American Elephants

War and peace, ceasefires and peacekeepers…. by The Elephant's Child

Oh, well of course, it’s all Bush’s fault. The response has been too anemic. The response has been too strong. A little invasion in Ossetia, and it’s the blame-business as usual. The Russians had no choice but to move in because President Mikheil Saakashvili was committing genocide in South Ossetia; and if you believe that, you probably believe that Russian peacekeepers are keeping the peace.

Melik Kaylan, a New York based writer who has often reported from Georgia, wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

Last year, President Mikheil Saakashvili invited me along on a helicopter flight to see Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital, from the air. We viewed it at some distance to avoid Russian antiaircraft missiles manned by Russian personnel.

He pointed out a lone hilltop sprinkled with houses some 10 miles inside Georgian territory — scarcely even a town. Much of the population, namely the Georgians, had long ago been purged by  Russian-backed militias, leaving behind a rump population of Ossetian farmers and Russian security forces posing as Ossetians. “We have offered them everything, ” he said, “language rights, land rights, guaranteed power in parliament, anything they want, and they would take it, if the Kremlin would let them.” (emphasis mine)

Moscow’s thin pretense of protecting an ethnic group provided just enough cover for Georgia’s timorous friends in the West to ignore increasing Russian provocations over the past few years. Moscow, it now seems, intends to “protect” large numbers of Georgians too — by occupying and killing them if that’s what it takes — and prevent them from building their own history and pursuing their democratic destiny, as it has for almost two centuries.

Georgia is just a little country far, far away, but it was once in the “sphere” of the Soviet Union. So were Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia and others. The core assumptions of the post-Cold War years have proved to be wrong. Francis Fukuyama famously claimed “At the end of history, there are not serious ideological competitors left to liberal democracy.” Nor has human nature, in its best and worst emanations, been repealed.

There have been a lot of words written on the Russian invasion of Georgia. These were, to me, some of the most striking. There will be many more words, lots of propaganda, and many attempts to attach blame. Try hard to retain your common sense. We may need it. This is a wake-up call.

Convention in Chaos by American Elephant
August 18, 2008, 12:27 am
Filed under: Election 2008, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Democrat National Committee Convention

Denver police have stock-piled pepper spray and stun guns, the city council, acting on tips, passed laws prohibiting the carrying of urine and feces (charming!), now we learn that city officials have converted a warehouse into a mass detention facility, complete with chain-link cells topped with razor wire.

Which begs the question, can you imagine any of this being necessary if Republicans were protesting? And why can’t liberals come together without breaking the law and violating everyone else’s civil rights? And finally, is it any wonder that the same people who think they have the right to behave like criminals when demonstrating for their cause also believe they have the right to behave like criminals in pushing their political agenda once in office?

No doubt they will plague the Republican convention as well.

The children of Code Pink, Recreate ’68, and their comrades are not happy. Perhaps someone should tell them that if they object to being caged, they should stop behaving like animals.

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