When I first heard of the fighting erupting between Georgia and Russia, I thought the media was playing on words, and was half expecting an article about an old lady in Atlanta putting up a fight against Russian gang members. Now I realize that there is a real war going on, and it reminds me of the first Gulf War when Iraq brashly invaded Kuwait. Back then the smarter George Bush was president, and found a way to put together a coalition that drove Hussein’s forces out of the tiny Arab country. Although few would agree that there is such a thing as a “Just” war, it was probably the closest thing.
The senior George Bush was at hand in the Beijing Olympics to witness the amazing comeback by the American 4x100m relay team against a trash talking French team. Of course, his son, the other George was also at hand (sitting next to a very pretty lady on one side and Laura on the other). We like to portray the Russians as the bad guys (which they probably are), but I wonder how much was caused by Mr. Saakashvili’s reliance on the non-existent US support.
Words are cheap these days. George Bush tells the Russians to get out of Georgia, as do Senators McCain and Obama, only to be ignored. The French team said they would “smash” the Americans in the relay, till those words were stuffed back into their own mouths—a very severe punishment for citizens of a country whose mouths can only handle the finest cheeses and wines. John Edwards learned that people are more upset at him, not for cheating, but for lying, and for risking the entire party so he could pursue his own ego trip.
Did Mr. Saakashvili overplay his “democracy” hand? And as we watch the world after Beijing 2008, what will the people in Taiwan think about US support, should their neighbor decide that unification is a good thing?
It was revealed, after the first Gulf War, that Iraq had misread US intentions about Kuwait, that the United States would not risk American lives for a far away Arab nation just for oil, or in the name of preserving International Law. Perhaps Georgia misread the Americans as well, thinking that it was safe under the US umbrella. Or maybe it is Russia that is misreading the US and the world.
Or maybe I was right to begin with. The situation in Georgia does look like an old lady in Atlanta putting up a fight against Russian gang members. But if I were the old lady, I’d probably want to make sure that I had police back-up before trying to do the right thing. I don’t want to sound like a coward, but it seems better to be alive than to be right.