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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 15, 2008 / 14 Menachem-Av 5768

Georgia, Israel, and the nature of man

By Caroline B. Glick


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In their statements Wednesday on Russia's invasion of Georgia, both US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly acknowledged that Russia is the aggressor in the war and that the US stands by Georgia.

This is all very nice and well. But what does the fact that it took the US a full five days to issue a clear statement against Russian aggression tell us about the US? What does it say about Georgia and, in a larger sense, about the nature of world affairs?

Russia's blitzkrieg offensive in Georgia this week was not simply an act of aggression against a small, weak democracy. It was an assault against vital Western security interests. Since it achieved independence in 1990, Georgia has been the only obstacle in Russia's path to exerting full control over oil supplies from Central Asia to the West. And now, in the aftermath of Russia's conquest of Georgia, that obstacle has been set aside.

Georgia has several oil and gas pipelines that traverse its territory from Azerbaijan to Turkey, the main one being the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Together they transport more than one percent of global oil supplies from east to west. In response to the Russian invasion, British Petroleum, which owns the pipelines, announced that it will close them.

What this means is that Russia has won. In the future that same oil and gas will either be shipped through Russia, or it will be shipped through Georgia under the benevolent control of Russian "peacekeeping" forces permanently stationed in Gori. The West now has no option other than appeasing Russia if it wishes to receive its oil from the Caucasus.

Russian control of these oil arteries represents as significant a threat to Western strategic interests as Saddam Hussein's conquest of Kuwait and his threat to invade Saudi Arabia in 1990. Like Saddam's aggression then, Russia's takeover of Georgia threatens the stability of the international economy. While Russia's invasion of Georgia is substantively the same as Saddam's attempt to assert control over Persian Gulf oil producers eighteen years ago, what is different is the world's response. Eighteen years ago, the US led a UN-mandated international coalition to defeat Iraq and rollback Saddam's aggression. Today, the West is encouraging Georgia to surrender.

Whether due to exhaustion over the domestic fights about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to dependence on Russian oil supplies, to residual and unjustified belief that Russia will side with the West in a confrontation with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, or to the absence of an easy option for defending Georgia, it is manifestly clear that today, the West is fully willing to accept complete Russian control over oil supplies from Central Asia.

Notwithstanding the strong statements issued Wednesday by Bush and Rice, the West has taken two steps to make its willingness to accept Russia's moves clear. First, there was French President Nicholas Sarkozy's photogenic mediation tour to Moscow and Tbilisi on Tuesday. And second there was the US's response to Sarkozy's shuttle diplomacy on Wednesday.

Sarkozy's mediation efforts signaled nothing less than Europe's abandonment of Georgia. During his visit to Moscow, where he met with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Putin's Charlie McCarthy doll "President" Dmitry Medvedev, Sarkozy agreed to a six-point document setting out the terms of the ceasefire and the basis for "peace" talks to follow. The document's six points included the following principles: The non-use of force; a ceasefire; a guarantee of access to humanitarian aid; the garrisoning of Georgian military forces; the continued deployment of Russian forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and anywhere else they wish to go; and an international discussion of the political status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

As France's *Liberation*'s reporter noted, by agreeing to the document France abandoned the basic premise that Georgia's territorial integrity should be respected by Russia. Moreover, by leaving Russian forces in the country and giving them the right to deploy wherever they deem necessary, Sarkozy effectively accepted Russian control of Georgia. By grounding Georgian forces in their garrisons, (or what is left of them after most of Georgia's major military bases were either destroyed or occupied by Russian forces), Sarkozy's document denies Georgia the right to defend itself from future Russian aggression.

In their appearances Wednesday, both Bush and Rice praised Sarkozy's efforts and Rice explained that the US wishes for France to continue its efforts to mediate between Russia and Georgia. Although both of them insisted that Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected, neither offered any sense of how that is to be accomplished. Neither explained how that aim aligns with the French-mediated ceasefire agreement which gives international backing to Russia's occupation of the country.

The West's response tells us three basic things about the nature of world affairs. First, it teaches us is that "international legitimacy" is determined neither by a state's adherence to international law nor by a state's alliances with great powers. Rather, international legitimacy is determined by the number of divisions a state possesses.

After Russia illegally invaded Georgia, European and American officials as well as Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama hinted that Russia had a legitimate right to invade when they wrongly referred to South Ossetia as "disputed territory." While South Ossetia and Abkhazia are separatist provinces, their sovereignty is not in dispute. They are part of Georgia. Georgia acted legally when it tried to protect its territory from separatist violence last Friday. Russia acted illegally when it invaded. Yet aside from the Georgian government itself, no one has noticed this basic distinction.

"We don't have time now to get into long discussions on blame," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Tuesday.

"We shouldn't make any moral judgments on this war. Stopping the war, that's what we're interested in," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner explained adding, "Don't ask us who's good and who's bad here."

Then there is the fact that Georgia has gone out of its way to liberalize and democratize its society and political system and to be a loyal ally to the US. It sent significant forces to Iraq and Kosovo. Far from returning the favor, in Georgia's hour of need, all the US agreed to do was give Georgian forces a free plane ride home from Iraq. That the administration has no intention of defending its loyal ally was made clear Wednesday afternoon when the Pentagon sharply denied Georgian claims that the US would defend Georgian airports and seaports from Russian aggression.

The Pentagon's blunt denial of any plan to restore Georgian sovereignty was one of the first truly credible statements issued by the US Defense Department on the conflict. It took the US four days to acknowledge Russian aggression beyond South Ossetia. Even as convoys of journalists were shelled, civilian homes were bombed, and Georgian military bases were destroyed by Russian forces in Gori, a Defense Department official said, "We don't see anything that supports [the Russians] are in Gori. I don't know why the Georgians are saying that."

The general lesson that emerges from Washington's claims of ignorance is that reality itself is of no concern for policymakers bent on ignoring it. Through its obvious lies, Washington was able to justify taking no action of any sort against Russia or to speak out in defense of Georgia until after Russia forced Georgia to surrender its sovereignty through the French mediators.

The US and European willingness to let Georgia fall in spite of its strategic importance, in spite of the fact that it has operated strictly within the bounds of international law, and in spite of its obvious ideological affinity and loyalty to them will have enormous repercussions for the West's relations with Ukraine, the Baltic States, Poland and Czech Republic. But its aftershocks will not be limited to Europe. They will reverberate in the Middle East as well. And Israel for one, should take note of what has transpired.

In Israel's early years, with the memory of the Holocaust still fresh in its leaders' minds, Israel founded its strategic posture on an acceptance of the fact that the soft power of international legitimacy, peace treaties, alliances and common interests only matters in the presence of the hard power of military force. People like David Ben Gurion realized that what was unique about the Holocaust was not the allies' willingness to sit by and watch an atrocity unfold but the magnitude of the atrocity they did nothing to stop. Doing nothing to prevent an innocent nation from be destroyed has always been the normal practice of nations.

Yet over time, and particularly after Israel's victory in the 1967 Six Day War, that foundational acceptance of the world as it is was lost. It was first mitigated by Israel's own shock in discovering its power. And it was further obfuscated in the aftermath of the war when the Soviets and the Arabs began promulgating the myth of Israeli aggression. In recent years, the understanding that the only guarantor of Israel's survival is Israel's ability to defeat all of its enemies decisively has been forgotten altogether by most of the country's leaders as well as by its intellectual classes.

Since 1979 and with increasing intensity since 1993, Israeli leaders bent on appeasing everyone from the Egyptians to the Palestinians to the Syrians to the Lebanese have called for Israel's inclusion in NATO, or the deployment of Western forces to its borders or lobbied Washington for a formal strategic alliance. They have claimed that such forces and such treaties will unburden the country of the need to protect itself in the event that our neighbors attack us after we give them the territories necessary to wage war against us.

It has never made any difference to any of these leaders that none of the myriad international forces deployed along our borders have ever protected us. The fact that instead of protecting Israel, they have served as shields behind which our enemies rebuild their forces and then attack us has made no impression. Instead, our leaders have argued that once we figure out the proper form of appeasement everyone will rise to defend us.

If nothing else comes of it, the West's response to the rape of Georgia should end that delusion. Georgia did almost everything right. And like Israel, for its actions it was celebrated in the West with platitudes of enduring friendship and empty promises of alliances which were summarily discarded the moment Russia invaded.

Georgia only made one mistake and for that mistake it will pay an enormous price. As it steadily built alliances, it forgot to build an army. Israel has an army. It has just forgotten why its survival depends on our willingness to use it.

If we are unwilling to use our military to defeat our enemies, we will lose everything. This is the basic enduring truth of international affairs that we have ignored at our peril. No matter what we do, it will always be the case. For this is the nature of world affairs, and the nature of man.


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JWR contributor Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2008, Caroline B. Glick