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#246173 - 08/22/08 04:41 PM Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
August 22, 2008

George Bush, with the clock ticking down the last months of his presidency, nearly started yet another war that might have escalated in the manner of World War I: a diplomatic failure backed by arms that resulted in a superpower clash.

It is a wonder that the world has survived his "war on terror," which turned out to be a war on American liberty and anyone in the world who got on his nerves. His confrontation with Russia in defense of a belligerent little client state of the US could have sealed his fate and ours too.

We need to examine Bush's actions and see how the US nearly stumbled into a calamity. For in the last weeks, we have gained a picture of the future with this continued push for a secure American world empire with its endless webs of payments, relationships, jockeying for power and treasure, and a diplomatic corps honeycombed with belligerents and lobbyists for foreign governments. The peace, such as it is, can be shattered through small screwups that will end in massive death.

Make no mistake about it: the flare-up was caused entirely by US diplomatic failures. You wouldn't know this, however, if all you did was watch television news. Fox and CNN have portrayed Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili as a benevolent leader of a "young democracy" struggling in the shadow of the mighty bear Russia.

In fact, Saakashvili was elected on a "National Movement" ticket with a centralizing, revanchist platform of retaking the autonomous provinces in the Caucasus, and he has ruled this country the size of South Carolina with an iron fist under a state of emergency for years. He had every intention of ruling these non-Georgian peoples who do not want to be ruled by him, as even the CIA admits. As for his domestic program, it has consisted mostly of cracking down on tax evasion and beefing up state coffers.

After smashing the province Ajaria in 2004 following his rigged election, and then crushing Kodori Gorge in Abhkazia (which even has a separate language) in 2006, he moved on to South Ossetia (which also has its own language) this year, where Ossetians and Russians live and Russian peacekeepers patrol.

A young democracy? Ossetians never voted for Saakashvili. But he insisted on ruling them anyway, moving militarily and bombing the capital in the middle of peace talks on the opening day of the Olympics.

Tin-pot, fascist mini-dictators like this are a dollar a dozen, and such territorial disputes will always be with us. The critical question is: what gave Saakashvili the confidence that he could pull this off? He believed that the United States would back him as a quid pro quo for his having sent troops to Iraq. The US responded to his cooperation in Iraq sending Georgian citizens to kill and be killed by sending him military training support and guns and bombs, and wining and dining him in Washington.

In all the confusion of the last days, there is no question, then, that Georgia was the aggressor in South Ossetia. Russia responded within its sphere of influence both against Georgia but mostly against an incredible show of arrogance by the Bush administration. According to the New York Times, which interviewed many officials who refused to be named, the Bush administration began backpedalling very quickly, claiming that they never gave permission to Georgia to crush any separatist movement.

But by that time, the politics began. In a very scary editorial and series of speeches, John McCain all but threatened nuclear war against Russia, failing to mention that his own foreign policy adviser was a paid lobbyist for Georgia. Had McCain had his way, the US very well might have a hot war going on right now on the Russian border, fighting for the privilege of a dictator to crush the rights of South Ossetians to their own self-determination.

No doubt that had the conflict continued and it still might we would have been told that we were fighting for the rights of the poor Georgian people against Russian imperialism. The American media, even before looking at the facts, had already decided who wore the halo and who wore the horns in this struggle, giving loving interviews to liars of all stripes, so long as they took the US line.

None of which is to say that Russia wears the halo and Georgia the horns. In war, blood ends up on the hands of everyone involved, and there is no shortage of evidence to prove the case against any and all governments involved.

What we need to fix on here are the first principles. It's an upside-down world, not all that different from the one that existed at the start of World War One, another conflict which was said to be about fighting against aggression and fighting for democracy and self-determination. As Francis Neilson said in his 1915 classic How Diplomats Make War: "No country thinks of putting these principles into practice, but somehow they seem to be worth fighting for."

If we are to follow Neilson further, we will see that in his lessons of the start of that war, he takes aim at a central pillar of diplomacy then and now, namely the claim that the proliferation of arms guarantees the peace. He quotes Richard Cobden: "the greatest evil connected with these rival armaments is that they destroy the strongest motives for peace."

So it has been in these diplomatic games played by our rulers. They believe they are controlling the world, when suddenly they are controlled by events. Then they rope the rest of us into it, following the usual plan of war: forcing the rest of us to adopt the government's view of who is wearing the halos and horns, regardless of the facts:

During a war it is no easy task to prevent your sympathy clouding your reason. The whole social system seems to be organized against any individual attempt to concentrate the attention dominantly upon the causes of the war. Governments, churches, theatres, the press, and local authorities, direct their efforts, in the main, warwards; the whole thought of society and commerce seems to be occupied with war; and all desire to question the reasons given by statesmen for participating in the war must be suppressed. It has been ruled already by certain 'leaders of thought' that it is unwise, unpatriotic, and un-English, to suspect the motives of Governments, or waver for a moment in swearing wholehearted allegiance to the authorities: you must think only of the war. If you dare ask for the truth, you are helping the enemy; if you suggest an early peace, you are hindering the militarists who desire no peace until their enemy is utterly crushed. Insidious, bewildering, and plausible, are the reasons given by statesmen and journalists for inflicting a humiliating defeat; without it, they tell us we must not hope for disarmament. No patriot is supposed to ask if disarmament is at all probable. No one must ask if a single statesman really believes such a blessing will follow if the enemy be annihilated.

Over just a few short days, we saw this whole process beginning to play itself out, in an ominous sign for the future. But it is a future that can change. As Neilson wrote, "Citizens who desire peace can indulge in no greater folly than that which is summed up in the phrase, 'the best way to preserve peace is to prepare for war.' Governments have made the war; only the peoples can make an unarmed peace."

#246184 - 08/22/08 07:46 PM Re: Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco [Re: Hauser]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO
The situation in Georgia, the Ukraine, and other former Soviet satellites isn't over just yet. It is still smouldering. And coming this close before the election and just after Obama's feel-good tour of Europe, calls into grave question the timing and the motives. It is almost like it was designed to pump up public fear of the Russian Bear and sway public opinion towards the military experience of the war-monger McCain. Who is the beneficiary of a McCain win? It wouldn't have anything to do with the future fortunes of our defense industries would it, let alone other Republican-controlled interests? Who cares if the Georgian people are slaughtered like lambs if there are trillions of Dollars in future arms sales and the future of absolute power at stake?

This event reminds me all too well of the KAL 007 shoot-down three days before West Germany's elections where their Green Party was forecast to make substantial gains. It wasn't until long after the sudden skew in their election results occurred before all of the sordid facts behind that incident came out. Why were we running a series of mock air raids testing their air defenses at the same exact time in the same area where the commercial plane was shot down? Why were a number of government officials pulled-off of the flight before it left NYC by the CIA? Why was the plane substantially delayed before leaving Anchorage and why was it substantially off course immediately after leaving Anchorage, still well within our radar and radio range? Plus there was no response from the plane's radio despite repeated queries from various sources. What would happen in this country if a coast-to-coast widebody was 450 miles off course? My guess is that they wouldn't have made it that far before there had been a midair crash.

The Republicans were in power at the time of both of these incidents, and the immediate beneficiary was the same in both cases. In both cases innocents were sacrificed. Did you ever wonder about the ties between the Bush family and the collapse of Silverado Savings & Loan, where Neil Bush, our President's own brother, was one of the Chief Loan officers? Their involvement in that collapse made Whitewater look like your garden-variety home foreclosure. Neil Bush lent billions of Dollars to his dad's friends in the oil and gas exploration industries, who then donated many millions of their money to Republican interests. Later when the price of oil collapsed in 1986 many of these friends had to default on their loans. At the time Bush Sr was Reagan's VP. Did you ever wonder what Dick Cheney's company Haliburton's primary business was at that time? That's right, back then it was primarily oil and gas exploration. Did you know that the collapse of Silverado cost us taxpayers over $2 Billion, and there were lots of sacrificial lambs who lost uninsured savings there too? Put it all together with Bush Sr's win of the Presidency in 1988, and it more than kind of makes me wonder about these people and their morals when their long-term financial interests are at stake.

Just pointing out some history. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis or the furor over our placing missiles in Turkey many years ago? Why are we putting advanced anti-missle technology in Poland right now too? Do you think that our action would cause any heartburn in their military circles? How different a nation do you think we would be if we had suffered 100 million casualties in World War II so closely following the many millions of casualties in the Great War and its aftermath?

At the very least, given the historical perspective, this thing in former Soviet Georgia and with our proposal for basing our missiles in their former satellite Poland, coming so close before a critical national election where they are trailing in the polls, at the very least is quite suspicious.

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.


"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark

#246498 - 08/25/08 06:31 PM Re: Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco [Re: Trucker51]
Leosha Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
Interesting perspectives. I'll be staying out of this one, but it is nice to know that people do have interest in what is happening in our corner of the world.


Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

#247006 - 08/28/08 02:34 PM Re: Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco [Re: Leosha]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
Georgia Started This Fight! And Russia Finished It!

#247009 - 08/28/08 02:39 PM Re: Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco [Re: Hauser]
ak Offline

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491


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