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Friday, November 9

Phew! This rose by any name stinketh!

This is addressed to the U.S. Department of State, which is wrestling with the debacle in Georgia.

Are you happy now? It's no use scurrying to Georgia to express "disappointment" at Saakashvili's Soviet-style repression tactics. And I don't want to hear that the Russians are behind the protests. YOU supported Shevardnadze until he became a liability then YOU instigated a phony "Rose Revolution."

Since the putsch Georgia has been harboring Chechen terrorists. So did you expect Moscow to sit on their hands? Yet it's not only Moscow that's upset with Saakashvili. The World Bank can applaud Saakashvili's anti-corruption drive all they want; the government is still terribly corrupt, 54% of Georgians still live below the poverty line, and Georgians are protesting this. And now Saakashvili has shown his true face. He's another thug.

So what have all your machinations accomplished? Don't put the blame on Brussels. Since when does the European Union run Russia policy for the U.S. Department of State? On second thought better not answer that question but you get my meaning. Just because Brussels is doing something doesn't mean we have to do the same.

You need to acknowledge that everything you're doing to carry on the Cold War is boomeranging. So what is the way out?

The first step is to remove your Cold War blinders once and for all, then study what's happening in Georgia against the backdrop of events in Burma, Pakistan, Venezuela, Iran, China, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.

You need to squarely confront the grave seriousness of Saakashvili's brutal crackdown on opposition parties and Georgia's independent media. You need to do this in the most blunt language and do it publicly.

Forget expressing your "disappointment." You should be speaking of your outrage.

Next, it's late in the day but you need to acknowledge that Russia has a sphere of influence in that part of the world, then act accordingly.

If you are genuinely concerned about the welfare of Georgians and democracy in that country -- as distinct from concern about oil pipelines and your desire to stick it to Russia -- you can engage in diplomacy with Russia when you wish to protest excesses by a government in Georgia. And you can offer concessions to Russia in exchange for their help.
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