Did you read Kathleen Parker’s column today, which I recommended yesterday? Well, go read it now before the rest of this, because it’s good, and I’m about to give away the punch line.
Basically, she imagined three missives to Putin, the first one from Bush — an excerpt:
Hey, which reminds me. What’s up with Georgia? This is not good,
Vlad. You and I have had our moments. And, OK, fine, your dog’s bigger
than mine. A lot bigger. Stronger and faster, too. We got it. But you
can’t just go invading democratically elected countries that are U.S.
allies. You can’t have everything, Vlad. If you don’t stop, I’m going
to have to do something, and you know I don’t want that. What I want is
for you to not make me look like a fool.
Look, Vlad. Seven years
ago, it was you and me in Crawford. We had a blast. You loved my truck!
We bonded. I went out on a very big limb and told the whole dadgum
world that we were soul mates….
Then, she imagined one from Obama. An excerpt from THAT:
I’m sorry to be writing this e-mail instead of meeting you in person, preferably in the Oval Office, where I belong. Soon, soon.
and notwithstanding the foregoing, I felt it imperative that I express
my deep concern about Russia’s invasion of the tiny, democratically
elected sovereign nation of Georgia. It would appear that you are not
familiar with my platform for change and hope. War does not fit into
this template, and I am quite frankly at a loss for words to express my
deep, deep distress.
As the chosen leader of a new generation of
Americans who speak a global language of peace, hope, harmony and
change, this is simply unacceptable. Quite frankly, your actions pose
potentially severe, long-term consequences. I’m not sure what those
might be, but they won’t be nice or fun.
Then, finally, the message from McCain, which you should be able to enjoy whether you like him or not. The following is NOT an excerpt, but the entire message:
Don’t make me come over there.
Actually, I’m not certain she made that last one up. Maybe she’s tapped into his e-mail.
Yeah, right. And Putin would respond to McCain’s false bravado the way teenagers do when the grumpy old guy says, “Get off my lawn!” Putin would probably respond with
All that McCain’s macho military man facade will do is end up getting a lot of young American men and women killed.
Putin’s Russia strikes me as less a country with functioning governmental agencies than an organized criminal organization that relies on extortion and intimidation to exercise control, takes what it wants, murders what it considers pests, and generally exists for the benefit of a few powerful guys with Putin at the head. Governmental officers like the foreign minister, the defense chief, or whoever operate on a short leash with orders that can change daily. The key to keeping the public happy is to send some of the energy revenues their way.
This morning AEI hosted a fascinating set of presentations giving a current assessment of what’s going on in Georgia. It was broadcast on C-SPAN; I will look for a link. I heard most of Ralph Peter’s presentation — he was sputtering through most of it, obviously energized and angry — he was an area specialist and traveled extensively throughout the region before and after the USSR collapsed. He had no praise for Bush whom he feels let the Georgians down, and faulted our intelligence efforts, saying that we’d been watching the buildup, were aware of the preparations, but the analysts judged that no attack would occur during the summer, especially during the Olympics. Sheesh!
Peters also informed the audience what it really takes to get the Russian units ready to make such an attack — he said it would take a week to get a US brigade ready (I think he overlooks the MAUs / MEUs, but he’s talking armies and he’s the expert), and noted that they had to carefully pick and choose to find elements of the Black Sea squadron that were capable.
What surprise him most was reading / hearing of the Russian attacks and then seeing the films. Most of the hits were the pilots missing their intended target, and they could not destroy the highway, rail line, and pipeline that run parallel to each other out of Tbilisi. He said the pilots displayed no confidence and just wanted to drop bombs and run.
Peters concluded his talk by saying that this reminded him of the 1930s.
Quoted from http://www.sfgate.com (San Francisco Chronicle):
McCain told more than 2,000 voters in York, Pa., that he spoke Tuesday morning with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to make sure he knows “that the thoughts, prayers and support of the American people are with that great little nation as it struggles today” for independence.
“I told him that I know I speak for every American when I said to him, today, we are all Georgians,” McCain said to loud applause. He said Saakashvili asked him to express his thanks to Americans.
Uh, sorry, Senator. You don’t speak for me. And it’s unlikely that you ever will.
Yeah, Mike, I was explaining to one of my sons this past week about the oppressive nature of Putin’s regime, and touching on the more spectacular recent assassinations and their chilling effect on dissent, when it hit me how to describe the modus operandi — “You know, like the Sopranos.”
This link might work for the C-SPAN video of the AEI meeting.
If it does not, you can go to the C-SPAN home page, go down to Recent Programs, and scroll down to “American Enterprise Institute Panel on Russia & Georgia Military Conflict (August 13, 2008).”
Yeah, like the Sopranos. But there are no cops or prosecutors you can call for help when they’re after you.
Time for Cold War, Part Deaux! And step one is drill, drill, drill.
Mike, you are so correct. The audacity of this senile old fart to presume that he speaks for me. The one thing that is completely ignored here is the fact that the Georgians actually started this whole thing. Shouldn’t the people of the breakaway provinces be allowed to determine their own destiny? Apparently John McCain, Mike and Brad don’t think so.
McSame? Nahh, Even Worse
I just turned on CNN and the vastly more experienced John McCain was pontificating about Russia and Georgia. I just wanted to remind Brad Warthen and his ilk of this:
bud – Sure, it’s the Georgian’s fault. Just as it’s my folks’fault that the bully beat me up because he didn’t like my looks. Put down that Kool-Aid — not even Obama is willing to say that.
Holman Jenkins makes the kleptocrat connection in today’s WSJ.
George Bush is way too deep in his John Wayne fantasy to ever admit that (or to) Putin or anyone else that they might be bigger or stronger. And whatever else you might wish to say about Obama, he writes better than that. And McCain has (I hope) better sense than to make threats he can’t back up. Poorly written column.
Reminds me of another of McCain’s statements (only this one he actually made)when he was playing to the Bush crowd earlier. He stated that he would “follow Bin Laden to the gates of Hell” to get him. Trouble is he wouldn’t go to Bin Laden’s cave or to Russia. He would have to send more of our young servicemen to those gates. He, among all, should know better. He just can’t resist grandstanding – with votes in mind.
Harry — Sheesh! McCain knows the role of the executive and was simply indicating that he too would keep the pressure on until bin Laden was dead or captured.
While I’m at it, I’ll add that others are simply misinformed about the hunt for bin Laden: it is ongoing. Just one year ago the US mounted a sizable operation at Tora Bora because of reports that bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, were there. They may have been, but they were not among the deceased. We still have folks who are looking for the scent and will follow up appropriately.
This whole sad drama reminds me of The Who: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”