Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Mindlessness is Total Are You Ready for Nuclear War?

Paul Craig Roberts (PCR) was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. Never one to stutter, PCR's been bringing it hotter than cayenne pepper for the past couple months.
Today, Reagan is gone. The Republican Establishment is gone. There are no conservative power centers, only neoconservative power centers closely allied with Israel, which uses the billions of dollars funneled into Israeli coffers by US taxpayers to influence US elections and foreign policy.

The Republican candidate for president is a warmonger. There are no checks remaining in the Republican Party on the neocons’ proclivity for war. What Republican constituencies oppose war? Can anyone name one?

The Democrats are not much better, but they have some constituencies that are not enamored of war in order to establish US world hegemony. The Rapture Evangelicals, who fervently desire Armageddon, are not Democrats; nor are the brainwashed Brownshirts desperate to vent their frustrations by striking at someone, somewhere, anywhere.

I get emails from these Brownshirts and attest that their hate-filled ignorance is extraordinary. They are all Republicans, and yet they think they are conservatives. They have no idea who I am, but since I criticize the Bush Regime and America’s belligerent foreign policy, they think I am a “liberal commie pinko.”

The only literate sentence this legion of fools has ever managed is: “If you hate America so much, why don’t you move to Cuba!”

Such is the current state of a Reagan political appointee in today’s Republican Party. He is a “liberal commie pinko” who should move to Cuba.

The Republicans will get us into more wars. Indeed, they live for war. McCain is preaching war for 100 years. For these warmongers, it is like cheering for your home team. Win at all costs. They get a vicarious pleasure out of war. If the US has to tell lies in order to attack countries, what’s wrong with that? “If we don’t kill them over there, they will kill us over here.”

The mindlessness is total.
By all means, go to Counterpunch and read the whole thing. PCR does a fair amount of recent historical "talking out of class". I always love it when that happens.....,

NATO is Useless...,

NATO is useless. It has failed to bring stability to Afghanistan, as it failed to bring it to Serbia. It just breaks crockery. Nato has proved a rotten fighting force, which in Kabul is on the brink of being sidelined by exasperated Americans. Nor is it any better at diplomacy: witness its hamfisted handling of east Europe. As the custodian of the west's postwar resistance to the Soviet Union's nuclear threat it served a purpose. Now it has become a diplomats' Olympics, irrelevant but with bursts of extravagant self-importance.

Yesterday's Nato ministerial meeting in Brussels was a fig leaf over the latest fiasco, the failure to counter the predictable Russian intervention in Georgia. Ostensibly to save Russian nationals in South Ossetia, the intervention was, in truth, to tell Georgia and Ukraine that they must not play games with the west along Russia's frontier. Nato, which Russia would (and should) have joined after the collapse of the Soviet Union, is now a running provocation along the eastern rim of Europe.

There was no strategic need for Nato to proselytise for members, and consequent security guarantees, among the Baltic republics and border states to the south. Nor is there any strategic need for the US to place missile sites in Poland or the Czech Republic. This was mere Nato self-aggrandisement reinforcing the lobbying of the Pentagon hawks.

These moves were bound to infuriate the hypersensitive Russians, and did. There is no point in western pundits saying that the thrust of Nato close to the Russian border is quite different from the cold war location of Soviet missiles in Cuba. It seems the same to Russian nationalists.

Nor is it any good pundits remarking that Russia's defence of Russian minorities in Georgia is quite different from Nato's intervention to defend the Kurdish minority in Iraq or the Albanian minority in Serbia. Again, that is just how it seems to Russia.

George Bush said earlier this month that "the age of spheres of influence is over". In that case why push that most potent sphere of influence, Nato, to the Russian border? And what of the sphere-of-influence theory that underpinned Bush's neoconservative plan to conquer the Muslim world for democracy?
In Europe, as in Asia, Nato leaves a trail of catastrophe This outdated military alliance is playing with fire in Russia. In Pakistan and Afghanistan it is playing with dynamite. Strong stuff in the UK Guardian.

Cyber-nonsense in the News...,

This is NOT hacking. Some nitwit left controls on a PBX exposed to call in usurpation. There are no skills involved with doing this, just a little basic knowledge of phone systems and it goes back more than 25 years, not the 10-15 mentioned in the article. Something like this merely highlights the dubious competence of folks running things in this agency and this department;
A hacker broke into a Homeland Security Department telephone system over the weekend and racked up about $12,000 in calls to the Middle East and Asia.

The hacker made more than 400 calls on a Federal Emergency Management Agency voicemail system in Emmitsburg, Md., on Saturday and Sunday, according to FEMA spokesman Tom Olshanski.

FEMA is part of Homeland Security, which in 2003 put out a warning about this very vulnerability.

The voicemail system is new and recently was installed. It is a Private Branch Exchange, or PBX, a traditional corporate phone network that is used in thousands of companies and government offices. Many companies are moving to a higher tech version, known as Voice Over Internet Telephony.

This type of hacking is very low-tech and "old school," said John Jackson, a St. Louis-based security consultant. It was popular 10 to 15 years ago. Telecommunications security administrators now know to configure security settings, such as having individual users create unique passwords and not continue to use the password assigned to users in the initial setup.

"In this case it's sort of embarrassing that it happened to FEMA themselves — FEMA being a child of DHS, with calls going to the Middle East," Johnson said.

Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, India and Yemen are among the countries calls were made to, Olshanski said. Most of the calls were about three minutes long, but some were as long as 10 minutes.

Sprint caught the fraud over the weekend and halted all outgoing long-distance calls from FEMA's National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg.

FEMA's chief information officer is investigating who hacked into the system and where exactly the calls were placed to. At this point it appears a "hole" was left open by the contractor when the voicemail system was being upgraded, Olshanski said. Olshanski did not know who the contractor was or what hole specifically was left open, but he assured the hole has since been closed.

In 2003, Homeland Security and the FBI investigated multiple reports about private industry being breached by these types of hackers.

"This illegal activity enables unauthorized individuals anywhere in the world to communicate via compromised U.S. phone systems in a way that is difficult to trace," according to a department information bulletin from June 3, 2003.
Back in the day, poor students used to abuse these misconfigured PBX's all the time using exactly this lack of administrative control to place long distance calls to home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Politics

Cuba's emerging leverage

When US Congress approved some US$42 million in aid destined to Cuba on 22 July, it was a concrete signal. Relations between the two countries are likely to improve over time despite the staunchly anti-Castro contingent that retains a powerful voting block in southern Florida.

Raul Castro is well aware of this future. And while he is willing to play hard ball with Washington, he knows the potential FDI upshot from the US could be beneficial to his people, Cuba's economy, and ultimately his regime.

Raul is also aware that Russia is keen to improve relations. His three-day visit with Sachin erased any doubt that Moscow is eager to invest in Cuba's energy and medical resources. Havana has long been interested in becoming a refining hub in the region, and is eager to complete the LUKoil deal to have the Russian energy firm refine Venezuelan heavy crude for domestic use and, perhaps, export to the US.

Cuba is in the middle with each hand on two heavy geopolitical levers. By applying the right amount of pressure, the country can certainly benefit from both relationships. Too much pressure on either side, and Cuba risks losing one or both connections. In the end, however, the island nation will stick to its historical roots – maintain sovereignty and some dignity no matter what the cost.

"Cuba's attitude is 'We'll take your money, but that doesn't mean we'll do what you want,'" Erikson said, adding, "Frankly, I don't see Russian power projection in the Caribbean or in the rest of Latin America." International Relations and Security Network.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Drawball

Technological Fundamentalism in Media and Culture

Robert Jensen; While media watchdogs and bloggers probe contemporary news media for signs of bias -- from every angle, on virtually every issue -- perhaps the most important of journalists’ biases is ignored: their routine acceptance of society’s technological fundamentalism. This devotion to the industrial world’s core delusion shows up not just in stories about science and technology but in the assumptions about science and technology that underlie virtually all reporting in the corporate commercial news media in the United States.

Let’s start with definitions: While fundamentalism has a specific meaning in Protestant history (an early 20th century movement to promote “The Fundamentals”), more generally the term can be used to describe any intellectual/political/theological position that asserts certainty in the unquestioned truth and/or righteousness of a belief system. Fundamentalism shows up in history often enough, in enough places, that it seems to be a feature not of a particular culture but of human psychology -- we humans are prone, though one hopes not doomed, to fundamentalist thinking. The attraction of fundamentalism is not hard to understand; in a maddeningly complex world, such a way of thinking can offer comfort, even if illusory. But fundamentalism is better described as a system of non-thought, for as ecologist Wes Jackson puts it, “fundamentalism takes over where thought leaves off.”

Journalists are conscious of religious fundamentalism and treat it as a phenomenon to be covered, even if they don’t always explore it in much depth. But other fundamentalisms -- which likely are even more dangerous than the religious varieties -- are the water in which journalists swim, rarely reported upon and usually taken as an unquestioned state of nature. This includes national fundamentalism (the belief that we owe loyalty to nation-states and that patriotism is a good thing) and market fundamentalism (the belief that market-based corporate capitalism is the only rational way to organize an economy in the contemporary world).

But it may well turn out that the gravest threat to a just and sustainable human presence on the planet is technological fundamentalism -- the notion that the increasing use of increasingly more sophisticated high-energy advanced technology is always a good thing and that any problems caused by the unintended consequences of such technology eventually can be remedied by more technology. According to David Orr, an environmental studies professor at Oberlin College in Ohio, technological fundamentalists are those “unwilling, perhaps unable, to question our basic assumptions about how our tools relate to our larger purposes and prospects.”

BD-Vision

Backchannel, Big Don has hipped me to the apocalyptic blip coloring his interpretation of the national security data currently registering on his far-reaching cognitive event horizon. Once you know what Big Don knows, see, what Big Don sees - I think you'll be slapping your head in consternation for having ever doubted his probity and resolve.

Muslims with intercontinental nuke delivery capability...

What I (and all you other SR readers unable to get with the BD program) clearly fail to appreciate is the extent to which our correspondent is presciently channeling Paul Baran (minus the technical skills and inventiveness) but with all the requisite fear, dread, and benefit of 20/20 historical insight.

BD scrys not only the clear and present danger of the Islamic bomb - going beyond this - he's pointing us toward the unthinkable possibility of intercontinental ballistic delivery of the same!!!

Coupled with political subversion from within by a Manchurian candidate like Baraka Hussein - who stands ready to turn over the lion's share of BD's hard earned tax dollars to the internal "golden horde" of OOW overbreeding useless eaters - and you have all the makings of a nightmarish future state unfit for the genetically advantaged spawn of Big Don. Clearly not an acceptable turn of sociopolitical events.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Meet the Economist Who Thinks We're Doomed

For months Roubini has been arguing that the true cost of the housing crisis will not be a mere $300 billion -- the amount allowed for by the housing legislation sponsored by Representative Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd -- but something between a trillion and a trillion and a half dollars. But most important, in Roubini's opinion, is to realize that the problem is deeper than the housing crisis. "Reckless people have deluded themselves that this was a subprime crisis," he told me. "But we have problems with credit-card debt, student-loan debt, auto loans, commercial real estate loans, home-equity loans, corporate debt and loans that financed leveraged buyouts." All of these forms of debt, he argues, suffer from some or all of the same traits that first surfaced in the housing market: shoddy underwriting, securitization, negligence on the part of the credit-rating agencies and lax government oversight. "We have a subprime financial system," he said, "not a subprime mortgage market."

Roubini argues that most of the losses from this bad debt have yet to be written off, and the toll from bad commercial real estate loans alone may help send hundreds of local banks into the arms of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. "A good third of the regional banks won't make it," he predicted. In turn, these bailouts will add hundreds of billions of dollars to an already gargantuan federal debt, and someone, somewhere, is going to have to finance that debt, along with all the other debt accumulated by consumers and corporations. "Our biggest financiers are China , Russia and the gulf states ," Roubini noted. "These are rivals, not allies."

The United States, Roubini went on, will likely muddle through the crisis but will emerge from it a different nation, with a different place in the world. "Once you run current-account deficits, you depend on the kindness of strangers," he said, pausing to let out a resigned sigh. "This might be the beginning of the end of the American empire." Today in Alternet.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Information Warfare?

Ordinary Americans critical of one-sided media. The conflict may be over, but not the war of words. Moscow claims some Western newspapers have taken a one-sided view of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict and have been misleading their readers. War moves from battleground to broadcasting studio. The South Ossetian conflict managed to dominate the airwaves at a time when viewers should have been hooked on the Olympic Games rather than horrified by images of war. Georgia's PR campaign throughout the conflict has been directed towards the West, portraying Russia as the aggressor.

Russian English-language television channel Russia Today has acused the U.S. broadcaster CNN of using the wrong pictures in their coverage of the conflict in South Ossetia. A Russian cameraman says footage of wrecked tanks and ruined buildings, which was purported to have been filmed in the town of Gori, in fact showed the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, the RTTV reported on its web site.

Gori was said to be about to fall under the control of the Russian army but the cameraman says the video was actually shot in Tskhinvali, which had been flattened by Georgian shelling.

"When we arrived and news came that Gori was being shelled, I saw my footage. I said: that's not Gori! That's Tskhinvali. I can swear in front of any tribunal. I can point out this location on a map, because I and a cameraman from the channel Rossiya videotaped that," the channel quoted the cameraman as saying. Russian Report: CNN used Fake Video in Coverage of Georgia War

Anybody Else See This?

Fox News cuts American child for thanking Russian troops. A 12-year-old American girl visiting relatives during the conflict in South Ossetia has thanked Russian soldiers for saving her from the Georgian attack. However, America's Fox News attempted to cut her and her aunt off air.

Amanda Kokoeva was in a cafe in Tskhinvali when the firing from Georgian troops began.

She managed to get back to her uncle's basement where she spent the night. In a lull, she then managed to flee across the border to Russia, before boarding a plane bound for San Francisco.

"I want to say that I was running from Georgian troops bombing the city," she told America's Fox News Channel. "I want to say thank you to the Russian troops that were helping us out."

After that her aunt started saying that it was Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili who is to be blamed for the bloodshed, but the presenter tried to cut her off and go to a commercial break. Still, he finally let the woman finish the phrase at least.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Blowback from Bear-baiting

Paleoconservative blowhard, playing to the fringe, blows on tune for a change....,
American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight – Russia finished it. People who start wars don't get to decide how and when they end.

Russia's response was "disproportionate" and "brutal," wailed Bush.

True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israeli soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more "disproportionate"?

Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?
When old hands pulling a paycheck from MSNBC, Fox, and others calls a spade a spade, I think it's clear that the elite establishment Big Lie narrative cannot hold. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but this one has been leakier than an old rusty bucket.

Georgia: A Blow to U.S. Energy

Businessweek was reduced to blowing Russia too..., The Baku-Ceyhan was the Caspian's first western owned pipeline.
The sudden war in the Caucasus brought Georgia to heel, reasserted Russia's claim as the dominant force in the region, and dealt a blow to U.S. prestige. But in this part of the world, diplomacy and war are about oil and gas as much as they are about hegemony and the tragic loss of human life. Victory in Georgia now gives Russia the edge in the struggle over access to the Caspian's 35 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas. The probable losers: the U.S. and those Western oil companies that have bet heavily on the Caspian as one of the few regions where they could still operate with relative freedom.

At the core of the struggle is a vast network of actual and planned pipelines for shipping Caspian Sea oil to the world market from countries that were once part of the Soviet empire. American policymakers working with a BP-led consortium had already helped build oil and natural gas pipelines across Georgia to the Turkish coast. Next on the drawing board: another pipeline through Georgia to carry natural gas from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to Austria—offering an alternate supply to Western Europe, which now depends on Russia for a third of its energy.

But after the mauling Georgia got, "any chance of a new non-Russian pipeline out of Central Asia and into Europe is pretty much dead," says Chris Ruppel, an energy analyst at Execution, a brokerage in Greenwich, Conn. The risk of building a pipeline through countries vulnerable to the wrath of Russia is just too high.
The plans of the U.S. and Western oil companies for expanded pipelines in the Caspian region may well be a casualty of Russia's attack.

The Georgia Crisis: A Blow to NATO

Blowing in Time
If Russia's brutal response to Georgia's provocation had, in fact, obliged NATO to intervene, the Atlantic Alliance itself might have faced a terminal crisis. Most of its member states have no enthusiasm for confronting a resurgent Russia in the Caucasus, traditionally a Russian sphere of influence. The Alliance, for one thing, is having enough trouble maintaining 71,000 troops in Afghanistan, where they are managing only to tread water against mounting odds. Other arguments against confrontation: much of Western Europe is wholly dependent on Russian energy supplies, and European negotiators believe there is little chance of a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear standoff without committed support from Moscow.

So, regardless of the appeals of Senator McCain — and his Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama — the events of the past week have more likely placed Georgia's NATO membership in the deep freeze for the foreseeable future, even if the Alliance remains rhetorically committed to the idea in principle. If so, Moscow can count what has transpired as a major victory: it has prevented the advance of a rival military alliance into Russia's backyard.
Since there was nothing else to be done about it, an awful lot of blowing took place in the MSM organs of TPTB this past week. Here's the first of three instances....,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Has Putin Walked into a Trap?

The immediate Russian response indicates that Putin/Medvedev had long anticipated what the Georgians would do under orders. It also suggests they have had time to carefully consider their immediate, short and long term responses. So, if as Mike Whitney contends, Putin has walked into a trap - he has done so with full measure of forethought.
"The Grand Chessboard" it is the 21st century's version of the Great Game. The book begins with this revealing statement:
"Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power.....The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics."
This is the heart-and-soul of the war on terror. The real braintrust behind "neverending conflict" was actually focussed on Central Asia. It was the pro-Israeli crowd in the Republican Party that pulled the old switcheroo and refocussed on the Middle East rather than Eurasia. Now, powerful members of the US foreign policy establishment (Brzezinski, Albright, Holbrooke) have regrouped behind the populist "cardboard" presidential candidate Barak Obama and are preparing to redirect America's war efforts to the Asian theater. Obama offers voters a choice of wars not a choice against war.

On Sunday, Brzezinski accused Russia of imperial ambitions comparing Putin to "Stalin and Hitler" in an interview with Nathan Gardels.

Gardels: What is the world to make of Russia's invasion of Georgia?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Fundamentally at stake is what kind of role Russia will play in the new international system.(aka: New World Order) Unfortunately, Putin is putting Russia on a course that is ominously similar to Stalin's and Hitler's in the late 1930s. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has correctly drawn an analogy between Putin's "justification" for dismembering Georgia -- because of the Russians in South Ossetia -- to Hitler's tactics vis a vis Czechoslovakia to "free" the Sudeten Deutsch. Even more ominous is the analogy of what Putin is doing vis-a-vis Georgia to what Stalin did vis-a-vis Finland: subverting by use of force the sovereignty of a small democratic neighbor. In effect, morally and strategically, Georgia is the Finland of our day.
The current administration is scratching its head and stumbling and fumbling for a coherent response. Bubba McCain is rootin and tootin with a full chaw of wikipedia powering his foreign policy and national security pronouncements. Meanwhile, old Brookings hands like Holbrooke, Albright, and the chessmaster himself are coming up out of the woodwork, making the media rounds, sounding authoritative and clueful establishment pronouncements about the way things are - and the way things are a gonna be.....,

(oh yeah.., if you're wondering - those are pictures of Zbig with his boy Osama in 1981 training with the Pakistani army)

Why Georgia Does Not Belong in NATO

William Pfaff in the IHT; Nowhere in what I have read of the comment on this small but important war has it been explained [ital] why [unital] neither Georgia nor Ukraine should belong to NATO. They carry with them ready-made wars that NATO neither can nor should be expected to deal with. They are both ethnically and culturally divided nations whose histories are of struggle between or among their component parts.

In Georgia it is between the linguistically distinct enclaves that in the past were Russian and wish again to be Russian, and the majority of Georgians who want to be part of the West, but are also determined to dominate their rebellious territories.

If they would peacefully renounce those territories, an ethnically and culturally united Georgia would have every right to demand NATO membership. But as things are now (or were, until the last few days), Mikheil Saakashvili wants his country inside NATO to protect him from the consequences of forcing those dissident territories to remain under Georgian domination. NATO has no business doing such a thing, and as Russia supports the rebel enclaves, NATO membership for Georgia has war with Russia built into it. As we have just seen.

In Ukraine, the problem is between a culturally and historically Orthodox and Russian-speaking Ukraine, and a westernized and Uniate Catholic Ukraine, whose ties are to Poland and Lithuania. Westernized Ukraine is trying to use NATO to help it dominate Russian Ukraine. This again has war built into it, and NATO must stay away from a conflict that is an unresolved and possibly irresolvable internal Ukrainian problem.

NATO is extremely lucky that Germany and France blocked it earlier this year from offering membership to Georgia. Had they not done so, NATO today would either have threatened Russia with war this week, or its Article Five guarantee to come to the military aid of any of its members under attack would have been discredited.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Washington Risked Nuclear War by Miscalculation

As always, Engdahl provided worthy analysis and commentary;
The dramatic military attack by the military of the Republic of Georgia on South Ossetia in the last days has brought the world one major step closer to the ultimate horror of the Cold War era—a thermonuclear war between Russia and the United States—by miscalculation. What is playing out in the Caucasus is being reported in US media in an alarmingly misleading light, making Moscow appear the lone aggressor. The question is whether George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are encouraging the unstable Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili in order to force the next US President to back the NATO military agenda of the Bush Doctrine. This time Washington may have badly misjudged the possibilities, as it did in Iraq, but this time with possible nuclear consequences.

The underlying issue, as I stressed in my July 12 Global Research article entitled Georgia, Washington and Moscow: a Nuclear Geopolitical Poker Game , is the fact that since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 one after another former member as well as former states of the USSR have been coaxed and in many cases bribed with false promises by Washington into joining the counter organization, NATO.

Rather than initiate discussions after the 1991 dissolution of the Warsaw Pact about a systematic dissolution of NATO, Washington has systematically converted NATO into what can only be called the military vehicle of an American global imperial rule, linked by a network of military bases from Kosovo to Poland to Turkey to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1999, former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia followed suit in March 2004. Now Washington is putting immense pressure on the EU members of NATO, especially Germany and France, that they vote in December to admit Georgia and Ukraine.
Which brings me full-circle to what I believe the primary takeaway should be for all us armchair observers and pundits of affairs on the world stage. The battle for political hearts and minds between competing narrative and counternarrative is where a WHOLE LOT of this proxy war is currently being fought across all media channels. I wonder for how much longer a robust and unfettered narrative information exchange will be allowed to proceed - particularly as the strength and depth of narratives contrary to the aims of TPTB continue to proliferate?

So?

U.S. says Moscow's membership in global clubs at stake - and how exactly is that unlike being denied entre into an *elite* trailer park?
Russia's integration into international institutions like the World Trade Organization is at risk because of Moscow's military operations in Georgia, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The United States may also cancel a naval exercise with Russia to indicate its disapproval of Moscow's attacks on its neighbor, American officials said.

"Russia has a lot to lose" if it ignores international pressure to stop its attacks on Georgia, withdraw its forces from the former Soviet republic and enter into serious negotiations on the future of Georgia's breakaway areas, the senior U.S. official said.
One of the things that's always tickled me driving along the interstate highways - is the number of "manors", "estates", and "country clubs" you happen upon in the titles of some of the most brokedown and decrepit looking trailer parks imaginable.

Now that Russia has the largest proven energy reserves, a massive nuclear arsenal, and huge conventional military, trade surpluses with the rest of the world, etc, etc, etc..., what exactly is it that the old boys club has to offer Russia that might deter it from further consolidation of its interests?

impotent weakness update U.S. limited in Georgia crisis;Expulsion of Russia from the G-8 group of industrialized nations was among the few apparent strong actions the US and Europe could take.

Other possible moves include threatening Russia with the loss of the 2014 Winter Olympic games at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"The United States, its allies, and other countries need to send a strong signal to Moscow that creating 19th-century-style spheres of influence and redrawing the borders of the former Soviet Union is a danger to world peace," said Ariel Cohen, senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies at the Heritage Foundation, in an analysis of the impact of the crisis.

McCain - Wikipedia Foreign Policy Badass...,

Did McCain Plagiarize His Speech on the Georgia Crisis? which means by extension that all subrealism readers and commentors are absolute foreign policy and national security GAWDS!!!! (good to know and we should all burnish our resumes accordingly) Submariner - you should straight up represent as a senior statesman.



Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Susan Rice told the truth about the wikipedia badass's big talk over the weekend; "John McCain shot from the hip, [with a] very aggressive, very belligerent statement," she said. "He may or may not have complicated the situation."

McCain's first statement was dramatically different from the White House's, Obama's, and the Western Europeans, all of whom were urging calm, and all of whom shifted to condemning Russia only after it emerged that the calmate rhetoric was futile.

Scratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines

The war between Russia and Georgia has some nationalist elements, some old grudges but mostly it rubs the wrong way Russia’s newly found power: energy imperialism.

Georgia has refused to play along like other former Soviet states and, if anything, its independent attitude has been a giant irritant for Russia ever since Vladimir Putin used oil and gas to project hegemony over the region and, by extension, into all Europe. At the same time, Georgia, a tiny, 4 million people country has been trying to ward off the giant on its north by seeking membership in NATO or the European Union. In the postCold War era, the United States and Russiadependent Europe are reduced to just pleading for calm.

A look at the map makes the issue at hand quite transparent.

Oil and gas can come from Russia into Europe by tanker through the Black Sea from its massive terminal in Novorossiysk or by pipelines through Belarus, Ukraine and even plans of under water construction in the Baltic. All of these give Russia a huge leverage, almost monopoly, over both the transit and destination countries. More than 25 European countries depend now for more than 75% of their oil and gas from Russia.

But Georgia was eager to act as a spoiler and European countries were even more eager to comply while trying to avoid incurring the wrath of the hand that feeds them. More fair and balanced coverage of talking monkey resource war at Energytribune.