Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA): Bush Policy on Russia and Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2008
3:00 PM

CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020;
or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

 
Bush Policy on Russia and Georgia
 
WASHINGTON - August 13 - The New York Times reports today: "The United States took a series of steps that emboldened Georgia: sending advisers to build up the Georgian military, including an exercise last month with more than 1,000 American troops; pressing hard to bring Georgia into the NATO orbit..." Neither President Bush this morning nor Secretary of State Rice yesterday took questions following their comments.


FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle is author of Breaking All The Rules and Destroying World Order. He said today: "It is curious but not surprising how the Bush administration and its allies have now found renewed respect for international law in the Caucasus, but not when it comes to (1) the United States invading Afghanistan and Iraq, while threatening to attack Iran; (2) Israel invading Lebanon and Palestine, attacking Syria, and threatening to attack Iran; (3) Ethiopia invading Somalia; (4) Colombia attacking Ecuador, etc. From an international law perspective, the real issue here is whether during her trip to Tbilisi a month ago, U.S. Secretary of State Rice gave the proverbial green light to Georgia to attack South Ossetia and thus deliberately provoke an overreaction by Russia. And how does this fit in with the U.S./U.K. naval armada currently steaming for the Persian Gulf and possible military confrontation with Iran over its right to engage in nuclear enrichment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?"


RICHARD FALK
Falk is professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of more than 20 books including The Costs of War: International Law, the UN, and World Order after Iraq. Falk recently returned from Turkey.

He said today: "I am above all astounded by the mainstream media's failure to take proper note of the pipeline geopolitics that infuses the Russian moves with their global significance. Also, in the course of condemning Russia, Bush failed to take any account of the fact of Georgia's provocations in denying rights to the people of South Ossetia, which continue to threaten the population with Georgian oppressive rule. On a wider front, Washington's effort to penetrate the Russian sphere of influence in Central Asia by seeking to promote NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, together with the intended deployment of a missile defense system in East Europe, undoubtedly helped tip the scales in Moscow.

"One can imagine the U.S. outrage if Russia reacted similarly to American interventions in Cuba or Panama. Even so, the Russian recourse to force across an international boundary is a challenge to the core principle of international law and to the UN Charter. This is not a defensive use of force, and from an international law perspective, should be challenged and censured.

"At the same time, it pales in significance if compared to analogous U.S. behavior, especially the 2003 unprovoked and unlawful aggression against Iraq. At this point, what is needed in Georgia is for the Russians to withdraw, and for the UN to establish a peacekeeping presence in South Ossetia (and Abkhasia) capable of protecting the human rights and autonomy of these two societal entities until some sort of internationally monitored referendum can serve as the basis for self-determination in both places. To revive Cold War rhetoric of 'the free world' in relation to Georgia, as Bush did in his statement on the crisis, is one more instance of monumental irresponsibility by the president, and Orwellian in its implication that Georgia was a democracy respectful of human rights."
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