An article in The Times credits French President Nicolas Sarkozy as having saved the “family jewels” of the President of Georgia. It would seem that the Russian Strongman Putin still harbors some hard feelings toward his Georgian neighbor. Having failed to take Georgia fast enough to avoid the fallout of world opinion, Mr. Putin now contents himself with fantasies in the aftermath of his botched invasion. His rhetoric is fiery and his intentions are clear; given a clear shot at President Saakashvili; Putin will have his revenge and break the democratic state of Georgia and kill its President. Consider the following from story from The Times:
Aide to France’s Sarkozy Reveals Putin Wanted to Hang Georgian President ‘By the …’
Thursday , November 13, 2008
Nicolas Sarkozy saved the President of Georgia from a threat by Vladimir Putin to depose him from power and “hang him by the balls,” according to an account that emerged today from the Elysée Palace.
The Russian Prime Minister told the French President of his plans for deposing the Tbilisi government and disposing of President Saakashvili when the French leader was in Moscow last August to broker a cease-fire in Georgia.
Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic adviser, reported the exchange in a magazine today ahead of an EU-Russia summit in Nice Friday chaired by the French leader and President Medvedev.
With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on Aug. 12, Sarkozy told Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia, Levitte said.
“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Putin replied.
Sarkozy responded: “Hang him?”
“Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein,” Putin said.
Sarkozy replied, using the familiar “tu”: “Yes but do you want to end up like (President) Bush?”
Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah, you have scored a point there.”
President Mikhail Saakashvili, who was in Paris to meet Sarkozy Thursday, laughed nervously when a French radio station read him the exchange. “I knew about this scene, but not all the details. It’s funny, all the same,” said the Georgian President.
Putin’s reported remarks appear to confirm that he was calling the shots in Moscow and not President Medvedev, who was Sarkozy’s host at the Kremlin meeting.
While the situation in Georgia remains stable the Russian Strongman has no intention of taking this setback as a permanent situation. There will come a day when Putin and his thugs march into Georgia by invasion or trickery, but they will be back. Georgia is just the beginning and if the majority of the Soviet Empire is not reconstituted in the next few years I’ll be very surprised.
These democratic states stand essentially alone and NATO has turned a blind eye to their plight. The cold war is back with a vengeance and the cold war rhetoric will be with us until Putin has the Soviet Empire back intact. The Lesson of Georgia is primarily one of public relations and speed of conquest and I would expect to see great improvements in Russia’s next adventures.
The Russian economy has taken a fearful pounding as the world settles into a deep dark recession if not a depression but Putin knows that the key is still oil. He who controls the oil will control the world and the Georgian Pipeline won’t remain Georgian for long. Putin will come at surrounding states sideways, crossways and any way but directly as he learns to intimidate his neighbors into an alliance they don’t want while managing world public opinion that is already inclined to ignore his conquests as long as he doesn’t make a mess and concurs quietly. Once he figures it out, once he makes sure that NATO can all ways point to some threadbare face-saving excuse to ignore Russian aggression, and then Putin will have his empire and move on to the next phase of his ambitions.
The Georgia conflict is on hold but it’s far from over….