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Cheney accuses Russia of using brute force, intimidation over Georgia

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Tensions between Russia and the United States over Georgia intensified Saturday with Vice President Dick Cheney casting Moscow as a brutal regime that aims to recapture its Soviet-era dominance.

In the U.S. administration's most hawkish remarks since Russia's five-day war with Georgia last month, Cheney reminded the West of its "responsibilities" and criticized Russia for its "chain of aggressive moves."

Cheney's tough talk came hours after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that Moscow was a "force to be reckoned with," as tensions between Russia and the West soared to heights unseen since the Cold War.

Medvedev accused the United States of rearming Georgia under the guise of humanitarian aid, after Friday's arrival of the U.S. Navy's Mediterranean flagship at a key Georgian port close to where Russian troops are patrolling.

"I wonder how they would like it if we sent humanitarian assistance using our navy to countries of the Caribbean that have suffered from the recent hurricanes," Medvedev said.

Moscow has questioned why Washington chose one of its most sophisticated warships, the USS Mount Whitney, to transport aid to Poti. The vessel is the floating command post for the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet, based in Italy.

Since bombing the Black Sea port last month during the conflict with Georgia, Russia has stationed troops at checkpoints near the town and conducted patrols in the town.

The U.S. State Department rejects Russian criticism, saying the Mount Whitney was carrying only humanitarian assistance including blankets, juice, diapers and hygiene products.

At a meeting of top officials at the Kremlin, Medvedev was more assertive than ever. "Russia is a state that has to be reckoned with from now on," he said.

"We have lived a moment of truth.... The world changed after August 8 this year," he said, referring to the date Russian troops entered Georgia at the start of its conflict with Georgia over the separatist province of South Ossetia.

Cheney, meanwhile, rallied NATO countries to unite in the face of the Russian threat and accused Moscow of defying its responsibilities under a French-brokered ceasefire agreement.

"Though aware of these responsibilities, Russia has yet to meet them. Indeed, it has taken the opposite course, by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states," Cheney said.

The vice president was in Italy fresh from a tour of former Soviet republics and U.S. allies in the region including Georgia, where he promised $1 billion in aid.

The standoff between Russia and the West over the Georgia crisis has been sharpened by the arrival of several foreign military vessels in the Black Sea -- a deployment that Russia sees as intimidation.

Medvedev on Saturday described the aid deliveries to Georgia as "political pressure" being exerted on Russia by the West.

RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed Russian intelligence officer saying there now were a total of seven military ships belonging to Germany, Poland, Spain and United States in the Black Sea.

Western countries have called on Russia to withdraw its remaining troops from Georgia immediately and have condemned Moscow's decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel province of Georgia.

EU foreign ministers meeting in the southern French city of Avignon on Saturday called for an international inquiry into the conflict and the rapid deployment of an EU observer mission to Georgia.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the main player in Europe's diplomatic efforts, travels to Moscow and Tbilisi on Monday to push for the full implementation of the peace plan signed by Moscow and Tbilisi last month.

He will be accompanied by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner revealed that "a translation problem" had apparently contributed to differences in interpreting the Sarkozy-brokered peace plan.

Kouchner was asked in Avignon what was behind the interpretation difficulties which concern the key issue of what Russia calls "buffer zones" around South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"The translation, as always," Koucher replied, referring to the document that was signed in French, then translated into English and Russian.

The main glitch involved a passage in the Russian version that spoke of security "for South Ossetia and Abkhazia" -- whereas the English version spoke of security "in" the two areas.

The wording matters because it refers to "buffer zones" that Russia has created in undisputed Georgian territory -- zones that Moscow says it must hold in order to keep Georgian forces from threatening the breakaway provinces.

© Wire reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Well, I am personally accusing Dick Cheney of lying, deceit, corruption, war-crimes, crimes against humanity and being a particularly lousy shot with a 12-gauge!

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Jealousy rears its ugly head.

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The problem is Russia wasn't brutal enough. If they'd followed the Bush-Cheney model, Russia would have fabricated a reason to attack Georgia, then the would have bombed the capital city for several days. Next they would have invaded the country in its entirety, but not done anything to maintain law and order (the looting) as international law requires. Then they would have had a nationwide manhunt for the leadership, subjected them to show trial and finally - executed them behind closed doors. Oh, add to that mass imprisonment of civilians, with torture. That would have been a measured use of force in Cheney's eyes.

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Cheney is doing a fantastic job ensuring peace prevails in the region.

McCain will also deal with Russia with strength.

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McCain will also deal with Russia with strength.

It is that kind of tough talk that worries us. In case you forgot, we are involved in a two front conflict so short on troops we are extending tours of duty in an unprecedented manner, annoying what troops we have. Tough talk at this point would be rather empty. Best to try some diplomacy first.

And as bebert points out, the hypocrisy stinks to the high heavens. But what he left out was that it was Georgia, our so-called allies, that renewed the violence completely without necessesity. The people of S.Ossetia have a right to independence, just like everybody. It was Georgia that tried to ruin that, like a guy that beats his wife when she asks for a divorce. How can any true American take Georgia's side? Only the side of S. Ossetia matters.

But rather than view this as stupidity, it might be extremely clever, in a greedy/evil sort of way. I think both sides would just love a renewed cold war. Cheney would because as he leaves the White House, his business connections and finances will no longer be viewed as conflict of interest. He will be free to profit from whatever he does today. The Russians remember the cold war with fondness. They were called a superpower back then. Putin would love to lead that Russia.

--Cirroc

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CavemanLawyer- We must not shirk from our responsibility to protect our allies.

If Russia respects force, we can goddam impress them with overwhelming force.

Russia better stop its bullying tactics right now. Not only is the US losing patience, but the rest of the free world.

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CavemanLawyer- We must not shirk from our responsibility to protect our allies.

Step one is to protect them from themselves. They need to accept the independence of S. Ossetia. If they cannot do that then they can fight alone. One who will not see the value and importance of self-determination is no friend of mine. It was not that long ago the Georgians were in the exact same boat. And now they cannot understand others wanting indepedence? With allies like these, you don't need enemies.

--Cirroc

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CavemanLawyer- We must proceed in a matter in which our leaders deem to be morally correct.

Our foreign policy uses diplomatic and military methods to gain our objectives. We must interfere at times to prevent massacres.

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The vice president was in Italy fresh from a tour of former Soviet republics and U.S. allies in the region including Georgia, where he promised $1 billion in aid.

That one billion in aid would be much better spent on developing alternatives to oil. To accomplish that would, overnight, destroy Russia's source of wealth with which to wage war. Currently Russia's combined oil and gas output exceeds that of Saudi Arabia and the dough is rolling into Moscow's coffers. But the prospects to convert hydrocarbon wealth into a diversified industrial base are not promising (though given Putin's success in reversing Russia's fortunes we shouldn't give him the chance).

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Colclink

we can goddam impress them with overwhelming force

So by your reasoning I could debate you with a punch in the face.

Um you might want to check up on the army we have before you spout off about the army we wish we had. Remember Russia hasn't put their next 3 generations in dept chasing boogi men in the wrong friggin country.

You talk the talk but are you willing to lace up and march on Russia or are you going to hide behind your mouse and talk smack while someone else's kid does the dieing for you and your parties idiotic rhetoric.

Also by your reasoning we get to pick and choose our allies when WE see fit. Yup sounds like the last 8 years to me.

I heard deadeye dick was planing on moving to Dubai, OOOOOOOOOh that's right that's the new tax haven for haliburton how quaint.

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DXXJP; I am as willing as the next man to protect my country and freedoms.

Russia fighting the US would be like the Ruskies shooting with BB guns while we hammer them with pinpoint air nd missle strikes.

The Russian military is using old equipment, badly maintained and an army with low morale.

They can only pick on small countirs, they couldn`t even win in Afghanistan, when they were more powerfull.

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You really think going against a broke US army wouldn't raise moral. Antiquated huh?? Um how many times has Russia sent astronauts to the space station because our own space agency couldn't keep from blowing them up.

You have no Idea what they possess, Im sure they have as good as pinpoint accuracy as we do. Just look at how well we hit UBL, afgan, and Iraqi civilians..

DXXJP; I am as willing as the next man to protect my country and freedoms.

Would that be like sarge hiding out in Yokohama holding a JT pep rally.

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Russia is all mouth, but no action. We can handle them, no problem.

They are just an irritant, a spoilt brat craving attention.

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President Bush performed with honor in the military and Dick Cheney was allowed to continue his studies, so he did not have to sign up.

Kim, could be the next on the list with McCain in power. He will certainly have a much more aggressive stance towards threats than Bush.

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Kim, could be the next on the list with McCain in power. He will certainly have a much more aggressive stance towards threats than Bush.

Are you sure that? How much more aggressive? Just for case when the Armageddon happens...

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This isn't even a debate you have zero answers for anything. You say honor but the facts say skipped out. Ah yes deferment dick can you tell me how many times he pulled that. While your looking that up can you also give any fact to your version of whats going on in Georgia.

Kim, could be the next on the list with McCain in power. He will certainly have a much more aggressive stance towards threats than Bush.

So by your own admission this means four more years of the same rhetoric and disasters from Washington.

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sdf crew member- I trust McCain to follow the best course for protecting our nation and our allies.

If that entailed regime change in North Korea, i would support McCain and the military totally.

North Korea do not have the means yet, to launch a nuke missile, maybe they can soon, can we dare wait?

Russia, N Korea and Iran are are main security concerns at present.

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You really think going against a broke US army wouldn't raise moral.

Russia's problems go deeper than morale that needs a boost by trying to take on the Big Bad Yankee. It has a birthrate in alarming decline (Putin sponsors huge rallies - like the Nazis did - to encourage young Russians to have kids) and though relatively prosperous Russian males have the shortest life spans among the industrialized nations.

Is Georgia the start of a new Cold War or imperial Russia's last whimper? By 2050 it is estimated that Russia's armed forces, like the general population, will be predominantly Mohammedan.

Communist rule ended, but it was a prolonged disaster of seventy years, and still taking its toll.

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DXXJP; I agree with maintaining the current administrations stance towards foreign policy.

Russia is trying to Annex parts of Georgia, as part of a new policy of Soviet styled land grabs, and planting puppet leaders.

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and planting puppet leaders

Maybe they got that from dubyas play book you know like in Iraq with malarkey.

I agree with maintaining the current administrations stance towards foreign policy.

Ill tell you what there are very few people that still want any part of that. So Ill tell you what you and your future generations can cover the expense accrued from this disaster, including any tax to me or my kids. It isn't right, it wasn't right, and its left the US a shambles and shell of what a great country it used to be.

I just can't believe how in just 8 short years the dubya and dead eye dick have done more harm to the world, the US, and the people that put them in power, and yet we still have people like you that think this is the best path to prosperity. And when its all said and done they give them selves a mulligan and just walk away.

No thanks, had enough.

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CavemanLawyer- We must proceed in a matter in which our leaders deem to be morally correct.

Not a quote from me, but to me. Please use a comma instead of a hyphen.

Anyway, the quote belongs to a person who belongs more in a dictatorship than a democracy. I am not just going to sit back and shut up and leave it to the head guy's decision of what is morally correct. I will debate it and hope for a consensus. I may be wasting my time hoping, but I am not going to just let go of it, no. That would be lazy and irresponsible and certainly lead to authoritarianism if we are not there already.

As I have been saying over and over, the only morally correct side to take is the side of S. Ossetia and the innocent Georgians and S. Ossetians that got in the way of first Georgia's government's brute force and then later, Russia's.

We must interfere at times to prevent massacres.

Sure, I got no problem with that. But the massacre is already over. Russia stopped. We must chastize them for the over-reaction. But punish? Only if it will prevent another massacre. But it won't. Only universal recognition of the independence of S. Ossetia will do that. The Russians won't hit Georgia again IF the Georgians don't hit them or S. Ossetia. It is really as simple making the Georgians accept the fact that the S. Ossetians no longer wish to be the wife of Georgia, and violence won't change her mind.

Or do you back wife beating husbands when the wife wants a divorce?

--Cirroc

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North Korea do not have the means yet, to launch a nuke missile, maybe they can soon, can we dare wait?

Hm, N.Korea has more urgent business - not to starve to death. Hardly, it's a threat to anyone besides itself.

I mean if the next team in Washington will be more aggressive than Cheney is as you stated hence the chances of funny games kinda "search for WMD", "removing oppressive regime" and other equally amusing stuff in places like Iran or, if madness prevails, Russia are rising.

Russia, N Korea and Iran are are main security concerns at present.

Military expenditures:

Iran - 2.5%, Russia - 3.9%, and the winner with 4.06% guess who? :) Not impressed? Ok. Let's talk about absolute values of fore mentioned digits. :))

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Col. America, I presume you do not live in Japan, where the prevailing winds are northwesterly. Perhaps you can sit in your armchair and punch the button in safety and comfort, but the fallout won't be limited to just millions of innocent people in North Korea. Putin stood up to the oligarchs that were stripping Russia's assets, and he improved life for the average Russian citizen. Ten years ago, you could say the army was demoralized--the whole country was! But not now. With a lot of trigger-happy people in America in power, including Mr. Cheney, and with religious zealots pushing for Armageddon, I fear a nuclear war is just a matter of time, with fatalities in the millions or billions and even people in armchairs affected in some meaningful way.

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The US can talk nothing but nonsense these days, via it's so-called leaders. This scares most of the posters on here to death, hence the utter nonsense they post. They are scared little children who can do nothing, nor would do nothing, if any of the countries they say they would 'take a tough stance' against actually posed any threat.

The US supported Georgia in attacking another state; Russia retaliates, then suddenly you have draft-dodger number one saying war should be waged. Do you get this, Righties? Your own number one and number two (and I mean that in the toilet sense) have waged more wars than most governments in history, but REFUSED to go fight themselves when called to duty.

How do you feel about Cheney moving to the ME when he's done screwing up your country? Must really, really hurt. But as always, you'll just stick fingers in your ears and sing la-la-la.

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smith, the wingers are ashamed of their president and the vice as they should be. mccain certainly is as he did not allow cheney to even come to the repub convention or speak remotely. We all know what a failure the last eight yeers have been, even those you mention above.

russia has pulled the iraq invasion playbook out for their own little oil play. bush-cheney have zero moral authority and the world knows it.

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What a joke. America has no room to lecture anyone. They want to mind their own business.

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ColAmerica,

I think you have chosen a poor example when you point out that Russia couldn't even win in Afghanistan.

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Bwahaha, the US is accusing someone of using brute force! My irony meter just exploded!

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Pot calling kettle black...

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The U.S. State Department rejects Russian criticism, saying the Mount Whitney was carrying only humanitarian assistance including blankets, juice, diapers and hygiene products

Sounds like in desert storm, when sadam had chemical weapons facilities clearly marked as "baby milk factories"

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They can only pick on small countirs, they couldn`t even win in Afghanistan, when they were more powerfull.

Just like the US - among the 20+ 'small' countries they attacked/invaded/bombed after WWII none had a real airforce and they couldn't even win in Vietnam, when they were more powerful.

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GROWL!!! Georgia is good!!! GROWL!!!

GROWL!!! Russia is bad!!! GROWL!!!

GROWL!!! Georgia has our support!!! GROWL!!!

I'm glad that dick cheney is in Georgia. American's are safer from his hunting mishaps. The American Legion can hear truths from other arenas.

Where is the truth that Georgia attacked South Ossetia first?

Georgia can keep dick cheney for....ever.

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< :-)

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Pat Buchanan hit the nail on the head when he asked, in his syndicated column:

John McCain may declare, "We are all Georgians now!" — but, are Americans, or Europeans, truly willing to go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia to keep Joseph Stalin's birthplace under a regime led by an erratic hothead who launched what may be the dumbest war in history, which he lost within 24 hours?

Moreover, he points out the status of other commitments:

In Afghanistan, the Taliban move closer to Kabul as hardly a day goes by without U.S. armed forces being charged with the accidental killing of Afghan women and children. Is this even a winnable war, after seven years of fighting? And, if so, at what cost?

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Oh great Betzee... I ask you.... what is the proper way to win a war? Hey maybe a friendly or not so friendly poker game!! Or good old European style with a friendly soccer match.... whoops bad example. people die in those things too.

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what is the proper way to win a war?

Legally it's over when the enemy surrenders; hence the obvious problem in fighting insurgencies, specifically how do you know when you've won? Nobody's ever answered that......

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Perhaps some of my recent posts have been unduly influenced by a recent re-viewing of Groundhog Day. Though released back in 1993, it was quite prophetic in presenting a world in which the members of our overtaxed volunteer army keep waking up in the same Middle Eastern sandbox while the folks back home, oblivious to the outside world, hang out at the shopping mall. The Russians know exactly what they can get away with under these circumstances.

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Them Russian and Americans are as bad as each other, causing trouble around the world. Strewth, look after your own people and leave everyone else alone.

I think Dick Cheney is an idiot, he likes war.

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My concern here, George, is that if the US and Russia go to war it will invalidate the "no two countries with McDonalds ever fought a war" hypothesis. I have invested a great of intellectual capital in sustaining it, and can't bear the thought of being proven wrong.

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Betzee,

What about Argentina and the UK? Or did Buenos Aires fall to the Golden Arches only after the Falklands?

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SezWho,

I don't know at what point Argentina's economy went into the toilet. Before that, however, it was under military dictatorship. Not that it would preclude McDonalds from setting up shop, but it may have been unattractive for other reasons (for example, inability to assure quality control of product when under pressure to use local food inputs).

What the hypothesis is really testing, as Tom Friedman explains, is whether there is a tip-over point at which a country, by integrating with the global economy, opening itself up to foreign investment and empowering its consumers, permanently restricts its capacity for troublemaking and promotes gradual democratization and widening peace.

It's quite relevant to this situation owing to the widely shared assumption that nobody will bite the hand which feeds them and therefore economic globalization provides a good check against armed conflict. But Putin has turned off the gas to Ukraine and it's become clear that he might well do the same to Western Europe (despite the loss of profits).

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Sez,

The McDonalds hypothesis, formulated in the 1990s, very much reflects thinking at that time, namely we can remake the world through economic integration. Get everyone into the WTO and we're assured peace.

The events of 9/11 swept all that out the door and was replaced by the neoconservative view, which found voice in the GWB administration, that we could remake the world through the use of military force. Afghanistan and Iraq were intended to demonstrate that. Instead, well, we don't need to go there....

A resurgent Russia, where a good deal of the private economy is in the hands of criminal syndicates, challenges both of these already battered views and may well force the US to find yet another way to look at the world (and our ability to influence developments within it).

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Betzee,

I think I always understood the McDonald's hypothesis, but I don't think I ever trusted it. The WTO would be powerless without a serious enforcement arm. I think this is the same problem that plagues the UN.

As I see it, peace is never assured, but the best chance for it is via world government. For the last century the spur to US military force has been the fear that some sort of "-ism" is going to be that form of government, whether communism, socialism or islamic fundamentalism. I think we have a countervailing notion that if we can just all be democracies that we'll get along fine without world government--which, I think, is not true.

Economics may not be a zero-sum game but on the way to net world gains if a community of democracies does not quickly bring greater parity, that community will fail. On the other hand, if it does bring greater parity, wealthy nations will comparatively suffer in the balancing process. Nations that have robust militaries will seek to delay the pace of change or stop it all together. And this will be an incentive for war.

The US has no current intention of placing itself in an inferior position to a world government. Most people in the US, it seems to me, have been indoctrinated into the notion that such a state of affairs is unthinkable. They are not even willing to work toward that as a conceptual goal. There is this notion that we are number 1 and must stay number 1 and that is a formula for disaster.

It seems to me that soft diplomacy would have been the better way to handle Russia. But after the fall of the Soviet Union, first Clinton then Bush basically tried to isolate Russia by expanding NATO--all the while pretending to court it with the G7. The idea seems to me to have been curtailment of the strength that Russia has exerted in nearby countries for many centuries. That was probably as big a mistake as it would have been to try to teach China about the meaning of civilization.

In any event, Cheney accuses Russia of using brute force against a neighbor. There apparently is an exemption in this doctrine for Israel, or for our many transgressions in Central America and Cuba--or maybe the key is that brute force is OK if you don't use it on a neighbor. Intellectually, Cheney's remarks strike me as nonsense.

I'm not sure of what your remark about Russian criminal syndicates is apropos. More cynically, I'm not sure what we mean by criminal or if there is not a necessary relationship between money and criminality:

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties

Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise

-Bob Dylan

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SezWho,

Thank you for your detailed response. Broadly speaking, where one stands on Russia's actions reflects who you think violated the status quo. Was it the US, putting in missile shields and attempting to get Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO, or Russia's disproportionate response to Georgia's ill-advised provocation? Moscow used reports of ethnic Russian civilians being killed and ethnically cleansed in South Ossetia to defend its actions to the world, asserting "R2P" or the "Responsibility to Protect."

I'm of the view that governments behave in ways they think they can get away with. Russia thinks it can withstand international criticism to accomplish its objectives, again whether they constitute legitimate defense needs or reflect the behavior of an aggressive, rising hegemon is a matter of dispute.

There is this notion that we are number 1 and must stay number 1 and that is a formula for disaster.

This view is associated with Paul Wolfowitz in particular. But the fact we appear to be losing ground in Afghanistan, after seven years, and our gains in Iraq are "fragile and reversible" according to Petreaus, probably emboldened Moscow.

I'm not sure of what your remark about Russian criminal syndicates is apropos. More cynically, I'm not sure what we mean by criminal or if there is not a necessary relationship between money and criminality:

I wasn't referring to crony capitalism but the activities of organized criminal groups engaged in sophisticated counterfeiting operations.

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I thought this article, paragraph pasted in below, to be a good synopsis of the situation:

The war in Georgia...is Russia's public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened—it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase in Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. This conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on Russian cooperation. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last fifteen years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified. Whether the US and its allies can mount a coherent response has now become a central question of Western foreign policy.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21772

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Cheney says the the Russians use brute force. Does that mean the Georgians were shooting "love bullets" when they fired the first shots?

--Cirroc

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Cheney accuses Russia of using brute force, intimidation over Georgia.

Somebody slap the snot right out of cheney. The brute force that Russia used was nothing compared to what the US used against Iraq. < :-)

Moderator: Iraq is not relevant to this discussion.

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adaydream, when the pot calls the kettle black, at least the kettle can claim it was actually attacked before lashing out. Dick "pot" Cheney does even have that much!

--Cirroc

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It seems to me that when one country (the country of the first part) accuses another country (the country of the second part) of a series of aggressive moves, then the aggressive moves of the country of the first part are quite relevant to the discussion.

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Cheney accuses Russia?. . .I fail to fathom how a War Criminal can accuse anyone of anything.

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