The situation in Georgia is separating the wheat from the chaffe. There are a few ways to handle this situation.
1 – take note of the geopolitics and respond accordingly. Georgia is a great ally that we’ve been introducing to become a member of NATO. [what if they already were?] Russia is a bully who not only started this conflict behind the scenes but is now attacking retreating Georgians. Other ex Soviet states are standing up to Russia. [Ukraine, in the linked instance.] Geogia is the path for oil to Europe.
Responding accordingly means responding strongly.
2 – take note of international institutions and wait for agreements. In other words, wait for more “meetings” and “resolutions” and do nothing.
McCain seems like he’d be a guy to choose the first route and Obama the 2nd. This is the line in the sand for this election and those independents will figure out where they fall now.
Bobby Jindal has an excellent answer to the politics of this.
In the meantime – Bush and Cheney are being ridiculous with their “disproportionate response” response. That’s what was handed to the Israelis during the conflict in Lebanon. It’s “disproportionate” because Russia is land grabbing across clear boundaries. It’s “disproportionate” because Russia is attacking in spite of Georgia’s retreat. And it’s “disproportionate” because Russia set this scenario up.
“I’ve expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn the bombing outside of South Ossetia.”
does nothing to convey complete support for Georgia and its President that the Russians want ousted.
Lavrov, Khalilzad said, told Rice “that a democratically elected president of Georgia — and I quote — must go.” And the U.S. ambassador challenged Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin, “Is your government’s objective regime change in Georgia, the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Georgia?”
“Regime change is an American expression,” Churkin countered. And he scolded Khalilzad for revealing the contents of a secret diplomatic discussion.
And the Washington Posts analysis that our options may be limited because we need Russia’s help on a number of things is ridiculous. What things? Help in Darfur? Where they refuse to support any UN ideas. Help in Iran? Where they are definitely NOT a help. Help in Iraq and Afghanistan? Puhlease. Where exactly are the Russians even close to helping out geopolitically?
This article has a decent map and more updates on the Russian approach to Abkhazia.
And William Kristol on why we owe Georgia. (along with a bit of history concerning our “great” international institutions.) From 1924.
“it is realized that the League is incapable of rendering material aid, and that the moral influence which may be a powerful force with civilized countries is unlikely to make any impression upon Soviet Russia.”
I suspect the same will come from the UN and it will be “unlikely” that Russia will give a hoot.