The first couple of days after Russia went into Georgia, everybody in the West said, How awful! And there’s nothing we can do!
Well, it’s awful, all right, but there’s plenty we can do, as writers across the political spectrum (from Charles Krauthammer to Trudy Rubin) started saying by the end of last week. These bullets come from Krauthammer:
1. Suspend the NATO-Russia Council established in 2002 to help bring Russia closer to the West. Make clear that dissolution will follow suspension…
2. Bar Russian entry to the World Trade Organization.
3. Dissolve the G-8….
4. Announce a U.S.-European boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. To do otherwise would be obscene…
Ms. Rubin used softer language, such as "Under present conditions, it’s hard to imagine holding the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, not far from the Georgian war zone…" But made similar points. She added:
Europe and America must support, and provide substantial aid to,
Saakashvili, and insist on the need for independent peacekeepers in
Georgia. European countries must finally fashion a joint energy policy
and lessen dependence on Moscow, rather than cutting separate deals
So we had, and have, options. But it hit me this morning that we need to go ahead and act on them, NOW, and not let up until Russian behavior changes dramatically — for the better, that is.
Why? Because the pattern has been clear in recent days: Russians invade. West gets upset. Russia says we’ll be done in a minute. West fumes. Russia says it’s done now. West starts talking (sort of) tough. Russia agrees to cease-fire. West says that’s better. Russia says it’s withdrawing. West says, you’re not withdrawing, either. Russia says we’re ABOUT to withdraw and moves closer to Tbilisi. West says why aren’t you withdrawing? Russia says NOW we’re withdrawing, and blows up a Georgian airfield….
The consequences, to the extent that the West can get them together, need to start NOW. Then Russia is in the position of waiting for US to do something that is completely up to us — lift the consequences — instead of the other way around. Because folks, this current arrangement is not good.