August 27, 2008

Graham and Lieberman on Georgia

Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, two devoted McCainiacs—and possible VPs?—got together to write a WSJ op-ed on Georgia and Russia. Needless to say, Putin Derangement Syndrome was out in force: 

The pair opens the essay expressing relief that Moscow was “deterred from marching on Tbilisi and militarily overthrowing the democratically elected government there…”—talk about fighting wars in your imagination!

It’s get worse from there: 

Also needed, immediately, is a joint commitment by the U.S. and the European Union to fund a large-scale, comprehensive reconstruction plan—developed by the Georgian government, in consultation with the World Bank, IMF and other international authorities—and for the U.S. Congress to support this plan as soon as it returns to session in September.

I’m sensing that Georgia is going to become the next great sinkhole in which we toss our increasingly devalued currency, all under the auspices of the “international community.” 

The recent missile-defense agreement between Poland and the U.S., for instance, is not aimed at Russia. But this has not stopped senior Russian officials from speaking openly about military retaliation against Warsaw.

“Why, we wouldn’t even think about threatening Russia with a missile system in its backyard, but…”

In the long run, a Russia that tries to define its greatness in terms of spheres of influence, client states and forced fealty to Moscow will fail—impoverishing its citizens in the process.

I’ll refrain from commenting on the hypocrisy of that one.

[T]he watchword of the West must be solidarity: solidarity with the people of Georgia and its democratically elected government, solidarity with our allies throughout the region, and above all, solidarity with the values that have given meaning to our trans-Atlantic community of democracies and our vision of a European continent that is whole, free and at peace.

Whenever you hear people talking about having solidarity with “values,” it probably means they’re dreaming up some really unnecessary and expensive military commitment. 

Yglesias makes the important point that the whole missile defense system we’re not threatening Russia with might not even be operational:

From the beginning, the main international issue with the missile defense program has been that Russia views it as a means of undermining the credibility of their nuclear deterrent and rendering them available to American nuclear first strike. At the same time, the technology doesn?t work! And critics have long argued that it makes little sense to proceed with unworkable technology that promises to badly damage our relationship with Russia. And yet the missile defense proponents pressed on and now are shocked ? shocked! ? that Russia isn?t playing nice. At which point Poland, clearly as a move sponsored by a desire to spit at Russia because of Moscow?s bad behavior, signs on to the missile plan. So Russia gets mad. And this is further evidence of Russian perfidy.

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