- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2008

As Russian forces crossed South Ossetia into Georgia, the moment arrived for inescapable acknowledgement that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin revoked the Cold War armistice. Russian military justifications contain too many parallels to list to Hitler’s concern for Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia.

This extravagant attack exemplified traditional Russian ruling elite’s neurotic insecurity; neurosis requiring rival power destruction and never allowing political compromise.

Genetic, multimillennial paranoia causes the current cabal to regard NATO, former Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet republics as encircling enemies. Such perceptions, not shared by Russian people, repudiate years of Western support for emerging Russian representative government, political security and economic stability.

There can be no permanent peaceful coexistence with a totalitarian Russia, but neither is war inevitable. Illogics lead this cabal onto unacceptable paths, but these Russian elites remain highly susceptible to logics of force with determination to use it.

Forceful initiatives require immediately curtailing efforts to integrate the former Soviet Union into the economic, cultural and political life of the rest of the world. Future initiatives require increasingly serious discussions of cooperation between NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet republics. Finally, the United States must update Cold War plans through cooperative military exercises in Europe and the Mediterranean.



Such progressive, consecutive initiatives establish negotiating positions Mr. Putin must consider. Effective containment will reveal the fragility of a totalitarian rule needing solidification within a disaffected, cynical population. The West must not reject this opportunity to make the cruel subjection of Georgia become Mr. Putin’s undoing.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.

During Aug. 9-10, Russia attacked the sovereign country of Georgia with an Army spearhead force of about 20,000 soldiers equipped with 500 tanks, 900 armored personnel carriers and 1,100 artillery pieces. It was supported by 600 aircraft, an unknown number of advance Special Forces (Seznaz) units and covert intelligence operatives. Prior to the attack, an elaborate campaign was conducted to issue Russian passports to people who were offered monetary and tangible benefit incentives and accepted them.

The attack was preceded by an elaborate disinformation and propaganda campaign against the lawful government of Georgia, which included the blackmailing of politicians and journalists. Operations were planned for months and executed after a planned trap was sprung for Georgian forces who were trying to help their besieged two provinces. An elaborate diplomatic campaign was launched before the invasion of Georgia against NATO and the European Union, using the threat of energy supply termination from Gosprom and other Russian-controlled sources. The attack is a continuation of Russia’s empire-restoration efforts directed by Vladimir Putin against its neighbors and the free world.

LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE

U.S. Marines (retired)

Arlington

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