We Can’t Let Russia Get Away With It

I’ve deliberately refrained from commenting on Russia’s assault on Georgia in the last few days because it seemed difficult to add anything beyond the obvious…

* Russia engineered this entire conflict and was waging a war of aggression against a small, democratic state and ally of the US in hopes of intimidating them and the whole region.

* Georgia is not a member of NATO and was therefore, not entitled to any military support from the West during this attack.

* This should prove once again, without a shadow of a doubt, how hapless the United Nations is. Not only did it do nothing of significance during the crisis, one of the primary bad actors on the world scene and the villain in this case, Russia, sits on the UN Security Council.

* We shouldn’t let Russia get away with this.

Towards that last bullet point, National Review has some excellent suggestions about how the West should respond to Russia’s provocation (which thankfully may be drawing to a close),

In the long term, however, America and its allies must demonstrate that Russia has lost more than it gained from this conflict. One first step must be for the U.S. to agree with its NATO allies to confirm an offer of NATO membership for both Georgia and Ukraine. Poland, the Baltic states, and other central European countries are already calling for an emergency NATO summit that might issue such a declaration. Only Germany seems to stand in the way of such a decision — and the Germans should be told firmly that their opposition to Georgia membership earlier this year encouraged the siloviki to mount this attack. Time for them to forget Rapallo once and for all, and join the rest of the West in resisting the re-emergence of the USSR.

Second, we should ask Poland and the Czech Republic to hold any necessary referendums on installing a missile defense system to be held at once — and campaign on the argument that Russia has just shown that it cannot be trusted to be a good international neighbor. Such a victory would lose the Kremlin far more than it gained in the Caucasus.

Third, once the fighting has definitively stopped, the U.S. should offer a generous rebuilding program in Georgia — to be carried out, in part, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That is one piece of social work that the Pentagon should relish.

It’s now the West, not Russia, that is under the spotlight.

Russia has just used its military to intimidate a small democratic state on their borders. Unless we make them pay a price for it, other nations will learn the wrong lesson from our fecklessness, and we will see more of this same behavior in the future from Russia and from other nations.

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