Friday, August 8, 2008

You Tell 'em McCain... On Second thought

So it appears that a border dispute over South Ossetia has broken out between Georgia and Russia. Honestly this doesn't really bother me and I can find very few reasons why anyone in the U.S. should care. True, Georgia is a somewhat firm U.S. ally but does that mean anything consequential? What should the U.S. position on this conflict be? I would hope that it would be something along the lines of:

Good luck with whatever your issues are, don't let this spread beyond the two of you.

Of course, no such luck. My favorite quote comes from Sen. McCain:

"Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave."

Interesting. Not only does McCain feel comfortable giving orders (considering that his knowledge of the South Ossetian conflict likely comes from nothing more than a few minutes worth of briefings), but then has the audacity to suggest to these two warring states "what is most critical." I tend to think that Georgia and Russia have some ideas as to what is critical, that is after all why they are fighting in the first place. Not that Sen. Obama is much better. The Senator from Arizona isn't done yet though, as he goes on to suggest that the very stability of Europe is at risk. Seriously?

First of all, what business of the Senator McCain's is it to involve himself in what is essentially a border dispute? There is very little risk of this spreading, unless of course other nations recklessly, arrogantly, or needlessly insert themselves into this conflict.

Secondly, is Europe really threatened by this? This is a region of the world that has dealt with localized and not-so-localized conflicts for more than two millenia. Is there any reason to think that this will be any different or any worse? In short, no. 

Georgia and Russia have an issue and it's not one that concerns most of the rest of the world. It is a private issue between them and it will reach resolution without our meddling. One side will win and one side will lose, built up tension will be released, people will surely die, and maps will likely need to be redrawn. Or we could try to maintain "the stability" of the region and watch this issue flare up for rest of eternity or descend into chaos as tends to happen whenever the international community gets its collective panties in a knot about something.

And so this is the issue at hand: Does the U.S. have anything at stake in this conflict worth (an oil pipeline seems to be about it) the potential risk of involving ourselves in it? Is it appropriate for a potential president to be so casual in his decrees and condemnations concerning the seriousness of this issue to both Georgia and Russia? Should we even bother with attempts at mediation and U.N. resolutions considering how regularly they are simply ignored?

Considering the limited risk to the U.S. and Europe, why not simply allow this conflict the hash itself out and we can console the loser with a nice U.N. resolution after the fact? Why not indeed...

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