Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Master Bungler – GW Bush

President Clinton left his office without US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He left a terrorist problem which was ignored by GWB until the Jihadists smashed the Twin Towers in NYC and ripped a deadly hole in the Pentagon. Incredibly he permitted Venezuelan Chavez to spawn major problems for the US in its own back yard. All these issues present long-term problems for the next administration, but his fumbling of the diplomatic ball with Russia may be his most ominous blunder; Russia is a nuclear power and rich on petrol rubles. And as recently demonstrated in Georgia, it is prepared to play hardball long term without blinking.

Bush's locker room, frat-rat approach to happy-clap political appointees may work with gullible Republicans, but this conduct misjudges most Europeans who regard it as childish, and lacking of dignity. Bouncing his Russian KBG pal Putin in a pickup truck on rough country roads at Rancho Crawford did not score points. Home on The Range is not an Old European concept. Even his wife Laura is looking for a civilized place to live after his pending departure from the White House. It is not in Crawford Texas.

Clinton passed a Russian diplomatic account to Bush that was, in the main, stable. Neocons wanted early on to interfere in Chechnya on the side of the rebels, but Bush stopped that after being bit by 9/11. Neocons were upset by Putin, because he recovered major Russian industrial and natural resources, assets sold to international Jewish entrepreneurs by the drunken Yeltsin. Putin was ruthless in the re-acquisition process. US had no dog in that internal fight, but the neocons apparently did. They advocated policies advanced by phony democracy arguments that antagonized Russia; it foolishly damaged relations and brought little security to the US.

During this period GWB was trying to reassure our nation and himself that Putin was manageable; Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes – believed he knew Putin had a good soul. How wacko can one be? As best I can reckon, the soulful relationship between Bush and Putin fell apart with the invasion of the sovereign country of Iraq. Russia was owed billions by Saddam. Russia, as the did former Soviet Union, made expensive strategic bets on Saddam; the US invasion ended this. It was a great Russian loss. Russia turned to Syria and Iran as enhanced client states in the region. This was in clear opposition to US policies and interests.

Both of these Islamic states consider Israel as a number one enemy. This of course made the Israeli-first Neocons go berserk. The Neocons with VEEP Cheney took GWB on a bums-rush, anti-Russian ride. A challenged Bush never knew what hit him. Bush and simple Condoleezza were soon flogging the dreadful book by Russian Refusnik Natan Scharansky who now lived in Israel where most considered him a nut case – Bush and Rice actually pitifully tried to sell his book holding it up for reporters. Scharansky's thesis, if carried in extremis, would destroy the world in the name of Democracy. Bush awarded the cretin the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Scharansky got the medal, more royalties on a 10-year old moribund book, and a cream pie in his face when he lectured at an American University. This is the same medal Bush awarded to losers Bremer and Tenet as well as Generals Franks and Pace. By honoring these failures, he degraded the medal to such a degree that it now can be passed out in CRACKER JACK boxes as trinkets.

Neocon pressure on Russia took the form of enlisting Eastern European States into NATO. It worked in the Baltic states, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The US plays against former Soviet republics such as the Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia have not worked out. In the case of Poland and the Czech Republic, both countries agreed to host ballistic missile components – against strong Russian opposition.

It is uncertain whether these mutual defense pacts are useful in the age of nuclear weapons. Realistically, no American is willing to risk destruction of NYC to save Warsaw or Prague. All the Russians need to do is what they did in Georgia: just advance in strength on the ground into a contiguous area. As far as US ballistic missile defense sites so near the Russian border, those installations most likely will be sabotaged or neutralized well in advance of a nuclear strike.

These new American allies have bought the US more responsibilities, more vulnerabilities and greater risk of war. As far as our new NATO chums, they now get to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the bodies come home, second thoughts will settle in; for example: Polish tombstones reading THIS HERO DIED FOR NATO instead of for God and fatherland will be unsettling. Historically too many Poles have already died fighting on foreign battle fields under Napoleonic and Allied leadership.

While Bush enhanced NATO and used its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Putin was busy elsewhere. He crushed the insurgents in Chechnya; paid off international debts; eliminated effectiveness of domestic political opposition; spent over 80 billion on remodeling his armed forces; developed pacts with China that supplied military equipment and training; and, he sold military equipment to Venezuela that included small arms, airplanes and submarines. Putin now enjoys approximately a 70% approval rate by the Russians while Bush's rate is under 30% by Americans.

Putin is delighted with NATO engaged in Afghanistan. European and American troops are sent into a bloody maw that has no end. Bush bungled badly in Afghanistan by permitting the escape of Taliban Chieftain Omar at Kandahar and Bin Laden at Tora Bora. Iraq war's overwhelming priority permitted the Taliban and al Qaeda to regroup. Now GWB's quest for democracy has undermined Pakistani Musharraf – not a smart move.

The Russian foray into Georgia is an example of how Bush has lost leverage with Russia. Eight years ago the Russians were trying to conform to their post-Soviet period reality and to work with the West; this period has passed mainly due to the exploitation by the West of Russia's weakness. Ironically, Bush's aggressiveness in Iraq and Eastern Europe acted as a spur to Putin to reassert Russia's role in the world.

Russia is back like gang busters. The Russian Army Choir is now singing songs glorifying the Soviet Red Army. Russian BEAR aircraft have returned to shadow US carrier task forces. Asked when the Russians will withdraw from Georgia after the ceasefire, a Russian official responded along the these lines: that the US knows how difficult it is to withdraw from Iraq, so we should understand the Russian difficulties of withdrawal from Georgia as well.

The Russian military advance into Georgia could not have been a surprise to the US. There is no way US intelligence could have missed the massing of Russian forces near the border. It is more likely that Bush was warned but ignored the warning, because he had no effective option unless he risked escalating the military situation. The US had 2000 Georgian troops in Iraq who were returned to Georgia immediately. What price did the US pay for these services? We know at least 130 US military advisors were in Georgia when it was invaded and they were withdrawn immediately. We also know tons of US weapons and ammunition were captured by the Russians.

One surprise was that the Russians permitted the international press to roam around the area of operations. A western reporter asked an enlisted Russian soldier about Russian intentions. He replied that if the Russians were on the US-Mexican border, the Americans would also be concerned and take action. Knowing GWB's proclivity to make the wrong decisions, I am not as certain about this as the Russian soldier – Bush probably would be afraid to take any action that might threaten Mexican illegal immigration. You can expect that once a bungler always a bungler. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

1 Comments:

Anonymous WLindsayWheeler said...

I say, "Goooo Putin!" Good for Russia!

America thumbed its nose at Russia over Kosovo. Russia beseeched America to stop the air war. America rubbed Russia's nose in the dirt. As a Greek American, and knowing Balkan history, the turnover and protection of Albanian muslim terrorists by America and NATO was a great tragedy.

Now the tables are turned---And America, the Neocons, and the Jewish establishment is having its nose rubbed in the dirt---Yeh Russia.

The Georgian invasion is payback for Kosovo! America can go suck its thumb.

22:18  

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