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August 28, 2008

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davod

"The significance of Georgia, and particularly the Ukraine to key Russian interests should not be underestimated. To take Russia to task for having these interests is to take the Euroweenie pacifist "end of history" perspective.."

Rubbish. The idea that the Russians should be allowed free reign to trample democracies just because they are located near Russia's borders smacks of pre WWII appeasement of NAZI Germany and the post war Russian suppression of the countries of Eastern Europe. Each instance was a fait accompli.

"The End of History" even though it was lauded went first espoused is a ridiculously naive concept and reflected more wishfull thinking than any real evaluation of the facts.

The Russians moved into Georgia with a prepared assault from three fronts. This, after the Georgians responded to a provocation from South Ossettia.

The Russians are the aggresor and there is a need to hit back hard. I note that a group including Russia, the Stans and China (well China and the Stans) just declined to accept the independance of South Ossettia and Abkhazia.

The Baltic states, Poland and the Ukraine have all come out against the Russian actions.

The Eu is now looking at excluding Russia from the G7 +1.

Let us not forget the Russians have been playing a dirty hand in a various regions of the world. Their efforts at cooperation with the West should always be looked upon with suspicion.

The Russians will rue the day they took this aggressive step.

Jim

I agree with much of what was written. Just one note, the Monroe Doctrine was to keep large (European mainly) countries out of South and Central America. Not to run those countries as satellites or incorporate them into the U.S.
Have we pressured some of these countries for good prices or intervened in some cases? Yes we have. But not under the Monroe Doctrine.

moose

Davod,

I actually agree with what you suggest as DESIRABLE. It would be great to see Russian imperialism contained and punished. I merely disagree with you on the small matters of feasibility and consequences.

Your suggestion (demand?) is fine if we had the bandwidth to deal with the Russians, the Chinese, the Muslims, the Venezuelans etc. simultaneously bu we don't.

Further, I suggested that there may still be a perfectly rational reason to confront Russia regardless, if the endgame is to deprive it of its nukes, and the strategy is some well thought out and planned piece of genius well beyond my humble abilities. I would like to think that the recent blow-up in Gerogia has been gamed out thoroughly, and any responses planned for well before it happened. Anything else and we are in a world of trouble. Also, if this is the route currently taken, we are going back to a world of potential nuclear armageddon at the flick of a button, at any time. Finally, we would be prepared to wear a whole lot of grief on other fronts, most notably Iran, Pakistan, and the Norks.

back to a more feasible scenario (where the West has no plan, no spine, no unity, no bandwidth and chickens out). the WWII analogies ring hollow in a world where Russia has the second largest strategic nuclear arsenal in the world, its leaders are playing for their lives (literally) and it percieves its core interests threatened enough to throw in its lot with other mortal enemies (Islam, China). Watch France and Germany angle for a deal. They need peace, quiet and most imporantly gas.

So, with these constraints please advise how your Russia containment strategy would work, and how we would contain the consequences if we even got it together in the first place. I am kinda lost.

Bear in mind Russian political support and unity vs that in the West, as well as military bandwidth, and throw in plausibly deniable guerilla forces and "popular" armed groups, now Russia's preferred infantry and invasion model. Recent experience shows consistent Western compromise before such forces. Yes, even in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Good time to read Macchiavelli, and revisit the principle of the lesser of two (or more) evils. Feasible ones.

As for Jim's comment: what the Monroe doctrine is SUPPOSED to be on paper, at its point of origin, and what it evolved into are two different things. What it was really meant to be to begin with is a third thing, probably resembling the second one...

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