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May 10, 2009



"...we ought to contemplate our own nuclear disarmament."

Interestingly, Obama has mentioned something about that.

"Why should anyone be our ally if we backstab our allies like this?"

Why she we be allies to people who like to write large checks with our names on them? Saddam discovered that his opposition to Iran didn't mean we'd just let him invade Kuwait, nor did we allow the UK, France and Israel to take the Suez Canal from Egypt in '55. Saakashvili did something foolish, and Israel has been irresponsible*, so there's limits to how far we'll back them.

*Yes, as have the Palestinians, but there's a critical difference between the situation of Palestinian voters and Israeli ones.

Nathan Smith

Whether Saakashvili ordered Georgian troops into Tskhinvali on August 7th, 2008 prior to Russian movements of troops through the Roki Tunnel will probably never be known. It doesn't really matter, though. First, that Georgia acted under extreme Russian provocation-- Ossetian mercenaries had been firing on Georgian troops for weeks-- is not disputed. Second, Russia's response, and the transparent motivation of humiliating a US ally and stirring up nationalist sentiment at home, make the issue moot. If we take Russia's word about everything, the maximum appropriate response would still have been only to move Russian troops in, not to slice off a piece of Georgian territory. The correct characterization of the Russia-Georgia war, regardless of whether certain disputed events on the Georgian side occurred, is that it was to all effects and purposes an act of unprovoked and naked aggression on the part of Russia, whose purpose was to intimidate countries in the former Soviet space from seeking alliance with the West. Obama is helping Russia to achieve its imperialist and illiberal goals.

As for Israel, I agree that Israel has behaved and continues to behave badly in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon. But that has nothing to do with the nuclear issue. Bush was right to endorse a two-state solution in Palestine. But Israel's nukes were never going to be used against the Palestinians. They would be used against regional enemies whose intention would be to exterminate Israel.

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