Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bush Did What He Could Within the Limits of the Crisis

The idea that Bush did nothing when Russia invaded Georgia is making the rounds again a decade after the Goons of August War. Now the suddenly anti-Russian liberals try to go back in time to fight the Dread Russkies.

America did a good deal to halt the Russian offensive short of the Georgian capital, Tblisi; and get the Russians to withdraw from Georgia back into Abkhazia and South Ossetia (which the Russians had prior to the war, remember) .

America sent in an airlift of Georgian troops from Iraq back to Georgia, escorted by American fighter aircraft. That had the effect of being a no-fly zone for Russian planes unless they wanted to risk direct combat with America. As well as making sure the capital was defended and putting Americans on the ground in the capital to deter a Russian attack.

We also flew in supplies as well as shipped them in to Georgian ports, with an American Coast Guard cutter an early contribution, followed by Navy warships. Which again shielded those ports from Russian attack unless they wanted to risk war with America.

We put a command and control ship into the Black Sea that could also monitor Russian military activity.

We shielded the Georgian president from Russian demands that he had to go.

And what if Bush had done more to resist the Russians? At the time, Putin claimed Bush was "orchestrating" the crisis to benefit one of the candidates in our 2008 election.

Don't even try to tell me that in the contest between Saint Obama and the evil and old McCain (during that campaign, Democrats and the media went from deeming McCain a double plus good "maverick" to double plus ungood--until he lost to Obama, at which point he again became a "good" Republican) that the howling accusations of Bushitler trying to influence the election by creating a war to justify rejecting Obama--or even seizing power for good by canceling the election--wouldn't have exploded from coast to coast across all our media world.

And remember the financial crisis that erupted in September? Again, the cries of a manufactured war to distract from that event would have flown fast and furious.

Also, was it really appropriate for Bush to start a war that Obama would have to finish?

Further, although Russia obviously planned to attack, and would have lied that Georgia fired first even if the Georgians didn't; the Georgians really did shoot first in a major miscalculation to give Russia an excuse to invade. It is not a good idea to let an ally drag you into a war against that ally's major power nuclear-armed enemy, no?

Despite the Democratic complaints that Bush did too little--which isn't true under the circumstances--what did Obama do when he took office just months later? Did he make Russia pay the price that Democrats claim Bush should have made Russia pay in the waning months of his presidency focused on surviving the financial crisis?

No, Obama launched the high profile, stumbling "reset" (the button Hillary Clinton presented to Lavrov actually said "overcharge") that simply ignored Russia's invasion of Georgia, complete with the cancellation of the Bush missile defense plan for eastern Europe already nervous enough before Georgia about Russian intentions.

Oh, and here is my bonus warning to Georgia (with an aside warning to Ukraine) three months before Russia attacked Georgia.

Also, it seems as if Georgia did have sufficient anti-tank weapons in the war contrary to my impression at the time, although I don't think the Georgians were trained for their use to blunt an armored attack.