The U.S. Cannot Abandon Georgia

The United States must intervene in the current conflict between Russia and Georgia. We have spent billions training Georgia’s military and have done everything to assist that young democracy. Now in the face of outrageous aggression by Russia, President Bush is going to let that country be destroyed?

If we allow Russia to seize control of Georgia and its valuable oil pipeline then all the President’s talk about spreading freedom and democracy ring hollow. Georgia has been a staunch ally of the U.S. and now their country is being stolen by Russia.

Georgia’s U.S. trained military is vastly superior to Russia’s in terms of training, but with a force of less than 50,000 they are no match for Russia’s 750,000 poorly trained, poorly led, and poorly equipped drunks. The real problem for Georgia is air power. Georgia has no fighter aircraft or attack choppers while Russia has more than 1,200 attack aircraft.The latest reports out of Georgia are that more than 50 Russian aircraft are flying above Georgia. With no aircraft the only thing the people of Georgia can do is hide.

Georgia had the third largest troop commitment in Iraq behind Great Britain until this week when the Pentagon began flying Georgian troops home to fight the Russians.

Russia’s intention is to seize control of Georgia’s valuable oil pipeline that carries oil to Turkey. It’s the only pipeline in the entire region that the corrupt Russian government doesn’t control — at least not yet.

I understand that we “need” Russia to back us on UN sanctions against Iran, but that rationale is really pretty absurd. The Russians play lip service to President Bush about the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, while at the same time building a nuclear reactor for Iran.

The situation is undoubtedly complicated, but what we absolutely must not do is sit around jawboning at the UN forever. The United Nations is one of the most ineffective and corrupt organizations on the planet and what’s worse is that it’s largely funded by us.

Barack Obama’s tepid response in the beginning and the moral equivalency he drew between a democratic ally of the U.S. and Russia speaks volumes about how he would conduct his foreign policy. His call for UN peacekeeping troops is also ridiculous, because if history is any indicator UN peacekeepers are nothing more than props. UN peacekeepers have never ‘kept peace’ anywhere, and as with everything involving the UN it takes years to see a boot hit the ground.

What the U.S. should do is give Russia a simple ultimatum. Either Russia immediately and unconditionally withdraws from Georgia or we will make Ukraine a part of NATO as early as next week. Russia’s biggest fear is having Ukraine become a part of NATO, and this above all else is our biggest leverage on Russia.

Russia is surrounded by young democracies and if the U.S. allows Russia to topple one democracy it will weaken them all. Georgia has done everything it can to create a free and democratic society after decades of Soviet tyranny.

America has a moral obligation to help its friends when they’re in need, and right now Georgia desperately needs our help.

-Chris Jones(via The Hot Joints)