Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

No More Strategic Encirclement

That’s the goal of the Russians, according to the authoritative George Friedman. To free themselves from their perception that they’re surrounded, they have to prove that U.S. and NATO guarantees mean nothing. Who can deny that they’re well on their way to doing that? Ukraine should be pretty worried, and what will we or the Europeans do if the Russians act on their thought that Ukraine is "not a real state" with real borders?

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Thats a brilliant and dispassionate article. Only two caveats.

1.Friedman writes that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the US military "off balance and short of resources". Horribly true. But it is not just the two conflicts that have exhausted the US military, its the Bush/Rumsfeld policies that sought to fight multiple wars while resisting any attempt to expand the military. Bush has been blamed for recklessness (sometimes unfairly) but in the relationship between the missions Bush has given the military (and which go far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan)and the resources given the military, Bush has been reckless indeed and Georgia is only one consequence.

2. We don't "need" Russia for effective "sanctions" against Iran. We don't need them because we are never going to get them no matter what we do. The mere fact of recognizing that Russia will not substantially help us with Iran, removes quite a bit of Russia's leverage over the US. We have less to lose in imposing diplomatic and economic consequences on Russia (though both are of minor effectivness at this point).

That is why a firm stand in Georgia is needed. Its not too late. We have the means and the capacity to make the Russians think twice. 1. tell them out now. 2. freeze all Russian assets in US and suggest EU do likewise and suggest they will be unfrozen. 3 Move naval units with an MEU or three into the Black Sea and move them with number. 4 get on the phone to Turkey and tell them help or no more US help in re Europe and its their pipeline at stake. 5. US air units in Turkey and Italy go patrolling Georgian Airspace in number... perhaps allowing us to test the F22. If we don't act here, our loss of face in the region will be very hard to repair.

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