When President Bush met Vladimir Putin for the first time in 2001, Bush said, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue.
"I was able to get a sense of his soul."
Obviously when he looked into the window on Putin's soul the shades were pulled down and Bush saw only what Putin wanted him to see.
John McCain on the other hand, said he looked into Putin's eyes and saw the letters KGB, the Russian secret police and terror organization Putin headed until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990.
Now Russia, under Putin, has invaded the sovereign land of Georgia, one of those former Soviet republics that went independent as fast as it could in the 90s. Georgia became a US ally, and has been petitioning to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Unfortunately, membership did not come fast enough.
Putin travelled to China last week for the opening of the Olympics, as did Bush, and while the cat (Bush) was away the mouse (Putin) revealed that it was never a mouse, but rather a mountain lion and pounced.
Initial reports from China said Bush and (Ras)Putin had a very testy exchange of words before Putin headed home to cheer on his troops as they smashed through Georgia's outer defenses. The mad Russian initially claimed he was sending in troops to support people in Georgian provinces who really wanted to be part of Russia but were being restricted by the Georgian government.
But by mid-morning Monday - east coast US time - Russia had continued its offensive and fighting was reported in portions of Georgia that were not in dispute a week ago.
This shouldn't surprise anyone. Putin has been planning this move for years, McCain has been warning about it, and Putin's feigned friendship with Bush was just the starting point to throw him off guard. There is a major pipeline for oil and natural gas running through the disputed territory. Putin has long shown he wants control over energy sources.
Why do you think Russia made such a big deal of the US talking with former Soviet republics about installing anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe to guard against a potential attack from Iran? I'd say it had much more to do with Putin worrying that Eastern Europe would be able to protect itself from Russia.
Putin has been working step by step for most of this decade to reinvent the old Soviet Union and the attack on Georgia is proof. Commentators have said Putin is no longer a communist, but rather a nationalist who was merely consolidating his power in Russia and had no intent of reinventing the old Soviet Union.
I disagree. People who are communists in their hearts and souls never stop being communists. They believe that communism is the only true and proper form of government for all humanity and their belief in the Communist Manifesto requires that they continue the struggle for their entire lives.
We have known for decades, going back to the 1930s and 1940s, that we have had communists in our Congress, in our State Department and in our military, and we still do. We have domestic communist organizations agitating against the war in Iraq, against our military and against democracy.
Do you see the leaders of Code Pink preparing to fly to Georgia to stand in front of invading Russian tanks? No you don't. Do you know why? In the first place, communists world wide support Russian expansionism.
In the second place despite all the rhetoric that domestic communists throw at US forces, they know the Russian military will roll over anything and anyone that stands in its way, and it doesn't give a damn about human rights violations, nor does Putin.
There will be no consequences for Russian commanders who level towns, villages and cities and every living thing in them, unless they fail to level said communities and every living thing in them.
Why do you think Russia has been arming Iran, supplying it with nuclear fuel and highly sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems? It sure looks like a diversion to me. Keep the US focused on the War on Terror and the possibility that Iran's nutcase leader will develop a nuclear weapon, then hit somewhere else.
But here is another thought. Georgia is just a minor piece of Russia and RasPutin's overall puzzle.
Georgia is in fact, practice. Why? Because unlike the United States the Russian Army has not had much real combat experience since it left Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago. It has fought against the Islamic rebels in Chechnya, but that isn't a big enough war to get sufficient combat experience for a large segment of troops.
The United States, Great Britain, and other countries that have been helping us in the War on Terror, including Georgia by the way, have what is called a "blooded" army. In other words, we have in-depth combat experience and a huge pool of combat veterans if they are ever needed.
By invading a couple of Georgian provinces, the Russians get a couple of quick and relatively easy victories. By continuing their attack into Georgia, even though Georgian authorities have called for a cease-fire, the Russians are giving their troops a stiffer challenge, which they will gladly embrace since they still are riding a combat high after their victories of the past two days.
Meanwhile, George Bush dallied in China, Vice President Dick Cheney issued a strongly worded warning, and Condoleezza Rice has been told to make it clear that if the Russians don't stop this and stop it this instant there will be consequences.
All of which Putin is laughing off as his tanks, ships, bombers and troops continue the slaughter in Georgia.
On the American presidential campaign scene Barack Obama is on vacation in Hawaii and issued a position paper. One of his advisers told Fox News on Monday morning that the US has no right to say anything about Russia invading Georgia, because after all we invaded Iraq when its leaders didn't want us there.
Wow! Talk about no clue whatsoever. The same Obama spokesman then claimed that both McCain and Bush are responsible for Bush's foreign relations policies. In the Obama campaign rhetoric the presence of a murderous despot, Saddam Hussein, who invited terrorists into his country to rebuild their terrorist network to launch further attacks against the United States after 9-11 corresponds to a peaceful country that hasn't harmed anyone.
I think Obama wants to use appeasement as a reason to sit down and be the next American leader to look into Putin's soul. That has to be the definition of clueless.
McCain on the other hand accurately defined Russia's invasion of Georgia as a moral and strategic crisis. He wants Russia isolated, the invasion halted, and Russia punished.
McCain can't do much about it right now, and won't be able to do anything unless he becomes Commander in Chief.
Meanwhile, what we should be determining, is what Putin really is up to. Georgia is practice. Just practice. It gives Putin a little more land, it gives his troops some limited combat experience, but just enough to make them willing to go for more.
The question is where? And when? And what the hell are we going to do about it? This is just the first step, and for anyone who was not alive or has forgotten the brinksmanship that went on for decades during the Cold War, I guarantee you, we do not want to go back to that era.
The communists murdered an estimated 100,000,000 (that's one-hundred million) people from 1917 to the end of the Soviet Union, and state sponsored deaths continue in China and the remaining communist countries to this day.
Believe me, we don't want to turn back the clock.
Monday, August 11, 2008