Monday, August 18, 2008

How does Russia define a troop withdrawal?

By moving short range missiles in, of course. They may say differently, but actions speak louder than words.

"Russia's deputy chief of staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn told a briefing in Moscow that 'today, according to the peace plan, the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers and reinforcements has begun' and said forces were leaving Gori."

According to Mike Eckel of the Associated Press, "... around Gori, the only movement seen by Associated Press reporters was in the opposite direction from Russia and South Ossetia—toward the Georgian capital Tbilisi, 55 miles to the east."

Honestly. This kind of double-speak worked, back in the 80s, before the USSR collapsed under its own weight. However, with today's media, it just doesn't work anymore. One resident of Georgia's capital of Tbilisi, Givi Sikharulidze, says that "Russia has lost its credibility in the eyes of the world.'" Maybe that would be true in a sane world. Unfortunately, I doubt Russia's credibility has been damaged in the eyes of many Americans. Or French. Or other Western Europeans. This world isn't sane.

Condoleeza Rice "warned that NATO would not allow Moscow to win in Georgia, destabilize Europe or draw a new Iron Curtain through it. " Hate to tell you this, but it's too late for that. No one who had the actual power to do anything saw it coming. President Bush saw a good man when he looked into Putin's eyes--such a delusion probably explains how he's been able to work with some of the Democrats he's had to work with--and no one, not one person with the power to do anything, saw, in time, what Russia'd been building up to. Not one person with the power to do anything about it saw the intelligence reports (assuming they existed), or noticed just how irritated Russia was and is with the current status quo. They want their power back.

"'We are determined to deny them their strategic objective,' Rice told reporters aboard her plane, adding that any attempt to recreate the Cold War by drawing a 'new line' through Europe and intimidating former Soviet republics and ex-satellite states into submission would fail." A nice thought, but I don't think the United States government has the political will to back it up. Once the Olympics are past, the country might, might, notice what's going on, but I doubt it.

The Drive-By Media, as Rush Limbaugh terms them, have (for the most part) already tired of the story. Rather, they're burying it. They don't want people to notice, once they start paying attention to more than just who's medalling in Beijing, that Russia has resumed "Cold War-era strategic bomber patrols off the coast of Alaska," six months ago!!! Why wasn't this reported on!?!

Rice also

"...suggested that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who signed an E.U.-backed cease-fire brokered by the French, may be unable to exert power behind the scenes against his powerful predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, or the Russian military.

She said she thought the French would be seeking 'an explanation from the Russians for why the Russian president either won't or can't keep his word.'"

I think there's two possible explanations for this: either Medevev is an unknowing puppet, one who doesn't realize that Putin still has all the power, or that he's a knowing, calculating, accessory and front man. Given that he recently threatened a crushing blow to anyone who threatened Russian citizens, inside or outside of the current scope of the Soviet Union, I'd say the latter. Especially after he added, “Russia has the capabilities - economic, political and military. Nobody has any illusions left about that.”

Yeah, Russia. Way to withdraw.

Update: Neil Cavuto of Fox News has a funny take on Putin's behavior, comparing it to a Saturday Night Live skit with John Belushi, the one where Belushi wouldn't leave, despite his hosts pleading with him to just get out. "It'd be like you and me hosting that party saying, if you don't go, we're going to throw a bucket of water on your head and give you the plug to our toaster as we're doing so.

Vlad won't move."

*snort*

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