saakashvili on the telephone. She may have yet to meet a foreign leader — apart from a day trip to visit the Premier of Yukon — but it's certainly beginning to appear that she's already been duped by one. And so has John McCain, from the looks of it.

Which is not real encouraging on either of their behalfs.


Jay Bullock said...

We can all field-dress a Georgian now.

Anonymous said...

You must have missed the New York Times report that showed the Russian Troops entered before the shooting started. In fact the Georgians were begging the US and NATO to help when they were getting reports of Russian armor moving through the tunnel.

illusory tenant said...

I didn't miss it, but maybe Secretary of State Rice did. Because yesterday she noted that initially, "the Georgian government launched a major military operation into Tskhinvali and other areas of the separatist region."

Secretary Rice and others have described Russia's response as disproportionate, but it's both naive and foolish to call it unprovoked.