Update: Dec 9th-
Now it can be said: Dean is Gore's choice!
I've been reading the stories associated with the Georgia coup and frankly, I'm concerned for this reason:
The Bush administration has not been historically adept at diplomatic success.
Allow me to be clearer: They are diplomacy-bunglers.
The world, by and large, is no less than disgusted by the Bush arrogance in matters of international concern.
The Bush administration has, however, been greatly successful at pushing U.S. interests for the cause of the great oil pipeline. (While telling the American people it's all for the cause of "democracy").
"Democracy" actually means the "pipeline" to the President's administration.
Russia is saying that it's becoming clearer, as days pass, that the U.S. played a heavy-hitting role in the Georgian coup.
An article by Jeffrey Donovan from last August in Baku Today Online would support the suspicion.
While I am not at all surprised, I can see where this may be going.
Terror is born when its father, which is the arrogance of western interests, conjoins with the mother, which is Poverty's Voiceless and Powerless Misfortune's children.
The mother of terror, "Powerless Misfortune's" children are not just tramps on the street.
They are often charming, cultured people.
Perhaps not so different from you or me.
What does corruption, greed, and lust for power do to fine and ordinary people?
We weren't supposed to ask those questions after 9-11. The subject seemed taboo.
I think it's high-time we begin a widespread discussion about it.
Now is the time for the most cultured, wise, and compassionate diplomats.
I have lost trust that the Bush administration either has or properly activates well-meaning
diplomatic representatives. General Powell, a decent, loyal and compassionate man in my estimation, has been ill-used.
Will social progress be cast aside for Western gain in the Caucasus region?
When will ordinary Russians and citizens of the Caucasus become terrorists and active
enemies of the American state?
Let's watch as history unfolds before our very eyes.
The Cold War has passed. Russia has become a shadow of the powerful threat she once threateningly
represented to America.
Our leaders tell us that 'Terror' has replaced 'Communism' as the threat to our free existence.
Does anyone, besides me, see that we are creating 'terror' by our great failure as international diplomats?
Some liberals may not willingly give credit to former President Ronald Reagan for any part in the fall of
Communism, but it cannot be said that he was a dangerously radical, arrogant, diplomatic failure.
Ronald Reagan did not create more Communism.
I'm afraid to believe that the Bush administration is creating more terror, yet I must...and I do.
I see it happening in each news story that passes.
What has occurred in Georgia is akin to what George Soros would have desired.
Soros is a man who recently said he would stake his entire fortune if it would ensure a 2004 Bush defeat.
I see this Georgian confluence of interests..Soros and Rumsfeld.. as quite a paradox.
Soros' hope is for social progress.
I cannot trust that the U.S. cares more about social progress than they care about the pipeline.
I wonder if Soros believes what has occurred in Georgia is good, in the long run, for true democracy
in that region. I wonder if his hopes will be dashed. If we elect a new leader in 2004, we may be able to head off tensions and make this a fruitful experience for society as well as capital gain. But right now the Bush administration is at the wheel and I'm greatly concerned. Now is the time for concern as America extends its influence into the Causasus. I recently read an excellent piece by Canadian journalist Mark Ames which caused me to wonder.
In it, McKinnon says:
"....While America considered Milosevic an enemy for years before his ouster, we backed Shevardnadze, dollar-for-voter, more than any leader in the world besides Rabin/Barak/Sharon."
"...Russia still has four military bases in Georgia and control, via proxy, of vast swathes of their territory, not to mention control over Georgia’s energy supplies. Life is not going to be easy for Burdzhanadze and the more popular opposition leader, Harvard-trained Mikhail Saakashvili, who are going to try to move Georgia even more forcefully and rapidly into the West’s orbit. "
"...What’s next? If you take the example of Serbia, then what’s next is this: in about six to nine months, vast disappointment and disillusionment with the Velvet Revolution will set in. Burdzhanadze will be too weak to control the brutal politics, and Saakashvili, a nationalist who at one time was compared to Zhirinovsky (not apt, but he’s definitely a populist), will find that the struggle to maintain and expand his powers will take up all of his energies and enmesh him into all the ugly tactics used by his predecessors: corruption, corruption and more corruption. "
"....America, will focus exclusively on securing the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. All aid, all choices of whom to support, will rest on that oil pipeline, even if it means propping up another round of corruption and increasingly unpopular leaders. And the Russians will do all they can to make the Americans’ cronies’ job as difficult as possible."
"...In the end, as always, it will be the Georgian people—the most charming, proud, cultured people in Europe, in my opinion—who lose out. "
When the proud, charming, cultured people are the ones who "lose out" through greed and power-grab,
what is left to win?
Mark Ames' "Exile" Article About James Baker's Odd Diplomatic Role in the Geogia Coup
A new U.S. Military Mission to Georgia?
Who's Who in the Georgia Coup
Q & A: The Georgia Coup
Greg Palast: Baker Takes the Loaf-President's Business Partner Slices Up Iraq
Last May, it seemed that we were headed toward "victory" in Iraq and this is how Stratfor.com viewed Russia in
the perspective of Caucasus politics and the E.U. ..the potential superpower-to-be.
Consider how that "victory" has turned to sorrowful failure for the U.S. to date...along with our great slip in international credibility and respect.
Russia and U.S. spar in Allah's Mountains
"....as the US continues to assimilate worldwide humanitarian endeavors to its imperial ambitions, the heavy hitters of the NGO establishment are preening for another round of mediagenic self-celebration at the upcoming World Social Forum. Suggested new slogan: "Another Coup is Possible."
"The United States has followed its successful regime change in the strategic Caucasian nation of Georgia with a series of moves aimed at pressing its advantage over its major rival in the region, Russia."
Arms made in Caucasus feared sold to terrorists
The issue of Abkhazia-think about the need for U.S. diplomacy with Russia and Turkey.....then think about Iraq and its Turkey-related diplomatic implications.
Regarding Abkhazia, now is the time for the greatest diplomatic care.
Donald Rumsfeld is no diplomat.
James Baker is an influential Texas money-man whose interests are transparent.
The U.S. Supreme Court may have been impressed with him in Florida 2000, but the Middle-East may
not be quite as convinced. Baker will be a strong-arm...not a diplomat.
Brenda Shaffer of Harvard University's Caspian Studies Program, while saying it's right for Rumsfled to attend to the Caucasus, suggests that Washington's best strategy for pursuing its interests would be to undertake "joint, vigorous action with Russia to resolve conflicts that afflict the region." (Note: "Joint and vigorous does not mean causing more tensions with Russia).
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a vicious war over Nagorno-Karabakh and a post-independence civil war in Georgia led to the "de facto secession" of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
These conflicts deserve attention, as a renewal of violence would hinder economic and social progress
throughout the Caucasus.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Note: The U.S. is not the only stock market which will benefit greatly from the new, improved Georgia.
Sumitomo Corp. has recently won a contract to produce steel pipe for the natural gas pipeline that will connect Azerbaijan and Turkey in a deal estimated to be worth just under 20 billion yen (US$185 million). The order for the pipe was placed by South Caucasus Pipeline Co., which constructs and operates pipelines and consists of firms such as BP and the government-owned State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan. This contract would be the biggest deal won by a Japanese company for the construction of steel pipe in the Commonwealth of Independent States region.
The U.S. markets are showing renewed investor confidence this week--and if you don't see the Georgia-connection, I implore you to think carefully about it.
My question...will our renewed investor-confidence eventually cause us to be riding over the rights
of Georgian citizens?
Do we care, as long as our richest get fatter?
Our President has shown, through his economic and foreign policies, that his chosen route to success and "freedom" is
enriching the richest among us. That's no assumption on my part..the Administration has made no secret of it.
When do we start thinking about the moral implications for our own countrymen as well as the people of the rest of this world? When will we finally see the results of our nation's "ethical policy" decisions and their eventual ties to the birth of terror?
Diplomats: Let's talk.