Russia and Georgia: Ron Paul is right again

This story is a little more complicated than we thought.  And when I got back to the USA and started digesting all that I had seen and heard in Russian and the Ukraine and started looking into our own State Department involvement I was surprised to find Congressman Ron Paul in the middle of it.

And I can tell you that Ron Paul is right again.  Take a look at this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuAuPXYT8No

Like most Americans I accepted the conclusions of our famous “keep it simple” national media and their instant interpretation of the Russian “invasion” of Georgia.  The big bullies were imposing their will on a tiny democracy that dared become an American friend and the Ukrainians were next.  Or so we were told. 

Pundits took to the airwaves to say that the Russians obviously were trying to preempt the new oil pipeline across Georgia and maybe get access to the Black Sea.  They surely had an eye on Ukraine next, to regain their breadbasket and to retake Sevastopol, the deep water naval port.  But my six trips to Russia and Ukraine, trips that have taken me from one end of both countries to the next, and allowed me to talk to Georgians, Russians and Ukrainians, have given me an entirely different perspective.

A poll in the Ukraine got my attention.  It showed that 70% of all Ukrainians thought that the Russian invasion of Georgia was needed and justified.  It didn’t sound to me like they considered themselves threatened, next in line, the next domino to fall, as good old, John Foster Dulles, might say.  What did the Ukrainians know that I didn’t?

Well, it turns out that Georgia and Ossetia and Abkhazia have been fighting each other for centuries.  Joseph Stalin, who hailed from Georgia, settled it once and for all, cutting Ossetia in two and declaring that South Ossetia and Abkhazia would henceforth be under the thumb of his old Georgian homeland.  That was that.  The war was over.  Georgia and Stalin won.  Call it the perks of a dictatorship; you can settle old scores from childhood.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union the Ossetians and Abkhazians demanded autonomy.  All through the communist era they had suffered job and power sharing discrimination.  Now it was their turn to unravel a mistake from the Stalinist era.  But the first leader of the newly independent Georgian Republic, President Gamsahurdia, would not have it.  His slogan “Georgia for Georgians” set the tone for what was to come.  But President Gamsahurdia ended up murdered and discovered days later, like a common citizen of the street.  The former KGB operative and later Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze mysteriously came to power.  And he, in turn, was overthrown by the popular President Saakashvili in the “Revolution of Roses.”

But the so-called “Revolution of Roses” has turned instead into a “Revolution of Thorns.”  The opposition press has been squashed.  Promised reforms were delayed and then cancelled altogether.  And then there was the action against the South Ossetians and Abkhazians.  The reason the Ukrainians cheered on the Russian invasion was because for days they watched on television as Ossetian civilians were shelled and bombed by Georgian forces.  Imagine the American Air Force and army, bombing and shelling an American city, say Houston or Atlanta, and you get the idea.  Even the Georgians I spoke with were embarrassed by what their government had done.

For days the Russians watched and did nothing.  Hoping that by moving troops to the border they could get the Georgians to stop the slaughter.  When the Georgian army moved to block a tunnel leading into the region, a tactical move which would have blocked any hope of Russian rescue, the Russian forces finally acted and invaded, ending the attacks on the population of the troubled region.

Now, the American news media has long sense abandoned any pretence at serious, objective news gathering.  The budgets are limited.  They have to find news where they already have a bureau close by with cameras and staff.  The point is that they simply didn’t have the interest or the money to get into Ossetia to show the destruction by the Georgians.   We missed that part.  What we got were the Russian tanks rolling in afterwards.  Ahhh, what theatre.  It was October, the same month that they had rolled into Budapest in 1956.  We thought we knew this story.

But the world is a different place today.  And if we haven’t figured that out in the United States yet, they surely have in the old former Soviet Union.  Communism is dead.  But leadership is not.  Russian Premier Putin is a man of action.  People and governments may massacre each other with impunity all over Africa and nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.  But not on Russia’s border.  That won’t be allowed.  And the whole region, except for Georgia, which got its hand caught in the cookie jar this time, is grateful.

There is a bumper sticker on cars in the Ukraine, the country our television experts told us was next on the Russian list of invasions.  The slogan says…. “loan us your Putin.”  Frustrated by a resurgence of street crime, deteriorating infrastructure and general disorder Ukrainians don’t want a reunion with Russia but they wouldn’t mind borrowing a leader for a few years to get things back on track.

Here are some YouTube stories that offer the other side of the story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE1WNJOfnHY

Laughing Georgian soldiers shooting up South Ossetia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu8DrIRsrKU

A visiting American gets caught in the middle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLoBckWl-dg

Even though trying to be supportive of the Georgians, a Fox TV reporter is suddenly shot at by Georgian troops.  The Fox reporter tries to explain why this has happened so we will understand and not blame them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEYEVoRa8K8&feature=related

Fox TV cuts their own story on Georgian attack that traps girl now safe in San Francisco.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lptVAbw5oos

Of course, you can find sensational video on all sides of this issue.  In any conflict, once the killing starts, reprisals follow.  But the thing to keep in mind is the date of each incident.  Who started the shelling and bombing and when and why?  What was the provocation or justification?

And the point that Congressman Ron Paul is making is sound.  American involvement in these conflicts does not make us safer.  It not only makes the world more dangerous, it makes us hated by millions of new people who might have been our friends.  And it is all costing us billions of dollars which we are borrowing from China.

Даг Вид

6 Responses to Russia and Georgia: Ron Paul is right again

  1. davide7 says:

    I was in Moscow in 1985 when the Soviets were in power and the situation with the United States was tense. I got a chance to listen to the news on the radio, and could not believe the distortions and lies! When I got back to America, I felt like kissing the ground. But that was almost 30 years ago. Now the American news has lost all pretense of objectivity and has become like the old Soviet stations. Thanks, Doug Wead, for the truthfulness in your reports. I am a Huckabee man, but appreciate honesty wherever I can find it!

  2. rodolforr1 says:

    Mr. Wead:

    As a fellow evangelical, I am encouraged by your support of Ron Paul. Your support encouraged me during the presidential primaries–a time of isolation for any Christian who dared to oppose Huckabee. (I am a law student at Liberty University in Lynchburg–the heart of Huckabee land)

    That said, the point of this post is two fold:

    1) In anticipation of your next blog entry on how Ron Paul can win the White House, i was hoping you would address what the Dr. needs to do to gain greater support in the evangelical community. I am particular considered with this issue given Mr. Huckabee was recently in town [again]: http://www.newsadvance.com/lna/news/local/article/huckabee_signs_books_in_the_burg/11262/

    Support for him exists (I see it here), but he needs to cultivate it. As i see it, his major problems with the community: a) most evangelicals are Zionists (bad eschatology, in my humble opinion), b) most reject federalism on social issues, c) most are enamored by Palin or Huckabee. How does Paul mitigate these issues?

    Although he will never gain majority support among evangelicals (in my opinion), I think he could pick up a large share if he 1) reaches a detente with evangelical leaders (i think this is the best he can hope for with them) , and 2) reaches out directly to the evangelical community. He would have to start doing this ASAP.

    2) The other reason for this post, I am president of a student club at the law school. We are interested in having you come speak to us. How might one go about inviting you for a speaking engagement?

  3. jwinthrop says:

    True journalism is not dead. As you can see right here. It has moved to the net.

  4. raleyb says:

    @rodolforr1

    I supported Huckabee and still believe he is a great man and would bring much change to our government. I am leaning heavily now toward Ron Paul as I believe we need change of the most drastic nature- a return to our constitutional roots.

    Maybe Ron Paul should embrace Huckabee and Palin. One of the two would make a great running mate. Can you imagine the force of evangelicals paired with Libertarians. Both Paul and either of these two are pro life- which is a huge key. They both would both support free markets. They both would support big reductions in government. I believe both Huckabee and Palin could be persuaded on foreign policy and they are already on the same page about abolishing the IRS. I’m sure that abolishing the FED and the Education department could be common goals as well.

  5. rodolforr1 says:

    @ raleyb:

    Yes, Huckabee is a good man with good intentions. However, his support for the Iraq War tells me he does not oppose the liberal interventionist foreign policy of George Bush, the neocons, and the Republicrat parties.

    As for Palin, again I think she is a good lady, but the fact that she failed to dissent from McCain on support for the War tells me she is also comfortable the liberal nation building foreign policy of the Republicrat establishment.

    With Palin and Huckabee’s support for interventionism, it is hard to see how Paul could support them–as he is an ardent and principled “America First” noninterventionist. I do not see how he could support Huck or Palin unless they made a 360 on foreign policy. After all, Ron Paul’s primary appeal for most (at least the 20-somethings like me) was his commitment to a noninterventionist and non-nation building foreign policy. So there is no way he could or would abandon his foreign policy positions to support them.

    As for Pailin or Huckabee, changing their minds on foreign policy is unlikely. Not only is it hard for a politician to get away with totally chaining his/her mind on an issue (unless you are Mitt Romney or McCain), but they have no political incentive to do so. Their main base of support comes from evangelicals. Most evangelicals support an interventionism foreign policy due to their support of the Jewish state. (A side note, I am an evangelical, but a noninterventionist who thinks Israel can take care of itself without American intervention). If either were to reinvent themselves as a noninterventionist–which by definition means not meddling in the internal affairs of other nations (you know, doing unto other nations as we would have them do unto our nation), including Israel!–Palin and Huck would alienate their base–not a smart move for them.

    Therefore, mutual support among the three is impossible. They only way they it could happen is if someone changed their position on foreign policy–but none has any incentive to do so.

    Given Ron Paul’s opposition to interventionism, I do not believe he can win majority evangelical support. This is why the best he can hope for is to pick some of them off. He probably could get those of us who don’t like the idea of perpetual war (and there are many noninterventionist among our ranks—despite the fact that many of our leaders do not share this view). In addition, he could pick off some of the more libertarian branches of the evangelical community–like the home-schoolers.

    My personal hope is that both Pain and Huckabee run in the Republican primary. This way the interventionist evangelical vote will split between them. A split of this sort would render any support Ron Paul gets from evangelicals as very meaningful.

  6. rodolforr1 says:

    @ raleyb:

    To clarify my comments above, Although I don’t think Paul could get majority evangelical support in a Republican Primary, no doubt, however, he could get their support in a presidential election–after all we always “come home” (to our great determinant , in my opinion).

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