Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia on My Mind
By Jerome Grossman

During his long presidential campaign when he also had responsibilities and duties as a United States Senator, John McCain found the time to make three separate trips to the nation of Georgia, a country of less than 5 million people, whose main claim to importance was a pipeline carrying oil from wells owned by western companies in the Caspian Sea basin.

McCain chief policy adviser Randy Scheunemann and his business partner lobbied McCain or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2 year span while being paid $830,000 dollars by the government of Georgia. Scheunemann stopped lobbying for Georgia this March but retains an interest in the lobbying firm that signed a new $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government.

McCain’s time spent in Georgia is noteworthy because it affected his campaign: he has not found the time to visit a number of states in the US whose votes he will need to be elected president. Clearly he was not seeking votes in nation Georgia but perhaps he was looking for campaign contributions. Contributions from foreign governments and citizens are illegal but American oil companies may have shown their gratitude.

On August 13, McCain told reporters, “In the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations,” as he denounced the Russian invasion of Georgia. The irony of that statement was not lost on the rest of the world given the US invasion of Iraq after the United Nations refused to authorize US invasion of Iraq. The US invaded on its own. So much for the McCain version of history.

McCain insists that the Russian invasion was a “setback for democracy” because President Saakashvili had been elected twice. But he doesn't tell that that president declared martial law in Georgia last November using tear gas and rubber bullets on Georgian citizens, shutting down an opposition television station too.

US officials have stressed that the White House and State Department repeatedly warned President Saakashvili and his government against responding to Russian military provocations in ways that could spark a broader conflict. A Georgian official confirmed this. But Saakashvili took the Russian bait and made the first military move in South Ossetia, responding to small-scale local violence with heavy handed military. Saakashvili was conferring with McCain by telephone virtually every day. What kind of advice did he receive? That “We are all Georgians?” That the US would ride to the rescue?

McCain has some explaining to do. Did his interest in Georgia promote campaign contributions? Is his foreign-policy basically run by lobbyists and in some cases lobbyists for foreign governments? Does that put him in direct conflict with the US State Department and even the Secretary of Defense? How reliable is his judgment? Is he a risk taker whose first instinct is to use the military? Or promise it when he shouldn’t?


jmsjoin said...

Once again I am tempted to link this to death because this is a much longer story than a dozen pages can do justice to!
Since day one of this mis-administration we have been living a total lie. I have done many stories on it but in a nutshell everything has gone according to plan and their are no surprises her.
Just in one note with oil running the White House thus the country everything has been about the oil. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Georgia, there are no surprises here and it gets worse! Everything has been done on purpose Stateside and around the world it is only tempered with ineptitude!
I still have to laugh watching this facade of elections that people actually think they will not be stolen one way or the other a 3rd time. This has been allowed to go too fare for the right to give up now and they will not.
It is no coincidence that this manufactured perfect storm is coming to a head at the perfect time for the right. Watch and remember, there are no coincidences or surprises here!

jmsjoin said...

This isn't funny but I was saying absolutely 100% everything is all about the oil. Well now we just heard Russia has choked off and taken control of Georgia's pipelines.
Not quite checkmate but now what? You know I keep saying this is just taking shape and I will shut up about the rest!

jmsjoin said...

I just hear that Randy Scheunemann helped get us into Iraq too!


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