Saturday, August 23, 2008

Daniel Benjamin on U.S./Russia/Georgia

A pretty good column, on target in its criticisms of Bush's policy of trying to rush through NATO membership action plans (MAPs) for Georgia and Ukraine at the Bucharest summit. My only criticism is that he is too lenient on Clinton re NATO expansion (but then, he did serve on the Clinton Natl. Security Council).


El Jefe Maximo said...

I completely agree with you about NATO expansion to Georgia. That was absolute madness, too far out to be defended, bound to antagonize Russia and it was utterly predictable that the European members of NATO would balk.

So what we got was Russia as angry as if Georgia had actually joined NATO -- but no NATO, with the American prestige on the hook in Georgia for a piddling three rifle battalions in Iraq, and a great humiliation that the administration seems bound and determined to make worse by ringing declarations about Georgian territorial integrity that have no prayer in Hell of being made to stick.

Of all of the mistakes of this administration, its treatment of Russia has been geopolitically the worst -- I'm thinking of the US involvement in Ukraine, which disproportionately benefited Europe, and not the US, and which did more than anything else to make the Russians certain that we could not be worked with, that we were bound and determined to choke them.

If the Georgians, and the State Department had half a brain, they'd call off the fleets, quit the lecturing about "rationality" and push the Georgians to concede what's already lost (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) in exchange for keeping their independence. Much like Finland in 1940 and again in 1944.

BTW, look at the Crimea. That's a war breeder waiting to happen if ever there was one. Russian bases, ethnic Russians, and a Russian government that resents the whole concept of an independent Ukraine, combined with a new state very much ready to stand on its dignity. Pray we have the sense to disengage, and that there is some way we can convince Putin not to push.

LFC said...

Good points.