Thursday, 27 November 2008

...The Hell?

What in the name of all that's holy is Bush up to now? It was difficult enough to understand why we wanted Georgia in NATO before the recent clash with Russia (a clash that even some of Georgia's own diplomats are testifying was an altercation Tblisi started). Even back then, including Georgia into NATO would have angered the Russians (who still view NATO as a specifically anti-Russian alliance) at the exact moment when we could really do with them being onside (there are dozens of reasons why, the latest one being that Russia could make our war in Afghanistan much, much easier if we give them a reason to). And for what? There's no real strategic value to the country, by all accounts its military isn't really up to much, so we'd be weakening the alliance by including them. Add to that the fact that, as Ossetia proved, not all of Georgia wants to be in Georgia, and Moscow could credibly claim we were placing under the umbrella of NATO people who want to be Russian. Add to that the fact that it's pretty hard to imagine almost the entirety of Western Europe along with the US going to war with Russia over Georgia, and adding the country to the Alliance weakens our resolve as well as our combat effectiveness.

All of that was true before the last week of August. Now, we'd be talking about including a country which just got humiliated by Russia into the club. If another brush war breaks out (hardly impossible, or even necessarily particularly unlikely) and we will be bound by treaty to help out militarily if Georgia asks.

So it made almost no sense to include Georgia in NATO before August. It makes absolutely no sense now. And it makes less than no sense (which although scientifically impossible still seems to be something the Bush Administration does time and again) to suggest we make the process faster and easier in this case. You might as well admit that you don't think Georgia meets the criteria, but fuck it, let's do it anyway, so that we can go to war with Russia all the sooner.

As far as I can see there are two possible reasons behind this move. Number 1, Bush knows he won't get anywhere with this (we only have to wait another eight weeks for Obama to enter the Whitehouse, so American pressure isn't something we really need to worry about at this moment) and is just trying to show solidarity with Georgia. This makes no sense, since there's nothing Georgia can give him back, and it was exactly this sort of crap that emboldened Saakashvili in the first place. It's also strangely at odds with Bush's apparent unwillingness to do anything with the last days of his administration beyond occasionally telling people that the free market economy is still the bestest idea ever.

Number 2 is even more weird; perhaps he genuinely believes he still has enough clout to persuade people to allow Georgia into NATO before Obama takes office, or at least get far enough down that route that Obama can't do anything to stop it. Again, though, America gains nothing from Georgia being in NATO, Georgia is probably better off without us, at least in it's present state, and we're risking either the total emasculation of NATO at best, or an armed conflict that could credibly called World War III at worst.

What the fuck, is basically my question.

h/t to the mighty Kevin Drum.

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