The United States has spent the last 17 years poking a stick into the Russian bear's eye, and now Georgie, and Dickie and Condi are shocked, shocked that it's done gone and ate somebody.
THIS, from an Associated Press think piece by Anne Gearan:
The Russian Bear is back, and the United States doesn't seem to be able to do much about it.I THINK THE PART about a secretary of state who goes to the tinder box to "calm things down" but instead starts throwing around lit matches is rich, indeed.
The United States saw trouble coming between Russia and Georgia, a former Soviet republic turned nemesis, but didn't have enough leverage, focus or resolve to intervene. Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a specialist on the old Soviet Union, may have misjudged the combustible combination of Russian grievance and ambition.
The Bush administration's assurances of solidarity with a young democracy also may have given Georgia's silver-tongued, U.S.-educated leader a little too much swagger as he picked a playground fight he never could win on his own.
In talking points on the conflict obtained by The Associated Press, the Bush administration claims it had no specific advance warning that Georgia would try to retake control of a breakaway border region largely loyal to Russia.
That doesn't mean diplomats, intelligence analysts and others weren't worried about worsening Russian relations with Georgia over the past two years and in particular about the shoving match over ethnic conflicts left over from the Cold War.
Rice went to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to try to calm things down in July, but infuriated Russia with a public endorsement of Georgia's "territorial integrity." Saakashvili used the visit to display his close relationship with Washington, the organizing principle for an imperfectly democratic government that has collected millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
U.S. officials say they gave Saakashvili a strong warning not to put a match to the ethnic tinderboxes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, even as Rice and others took Georgia's side in public. Bush backed the Georgian claim when he visited Tbilisi in 2005.
"The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone," Bush said then.
The problem with the neocon cabal in Washington, as it wreaks havoc at home and abroad, is it's the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Without Lieutenant Dan.