Aug 22 2008

Israel tries appeasing Russia, too: fruitlessly, of course

Category: appeasement,Europe,freedom,liberty,politics,Russiaharmonicminer @ 8:53 am

Israel didn’t stick to its principles in its response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, hoping to salvage some bit of self-interest, but to no avail.

You have to give Kadima <the ruling party that is almost certain to lose the next election> credit for loyalty: As the Bush administration was destroying any remaining credibility, and undermining its country’s interests, by abandoning a loyal and strategically important ally to Russia’s tender mercies, Israel’s ruling party decided it could not allow its American friends to shoulder the disgrace alone; it, too, should betray Georgia at the expense of its country’s interests. So the minute Russia invaded – just when Georgia needed arms most – Israel, which had hitherto been a prominent Georgian supplier, halted all arms shipments.

One might legitimately ask how this undermined the national interest. After all, Israel desperately needs Russian help on several crucial issues, ranging from Iran’s nuclear program to Hizbullah’s rearmament, and Israel needs Georgian help not at all. Moreover, Russia has made its unhappiness with arms sales to Georgia clear. Thus Kadima seemingly made the correct realpolitik choice.

The problem is that, according to government officials themselves, not only did the country receive no quid pro quo for halting the shipments, but Russia has repeatedly and explicitly declared that it will continue its anti-Israel policies regardless of whether or not Jerusalem sells arms to Georgia. Thus Israel gained nothing by betraying Georgia, while undermining two secondary but still significant interests.

Read it all, and hope that future US policy doesn’t reflect the same mistakes. The motto of the US Marines, “No better friend, no worse enemy”, ought to be true for any democracy supporting another democracy. There cannot be a good end for Russia to believe they can invade neighbors without serious repercussions.

The question is not, “What kind of risks are we willing to accept to defend Georgia’s sovereignty?” The question is, “What are we willing to do to stop Russia from retaking former territory of the Soviet Union, and getting a stranglehold on crucial oil pipelines? What are we willing to do to make sure Russia does not believe another Cold War is to its advantage?

If we do nothing, or take only symbolic action with no real effect on Russia, this will not stop with Georgia.

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