Bush: On South Ossetia: "There Is No Room For Debate"

Russia signed the cease fire agreement, but basically said it was staying in its current position, stating "withdrawal would depend on the introduction of what he called additional security measures, without explaining what those were."

I think what Russia means is that Georgia has to give up its claims to South Ossetia and Abkhazia before they will withdraw. George Bush says:

The United States, though, has emphasized that Georgia’s territorial integrity must be preserved. Mr. Bush said Saturday, “There’s no room for debate on this matter.”

(Emphasis supplied.) I agree with Bush. There is no room for debate on this matter. Georgia blew it. It has to give up its claims to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A face saver is needed. Something like a UN-monitored referendum in these two provinces. But make no mistake, Bush and the US are blustering now.

Speaking for me only

< What NATO Was And What It Should Be | DNCC Adds Nine More Speakers to Tuesday Night >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Is there ever any room for debate (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:33:12 PM EST
    with that dude? The oval office is certainly not a room for debate!  I must admit, at this time there is little room for Lame Duck debate about this on my social calendar.  One thing about our current President though is that whenever there is room for debate on something he can always go hang out at the ranch where the secret service won't even let you within five miles of him :)

    I can't get over how much people posting (1.00 / 2) (#18)
    by frankly0 on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:32:30 PM EST
    here seem so certain of their beliefs here, given the murkiness of the situation.

    Look, as best I can gather, Georgia does have some legitimate claim to these two territories as part of their country. Perhaps they have been abusive of some people in those territories; perhaps most of the people in those territories -- but clearly not all -- want to form a separate state.

    Does that mean that we must uphold the "right" of the people in those territories to break away from Georgia? What if the likely consequence of doing so is that, in fact, those new territories are going to become vassal states of Russia, and/or real ethnic cleansing takes place in those territories after they are taken over by the people who want to break free (which already may be taking place, under Russian supervision)?

    (Here's a quote from the Wash Post editorial regarding this:

    Remarkably, the Russian-allied "president" of South Ossetia acknowledged the ethnic cleansing yesterday in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant, although he did not acknowledge the killings of Georgian civilians that others have documented. Eduard Kokoity said that his forces "offered them a corridor and gave the peaceful population the chance to leave" and that "we do not intend to allow" their return.

    How proud will our posters be when such ethnic cleansing is continued if South Ossetia becomes independent?)

    And, forgetting about the "liberation" of South Ossetia, and Russia's noble interest in pursuing democracy, what about the larger picture, in which Russia is only encouraged to believe that there will be no real penalties if it finds some provocation to invade other countries? What about the likely consequences of that?

    Any way one looks at it, and ignoring the "moral" issues involved in this local conflict, the far more dangerous player in this whole affair is obviously Russia. In the larger scheme of things, Georgia's own treatment of South Ossetia, right or wrong, pales by comparison to the consequences of a Russia that once again, under the leadership that only too much resembles and is even based on the previous Soviet leadership, starts to bully its neighbors and, perhaps, attempts to assemble a empire of vassal states -- or states that are entirely intimidated by the Russian presence, knowing that on the slightest provocation, real or invented, Russia might invade.

    Now I'm not going to say that the correct action for the US under these circumstances is the fairly confrontational stance suggested by Wesley Clark -- though if there's literally anybody on earth who might know more about this and from the best vantage point, I don't know who it might be. But acting as if it's obvious that Russia is just doing the right thing here, and should not be opposed, is just insupportable.

    I can not get over (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:35:55 PM EST
    how you still choose to ignore the facts that anyone who really wants to know about this know.

    You choose to be ignorant and insult those of us who know what we are talking about.

    You best cool it with your attitude. I am sick of it.


    I'm supposed to believe that (none / 0) (#35)
    by frankly0 on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 01:54:19 PM EST
    you know what you're talking about and Wes Clark doesn't?

    Sorry, that doesn't work for me.


    Typical (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 03:34:33 PM EST
    You know nothing about the subject and trust the "experts." You supported the Iraq War didn't you?

    And just one other point about (none / 0) (#26)
    by frankly0 on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:39:11 PM EST
    Wesley Clark.

    Wesley Clark absolutely did not hesitate to criticize the Bush administration before the run up to the Iraq war on its clear desire to engage that war.

    Do you really think that if he thinks vigorous opposition to Russia were a far too aggressive, counterproductive step, that he would hesitate to say so?

    Don't you think that he, of all people, should have some real credibility when it comes to assessing the real strategic, political, and moral issues involved in this conflict?


    Just one more thing (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:44:11 PM EST
    I said Clark was wrong, not afraid to criticize Bush.

    Stop the BS.


    Excuse me, (none / 0) (#36)
    by frankly0 on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 02:02:14 PM EST
    the point of what I was arguing was that if Wes Clark did not hesitate to oppose the conventional wisdom on the side of a more peaceable, less confrontational approach with regard to Iraq, then it is hardly the case that he simply favors the more aggressive solution in all cases, or that he will side with the more aggressive solution out of pandering to people who think he should not be "soft" in his approach.

    On the Iraq war, Clark favored the less aggressive approach, here he favors a more confrontational approach.

    For me, that lends some real credibility to his current stand on Russia vs. Georgia. It is not knee jerk. It does not appear to be based on the domestic politics of it.

    And, again, excuse me if I think his knowledge of this situtation rather surpasses yours -- however much you may want and expect us all to defer to your self-proclaimed knowledge of the issue.


    A nonsequitor (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 03:33:47 PM EST
    99% (none / 0) (#27)
    by robrecht on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:39:42 PM EST
    perhaps most of the people in those territories -- but clearly not all -- want to form a separate state.

    True, I think only 99% of the people supported independence in the 2006 referendum in South Ossetia.

    I only know what I've read recently and certainly do not know enough to properly recognize bias, etc.


    A South Ossetian official gives history of Ossetia (none / 0) (#32)
    by jawbone on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 01:01:13 PM EST
    Longish and detailed.

    I did read, today I think but can't find the post, that under Stalin the Soviets gave the Ossetians some kind of semi-autonomy. Def'ly not "part of" Georgia, per what I read.

    Will continue hunting.


    Clearly not all... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 01:16:49 PM EST
    In the last years of the Soviet Union, ethnic tensions between Ossetians and Georgians in Georgia's former Autonomous Oblast of South Ossetia (abolished in 1990) and between Ossetians and the Ingush in North Ossetia evolved into violent clashes that left several hundreds of dead and wounded and created a large tide of refugees on both sides of the border.

    Although a Russian-mediated and OSCE-monitored ceasefire was implemented in South Ossetia in 1992, the Georgian-Ossetian conflict still remains unresolved even though a recent peace plan proposed by the government of Georgia promised the South Ossetians larger autonomy and pledged expanded international involvement in the political settlement of the conflict. Meanwhile, the South Ossetian secessionist authorities demand independence or unification with North Ossetia under the Russian Federation while the international community refuses to recognize South Ossetia as an independent country and considers the area part of Georgia.

    On Sunday 12 November 2006, South Ossetians went to the polls to vote in a referendum regarding the region's independence from Georgia. The result was a "yes" to independence, with a turnout above 95% from those among the territory's 70,000 people who were eligible to vote.[2] There was also a vote in favour of a new term for South Ossetia's president, Eduard Kokoity.

    Clearly not all the people (none / 0) (#37)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 02:54:23 PM EST
    just 98% of them want to be independent. But who cares? Georgia has a pipeline and we all know that matters more that the right of a people to self-detemination.

    One of the things that has now gotten confused (none / 0) (#44)
    by Christy1947 on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 08:01:47 PM EST
    is whether NATO was in Kosovo to stop the ethnic cleansing, or to give it independence from Serbia. While it was going on, I thought we were there because of the ethnic cleansing, the attempt to clear out 90% of the population of the province.

    Yesterday (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:54:41 AM EST
    MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured South Ossetia and Abkhazia of Russia's support in their bid for independence as ceasefire held in Georgia and the focus shifted to a post-war settlement.

    "Russia's position is unchanged. We will support any decisions taken by the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," said Mr. Medvedev at a Kremlin meeting with the leaders of the two self-proclaimed republics. "We will not only support but will guarantee [your decisions] both in the Caucasus and throughout the world."

    Mr. Medvedev in fact declared Moscow's readiness to brush aside the West's objections to the two regions' split from Georgia in much the same way as the West ignored Russian protests against Kosovo's independence.

    Mr. Medvedev's statement signals a major shift in Moscow's stand.

    THAT is the real consequence (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:58:29 AM EST
    of Georgia's actions.

    Sure Russia whupped them good to boot.

    But this is the real thing that happened.

    And guess what, Russia stands up for democracy here. South Ossetia and Akhbazia want no part of Georgia.


    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:00:45 PM EST
    McCain and Bush just sound ridiculous here.

    They ::want:: (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:03:39 PM EST
    what they are producing here, I think.

    A new cold war to provide new markets for the MIC weapons manufacturers.

    Will it stay "cold", or heat up beyond control?


    Oh absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by cawaltz on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:11:39 PM EST
    The national security card is all they have. It's an old and tired ploy that they never seem to tire of.

    I think they're just playing electoral politics (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:05:30 PM EST
    and they don't really care at all about Georgia or South Ossetia.

    Yes, that too (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:09:23 PM EST
    It give McCain a mindless chest thumping opportunity to show how "strong on national security" he is, and baits Obama into a rather difficult position after his statements of the past few days - will he move even farther right?

    Does Obama sound any better? (none / 0) (#9)
    by robrecht on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:12:16 PM EST
    Has he said anything? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:14:06 PM EST
    Maybe I'm glad he's on vacation. . . (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:15:05 PM EST
    I think so (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:22:28 PM EST
    Nothing good to say here politically.

    OR policy wise.

    The reality is we have one President at a time. Right now it is McCain. In January, it could be someone else.


    Are you backing off from shoo-in? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:24:55 PM EST
    No (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:28:01 PM EST
    But I would not run as if I was a shoo in. I can't fault Obama for playing politics here, right now his focus has to be winning in November and making the case for his views.

    When it come sto specific policy issues like Georgia, he can play it coy as far as I am concenred. Hell, I recommend it.


    Coy (none / 0) (#33)
    by robrecht on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 01:07:51 PM EST
    That's what I meant in the other thread about it being political suicide to try and sound intelligent about this.

    Let's hope he's being coy and not just as dumb as the rest.


    While he's "on vacation" (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:59:17 PM EST
    the media is killing him...

    A Race McCain Could Win


    There was this thursday (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:40:25 PM EST
    McCain and Obama duel over Georgia

    Initially, he hesitated to blame either side for the conflict while calling for a cease-fire.

    On vacation on Oahu, Hawaii, he was slow to react. Then he offered a measured response that at first differed little from that of George Bush, the U. S. President.

    As a foreign policy neophyte, he may have felt he had the luxury to wait on developments, while presenting himself as a man who deliberates before acting.

    Mr. McCain pounced on the crisis to highlight his leadership qualities and distance himself from the Bush administration.

    With Russian tanks racing toward Tbilisi, it was easy for him to remind voters he is a veteran Cold War warrior.

    While lashing out at Russia's "path of violent aggression" and warning of "severe long-term negative consequences" for U. S.-Russian relations, he urged several responses later adopted by the White House.

    What he "urged later" I'm not sure....


    The National Post (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 04:19:44 PM EST
    is a right-wing neocon rag. Fact-check them if they say the sky is blue.

    Actually, it's been very interesting to see the difference in their approaches (McCain and Obama).  It's duelling all right, but not the way the NP wants to frame it.

    Obama's first statement on the situation on Aug. 11 called for diplomacy and mediation backed up by international peacekeeping forces not aligned to either side. Not much different in substance than McCain's, but all the world of difference in tone - McCain looks through a backward-looking lens of Christianity and the divisions of the Cold War, Obama through a forward-looking one of "cooperative engagement" with a Russia that can and should have a positive role to play in the world.

    It's a textbook example of ideologue versus realist on display.


    Oh yes, definitely (none / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 04:37:55 PM EST
    The media generally is killing Obama over this.

    Clark (none / 0) (#12)
    by cawaltz on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:16:42 PM EST
    mentioned Obama at least once in the transcript you provided. Personally, I think he was playing "spokesman" last night. I could be wrong but until Obama pipes up and says different that's where I stand.

    You meaning BTD (none / 0) (#14)
    by cawaltz on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:18:27 PM EST

    I've just seen a couple of sound bytes (none / 0) (#13)
    by robrecht on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:17:40 PM EST
    ... sounds like Bush-lite.  Maybe not as ridiculous as McCain declaring us all Georgians or Bush saying there's no room for debate, but basically something like Russia's aggression not being allowed to stand or something like that.  I just checked his website and couldn't find anything there.

    Obama initially issued a statement that demanded (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by jawbone on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:36:59 PM EST
    talks, diplomacy. He was criticized for not being strong enough and issued additional statements, until he's sounding fairly close to McCain, but a bit less bellicose.

    The rightie blogs are trumpeting his flip-flopping; the MCM said he began weakly but manned up. However, the MCM gave the "points" to McCain. But give Obama credit for coming around to The Narrative (Russian Bear Bad, Bad, Bad; Georgia just peachy).

    His first statement was rational and I thought pretty smart. But Dems can't be diplomatic, unless they make haka noises and dance the Cold War polka.


    Exactly. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:00:23 PM EST
    Ironically, Russia imo is doing what the US would be doing under any reasonable intelligent leadership.

    Clark (none / 0) (#19)
    by cawaltz on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:32:36 PM EST
    I do agree with the General that some neutral observers are called for. I don't understand why we have to point fingers although I guess it would mean that we won't need to worry about being the "neutral" observers if we are intent on choosing sides.

    Sure (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:34:50 PM EST
    Guess who does not qualify as "neutral" now?

    hmmmmmmm (none / 0) (#25)
    by cawaltz on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:38:45 PM EST
    My wilds guess is us. It's what I meant in my post. I'm hopped up on cold meds so if I'n even more unclear then usual feel free to let me know ;)

    This gives too much credit to... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Oje on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:35:59 PM EST
    Bush understanding geopolitical strategic concerns!

    Here is the real background on the Bush's response to Russia.

    He's come a long way baby (none / 0) (#28)
    by cawaltz on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:40:19 PM EST
    Putin must be crushed that he is no longer Bush's soulmate. Since 2001 Bush appears to have had a soul transplant.

    If not "give up its claims" (none / 0) (#42)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 04:43:33 PM EST
    to the breakaway regions at least agree to some form of joint state - something that gets Russia what it wants (maintain sphere of influence, keep Georgia out of NATO) - without bringing its hypocrisy too much into focus with its own similar problems in Chechnya.

    So completely Bushian: There's no room for debate (none / 0) (#43)
    by jawbone on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 06:44:04 PM EST
    on this matter.

    Our very own Little Dictator.

    And Emperor with no clothes.