Friday, August 15, 2008

Mark Ames on Georgia

Mark Ames, one of my favorite writers, has good piece in the Nation last week on the invasion of South Ossetia. He does a good job of providing some of the crucial context that's missing from the media's ebullient celebrations of Georgian nationalism, such as the long history of South Ossetian oppression. He goes a bit overboard, however, in his attacks on McCain, which, while hilarious, ignore Obama's similar response to the fighting. He has, as the Chicago Sun-Times notes, stepped on board the "Blame Russia"* train along with the rest of the ruling class. Even more disturbing is this interview with Obama's main man on foreign policy,Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, in a daring simile never before attempted by a ruling class politician, compared his enemy to Hitler. Brzezinski is an old hat at Russia-bashing, going back to his days in the Carter administration when he helped engineer the bloodbath in Afghanistan in the eighties. Ultimately, while Obama may be immeasurably more well-spoken than his fossilized opponent, he is no less dangerous when it comes to projecting American power.

*To be sure, Russia has imperialist ambitions for Ossetia and ultimately Georgia, but that hardly means the United States does not.

Ames has a newer piece on the Nation that is equally valuable. I particularly like his description of Saakashvili:

While Bush and McCain speak of Saakashvili as if he's a combination of Thomas Jefferson and Nelson Mandela, he's seen by his own people as increasingly authoritarian and unbalanced. Last year, Saakashvili sent in his special forces to violently disperse opposition protesters in the capital city, followed by a declaration of martial law. He sacked the opposition television station (partly owned by Rupert Murdoch), exiled or jailed his political opponents, and stacked the courts with his own judges while removing neutral observers, leaving even onetime neocon cheerleaders like Bruce Jackson and Anne Applebaum feeling queasy. Hardly the image of the "small democratic nation" that everyone today touts.
A good antidote to the know-nothing delusions of that blonde ass-hat on CNN Glenn Beck.