Friday, August 15, 2008

Orwell Alive and Well in Georgia

President Bush spoke in the Rose Garden today, and uttered perhaps the most consecutive laughably-false phrases the world has ever known. As I've said before, one of the overarching themes of American foreign policy is the inability to see that actions carried out by others are in fact mirror images of our own, which leads to our leaders making ridiculous statements condemning common occurrences in American foreign policy without the slightest realization or self-awareness. The Russian response in South Ossetia presented a rare opportunity for the long-dormant Cold Warriors to exhibit Pavlovian responses at the slightest of stimuli, making common sense and rational thought two of the first casualties.

For his part, President Bush assures us that "bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century," hoping, I assume, that no one will point to the bullying and intimidation employed in Iraq, Afghanistan and currently Iran. Quite the contrary of Bush's statement, his foreign policy rests almost entirely on bullying and intimidation, as every nation can be placed in the "with us or against us" category.

Bush also states, "the Cold War is over. The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us." This said as the US signs a deal with Poland for a missile defense shield, to compliment the deal already signed with the Czech Republic, and works feverishly to accept Georgia into NATO despite the lackadaisical efforts at democratization undertaken by the former Soviet satellite. Far from signaling the Cold War is over, the US has been intent since the withdrawal from the ABM early in Bush's presidency to be the only country allowed to pursue it. The only possible interpretation of Bush's statement is "only the US shall be allowed a sphere of influence, and Russia will like it."

Thus, the same country that spawned the Monroe Doctrine and its Wilson Corollary expects the Russians to sit idly by and accept the build up of American arms along its borders. The Russian leaders would not be fulfilling their obligations to the Russian population if they did so, and the US, of all countries, should realize that.

Georgia is just another in a long line of US allies that are less democratic in practice than they appear in American foreign policy rhetoric. Saakashvili has shut down media organs and political affiliations opposed to his governance, sometimes violently. While the US would be quick to point out such shortcomings in Tehran, Georgia is necessary to built the US's sphere of influence around Russia and they are therefore swept under the proverbial rug. The US has no objective stance on democracy, it is but one more hobby horse used to advance its agenda because the target audience has their own view of the word in their head, precluding the US from having to settle on an objective definition.

There is perhaps no country more ill-suited to deliver a lecture of this kind to Russia in the current state of the world. Bush may speak out against bullying and intimidation, but it would be immensely difficult to find two words that better defined his own foreign policy. Rather than exhibiting good moral standing, Bush's prose is an exercise in Orwellian fantasy and ludicrous hypocrisy.


Missile Defense: Rehabbing the Cold War
, July 13
Reaping What We've Sown, August 12
Georgia vs. Kosovo, August 9

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Awesome blog, great write up, thank you!