Pat Buchanan is pitching isolationism and I don’t buy it. The beginning of the column comes from a book he just wrote which argues that the 2 World Wars were unnecessary – as he believes that Iraq was – he asks:
If the United States intends to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and arm them to fight Russia, why should Russia not dissolve the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe and move her tank armies into Belarus and up to the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania?
If that happens, it means that Russia does not acknowledge the end of the Soviet Union – over which we engaged in a long Cold War over – I’m sure Pat’s next book will explain how unnecessary that was – I love the guy on MSNBC, but he’s found a niche and is milking it big time – the niche is that ‘he’s the real conservative and conservatives don’t believe the world is perfect so the US should not be trying to fix the world’s problems
But the essence of conservatism is that we practice the politics of reality – the US’s reality is that of sole superpower – the fact that conflicts start over non-grand themes or just mistakes is unfortunate but not new or even avoidable – they begin, they exist and the US’s options are to act or acquiesce – I prefer that we act.
For a different perspective on what to do in Georgia – here’s the Economist:
This new Russian imperialism is bad news for all its neighbours. Mr Saakashvili is an impetuous nationalist who has lately tarnished his democratic credentials. His venture into South Ossetia was foolish and possibly criminal. But, unlike Mr Putin, he has led his country in a broadly democratic direction, curbed corruption and presided over rapid economic growth that has not relied, as Russia’s mostly does, on high oil and gas prices. America’s George Bush was right, if rather slow, to declare on August 11th that it was unacceptable in the 21st century for Russia to have invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and to threaten a democratically elected government.Yet the hard truth, for Georgians and others, is that pleas for military backing from the West in any confrontation with Russia are unlikely to be heeded. The Americans gave Mr Saakashvili token help when they transported Georgian troops home from Iraq (where 2,000 of them made up the third-largest allied contingent). And they have now sent in humanitarian aid in military aircraft and ships. But nobody is willing to risk a wider war with Russia over its claimed near-abroad. Among Russia’s immediate neighbours, only the Baltic states, which slipped into NATO when Russia was weak, can claim such protection.
That does not mean the West should do nothing in response to Russia’s aggression against Georgia. On the contrary, it still has influence over the Russians, who remain surprisingly sensitive about their international image. That is why Western leaders must make quite clear their outrage over the invasion and continued bombing of Georgia. Few have done that so far; the Italians and Germans in particular have been shamefully silent.
Above all, the West must make plain to Mr Putin that Russia’s invasion of Georgia means an end to business as usual, even if it continues to work with him on issues such as Iran. America has already cancelled some military exercises with Russia. America and the Europeans should ensure that Russia is not let into more international clubs, such as the Paris-based OECD or the World Trade Organisation. Now would also be an appropriate time to strengthen the rich-country G7, which excludes Russia, at the expense of the G8, which includes it.