Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Near Abroad

I was in our near abroad since the 7th, so missed Russia's return to glory by pounding on Georgia and bringing a couple more bits of ex-Soviet land into the Motherland. I wasn't about to interrupt pub time for internet cafe time. The war may be largely over:

Declaring "the aggressor has been punished," the Kremlin ordered a halt Tuesday to Russia's devastating assault on Georgia — five days of air and ground attacks that left homes in smoldering ruins and uprooted 100,000 people.

Keep in mind that the timing during the opening of the Olympics was to Russia's benefit. I don't buy it that Georgia started this. Russia engineered this, I'd bet, even if the Georgians unwisely took the bait. Remember, Russia has been gearing up for this war for at least three months. Moscow wouldn't leave the timing up to the whims of when Georgia would try to enforce their theoretical sovereignty over their entire territory.

Russia has become an enemy of the West. This does not mean war with Russia, but it should mean that we begin the long process of reducing Russian leverage over the West (this means you, Western Europe, and those Russian natural gas supplies) and gaining leverage over Russia. Expand NATO and build missile defenses. Contain the "ex" Soviets who run Moscow and hope a new generation of Russians will finally want to join the West.

We'd best accelerate NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, obviously. I thought it was a mistake at the time to put off their membership.