Daniel Larison is not going to publish my comments to his articles--and that is OK--I understand an emotional struggle of the person and American patriot when faced with the fact that US foreign, so called, "policy" does not exist as a coherent and competent set of objectives. Or that the US foreign policy establishment is mostly a bunch of badly educated (not to be mistaken with "degrees") hacks--nobody is going to like that, especially coming from some Russian dude. Yet, today, on the 9th anniversary of Russo-Georgian War of 08-08-08, he definitely almost nailed it in appropriate tone and substance.
Will Ruger noticed that Pence repeated the pledge to bring Georgia into NATO during his visit there last week:Pence stated, “President Trump and the United States stand firmly behind the 2008 NATO Bucharest statement which made it clear that Georgia will, someday, become a member.”Since this week marks the ninth anniversary of the August 2008 war, it is worth remembering that the commitment made at the Bucharest summit earlier that year significantly added to the tensions between Russia and Georgia. If it had been up to George W. Bush, Georgia and Ukraine would have both received Membership Action Plans, but even the promise of future membership was dangerously provocative. Promising that Georgia would one day become a member of the alliance alarmed Moscow and gave false encouragement to the Georgian government.Combined with other expressions of U.S. support for Georgia during the Bush years, this commitment by the alliance led then-President Saakashvili to believe that the U.S. and other Western powers would come to Georgia’s aid in the event of a conflict. He recklessly escalated the low-level conflict in South Ossetia and triggered a war with Russia by shelling Tskhinvali, where Russian troops were stationed in a supposed “peacekeeping” role. That attack provided Russia with the pretext to invade. The rhetorical support for Georgia proved to be meaningless, and the war drove home how big of a liability Georgia would be as an ally.As a result of the war, Russia recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, thus making their reintegration into Georgia much less likely than it was before the war. If Georgia’s NATO aspirations were fanciful before the 2008 war, they became preposterous after it. Reviving talk of Georgia’s future NATO membership today is irresponsible and dangerous. It is also cruel to keep giving Georgia more false encouragement that it will be able to join the alliance at some point. It isn’t going to happen, and it does no one any good to keep pretending otherwise.
This is also how American foreign policy real realism should sound (or read). Even if to discount a jab at real Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia--once one remembers what Georgians did to Ossetians in 1991-92, including ethnic cleansing--one will lose any desire for trying to be "cute" or be a "supposed expert". But as it is, this piece is good enough, especially in pointing out a huge role the US played in unleashing that war (have this war had anything to do with John "We are all Georgians now" McCain's campaign of 2008? Wink-wink)--the fact long ago denied by "establishment". E.g. Condi Rice, in fact, insisted that she warned Saakashvili not to make any stupid moves.
But that war had other huge meaning--it showed how serious combined arms operations never went away, it also gave some glimpse of Russia's military might which simply, for all problems of Russian Armed Forces then, obliterated Georgian Army in less than 5 days. It also drew the first red line for the US and many didn't like it--the countdown to a massive global power re-balancing began then. Well, to be more precise, from Putin's Munich speech, but close enough--two events are actually closely related.