Here’s Hoping There’s Not a Georgia Lobby in Washington….

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I just saw George Bush on the Olympics deploring the violence in Georgia and Russia, saying that he told Putin things must return to the "status quo ante" of August 6. Though he had trouble with "status quo ante."

The Israelis are said to be on the Georgians' side… Debkafile, a site with Israeli intelligence sources, reports that Israeli advisers are aiding the Georgians to hold on to the breakaway provinces. 1000 advisers, says this site. The JPost headlines its report on Israelis' views of the battle: South Ossetia is Georgia's "Golan Heights:–and the Russians/Syrians want to take it away from us…

Haaretz reports the internationalist connection: a "Jewish Georgian minister" –of "reintegration." And just in case you had any doubt, there's also a neocon connection: McCain foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann (a former board member of the Project for the New American Century) worked for the Georgian government. In the Note, Steve Clemons says that reckless U.S. internationalists have pushed the war, much as they've pushed adventures in the Middle East.

The Times also makes the Israel/Palestine analogy in this piece by Jim Traub, who had the foresight to visit Georgia a few weeks ago, and go to the breakaway region of Abkhazia–another South Ossetia:

Talking to the Georgians about Abkhazia, and the Abkhaz about Georgia, was like shuttling between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The Georgians said that they were “always there,” that Abkhazia was a
Georgian kingdom, and that only by expelling the ethnic Georgians at
the end of the war did the Abkhaz make themselves a majority in the
province. The Abkhaz said that they are the descendants of a
“1,000-year-old kingdom,” that they were the victims of a massive
campaign of Russian deportation in the 1860s, and then that Stalin
forced them into the Georgian yoke. The Abkhaz talk about the Georgians
pretty much the same way that the Georgians talk about the Russians… For
the Abkhaz, as for the Ossetians, Georgia is the neighborhood bully.

George Bush showed us the major difference between the two territorial disputes: Despite all the fervor, the U.S. seems to be playing the role of an off-shore balancer on this one. We're not joined at the hip to one side. We may be tilting; but we're not about to alienate the Russians forever. Would that we had such respect for the Arabs.

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