Thursday, August 9, 2018

Whatever happened to Condoleezza Rice? Not much.

By Henry Cabot Lodge
Diplomatic Editor

Whatever happened to Condoleezza Rice, no one has ever asked.  You may remember her as the Bush Whisperer who watched football games with clueless W. whilst his evil henchmen lied us into a bloody war in Iraq that resulted in thousands of dead and wounded Americans, not to mention hundreds of thousands of casualties suffered by the surprisingly ungrateful Iraqi civilians.  You may also remember that she stood by helplessly throughout the entire pre-war process, despite the fact that she was only – [checks notes] – the National Security Adviser, charged with superintendence of all military and diplomatic business.

Anyway, to her credit, she's been largely silent since she disappeared from public life, distinguishing her from renegade Bush coatholders, apologists, and flacks who have now reinvented themselves as anti-U Bum scolds (Hi, Ana, David, Billy, Steve, Nicolle and Max!) and even the valiant few who still dispense the same creaky prevarications in an increasingly desperate attempt to prop up Weekend Bernie, or as it is more formally known, the Republican Party, like Marc.

Georgia is still on Condoleezza Rice's mind (or conscience)
But the strain of not saying dumb sh** was apparently getting to her, because she deployed her considerable skills at confabulation in today's Washington Post, to defend one of the smaller catastrophes on her watch: the abandonment of Georgia, which gave Vlad the Invader the idea that he could seize pieces of other countries with impunity.

We know that you don't give af about a little republic in the Caucasus Mountains, but as it was one of the three places in the world W. could go without fear of receiving a barrage of shoes, the Republicans were fond of it.  Vlad, who doesn't seem to regard the breakup of the former USSR as irrevocable, had snatched two pieces of it via his little green men: Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  W., preoccupied with lavishing the benefits of democracy, in the form of an Iran-backed Shiite theocracy, on the surviving populace of Iraq, did nothing.

Recently Robert Kagan, one of the old Iraq war hellhounds, reminded us what happened:
Ten years ago this week, Vladimir Putin struck one of the first major blows when he sent Russian forces into South Ossetia in neighboring Georgia in support of Russian-backed separatists. The Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, fearing a full-blown invasion, ordered his troops to attack, thus springing Putin’s trap. Using the Georgian attack as a pretext, Putin launched that full-blown invasion, with tens of thousands of troops, fighter aircraft and elements of the Black Sea Fleet all pre-positioned and ready to move the instant Saakashvili acted.
The five-day Russo-Georgian war was ostensibly fought over disputed territories, but Putin’s real purpose was geopolitical. Georgia, like other former Soviet satellites and republics, was seeking to integrate into the West economically and politically, and to gain Western protection from Moscow. Fearing Putin’s reaction, NATO that spring had refused to offer Georgia even a road map to membership in the alliance, but Putin moved anyway — to punish the Georgians, to warn others and to send a clear message to the West. Russia was going to reassert its hegemony by force.
The West’s response bordered on indifference. The administration of George W. Bush, which had championed Georgia’s appeal for NATO membership, wanted little to do with the crisis. . . .
Bush did not even levy sanctions. The United States provided humanitarian assistance but refused Georgian requests for military equipment. Bush let French President Nicolas Sarkozy negotiate the cease-fire, and Sarkozy . . . made a deal that left Russian troops on Georgian territory, where they remain today. Just as the British and French blamed the Czechs for provoking Hitler in the 1930s, Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blamed Saakashvili for “letting the Russians provoke him,” even while acknowledging that the attack was “premeditated.”
The recitation of this sad history (omitting the fact that with the United States hopelessly bogged down in a useless war in Iraq it had no military forces available to offer the beleaguered Georgians or threaten U Bum's BFF) was too much for the ordinarily pliant Ms. Rice.

Her pained response confirmed every point of the original column: the US had acquiesced in the Russian seizure of Georgian territory, she told Georgia that the US would not lift a single drone to protect the Georgians from Russian aggression, and the Georgians should just be glad that the Russians only wanted the Sudetenland and not the whole enchilada.

She concluded her stirring defense of Bush Administration inaction and ineptitude thusly:
We could not deter Moscow in this case. But we did act, and Georgia survived. It is still a sad story — and perhaps Putin did take the wrong lessons from it.
That's your best defense?

Fortunately the rest of us can take better lessons from it.  First, neither Ms. Rice nor any other W. henchman or Iraq warmonger should ever be allowed to take a responsible position relating to the formation and execution of US foreign policy.  Second, the next time Republicans tell you that Putin is our friend or that we should fritter away our military strength and international credibility in a war against a country that presents no real threat to the United States (like Iran), we should tell them to go paint their toes and leave international affairs to the adults.

Third, for a failed integrity-free W. minion and Iraq War prevaricator, Condoleezza Rice is a hell of a a piano player.

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