25 August 2008

The sad fact of the matter is that, like Georgia, NATO has also been roundly defeated

Charles Krauthammer:

Read the first five paragraphs of the NATO statement on the Russian invasion of Georgia and you will find not a hint of who invaded whom. The statement is almost comically evenhanded. "We deplore all loss of life," it declared, as if deploring a bus accident. And, it "expressed its grave concern over the situation in Georgia." Situation, mind you.
It's not until paragraph six that NATO, a 26-nation alliance with 900 million people and nearly half of world GDP, unsheathes its mighty sword, boldly declaring "Russian military action" — not aggression, not invasion, not even incursion, but "action" — to be "inconsistent with its peacekeeping role."
Having launched a fearsome tautology Moscow's way, what further action does the Greatest Alliance of All Time take? Cancels the next NATO-Russia Council meeting.
That's it. No dissolution of the G-8 (group of industrial democracies). No blocking of Russian entry to the World Trade Organization. No suspension of participation in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (15 miles from the Georgian border). No statement of support for the Saakashvili government.
Remember: At issue is not military action, only measures — painless for the West — that would significantly affect Russia. In Soviet days, Russia didn't care because it was at the center of a self-enclosed autarkic system that included 15 Soviet republics, all of Eastern Europe and a collection of overseas colonies. With these all gone, post-Soviet Russia is infinitely more dependent on the international system. It has political/economic pressure points. Yet with Georgia occupied, its infrastructure stripped and its capital under siege, NATO pushed not one of them.
Russia has buttons which could be pushed to advantage. NATO, formed – among others – for the purpose of “keeping the Russians out”, according to its first Secretary-General, Lord Ismay, doesn’t bother brushing the dust off the buttons, much less pressing the buttons. An aspiring NATO member (and U.S. ally) is invaded and the an-attack-on-one-is-an-attack-on-all alliance does nothing. Well, that makes a little bit of sense when you take into account France and Germany’s opposition to Georgian membership on the grounds (naturally!) that it might anger Russia. Good heavens, we certainly don't want that.

As I observed in the previous posting, the end game of war is the submission of your enemy to your will, by defeating him physically, by destroying his military forces or by defeating him morally, by destroying his will to fight. Usually, one has to do both. Occasionally one has really to do neither; for occasionally one’s enemy, regardless how well-armed, simply has no will to fight. That’s NATO a “26-nation alliance with 900 million people and nearly half of world GDP”: heavily armed, but no will to fight.

No will to fight, even non-militarily; submission to the enemy’s will; and all without a shot fired – looks like a defeat to me. A bloody, bloody defeat.


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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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