Georgia actually initiated the current conflict hoping to use the Olympics as cover to turn back some of the Russian encroachment in the so called break away provinces. This was a political miscalculation of epic proportions. Georgia is finished as an independent democracy and whatever strides they’ve made toward trying to tie their destiny to that of Western Europe is over. While the world watches the Olympics in totalitarian China the Russian Strongman Putin will depose the government of Georgia and install one more to his liking. Openly expressing Pro Western sentiment is now a thing of the past in Georgia as even the Georgians realize that no one in America or Europe will help save them from the mighty Putin. Every former Soviet state will be taking note of what’s going on and preparing to re-assimilate into the new Russian Empire of the 21st Century. The message has been sent loud and clear that the Western Democracies are impotent and fear to intervene. The real winner is Vladimir Putin who will now demonstrate to all former soviet states his version of the audacity of hoping to peel away from Russia.
Besides the Ukraine I would say that the USA is the big loser in this conflict. The Georgians believed in America and that we would save them from the Russians and this dose of reality on the eve of losing their county must be a bitter pill to swallow. When the histories are written it may well be the case that this sacrifice of Georgia will be seen as the first domino that resulted in the full return of former Soviet territory to the new Russian Empire. In a face to face conflict, Bush made a protest and Putin crushed the Georgians sending the most chilling message I can imagine to all the old Soviet states and all of Europe as well. It has long been a common saying among historians that they should have stopped Hitler at Munich and I fear that the same will be said of the rape of Georgia. Any former client state of the USSR can plainly see the extent to which the West will help them and any intelligent leader must conclude that America and NATO are paper tigers. As the subjugation of Georgia continues Putin makes it clear that other countries can either play ball with him or see a repeat of Georgia in their own countries. Russia’s stature is greatly enhanced and that of the United States and Europe is irreparably degraded as the world gets an unforgettable demonstration of New Russian Power. In retrospect Putin will make any nation who had any hopes of western assistance look foolish indeed and this will serve to wet the appetite of Vladimir Putin to further increase his empire and influence.
All vestiges of the pro American democracy in Georgia will be erased in the next few days and we’ll never see its like again. I suspect that NATO will see its application for membership take something of a nose dive in the days to come as people adjust to this clear statement, written in the blood of Georgians, about the consequences of defying Russia as well as the foolhardiness of trusting in the West. This is going to be a huge success for Russia and Putin who will be dealing with the Ukraine soon once Georgia has been made a proper vassal once again. In Germany long ago the United States responded with an airlift that made the Soviets recalculate the wisdom of its ambitions. This time there will be no airlift, not for Georgia, not for the Ukraine, or any other state from the neighborhood. The world is getting a good look at the limits of American power and an equally good look at the audacity of fascism, as practiced in Russia, and just what that might mean for the world. As the Georgia of recent years dissolves, as American investment in Georgia is destroyed, as America cowers in the Shadow of the mighty Putin, the only question remaining is who’s next to rejoin the Russian Federation and will it be bloodless or another display of raw power?