Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgia On Our Mind

With the latest news that Russia has drawn only a dotted line on its incursion into Georgian territory, I wanted to point my gentle readers toward a well-done piece on the politics of that situation and our own.

Gregory Djerejian of The Belgravia Dispatch has an excellent, pithy piece on the motions in Eastern Europe and the superficial and naive administration understanding that brought us to this pass. And which McCain would seemingly double-down on.

A good thumbnail of the situation, including reference to foreign policy heavyweights George Kennan and Henry Kissinger, is followed up by a summary of the evolution of US policy toward Georgia over the last seven years. He concludes:
If we mean to help the Georgians escape an even worse fate, we must summon up the intelligence and humility to have a dialogue with Putin, Medvedev, Sergie Lavrov, Vitaly Churkin and the rest of them based on straight talk (not of the McCain variety, and if we can somehow find a messenger of the stature and talent to deliver the message in the right way, hard these days), to wit: we screwed up overly propping this guy up and he got too big for his britches, we understand, but for the sake of going forward strategic cooperation (and don't mention Iran here, at least not as the first example)--as well as stopping further civilian loss of life--agree to work with us in good faith towards a status quo ante as much as possible, don't enter Tbilisi, and throw show-boats Sarkozy/Kouchner a bone with some possible talk of a going forward EU peacekeeping role (if non-binding, for the time being). This is roughly what we should be saying/doing now, not having the President step up to the White House mike fresh back from the sand volleyball courts of Beijing to gravely declare Russia's actions are "unacceptable in the 21st century."
A side dish to his policy recommendations is a brief explication of the McCain response as a pattern for a McCain Presidency. His take, in short? "If you think you've seen myopic and naive, well, bbbaby, you ain't seen nuthin' yet."

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