Not So Peaceful

The Russians appear to have a loose definition of the cease-fire terms in Georgia, so Bush is sending in troops to deliver humanitarian aid. As the New York Times tells it, there’s a lot of loose talk going around. From our side, we get this:

On a day when the White House evoked emotional memories of the cold war, a senior Pentagon official said the relief effort was intended “to show to Russia that we can come to the aid of a European ally, and that we can do it at will, whenever and wherever we want.” 

And this:

“This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it,” [Secretary of State Rice] said. “Things have changed.”

From the Russians, this:

Asked whether Mr. Bush’s relief mission made him nervous, he scoffed. “What can the Americans do to us?” [Gen. Vyacheslav Nicolayevich of the Pskov Airborne Division] said. “A big country like Russia doesn’t fear America.”

Oh, great. First, given where Georgia is and the condition and present commitments of our forces, we can’t do anything “at will.” On the flip, the good general might ask his air counterparts what they’d think about tangling with a passel of F-22s. 

Registan is mortified and thinks we’re on the brink. That’s just panic talking. Bush knows that at the end of the day, there’s no public or Congressional support for battle. He is, or should be, trying to find some way to get the Russians to calm down a little. An aid mission strikes a nice balance. The supporting public and private commentary from the administration doesn’t.

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