What I haven't heard or read about in regards to Russia's invasion of a sovereign Georgia (admittedly, I've been busy) is an uneasy parallel that could be duplicated.
Critics of the Bush Administration have tried in vain to compare the US action in Iraq to Russia in Georgia, but that is straw man argument. While the US has pledged support to Georgia, we're really in no position to do much - boots on the ground-wise - in defense of the invasion. We can (and should) provide tactical and weapons support to the Georgians to repel or at least give the Russians a damn hard time.
The struggling democracy needs to be supported. Georgia had applied for admittance to NATO, but the European allies were reluctant to annoy Russia by accepting them into the family.
Russia needs to be slapped down, and before they believe they are unstoppable. Along with Georgia, Ukraine - another breakaway republic - has applied to join NATO. Geography makes Ukraine easier to defend than Georgia, and it should be admitted as soon as possible.
The precedent set by Russia's invasion can be mimicked. Whether Russia wants oil, to recapture the former satellite nations in an attempt to rebuild the Soviet Union, or any other reason, they are acting as if they have every right to do as they please.
Would China think the same of Taiwan?
Unlike Georgia, the US not only recognizes the democracy, but has a treaty to defend it. From time to time, China has rattled its sabre by lobbing missiles over the island nation, which it considers its own possession. The US reaction to these tests has generally been reflected by a Naval battle group steaming between the two nations, and little more. Should China decide that Russia's actions are a good idea, they may elect to permanently annex Taiwan. In order to stay true to our treaty, the US will have to react with force, and that is clearly in no ones interest (besides Taiwan's).
Sen. Barrack Obama has had a changing view on the Georgian crisis. He first recommended the UN take action, with a plea for restraint on both sides (as if Georgia was the blame for their invasion). Later on, no doubt after a considerable chat with his 10 score of foreign policy advisers, condemning Russia's actions and a call for a cease-fire (which, reportedly, Russia has ignored).
Sen. John McCain, on the other hand, has taken front stage to condemn Russia and has called for immediate NATO meeting and aid to the region.
We've had a reasonable test of the so-called 3 AM phone call, and the question that voters will have to ask themselves is this: which candidate has demonstrated a better command of the situation?
More important, still: which candidate poses a stronger adversary to nations such as Russia?
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