Monday, September 22, 2008

Colin Powell: We are NOT all Georgians

The General has not booked a seat on McCain's Straight Pandering Talk Express.

Instead he appears to be sharing a seat with The Vigil on the Saakashvili-Gate Terminal. (Bridge to Nowhere?)

Last August, I asked, Who Lost Georgia? I wrote that
The lack of American prior restraint on Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili is but the last in a long list of blunders of omission or commission by the Bush-Cheney-McCain School of Foreign Policy.
I think Colin Powell and I are in total agreement for the first and only time in history.I saw enough of this discussion group on CNN to be motivated to follow up on a part of this.
Here's what I what I would like to highlight:

..... Now, in the current situation, the Russians acted brutally. I think they acted foolishly. But it was also absolutely predictable what the Russians would do. You could see them stacking up their troops.

And I think it was foolhardy on the part of President Saakashvili and the Georgian government to kick over this can, to light a match in a roomful of gas fumes.
So you’re saying the Georgians provoked this?
They did. I mean, there was a lot of reasons to have provocations in the area, but the match that started the conflagration was from the Georgian side.
And some debate in the presidential elections has basically been, “We are all Georgians now.” What does that mean? It’s the same as was said after 9/11.
One candidate said that, and I’ll let the candidate explain it for himself.

You can help a little, if you’d like.
No, the fact of the matter is that you — you have to be very careful in a situation like this not just to leap to one side or the other until you’ve taken a good analysis of the whole situation.

This was something that might have been avoided if people had looked at the Russian troops that were stacked up, if people had realized that the Russians were serious about South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and if perhaps more guidance and suggestions had been given to President Saakashvili beyond those that he received, it might have been avoided.

But it wasn’t. It’s over. The Russians are the offenders right now. And we have to see that.

We cannot say to the Russians, “We are not going to allow the Georgians or Ukrainians or anyone else to start down the path toward NATO membership.” It’s not for the Russians to decide that.

But I think it is wise for us to look at the whole strategic situation and all of our equities before deciding how fast that should happen and whether it’s the time to do it right now.
Clearly, Colin Powell doesn't think McCain has a grasp of the situation.