[Guest post by DRJ]
From UK’s The Times, Russia’s Kremlin is playing a new game called Cheney Derangement Syndrome:
“Russians were told over breakfast yesterday what really happened in Georgia: the conflict in South Ossetia was part of a plot by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, to stop Barak Obama being elected president of the United States.
The line came on the main news of Vesti FM, a state radio station that — like the Government and much of Russia’s media — has reverted to the old habits of Soviet years, in which a sinister American hand was held to lie behind every conflict, especially those embarrassing to Moscow.”
Does this mean Russia is endorsing Barack Obama?
Meanwhile, President Bush was apparently able to escape Vice President Cheney’s mind control long enough to order US military aircraft and naval forces to begin “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian relief to Georgia:
“We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance,” Bush said. “We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and civilian transit.”
Humanitarian aid seems like a good method to help stabilize the civilian population, begin peacekeeping efforts, and monitor Russian military activity without escalating the conflict.
In related news, the US and Poland announced a deal to place an American missile defense system in Poland in exchange for a stronger American commitment to defend Poland:
“The United States and Poland reached a long-stalled deal on Thursday to place an American missile defense base on Polish territory, in the strongest reaction so far to Russia’s military operation in Georgia.
But the deal reflected growing alarm in countries like Poland, once a conquered Soviet client state, about a newly rich and powerful Russia’s intentions in its former cold war sphere of power. In fact, negotiations dragged on for 18 months — but were completed only as old memories and new fears surfaced in recent days.
Those fears were codified to some degree in what Polish and American officials characterized as unusual aspects of the final deal: that at least temporarily American soldiers would staff air defense sites in Poland oriented toward Russia, and that the United States would be obliged to defend Poland in case of an attack with greater speed than required under NATO, of which Poland is a member.
Polish officials said the agreement would strengthen the mutual commitment of the United States to defend Poland, and vice versa. “Poland and the Poles do not want to be in alliances in which assistance comes at some point later — it is no good when assistance comes to dead people,” the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said on Polish television. “Poland wants to be in alliances where assistance comes in the very first hours of — knock on wood — any possible conflict.””
I am now officially a fan of Polish PM Tusk.
US-Russia relations have always been a chess game. With its latest move, Russia apparently exchanged South Ossetia for Poland. We’ll see what Russia’s next move is.