Russia has also seized some of the arms that we've sold to Georgia as part of our alliance with them (we've helped them update their equipment and training for self defence purposes--fat lot of good that did).
Poland and the Ukraine are frightened, and rightly so. Poland has just signed the missile defense treaty with us, allowing us to place part of the "umbrella" in their country to help protect them and Europe. Their price, which we finally saw was reasonable (and met) after the recent, um, incident, was a fully modernized, Westernized military infrastructure. Oh, and a permanent U.S. military base on Polish soil. Russia's response was to threaten them: "Moscow lashed out at Washington and Warsaw on Friday, saying the plan to site a US anti-missile defence shield in Poland would undermine the global balance of power and put Poland at risk of nuclear attack." Proves the point that they should be scared.
And why not? Our response to the invasion of Georgia hasn't exactly proved that we're willing to do much if anything to aid our allies. Like the National Review's Jack David has said, we need "credibility derived both from the ability of its military to provide the guaranteed protection and the perception that the U.S. is politically willing to direct its military to do so."
I'm not sure we have it--the testicular fortitude, not the ability. The more I look at our forces stationed around the world where they're neither needed nor wanted (*cough* South Korea *cough*), the more I'm convinced that we have the ability. What we need to demonstrate is the testicular fortitude, and for more than one reason.
This has rather overshadowed events in the Middle East, at least in my mind, for the past week or so. That's not good, because there are shadowy connections between Russia and the terrorists attacking us there. Syrian, Palestinian, and Iranian terrorists use Russian made weapons against us and our allies. Michael Ledeen of The National Review says:
If you expand your vision of the strategic board from the Caucasus to include the Middle East, you see that the Russians are working in close tandem with other countries that are waging war on us. Syria uses Russian weapons and is installing Russian anti-aircraft systems, as is Iran. And the Iranian nuclear program, which the leaders of the West have elevated to the number one issue in the region, is essentially a Russian program, involving Russian nuclear physicists and Russian nuclear technology.
He goes on to state that it doesn't matter what the pundits think, that we're already at war with Russia, in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and other parts of Northern Africa, Iran, Iraq, and in Eastern Europe. He finishes by saying, "So instead of the incantation “we won’t go to war over this,” serious people in the West must accept the fact that the war is on, and we must find ways to win it."
Does this remind anyone else of the proxy wars fought throughout the 1980s in places like Afghanistan, El Salvador, and Nicaragua? Does anyone else see that our...difficulties...with Venezuela have their roots in the same soil. If not, I truly fear for the country's future.
Update: Russia is staying put. Looks like their interpretation of the treaty is entirely different from everyone else's.
But freshly dug positions of Russian armor in the town of Igoeti, about 30 miles west of Tbilisi, showed that Russia was observing the truce at the pace and scope of its choosing.
Earlier, Russian forces had dug shallow foxholes in the middle of Igoeti and parked tanks, one flying a Russian flag, along the road. In the afternoon, they withdrew from those positions to the town's western outskirts. There, they set up defensive positions with tank cannons pointed back toward Georgian-held territory...
Military vehicles on the side of the road were camouflaged with branches and a couple of soldiers slept on stretchers in the shade of the hulking machines.
Near Igoeti, a Georgian journalist photographed a Russian armored personnel carrier that had broken down and was set afire by its occupants, who preferred to destroy it rather than let it fall into the hands of the Georgians.
Russian troops effectively control the main artery running through the western half of Georgia, because they surround the strategic central city of Gori and the city and air base of Senaki in the west. Both cities sit on the main east-west highway that slices through two Georgian mountain ranges.
Controlling Senaki, which sits on a key intersection, also means the Russians are blocking access to the Black Sea port city of Poti and the road north to another breakaway region, Abkhazia.
Of course, this proves nothing more than what we've known all along: that Russia is pursuing the same tactics as always, that Medevev is nothing more than Putin's puppet, that Russia is pissed about the oil pipeline that runs through Georgia to the Black Sea (and terminates in Poti), and that they think that there's nothing we can or will do about their blatant disregard of the agreement they signed.
How much longer will it be before they begin to believe that the proxy wars aren't necessary anymore, and that it's okay to attack us where we live?