Saturday, August 30, 2008

And The Solution Is....

The insolubility (at least from the U.S./Georgian perspective) of the situation in Georgia has led to a lot of editorials that vary in emotion and tone, but say pretty much nothing. Today's entry by Jim Hoagland calmly fits the mold.
The question: Should the United States re-arm Georgia, and if so, at what level? That is, does Washington simply replace the U.S. weapons that Russian forces systematically destroyed in Georgia as a humiliating message for Americans? Or does the collapse of the Georgians this month mean that they need greater quantities and more sophisticated weapons to deter Russia in the future?

That may not present an agonizing choice for John McCain, given his muscular worldview and his sustained championing of Georgian links to the West and NATO. He will advocate riding to the rescue, although he is unlikely to call for an arms resupply while tensions stay at their current explosive level.
So we can expect lots of chest-thumping, but no real action, by McCain?

But seriously, how would McCain do more than chest-thump? How could we meaningfully rearm Georgia such that it could repel Russian forces or, as it had hoped, expel them from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, without creating a twenty-first century version of the Cuban Missile Crisis? Speaking geopolitically, why would it be wise, or even sensible to do that?
It makes little sense for Obama to try to out-hawk McCain on Georgia. He cannot do so convincingly. Instead, he must show how his sustained advocacy of diplomatic power can work in shoring up the fragile and imperfect democracy in Georgia.
What does Hoagland suggest, to achieve that? Oops. That's where the editorial ends.

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