Ah, the hypocrisies of modern-day liberalism. I’m not one to pick bones, because as a liberal myself, I’ve got little else than my proboscis (as is the case with most of my brethren) to look down, not anything of real substance. However, today the New York Times ran this opinion piece by the reliably-conservative and ever-reactionary Nicholas Kristol. It’s main rub? Well, apparently we, the United States, owe Georgia, big time. At least, that’s the conclusion of an argument that takes as its premises:
- Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, Burma, and Zimbabwe enjoy an at least tacit alliance in their mutual quest to see “justice disarmed.”
- The U.S. owes Georgia, after they supplied close to 2,000 of their own troops for Bush’s laughable ‘Coalition of the Willing’ (no matter how much you hate him, you have to give his P.R. a hand. ‘Axis of Evil’? ‘Coalition of the Willing’? It makes unilateral imperialist aggression look like the fucking knights of the round table!
- If we refuse to help Georgia, we will lose the battle to the “Axis of Evil”, and other states like Ukraine who are pro-west now will get the message that we are unwilling to help out when things get rough.
First, I’m going to spend a little time on proposition #3. Kristol spends a hefty amount of hot air explaining how the world is a much better place than it was during the cold war, there are no more ideological battles, and the Olympics are being hosted in China (this must mean that things are going pretty swimmingly, right? I mean, we’re not boycotting them like we did in 1980, so the Cold War simply must be over, right? Right?)
So, after giving us a bunch of reasons why we should be happy that the world isn’t the same place as it was 25 years ago, Kristol basically gives us a cassus belli against Russia that sounds a whole hell of a lot like the one Americans were fed before Vietnam. Namely, if we don’t put up a fight, then we will be perceived as weak, and nations that are wavering between two ideologies (ours and theirs) will be drawn back into Russian influence because of our wavering. So wait, how exactly is anything different in the world of Kristol? Well, apparently the ideologies of yore no longer exist. Yep, things are just a lot more simple these days. Instead of professing towards economic and social equality like the commies did back in the day, the people who are steamrolling over the Caucasus are simply there for some good old-fashioned evil deeds (what else does the Axis of Evil seem to stand for? As Kristol would have it, nothing). Well, if there’s one thing that the we can thank the conservatives for, it’s making the world a lot more simple for us myopic Americans to assimilate.
Even disregarding the points made above, I have little reason to believe that the U.S. ‘owes’ Georgia anything. Yes, they threw their soldiers on the line for us in Iraq, but really, we did what they wanted us to do: we trained them for counter-insurgencies. And as this article points out, that worked remarkably well in another war the Georgians just fought. However the problem is, this time around they didn’t realize the Russians were actually going to get pissed off and kick their asses. Whoops! I might be more worried about American obligations to Georgia if it was confirmed that the U.S. actually gave the greenlight for a Georgian invasian of South Ossetia, but what it looks like right now is that the leader of Georgia got a little bit cocksure after taking back a relatively meaningless slice of land, and thought that he could just poke the big Russian bear in the eye with a stick.
Well, he thought wrong; we should do everything we can to make the war stop, which I’m sure we will do; beyond that, however, I’m not really sure how we owe the Georgians anything. We’ll no doubt pay them to fight a proxy war against Russia (as we have been doing through Israel), but I simply don’t understand what the Georgians expected. A NATO military response? If so, the Georgian president is even more stupid and miscalculating than I had thought.