By Alan Caruba
Considering what was happening in a secessionist part of Georgia, invaded by Russia, the sight of President Bush and Prime Minister Putin chatting amiably Friday night at the opening of the Olympic Games was fairly astonishing. Russian troops were in the process of invading Georgia and their planes were even bombing Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.
Of course, it was Stalin who was not much upset when thousands of Georgians starved to death in the course of his advancing the power of the Communist Party over Russia and what came to be known as its satellite nations.
I had a brief mental picture of people running up and down the halls of the NATO headquarters in a panic until I realized that Georgia was not a part of NATO. What this means is that Europeans will watch from the sidelines as Russian tanks reassert their hegemony.
What is not known as this is written is whether the Russians will settle for taking South Ossetia away from Georgia. It is, not surprisingly, just across the border from North Ossetia.
What we do know is that the Russian army is very good at reducing to rubble anything they want. They wanted to retain Chechnya and they still have it. It’s mostly burnt out structural skeletons of buildings, but it still Russian burnt out structural skeletons of buildings.
As for the rest of Georgia, President Bush’s demeanor suggests that Vladimir told him that all those tanks, planes and troops are in South Ossetia purely for the purpose of liberating its people from the evil Georgians and that they—the Russians—don’t intend to grab any more land for now.
So it looks like the dogs of war will not be loosed upon the continent of Europe and the missiles will not be flying as was the fear from the bad old days of the Cold War. Wars are expensive and Russia is living mostly off its oil and gas revenues. There’s simply no point to expand this military adventure.
Moreover, they know the Europeans will stamp their feet and then do nothing. The parliament of the European Union may even convene a meeting for ten minutes or so to discuss the problem and then break for lunch.
Americans who invaded and have occupied Iraq since 2003 are not in a strong moral position to protest too loudly. And, anyway, who ever heard of the city of Abkhazia before last Friday?