Patterico's Pontifications

8/11/2008

Shock and Awe in Georgia

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:33 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The UK Daily Mail reports Georgian officials claim the country has been overrun by Russian troops after a “full-scale ground invasion.” The AP reports four or more Georgian cities have been overtaken by Russian forces with significant loss of military and civilian lives.

The US military expressed surprise at the speed and strength of the Russian response to last week’s two-day Georgian offensive into South Ossetia:

“The US defense official said about 8,000 to 10,000 Russian troops have moved into South Ossetia. They also have flown SU-25, SU-24, SU-27 and TU-22 fighters and bombers during the campaign.

But the official said there was no obvious buildup of Russian forces along the border that signaled an intention to invade.

“Once it did happen they were able to get the forces quickly and it was just a matter of taking the roads in. So it’s not as though they were building up forces on the border, waiting,” the official said.

“What are their future intentions, I don’t know. Obviously they could throw more troops at this if they wanted to,” he said.”

The initial White House response, like that of Barack Obama, was to call for diplomatic and peacekeeping efforts along with restraint by both the Russians and the Georgians. John McCain also called for diplomatic and peacekeeping measures but condemned Russian aggression, a position the White House apparently now joins.

The Western-financed $2.75B Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline runs through Georgia from the oil-rich Caspian Sea to the West. Russia and the US have been engaged in what the Asia Times calls a “geo-strategic rivalry between US- and Russian-backed oil-transit routes” in the Caspian region.

Some people rail about blood-for-oil. Oil is the primary energy source for the world and it’s in every country’s national interest to make sure it has a reliable supply and/or method of marketing and distribution. The Russian invasion of Georgia is what blood-for-oil really looks like.

— DRJ

205 Responses to “Shock and Awe in Georgia”

  1. Also, let it be noted: Georgia was a candidate for NATO membership at one point, but it was effectively blocked by France and Germany.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  2. This is just a preview of what will happen if Obamamessiah is elected president.

    Old Coot (43e1f1)

  3. Old Coot, may I borrow your crystal ball? I’d like to see this weekend’s lottery numbers. :)

    Seriously, though: ISTM to be inappropriate to use this as a reason to bash either presidential candidate, unless it is specifically that candidate’s response to this crisis which is being bashed.

    Russia is at war with an incontrovertibly foreign state (as opposed to, say, Chechnya) for the first time since it withdrew from Afghanistan; that foreign state is a friend of ours who might well have been a member of NATO had things gone differently. It’s a pretty serious crisis, and using it as an excuse for partisan sniping seems somewhat unserious and petty.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  4. If running the oil pipeline through Armenia hadn’t been blocked by the Anti-Armenia Azeris, I wonder how things would have be right now – especially considering the recent opening of the gigantic and mostly underground US Embassy in Armenia.

    TLove (953364)

  5. You mean partisan sniping such as this? –

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=5552954&page=1

    First we had the Messiah’s people issuing a lame -arse “please don’t do that, and after all, who’s really in the wrong here?” statement, then they further compounded their idiocy by going after one of McCain’s advisors. Just one little problem – that same advisor’s prior role as a lobbyist for Georgia had made him a highly – regarded spokesman for Georgian independence and inclusion into NATO membership. Another fumble on the goal line for the Chosen One. Now, please tell us again – who used this tragedy and global crisis in terms of crass political leverage?

    Next time you want to take some kind of mythical high road, the least you can do is find out what your Messiah’s been saying about the subject in question in the first place.

    Dmac (874677)

  6. Can’t you people discuss world crises without the partisan accusations and mumbo jumbo? For God’s sake, we are all Americans here – we are supposed to be on the same team.

    TLove (953364)

  7. Old Coot: This is just a preview of what will happen if Obamamessiah is elected president.

    Not to worry! He’ll authorize the Diplomacy Surge!(R) Thousands and thousands of diplomats parachuting into Ossetia and bicycling into Red Square, ready to persuade the Russkies to lay down their arms…and join hands.

    “Kum-ba-ya, my friend…”

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

  8. tlove, it’s no longer the case that we’re on the same team.

    If you don’t really think that many democrats want the US to have less influence and be knocked down a peg or two, than you are completely obtuse. It’s the reality that democrats do not like Georgia, which named it’s main street in it’s capital after George W Bush.

    It is partisan.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  9. The problem, aphrael, is that Georgia invaded Southern Whatthefuckistan. Russia, for whatever reason, had decided to acknowledge South WTFistan.

    Georiga did something they shouldn’t have, and have been spanked because of it.

    Should we do something? In theory, yes. They are, as you said, a friend in Iraq. In practice, however, even if we had mobalized air assets saturday we could not have gotten enough air assets to make a real difference, and the only way we could have gotten naval assets into the Black Sea is with the permission of the Russians.

    I’m thinking they would have declined.

    As it stands, Georgia is getting spanked for doing something they shouldn’t have.

    It’s a pretty serious crisis, and using it as an excuse for partisan sniping seems somewhat unserious and petty.

    I completely agree… If only more Liberals thought as you do.

    Also, here’s some food for thought:

    What is this is all some sort of “tit for tat”? We only make noise now, for Russia only making noise later?

    I mean, what if Bush and Putin came to an agreement? Russian gets to look like Billy Bad-Ass and slice a hunk from Georgia, and in a little while when Israel turns a few Iranian nuclear sites into gravel pits, Russia blusters and does nothing…

    What if… What if…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  10. For God’s sake, we are all Americans here – we are supposed to be on the same team.

    Really? Hasn’t seemed like that for quite a while.

    Rob Crawford (b5d1c2)

  11. Nice use of the term obtuse, but if you don’t know when to use “then” versus “than” perhaps you should try using simpler sentences.

    We are all Americans and we are on the same team. The more people fight that simple fact the worse things will get for this country.

    You should really read up on your history and what our founding fathers based this country on before you go around insulting people you don’t know.

    TLove (953364)

  12. However, I would point out to everyone that Coot is off base. We don’t know what the future holds.

    To blame this and an unknown future on Obama is mere bating and should be avoided…

    Remember people… Bush is saying the same thing as Obama….

    So cut the crap, people…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  13. President Obama will allow Russia to occupy Georgia, South Carolina and the Florida pan-handle. That still gives us 55 1/2 states.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  14. I don’t think we can stop partisanship this close to the Presidential election but aphrael is among the most polite and principled liberals here. Thus, I hope we also discuss the valid humanitarian and national security issues he raises.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  15. Georiga did something they shouldn’t have, and have been spanked because of it.

    You’ll get no argument on that from me.

    In practice, however, even if we had mobalized air assets saturday we could not have gotten enough air assets to make a real difference, and the only way we could have gotten naval assets into the Black Sea is with the permission of the Russians.

    It’s really not clear to me that South Ossetia is worth going to war with Russia over; and I think that’s what it would mean if we did do something to help the Georgians out.

    The fact that they appear to have provoked it makes that case even more strongly for me.

    It’s the reality that democrats do not like Georgia, which named it’s main street in it’s capital after George W Bush.

    I’m a Democrat. I have no problem with Georgia; the fact that there is a more-or-less democratic state in the Caucasus is nothing short of amazing; I supported the Rose Revolution, and I think it’s entirely reasonable for a country which perceives the US as being one of the primary sources of support for that revolution to have renamed a street after our President. I say this even though I disagree with our President on many things; I can hardly expect the Georgians to view the world through the same lenses I do.

    That said, I don’t think we should risk war with Russia to defend the Georgian claim to South Ossetia; and I would oppose Georgian membership in NATO because I believe that, in the end, such membership would be a bluff, and that Russia would call the bluff (thereby destroying NATO).

    It is partisan.

    Each of us has the choice to treat it as a partisan issue or to not do so. Not doing so is, IMO, the correct choice.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  16. Tlove – Don’t be afraid to say what you think 😉

    JD (5f0e11)

  17. ….we are supposed to be on the same team.

    I don’t want to be associated with a “team” that seems to first blame America for every problem in the world, nor a team that seems little concerned with Iran’s nuclear ambitions or the preservation of Israel.

    Old Coot (43e1f1)

  18. Hehehe. I try to stay out of the political debates, but sometimes things are too ridiculous for me to sit idly by and watch.

    TLove (953364)

  19. Can’t you people discuss world crises without the partisan accusations and mumbo jumbo? For God’s sake, we are all Americans here – we are supposed to be on the same team.

    WODR, T, I don’t know how you can avoid it. Candidacies are all about “what if” situations, and I think the fact neither Bush nor Obama nor McCain wants to say too much was the reason the attacks occurred this past weekend.

    Do you honestly think it’s a coincidence that this is taking place during the Olympics during the lame duck period of the POTUS? IMHO, Putin/Medvedev knows this is the perfect moment for their attempt to re-subjugate Georgia; Bush, facing internal pressure to swear off pre-emptive action against Iran, is not in a fighting mood other than in Iraq and Afghanistan, which already needs more troops; no world leader will want to add to the saber ratlling during the Games; and the Presidential candidates aren’t eager to make a promise they’ll send Americans upon inauguration.

    To further make use of the Bear metaphor, it’s like if a grizzly finds your food stash and you watch at a distance as it rips into it. You’re ticked off, but there’s nothing you can do but watch, knowing that it if you try to stop it, the food could be you.

    L.N. Smithee (e1f2bf)

  20. If you admit that Bush, McCain and Obama cannot say anything, then why make it a partisan thing? We can discuss the issue with a “what to do” view, rather than point fingers. We are intelligent and educated people here. Discussing possible solutions and listening to each other could maybe shed some light on the issue that some of us hadn’t considered.

    TLove (953364)

  21. ffs…

    Can’t you asshats discuss anything without acting like god-damn children?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  22. IMHO, Putin/Medvedev knows this is the perfect moment for their attempt to re-subjugate Georgia

    I think you’re right; all the more reason Pres. Saakashvili was a fool to take the bait.

    To further make use of the Bear metaphor, it’s like if a grizzly finds your food stash and you watch at a distance as it rips into it. You’re ticked off, but there’s nothing you can do but watch, knowing that it if you try to stop it, the food could be you.

    This is a good metaphor. Whatever the outcome of this crisis is, we’re not going to be deciding (or even really influencing) it. The question now is how do we prevent the next one, and how do we change our approach to interacting with Russia as a result … and it’s really not clear to me what the answers are.

    Has the tactic we’ve been following for the last seventeen years – of engaging Russia and trying to draw them into the international community and make them a stable reliable partner – failed? If so, what’s the alternative? Reviving the cold war? That’s a pretty unappealing approach.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  23. Has the tactic we’ve been following for the last seventeen years – of engaging Russia and trying to draw them into the international community and make them a stable reliable partner – failed?

    I don’t know that it has failed, but Putin isn’t the best leader of Russia to have us make the “fail/succeed” call. He’s made no secret he wants to restore Russia to it’s global position, or at least it’s position as the dominate force in EurAsia.

    Though to be fair, a lot of folks in Georia would likely say “yes… yes it has fa*BANG*”

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  24. “we’re not going to be deciding (or even really influencing) it.”

    It would seem that this would be contingent upon whether we send troops in as the Georgians are pleading for, or if the administration gets directly involved, either in talks and/or giving a push to Russia.

    Given that Americans are war weary, troops are spread thin throughout the middle east, and the political clout of this administration anyway is at a consistent low due to no WMDs and a complete lack of trust by a large segment of the population, perhaps our influence will be minimal and only through the pleas of Bush (or his successor). Its going to get very messy though.

    Dana (254946)

  25. South Ossetia has traditionally been Georgian territory. It “broke away” from Georgia in the early 90’s, but its’ independence is only recognized by Russia.
    Russia has sent “peacekeepers” into So. Ossetia to “maintain order”, and has issued Russian passports to So. Ossetians so that they may engage in international travel. That, to me, seems to be a blatant attempt to obsorb South Ossetia into Russia without any type of international settlement/agreement.
    How different is this to Mexico issueing Matricula Counselar cards to residents in the USA? Would we agree to having Mexican troops here in SoCal to maintain the peace in the race-war that is currently on-going?
    Many feel that illegal immigration from Mexico is an out-and-out attempt to re-capture that which was lost in 1848.
    What is different in South Ossetia/Georgia?
    When Hitler marched into the Saar, all it would have taken was for the French, who had troops stationed there, to confront them and they would have retreated.
    It would be fortunate for the world if some backbone demonstrated today, could accomplish such a result.
    If we can’t turn the Russians back, we will only pay a much greater price in the near future.

    Another Drew (f60308)

  26. aphrael,

    I honestly don’t think Georgia’s actions provoked Putin. Putin was going to do this even if he had to manufacture a reason, and provocation was his cover. The question is what can we do about it? The Georgians rely on the West to help their fragile democracy and abandoning them reminds me of the Kurds or even Czechoslovakia. We may have no choice but it’s still a sad and costly development from a humanitarian and an economic standpoint.

    As for the international aspects, I wonder how this might affect NATO and the European missile shield.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  27. I agree with Another Drew that we need to turn the Russians back right away. Especially if Gori really has been taken by the Russians as the news was reporting this morning. Gori is not in the disputed territory.

    TLove (953364)

  28. BTW, we have several thousand troops in Georgia as trainers of the Georgian military.
    What happens when they come under attack?
    Frank Gaffney on HH today speculated that this might be a good time for the Israeli’s to take out that Russian-built reactor in Iran.
    Boy, wouldn’t that put a knot in Putin’s knickers?

    Another Drew (f60308)

  29. That said, I don’t think we should risk war with Russia to defend the Georgian claim to South Ossetia; and I would oppose Georgian membership in NATO because I believe that, in the end, such membership would be a bluff, and that Russia would call the bluff (thereby destroying NATO).

    Thank you for the Chamberlain view. Apparently the Shrub shares it for while Putin was in Ossetia directing his troops, Junior was posing for pictures with girl volleyball players.

    nk (e38352)

  30. South Ossetia has traditionally been Georgian territory.

    So China gets Tibet?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  31. South Ossetia has traditionally been Georgian territory.

    So China gets Tibet?

    Yes!

    nk (e38352)

  32. nk,so Armenia gets back all of Turkey?

    TLove (953364)

  33. LN Smithee,
    Not to worry! He’ll authorize the Diplomacy Surge!(R) Thousands and thousands of diplomats parachuting into Ossetia and bicycling into Red Square, ready to persuade the Russkies to lay down their arms…and join hands.

    Suits on the ground! The perfect encapsulation of the appeasement mindset.

    That being said, I’m in general agreement with the sentiment that this isn’t, shouldn’t be, grist for the political sniping mill. Wish that could be the case. Nothing in this world is out of bounds anymore. The Dem’s are the primary offenders, imo, but both sides have engaged from time to time.

    What to do? I find myself pretty much in agreement with old coot.

    Aphrael states;
    That said, I don’t think we should risk war with Russia to defend the Georgian claim to South Ossetia…

    Agree with the sentiment but it would appear that ship has already sailed. Looks like the Bear is carving up a sovereign nation with a democratically elected government to me. And also sending a signal to all of Eastern Europe (and the rest of the world, for that matter) not to cross Tsar Putin.

    Chris (da1e70)

  34. TLove wrote: If you admit that Bush, McCain and Obama cannot say anything, then why make it a partisan thing? We can discuss the issue with a “what to do” view, rather than point fingers. We are intelligent and educated people here. Discussing possible solutions and listening to each other could maybe shed some light on the issue that some of us hadn’t considered.

    You have a point, T. I haven’t heard anything more complicated or brilliant thusfar than “We’re gonna tell them to knock it off!” from Bush or McCain. But the notion of the Diplomacy Surge® (which Obama can’t admit wouldn’t have worked) has always seemed especially silly to me, so that was the first of the ineffective ideas I tackled.

    L.N. Smithee (e1f2bf)

  35. Scott Jacobs wrote: Can’t you asshats discuss anything without acting like god-damn children?

    Would you be so hard on the rest of us if TLove hadn’t objected first?

    C’mon Scotty, admit it. 😉

    L.N. Smithee (e1f2bf)

  36. Good question, Scott.
    When did Tibet break-away from Chinese control, that Mao re-asserted in 1949?
    BTW, do we give Poland back to Sweden, too?
    Should the Chinese take over Viet Nam also?

    At some point, you have to say that people deserve to have their independence.

    It probably would have been better if the Ossetians, both North and South, had been allowed to join together in an independent state. But, the Russians were in no mood to let the North Ossetians leave. That had been Czarist territory before the Russians pushed into the Caucausus; and, after the break-up of the Soviet Union, they were feeling a little sensitive about having independent states on their periphery – particularly one’s that did not have any ex-Soviet nukes.

    If you go a couple hundred miles further south, you have the same situation with the Kurds, with Kurdish territory split between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Armenia. At least there, we can blame the Brits for welching on a deal for an independent Kurdistan following WW-1. They famously promised independence to a lot of tribes to get them to help against the Turks; knowing that they never intended to honor those agreements – Balfour Agreement, anyone?

    Another Drew (f60308)

  37. Tlove #32,

    Only if the Turks can’t keep it.

    There is no right and wrong here. It’s the will of the stronger. And when it comes to us, it’s are we a bunch of pussy-asses who will sell an ally down the river to a kleptocrat whose soul the possibly second worst president in the history of the United States has looked into?

    nk (e38352)

  38. Scott doesn’t love me anymore cuz I’m a liberal. =(

    TLove (953364)

  39. Aphrael states;
    That said, I don’t think we should risk war with Russia to defend the Georgian claim to South Ossetia…

    Ah yes, the voice of appeasement heard from.

    So the solution is to talk to them, when they use military force, we just continue talking, never using force until an attack on our territory.

    Do you really believe that this position will help our standing in the world? Or you realize that it will weaken our standing in the world and that is what you really want?

    Kenny (76922b)

  40. Remember, we are the imperialists.

    Ya nizh nihyu.

    Ya lub lu pi piva.

    JD (5f0e11)

  41. We must be Inperialists; for,
    we are…..(wait for it – go JD)

    Another Drew (f60308)

  42. Would you be so hard on the rest of us if TLove hadn’t objected first?

    I think you’ll notice Old Coot started it, thanks…

    And regardless, yes. Yes I would be as hard. I’ve come to expect better from you lot.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  43. And if aphrael is the voice of appeasement, then so am I.

    Because I think this is a mess of Georgia’s making, and they should have to deal with the consequences of acting like idiots.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  44. I’m all for helping Georgia against Russia – so how do we do that in a way that doesn’t lead to nuclear war?

    Anon (db8e0c)

  45. Calling you a racist at this point, AD, is as redundant as noting that May and Walsh are good on so many levels, that France sucks, and Phelps is a stud.

    JD (5f0e11)

  46. #1:

    Also, let it be noted: Georgia was a candidate for NATO membership at one point, but it was effectively blocked by France and Germany.

    Nut you left out why they blocked it. Fear of Russia

    Kenny (76922b)

  47. For those who give/gave Russia any benefit of any doubt, please xplain to me the justification for sinking a Georgian boat hundreds of miles away, the taking of the port city today, bombing interior Georgia far, far, from the “disputed” territory.

    We simply MUST judge intentions an anticipate the next moves. Those who insisted that Russia was a bad actor and that this was not about the Ossetia (sp?) have been proven correct.

    So, let’s rely on their judgment, shall we? What’s that? Their world view, generally, is too pessimistic and undervalues diplomacy?

    If the pants fit, wear them. If they are uncomfortable, too damn bad. If they reveal one party is smarter/better at understanding the real world? So be it.

    Ed (841b4a)

  48. You re-invigorate my faith, good sir.

    Another Drew (f60308)

  49. Does Bush have the support and mettle to give a deadline see this through this late in his presidency, given Iraq?

    “[Bush] demanded an immediate cease-fire, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the conflict zone and a return to the status quo as of Aug. 6.”

    Dana (254946)

  50. Duly noted, AD.

    History has not looked favorably on those tha chose to sit one out because it was a tough situation.

    JD (5f0e11)

  51. Okay – it’d take a s–tload of balls, but if we had to come up with a way to help the Georgians (and it wouldn’t get back to square one but it’d be something) – put “peacekeepers” in the territory that Russia doesn’t currently occupy, preferably from as many different non-American countries as possible (but from countries with actual armies not the standard U.N. junk), then – don’t threaten them with all out war if they’re attacked, but threaten them with something drastic like a full-scale embargo and not just from the U.S. but from other major countries (normally I think embargoes are a waste of time, but that might get their attention).

    The problem with this is that Russia would need to save face if it backed down so it might just hold onto everything it’s already captured but that would be something.

    The other problem is that Russia might also be enjoying this because it boosts up the price of the oil they sell, so find a way to harm them there.

    Anon (db8e0c)

  52. The only “peace-keepers” that will deter the Russians are the 82nd or 101st Airborne.
    You have to put someone in front of them that will pull that trigger if needed. And, who the Russians know will pull that trigger.
    That can’t be said about “blue helmets” – ask the people of Sarajevo, or Ruanda.

    Another Drew (f60308)

  53. Dana,

    It would seem that this would be contingent upon whether we send troops in as the Georgians are pleading for

    That’s not going to happen.

    Another Drew,

    Russia has sent “peacekeepers” into So. Ossetia to “maintain order”, and has issued Russian passports to So. Ossetians so that they may engage in international travel. That, to me, seems to be a blatant attempt to obsorb South Ossetia into Russia without any type of international settlement/agreement.

    I agree.

    DRJ,
    I honestly don’t think Georgia’s actions provoked Putin. Putin was going to do this even if he had to manufacture a reason, and provocation was his cover

    I think you’re half right. :) I think Putin was going to do this even if he had to manufacture a reason, but I also think that Pres. Saakashvili got tricked into providing him with that reason, with the result that he didn’t have to manufacture it.

    I wonder how this might affect NATO and the European missile shield.

    It seems to me that it makes the case for the shield stronger. It might also reduce support for it in certain European political circles, unfortunately.

    TLove,

    I agree with Another Drew that we need to turn the Russians back right away

    what do you anticipate the Russian response to that being? In particular, if we turn the Russians back with US troops, how do we prevent escalation to all-out war? Is anyone posting here willing to die, along with their entire families, to protect the Georgian claim to South Ossetia? I’m not … and if we commit troops without having already decided that we’ll pay that price if we must, then we are bluffing.

    NK,
    Thank you for the Chamberlain view … [two comments joined] … are we a bunch of pussy-asses who will sell an ally down the river to a kleptocrat

    We’ve never committed to come to the defense of Georgia. The situation here is different than the situation would be if, for example, Estonia were to be invaded. Although how to make that point without Premier Putin thinking we’re bluffing, i’m not sure.

    Chris,
    Looks like the Bear is carving up a sovereign nation with a democratically elected government to me.

    Agreed. So the questions we have to face squarely is: are we willing to risk death to protect Georgia? And is there some way short of all out war to roll the Russians back?

    Kenny
    Do you really believe that this position will help our standing in the world? Or you realize that it will weaken our standing in the world and that is what you really want?

    I don’t really care if it helps our standing in the world. Our standing in the world isn’t worth anything if we’re dead.

    My question is: for what things is it worth risking war with a power that has the strength to destroy every city in the country, and whom we could not prevent from doing so if it chose to? Defending the territorial integrity of allies whom we have promised that is one thing; we have to hold to that promise or our word is worth nothing. Defending the territorial integrity of a country to whom we have not made that promise is something else altogether.

    Again, it would be different if Georgia were a NATO member. But it isn’t.

    Scott Jacobs,

    I’m not convinced this is entirely a mess of Georgia’s making; I think the Georgian President made some very bad decisions, but I also think that the Russian government would eventually have found an excuse.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  54. The only “peace-keepers” that will deter the Russians are the 82nd or 101st Airborne.
    You have to put someone in front of them that will pull that trigger if needed. And, who the Russians know will pull that trigger.

    I’m counting on the embargo to deter them, not the peacekeepers – the peacekeepers are only there to stand in their way and to protect the people so they can escape if need be (and also just for morale-sake for Georgians, so it doesn’t look like we’re completely wimping out); I’m not counting on them to fight a full-scale war with the Russians. Also, as little respect as I have for the UN (“not the standard U.N. junk”), I think the threat of an embargo is going to mean a lot more if it looks like Russia stepping on the toes of a bunch of other major countries vs. just the U.S.

    Anon (db8e0c)

  55. Embargoes???
    The Russians embargo oil for Europe, and the EU folds like a cheap tent in a wind-storm.
    The only thing the Bear understands is a high-powered rifle!

    Another Drew (f60308)

  56. The Russians embargo oil for Europe, and the EU folds like a cheap tent in a wind-storm.

    eh, true – they have a GDP the size of Italy, there’s got to be something we can hit them with.

    Anon (db8e0c)

  57. My question is: for what things is it worth risking war with a power that has the strength to destroy every city in the country, and whom we could not prevent from doing so if it chose to?

    Looks like they’re well on the way to destroying every city in Georgia, judging by the press reports. Tblisi may be next. At some point (right freakin’ now works for me) Mad Vlad has to be instructed about the price he will pay if his intransigence continues. I’m thinking of perhaps a shootdown of a couple of fighters/bombers might get the point across. Supposedly Cheney has passed the word to Medvedev that this is serious.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080811/ap_on_re_as/bush_asia_20;_ylt=AlZ4LaWcZspD6vP4he2aKnj9xg8F

    Link via Belmont Clubhttp://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2008/08/10/what-next/

    Chris (da1e70)

  58. It’s not just oil, but LNG too. Russia President Medvedev was Chairman of the board at Gazprom. Putin signed the law a couple years ago giving Gazprom exclusive right to export natural gas. This company is massive. For the Russians, this is 100% a pipeline play.

    it accounts for about 93 percent of Russian natural gas production … it controls 16 percent of the world’s gas reserves

    By the end of 2004 Gazprom was the sole gas supplier to at least Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Republic of Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Slovakia, and provided 97 percent of Bulgaria’s gas, 89 percent of Hungary’s, 86 percent of Poland’s, nearly three-quarters of the Czech Republic’s, 67 percent of Turkey’s, 65 percent of Austria’s, about 40 percent of Romania’s, 36 percent of Germany’s, 27 percent of Italy’s, and 25 percent of France’s. The European Union as a whole gets about 25 percent of its gas supplies from this company.
    (Link: Wikipedia: Gazprom)

    Wesson (f6c982)

  59. One way or another, it sure would be nice to have an available military right now.

    Leviticus (234889)

  60. One way or another, it sure would be nice to have an available military right now.

    So we can start a nuclear war?

    Anon (db8e0c)

  61. Who says we don’t?
    Emergencies are something that can always be done.
    The problem arises when they extend out into the unknown; but, that’s what the Reserves are for.

    an analogy…
    There are only so many “men” in the crew of a war-ship; but, when General Quarters are called, all fall out to their battle stations, where they remain until the threat has passed, or been neutralized.

    Another Drew (f60308)

  62. Boy, oh boy. Those Ruskies are in for it now. The Anti-War movement is going to tear them to shreads. Code PINKO will skin them alive, fry them in hot oil, and serve them up like ginger snaps.

    I just can’t wait to hear what Hanoi Jane has to say, not to discount the impact of threats from the Bloviator to jump on a plane and tell those rotten so-in-so’s how really, really, upset he is. The dressing down he gave his young daughter over the phone was enough to send the Russian Bear running back to Moscow with his tail between his legs. I hear Shawn Penn is even going to stop hugging Uncle Hugo long enough to send those Vodka slurping trespassers a strongly worded wire.

    Yeah Boy, we can sure count on the American Left to step up to the plate and denounce an armed invasion. Right?

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  63. Anon…
    We can always start a Nuclear War…that only takes the push of a button.

    Another Drew (f60308)

  64. Ropelight…get back on your meds, please.

    Another Drew (f60308)

  65. Scott #30,

    South Ossetia has traditionally been Georgian territory.

    So China gets Tibet?

    I don’t know the history of Tibet. Were the original Tibetians refugees from the Mongol invasions who came in and settled in a part of China. Did they then remain there for hundreds of years recognizing it as Chinese land before deciding recently that they want their independance?

    Kenny (76922b)

  66. There are things we can do, and there are things that we are probably doing.

    1. We are providing air transport to return 2000 Georgian Regulars and *cough* their equipment *cough* back from Iraq.

    2. About 150 US soldiers remain in Georgia. Hopefully they are ordered to help defend the capital. The Russians may do many things, but shooting at Americans is probably not one of them.

    3. We should probably send some more advisers as well. While there is little hope that the Georgians will end up with South Ossetia or Abkhazia, the destruction of the Georgian state would be a disaster for both the US and NATO and lead to a new cold war.

    4. The USA, NATO, the Group of 7, etc, should make very clear to the Russians the nature of their miscalculation. We beat them last time without firing a shot. We (with Europe) are stronger now. Without the West they are dead again economically.

    It should be noted that Georgia had no problem going to war for us. EVEN IF YOU OPPOSED THE WAR, that should not extend to wish harm upon those who stood by us. Cheering America’s enemies is never patriotism.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  67. Scott – I’m not following your logic that Georgia screwed up that causing Russia to invade their internationally recognized border, the province of So. Ossetia and now expanding the invasion and bombing beyond that. It seems more that Putin is unhappy to have former parts of the empire friendly to the West on his borders and/or is attempting to reconstruct the motherland. He’s also publically said the Georgian President has to go.

    Russia hasn’t exactly been a best friend of ours internationally over the past decade with the Oil-for-Food scandal and frustrating efforts to impose sanctions on Iran.

    Don’t understand your comments here tonight.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  68. Cheering America’s enemies is never patriotism.

    Depends on who you ask. Or, I guess, what the definition of enemy is. You are correct, of course.

    Chris (da1e70)

  69. One way or another, it sure would be nice to have an available military right now.

    To start with, he have an available military.

    Second, even if every single soldier was state-side, what would we do? We can’t get troops there without fying the im, and that’s suicide, and Russia would deny us access to the Black Sea.

    Georgia got set up by Russia, but the fact that they bit and went for it doesn’t mean we save them. Even if we could.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  70. daley, the issue is that South WTFistan had ceaded a la Kosovo. Russia had announced that they recognized South WTFistan. Georgia thought “Ah, they won’t do anything, and if they do, the US will pull our asses out of the fire”.

    They were mistaken.

    Georgia moved against a government that wanted out. In theory, we should be helping WTFistan.

    Remember Kuwait? Traditioanlly a part of Iraq, we got Iraq out and then pushed inward.

    Russia is doing a similar thing.

    So frankly I have little sympathy for Georgia, and I remain suspicious that the lack of ANYTHING but “stop shooting” coming from the US suggests a deal between the US and Russia for “Favor to be named later”.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  71. Leviticus, that was the silliest thing you’ve written in a long time. In fact, you are approaching Levi territory with that line.

    There simply is no way that the United States would deploy divisions to Georgia to oppose Russia. No sane person has nuclear armed nations with armies in direct conflict and expects anything less than casualties measured in millions.

    That you would insinuate otherwise is just stunning.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  72. Georgia got set up by Russia, but the fact that they bit and went for it doesn’t mean we save them. Even if we could.

    Russia has Georgia by the nuts, but our response shouldn’t be military, or at least no more than token military. The West’s great strength is economic. We beat the USSR that way, and we beat Red China that way. At the same time. We have no long-term use for Russia — its oil is nice but Russia has to sell it and oil is fungible, so that’s a poor weapon for them. But without the West, Russia is POOR. No matter what.

    Already the Group of Eight is the Group of Eight-minus-One. Ukraine’s membership in NATO is now looking like a necessity rather than perfectionism. Russia has miscalculated. If they have any brains they will withdraw completely from Georgia, leaving only the status quo ante peacekeepers in the disputed regions. Otherwise, they’ll be riught back in 1992, economy-wise. Can’t eat oil.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  73. Scott, I think you are grossly oversimplifying the issues. The parallels you are making are simply broken ones. In Kosovo, you had a distinct region with a majority/minority like South Ossetia, but there simply was not the kind of oppression in Georgia of South Ossetians that we saw the Serbs doing in Kosovo.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  74. *shrugs*

    Makes no matter. Georgia did something it shouldn’t do, and poked a country with “issues”. they gave Russia an excuse, and much like the little sister that keeps hitting the big brother, eventually the big brother gets sick of it and takes a swing.

    Seariously sis… I’m only going to tell you “stop it or I’ll punch you” so many times. Why you gotta make me hit you?

    Georgia is in a situation of it’s own making, and I still don’t have any sympathy. Wouldn’t matter if I did, since we couldn’t put effective military on the groud if we wanted to. And I doubt we want to.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  75. When the USSR fell these smaller satellites, especially in Caucasia, won their freedom through revolution but ended up in ruin – with their countries running on decrepit nuclear facilities that they can hardly manage to keep running – and that’s just the start of their problems. The fact that they have been able to instill democracy (admittedly not perfectly) is really amazing. It’s sad to see this happen, and I just hope that this isn’t just the first of many invasions Russia is planning.

    Scott, don’t forget that Russia took Gori so is on the doorstep of Tbilisi, far outside the disputed areas.

    TLove (953364)

  76. Eh… I really think Russia is just twisting the knife…

    In two weeks I think it will all be over, South WTFistan will be “autonimous”, and Georgia will know not to piss off The Big Bear…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  77. Scott – Thanks for the link to the Q&O post. As I mentioned in my comment, I think this is more an exercise of Putin flexing his muscles and disciplining or exerting control of breakaway republics. I think Georgia fell into a trap. There’s no way Russia could have done this without advance preparation. All they needed was a pretext. Our options are few, I agree.

    With respect to Kuwait analogy, I call bullshit. If countries want to live among a community of nations, they have to respect treaties. Excusing Saddam Hussein for invading Kuwait because it was once part of Iraq is crap. That’s part of the wackjob logic prevents a solution to any Israeli/Palestinian negotiation. How far back to we go? 5000 years. All treaties are invalid?

    The Kosovo analogy also gets interesting with respect to reassembling Russia. How many times do you think they can play that hand Scott? 100-150? Even if the situations aren’t analgous?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  78. > Georgia is in a situation of it’s own making, and I still don’t have any sympathy.
    1) Georgia’s 2000 strong military can’t fly their own asses home?
    2) What is wrong with these American advisors who advise to take South Ossetia?
    3) Look. Russia is implementing STRATEGY. They KNOW the US will look like idiots by flying their 2000 Iraqi flyboys back to Georgia. The US looks like total idiots for arranging safe transport of Georgians in, and US military advisors out of the region. This is what the Russions WANT. They knew this was going to happen, and our government did not. Because our government is stupid.
    4) Presidents Bush. Vice Presidents Bush. Enough! This family is a bunch of IDIOTS! In a way that is very dangerous to Americans.
    5) Why the hell did we make a military agreement with Georgia without them saying they wouldn’t do stupid things like this?

    Wesson (f6c982)

  79. Georgia’s military is more than 200. But they have like A tank battalion, and like 15 combat aircraft…

    their military is like MAYBE a couple hundred thousand. Maybe. They only have a population of like LA…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  80. Scott – From what I read Georgia’s military is 37,000 but only 12,000 effective.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  81. it’s more than 2000.

    You knew what I meant.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  82. like i said. It’s tiny…

    15 combat aircraft, and a bunch of chopers. Hardly what you would expect to use to invade Rhode Island, let alone a country enjoying the vocal support of a superpower.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  83. Georgia was denied NATO membership by Germany and France. Why? Have the reasons changed?

    Nope.

    Germany is totally dependant upon Russia for natural gas and France needs the commerce relationships they currently enjoy with the Bear. Also, neither country (nor at least 90% of the rest of NATO) want any part of any new security obligations.

    Ukraine is toast, my friends. question: would you favor sending American troops to act as a trip wire for Ukraine and Azerbaijan? How about withdrawing the troops from Germany as a penalty for not backing a tougher diplomatic stance against Russia?

    Ed (841b4a)

  84. We are providing air transport to return 2000 Georgian Regulars and *cough* their equipment *cough* back from Iraq.

    That’s fantastic news. I don’t think we should get directly involved, but airlifting our allies home when they say “hey, we have an emergency back home, we’re being invaded, please help us get back” is just the right thing to do.

    It should be noted that Georgia had no problem going to war for us. EVEN IF YOU OPPOSED THE WAR, that should not extend to wish harm upon those who stood by us.

    I agree … and I haven’t seen anyone anywhere in the US actively wishing harm on the Georgians; the closest I’ve seen is a “well, they brought it on themselves” kind of resignation.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  85. There’s a whole range of important questions having to do with how this sneak attack was brought about. Did CIA see it coming and give the Bush Administration a heads-up?

    Did the State Department have policy recommendations ready to brief President Bush when push came to shove?

    The US went to the UN several times before going after Saddam, I didn’t hear of any requests by Russia to the international community help calm matters in Georgia, before the sneak attack.

    And, starting a war during the Olympic Games is just about the lowest, dirty-rotten, low-down, belly-crawling, no-class, insult to the Gods it’s possible for humans to make. Gods do not suffer insult lightly. Keep that in mind.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  86. It is interesting, to me anyway, that both separtist states happen to be located near strategic entrances` to Georgia.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  87. Can’t we all just get along ?!

    JD (75f5c3)

  88. Scott – China has never recognized Taiwan. Using your logic, bolstered by the Kuwait and Kosovo examples, would you not expect us to get upset if China decides to reabsorb Taiwan against its will?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  89. Why aren’t we hearing about the grim toll of Russian casualties?

    Oh, Russia does not release such statistics.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  90. Daley – not especially, but I wasn’t arguing that point. I was demonstrating a point.

    I guess I don’t get your question.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  91. “There simply is no way that the United States would deploy divisions to Georgia to oppose Russia. No sane person has nuclear armed nations with armies in direct conflict and expects anything less than casualties measured in millions.

    That you would insinuate otherwise is just stunning.”

    – SPQR

    So, what you’re telling me is that when the rubber hits the road, all you chest-thumping tough guys are really just a bunch of chickenshits? Georgia is our ally. Georgia has been invaded by Russia, in a blatant land-grab that may or may not be due to some mistake on the part of the Georgian government… which does nothing to explain why Russia is bombing the shit out of every inch of Georgia they can fly a plane over, but what the fuck, right?

    You advocate the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation on the basis of human rights abuses, but are unwilling to step up in defense of a friend because the bully in question happens to have weapons you’re afraid of. Real admirable. Seems to tell me that you didn’t really believe that Hussein had WMD, because, holy shit, if we’d invaded Iraq he might’ve used them.

    What good is our massive military if we’re unwilling to use it to make a principled, justified stand against nations like Russia or China when they step out of line? Or do we only police the weak-ass, dirt-eating countries that can’t hope to put up a (conventional) fight?

    This may be “just stunning” to you, SPQR, but I say if Russia is willing to start a full-scale nuclear war over some ass-end-of-nowhere province on the Georgian border, well, fuck it, it wouldn’t have been long before they started one anyway. Jose Marti said that it’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. I believe that. If we believe that as a nation, I think now’s as good a time as ever to prove it.

    Leviticus (f7f75f)

  92. So, now it’s a cease-fire with troops to remain in-place. Given current circumstances, that’s pretty darn good news. Bravo Sarkozy!

    I knew the French weren’t all bad. But, I must admit, I have had more than a few unkind words for them in the recent past. But, that’s long ago and far beyond us now. Let me welcome our very good friends back from the dark side: Let There Be Light.

    I still have several good clarets I’ve been keeping for the right time. Now, if only I had a bright, sexy, big-eyed girl who likes grouchy old guys and bacon wrapped steaks, I’d lock the door, tear my shirt, and not take any calls for the evening.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  93. #94,

    I was re-reading my comment to see if there were any volunteers yet, and by mistake read the final few sentences in your last paragraph. Usually, I skip over anything with your name on it, but this time, I just can’t pass up the chance to take a cheap shot.

    Go ahead, stand up, the view’s better and it aids digestion.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  94. Leviticus,

    I’m not an expert on international matters but I agree with your desire to help Georgia. I suspect the US is doing a great deal behind the scenes to help the Georgians. However, I also think there is an unwritten rule that the world’s major powers are allowed to operate with more latitude in their regions. It’s why the US can be more aggressive when it comes to problems in Cuba and South America.

    If the US intervened in Georgia, I don’t think we would necessarily end up in a nuclear war but we would end up with a greater Russian presence in Cuba and parts of South America. We don’t want that to happen and that’s why we won’t go into Georgia unless it’s under the auspices of NATO or UN.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  95. Scott @93 – I thought I was demonstrating the point you were making last night about historical claims on territory and lack of recognition of international borders. How does my example differ?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  96. Leviticus – How do you assess our current military options for response, General? At what time and from what direction will we commence our secret attack?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  97. daleyrocks @98 – It differs because I’m not arguing that position?

    I’m saying that Georgia’s “claim” doesn’t mean anything.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  98. Great vid on McCain regarding Putin, in 2007:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAVlaIJWP-Q

    Key line – “when I look into Putin’s eyes, I see a K…and a G…and a B.”

    Now, who’s looking more Presidential these days? The guy who’s talking about nothing in front of 200K stoned Germans, or the other guy who actually knows what the hell’s really going on in this world?

    Dmac (874677)

  99. You advocate the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation on the basis of human rights abuses, but are unwilling to step up in defense of a friend because the bully in question happens to have weapons you’re afraid of.

    Of cource, the accusations against Georgia mean nothing to you because you get to sound tough by saying we should go kick a little ass…

    What good is our massive military if we’re unwilling to use it to make a principled, justified stand against nations like Russia or China when they step out of line?

    Ummm… Lots of good.

    I fail to see how Russia getting a nut-shot in when Georgia tweek’s it’s nose all that out of line.

    Georgia screwed up. It pulled a “!990’s Iraq” to South WTFistan’s Kuwait, and Russia is stomping them for it.

    This may be “just stunning” to you, SPQR, but I say if Russia is willing to start a full-scale nuclear war over some ass-end-of-nowhere province on the Georgian border, well, fuck it, it wouldn’t have been long before they started one anyway.

    Dunno about you, but even if it’s 5 days from now, I’d like to enjoy those 5 days outside the Vaults…

    And from the start of your post:

    which does nothing to explain why Russia is bombing the shit out of every inch of Georgia they can fly a plane over, but what the fuck, right?

    The fact that this at no time happened, and that Russia has ceased it’s military operations means… What to you, exactly?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  100. There will be a day in the future when one anonymous poster on the internet (who doesn’t actually have to make the decision) successfully shames another anonymous poster on the internet (who doesn’t actually have to make the decision) for not being willing to say he wants to start a nuclear war.

    Today is not that day.

    There may also be a day in the future when I refer to a brutal dictatorship, that I spent a decade whining about (as the left did with our Iraq policy), as merely a “sovereign nation” the second we actually do something about it in order to mitigate the fact I oppose actually doing something the second that we actually do something about it.

    Fortunately today is not that day either.

    Barack Obama has already made clear there is one nuclear war we are going to start and that’s with Pakistan, so quit being greedy.

    Anon (db8e0c)

  101. Leviticus, to borrow a line, you have successfully beclowned yourself.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  102. Jose Marti said that it’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. I believe that. If we believe that as a nation, I think now’s as good a time as ever to prove it.

    You will not be welcome at the Democratic National Convention.

    JD (712926)

  103. Beclowning is better than beshitting, befecesing, and bepissing.

    JD (712926)

  104. JD, give him time.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  105. “I’m saying that Georgia’s “claim” doesn’t mean anything.”

    Scott – I’m saying Taiwan’s claim doesn’t mean anything. I’m making the argument for you and asking you to see the parallel. Simple.

    You make the argument that South Ossetia, even though it was part of Georgia when it broke away from Russia and recognized as such by the rest of the world, doesn’t have to be for some reason. The reason is either that Russia never recognized it or that Russians live there and they don’t want to be part of Russia. You gave Kuwait as historically being a part of Iraq, the rationale sometimes used by Saddam for invading, as an equivalent situation. I say bullshit, which national borders are then the final ones? How far back in history to you look to determine who controlled what territory? This was obviously a set up by the Russians to discipline a former republic and scare the shit out the others.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  106. Jose Marti said that it’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. I believe that. If we believe that as a nation, I think now’s as good a time as ever to prove it.

    BTW, Marti spent years lobbying for the U.S. to attack and annex Cuba, part of a sovereign country. (not a democracy, but, of course, that’s not a factor)

    Should we have supported Marti and would you have?

    And, if we should have, why was Iraq wrong?

    Anon (db8e0c)

  107. Putin seems to be taking a page from Hitler and the Sudeten Germans in 1938. The Sudeten Germans were “unhappy” being part of Czechoslovakia. Hitler convinced the rest of Europe there would be peace if they would were part of Germany. Without the involvement of Czechoslovakia, an agreement was reached for Germany to annex the Sudetenland. Guess what, he took over the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  108. Prediction…
    Another lost province that could revert to Russian control…
    If the subjugation of Georgia allows Russia to re-assert de-facto control of Ukraine, Moldavia is toast, for all the same reasons that we have seen in the Caucasus.
    Also, if Putin can control the Caucasus, and with that, access to Caspian oil, he will through economic means re-assemble the Russia of the Czar’s – and we’ll (or at least Europe) will be financing it.

    Another Drew (bfaaf5)

  109. Another Drew, Ukraine is more able to defend itself from Russian aggression. What Russia has done with this aggression against Georgia is end the farce that was CIS.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  110. I don’t think Ukraine is immune from further pressure by Putin. There is another “President” there that he resents, and wants gone.
    If Ukraine is to have any immunity from further Russian pressure, NATO will have to extend that membership that they’ve been procrastinating about.
    This Bear needs to be fenced!

    Another Drew (bfaaf5)

  111. Another Drew and SPQR – But if Putin does those things with the Ukraine and Moldovia it will be their fault, just like Georgia. Ask Scott. There will be some excuse proferred for the Russian aggression, historical boundaries, protecting citizens, etc., etc.

    Paraphrasing George C. Scott in Patton – Putin, I’ve read your book!

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  112. But if Putin does those things with the Ukraine and Moldovia it will be their fault, just like Georgia. Ask Scott.

    Really now. Did Moldovia recently send tanks into a province that was trying to break away?

    Did you get hit on the head recently?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  113. Scott, so you’ve not been paying attention to Moldovia?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  114. “Really now. Did Moldovia recently send tanks into a province that was trying to break away?”

    Heh. Pissed off those Russian “peace keepers” didn’t they. Enough to send in batallions of Spetnaz troops to the heart of Georgia instead of just South WTFuckistan. See Sudetenland.

    Again Scott, how many of these types of plays do you think Russia has with it’s former republics?

    Did you have a brain douche recently?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  115. Perhaps, Scott, you should read up on Moldovia’s separatist Transdniestria region. Maybe the part about how the recent Russian invasion of Georgia has made them feel a bit feisty too? And how there – just as in South Ossetia – there are Russian “peacekeepers” occupying another country without that country’s consent.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  116. That is one strange link button you have there, or else it has some issues with Firefox. I’ll do it by hand…

    South Ossetia background article

    This was a link from Michael Totten’s blog that is a Slate piece from a few months ago. On the ground report that shows how South Ossetia is a lot more Russian than Georgian for various reasons. Might clear up some of the misconceptions I’ve seen in this thread.

    allan (1f7d8a)

  117. allan – No misconceptions on my part. The 60,000 population is largely Russian and the “breakaway” or “independence” is self-proclaimed, not legal. Those are known facts. South WTFuckistan remains part of Georgia. Russia crossed an international border in an act of hostility to interfere in an internal matter of another country – plus to teach that country a variety of lessons for getting too friendly with the West, decimate its military, etc., etc. If people want to keep blaming the victim here that’s fine with me, but that doesn’t seem to be reality.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  118. drocks, that was just meant as background fill-in, not a stance. I just noticed a few comments that didn’t seemed have the bigger picture in focus. Hope you read it. That part about the Azeri and Iran was illuminating.

    allan (1f7d8a)

  119. I did read it allan.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  120. Ropelight,

    Are you Drumwaster under a new name and IP to avoid Patterico putting you in moderation?

    Because, I’ll tell you, Leviticus is not Levi. Leviticus is a long-time commenter here. With intelligent, incisive comments.

    And you are a jackass spewing verbal diarrhea.

    nk (e69fdd)

  121. “we are all Americans here – we are supposed to be on the same team.”…Comment by TLove at #6.

    Oh please! Perhaps at one time (?), but certainly not now. It’s no longer “North vs South”, but “East vs West”, Past vs Future, Collective vs Liberty, respectively. The paradox is that the progressive Left has retarded America’s bright future in the name of “progress”.

    C. Norris (142581)

  122. Let’s try a new scenario…
    The American Consulate in Mexicali/Tijuana starts handing out American Passports to Mexican citizens.
    The drug wars between the competing cartels continue killing scores/hundreds of locals who hold those Passports.
    The Mexican Government continues to be incapable of dealing with the violence.
    Do we send troops to Baja-Norte to protect “American Citizens”?
    Would we continue south into Baja-Sur to protect the many actual American Citizens in LaPaz and Cabo?

    Another Drew (131739)

  123. #123,

    Well, what to make of this? I guess I can’t go wrong by being polite. So there.

    nk, no, I’m not the drummer and I’m aware that Leviticus is not Levi, even though you seem to be the one unsure of who’s who.

    As for Leviticus and his lengthy seniority here, in addition to your praise for his lofty intelligence and incisive comments, I’m sure there must be something to what you say. Yes, there must be some evidence somewhere for what you say. Otherwise you’d just be another pipsqueek spouting balderdash who goes around accusing others of his own shortcomings. And that can’t possibly be you nk, can it?

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  124. I wonder if you might find something in the fact that after the British turned tail and ran, Georgia with its 2,000 troops in Iraq was our biggest ally there. And even it hadn’t been, whether we are, in the end, a bunch of week-kneed pussy-asses good for bullying only nations much weaker than ourselves and selling our friends down the river for “peace this week”.

    nk (e69fdd)

  125. nk – The Brits still outnumbered the Georgians 2:1 even after the U.K. reductions in force, but the point is still important.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  126. nk, sorry, but I can’t unravel your prose. What is it you want ask? Does it have anything to do with your comment to me, or my response to you?

    After your characterization of me as “a jackass spewing …” (see #123 above) I’m unwilling to speculate, for fear of more insults.

    I am willing however to treat you with respect, but only so long as you extend me the same consideration. High handed attepmpts to dismiss my remarks because you don’t think I’ve been here long enough to earn the right to voice my opinions is a poor way to participate in a colloquy. My words should be judged on their merits alone, rather than on if I have your permission to comment or not.

    Additionally, If you find Liviticus intelligent and his comments incisive, I have no quarrel with that. I simply don’t share your view.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  127. #94,

    I was re-reading my comment to see if there were any volunteers yet, and by mistake read the final few sentences in your last paragraph. Usually, I skip over anything with your name on it, but this time, I just can’t pass up the chance to take a cheap shot.

    Go ahead, stand up, the view’s better and it aids digestion.

    Comment by Ropelight — 8/12/2008 @ 2:07 pm

    I believe in doing good to your friends and evil to their enemies. Whether it’s Georgia vs. Russia or you vs. Leviticus.

    nk (e69fdd)

  128. nk, I get your drift. I offered respect, but apparently that isn’t good enough for you. So, it shall be as you have decided. You called the tune, now it remains to see if you can pay the piper.

    I have no dispute with Liviticus, I took a cheap shot at something he said, and you over-reacted and made a fool of yourself. He has yet to address me, but you clearly took offense and lashed out with silly questions, fawning admiration for your boy, and a particularly vile insult.

    I really don’t understand what motivates such low-brow behavior, perhaps it’s the hidden work of some sort of unnatural attraction, or it could be symptomatic of a well known cognitive disorder.

    In any case, it’s not my problem, it’s your’s, and you deserve it. But, don’t despair, redemption is available to those who truely repent of their sins, make a sincere act of contrition, and ask for forgiveness. Now, I’m done with you, go and sin no more.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  129. Cheap shots don’t usually go over well around here, Rope… Especially when aimed at the sensible, sane, willing-to-talk-like-a-grownup liberals that come here…

    Do try to remember that you aren’t on Michelle Malkin’s site. We like many of our liberal commentors here, and react poorly when they get ill-treated.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  130. Scott,

    Please see my comment at #96 above. I did take somewhat of a cheap shot at what Lavicitus said in the last several sentences of the final paragraph of #94.

    I acknowledged it at the time as a cheap shot and really only engouraged him to do as he avowed. Also, I helpfully listed two additional benefits consistent with his position.

    Now, on the other hand, my tongue was firmly in my cheek, the suggestion did have some humerous
    elements, and Liviticus was spouting jingoistic klap-trap.

    FYI, I don’t comment at Malkin’s blog, and I’m aware that moonbats are treated with kid gloves, heck! I do it too.

    Give and take is the rule. I dish it out, and I’m willing to take it too. But, let’s lighten up all the way around. What do you say?

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  131. It seems I wasn’t clear…

    Leviticus, aphrael, and several others aren’t moonbats. Reffering to them as such hardly gains you points.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  132. Leviticus has defended me more than once. One time against one of this site’s own hosts. So that’s where I stand.

    I know that SPQR was far nastier to Leviticus than Ropelight but he has been very cranky overall, lately. I’m giving him time for his bunions to stop hurting.

    nk (e69fdd)

  133. Scott, I’m not looking for “points,” nor do I seek your approval. Read my comments if you find them worthy, or skip over them if you don’t. That’s what I do. Or, try to do.

    BTW, I didn’t know you were in charge here. I thought P was the one to say what “We like” or don’t like. He likes “sensible, sane, willing-to-talk-like-a-grownup liberals that come here…” and so do I.

    Now, some background, my comment at #96 wasn’t directed at “liberals” in general, or at any specific individual “liberal.” My comment was about what one “liberal” had to SAY in the last several sentences in his final paragraph at #94. Exclusively that and no more.

    Please note the distinction: I made reference to what Liviticus said, not to him. Nothing personal was involved, unless you insist on putting your thoughts into my comment. Further, as to the ill treatment of “our liberal commentors here,” and the tendency for “we” to “react poorly when they get ill-treated.” I didn’t mistreat anyone until nk insulted me. Then you decided to pile on.

    And, while I’m at it, your objection to my use of “moonbat” comes well after your initial criticism at #132. Now, again, I did use the term “moonbat” but again, there was no direct reference to anyone. However, if the shoe fits…

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  134. nk, normally Leviticus has more intelligent comments but his comments #60, 94 etc. above don’t live up to that standard.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  135. Okay.

    In regards to my being a “willing-to-talk-like-a-grownup liberal” (Scott Jacobs #132): probably not in #94, though I appreciate your willingness to step up in my defense, even in the face of our rather divergent views on the matter – and thanks to nk as well, with whom my views are in close alignment. My comments in #94, though polemic and aggressive in their delivery, remain a good indication of my view on the question of Russia’s invasion of Georgia; in short, while I wasn’t talking like a grown-up, I believe I was thinking like one.

    For starters: as much as Russia would love to claim that South Ossetia is “disputed territory”, the fact remains that the region falls under Georgian boundaries on (I would wager) any map anyone can find. That makes South Ossetia Georgia, in every sense of the word. Therefore, Scott’s analogy about Georgia “pulling a 1990’s Iraq to [South Ossetia’s] Kuwait” doesn’t hold – there was never any question in international eyes that Kuwait belonged to anyone but Kuwait. You can’t accuse the Georgian’s of an attempted land-grab when the land was theirs to begin with.

    Thus, if the “provocation” in question was no such thing, then the “response” (read: opportunistic action) on the part of the Russians is totally unjustified, and (in my opinion) worthy of a Western military response.

    Scott: I was listening to an interview with the Georgian president on CBS tonight, and while I realize that he’s probably not the textbook definition of a “disinterested source”, I think he made a good point: Russia has claimed provocation in at least three conflicts prior to this one – Czechoslovakia in 1968, Afghanistan in 1979, and Abkhazia in 1992. Russia’s the one (allegedly) bombing coastal Goli, rolling battalions of tanks across the border. What makes you think their motivation in invading Georgia is anything more than a resurgent expansionist impulse?

    This thread is drawing out some weird responses: daleyrocks and SPQR are sniping at me, even thought they agree with me, and Scott (who disagrees with me) is defending me against someone who probably agrees with him on the question of the appropriate respone to this situation. Honestly, daleyrocks’ and SPQR’s grumpy responses are probably to the (admittedly) chiding tone I took in #94 (as well as my mentioning Iraq – I bet they didn’t like that). Anyway, I’m sorry for the tone of #94, but I still believe that a military defense of Georgia is justified, here. I don’t think there’s any way the Russians (I have to keep deleting “Soviets”) would use nuclear weapons over a little slice of a former satellite state (MAD worked for 25 years, why is it suddenly defunct?), and if they did – if they were crazy enough to do so – then okay. As long as we’re talking right and wrong, the right thing to do is stand up for one’s principles, even if it means terrible consequences. I don’t need any kind of military training to know that it’s wrong to sit back and watch a bully steal another kid’s lunch money.

    Leviticus (01696f)

  136. There’s no need for military action. A simple economic embargo will do it. We import nothing from Russia and we export nothing to Russia. We could, also, on a country by country basis, export nothing to countries who do business with Russia and import nothing from countries who do business with Russia. Let Putin drink his oil.

    We could also, if we had the balls, place a regiment of “military advisors” and a Navy “training squadron” on Georgian territory and territorial waters, respectively.

    God, I miss Reagan.

    nk (e69fdd)

  137. Yes, nk, we all do.
    Also, we could send a Marine Battalian to Tbilisi to secure the Embassy. I think a perimeter about 10k out of town would be a good start.

    Another Drew (131739)

  138. We could also, if we had the balls, place a regiment of “military advisors” and a Navy “training squadron” on Georgian territory and territorial waters, respectively.

    How do you suggest getting those naval assets there without Russia’s ok?

    Because I feel safe in saying Russia would deny us access, and as much as I love and trust the Navy, I do NOT want to see a shooting war between our boys and the Russian Black Sea fleet… We’d win, but it would NOT be pretty…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  139. Actually, the Black Sea is considered international waters, with access under the control of Turkey (the Bosporus and the Dardenelles).
    Interference with warships sailing in international waters is a serious matter.
    If Georgia requested assistance by the US Navy (for humanitarian reasons), and invited same to a Georgian port, prevention of that visit by another power could be considered an act-of-war.
    The Black Sea Fleet since the dissolution of the S-U has fallen on pretty hard times – they aren’t even based in Russia, but in a Ukrainian port on the Crimea (something that causes a great deal of tension between Ukraine and Russia). For years they didn’t even have the funds to buy bunker-oil. Maintanance has been a joke. They might be capable of doing some damage, but I don’t think anyone considers them a force to fear.

    Another Drew (131739)

  140. An interesting post over at Austin Bay on this problem, and provocative comments too…
    http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=1951

    Another Drew (131739)

  141. Another Drew – access is not under the control of Turkey. The Montreux Convention is still in force:

    In time of peace, merchant vessels shall enjoy complete freedom of transit and navigation in the Straits, by day and by night, under any flag and with any kind of cargo, without any formalities, except as provided in Article 3 below. No taxes or charges other than those authorized by Annex I to the present Convention shall be levied by the Turkish authorities on these vessels when passing in transit without calling at a port in the Straits.

    (Article 3 deals with a requirement for sanitary control and blocking ships carrying infectious diseases).

    In time of war, Turkey not being belligerent, merchant vessels, under any flag or with any kind of cargo, shall enjoy freedom of transit and navigation in the Straits subject to the provisions of Articles 2 and 3.

    Pilotage and towage remain optional.

    In time of war, Turkey being belligerent, merchant vessels not belonging to a country at war with Turkey shall enjoy freedom of transit and navigation in the Straits on condition that they do not in any way assist the enemy.

    Such vessels shall enter the Straits by day and their transit shall be effected by the route which shall in each case be indicated by the Turkish authorities.

    There are further provisions granting free passage to military vessels in times of war and peace, so long as Turkey not be involved in the war (or, if Turkey is involved in the war, they aren’t ships of the other side).

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  142. I thought P was the one to say what “We like” or don’t like

    Sure. It’s his site; he makes the rules, we abide by them.

    But this is also an old enough site with enough recurrent regulars to have social rules that arose from the community rather than from the owner. Where the cultural rules and the owner’s rules diverge, his rules win; but that doesn’t mean the cultural rules aren’t there or are unimportant.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  143. Good link, AD. Austin Bay is the only name blogger I’ve met face-to-face so I’d like that link even if it weren’t good … but it’s excellent. I especially like how Austin conveys so much spot-on imagery with “Texas Hold’em vs Russian Roulette.”

    DRJ (a5243f)

  144. aphrael…
    That is all well and good, except for one small detail: The United States of America doesn’t have a Merchant Fleet anymore.
    What we are talking about are United States Navy vessels – warships.
    Turkey can deny passage of such vessels just as they denied transport of the (what was it) 3rd-ID in the Winter of 2003 from Med ports to the area of Turkish Kurdistan.
    And, of course, what will enforce this Treaty?
    Will the UN send Interpol over to arrest someone?

    Another Drew (131739)

  145. The conclusion is still the same, aphrael. U.S. warships can sail through the Dardanelles and Bosphoros to the Black Sea by what you said or what Another Drew said.

    But it’s a pipe dream.

    nk (e69fdd)

  146. Another Drew,

    The transit of vessels of war through the Straits shall be preceded by a notification given to the Turkish Government through the diplomatic channel. Ihe normal p*iod of notice shall be eight days, but it is desirable that in the case at non-Black Sea Powers this period should be increased to fifteen days. The notification shall specify the destination, name, type and number of the vessels, as also the date of entry for the outward passage and, if necessary, for the return journey. Any change of date shall be subject to three days’ notice.

    Entry into the Straits for the outward passage shall take place within a period of five days form the date given in the original notification. After the expiry of this period, a new notification shall be given under the same conditions as for the original notification.

    When effecting transit, the commander of the naval force shall without being under any obligation to stop, communicate to a signal station at the entrance to the Dardanelles or the Bosphorus the exact composition of the force under his orders.

    The Convention basically makes the straits into quasi-international waters over which Turkey can exercise logistical control (to keep ships from bumping into each other or Turkey’s bridges, etc) of ships but cannot bar their passage unless they belong to a nation at war with Turkey.

    Now, you’re certainly right that nobody can force Turkey to adhere to its Treaty commitments. But that’s no different than any other treaty.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  147. Another Drew,

    The transit of vessels of war through the Straits shall be preceded by a notification given to the Turkish Government through the diplomatic channel. Ihe normal period of notice shall be eight days, but it is desirable that in the case at non-Black Sea Powers this period should be increased to fifteen days. The notification shall specify the destination, name, type and number of the vessels, as also the date of entry for the outward passage and, if necessary, for the return journey. Any change of date shall be subject to three days’ notice.

    Entry into the Straits for the outward passage shall take place within a period of five days form the date given in the original notification. After the expiry of this period, a new notification shall be given under the same conditions as for the original notification.

    When effecting transit, the commander of the naval force shall without being under any obligation to stop, communicate to a signal station at the entrance to the Dardanelles or the Bosphorus the exact composition of the force under his orders.

    The Convention basically makes the straits into quasi-international waters over which Turkey can exercise logistical control (to keep ships from bumping into each other or Turkey’s bridges, etc) of ships but cannot bar their passage unless Turkey is at war.

    Now, you’re certainly right that nobody can force Turkey to adhere to its Treaty commitments. But that’s no different than any other treaty.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  148. Apologies for the double post. They’re identical except that the second changes “unless they belong to a nation at war with Turkey” to “unless Turkey is at war”; the second one is correct, the first one an error.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  149. Sorry, I take that back. I believe that Another Drew is wrong if he is saying that Turkey could block passage of U.S. warships through the Dardanelles and Bosphoros. It is not at all like overflights over its territory. See aphrael’s comment 144 above.

    nk (e69fdd)

  150. NK: that’s how I read the treaty, yes. Control over the straits was one of the big problem issues in international politics for centuries; it was a big deal that it was finally resolved.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  151. My grandfather fought in one of the wars that resolved it.

    nk (e69fdd)

  152. Austin Bay does have some good points in that piece.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  153. I don’t trust the Turks to live up to their obligations. I believe that under the NATO treaty, and other direct agreements between Turkey and the US, they were obligated to give passage to the 3rd-ID in 2003, which they did not.
    Though there is long standing animosity (hate) between the Turks and the Russians, I don’t know if Turkey would like to poke the Bear in the eye by letting a carrier battle-group, or two, through the straights. And, if they say no, the only way to overcome their objection is through military action, and that’s a non-starter.
    If we can’t put an effective force into the Black Sea in support of Georgia, you can kiss that country good-bye; and with it, any effective outlet to the West for Caspian Oil (which might be the hook that will keep the Turks from closing the Straights – they need that Caspian oil too, both to use, and for the economic benefit that its transit bestows upon Turkey).

    Another Drew (131739)

  154. It’s still a pipe dream. Archer Daniels Midalnd and Tyson Foods would cut the remainder of the Shrub’s nuts off if he attempted anything of the kind. Thus Esau gave away his inheritance ….

    nk (e69fdd)

  155. Another Drew, the great irony is that for most of the time that control of the straits was a major issue in international politics, it was the Russians who were demanding that the straits be kept open to all comers.

    They can hardly object if Turkey, adhering to a treaty whose provisions were to a certain extent forced on them by Russia, allows warships through the straits. It’s the perfect way to poke them in the eye: [innocent voice] you *wanted* this, didn’t you?

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  156. NK: I agree that it won’t happen; but it’s for our reasons, not Turkey’s.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  157. Leviticus @138 – I think my position on this thread has been obvious. My sarcastic response to your over the top 94 was intended to get you to suggest some military responses that you thought were available to us that might be useful, had a chance of success, and wouldn’t just be seen as empty gestures. Have you offered any suggestions or did I miss them? I don’t see any particularly attractive options myself. Since you were all up in arms, I thought you might have had some ideas in store for us.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  158. NK, did he leave you any stories?

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  159. aphrael at #145,

    You seem fair and you do your homework. Please see nk’s comment at #123. It was in response to my #96. There are others to look at, but the above is how nk and I got sideways.

    Have a look and see for yourself. You’ve already shown enough interest to put in your two cents about “cultural rules” and all. Perhaps you’re even on the rules committee.

    So answer this: What rule did I violate to justify nk’s slur?

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  160. My grandfather? He helped raise me. He left America in 1912 to enlist in the Greek Army in the First Balkan War. He was very highly decorated — the equivalent of our Distinguished Service Cross. Also, his unit ran out of supplies and had to subsist on dried corn given to them by a farmer. 😉 Click on my site if you want to see him and my grandmother holding me on the day of my christening fifty-two years ago.

    nk (e69fdd)

  161. So answer this: What rule did I violate to justify nk’s slur?

    None, as far as I’m concerned. I perceived a vicious attack by you on Leviticus and I attacked you, as viciously as I could stomach to, in retaliation. It was entirely a personal thing.

    nk (e69fdd)

  162. Ropelight at 162: I’m not jumping in to mediate your dispute with nk; I was merely objecting to what appeared to be a misapprehension about the nature of rules in online fora. :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  163. NK: that’s a fantastic picture. Thank you! :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  164. #164,

    nk, I said I was done with you, but you persist in responding to my comments directed to others.

    I don’t object on grounds you have no standing, but please, allow respectable time for the addressee to get his thoughts organized and compose a response. There will be time enough for you, I promise.

    Now, here’s a question just for you (please, no interlopers): Don’t you think you might have over-reacted just a little, tiny-tiny bit, and have now got yourself so deep in poo the only way to save face is pretence?

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  165. “My sarcastic response to your over the top 94 was intended to get you to suggest some military responses that you thought were available to us that might be useful, had a chance of success, and wouldn’t just be seen as empty gestures. Have you offered any suggestions or did I miss them? I don’t see any particularly attractive options myself. Since you were all up in arms, I thought you might have had some ideas in store for us.”

    – daleyrocks

    Would you be so kind as to point out where I claimed to have any sort of administrative/tactical military expertise, so as to justify your asking me for some specific strategy to defend Georgia against Russia?

    Hmmm… what’s that you say? I said nothing of the kind? Well, then that begs the question, doesn’t it: does one have to be an expert in military tactics to have an opinion as to the moral use of military force?

    No?

    Are you one of those people who whines every time any pundit/other worthless civilian postulates as to the necessity/lack thereof of a particular military conflict?

    daleyrocks… are you calling me a “chickenhawk”?

    Well, then that begs another question: did you whine about it when liberals used that exact same argument against conservative pundits saying that they believed the war in Iraq to be morally justifiable? Or, put another way, did you see me telling you to shut the fuck up whenever you argued that invading Iraq was the right thing to do, simply because you had no specific tactical suggestions on hand?

    No?

    Okay.

    Leviticus (689229)

  166. aphrael, see nk’s comment at #164,

    He doesn’t think I violated one of your rules. So, why don’t you enlighten him on just exactly what’s what around here. He’s obviously in need of some instruction in manners.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  167. Ropelight, I don’t believe I said you had violated a rule.

    You said: “I thought P. made the rules”.

    I said: “Sorta. He makes some rules, but some rules are the result of the way cultural rules evolve in small internet groups”, only I said it less clearly than I just restated it.

    My point was never to express an opinion on the merits of your dispute with nk; it was to express an opinion on the merits of your claim about how rules operate. That’s an interesting topic to me; i’ve been involved in online fora for seventeen years and find such things fascinating.

    Your dispute with nk, on the other hand, isn’t … and so, while you may attempt to draw me into stating an opinion on the merits of that dispute, I shall decline to do so. :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  168. Now, here’s a question just for you (please, no interlopers): Don’t you think you might have over-reacted just a little, tiny-tiny bit, and have now got yourself so deep in poo the only way to save face is pretence?

    No. I told you the truth earlier. Leviticus has defended me even against a host on this site. Here. So kindly go and apologize to Leviticus.

    nk (e69fdd)

  169. Ropelight,

    I’m afraid you may be on the losing end here, whether you deserve it or not. Leviticus is one of our favorites.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  170. Leviticus – I didn’t call you a chickenhawk. That’s a stupid argument to begin with. Where are the war protestors though? Do they only come out when the U.S. or have only selective causes?

    You don’t have to be an expert to have an opinion as you are showing on this thread. Are you sure you want to reinforce the stereotype of the liberal who knows nothing about military matters?

    Btw, I haven’t told you to shut up anywhere on this thread, so I don’t know what you’re complaining about. I’m on your side about Russia’s conduct, but I think our options are limited. I’m not in favor of making a big Animal House type futile gesture just for the sake of it.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  171. What good is our massive military if we’re unwilling to use it to make a principled, justified stand against nations like Russia or China when they step out of line?

    It keeps them from deciding to make a stand against us when they think we’ve gotten out of line.

    Or do we only police the weak-ass, dirt-eating countries that can’t hope to put up a (conventional) fight?

    Pretty much, yeah. We’re only willing to get involved when it’s in our interest to do so — and part of determining when it’s in our interest to get involved is weighing the *cost* of getting involved. As the costs go up, the benefits have to go up, too.

    Military intervention against Russia in this case is a high-cost, low-benefit situation.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  172. aphrael,

    OK, now I get it. You were only expressing “an opinion on the merits of (my) claim about how rules operate…” Well, that makes all the difference.

    Only it was Scott Jacobs who brought up the topic of what “We” expect from commenters, not me. I have asked, over and over for anyone interested to actually look at my initial comment at #96 and then look at nk’s response at #123. See for yourself who is guilty of breaking a rule, P’s, the “culture’s,” or Ms Manner’s.

    aphrael, it was you who presumed to lecture me about “cultural rules” but, now you want to keep your skirts clean. You say you decline “to mediate (my) dispute with nk,…” Fair enough, except you weren’t asked to mediate. You were asked to get your facts straight before you stuck your nose into a dispute your weren’t part of, and neither was nk for that matter. At least he admits it, while you tip-toe around and snipe from the sidelines.

    I asked you a direct question and now you refuse to answer it because you can’t handle the truth.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  173. DRJ,

    Thanks, I see the smart of your observation. And, I’m not trying to unseat a favorite, I’m not even asking for justice, but the simple facts of this case are that nk insulted me at #123 above and I called him on it. The facts have been rigorously ignored, but they remain undisputed.

    Have a look for yourself, and remember A = A.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  174. “Leviticus – I didn’t call you a chickenhawk. That’s a stupid argument to begin with.”

    – daleyrocks

    Oh, you didn’t call me a chickenhawk, you just belittled my opinion on the grounds that I didn’t have any tactical maneuvers (based on what exactly?) to spice up your read. I see.

    “Where are the war protestors though? Do they only come out when the U.S. or have only selective causes?”

    – daleyrocks

    Maybe they’re at home, writing letters to their congressmen telling them it’s time to engage in a what they believe is a justified war, instead of trying to dissuade them from involving the country in what they believe to be an immoral one. Perhaps they’re exercising their discernment as to what does or does not constitute moral use of military force…

    “You don’t have to be an expert to have an opinion as you are showing on this thread. Are you sure you want to reinforce the stereotype of the liberal who knows nothing about military matters?”

    – daleyrocks

    Where exactly have you demonstrated your reams of sage military wisdom in this thread, oh Mighty Conservative Manly-Man? Was it in the part where you said that Russia would claim some provocation on the part of Georgia in order to invade, just like they’re going to do with Ukraine and Moldovia (#114)? Because I said the same thing (more or less) in #138. Or was it the part where you said that “The 60,000 population is largely Russian and the “breakaway” or “independence” is self-proclaimed, not legal. Those are known facts. South WTFuckistan remains part of Georgia.” (#120) Because I said the same thing (more or less) in #94 and #138. Or was it the part where you pointed out that the British still had twice as many troops in Iraq as the Georgians, even after their withdrawal? Well… shucks. You got me there, MacArthur. I didn’t point that out. Your superior, conservative military knowledge wins the day again.

    Reading through your comments, you’ve consistently said more or less the exact same things that I’ve said, only in less lengthy, less emotional language. Get off your high-horse: you haven’t been participating in aphrael’s discussion about the Dardanelles, or the Turkish treaty obligations therein. You’ve been bloviating, without the slightest shred of military evidence, just like me – except that you’re pretending that you, by virtue of your conservative politics, know something about the military, and I, by nature of my liberal politics, do not.

    I do not, by the way – but it’s because I’m a kid, not because I’m a liberal.

    Leviticus (50e31e)

  175. …because I’m a kid…
    Well, that’s what they have libraries for.
    To study that which is not currently known.
    You could start with “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”, and work forward and learn European History. Most of the problems we face there can be traced back to previous problems, and context reveals a lot.
    Then, there are the books on Napolean, Clauswitz, etc.
    Your mind is a sponge, it’s about time you started putting something of substance into it, rather than MTV and YouTube.

    Another Drew (249078)

  176. I’m here at your request, nk. What’s up?

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  177. The ball’s in your court, but you insulted me and have so far declined to take responsibility for it. That gets my goat.

    How can you say that when I said:

    I perceived a vicious attack by you on Leviticus and I attacked you, as viciously as I could stomach to, in retaliation. It was entirely a personal thing.

    Before that, I said:

    I believe in doing good to your friends and evil to their enemies. Whether it’s Georgia vs. Russia or you vs. Leviticus.

    And other comments before and in-between which corroborate, not contradict, the above.

    I am multi-lingual but English is my primary language. Unless I’m going demented and think I’m speaking English when I’m actually speaking Greek, I have taken full responsibility for my comment.

    Anyway, you apologize to Leviticus and I’ll apologize to you (and him if he thinks I should not have gotten involved).

    nk (e69fdd)

  178. Sorry, nk, no sale. You can’t correct a mistake unless you’re first willing to admit you made one. Clearly, you ain’t there yet.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  179. Ropelight,

    I think I get what you are describing. It is a different issue entirely from the journalism case, but I think it is endemic to Internet sites. I have no fondness for nk or Leviticus – hell, I don’t really post here that much. I just don’t see the point of getting crazy about it, and I really don’t want to get involved.

    OmegaPaladin (05c9b6)

  180. Ropelight,

    I deliberately, intentionally, knowingly, with malice aforethought, and with willful and wanton disregard of the consequences, insulted you. Because you insulted Leviticus.

    In retrospect it was beneath my dignity and Leviticus’s too. You are not worth the attention.
    (That’s an insult, too, for which I also take full responsibility.)

    I apologize to Patterico for the waste of his bandwidth.

    nk (e69fdd)

  181. Get off your high-horse

    Leviticus – I believe you are the one on the high horse. Why the hell would I want to get into a discussion of the Dardanelles if I thought they represented a worthless military option? I already know the background from too many courses and too much reading on European history.

    Manly-man? Uh-oh. That’s code for homophobe, right?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  182. nk, believe me, I have little interest in continuing this useless exercise. But you persist in insulting me. That’s unacceptable.

    Now, while I can’t stop you from posting insulting comments, I can turn on the lights so bystanders can take your measure.

    #182, thanks for taking a look. I know it’s not pretty.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  183. Leviticus – You’re being as ridiculous as Matt Yglesias was yesterday. He was dumping all over Jonathan Chait at TNR for saying we didn’t have any military options. Yglesias said Chait was wrong, that we had plenty of military options, but none of them are any good. That’s my point! How dishonest a position is that for Yglesias to take. If the options are no good, they don’t really represent viable options. See my Animal House comment (movie was before you were born, unfortunately).

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  184. But you persist in insulting me. That’s unacceptable.

    Then perhaps – and this is merely a suggestion, mind you – you might see about making it less easy for us to insult you.

    I can turn on the lights so bystanders can take your measure.

    And ironicly it is your measure that is taken, and it is found to be wanting in many regards.

    Seriously bucko… Shut up before nk decides to actually go to town on you. He has been incredibly civil thus far – far more civil than I would ever spend the effort to be.

    Given a choice between you and nk, or you and Leviticus, I am quite certain you would not come out the winner.

    So again, stfu.

    kthnxbi

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  185. “…that we had plenty of military options, but none of them are any good…”

    That is the essence of warfare.
    Generally, there are NO good options.
    You are forced to pick which is the least BAD option.
    That is why military strategists tread carefully, they are the one’s who (generally) have to read the casualty reports, and write the letters to the surviving family member.
    The politicians just go to another fund-raiser.

    Another Drew (249078)

  186. #187, I’m trying to bring this nonsense to an end and stop nk from directing more insulting comments toward me. You aren’t helping. Your absurd prattle, pretence, and presumption has become tiresome.

    You continue to spice your slurs with words like “making it less easy for us to insult you.”
    Just who is “us” and who appointed you spokesman for “us?” Or, was there an election? If so, I didn’t get a ballot.

    How come “us” doesn’t include me? Are the inmates in charge of the asylum ? Perhaps I’d like to look down my pointy nose and dismiss someone’s comments as unworthy of consideration because I enjoy being a puffed-up bully, like you.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  187. “Your mind is a sponge, it’s about time you started putting something of substance into it, rather than MTV and YouTube.”

    – Another Drew

    You have no idea how hard it is for me to remain polite here (in the face of the breathtaking condescension you have just shown me), but I’m going to, whether or not you’ll appreciate it:

    I AM NOT TRYING TO TALK MILITARY TACTICS. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MILITARY TACTICS, AND HAVE NO RIGHT

    nk – you don’t need to apologize to me. I appreciate your persistence in trying to drive your point home, though it may come to naught.

    Leviticus (6e5739)

  188. “Your mind is a sponge, it’s about time you started putting something of substance into it, rather than MTV and YouTube.”

    – Another Drew

    You have no idea how hard it is for me to remain polite here (in the face of the breathtaking condescension you have just shown me), but I’m going to, whether or not you’ll appreciate it:

    I AM NOT TRYING TO TALK MILITARY TACTICS. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MILITARY TACTICS, AND NEVER PRETENDED TO.

    What I am talking about is right and wrong, and I am as qualified to discuss that as any of you… distinguished gentlemen.

    You tell me to fill my head with something other than MTV and YouTube; well, I don’t have cable and I don’t have FlashPlayer, and I have no desire to get either, so MTV and YouTube are pretty much out of the picture.

    You tell me to go to the library, so that I might know of what I speak; unfortunately, you have yet to figure out what exactly that might be.

    The only book I have on practical military affairs is “On Guerilla Warfare” by Mao Tse Tung. Obviously, I am no expert in the matter (as I’ve said over and over again, to your apparent disregard). However, the following is a list of books which deal with the issue of right and wrong – the issue I’ve been discussing this entire time – which I picked off my bedroom floor and my personal, 18-yr old (actually, it’s 19 now) bookshelf:

    The Plague, by Albert Camus
    Candide, by Voltaire
    The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
    The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli
    The Great Political Theories, Vol. 1 & 2
    The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
    The Art of Rhetoric, by Aristotle

    Deal with me, or don’t deal with me; if you’re going to deal with me, deal with me on fair terms.

    nk – you don’t need to apologize to me. I appreciate your persistence in trying to drive your point home, though it may come to naught.

    Sorry for the near double-post.

    Leviticus (6e5739)

  189. Leviticus, you’re the one who classified yourself as a “kid”, not I. If my response offended thee, I appologize.
    I think you were flying under a “false flag”, for what reason I have no knowledge of.
    You have a pretty respectable reading list there, it just needs to be fleshed out with some history; for, it is the history that set the conditions that those writings attempt to address.

    For background on Mao’s writings, don’t forget Confucius, and one of his students, Mencius.
    Also, for more thoughts on ethical behaviour, don’t forget Buddha.

    Another Drew (249078)

  190. Ropelight,

    If you have a concern about something that happened on this thread, I encourage you to discuss it here and not take it to another thread. Not everyone reads every comment on every thread, including the host and guest hosts.

    Misunderstandings and insults happen on the internet. You can ask for an apology when you feel offended but you may not get one to your satisfaction. As you said earlier, everyone who reads this thread can decide for themselves whether or not you were wronged.

    Some readers may agree with you that you were poorly treated. Others may feel you brought it on yourself by taking a “cheap shot” at another commenter as you admitted in your comment #96. Either way, at this point I encourage you to look for common ground or drop it and move on.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  191. Am I too late to get my licks in on Ropelight for dissing Leviticus? I thought I’d let things die down and then – BOOM – bring down the hammer.

    Oh well.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  192. I need an independent evaluation here….
    “breathtaking condescension” ??????

    Where did that come from?

    Another Drew (249078)

  193. Really? You do?

    Leviticus (feabb4)

  194. [Duplicate comment deleted at Ropelight’s request. — DRJ]

    Ropelight (492db3)

  195. DRJ,

    Thanks again for your interest. Yes, I’m concerned, not greathly so, but enough to respond to unwarranted insults, condescending lectures, and dishonest responses. That’s obvious, and I’ll tell you why in the last paragraph.

    I commented on Patterico’s “Preferental Treatment” post not because I wanted to expand the dispute, but because I saw he was concerned about an issue somewhat similar to the problem I was having: preferental treatment.

    Although, the record is readily available, and anyone who has the time to waste can decide for themselves who provoked the dispute, and who misbehavied, I can’t seem to break through the smug prejudice enjoyed by “favorites” here to shield themselves and their cronies from exposure.

    You’re certainly familiar with the broad outlines, and so are a few others, to know what I’m going on and on about. Now, while I’m not claiming to be blameless, I am saying that the general background of smug clubbiness which has been openly acknowledged to be at work here, put me at a disadvantage while nk, Scott Jacobs, and aphrael have closed ranks.

    They are the self-identified “recurrent regulars” to which Jacobs and aphrael refer when they talk about “social rules” and the “culture” here which permits them to abuse others (me in this case) perceived as lacking the status conferred by familiarity. This bias can opperate openly or covertly.

    Here’s an example of covert bias, from your #193 above: You encourage me to “drop it and move on.” Which is something I offered to do several times, see my comments at #’s 129, 131, 133, 167, 185, & 189. Yet, it’s me not nk et al, you choose to advise.

    Please understand, I’m not accusing you, or attempting to draw you into disputes, but I want to point out how subtle can be the influences which operate against anyone thought to be without portfolio. It’s one of the laws of the jungle, any new kid on the block usually has to take on the bully if he wants to keep the the other guys from ganging up on him.

    Now. Why? As promised above, if you want to keep this blog fresh and alive with new ideas, I do and I assume you do as will, it’s certainly worth some effort to make sure “recurrent regulars” don’t form cliques which enforce a limited range of accepted opinion, or deny standing to unfamiliar voices.

    That’s it, I’ve had my say, and unless directly addressed I’ll drop it and move on. Thanks to any and all who have come this far. I hope you found it worth your time.

    Ropelight (492db3)

  196. DRJ, please delete my #197. Thank you.

    Ropelight (492db3)

  197. What a VICTIM!

    Lighten up Francis.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  198. #200, goldielocks

    Look in a toolbox for a hammer, not your purse.

    Ropelight (492db3)

  199. Very nice whining, cupcake!

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  200. Redundant, tinkerbell!

    Ropelight (492db3)

  201. Ropelight,

    I think you have misinterpreted this thread if you feel you were hounded by a clique of commenters or insiders. Most of the people you have complained about are more likely to be opponents on issues than part of a clique, so I don’t think they are as united as you perceive them to be. In addition, people come and go here all the time — including me.

    Nevertheless, I think I understand how you feel. For instance, even though we share a lot of commenters, I sometimes feel awkward commenting at Protein Wisdom because I don’t visit there every day and I don’t have a feel for the ebb and flow of the comments section. But that doesn’t stop me from commenting there or at other websites, even though I’m not one of the regular gang and I don’t get all of their jokes. They make me feel welcome by reading and considering my comments.

    My suggestion is that you forget what happened for 3 days. Join the discussion, express your opinion, and get to know people as you debate with them. If you still feel aggrieved after Monday, let me know and we’ll address it further.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  202. DRJ,

    I don’t believe I misinterpreted anything, and I never said I felt hounded, nor am I overly concerned with feeling all warm and fuzzy with other commenters here. Give ‘n take is the rule and I’m comfortable with it. I had my say, and that’s good enough.

    “Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.”

    As for feeling aggrieved, yes I suppose I do. nk insulted me at #123 above. But after a few days it doesn’t seem like much of anything to go on about, considering the source.

    So,I’ve taken your advise, looked around, put up a few opinions, and learned a bit more about what’s what here. So, there’s no need for you to spend time and attention on my concerns, I can handle it from here. Thanks again and best regards.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)


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