It struck me Friday as I was watching our Chief Executive watch the athletes' parade into the Olympic stadium in Beijing that this may be the salient feature of this administration. Long after the feeble attempts at despotism, the torture, the costly and interminable wars started with no strategic objectives and prosecuted with no geopolitical plans, the corruption and the lies are forgotten I am convinced that what people will remember about Dubya and his bobos are their incompetence. That these people are just plain bad at running a modern state; not just bad but bad in the way a New Guinea headhunter would be bad at piloting a 737.This almost preternatural incompetence is on display right now in the Caucasus, where our old "ally", Russia, (the one where George looked into his buddy Vladi Putin's heart and found him to be Russia's Tom Jefferson, remember?) is pounding the piss out of our "new" "ally", Georgia over a place called "South Ossetia".
Our relationship with Georgia is a textbook Bush foreign policy fuckup. Here's a place that's basically a kleptocracy, marginally stable with a lot of "failed state" characteristics perched perilously in the ex-Soviet "near abroad", the southern and southeastern rind of Caucasian and Central Asian states ravished by the Russians in the mid- to late-19th Century that as Soviets and now as "Russians" again the rulers in Moscow wish to retain or regain. Its leader, a man named Saakashvili, appears to be almost as incompetent as his pal Dubya, and this is NOT a part of the world where its good to be a fool.
The fool appears to have tried to take advantage of Putin's visit to Beijing and the traditional Russian August holiday to move a conventional force into South Ossetia, a former-Soviet, former-Georgian, semi-criminal entity that has been defying him for some time.
This MIGHT have worked, in the same way that Dubya's Middle East wars "worked", if it had been done intelligently AND if the West and the U.S. had been willing to carry Saakashvili's water. It wasn't, they/we weren't, and now Georgia is in serious trouble. They have pulled their brigade from Diyala Province in Iraq (a fairly troublesome loss to MNF-I), they look to get hammered perhaps even to the point of capitulation and reabsorbtion into Russia, and they are loudly and publicly blaming us for their problems.
And, frankly, they have a point.
An administration run by adults would have treated these guys like a party girl with open sores. We have no real influence with the Russians, particularly in their former Soviet near abroad, and should have made this clear to the Georgians. We also should have reminded them that while they can make kissy-kissy with the eagle they sleep in the cave with the bear: the smart thing to do is NOT slap the bear in the nuts if you can't kill it.
But no: we've been feeding these guys military advisors and political support. If we knew that they were going to try a South Ossetian coup de main (and given the U.S. Army Georgian advisory mission my guess is that either a) we did, and didn't get the word out in time or b) we didn't and as such being further proof that our Central Asian intelligence couldn't find an elephant if it was in the room with them pissing on their heads) and we didn't immediately advise them of what a bad idea that was we were kidding either ourelves or them or both. My guess is that we did know - but because of their willingness to be "The Willing" (as in coalition of) we let them slide; just another example of the Bushies fucking "phony war on terror" blinders forcing us into dumb geopolitical postures to advance this idiotic crusade. There was a Children's Crusade; can we call this the "Crusade of the Childishly Stupid"?
Anyway, the handwriting looks like its on the wall; our Georgian "ally" is going down hard and is going to publicly blame this Administration for a Vietnam- or 1956 Hungarian-style desertion. We will have pointlessly antagonized the Russians, made our other Central Allies nervous, and have spent a little more economic and political capital for nothing.It's worth recalling that history isn't kind to even well-intentioned losers, never mind venal, egotistic, delusional losers. Stalin is a nightmare out of history; a murderous, savage animal - but nobody looks at Stalin and pities him in the condescendng way we look at Kerensky. Mao is another of history's horrors, but no one looks at him with his millions of victims and shakes his head ruefully with the comment "What a fucking tool, what a dumbass loser, what a maroon..." the way we think of his old enemy Chang Kai-shek.
Napoleon strides through the early Nineteenth Century like a bloodyhanded butcher and a tyrant, and yet we respect him in a way we don't his predecessor Louis XVI, whose combination of arrogance and ignorance managed to lose him a dynasty and a nation in less than twenty years.
It'd be enough to make you laugh if it wasn't enough to make you weep.
Anyway, at this rate Dubya is going to be lucky if he ends up remembered as a lesser fool than Nicky Romanov, Maximilian of Mexico or our own James Buchanan.And, of course, the really unlucky ones are the rest of us; the "little people" who will pay with our youth, our hopes or our lives for his foolery.
Update 8/11: Apparently the poor fools in Georgia thought that Dubya was Iron Man:
"In other news, the Georgians appear to be displeased at the lack of a more forceful American response. This, as much as anything, gives an indication as to what Georgia thought it was buying with its Iraq deployment: As a Russian jet bombed fields around his village, Djimali Avago, a Georgian farmer, asked me: “Why won’t America and Nato help us? If they won’t help us now, why did we help them in Iraq?”Because you can fool some of the people all of the time...