Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Ms. Brooks: Let's You And Him Fight

This week's column from Rosa Brooks takes a hard look at the tragedy unfolding in Georgia and the US role in that tragedy. She quite properly notes the Bush's administration's cynical manipulation of the Georgian government, but the part that interested me more (nothing about the Bush administration's concept of diplomacy is ever very surprising) was the role of Sen. John McCain, the GOP "presumptive" candidate for president.

So where did the Georgians get the silly idea that the U.S. would bail them out?

Maybe from John McCain, Republican heir apparent, whose top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, also just happens to be a highly paid lobbyist for the Georgian government. Whoops -- correction! Scheunemann used to be a highly paid lobbyist for Georgia. The McCain campaign says Scheunemann hasn't taken a dime from the Georgians since May 15. (Which is lucky for the Georgians, who are going to need all the spare cash they can get to rebuild all the stuff the Russians just bombed.)

According to the Washington Post, the relationship between Scheunemann and Georgia used to be very cozy (not to mention lucrative for Scheunemann). Between Jan. 1, 2007, and May 15, 2008, while Scheunemann was also a paid McCain advisor, "Georgia paid his firm $290,000 in lobbying fees."

And what did Georgia get in return? Well, no troops, that's for sure. But they got Scheunemann's (expensive) pledge to garner U.S. support for Georgia's admission to NATO and for its claims to South Ossetia, and his commitment to use his ties to politicians such as McCain to advance Georgia's causes. McCain has sponsored legislation supporting Georgia's claims over South Ossetia, an issue on which he was lobbied by Scheunemann's firm. And as recently as mid-April, Scheunemann was simultaneously taking money from Georgia and actively preparing McCain for supportive calls with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

How foul smelling is that?

Sen. McCain, who touts himself as the Savior of Security for the US, apparently is willing to take on that job for a small republic in the Caucasus, at least for a price, a price that Georgia willingly paid one of McCain's closest advisers. Keep in mind that the good senator's idea of diplomacy, expressed best in his "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran" comment, mirrors that of the current administration: when in doubt, threaten military action and/or go to war. The problem is that our military, exhausted and under-equipped, is tied up right now on two other fronts.

So Mikheil Saakashvili, who was foolish enough to trust two men of questionable integrity, finds Russian tanks parked in Gori and no real plan from the US to dislodge them. How's that for a spot located between a rock and hard place?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not much about the missles in Poland. When bush made the arrangemnet, putin stated opnely that there would be a strong and decisive action taken by Russia. I can name one country where those missles will NOT be parked.

6:01 AM  

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