“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For many months Obama has been warning about South Ossetia and Abkhazia? Sounds like a "Kerry in Cambodia" moment.

This is painful to watch. Obama could not get away fast enough. His is uncomfortable with the material he is reading.
He makes astonishing assertions that for many months he has been warning about Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia. Care to see if you can find them? I found this generic to nothing statement on his Senatorial website from Mar 3, 2008:

Ukraine and Georgia have also been developing their ties with NATO. Their leaders have declared their readiness to advance a NATO Membership Action Plan, MAP, to prepare for the rights and obligations of membership. They are working to consolidate democratic reforms and to undertake new responsibilities in their relationship with the Alliance. I welcome the desire and actions of these countries to seek closer ties with NATO and hope that NATO responds favorably to their request, consistent with its criteria for membership. Whether Ukraine and Georgia ultimately join NATO will be a decision for the members of the alliance and the citizens of those countries, after a period of open and democratic debate. But they should receive our help and encouragement as they continue to develop ties to Atlantic and European institutions.

"NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. Russia has an important role to play in European and global affairs and should see NATO as a partner, not as a threat. But we should oppose any efforts by the Russian government to intimidate its neighbors or control their foreign policies. Russia cannot have a veto over which countries join the alliance. Since the end of the Cold War, Republican and Democratic administrations have supported the independence and sovereignty of all the states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and we must continue to do so. President Putin recent threat to point missiles at Ukraine is simply not the way to promote the peaceful 21st century Europe we seek.

"NATO stands as an example of how the United States can advance American national security--and the security of the world--through a strong alliance rooted in shared responsibility and shared values. NATO remains a vital asset in America's efforts to anchor democracy and stability in Europe and to defend our interests and values all over the world. The Bucharest summit provides an opportunity to advance these goals and to reinforce a vital alliance. NATO's leaders must seize that opportunity."


  1. McCain's got some gravitas on this--he's been looking in Putin's eyes, and seeing K G B all along, even when to do so wasn't popular.

  2. WTF?
    WARPLANES: Turks Tweak Pakistani F-16s

    August 12, 2008: Pakistan is paying a Turkish firm to upgrade elderly Pakistani F-16s from Block 15 configuration to Block 40 (about halfway to the highest upgrade level for an F-16).

    Now that the U.S. has lifted its arms embargo on Pakistan, there are many firms competing for all the work needed to update older American weapons still used by Pakistan.

    The Turks have long had good trade relations with Pakistan, and have also developed, with the help of the U.S. and Israel, a growing aircraft maintenance and upgrade industry.

  3. Maverick wants Georgia in NATO, now. Is that in the US's best interest, or should the US announce a "special relationship" with Georgia?

    Or should we let Georgia slip away?

    As Maverick said history is made in obscure, far away places. Should the US be ready to make some history or let the opportunity go?

    What would our fathers do?

  4. Our allies, the Pakistani, doug.

    We have an extra special relationship with them.

  5. Pakistan, or as the Church Lady said:
    "Isn't that Special!"
    Spengler has an opposite take on Georgia.
    Anybody ever seen Mika and Spengler in the same photo?

    Putin for US president - more than ever
    By Spengler

    If Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were president of the United States, would Iran try to build a nuclear bomb? Would Pakistan provide covert aid to al-Qaeda? Would Hugo Chavez train terrorists in Venezuela? Would leftover nationalities with delusions of grandeur provoke the great powers? Just ask Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili, who now wishes he never tried to put his 4 million countrymen into strategic play.
    Contrary to the hyperventilation of policy analysts on American news shows, the West has no vital interests in Georgia.

    It is humiliating for the US to watch the Russians thrash a prospective ally, but not harmful, for Georgia never should have been an ally in the first place.

  6. Obama: Invasion "wholly inconsistent with the Olympic ideal."

    The violence taking place along the Black Sea is just miles from Sochi, the site for the Winter Olympics in 2014.
    It only adds to the tragedy and outrage of the current situation that Russia has acted while the world has come together in peace and athletic competition in Beijing.
    This action is wholly inconsistent with the Olympic ideal.

  7. I had a dream. Last night. And John McCain and I were in agreement. I don't remember all of it, just the last minutes before waking up.

    al Bob, what does all this mean?

  8. M. Simon optimistic,
    but the Ruskies continue the fight.

    Power and Control Some One Got Taught A Lesson
    Georgia Says Russian Troops Still Fighting Despite Accord

    An agreement was reached on Wednesday on a framework to end the war, but President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia said later that Russian tanks were still on the attack.
    France Presses for E.U. Peace Monitors in Georgia

  9. Steve @ FOX News confirms the Rusians continue to advance.

    He was in Gori or Gory when 40 Russians APCs rolled in.

    Just as I was watching

  10. My wife has been glued to the Olympic Games, doug.
    Obama knows what's important, in the heartland.

    The Chinese had the little girl, the one flying on wires over the stadium, lip sync the song!
    Oh, the outrage of it!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Spengler is not running for President.

    Should the US continue to push for Georgia in NATO and create a "Special Relationship" with it until it does, or not?

    Is John McCain right or wrong on that issue. Should the US send men and material if the Russians do not back off. We would if Georgia was a NATO member. We will if John McCain is elected President. The Georgian, President Mikheil Saakashvili, is an old and dear friend of his. McCain will not give an inch to the Russians.
    To close for missiles, he'll go to guns.

    Obama may not.

    Which would be the best course?

  13. some small points of interest:

    russia is the world largest country with lands from europe to asia

    it spans 11 time zones

    it's population is barely 149 million

    it losing 700,000 people a year due to declining birth rates

    with the upcoming oil price bust the russian economy will crumble...

    I predict that russia will soon start collapsing again and losing lands...

  14. This is not about Georgia. It is about the Ukraine and Poland, Estonia and Latvia.

  15. It is about the US, duece.

    The others are "obscure far away places, where history is made" to paraphrase your guy.

    As of yesterday Mr McCain was pushing for Georgia to be made a NATO member. Should that be the policy of the US.

    Two or three days ago you thought the idea of Georgia in NATO foolish. Yesterday Mr McCain as much as blamed Germany and NATO for the invasion.

    "NATO's decision to withhold a Membership Action Plan for Georgia might have been viewed as a green light by Russia for its attacks on Georgia, and I urge the NATO allies to revisit the decision."

    It was Germany that obstructed Georgia's ascention to NATO membership, I do believe.

    So there it is, the line in the sand, or not.
    That decision will be made in 83 days.

  16. Deuce,

  17. McCain should sign a bilateral defense treaty with Georgia instead of huffing and puffing for the cameras.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. That would be a tad presumptive of him, mat. More so than Obama speaking to 200,000 Germans.

    Obama was raked over the coals, here and there, for acting in such a presumptive manner, McCain is already close to that edge, as well.

  20. Funny, the 2008 election won't be about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan.
    Won't be about Islamic terrorism, but war with Russia.

    Either cold or hot, that decision would be Mr Putin's.

    If Maverick is elected, the Russians would have to 21Jan09 to vacate Georgia.
    It'd be like Inaugural Day 1980 redux, or Desert One.

    Good thing the Battle of Iraq is over.

  21. First C-17 on the way. We will send supplies by Air, and Ship.

    "Blockade That" Assholes.

  22. It'd be like Inaugural Day 1980 redux, or Desert One.


    That's pretty desperate political machinations. But now I'm beginning to agree with you, dRat. This wasn't that moron Saakashvili going off on his own initiative, this was a premeditated Pentagon/CIA scheme to try and keep their men in office by deliberately starting another war.

    I think this needs to be made public knowledge by the Obama campaign. These roaches need to have some light shined on them.

  23. He would not need a "Defense Treaty", no more than Israel "needs" one.

    A "Special Relationship" with the President is all that's needed.

  24. A tad late, those supplies.

    Decisive action, at the out set could have defused the situation, but, as at Tora Bora, the US equivicated, stalled and lost the opportunity to take quick and decisive military action. When and where our technological advantages could have turned the tide.

    Instead there is another hot flashpoint created. Which is right in step with the Long War policies of the Federal collective.

  25. The Un will meet to discuss the *root causes* of terrorism.

    Without agreeing to a definition of terrorism.

    Probably just as well.

    A camel is a horse designed by committee.

  26. This wasn't that moron Saakashvili going off on his own initiative, this was a premeditated Pentagon/CIA scheme to try and keep their men in office by deliberately starting another war.

    Nothing about this Georgia "thing" passed the smell test. I thought I was more out of touch than usual.

    I'm not buying the thesis - yet - but I'm giving it a lot of thought.

  27. And then the Wretchard Juggernaut went into motion.

    That's almost an event in itself. How long before the BC starts studying itself?

  28. The grandmother of a guy I dated in college was an Olympic diver. Competed but no medal.

    The whole family was long and lean.

  29. CNBC Sue Herrera is wearing her Happy Shoes today - toeless sunshine yellow strappy little number with pale polka dots - karma for the markets which are already down triple digits.

    Takes a real woman to wear shoes like that.

  30. Proof positive that the US stands for democracy and freedom and not against Islam.

    We'll fight anyone, antyime.
    JFK was not speaking out of school, John McCain's generation truly believes

    "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty."

  31. Only that Freedom and Islam are as compatible as Freedom and Stalinism/Hitlerism.

  32. Georgia becomes the "New Berlin",
    same foe, different venue, few lives lost.

    Rally to that, America!

    Vote McCain!

  33. Slade,
    I thot YOU were a guy!

  34. Not so, in Iraq, mat

    That seed, planted six years ago,
    is about to blossum

    In Pakistan there is a long history of modern democracy, punctuated by military coups, no doubt.

    Look to the good times to be had by democrats in Indonesia

  35. Are you guys sending me care packages when there's no Oil for Matson's Cargo Fleet?

  36. Not so, in Iraq, mat


    BS. Iraq's Islamist laws are just as fascistic as those in Saudia and Sudan.

  37. Perhaps, but they have the US seal of approval.

    Which makes it so.

  38. Hey Mat!
    An LA Times guy just got fired for espousing your McCain Conspiracy theory!

  39. Perhaps, but they have the US seal of approval.


    Saudia = US seal of approval
    Saudia = freedom loving

    How can anyone argue with that.

  40. An LA Times guy just got fired for espousing your McCain Conspiracy theory!


    Which one? :D

  41. The CIA Plot to get him elected.

  42. Doug,
    That's dRat theory really. I not entirely sold on it yet, but it does make sense. Especially considering McCain's mentally retarded public pronouncements.

  43. ..I'm not entirely sold on it yet..

  44. Something to Keep in the Back of your Mind

    Our own observatory at Armagh is one of the oldest in the world and has been observing solar cycles for more than 200 years.

    What this work has shown is that, over all of this time, short and intense cycles coincide with global warmth and long and weak cycles coincide with cooling.

    Applies to all renewables - biomass, solar.

  45. I never claimed that.

    I just made very open source information available.

    Folks can come to their own conclusions. Mr McCain lays the blame at Ms Merkel's door.

    As to the provocations and justifications observed and recorded, they are meaningless.

    Mr Bush's statement is rather bland, no specifications or threats. Just a call on the Russians to withdraw, instead of advance.

    History in Georgia started when the Russians transitted that tunnel. Cause is not part of the discussion, only effect.

    Do we put them in NATO or the unilateral equivilent, or not?

    That is what it boils down to.

  46. Setting a new standard for cynicism, it is.

    The whole thing just reeks of artificial.

    Nothing artificial about the pictures.

    I await my brainwashing.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. Yes to a showdown and possible direct proxy war with Russia, in Georgia, why then vote for McCain

    Yes to negotiations and multi-lateral agreements, then Obama may be your man.

    Bob Barr is still looking good, too.
    There always is the Ralph Nader option.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. Ditto that Rat.

    This election almost enough to make me watch the Olympics.

  52. We'll see if McCain makes this a campaign issue.

  53. If as rufus reports, C-17s are enroute, then the current course has been decided. If we are sending surface resupply ships into the Black Sea, it's been decided.

    The stage will be set for Team44, whomever they may be.

  54. Already has, mat.

    It's now weaved into his townhall meetings. That's where the video was from.
    That's how Maverick campaigns. We'll see if the Rovians weave it into the larger, national campaign, but Maverick's out there, swingin' for the fences.

  55. I still think direct enrolling of countries bordering Russia is a mistake. Nato should have been changed so that new states would be part of the EU and the EU be a super-member on an equal basis with the US.

    If the US decided to annex part of Mexico, then that part comes into Nato by the fact of being part of the US.

  56. Too cynical and cavalier.

    Just because I have little confidence in the *power* of negotiating doesn't mean the more talented can't make it work.

    I just tend to doubt it.

    Human nature being incorrigible.

  57. slade said...
    And then the Wretchard Juggernaut went into motion.

    That's almost an event in itself. How long before the BC starts studying itself?

    that is funny!

  58. Doug, you are too non-inclusive. Slade has several other possibilities.

  59. My Previous post too cynical and cavalier.

    Now gone.

    BC becomes self-aware.

    The beginning of The Self-referential Revolution.

  60. :)

    Thought about playing that angle but let it go.

    Doug needs a little mystery in his life.

  61. Michael Economides (oil & gas expert & author & Russia/Putin watcher) just on Fox says the real object of all this is to stop the proposed “Nambuka” (sp?) gas (nat gas, ”natty”) pipeline under the Caspian to western terminals. He said Gazprom, the world’s largest oil & gas company by a factor of six times, will not tolerate this pipeline being built, and Russ foreign policy is in Georgia in part –in large part –to kill that pipe in the crib. - Buddy @ BC

    That's a whole different ballgame.

    This thing keeps going back and forth between oil and ideology.

  62. My earlier point was not about Nato membership but countries that Russia has been particularly peeved over their membership and application into Nato . Poland location, Ukraine location, size and ethniciity. Latvia and Estonia, ethicicity. (Ethnicity: read Russian)

    Sorry for the confusion.

  63. Imperialists oil mofos and the war profiteers. Nice. Maybe McCain will relate.

  64. Anyone find where Obama has been warning about South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

  65. Has both, slade.

    Business and Ideology.
    It's what keeps the Drug Cartels containable, they're about business, not idealogy.
    Were that to change...

    In Georgia the two, business and idealogy, run in tandem and are not easily bissected.

    It's still US vs Them, regardless.

    I agree, duece, that NATO should have been morphed into a different organization, but it was not.

    So the question remains, is Mr McCain right or wrong in pushing for membership, for Georgia, in the currently structured NATO?

    If not NATO there is a Special Relationship in the offering, I'm sure, with a President McCain.

    It is who he is, to the core.
    He will not wait for "next time" he will take action, now.
    Like any fighter pilot would, as with his wife and the biker bar stripper contest. It's his nature.

    Maverick is always about the now, while keeping faith with his past.

    He'll stand to, no doubt of that.

  66. Where are all the left wing ngo groups protesting russia's steam rolling of georgia?

  67. Well, duece a quick pervue gives us this, from Professor Michael McFaul, Department of Political Science, Stanford University.
    Obama's advisor on things Russian.

    Even the most casual observer of the presidential campaign knows that Senator Obama is a fervent believer in engagement and diplomacy even with our enemies let alone with countries like Russia. Senator Obama has voiced his concern about internal political developments inside Russia, but also affirmed that "The United States will need to work with President Medvedev on a range of issues of common concern, such as preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists, addressing Iran's nuclear ambitions, reducing our nuclear arsenals and securing stable supplies of oil and gas from Russia." It is Senator McCain who wants to kick Russia out of the G-8, not Senator Obama.

  68. From the Council on Foreign Relations

    Obama called Russia's April 2008 move to seek closer ties with Georgian the secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia "deeply troubling and contrary to Russia's obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council."

    The link within the article goes to this page:

    We are all imperfect
    The page at the following address was not found

  69. 1. Russia should be kicked out of the G-8.

    2. It is too confrontational to bring Georgia into Nato at this time.

    3. Forget the UN.

    4. A non-Nato ad hoc EU peacekeeping force should be used to police the stand-down between Georgia and Russia. Nothing else would work.

  70. I don’t know.

    Russia joined the G8 under Bill Clinton, the Great Negotiator, despite poor economic performance, presumably overlooked as oil and gas were being developed. Their right to membership in G8 is marginal.

    If negotiators insist on negotiating, it can be done in another forum - after they decide if the subject is business or politics. The professional politicians are good at that - creating new forums for discussion. Let them do that. In the meantime I see nothing wrong with using G8 membership as leverage.

    De-linking politics from business is way beyond me. I expect CATO has papers. But the distinction at least helps to structure the vocabulary - and remove some of the emotional artifice from the equation.

    That’s a start.

  71. And whatever happened to the "sophisticated" concept of earning the right to participate at the Big Boy table?

    I would submit that the progressives, in their haste to progress, cut a few corners and lowered the bar.

  72. Here you go

    Statement of Senator Obama on Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty
    Chicago, IL | April 21, 2008

    Statement on Georgian territorial integrity and sovereignty and Russian President Putin's decree establishing legal ties between Russia and the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

    Georgia is a sovereign country, a member of the United Nations, and a close friend of the United States. I welcome the desire by Georgia, as well as Ukraine, to seek closer ties with NATO.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree establishing closer governmental and legal relations with the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, without the approval of the Georgian government, is deeply troubling and contrary to Russia's obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    Putin's declaration falls short of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries, but these pledges of closer ties to these two regions threatens the Georgian government and emboldens the secessionist forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

    Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has offered to negotiate substantial autonomy for these regions. Negotiations between the Georgian government and regional leaders, fully supported by international organizations and responsible governments, are the right way to proceed. By contrast, Russia's unilateral decree outside of legal United Nations procedures and principles is fundamentally counterproductive.

    Since the end of the Cold War, Republican and Democratic administrations have supported the independence and sovereignty of all states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. We must continue to do so. The advance of democracy and peace in the region is a remarkable achievement that cannot be undone by unilateral acts designed to undermine the territorial integrity of democratic countries like Georgia.


  73. al Bob, what does all this mean?

    Wed Aug 13, 08:27:00 AM EDT

    It could mean your subtle body, while wandering the astral world, was temporarily hijacked by an errant lost soul unable to find its position in the hierarchy of beings, Mat. Change your diet and adjust your sleeping pattern a bit, you'll be ok. As below, so above.

  74. Now this site provide a chronological timetable prior to APRIL 24, 2008, 17:30
    Overview of World Reaction:
    International leaders increasingly urge Russia to revoke its decisions, respect Georgia’s sovereignty, and support Georgia’s plan for peaceful conflict resolution

  75. This wasn't that moron Saakashvili going off on his own initiative, this was a premeditated Pentagon/CIA scheme to try and keep their men in office by deliberately starting another war.


  76. The Whit Campaign still has my personal support

    I missed that one, but he's got my vote too. That's right up there with Zhirinovsky's free vodka for all Russians. He also promised free underwear. I'll take Whit's common cup of the nation's fountains.

  77. Thanks for that, Bob. Interesting thing in that dream, I was the campaign manager for McCain's successor and we both agreed that guy (it was a guy, and young too) was evil incarnate. McCain ground his teeth and looked off to the distance.

  78. Is three months, two weeks and 3 days considered "many months"?

    It's been in the record for a quarter, now. In response to Russian provocation.

    Was 21 April the first he spoke of it, or the first it was transcribed?

    To be fair this is Senator McCains position, on:

    April 17, 2008
    Contact: Press Office

    Statement By John McCain After Talking With Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili

    John McCain today issued the following statement after talking with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili:

    "I spoke today by phone with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili about Russia's moves to undermine Georgian sovereignty over two secessionist regions. Moscow has announced that it will establish governmental links directly with Abkhazia and South Ossetia without the approval of the legitimate Georgian government. Such a move is in violation of international law and deserves strong condemnation by all countries committed to the rule of law. No country -- not even Russia -- has recognized the claims of Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders to independence. Yet through its latest moves, Russia is furthering its policy of de facto annexation that undermines security and stability in the region. Unfortunately, Russia's leaders have chosen a course of confrontation rather than cooperation.

    "Some argued against providing a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia at the recent NATO summit in Bucharest because it might anger Russia. While there was no consensus for MAP for Georgia, Russia chose to act provocatively nevertheless. We must not allow Russia to believe it has a free hand to engage in policies that undermine Georgian sovereignty. Georgia has acted with restraint in its response and should continue to do so. I hope that European leaders, along with international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations, will join in strongly condemning Russia's move."

    No Cambodia, here, duece.

  79. RCP Mobile

    Pew Research
    National: Obama 46, McCain 43
    GOP Base Helps McCain Close Gap

    State Polls
    NC (SurveyUSA): McCain +4
    PA (Franklin&Marshall): Obama +5
    FL (InsiderAdv): McCain +4
    WI (Strategic Vision): Obama +5
    NJ (Quinnipiac): Obama +10

  80. Swimming sensation Michael Phelps has an Olympic recipe for success - and it involves eating a staggering 12,000 calories a day.

    "Eat, sleep and swim. That's all I can do," Phelps, who won two more gold medals today, told NBC when asked what he needs to win medals. "Get some calories into my system and try to recover the best I can."

    By comparison, the average man of the same age needs to ingest about 2,000 calories a day.

  81. By Georgia, I don't know. But we ought to be backing the Ukrainians any way we can, seems to me.

  82. TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Georgia's deputy defense minister says Russian troops are apparently pulling out of two towns.
    Bato Kuteliya said Wednesday the troops had left the western town of Zugdidi—near the breakaway province of Abkhazia—and are expected to leave the city of Gori shortly.

    Gori is near South Ossetia, Georgia's other separatist province.

    The cease-fire agreed to by the Georgian and Russian presidents calls for both sides to retreat to their original positions.

  83. WASHINGTON — President Bush has directed the U.S. military to lead a humanitarian mission to Georgia where tens of thousands have been forced out of their homes following a Russian invasion last week that has been described by Georgia's president as an "ethnic cleansing."

    A U.S. C-17 aircraft with humanitarian supplies already has arrived in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and another C-17 will arrive there Thursday with additional medical and humanitarian aid, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said after the president's announcement.

  84. Maverick is choosing the confrontational course, in his rhetoric at least.

    This is the moment, not some other day in the future. It is the question of our time, what to do with Russia, how to respond.

    The wrong choice could be consequental, to say the least.

    There is no shadow play, no plausable deniability, now.

    McCain will stand by his man, Mikheil Saakashvil, Mika to his friends.
    Obama may negotiate him away, to save the Ukraine. Or he may draw a line, that's unknowable, but Mavericks resume speaks for itself.

    From your previous writing and that last, bob, on matters of war and peace, you must be shifting to Obama

  85. 41% Say Bush Worst President Ever; 50% Disagree

    Forty-one percent (41%) of Americans say George W. Bush will go down in history as the worst U.S. President ever, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. But 50% of Americans disagree, despite Bush's record low poll numbers on his job performance.

    Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 44% of the vote while John McCain earns 42%. When "leaners" are included, it's Obama 48% and McCain 46%.

    59% see Russian Invasion of Georgia as Threat

    Most Americans Would Choose Watching Olympics over Campaign Coverage

  86. Shifting to Obama? Not me. But if Georgia is a fait accompli force majeur--if it is--I'd try to stiffen up at the next way station, which seems to be Ukraine.

    I don't know what's going on. The Russians seem to be pulling back, according to some reports.

  87. Most Americans Would Choose Watching Olympics over Campaign Coverage

    I rather watch paint dry.

    Or wash my hair.

    Or wash my cat.

    Don't have a cat.

    Even worse!

  88. alBob

    I had a dream about naked short sellers invading my portfolio space. What does it mean?



    PS pls be prompt because my good judgment will resurface in about 5 seconds and poof! gone!

  89. dRat,

    This whole Georgia episode tastes and smells very artificial to me. The question is who played whom. And so far, I'm undecided. I want to see how this unfolds further.

  90. I had a dream about naked short sellers invading my portfolio space. What does it mean?

    hmmm, it means if those sellers are willing to go naked in the foliosphere to sell their very underwear, they are really really hurting. Any long johns in the market?

  91. Nah.

    Just a lot of cross hairs and short hairs.

    Much more of this and my gravitas quotient will be about as impressive as my portfolio performance.

    What goes up must come down.

    Just not in 24-hr cycles.

  92. There is, obviously, a game afoot.

    There are more than enough back story game scenarios floating about to contemplate.

    From casting responsibility to Germany for influencing Russian judgement to idea that it is an excercise to influence the US election.

    Seems to me, from the first days posts, most everyone is afraid of a war scenario with Russia.
    That pesky escalation factor, it could bring the war home.

    But that is a threat I grew up with, as did most of US.

    As did Maverick, it's always been a given, with him. He'll push the buttons of confrontation, rather than back down. He's doing it now.

    Ms Rice speaks in bland semantics, Maverick pushes a NATO, thus military, solution.

  93. Stratfors take--

    The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power
    August 12, 2008

    By George Friedman

    Related Special Topic Pages
    Crisis in South Ossetia
    U.S. Weakness and Russia’s Window of Opportunity
    The Russian Resurgence
    Kosovo, Russia and the West
    The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery. This, as we have argued, has opened a window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power. The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public. They did that Aug. 8.

    Let’s begin simply by reviewing the last few days.

    On the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, forces of the Republic of Georgia drove across the border of South Ossetia, a secessionist region of Georgia that has functioned as an independent entity since the fall of the Soviet Union. The forces drove on to the capital, Tskhinvali, which is close to the border. Georgian forces got bogged down while trying to take the city. In spite of heavy fighting, they never fully secured the city, nor the rest of South Ossetia.

    On the morning of Aug. 8, Russian forces entered South Ossetia, using armored and motorized infantry forces along with air power. South Ossetia was informally aligned with Russia, and Russia acted to prevent the region’s absorption by Georgia. Given the speed with which the Russians responded — within hours of the Georgian attack — the Russians were expecting the Georgian attack and were themselves at their jumping-off points. The counterattack was carefully planned and competently executed, and over the next 48 hours, the Russians succeeded in defeating the main Georgian force and forcing a retreat. By Sunday, Aug. 10, the Russians had consolidated their position in South Ossetia.

    On Monday, the Russians extended their offensive into Georgia proper, attacking on two axes. One was south from South Ossetia to the Georgian city of Gori. The other drive was from Abkhazia, another secessionist region of Georgia aligned with the Russians. This drive was designed to cut the road between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and its ports. By this point, the Russians had bombed the military airfields at Marneuli and Vaziani and appeared to have disabled radars at the international airport in Tbilisi. These moves brought Russian forces to within 40 miles of the Georgian capital, while making outside reinforcement and resupply of Georgian forces extremely difficult should anyone wish to undertake it.

    The Mystery Behind the Georgian Invasion
    In this simple chronicle, there is something quite mysterious: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? There had been a great deal of shelling by the South Ossetians of Georgian villages for the previous three nights, but while possibly more intense than usual, artillery exchanges were routine. The Georgians might not have fought well, but they committed fairly substantial forces that must have taken at the very least several days to deploy and supply. Georgia’s move was deliberate.

    The United States is Georgia’s closest ally. It maintained about 130 military advisers in Georgia, along with civilian advisers, contractors involved in all aspects of the Georgian government and people doing business in Georgia. It is inconceivable that the Americans were unaware of Georgia’s mobilization and intentions. It is also inconceivable that the Americans were unaware that the Russians had deployed substantial forces on the South Ossetian frontier. U.S. technical intelligence, from satellite imagery and signals intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, could not miss the fact that thousands of Russian troops were moving to forward positions. The Russians clearly knew the Georgians were ready to move. How could the United States not be aware of the Russians? Indeed, given the posture of Russian troops, how could intelligence analysts have missed the possibility that t he Russians had laid a trap, hoping for a Georgian invasion to justify its own counterattack?

    It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes. The Georgians rely on the United States, and they were in no position to defy it. This leaves two possibilities. The first is a massive breakdown in intelligence, in which the United States either was unaware of the existence of Russian forces, or knew of the Russian forces but — along with the Georgians — miscalculated Russia’s intentions. The United States, along with other countries, has viewed Russia through the prism of the 1990s, when the Russian military was in shambles and the Russian government was paralyzed. The United States has not seen Russia make a decisive military move beyond its borders since the Afghan war of the 1970s-1980s. The Russians had systematically avoided such moves for years. The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.

    If this was the case, then it points to the central reality of this situation: The Russians had changed dramatically, along with the balance of power in the region. They welcomed the opportunity to drive home the new reality, which was that they could invade Georgia and the United States and Europe could not respond. As for risk, they did not view the invasion as risky. Militarily, there was no counter. Economically, Russia is an energy exporter doing quite well — indeed, the Europeans need Russian energy even more than the Russians need to sell it to them. Politically, as we shall see, the Americans needed the Russians more than the Russians needed the Americans. Moscow’s calculus was that this was the moment to strike. The Russians had been building up to it for months, as we have discussed, and they struck.

    The Western Encirclement of Russia
    To understand Russian thinking, we need to look at two events. The first is the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. From the U.S. and European point of view, the Orange Revolution represented a triumph of democracy and Western influence. From the Russian point of view, as Moscow made clear, the Orange Revolution was a CIA-funded intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, designed to draw Ukraine into NATO and add to the encirclement of Russia. U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire.

    That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO’s expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union.

    The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia’s national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion — publicly stated — was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia.

    The second and lesser event was the decision by Europe and the United States to back Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. The Russians were friendly with Serbia, but the deeper issue for Russia was this: The principle of Europe since World War II was that, to prevent conflict, national borders would not be changed. If that principle were violated in Kosovo, other border shifts — including demands by various regions for independence from Russia — might follow. The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia’s requests were ignored.

    From the Ukrainian experience, the Russians became convinced that the United States was engaged in a plan of strategic encirclement and strangulation of Russia. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia.

    Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo. If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship. Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy. This was important for internal Russian political reasons, but the second motive was far more important.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster. This didn’t mean that he wanted to retain the Soviet state; rather, it meant that the disintegration of the Soviet Union had created a situation in which Russian national security was threatened by Western interests. As an example, consider that during the Cold War, St. Petersburg was about 1,200 miles away from a NATO country. Today it is about 60 miles away from Estonia, a NATO member. The disintegration of the Soviet Union had left Russia surrounded by a group of countries hostile to Russian interests in various degrees and heavily influenced by the United States, Europe and, in some cases, China.

    Resurrecting the Russian Sphere
    Putin did not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do two things. First, he had to re-establish the credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in the context of its region. Second, he had to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meant nothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confront and defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S. support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under American protection. Georgia was the perfect choice.

    By invading Georgia as Russia did (competently if not brilliantly), Putin re-established the credibility of the Russian army. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value. This lesson is not for American consumption. It is something that, from the Russian point of view, the Ukrainians, the Balts and the Central Asians need to digest. Indeed, it is a lesson Putin wants to transmit to Poland and the Czech Republic as well. The United States wants to place ballistic missile defense installations in those countries, and the Russians want them to understand that allowing this to happen increases their risk, not their security.

    The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack. This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk.

    The Russians also know something else that is of vital importance: For the United States, the Middle East is far more important than the Caucasus, and Iran is particularly important. The United States wants the Russians to participate in sanctions against Iran. Even more importantly, they do not want the Russians to sell weapons to Iran, particularly the highly effective S-300 air defense system. Georgia is a marginal issue to the United States; Iran is a central issue. The Russians are in a position to pose serious problems for the United States not only in Iran, but also with weapons sales to other countries, like Syria.

    Therefore, the United States has a problem — it either must reorient its strategy away from the Middle East and toward the Caucasus, or it has to seriously limit its response to Georgia to avoid a Russian counter in Iran. Even if the United States had an appetite for another war in Georgia at this time, it would have to calculate the Russian response in Iran — and possibly in Afghanistan (even though Moscow’s interests there are currently aligned with those of Washington).

    In other words, the Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn’t all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow. As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it.

    The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened — it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

  94. Well, mat, it could always be the Illuminati chapter of the Mason Brotherhoods' conspiracy, mat.

    According to some, all the major players are secret members of its' various branches.

  95. Seems to me, from the first days posts, most everyone is afraid of a war scenario with Russia.
    That pesky escalation factor, it could bring the war home.

    I'm included in that group.

  96. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value.

    And so that raises the question of adequate military preparedness in the post-modern world - not just missile defense but also formulation - Rumsfeld's small, high=tech forces or the more conventional force structure.

    Regardless, the world continues to revolve around "force protection." A country's word only as good as the ability to support with fists.

    Maybe at some future point, a country's word will be reinforced by "soft power" persuasion.

    I doubt it.

    Very much.

  97. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict.


    I never did understand what we were doing mucking around in Serbia.

  98. Seems to be that the "artificiality" is striking - at least to some of the older crowd - because the conflict takes place on the intersection between physical battle space and information propaganda space.

    Not new - Tokyo Rose - but never as densely integrated as it is now.

    Not to mention that every move seems to have been planned. Very little spontaneity in any of it.

  99. It must be remembered that the Rumsfeld Proposal was never suited for occupation, but war fighting.

    That the mission of the US Military was changed, and not accounted for, quickly, is a historical fact. That the US has been over streched in Iraq, for four or five years now, not a strategic secret.

    That's why the destruction of the 58th, at the onset, at the chole points by B2s with JDAMs and laser guided munitions was the only true path to the Spirit of Peace.

  100. Bob: nah


    Ok. Let's work this out:

    1/ The US sees the Russians.
    2/ The US let Saakashvili attack the Russians, knowing the US has no response.
    3/ The Russians see this opening and counter attack.
    4/ McJaws gains a new Cold War
    5/ Putin gains the Crimea
    6/ Or a trade is made: Georgia for Iran. (No oil pipeline via Georgia).

    Anything I'm missing?

  101. Maverick would push the US dominated NATO Allience to the doorstep of Russia, without a buffer.

    An attack on one, an attack on all.

    But there is only one member that can respond, militarily, to the Russians.

    The rest, combined, cannot field twenty additional helicopters in Afghanistan. Can't or won't even fund the leasing of them from contractors.

  102. Fighting vs Occupation.

    Way out of my depth, but one thing I see is that whatever lessons we learn from using military in the nation-building exercise in Iraq - and I do believe lessons have been learned - is that they will not transfer to the African States.

    Whole different ballgame.

  103. A conspiracy of complacency, mat, on our side.

    Who'd have thought they'd tweak our nose?

    And to have a politico call, publicly, for the US not to further intervene, to stop the ship and the airlift of humanitarian goods, electoral suicide.

    Even if the Russians do pull back to the demarcation lines, the deed's been done.
    Their point proven.

    Big gain for McCain, at least for now. More so if the Russians do fall back.

  104. Who'd have thought they'd tweak our nose?


    Especially after the all favors we did them. Who'd have thought.

  105. It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes

    Heck, I don't know. 'Very difficult' is not 'impossible'.

    These scenarios seem too complex to me. Baiting a bear to come out of its cage, with no easy way to catch and cage him again. Not knowing what settler's cabin he might break into for food or fun.

  106. Or did the bear bait the cage keeper. bait him into a foolish move, opening that door, letting the bear out?

    Maybe things aren't so different from the days of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace", where the impression is very definitely given that nobody on either side, czar, emperor, general, or common soldier, really knows what's going on. Tolstoy's old general what's his name, hardly gives an order, knowing it's not likely to get carried out anyway, sleeps in the staff meetings, etc.

  107. StrategyPage

    Securing Russia's borders and protecting the interests of ethnic Russians are traditional Russian concerns. Ethnic Russian communities in Georgia and Moldova's separatist statelet, Transdniestr, are Kremlin causes celebre.

    Now these concerns and the wounded ethno-nationalist pride that undergirds them may seem benighted and backward to international elites who proclaim global citizenship and advocate a diplomacy based on motivational oratory, but they energize a substantial number of people in a still quite powerful nation-state. International leaders must deal with the attitude and its militant expression. The nation of Georgia definitely must.

    I don’t think the transnational progressives understand what they are dealing with - funny since they do emphasize the systemic *root cause* school. But I see little evidence that they are comfortable with nationalism - as a concept or a driver of behavior and thought.

  108. If I were a politician on the national stage, I'd give dire warnings about everything, knowing my mostly wrong calls would be forgotten, and when I was right, I'd look like a genius.

  109. Tolstoy's old general what's his name, hardly gives an order, knowing it's not likely to get carried out anyway, sleeps in the staff meetings, etc.


    The Importance of Being Ernest cannot be overemphasized.

  110. One day, bob, I was watching Tuner Classic Movies and one of those old time shorts came on.

    Seems they had filmed a cowboy roping a black bear. They captured this daredevil episode in Tonto Basin, AZ, back in the late fifties, seemed like.

    Well, next time I was up there, I mention it to the tow truck driver, this movie short about ropin' a bear, there in the Tonto. just how crazy a fellow would have to be ropin' a bear ...

    "Why my dad roped one, right across the road from here," replies the native. "Bear hit the end of the rope, turned and started charging back towards the horse. Some whippin' and spurrin', horse had some buck in 'em, 'til his partner caught up a hind leg, then they were able to strech that bear out."

    Just takes some stones, for a pack of wolves to take down a bear, or a cowboy to rope one.

  111. This is the McCain Mattie dreams about:

    "John McCain recently tried to underscore his seriousness about pushing through a new energy policy, with a strong focus on more drilling for oil, by telling a motorcycle convention that Congress needed to come back from vacation immediately and do something about America’s energy crisis. “Tell them to come back and get to work!” McCain bellowed.

    Sorry, but I can’t let that one go by. McCain knows why.

    It was only five days earlier, on July 30, that the Senate was voting for the eighth time in the past year on a broad, vitally important bill — S. 3335 — that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems.

    Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits — which expire in December — to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile.

    Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote. "

  112. dire warnings about everything

    One side of the aisle already discovered the secret.

    Situation hopeless (Republicans) but not critical (Democrats).

  113. Too bad those natives had not heard about wearing Bells.

  114. Blood still flows after Georgia ceasefire

    Minutes later, a second cop car screeched to a halt. Inside was the children’s mother, in agony from gunshot wounds in her right shoulder and leg. She was loaded on to a trolley.

    After a brief examination all three were put into an ambulance and driven to the capital Tbilisi 40 miles away.

    They had been ambushed a few hundred yards from the hospital as they drove through Gori’s almost-deserted streets.

    Russian army stragglers were immediately blamed — but separatists from the Moscow-backed enclave of South Ossetia could have been responsible.

    South Ossetia, where the war erupted on Friday, wants to break away from Georgia and there are fears gunmen have now left the region on a sick “ethnic cleansing” mission.

  115. The earlier report about the Russians evacuating Gori were right:)--

    An Associated Press reporter saw dozens of Russian trucks and armored vehicles leaving the city of Gori, some 20 miles south of the separatist region of South Ossetia and home of a key highway that divides Georgia in two, and moving deeper into Georgia.

    Soldiers waved at journalists and one jokingly shouted, "Come with us, beauty, we're going to Tbilisi." The convoy roared southeast, toward the Georgian capital, but then turned north and set up camp about an hour's drive away from it.

  116. Or the whole Georgian episode could turn out to be a trivial comedy for serious people.

  117. Al said,

    TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia’s deputy defense minister says Russian troops are apparently pulling out of two towns.

    Bato Kuteliya said Wednesday the troops had left the western town of Zugdidi — near the breakaway province of Abkhazia — and are expected to leave the city of Gori shortly.

    Georgia says Russia appears to be leaving 2 towns

  118. "Why my dad roped one, right across the road from here," replies the native. "Bear hit the end of the rope, turned and started charging back towards the horse. Some whippin' and spurrin', horse had some buck in 'em, 'til his partner caught up a hind leg, then they were able to strech that bear out."


  119. "Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile."
    That's total BS, wonder how much more disinformation is in the Slimes piece?
    Things are not always as they appear in the NY Slimes.

    ...but then, Ash will never admit that.

  120. That sounds like voting "Present", ash.
    Guess the US Senate does not have that option.

  121. 'til his partner caught up a hind leg, then they were able to strech that bear out.


    So we can have a new war with an expansionist China. Is this sickness ever going to end?

  122. Why sure, when they all submit to the New World Order, mat.

  123. Ash, I don't know about McCain's voting pattern and don't seek to defend it, but wasn't that bill mostly defeated by the democrats?

  124. Doug, it was an opinion piece, Friedman.

    Re: drilling, what the f*ck, drill anywhere, drill everywhere, who gives a sh*t about the environment when our blessed right to drive to the mall is on the line. As if opening up these areas for drilling is going to do anything with regard to addressing the problem. sheeesh!

  125. Don't know anyone that ever roped a dragon, mat.

    They be about ten times the size of the biggest of bears, no?

    We'll need bigger horses, can pick some up down south of Nogales, I've heard tell. Real cheap they say, stock from that Mexican herd.

  126. Deal seems to be brewing between Iraq government and USA to have the troops out in three years, if things are stable.

  127. Al said,

    "Sashkavilli is US educated, speaks perfect English, and is a personal friend of John McCain."

    He also shuts down opposition media, jails/exiles opposition leaders, and is accused (by his own former defense minister!) of murdering political opponents. And let’s not forget that he was first elected by 96%(!) of the vote. No voter fraud here.

    Appearances can be deceving.

  128. No, not that last time, anyway, bob.
    The GOP Senators stood loyal and true and killed the bill. The Dems couldn't get the 60 votes required to end debate and bring it to a majority vote.

  129. what the f*ck, drill anywhere, drill everywhere,

    what the f*ck, these areas are where you can't even see the rigs, when was the last time you played golf in Anwar? Or sailed the Arctic Sea?

  130. Exactly, Ash, Pelosi's right:
    Better to import Oil from the destructive, explotative fields in Nigeria.
    ...but of course you and Pelosi know that our National Defense and national breadbasket could run w/o Oil tommorrow with the Dems in office.

  131. All kinds of Oil could be online within a year.
    ANWAR within two years.

  132. No, not that last time, anyway, bob.
    The GOP Senators stood loyal and true and killed the bill. The Dems couldn't get the 60 votes required to end debate and bring it to a majority vote.

    hmmm, I may have misunderestimated the situation.

  133. Don't know anyone that ever roped a dragon, mat.


    You don't rope a dragon, you petrify it.

  134. It is not about Sashkavilli,
    not any more, if it ever really was.

    It is about US, honoring committments and promises.

    It is about what our country is going to do, now, faced with the scenario at hand. The conditions on the ground.

    It is about the course of confrontation John McCain strongly advocates and one of hazy detail murmmered of by Obama.

    Or the one that Team43 embarks US upon, 'tween now and 20Jan09

  135. actually I used to do a lot of canoe tripping but that is beside the point, part of the goal of protecting the environment is NOT to make it a kewl place for people to play but rather to let other parts of nature exist without us mucking around. Living where you do Bobal, and as close to the land as you are, I would think you appreciate the destructive nature of our actions. Heck, take a look at China if you want to see what a whole bunch of people do the a place when they only care about 'getting ahead' or, in their case, mostly just surviving. They've cut down just about every damn tree in the place. They burn coal in a little firepot inside their apartments to keep warm. The place is a friggin' mess. But hey, ain't Beijing beautiful this time year?

  136. As has been the case most of this session, Republican members will likely defeat the motion because they will not be afforded the opportunity to amend the bill.

    Cloture Vote

  137. Your argument hangs together like a 12 year old indoctrinated in a public school Ash.
    (But then your Dad was a Professor, you say.)
    No use trying to have a reasonable discussion.

  138. Doug,

    Consensus view seems to be about 10 years to get any new oil in the mix from these areas, you claimed 1 or 2 years. How much oil do you believe will be produced how quickly and what are your sources? What will the environmental impact be of that drilling? Do you care?

  139. Exactly why I have always wanted to close the border, Ash, and build nuclear power plants. We have enough people. But I do like to drive to the mall, malls being good things, as all the shops are congregated together. Until we get a new form of energy going for north America, we got to make do. These high prices are killing the working man, and, since you are for the downtrodden, I'd think you'd see the situation as I do.

    That's true about China. My neighbor, now deceased, good guy, from the Soil and Conservation Serice, gave a talk one time at church about China. Cut down practically every last damn limb. He was talking about earlier on too, not just recently. Look at Haiti. Good stewardship is a must.

  140. Stop the oil seepage off Santa Barbara, drill now!

    Increase the Caribou, drill Anwar!

    Just the threat of drilling will bring the price down.

  141. It's not getting the oil that's the problem, it's the rigs to get to getting the oil that's the problem.

  142. We knew about those Cossacks two years ago, doug.
    Reminded us all, just yesterday.

    For a psycho old Puttie Pute has some positive prior planning providing premier performance goin' for his side.

    He has the interior lines
    and the oil and gas

  143. I was in china, Hunan province and Hainan Island, in 1990 and it was a mess then. I can't imagine what it is like now.

    Yes, high oil prices disproportionately hurt the poor. That could be addressed if desired but the we've got to move to wean ourselves from the stuff and high prices really help in that regard. It would be nice if we could keep some of the profit onshore and further help change our ways.

    I understand your sentiment regarding immigration. Declining populations/aging populations pose real economic problems though. We've got ourselves addicted to growth. I think we'll be forced out of the approach as well. How we do it and the destruction we leave in our wake are important factors to take into consideration.

  144. Or the whole Georgian episode could turn out to be a trivial comedy for serious people.

    Warm-up calisthenics for the Big Tent.

    I'm with Mat. There's still something "not right" about any of this.

  145. Exactly, bob, so my Senator stays in his office, not voting on the Bill, so that later his negative vote cannot be bantied about by the Dems.

    No spin to be spun on not voting.
    A lot like voting Present.

  146. Some rigs are already in place mat.
    Some wells off Santa Barbara are ready to produce.
    ANWAR just 70 miles from existing Prudhoe infrastructure.

  147. I suppose we could print up gas stamps, like food stamps, and if your income meets the quidelines you get so many gallons a month. I would have thought Obama would have thought of that by now. Maybe he has.

  148. Could it be... Russia?


    Fuck you Dougie-Poo.

  149. There is a lot "not right" about this episode. But it's an enigma inside a riddle.

    One that won't be unlocked anytime soon.

    The solution is not to be found in the root causes, but in intimidation. Latest report I heard on FOX, the Ruskis are diggin' in, in some unamed locales.

    Don't know the validity of the report, but consider the source.

  150. What the hell do you do with 1.3 BILLION people?

  151. Doug,

    The rigs are very old, so I heard. On principle I have no objection to drilling anywhere anytime. The environmental concerns are overblown. But at most we gain 3-5 years. And then what? We need to think ahead. It's sad that Paris Hilton is more sensible on this issue than 'that old white dude.'

  152. This comment has been removed by the author.

  153. ..In principle, I have no objections..

  154. That's why we need a Pickens approach:
    Do everything, now!

  155. This comment has been removed by the author.

  156. Check the water usage amounts comparativly.
    Especially the water that is dedicated to domestic usaes.

  157. Gotta give my favorite lesbo kicking post credit for going to Tbilisi.
    Pootie won't be taken it while she's there.

  158. In the West, a dragon often lives in caves, hordes gold, jewels, and young girls, and is a monster to be slain by the Hero. In China a dragon is a benevolent creature.

    Chinese Dragon

    Dragons are referred to as the divine mythical creature that brings with it ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune.

    To the Chinese, the Imperial Dragon or Lung, is considered to be the primary of four benevolent spiritual animals, the other three being the phoenix, the unicorn and the tortoise.

    Chinese Dragon

  159. China, according to the CIA

    total: 9,596,960 sq km
    land: 9,326,410 sq km
    water: 270,550 sq km
    Area - comparative:
    slightly smaller than the US

    Total renewable water resources:
    2,829.6 cu km (1999)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
    total: 549.76 cu km/yr (7%/26%/68%)
    per capita: 415 cu m/yr (2000)

    United States
    total: 9,826,630 sq km
    land: 9,161,923 sq km
    water: 664,707 sq km
    note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
    Area - comparative:
    about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; more than twice the size of the European Union

    Land use:
    arable land: 18.01%
    permanent crops: 0.21%
    other: 81.78% (2005)
    Irrigated land:
    223,850 sq km (2003)

    Total renewable water resources:
    3,069 cu km (1985)

    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
    total: 477 cu km/yr (13%/46%/41%)
    per capita: 1,600 cu m/yr (2000)

  160. RAH said,
    "Getting a naval vessel under the humanitarian excuse into the Black Sea is a first, I believe.

    The Russian would be very foolish to attack a US navy vessel doing a humanitarian mission bad mistake both in PR and militarily.

  161. ExNavyDoc:

    I think it is telling in the article cited above, that the U.S. humanitarian effort is being coordinated by SECDEF, not by the State Department. Also note Bush’s choice of words: the effort will be “vigorous and on-going”.

    I think Bush might be a little personally PO’d by Putin. As a lame-duck, and by not having a VP as the GOP nominee for President, Bush also has a degree of freedom of action he might not otherwise have. In addition, Congress is in recess, so he has a window of opportunity to avoid the scrutiny of the ankle-biters in Congress (for a while).

  162. That's why we need a Pickens approach:
    Do everything, now!


    He's only half way there. Using wind is great. But you get much greater efficiency going with electric cars rather than NG fueled cars. Also, wind is more available at night, when you'll be charging the cars.

    The other day here, we had an explosion at a NG depot. A huge area is still cordoned off. Many buildings suffered great structure damage. It was like a mini atomic bomb going off. So there's also the safety issue with NG.

  163. We use about four times as much water as the Chinese. They have about four times the population we do.

  164. Dead Dragons make shit smell good.
    Even little Hawaiian ones.

  165. Real mythological dragons don't die, Doug, they just fade away.

  166. That's just his moneymaking part of the plan.
    He's for others doing the plans of their choice.
    Black and White compared to Pelosi the Power Hungry Moronic Socialist.

  167. They ain't fading fast enough!

  168. That swift boat ad is great.

  169. That old viking dragon is slaying them left and right over at BC, with his timeless charm and patience. :)

  170. Pelosi, who was on the show promoting her new book, "Know Your Power," was also pressed on why former President Bill Clinton declined in a recent ABC News interview to say whether he thought Obama was ready to be president.

    "I can't answer for Bill Clinton," Pelosi said, adding, "It's hard when you're in a primary election. Losing is very, very difficult."

    Pressed about whether Hillary Clinton could have been more gracious to Obama, the San Francisco Democrat responded, "I think Hillary Clinton has been very gracious. I think some of her supporters have been less than gracious."

    Promoting New Book

  171. You gotta admit, Nuclear War would not be boring.

  172. The cast is set

    Putin = Hitler
    W = Chamberlain
    Sarkozy = Daladier
    McCain = Churchill

    Georgia = Czechoslovakia

    Analysis Here

  173. McCain has got nothing except huge bucks and a younger trophy wife. Please don't fall for the saber rattling and the threats.

    Yes, they sound manly, but aren't you sick of our leaders pounding their chests like gorillas as they say, "Bring it on"?

    God please bless America, as we are at a critical juncture and obviously still suffering from multiple personality disorder. Register to vote, and vote thoughtfully from your big heart and your worthy soul.

    Personality Disorder

  174. From Sam's article--

    For as long as I can remember, there have been two Americas. The one I love and for which I would give my very life and the other one, seemingly run by Satan. Oh, sorry. I don't mean that Satan. I'm talking about Dick Cheney and his neo-con minions, which include Karl Rove and now John McCain.

    You can always tell a devil, cause devils don't have thumbs.

  175. My Chinese wife says that if you have more than 1 cowlick you're evil. The more cowlicks, the more evil.

    I have 2.

  176. Tolstoy's view of history
    Tolstoy does not subscribe to the "great man" view of history: the notion that history is the story of strong personalities that move events and shape societies. He believes that events shape themselves, caused by social and other forces; and great men take advantage of them, changing them but not creating them. As an example, he compares Napoleon and Kutuzov. Napoleon, the Great Man, thought he had created the French Revolution, but actually he had simply happened along at the right time and usurped it. Kutuzov was more modest and more effective.

    Napoleon believed that he could control the course of a battle through sending orders through couriers, while Kutuzov admits that all he could do was to plan the initial disposition and then let subordinates direct the field of action. Typically, Napoleon would be frantically sending out orders throughout the course of a battle, carried by dashing young lieutenants—which were often misinterpreted or made irrelevant by changing conditions—while Kutuzov would sit quietly in his tent and often sleep through the battle. Ultimately, Napoleon chooses wrongly, opting to march on to Moscow and occupy it for five fatal weeks, when he would have been better off destroying the Russian army in a decisive battle. Instead, his numerically superior army dissipate on a huge scale, thanks to large scale looting and pillaging, and lack of direction for his force. General Kutuzov believes time to be his best ally, and refrains from engaging the French. He moves his army out of Moscow, and the residents evacuate the city: the nobles flee to their country estates, taking their treasures with them; lesser folk flee wherever they can, taking food and supplies. The French march into Moscow and disperse to find housing and supplies, then ultimately destroy themselves as they accidentally burn the city to the ground and then abandon it in late Fall, then limp back toward the French border in the teeth of a Russian Winter. They are all but destroyed by a final Cossack attack as they straggle back toward the west. Tolstoy observes that Kutuzuv didn't burn Moscow as a "scorched earth policy," nor did Napoleon; but after taking the city, Napoleon moved his troops in, to find housing more or less by chance in the abandoned houses: generals appropriated the grander houses, lesser men took what was left over; units were dispersed, and the chain of command dissolved into chaos. Quickly, his tightly disciplined army dissolved into a disorganized rabble; and of course, if one leaves a wooden city in the hands of strangers who naturally use fire to warm themselves, cook food, and smoke pipes, and have not learned how particular Russian families safely used their stoves and lamps (some of which they had taken with them as they fled the city), fires will break out. In the absence of an organized fire department, the fires will spread. As support for his outlook on history, Tolstoy concludes that the city was destroyed not by the freewill of either Napoleon or Kutuzov, but as an inevitable consequence of battle-weary foreign invaders occupying an abandoned wooden city.

    Old, fat and one-eyed: General Kutuzov

  177. How many thumbs do you have, Sam?

  178. from BC


    So… tactically, they’re in a real mess. (At least it appears they could be, with the correct- and limited- application of pressure)

    Strategically, they’re way beyond being in a mess.

    I have to admit… I don’t get it. If they had gone for Tbilisi, or the pipeline, or ANYTHING, I can acknowledge a tangible goal. Something. But now? Lots of Russians and Cossacks wandering aimlessly through Georgia, pillaging and burning. Was that the goal?

    As it stands now, I see no upside for Putin here. Was it just a personal vendetta? Was it really just that simple?

    Aug 13, 2008 - 4:54 pm


    I've seen some reports that the Russkies tried to bomb the pipeline, and missed. How the hell can this be?

  179. Tolstoy's view of history


    James Burke‘s Connections

  180. That 'Connections' sounds interesting Mat.

  181. Very. There are 3 'Connections' series. And there's another series by this same guy, James Burke, called The 'Day The Universe Changed.' Also excellent.

  182. Hey, I just checked, and lo and behold, I have 2 thumbs!

    Maybe that nullifies the double cowlick!

    Thanks, Bob!

  183. Sometimes when I can't get the nut on the bolt, my wife says, "you're all thumbs", which I always take as a compliment.

  184. neolex:

    wretchard and RAH, thank you for your analysis, it’s very logical and educational.

    You couldnt be more right about China. Russian actions are of profound stupidity in the long run. It has just alienated the entire Western world and US because of it’s imperial habits and insecure psyche, while Russia’s main concern should be China. As much as its concerned about it’s spheres of influence, that it sees as all but lost to the West (hence to current action), Chinese do not threaten Russian spheres of influence, they threaten Russia itself and Russia has just show them how: go in to “protect their citizens” after starting a small hullaballoo.

    Aug 13, 2008 - 5:52 pm

    That's what I think. If I was a Russian, I'd have been purring up to the west all along, instead of this non-sense.

  185. I thought it was a mistake not to disband NATO when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Admittedly I don't have all the "inside information", but I also think that our foreign policy in regard to Russia has been wrong-headed. What purpose has it served to push for expansion of NATO? It's been counter productive. If you look at a map, what do Georgia and S. Osettia have to do with Europe? Poland and Eastern Europe are a different matter but, will the EU embroil itself in a war with Russia over its former satellites? I don't think so. What would Europe do without Gazprom? So why would we mislead these people into thinking we would protect them? We have antagonized the Russians needlessly as the frictions escalated. We have blown the opportunity to develop trust and cooperation.

  186. And now, when we are up to our elbows in South Asia, Putin had checkmated us.

    There are no winners here.