22 August 2008

Obama to South Ossetia: Drop Dead

During an American election campaign, the candidates will exaggerate every difference in their positions to the point that American voters must imagine that Democrats and Republicans come from alien worlds. In such cases, a foreign perspective might be clarifying. So here's Agence France Presse reporting that " Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama staged a rare show of unity with President George W. Bush Thursday by endorsing his approach to the crisis between Georgia and Russia."

Senator Obama says: ""The situation with Russia and Georgia is very serious. This is the first time that Russia has moved into somebody's territory since the collapse of the Soviet Union ... It indicates a new stage in the relationship between Russia and the West. We've got to be firm with the Russians, in alliance with our European allies, that this kind of behavior is intolerable,"

Of course, from a perspective of consistent commitment to national self-determination, Russia had already moved "into somebody's territory" when they suppressed Chechnyan secession. That episode proves Russian hypocrisy in the current episode, just as Kosovo proves American hypocrisy in dismissing South Ossetia's claims.In any event, all you might be able to tell from Obama's remarks are that Russia invaded Georgia for some reason or other, and probably not a good one.

"I'm supportive of what George Bush has been doing," Obama continues, "There will be a time later for politics. I'm a big believer that when you're in a crisis, America speaks with one voice," No wonder, then, that Obama supports Bush, since describing the situation as a "crisis" shows that he's succumbed to the same hysteria that possesses Senator McCain and the neocons. One symptom of the hysteria is a failure to recognize the existence of South Ossetia, not to mention Abkhazia, and as far as AFP reports, those regions got no mention in Obama's talk.

It's reasonable to conclude that the American Bipolarchy has made its opinion clear on the South Ossetian question. For the bipolarchs, the question is: "Are those people even for real?" There'd be nothing automatically wrong about this if American foreign policy was honest about its desire to restrain Russia by all means. Instead, Americans compulsively moralize diplomatic issues and constantly end up looking like hypocrites. Obama has joined the club.

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